Housing Data and the EoQ Commodity Price Bombing

My favorite economic press release is just out:  The Case Shiller/S&P Housing report:

`New York, March 31, 2015 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for January 2015 show that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. However, monthly data reveal slowing increases and seasonal weakness.

Year-over-Year
Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites saw year-over-year increases in January compared to December. The 10-City Composite gained 4.4% year-over-year, up from 4.3% in December. The 20-City Composite gained 4.6% year-over-year, compared to a 4.4% increase in December. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.5% annual gain in January 2015 versus a 4.6% increase in December 2014.

Denver and Miami reported the highest year-over-year gains, as prices increased by 8.4% and 8.3%, respectively, over the last 12 months. Fourteen cities reported higher price increases in the year ended January 2015 over the year ended December 2014.

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Coping: Prepping with a Hole in the Ground

A larger part of Monday than planned was spent saddled up on the Kubota tractor moving dirt around the property. We’ve got a patch of ground between the shop/office/Panama’s digs and the house that has been problematic for quite a while. You know: as in what to do with it. There are a couple of big trees that shelter the house from the sun during summertime.

Screaming Rally Monday

There are only a handful of economic stories about the Second Depression that really matter this week.

First we are expected to have a major rally this morning.  This is because our Trading Model has arrived at a make-or-break point which will be working out over the next couple of weeks.  One solution is for another screaming rally upward…the other one is really grim.  Not that we care – we just go where the numbers say.

The second big item this week is that it’s a four-day trading week – markets take Good Friday off, and this Friday is better than most.

Number three on our list is tomorrow Case-Shiller, Standard and Poors, Dow-Jones, Case Logic (and whoever else wanders by) Monthly Housing report.  This is the gold standard of what’s really going on in Housing – and is closely watched.  I expect it to be levelish.

There’s a big shift going on with more people moving into rentals (which is why you see apartments going up all over the place) but single family housing is stable except for hot/crazy/manic markets like the Bay area and a few others.

Fourth and final big deal this morning is it’s the end of the month and so the price of gold is getting clobbered – down $15 when I looked earlier, but down $30 or more wouldn’t surprise Ures truly over the next couple of days. 

Money is a fiction. 

This is a little-discussed point but we begin the week recognizing that a piece of paper with some ink on it is NOT wealth.  Wealth is something that lives between the ears.  It’s a product of attitude and application; a natural consequence of seeing opportunity and doing something about it.

Most people are poor between the ears.  And what’s inside manifests on the outside.  If things on the outside aren’t going well, the problem is usually – care to guess? – where?

Crisis in the Wings?

When stocks stop trading – we get very interested.  So go read this and take note.

Personal Income (lol)

It’s great fun to be writing a novel.  It has helped me develop a greater appreciation for press releases like the one out this morning on Personal Income and Outlays – a finer work I could not have crafted in a million years.  (I’m just too honest for that – and I think fiction should be believable…).

“Personal income increased $58.6 billion, or 0.4 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $54.2 billion, or 0.4 percent, in February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $11.8 billion, or 0.1 percent.

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Coping: What are We Prepping For?

Elaine and I had a wonderful weekend up in Oklahoma – long conversations comparing market and futuring outlooks, plus a good amount of time was spent on the subject of prepping.  On the way back (somewhere over the Red River, I think it was), I made a note to discuss prepping as an important change in people’s outlooks compared to past Depressions.

There wasn’t any prepper movement in the 1928-1930 period, at least in a large enough sense to have been lumped as a “movement” and carved into the history book.

This time around, prepping is huge.

The numbers are pretty impressive.  Two years ago, the number of preppers in the US was placed in the vicinity of 3.7-million people.  That covered those who would admit to being preppers – and I doubt that half of us would admit it.  And since 2013, I expect the number has likely increased again, such that the number of  people who are prepping is likely in the 10-million range.

Fine:  Why?

A number of points come to mind.

1.  The US Government is broke.  Sad to say, but the gap between GDP and Public Debt to the Penny has been consistently growing – although in fairness the gap’s rate of increase has slowed a bit.  GDP can be thought of as in the $17.7 trillion range while US Debt is over $18-trillion.

