About those Personal Income Numbers

Not Everyone will be talking about the BoSox this morning, and since we don’t care about sports much (other than the sports of job-keeping and face-feeding), we wanted to gloss over all that baseball talk and get right to the nitty-gritty just out from the Bureau of Economic Amazement…except that ain’t happening until a week from tomorrow.

What’s more, some economic reports, which people actually read in order to figure who’s telling which version of economic truth will still be delayed in December.  The BEA schedule is over here, if you’re interested, but it bring up an interesting economic point.

If you had a government which has, oh, 83% of its workers around, don’tcha think the delays are a little, oh, you know, freaking absurd?  At the present “recovery rate” we may see ripples of our near-encounter with economic reality blubbering out into 2014.

Since we already know government can’t roll out software on schedule, and since they’re taking so long to play catch-up (which would never has been permitted in private industry), what say we make it three for three?

How about government spying on Google and Yahoo and putting a nail in the coffin of the arguments that “terrorism” (quick!  bow down and prostrate yourself before Authority) made ‘em do it.  The EU is planning payback…and you know what they say about payback is a…what?

The US, I’m becoming quite embarrassed to say, as lost its ever-loving mind.  And like they say, fish rot from the head.

Meantime, what we know about employment is from the Labor Department weeklies:

In the week ending October 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 340,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 350,000. The 4-week moving average was 356,250, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 348,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending October 19, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 19 was 2,881,000, an increase of 31,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 2,850,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,878,750, a decrease of 10,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 2,888,750.

And the waiting resumes around here for something we can sink our teeth into besides the typical month-end beat down on gold and silver, which ought to be along any old time.

Flooding in Central Texas (Updated)

We will update this morning’s outlook as the morning wears on toward our regular publishing time ( 8 AM’ish Central) but a few notes early on (4:30 AM ) since our part of Texas has some widespread power outages and momentous rains coming down.  6” in the past say here in the East Texas Outback.

Boy, did it ever rain overnight here.  We have now had 11-inches of rain since we got back from our travels last weekend and an amazing 10.5 inches of that fell overnight.

In fact, it’s starting to make the regional (overnight) news with stories like “Flash floods swamp cars, homes in Central Texas…”  Other reporting is available here.

Are there many economic stories to cover?  Well, yes…and no.

For one, the Social Security increase this year will be a lousy 1.5% and while this is going on, there’s a “bum’s rush” starting to try and convert the benefit basis to chained dollars, which would shrink benefits even further.

A little logic will show clearly what’s going on.

First, we assume that government would never raise a benefit without overwhelming public outage.  And even then – like bankster and Detroit bailouts – they simply hang up on the calls from back in the home district.

Secondly, they would never change something unless it would have some effect.

Which gets us to curtain #3:  It’s another screw-job in the wings.  Grab your ankles, they’ve gone death in Washington once again.

Oh, speaking of bailouts gone bad, Your Tax Dollars At Work lost $9.7 BILLION on the GM bailout?

It sure feels like having bailed Detroit, the screwing of Social Security beneficiaries is part of the plan to paper things over.  And no, 1.5% isn’t keeping up with the grocery bills, since hedonic adjustments to BLS numbers understate apples to apples grocer costs over time.

This an ultra-slow-motion screwing.  How slow?  Well, the late Senator Robert Byrd wrote about it in his “Bird’s Eye View” report back in May of 1978.

And things have only gotten more-so since. 35-years is a lot of slowly screwing the numbers around.  Unanswered is the question what the 1967 market basket survey would cost today with no adjustments – just item-for-item.

What Washington policymakers seem to forget, when they are trying to minimize the cost of Social Security, is that a) every dime that seniors make is spent somewhere, thus every dime given in Social Security is spent.  And b) everyone leaves life broke.

So the common sense of it is that by trying “to cheap” on Social Security, government is actually trying to put the brakes on a key segment of the economy.  Which is NOT how to end a recession, just thinking out loud.

Dow futures down 40 and gold down $7.80 at 4:37 AM…maybe someone else gets it?

More when it get some coffee…power’s still out… and…

45-minutes before the open, gold was down almost $15-bucks, and the Dow was about flat, but that sure smells of some taping painting, since the NASDAQ and S&P were down more.  A nickel on the side says down another 50 (or more) on the Dow today, but there’s no money on it. 

It’s just not a bad expectation in a country which seems to have lost its hustle, ability to put out hard work, oh, and lost its way at the same time.  Splendid!  Wucking funderful.

Constitution’s Going, Going, Gone…

…at least so the headlines keep hinting.  And about the only one to notice is Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who is now being critical of Eric Holder;s DOJ for arguing that an international treaty can trump the Constitution!

I can hardly wait to hear how my central government apologist liberal friends defend this one. Might as well turn every local cop into a Fed and be done with it, eh?  That’s the track and that’s the push, near as I can see it.  (But then again, I’ve been up all night, so don’t mind me…)

More after this…

No Change from Fed

Not that it came as any surprise (NoDoz, please) but the Fed left rates unchanged yesterday.  And from the sound of this, it’ll continue being print-to-win for many months to come:

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.