2.  Government figures shield some HUGE lies.

Here’s one example:  The current US Consumer Price Index agues that the unadjusted Cost of Living change for the past 12-months has been a great big goose egg.  Zero percent.

However, if you like to eat, the cost of Food is up 3%.  Also, while healthcare is up a modest 1.8%, the things you buy for healthcare (medical commodities – a buzzword for prescriptions and such) is up 3.9%.

What saved the day was energy prices coming down dramatically – but you only felt that if you drive or use lots of energy.

Remember, now:  This is the February 2015 data.

Because we like to see the Big Play, let’s go on and look at food and medical items in the 2014 period.  Here, food was up 1.4%, medical commodities up  1.7% and healthcare was up 2.4%.

Where the public’s faith gets broken, in all this, is when things like this year’s “new estimation system” come into effect:

Effective with the release of the January 2015 CPI on February 26, 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will utilize a new estimation system for the Consumer Price Index. The new estimation system, the first major improvement to the existing system in over 25 years, is a redesigned, state-of-the-art system with improved flexibility and review capabilities. For more information on this new system, please see ttp://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpinewest.htm.

So yes, if you eat there really is more inflation than reported. 

Oh, and even better, under the new estimating system, if something is out of stock?  It’s just going to be “made up.”  In fairness, it’s called imputed pricing:

Imputation of sampled items unavailable for pricing. When a sampled consumer item is temporarily unavailable, its price change is imputed by the price change of other items within a geographic area. In the current estimation system, these missing prices are imputed by all the price changes within a CPI item stratum. CPI item strata, though, are composed of one or more elementary level items, or ELIs. In the new estimation system, the price change will be imputed by price changes within its own ELI, instead of by all price changes within the potentially broader item stratum.

This – and other statistical whitewash (like bimonthly averaging) is particularly good because it means that the consumer prices for a baseline year, say 1994 (because government is presumably too embarrassed to put older data on the table) is not really an apples to apples comparison.

The previous changes were largely hedonic; which means if steak gets too expensive, people will eat hamburger, but we’ll just call either one a meat price and report no changes.  In other words, changes in consumer choice get written the hell out, and the public can’t figure out why our standard of living is cratering.

Imputation and bimonthly averaging have another – darker – side:  They are tools which could be used to whitewash things like widespread food shortages.

Why would this be a reason to prep?

The picture at the top of this morning’s column is a freeze-frame of Google’s excellent and continuously updated news scans that aggregate content from feeds all over the place.  Every morning I do a large number of keyword searches which – when coupled with the overnight www.nostracodeus.com data runs – gives us a pretty fair sense of what’s going on.

All of which gets me to the first reason that people are prepping:  They don’t 100% trust the supply chain, the quality of goods in it, the accounting methods used to report on it, and the cost of it all.  Toss in California’s drought not lifting and at least the food side of prepping becomes understandable.

If you want to get a whole different view of two year food inflation on a real apples to apples basis, go look at the retail beef pricing over here:  You’ll find that compared with a year ago, 93% ground beef has gone from $3.27 a pound last year to $3.60 a pound this year.  That’s better than 10% price inflation.

If you drink milk, then you’re enjoying lowered prices in many parts of the country, but the downside is that falling prices are likely to drive a stake through the heart of California’s dairy industry – already hard-hit by drought –  and that will mean soaring prices in the future as farmers give up and herd sizes come down.

Still, nothing that can’t be easily hidden with a phone call to change the recommended dietary intake levels, right?  You just know too much animal protein is bad, right?  Here, don’t worry about wheat belly, let’s load up on those poor folks foods….yum, starch and fried foods…yum….healthy….   (I trust you’re awake enough to recognize sarcasm when I write it?)

Headline Provide Additional Clues

Another area which reveals why people are prepping are stories like this one from Russia Today that go into some depth around a military operation called Jade Helm.

The preppers I’ve talked with about this are all over the board:  A good number point out that story, in particular was from RUSSIA today, which they point out, does have some skin in the game of keeping America riled up.