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Coping: With Thursday at the WuJo

The WuJo is a place not unlike the Twilight Zone, except, unlike Rod Serling’s fine capers, ours are real-life events reported by readers.  And what better way than this one from John M:

Hey George,

Last week I was celebrating my birthday by using my coupon for a free piece of cookie cake with drink purchase. I picked the piece with a vanilla frosting leaf with chocolate accents because I love vanilla and chocolate frosting and dislike the other colored frostings (they just taste different.)

So I get to my parents house and partake of my cookie cake after dinner. It was delicious as usual. Just as I had about 2 bites left my parents called me out to show me something on TV. So I put the cookie cake back on my plate and walk out.

When I sit down out there they start the show up and I go to finish my cookie cake and notice that my once delicious vanilla frosting had now become the not as good flavored yellow… just in the time it took me to walk out to see them.

They panicked a little when I mentioned this thinking something was wrong with it, however, being a long time reader of yours just figured I was the victim of some flux in space/time and now had a yellow frosted cookie cake. So I ate it and, other than the not quite as good yellow frosting, no other side effects.

Thanks for preparing me for such oddities in life,

John

He’s not the only one reporting oddities and inconsistencies in how Universe works.  We report them frequently – and if you have one of these oddities where things that shouldn’t take place in life actually do take place, by all means, send them along to george@ure.net and put the keyword WUJO somewhere in the title so they don’t get lost in the flood of emails…

Rammed and Ready

As mentioned in our 3 AM’ish (power and personal earthquake forecast post) my brother in law (Panama) wad some time Wednesday and so between us, it only took about 3-hours to get the old Dodge truck back and on the road again.  I have to say, it runs like a top, everything is just smooth as silk.  Quiet, the engine purrs, and I’m pleased.

But I’m not the only one sharing knowledge and insights on this “home vehicle repair” stuff.  LOTS of reader feedback so here’s a sampling:

You just crossed over that invisible demarcation line that separates the haves from the have nots.

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Rain Delay? And some Personal Wu

First off, if the report this morning is oddly timed (late), please don’t be alarmed. We have had more than 6-inches of rain in our rain gauge here in the East Texas Outback in the past 24-hours and a lightning show which has been going on for 12+ hours now. Frankly, it’s one of Ma Nature’s finer displays. The problem is that there is fairly large power outage, so our emergency power systems are what’s keeping us online for the moment. Not that they won’t continue doing their jobs, but the little matter of not having coffee until I fire up the BBQ and make some…well, THAT is the important stuff when I get up before three effing ayem.

If a Million Bucks Lands on Your Head…

I get a fair amount of reader email asking my opinion as to where I would personally invest a couple of hundred thousand (or more) should it fall out of the sky and land on me. Universally, these are accompanied by “We won’t you accountable because we realize that it’s just an investment opinion, but really, George, what would you do?” And then there’s the matter of my son. He’s working steady lately as an EMT and he’s “stacking cash” but he’s also got the “Old Man’s” conservative streak. So this morning we lift our heads up for the wild market, which, as of yesterday’s close, looked like it might really try for that run-up to Dow 20,000 and S&P 2,200.

The “Housing Candle” Brightens – a Lot

It’s been an article of economic faith that with any solid recovery, America ought to be seeing a major jump in home demand.  Not only should the housing prices see a 2.3% (or whatever price inflation is), but it should also seem to pressure to the update from a) all that quantitative easing, and then b) by all the Federal Reserve M2 printing festival which has bumped up M2 by 6.4% over the past year.

So, with this (unfortunately sobering) view, we flip over to this morning’s press release about the Case Shiller/S&P Housing Index which blew away just keeping up with inflation:

New York, October 29, 2013 – Data through August 2013, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that the 10-City and 20-City Composites increased 12.8% year-over-year. Compared to July 2013, the annual growth rates accelerated for both Composites and 14 cities.
On a monthly basis, the 10-City and 20-City Composites gained 1.3% in August. Las Vegas led the cities with an increase of 2.9%, its highest since August 2004. Detroit and Los Angeles followed with gains of 2.0%.

The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. In August 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 12.8%.

“The 10-City and 20-City Composites posted a 12.8% annual growth rate,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Both Composites showed their highest annual increases since February 2006. All 20 cities reported positive year-over-year returns. Thirteen cities posted double-digit annual gains.

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Global Banker Wars – Foreplay to Bigger Wars

Reader Note: Check back about 8:20 AM Central for the Housing Data…

We are starting to see a number of stories appear which give us “cause to pause” and think through what could be coming in the way of further, large-scale, banking changes which could impact living in ‘Merica.

For one, last week the European Parliament voted to suspend its US SWIFT agreement over the spying on global leaders.

And, having been caught red-handed spying on leaders of France, Germany, and presumably tons of others, the Obama administration  says it MAY suspended spying on allied heads of state.

Next week see the press release out that  “U.S. and Mexican AML/CFT Supervisors Sign First-Ever MOU to Exchange Financial Information to Thwart Drug Crime.” 

As though this isn’t enough, we found it interesting that the FDIC is working on cooperation and cross border resolutions with the People’s Bank of China.

This latter memorandum of understand (MOU) is particularly interesting because it essentially sets up something that in banking would be akin to the Washington-Moscow hotline that was set up back in president Kennedy’s time.  Except this one says (in part):

In emergency situations, it is expected that cooperation between the Parties will intensify as well. The Parties will endeavor to notify each other of the emergency situation and communicate information to the other as would be appropriate in the particular circumstances, taking into account all relevant factors, including the status of efforts to address the emergency situation. During emergency situations, requests for information may be made in any form, including orally, provided such communication is confirmed subsequently in writing. The Parties will endeavor to provide information as quickly as possible during emergency situations. Either of the Parties may request special meetings in an emergency situation to address issues of concern, as appropriate.

To be sure, there are now some who fear the US is headed toward a two-tier currency system.  That’s a scheme under which a dollar would have one set of purchasing power inside the US while foreigners would have to pay some penalty.

That, for now, may not be in the wings, although China is reported lightening its US bond purchases. 

But around the world, two-tiered currency regimes have not worked out well, and Cuba, just last week, decided to ditch their two-tier approach.

While we await the typical month-end period where Gold is beaten down, usually by $50 or more, so big players can load up on it again, we have to wonder whether it’s only a matter of time between when additional quantitative easing collides with what have been, thus far, very contained inflation expectations.

And if you click over here and look at the Gold ETF (GLD) versus the S&P, you’ll see that gold’s long-term decline we’ve discussed with subscribers seems to be well underway, so any sudden decline in the economic outlook now might trash gold to the sub-$1,000 levels in the shorter term.

Long-term?  Government’s going to print more money.  But the trick of investing is to figure when to get off gold and into stocks, and we’ll leave if to your good sense to look at the charts and arrive at your own conclusions.

Oh, and one other banking note from Madison Avenue Mike, spied in the NY Times this morning:  People too poor in ‘Merica to get conventional (emphasis on the con part?) are now turning to microcredit.

Could it be that as microcredit evolves, it could challenge the establishment banking system?  One can only hope, since members of the House, trying to jump-start election purchases, are bending over for Wall St. to roll back Dodd-Frank.  Can’t protect the sheep forever, figure the wolves and besides, who’s looking?

More after this…

Obama Caught Lying

Remember when the president calmly said that if you had a health plan you liked, you’d be able to keep it?  Well, here we go, proof positive that the administration knew that millions would not be able to keep their health insurance but lied about it anyway.

Meantime, more than 1.5 million have reportedly lost their healthcare insurance already – and gosh, are we having fun yet?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the NY Post headlines that “Docs Resisting ObamaCare…” and perhaps with sound reasons.

Spy vs. Spy vs. Lie

Meantime, the Obama /lie meme is appearing in headlines like “Obamacare and NSA spying: What did Obama know, and when did he find out” are showing up.

The Rasmussen Reports latest presidential tracking poll shows more than half of Americans now disapprove of how the administration is performing.  83-0percent of democorps are keeping the faith while 88% of republicorps oppose.

But to me, the independents are what matter and that’s 59% disapprove.

The Army Sucks – FAT!!!

Apparently, in order to work around obesity problems, some US forces are turning to liposuction to pass weight standards.  The ABC L.A. affiliate says nearly 2000 people were kicked out of dot mil land over weight issues in a recent one-year period.

Iran War Watch

Our resident war-gamer has this update on timing of that Israeli attack on Iran which is in the wings:

George

The LA Times has a worthy piece on the proposed nuclear negotiations with Iran:

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ross-iran-diplomacy-20131029,0,6562941.story#axzz2j6rEcwqd

The Times offers a six step process for confronting Iran’s potential nuclear weapons program.  The 5th step concludes with the recommendation to “initiate new military deployments and make clear the support for Israeli military action if conducted.”  The sixth step then warns the U.S.: “do not waste time!”

Diplomacy unquestionably has its place, and in this case that place is to swiftly present reasonable offers with clear deadlines backed by a visible and formidable show of regional military force.  Such a display of force might involve a group alliance or series of individual alliances with the Saudis, Turkey, Egypt and Israel and Jordan.  An Israeli alliance would certainly have to stand apart from the others, but as the only Middle Eastern nation with a viable nuclear arsenal at the ready, they must be folded into the mix.

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Coping: Getting Out of Dodge, Rammed Indeed

If you own a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup truck, you might want to hurry up and sell it quick before it blows a water pump.  Yes, that’s right:  It’s time to whine about the Curse of Cars…Rammed, alright.

As part of our program to recycle and reuse around here, Ures truly has been up to his elbows over the past three (or is it four?) days trying to get his 2001 Dodge pickup, a Ram 1500 with a V-6, back in good running order. (I loose track when I’m having this much fun…sure, right…)

What started off as an exercise in simply changing out the water pump bas become something else…a kind of Zen of Dodge repair meets Psycho.  But about the only spiritual payoff I’ve been able to find has been new and creative ways to string obscenities into new combinations never-before heard on Earth.

The mildest spew of cuss words involved the removal of the fan shroud which involved first removing the clutch fan (a special tool, a $75 deposit, and a trip into town).  Why should I have to remove a million Lego parts to fix it?