But then comes the Florida Sun-Sentinel coverage of mock round-ups of civilians in Broward County.  Explain that away…

Unfortunately, the real problem is that your government removed the prohibitions of posse comitatus that previously prohibited use of the military on US homeland soil.  The Wikipedia background is a “must know:”

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using its military personnel to act as domestic law enforcement personnel. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction, and was subsequently updated in 1956 and 1981.

The Act only specifically applies to the Army and, as amended in 1956, the Air Force.

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What is the Data Telling Us?

A reader asked me what I thought of some fellow running around the ‘net telling people he had inside information that the US population was going to be reduced 88% by 2025.  Said reader asked “What is Ure take on it?”

Simple:  Doom porn. 

Hey, it’s an industry and – one could argue since I have worked so much on future/futuring, one that I bear some responsibility for helping to create.

That said, I have renounced the doom porn crowd and it has cost thousands upon thousands of insecure, nail-biters, anxious to be believe the end is near.

The truth?  Ain’t no 88% pop-redux (or global coastal events so far) despite whatever the “End is Near and we’ll sell it to yah” types are peddling.

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WW III: Persians Vs. Arabs?

One of our roles around here is to look at history from the long wave economic perspective and try to figure out just what the heck is going on.

This morning, we might be asking ourselves, is there a basis to worry about a coming Persian versus Arab war?

Let’s start with the basics:  What binds people is language for one.  And, says Wikipedia:

Persian is the predominant modern descendant of Old Persian, a southwestern Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (officially known as Dari Persian since 1958 for political reasons),[7] and Tajikistan (officially known as Tajiki Persian since the Soviet era for political reasons),[8] and some other regions which historically came under Persian influence.

This area might also be considered largely Shi’ite Muslim.

Now, head on down south a ways and you have the Arab languages.

Arabic is the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century and its modern descendants excluding Maltese. Arabic is spoken in a wide arc stretching across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. Arabic belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family.

The literary language, called Modern Standard Arabic or Literary Arabic, is the only official form of Arabic. It is used in most written documents as well as in formal spoken occasions, such as lectures and news broadcasts.

It seems to me worth noting that the Sunni Muslims are largely Arabic speakers.  Shi’ites would lean Persian.

And it’s this language distinction that goes much deeper than just being a novel thought of the linguistic stripe.  It also provides a framework for viewing (and maybe understanding?) the tensions which are brewing on both sides of the language divide.

This matters greatly because it has everything to do with markets.

Let’s work our way north to south.  First up is the report that the West has more or less capitulated on the negotiations with Iran to keep them from building a bomb.

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Coping: With Browsing Resets, Foiling Computer Thieves

Enough people have written in that it’s time to suspect more than one thing is going on with reports of people not being able to get today’s version of UrbanSurvival on time. 

At the same time, since we spend so much time on the net, a good chunk of UrbanSurvival is knowing what the hell you’re doing with a computer is high on our priority list.

So we’re going to have us a short class here where I’m sure, even if you THINK you know all there is to know, you just might learn a thing or three.

It’s appropriate we talk about safety of home computers because home (or office) your computer is either your best bud or it’s the biggest most gaping personal security exposure you have.

The starting point is simple:  Open your browsing history any time you want by pressing CONTROL+SHIFT+DELETE at the same time.  Go ahead…try it.  Look for the part where it refers to passwords.

Given the number of meth-heads out there, is it worth using your BRAIN to store a few critical passwords, in order to keep your computer safe?

You know, if someone steals your computer – and you use all those features like stored passwords – you could lose your life savings.  And you do go to the store, right?

I got started on this morning’s rant because so many people have been getting old UrbanSurvival content.  That seems to be happening FAR too often, so it’s likely a software update.  So let’s get this fixed, once and for all, shall we?  This is going to apply to ALL websites, but it’s pretty clear that if you’re a big corporation and you want to lessen traffic on the net, just feed people old content.

Well, we’re not going to play…

Yes, we are still on exactly the same Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule as always with links to Peoplenomics (and summaries) on Wednesday and Saturday.  So what gives?