In the old days of auto design, you would open up the hood, take off a couple of hoses and fan belt, toss on a new water pump and be done with it.  The process in the old days took something on the order of 45-minutes and even at that, there was time for a smoke and a beer – neither of which was particularly evil, at least back in the day.

Today, the process involves removing the radiator overflow tank, the windshield washer tank, associated plumbing and wiring.  Then off comes the fan clutch, then the air cleaner and then the shroud and THEN (if you’re lucky) you get to remove the water pump with the bypass hose placed when it’s nearly impossible to remove. See the bypass hose circled in yellow?

In some ways, its an admirable design, but Chinese boxes are, too.  It just damn near ensures that a person would be better off replacing an entire assembly.  No, make that replace the whole truck.

After a day of disassembly (other things are going on in my chaotic life while this simmers) you get to take the retrieved water pump into your nice, clean shop and prep it for installation. This wrecks the fine furniture purpose of the shop, but that’s the price of war.

Oh, wait.  The people who designed the packaging for the water pump didn’t seem to understand that the pump would slosh around in the box, so the gasket was, of course, broken.  So that meant another trip into town to get a gasket.

I’m not sure if the Devil himself had a hand in this design, but I’m, planning an exorcism, just to be sure, since it’s an unholy pain in the ass to work on.  That big Ram front end have to be leaned-over so the back and chest are sending hate mail to the brain now.

Since I’d noticed that the power steering pump was bleeding all over everything on the lower driver’s side, the trip to town was preordained, anyway:  I have to replace it, as well.  I concluded I should buy a lotto ticket about here, luck couldn’t be this far on one side of things, after all, could it?

Oh…a mystical Zen question, here:  WTF was the point of using ONE STINKING TORX-50 BOLT?  Screw consumers into the dealership?  I mean seriously, WTF?  I noted that and put that on my list.  I am now the proud owner of three Torx sizes, which I pray I will never use again.

On the way to town I asked myself “”How is it that Kenworth can build trucks which are just getting broken in at a million miles, and Dodge wasn’t able (back in 2001) to build one which would keep running past 90-thousand miles without major surgical intervention?  Is there any possibility that Japanese automakers have the brains God gave chickens and simply out-thought us here?”

The dashboard is cracking, too.  Another design fault – which I ‘m sure will be blamed on the Texas sun.  Maybe Detroit doesn’t get sun – or may – just possibly – it was the least-cost plastic selected…yah think?

With the power steering pump off the vehicle, next came the problem of getting the pulley off the power steering unit. Ha!  Nothing is simple in cars anymore:  A sane person, or back in the old days when “solid  engineering” didn’t take a back seat to functionality/serviceability, one would have installed a keyed shaft, some kind of locking mechanism, and the disassembly could take only a matter of a minute, or two.

But did the modern engineers do that?  Hell no.  Instead, they used a press-fit pulley which can only be cajoled off the pump shaft with a special too.  I had gear-puller.  Except, of course, when that doesn’t work.  Then you take the tools to the outdoor tool bench (leftover power steering fluid is leaking everywhere by now) where (more four-letter words) the diligent application of heat to the pulley,  circuit cooler to the shaft and a 250-foot/pound impact wrench MAY after you try for a an hour, remove the pulley.  Which is now bent.  Shit.

Oh, and you can’t skip around  this task because there’s a cast bracket that needs to be salvaged from this accursed design.  Unless you want to order a really expensive part,

A call to the local dealership about the price of the whole assembly hadn’t been returned by press time this morning.  I figure they were too price-embarrassed to call.  I only look like an idiot.

Oh, wait:  The design really gets better here:  Since it’s a press fit, I figured all I would need to do is take the (slightly bent) pulley over to the 12-ton shop press and it should go on.  Well, it doesn’t.  It only went part way, so this morning, while Panama puts up crime scene tape around the garage, I;’m off to buy a new pulley ($20) and rent the special tool that goes on the front of this spawn from hell, another $20 deposit, and tomorrow’s adventure will be putting the whole shitteree back together again.

I have more invested in tool deposits than in my trading account now.

In the meantime, I can only assume that no one in Washington DC ever didn’t anything more serious with a 2001 Dodge pickup than get drunk and drive it, because if they had actually worked on a two-owner, under 100,000 vehicle which is trying to fall apart, they would never:

Or, was the bailout part of a brilliant plan to subvert Fiat?  And, say, isn’t Italy’s economy in the crapper now, and did the Fiat-Chryslers deal have anything to do with it?  Hmmm…

Has Chrysler changed its ways?  No telling.  Since we are all having such a wonderful economic recovery, I won’t be going out to buy a new vehicle any time soon.  But you can damn sure bet that if that time ever comes again, I’ll be popping the hood and asking questions like:  “What disassembly is required to change out the water pump and power steering pump?”

“Can I change plugs in a half-hour?”  In real life, I am an air tool artist on machinery, but not on this rig.

And my kicker:  “Is the timing belt in this engine plastic or metal?”

At least THAT part Chrysler did get right – and it was one of the reasons I bought it.  No plastic timing chain…another engineering screw-job to save 18-cents and ensure lifelong employment for mechanics. Another way to screw the consumer at the 100,000 mile mark.

Once the glorious day of the trucks return to the road arrives,  Elaine’s car goes in for a timing belt and water pump change-out.  This will happen as a preventative measure.  She’s got a pre-Fukushima older Lexus that runs like a top.

And even though it’s a 2005 model Lexus (92,000 miles) , the incremental add-on to change out the water pump is about $300 since they’ll have the engine torn open for the (plastic/junk) timing belt replacement. 

Still, where Lexus shines is in customer service because they will  a) pick it up, b) do all the work, c) drop off a 2014 Lexus to drive while it’s in the shop, and d) do it for about the same price as the do-it-yourselfer, particularly if you value your time at $20-bucks an hour and count tool rental.  Oh, and some Prilosec and vodka.

Still, Letscuss wants somewhere around $1200 to replace the Mark Levinson Sound subwoofer on the rear window deck?  Over my dead body.  The failure is cheap plastic, not rocking out…so that really oughta be covered, but it’s not.

George II’s new Versa  four door may be the way to go:  For $14,500 he got a car which should make 100,000 before needing everything in the world worked on.  If here’s smart, he’ll just take his $0.145 per mile and throw the Versa away at 100,000 miles.

That, my friend is this morning of this morning’s rage:  ‘Merca is too effing stupid to buy quality…Where we lost that isn’t clear, but I think it happened about the same time, or shortly after,  the coup killed Kennedy.

You see, there was one American iconic car, once upon a time.  And Pappy almost bought one for the same reasons I would in a flash:  The Checker Motor company which made vehicles for the taxi industry and they were based on the million-mile idea.  Only thing is,  we were too damn stupid to realize its value when we saw it.  It took Japanese companies to realize that quality might mean something.

And as a result, we lost Detroit….a process which is dragging out, even through this week.  So to me, nothing symbolizes the failure of America to achieve quality over marketing, that the f*cking Torx T-50 and the afterbirth of  Dodge engineer – the water pump and power steering unit which is somewhere on the workbench waiting for me to calm down enough to just “get ‘er done.”

It seems obvious to me that “value engineering” really means building disposable cars to sell to who? 

Dumb and disposable people.

Does e-Squared Work?

Jury is out – as I am doing the first experiment suggested in E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality ($2 Kindle or $11 hardback).  If I suddenly find a bunch of money, then I will admit it may work. 

But the problem I have is that one of the tenets seems to be that you have to believe in it working, in order for it to work. 

Which I have a small problem with, because if what the author says is the FP really is all pervasive and natural, then I shouldn’t have to do much more than present my demands (reasonable or otherwise) and I should get what I want.

After all, gravity works without my active participation, right?  So does electricity…so the jury is out, but I will buy a lotto ticket this morning, just to make an easy path of things.

Meantime, though, at least one reader says it works:

Good morning George!
I too have downloaded the E-squared book and have gotten through the first experiment.  I put “out there” that I would recieve an unexpected gift in the next 24 hours.  The next morning I was in my garden raking, pulling old plants and just general cleaning and I found the rubber handle to my garden tractor lever.  Now you have to understand that my John Deere tractor is something I love and appreciate every time I mow my 3 acre hilly yard.  I spent a wopping $5000. on this lawn tractor used and last year when mowing under the swingset the handle caught one of swings and catapulted the rubber handle into the abyss.  I looked and looked for this handle to no avail.  Now my tractor was no longer perfect and every time I was on it I was reminded of this when I looked at the bare lever with no handle.  So when the FP brought this handle back to me I was delighted!  I laughed to myself and said out loud “THANK-YOU!!  No one can understand how happy I was to have that little handle back on my John Deere!!!  It truely was an “unexpected” gift!!!
Sincerley

Kelly

I dunno, Kelly.  That may seem meaningful to you, but I’m holding out for a lot more tangible (and did I mention fungible) evidence. 

Coincidences happen all the time, and because I am in slave/left brain this morning due to my truck experience, I’m demanding a certain large number from out of the blue, otherwise I’m a skeptic. 

I’m putting it out there as a “If FP is real, this is how much cash (or equivalents) I want.  We should know before Thursday’s report.

Tuesday at the WuJo

Fine report here from reader Sondra

Hi George!

     It’s the crazy nurse from LA (Lower Alabama)again.  I had been wondering when the next wujo event would take place.  I have two red thumb drives for work.  One is larger volume wise than the other so I labeled it with my name for easier sorting. 

Early last week I was looking for the unlabeled one.  I have a small basket by my computer that I keep them in and it wasn’t there.  I searched my office, my home, my car, and my backpack.  Couldn’t find it, remember thinking, wonder where it will show up, probably some place I already looked. 

Friday when I left work I took the labeled thumb drive and put it in my scrub pocket immediately after saving some files to it and unplugging it from my computer, it was the only one I had.  Went home and placed it on top of my calendar on my desk.  Put it back in my pocket when I headed to work this morning because I never got the chance to work on the files I brought home. 

When I got to work and went to plug it in, guess who was already in the usb port?