Hard telling – although we know that there are groups that really like to suppress our views…but aside from this, there are a couple of things you can do.  And what I’m going to show you here will help on ALL sites that have updated content.

We’ll start with Internet Exploder, as I call it.  When you get there, look for the area under browsing history. 

To get here, find the menu, look for “Tools” and click on the settings for how pages are handled.

I make it a practice to ALWAYS set the “Delete browser history on exit is checked.  I don’t want anyone to EVER see where I have been.  No, not that I visit porn sites, or anything like that…it’s that I don’t care to leave any personal information on any computer.  (I don’t do things like store passwords either.)

Next, you click on the area called “Settings” which I have poured yellow over so you can find it.

Now, you want the browser to be set so that you get a fresh copy of everything “Every time I visit a web page.”

If you don’t have these things checked, you will be seeing ever so slightly faster – but oftentimes DATED material.

If all you do is look at your bank statements and such, then fine. But just remember, burglars are not dumb.

If they can get into your how and steal your computer and if you don’t have a STRONG logon to your computer,   They can email a password change to your old email address, put in a new email account, logging in from a hotel somewhere (and using a fake ID for that) and have a field day.

More on this in a second.

Same thing when you are using Firefox, if that’s your poison of choice.

Simply open up your Tools (right click and check the Menu on if it’s not already on your screen).

Then from the pull-down that gives you a number of ways to handle history, select the one that says Firefox will never remember history.

Set Up a Computer Sign-In

Now, a word, or three about User Account access.

A lot of home computer users are too damn lazy to set windows up to that it takes a serious password to log into it.

Let’s see how good you really are at computers, OK?

Go over to the Gibson Research (remember, Steve Gibson is a nice computer genius) and check out his Password Haystack over here.

Put in something LIKE your banking password and let me know how you do.  But, don’t put in the real thing, just something that has the same number of characters and is upper/lower case, has special punctuation and some numbers in it.

You know why the odds of me losing my  bank account and other personal information is low?

Look at the password needed to log onto any of George’s computers:

And THIS is just to log into one of my computers.  I won’t bore you with the even more hardened passwords for banking and trading, but you get the idea.

There are some computers around here which are never used  for banking, website work, or any of that…Take Elaine’s computer.

But that computer (seven letters, 2 numbers) is incredibly insecure by comparison.

Even our media computer – which doesn’t have a single commercial application on it – still requires a password to log in.

As you can see, it’s dirt simple and it’s really a joke.

Why Passwording Your Computer is Important

I am NOT the character who James Spader plays in Blacklist, BUT if I were, just stealing a computer could be turned into something.

For example, there’s a marvelous piece of software (if you ever misplace your product CD for some computer application, or other, called “Magic Jellybean Key Finder.”

I’ve run it on my most “stripped down” machine, and sure enough it tells you a fair bit about what apps are on here  Obviously I’m not showing product keys, but there they are…

What it doesn’t show is custom code (Nostracodeus uses a different approach, for example) but these tools are out there.  If you haven’t seen it, the LifeHacker report over here could bed used by a smart criminal (who has stolen your computer) to get into all kinds of mischief.  You don’t really want to make things easy for them, do you?

All of which gets down to the point of this morning’s major rant bottom line:  A lot of people think they are smart when comes to computers.  But having a computer that doesn’t have strong passwording from logon forward is taking an unnecessary risk and one that is easily fixed.

People tend to put off boring stuff with computers.  Running Defragler or CCleaner to wipe out temp files and speed up things is ever so boring, too. 

But in a sense, it’s not unlike sharpening a pencil.  When I was a kid, I used to run up and sharpen my pencil almost compulsively.

Think of computer performance and security as the same thing:  Pencil-Sharping 3.0.

Around the Ranch:  Numerous Small Victories

Nothing has gone as intended this week, but what’s old saying about what the “road to hell is paved with…”?

The good news is that the passing crap is all dealt with – almost like an asteroid went by with Kryptonite or something.

Not like I’m the only one, though.  Reader Dan has had the same thing going:

I thought it was just me. Yesterday I was speaking to my wife about a series of peculiar outages at work, miscommunications, and other stuff that was going on.  She asked if it was already retrograde again and I confirmed it was not yet and that she should check with her astrologer for anything strange. So far nothing but I’m glad it’s not just us.