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Market Madness Week

As we brained out with Robin Landry (and which was described for Peoplenomics subscribers) the market is at a critical juncture between now and a week hence.

Not only are there all kinds of astrologically significant events, but there will also be a flood of data, much of it delayed from earlier release times by the short government shutdown in which, as we recall, 83% of government workers couldn’t get the reports out on time, but that’d be sour grapes on my part.

This morning, you’ll want to drop by about 8:30 AM Central which is when the industrial capacity and utilization report is due out from the Fed.

And tomorrow we get retail, producer prices, and just to get you in the habit of coming back by around 8:30, the latest Case Shiller /S&P housing data will be in.  Wed have to suffer until next Tuesday to get unemployment and personal incomes.

With all this (and I didn’t mention the GDP figures Wednesday along with CPI and a Fed rate decision [although don’t worry, they’ll print like crazy]) the markets this morning are putting on a good show of “timid.” 

Futures had the Dow down about 14 earlier.

Beyond An Unhappy Dick

Former VP Dick Cheney is none too pleased with the state of affairs in ‘Merica.  “Mideast allies no longer trust the US, Enemies “don’t fear us” headlines the CBS version of the story over here.

Our resident war-gamer has been sizing this up:

George,

The nascent millennium’s master of ‘realpolitik’ – former VP Dick Cheney, gave a rather frank and pessimistic set of comments on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulous.

The trouble with leveling the playing field when dealing with rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran is something Cheney sagely hits upon, which is the irretrievable loss of the use of the element of fear. 

“Realpolitik” is the philosophy of “peace through strength.”  Simply stated, if you fervently believe your system of government is better than another, and the other is causing major problems, you rattle your sabers and parade your horses in order to send a very clear message.  This tactic works very well in the Far East as well as the Fertile Crescent, where male dominated societies understand the power equation.

Cheney is not by any means advocating a first strike on Iran.  He simply and elegantly states what, to him, is the obvious:  “Our friends no longer count on us, trust us, our adversaries no longer fear us . . . We’ve turned our back on the region.” 

Old schoolers such as Cheney and Henry Kissinger understand the differences between when you can hold out the carrot and when you demonstrate your strength with a big, heavy stick.  New kids on the block, such as just about everyone in the Obama administration, actually believe that if they set the moral example and make various unilateral concessions, the problem children of the world will suddenly wake up, smell the roses, start hugging each other and singing Kumbaya. 

Ya know what?  It just ain’t gonna happen!

Ideologically driven nations such as “Red” China (remember, our principal importer and largest holder of U.S. nation debt is a King Kong-sized communist empire) and their regional puppet North Korea, plus theocratic nations such as Islamic Iran, are difficult to diplomatically reason with.  Their ideology or theology override negotiation and reason.  They will exploit any weakness an opponent (anyone but “them”) and shun more powerful but reluctant opponents.

Allowing Iran to join the nuclear club would be a tragic mistake of historic proportions.  Unlike North Korea, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and shows strong intentions of unifying regional and eventually global Shi’ite Muslims under one rule . .

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Coping: Ah, Monday at the WuJo

Sometimes, its almost as though some kind of “cosmic censor” wants me to post a report that comes in of something seriously off in the WuJo Department at some other time, other than when it arrives.

This following story definitely fits into this category.  That’s because when I was going to publish it last Monday, it simple disappeared off Outlook.  Yeah, I know, that can’t happen, but it did and all manner of search would not bring it back, even after re-indexing the Outlook file using the .PST Repair too.  Now, how odd is that?

I was going to publish it last Tuesday, but if you’ll remember, the power supply went out on the main tower here at UrbanSurvival – the big fancy box with two “big mutha” dual video cards to drive our four monitors.  I ordered a big replacement – more on that in a minute – and figured I would report this great WuJo story on Thursday or Friday from Branson, MO.

Well, everything else I copied from the hard drive here worked fine, but that one stinking email?  Nope.  So I figured to finally get it on this week.

So without further delay, this one is a grand little stumper:

“Dear Sir,

You’re not going to believe this.

Why not?

Because I am the one who experienced this and even I don’t believe it.

But, no matter how many times I replay this experience in my memory from several weeks ago, I cannot deny that it happened; nor can I make any sense of it at all in terms of the ‘normal’ progression of time in accordance with only one temporal frame of reference.

First, a little background:

My usual exercise routine requires that I run for approximately 2 blocks, then walk for approximately 6 blocks, then run for approximately 1½-2 miles back to the place where I started; something that variably takes between 30 and 38 minutes.

Secondly, there is nothing wrong with my watch.

But this is what happened:

I left on my run at precisely—I waited until the second hand hit the 12 on my watch—5 minutes til the hour (that is, 55 minutes after the previous hour) and ran for approximately 2 blocks. After walking about 5 blocks, I looked at my watch and it showed 44 minutes after the previous hour; that is, 11 minutes before I started; something that, possibly, in some way, is related to the event recorded in the following video:

ANGEL SUPERHUMAN Teleportation caught on CCTV in China? – YouTube .

I continued to walk for 1 more block, then ran approximately half of the 1½-2 miles at the end of my exercise.

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Peoplenomics: 2 Days in Branson: A Surprising Long-Term Outlook

It’s been quite a busy past three days – but this morning I’ll do my best to sum up what the future could looks like based on a new pet theory of mine (Bullecules and Bearecules) and the hard Elliot Waves counts of Robin Landry. I think you’ll be surprised by the outlook because I sure was. As always, however, let’s start with some “expectation-setting headlines” and consider some of the possible “tilting” that could impact our playing field. More for Subscribers ||| SUBSCRIBE NOW! ||| Subscriber Help Center

What is a BF?

I’ve been debating overnight whether to mention this, and Grady may (or may not)_ post some of this over at the www.nostracodeus.com website.  But the term BF has been showing up in our various scans of the web and it’s not clear whether there has been an outbreak of new “boy friend” or whether this is some kind of obscure mention of “black Friday” of some sort.

To be sure, on the business side of things, I think Robin Landry (who I’ve been meeting with) has a pretty good handle on how all of this may piece together and we’ll get into that in tomorrow’s Peoplenomics report for subscribers.

But for now, the whole “bf” is somewhat perplexing.

We are already watching a couple of things, like the bit astro conjunction next week with long-term astroecon experts like Arch Crawford are eyeing with some suspicion.  And then there’s the whole blow-up over Obamacare. 

But the one that really concerns me, because it seems to have been foreshadowed by the data work of others, is the possibility that the Israelis are about to make a huge mistake and go pop Iran by themselves.

The key data point to watch, suggests our resident war-gamer, is that Iran may only be one month from having enough enriched uranium to make a bomb:

Hi George,

Iran is reportedly reaching an important ” window” in their race to craft nuke weapons:  See this USA Today story.

Israel and Saudi Arabia cannot take the news lightly. Israel’s very existence is at stake, and Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Islamic center of the universe, is rapidly distancing itself from an unreliable U.S. administration. Robles is, Israel has nukes, the Saudis do not. And Iran want both nuke weapons and religious control of Islam in order to shepherd in the prophesied Hidden Mahdi.

Watch for an unlikely Middle Eastern alliance forming against Iran, giving credence to the old Arab saying: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Why else would the Saudis drop nuke powerhouse America and stand seemingly defenseless against the growing power in Iran?

Happy Friday!

Curiously, we need to keep an eye on what the Saudis are doing, too, since the US relations with the Saudis have seriously chilled in recent months and there’s not much to drive a thaw in right.

Plus, if you were in a position to decide when to go to war (Israel against Iran) wouldn’t it make sense to drive down the price of oil in advance, knowing that there might be a real pop to the upside in the event of a strike?  So with that, we note the resuming decline in oil prices and wonder if we’ll see any outbreak of unusual call option buying in coming days…

For now, the markets are looking to open sideways, but next week could see a violent breakout – either to the upside, in which case an S&P of 2,200 comes into view, or we take out recent support and plunge.  You’ll want to plan on extra Maalox, perhaps.

Durable Goods

Just out…

New Orders
New orders for manufactured durable goods in
September increased $8.2 billion or 3.7 percent to
$233.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced
today.

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Coping: Effects of George-rograde

I am pleased to report, first off, that Elaine is almost back to her normal self.  So, too, is the computer which had lost its power supply…so most things are back to whatever it is that passes for normal, anymore.

Thanks to the readers who sent in explanations of WHY everything seemed to be hitting the fan, all at once.  Reader Pat for one:

DON’T travel (or buy anything) during Mercury Retrograde….I keep tellin’ ya.  Oh well, hope the rest of your trip is good.

Well, funny you’d bring THAT up.  And what morning would be complete without a note from Bruce:

Typical mercury in retrograde for us. We clear the calendar of any new projects while mercury is in retrograde. Good time to finish stuff up tho.

Also should have asked at the desk for a power supply. Most hotels have a box full left behind by travelers. If there is a large hotel close, ask there too.

Well, sadly, my portable is a Samsung and they use an odd-ball power connector size, so I picked up a Rocketfish- Universal AC Laptop Power Adapter 8 Tips MOST COMPUTERS RF-AC9023 which worked fine, except for the $65 hole in the wallet. Woin’t leave home without it, now.

When we arrived up here, the weather was perfect and even today, Branson is looking at beautiful, clear skies after getting a pretty solid freeze last night.  But we’ll probably take off early this morning and head south, since the weather is about to change on us.

Coming down into Branson, if you look closely, you can see just to the right of the vertical card compass there is a freeway visible, and then a hill, and then you can land on the airport (those stripes for the threshold area).  Normally I’d have been more properly lined up, but there was a bit of wind sheer – a northwesterly above, and nothing down low, so a gentle roll left to line up “on the numbers.”

That gray patch is really a 20-40 foot hill so you really, really, really don’t want to land short. 

I hate like hell to be a weather-chicken, but if you’re a long-time reader, you’ll remember that the last time I didn’t listen to my gut on weather, we got socked in up in the Northeast for an extra week.  I didn’t mind the 31,000 Hilton Honors points, …it was the money paying for the hotel nights that earned them that stuck.  Besides, there’s too much going on in real life to mess about. Vee vill keep to zie skedule, jahvohl?
 