Here’s the interesting part:  Reader RF says it’s not retrograde that’s working overtime:

It isn’t Merc Rx, George, it is Uranus/Pluto square and Solar eclipse, and whatever is being jiggled in our personal astrology charts by these energies.

I had ‘one of those days’ yesterday, too. Also three instances of ‘crap’ that rarely dogs me anymore.

My favorite go-to online astrologer has become Ralfee Finn of “The Aquarium Age — Transformational Astrology” at AquariumAge.com (yes — a q u a r i u m — she has a sense of humor). Her “Weekly Frequency” report gives an excellent overview of the astrological weather. She gives historical perspective, and does her best to find the silver lining in the storm clouds, or how to make the best of what is happening.

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Catching a Mood Shift

Reader Note:  Because of a power failure, we are posting in section this morning, powered by  our ultra reliable backup power systems, but mindful we don’t know how soon before power will be restored.  To make sure you get the most current revisions, hit refresh and clear your browser.  And yes, this is on top of the dated caching being done of this site by the nefarious side of the net that doesn’t tolerate Texas Straight Talk well…. 

In case you missed it, the market fell on its butt yesterday, right in perfect rhyme with our Peoplenomics report on how certain indicators are just screaming that the US economy is in a heap o’ trouble.

One of the indicators in yesterday’s report was to note how port traffic through West Coast ports has collapsed.  Another dealt with how rail traffic, except for energy and grain, is also doing poorly for an economic “recovery” which we precisely questioned as “able to recover?”

This morning, things don’t look like they will get better:  The Dow is set to open down another 100 points, or so, and with it will come the goal line stand at 2,040 on the S&P 500.

Once we get below that, then we will be in something akin to economic quicksand.

The world doesn’t end – in terms of rolling up into a replay of 1929 or the 2009 lows, but that’s not something we would worry about until and unless we see the S&P take out 1,740.  When that happens, you will want to be short the market because we have been saying this for years:  If we hit 6,667 again on the Dow, there would be a fourth wave bounce up from there which should be followed by a collapse into unimaginable lows (picture a Dow Jones of 1,000 or lower) and that would be a brutal test of democracy.

For this morning, therefore, we find it’s only a bit of headwind, though enough to have us watching our trading model, the 200 Day Moving Average, and other indicators to see how this will all play out.  It’s a little early by some calculations to begin as 2016 low, remember the decline finally hit in 2009 was actually started in late summer of 2008, so getting down (not the music term!) can take a while.

I know, you think I’m nuts, but when terrorism showed up in 2001 to cover up the internet bubble collapse, people thought I was nuts then.  Yet, when was the last time someone in your circle mentioned the internet bubble collapse version how often are you being messaged by media to “believe” in terrorism?

We need to keep our wits about us, remain focused, and track the data.  Until the 2,040 is overhead and the 200 day moving average with it, we don’t need to put on fingernail nail biting stuff.  Yet.

Off in the background, what’s really going on is that the US public has shown again how it only pays half an ear worth of attention to the news flow.  Because Janet Yellen’s Fed has been crying wolf about raising rates, out comes a new Gallup poll that says the  “Majority of U.S. Investors Anticipate Interest Rate Hike”

One of these times, it’s really going to be a wolf out there. An d then we’ll find out if the house is made out of bricks, wood, straw, or idiots.

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Coping: With Superbugs Fed by Pesticides

Reader Note:  This morning due to storms and such, we’re on our nifty solar power backup up system.  So this morning’s report will be posted in multiple sections, so please feel free to refresh a couple of times.  Storms or and early test of Jade Helm?  LOL…you tell me…

If you’re ever considering risks of an operation, no doubt one of the biggest ones in these days of refined surgical techniques is not the doctoring so much as the risk of MERSA or similar superbug infection.

To make matters more interesting, the American Society for Microbiology this week has published a paper called “Sublethal Exposure to Commercial Formulations of the Herbicides Dicamba, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, and Glyphosate Cause Changes in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.”