[Aspiring writers note:  The correct German grammar is closer to “Wir werden, um den Zeitplan zu halten.” but the average America doesn’t know what a Zeitplan is, and unless I explain how it means the Fed is not giving Germany back its gold that we’re holding in “safe keeping” (my butt, right?) no one would care.  So we write in a kind of Sergeant Schultz broken German way so people won’t have to think too much, which is why we don’t have more Libertarians, but we seem to have gotten off the track a bit.  It’s a cheap pseudo-lingo for  lazy ‘Mericans.]

So, more’n likely (barring a weather forecast change) we’ll be southbound this morning with a slight tailwind at the get-go with clear skies instead of 20 knots on the nose with rainy and showery condition (maybe with a bonus thunderstorm cell)  and marginal IFR later on this weekend. 

But that’s how life is sometimes:  You shave the odds in your favor – and besides, it gives us a chance to do it again in the future.

Not Harry Reid

So as we were walking into the local computer emporium in pursuit of the aforementioned power supply, I chanced to notice that the fellow at the front door bore something of a resemblance to Harry Reid.

I mentioned this fact to him…and he didn’t seem any much please by the remark.  I told him it wasn’t meet in a mean-spirited way, or anything.  Robin Landry, who I’ve been meeting with on market outlooks (more for Peoplenomics readers tomorrow on that) noticed the distinctive chill, too.  “George, I don’t thing he particularly liked that…”

I was running on fumes from lack of sleep and mentioned it again on the way out. 

Robin Landry gently  suggested I work on my people-skills a bit and then launched into a reminder about the dangers of flying cash registers. But I assured him no offense was intended. Which got me around to seeing people don’t hear intensions, too well.

I made a note to apologize next time I buy computer parts in Branson.

The people up here in Branson are just as helpful and friendly as ever.  The server at dinner last night was an art major at the College of the Ozarks, which is a pretty good school to consider, since the school places a big emphasis on mixing the “doing” with the “learning.”  Since so many students work, a lot of them graduate with zero – none – of that awful finance aid albatross around their necks.

Why more schools don’t do this is beyond me, but maybe it’s because college students used to be the ones doing so many of those “jobs Americans don’t want to do”.”  And, since so many are NOT working, it drives the immigration agenda, perhaps, but we don’t have any hard data to confirm that.

It just looks that way, sometimes.

And, in keeping with its fine tradition of making fun of me, my I-Ching Inbox decided with Elaine being down for the count for a day due to iffy lump crab, to send a constant stream of specials on seafood delivered overnight.

Touching, how Universe rubs our faces in stuff, now and then…payback for my Harry remark, I’m sure.

The Weekend Reader

With the onset of Fall weather in a few places, it’s time to consider putting something into your head besides the next episode of Elementary, which is a lot of fun, if you’re not hooked on enough of the boob tube already.

Reader Zero has a suggestion:

I got this book: E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality (Hay House Insights) by Grout, Pam (1/28/2013)  (About $11-bucks, Amazon – G)

someone like me…

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Yo-Yo Markets – Driven By Obamacare Failure?

Earlier this morning, the futures were pointing up a bit more than sixty points.  Which means, simply put, that the markets are confused, don’t know which way to turn, and there’s no telling where things will go when things finally turn up or down in a meaningful way.

Think of it like a big herd of cattle, they almost get into a stampede one way, but then think better of it, stop and reconsider their situation.  Down 54-points yesterday and then back up this morning – what kind of fun is trading in this kind of market?

Still, there’s plenty of reason for the herd to be confused.  If you haven’t been keeping track, consider:

    This last one is HUGE because the market has been wondering how to come up with enough consumer discretionary funding to bolster earnings in order to show some respectable returns because if bond yields rise, that could kill the bull market.  On the other hand, if the healthcare rules are relaxed – even if only for a year – that would buy time to make the computer systems work and would give people (and Congress) some time to rethink their role as “enforcers” for the Insurance industry.

    As of this morning, the speculation seems to be that signup windows will be postponed until sometime in 2014, but if a two part word whose first part is spelled ‘cluster’ comes to mind, that’s a reasonable take on things here.

    Another thing that’s happening is that the economy of Europe is starting to show something other than a “flat-line” display on the life support monitoring statistics.  As this story in the NY
    Times
    this morning points out, the region has now put together 4-months in a row of small, but measurable growth reported by EU purchasing managers.  That helps spike the punch a bit more down on the Street.

    Not that relations with the US/Obamanistas will improve overnight.  Germany and France are still plenty-pissed about the NSA spying on them, but again, president Obama is something of an expert at “no flinch” poker.  While some might opine that’s more runaway ego, more than poker-playing skill on the world stage, we just follow the data and look where it points:  up…only a bit, but up, nevertheless.

    One economic number out this morning to consider in here:   The Balance of Trade figures.  This is an important one to watch because it is directly related to how much debt the US will have to pawn off on the rest of the world.  Still, anything that’s even a modest improvement will certainly be welcomed.  Numbers please?

    The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S.

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