If nothing else, just go to the site and read their abstract.

No doubt, there will be counter-studies to come (funded by care to guess who?) that will come to other conclusions, but this seems pretty clear to us in terms of what its scientific meaning is.

Unfortunately, there is a terrible balancing at involved because the world has become so dependent on chemical agriculture in order to feed everyone, there are sometimes no options to use of pesticides.

Moreover, with the US border leaking humans like a sieve, we can’t help but believe that agricultural products from other countries – not bound to US regulations – are probably leaking into the US food supply in greater-than-ever volumes.

Jade Helm 15 a/k/a/ The War on Texas

Pardon us if we think portions of Jade Helm have already commenced with nefarious forces blocking UrbanSurvival daily updates at some internet caching locations, but here comes the annual song and dance about how the Army (once upon a time barred from deployment on USA home soil, remember when?) will be conducting a huge “readiness” operation this summer.

The story shows up in the MSM in places like this Houston Chronicle story.

And the Army side is touted by sites like Stripes.com which play it down like t’weren’t no big deal.

DNA sampling for misdemeanors and anything that interferes with people’s daily lives may be defended by some as “training” but we ask “against what?”

The “Personal Mercury Retrograde”

A little early, ain’t it?  Remember back in December when I told you that my “personal retrograde” seems to operate some weeks ahead of the calendar retrograde?

We must be getting close to something because I had a string of luck yesterday that isn’t at all typical of what happens in “life of George” at all.

    • First, I was out tractoring the west 12 yesterday and three times the tractors fuel oil filter caused the tractor to quit on me.  I figure I removed somewhere between a quarter and half cup of water out o the damn thing.  Not what you’d expect in the way of simple condensation in a 6-gallon tank that was previously bone dry when used 2-months ago. 
    • Then there was the phone line incident:  I was bringing some fill up to put between the house and the shop/office only to have a rock catch a PVC conduit and rip out the phone and data lines.  Brother-in-Law Panama did a stint at a Bell lineman back in the day, so that sent him off to town to fetch wire and such….
    • And about then, Elaine mentioned Panama’s water heater just crapped out so now I’m off chasing electrons this morning to figure out where the missing energy went.  Either a bad breaker or GFI gone sour – which I’ve had happen on a couple of occasions since power out at the end of the string is not as pure and well-behaved as city-power.

    I’ve been looking at planetary retrograde and direct dates over here, but so far nothing jumps out at me. 

    Still, we were going to be flying Wednesday through Friday this week but a close decision on mountain weather out West had be put that on hold for a week or three.  Maybe that has something to do with the string of luck; no telling.

    The FTC is Sorry – In a Couple of Ways…

    In this headline, they are sorry about the release of information about their anti-trust investigation into Google.

    Where it gets really sorry (as in sad commentary on operation of government) is when the staff says they have a case and should go for it, but they get overruled by the political appointees on the FTC board.

    According to federal law 15 U.S. Code § 41 , here’s how the game is played:

    A commission is created and established, to be known as the Federal Trade Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission), which shall be composed of five Commissioners, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

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    Can the Recovery Recover?

    While the “happy-talk crowd” continues to crow about how well the economy is doing, the reality as shown by multiple indicators paints a different picture.

    We’ll brush off a little of the optimism this morning, but not without being mindful that a herd of lemmings is a difficult thing to turn, even if their thinking is quite wrong-headed.

    We’ll saddle up and ride into some hard data after headlines and coffee.  One needs a bit of reinforcing before taking on a full herd of lemmings.

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    CPI = Zero, Cost of Living Lessons

    Life would be a lot cheaper if we didn’t eat.  Be cheaper if we didn’t drive, or could live outside with the animals.  In fact, death is the cheapest thing around when comes right down to it; but you’d miss things like income tax, doctor visits, basketball and baseball…so maybe this Life is a no-win game.

    Further evidence mounts when you look at the freshly baked cost of living report:

    The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

    Over the last 12 months, the all items index was unchanged before seasonal adjustment.

    The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad-based, with increases in shelter, energy, and food indexes all contributing. The energy index rose after a long series of declines, increasing 1.0 percent as the gasoline index turned up after falling in recent months. The food index, unchanged last month, also rose in February, though major grocery store food group indexes were mixed.

    The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in February, the same increase as in January. In addition to shelter, the indexes for used cars and trucks, apparel, new vehicles, tobacco, and airline fares were among those that increased. The medical care index was unchanged, while the personal care index declined. The all items index was unchanged over the past 12 months, after showing a 0.1-percent decline for the 12 months ending January.

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    Coping: With Soft Confiscation

    I assumed you know that both gold and silver were confiscated during the Great Depression? 

    What we have before us now is growing evidence that the confiscation coming this time around will be even broader and will target even the people who “put money in the mattress” or have other collectibles they have acquired over the years that have gone up in value.  Such is the unbounded greed of government.

    Here comes an InfoWars report on how banks are (allegedly) being called upon by Uncle to call in and report on customers who withdraw more than $5,000 – in cash.  Even if it’s their own money.

    Couple this with reports that people who make cash deposits in large amounts are being targeted for further scrutiny and we have some very troubling evidence suggesting the direction of wealth confiscation.  Like the housing bubble collapse wasn’t enough?

    If you’re a subscriber, you already know this stuff, but if not, please pay attention.  In my estimation, you will have a very difficult time in the future repatriating large amounts of gold or silver into your freely spendable  “mainstream/officially approved” money system if you can’t produce a receipt that clearly explains how you came by it.

    What’s more, when you do buy the gold and silver or come by some cash or whatever, make sure to keep receipts because today’s greed-crazed apparatchik is itching to seize whatever it even begins to suspect is ill-gotten gains.

    Here’s a problem to consider:  Let’s say you have been collecting some gold – a couple of coins a year – over the past 30-years and now you have a bunch of them, 60 in all.  And let’s say, for the sake of argument that you don’t have a receipt for each and every one of them.

    So you make one large transaction with a reputable trading house, and you cash in $69,000 worth of gold and have the proceeds wired into your bank account.  That kind of transaction might draw attention, but if you’ve done it honestly (and have receipts) nothing to fear. Although that might get you a visit from the financial Gestapo.

    Repeat after me:  Receipts are your only defense!!!!

    On the other hand,, if you “get cute” and try to move small amounts (under $10,000 each), in order to avoid mandatory reporting by the bank) then you create trouble because that would be considered “structuring” – which as everyone knows (or should) is a crime.  That’s why big drug dealers engage in packetizing transactions (into thousands of small transaction under $1,000 in order to keep under the radar, but since banks report  – inside the US – it has made the US a less money laundering-friendly kind of place).

    If you’re wondering why the price of gold hasn’t been going up faster, this may have something to do with it.  Although the government’s idea that money has nothing to do with holding value anymore, they are slowly moving to (frog boil) recapture gold, silver, and cash that is not already being tracked by the supercomputers that watch each of us.

    That’s not being paranoid. Neither is watching Person of Interest.  It’s just the way the post security-state world with the bankster class in charge works.

    Been thinking about “investing in gold”?  This is the kind of thing that turns owning gold into an “aw-shit” kind of problem, especially for the occasional coin buyer who has been Scrooge McDucking gold or silver for 40-years.

    Scattered Delivery Issues

    A wee bit on the short side this morning, since the first part of the day was spent checking to make sure our sites are operating normally.

    I’ve had a couple of people  comment that UrbanSurvival has been a day or three behind the calendar, but that is never the case at our end.

    If you’re not seeing the newest and freshest content, it’s likely either because your DNS has cached an old copy of the site, OR – more likely – your computer’s browser is not set to reload an entire page when you hit a site you have already been to.

    A quick search ought to find you the answer to the site caching issue.

    But as long as we’re on the matter of screaming performance from your PC, remember to blow out old and unused cookies at least once a week.  You can do this with www.piriform.com’s CCleaner or any number of other programs.  Be advised in advance though that you’ll need to have all your passwords written down so you can get back into the sites you want.

    THEN, if no cache and no cookies isn’t getting you what you want, consider going over to Gibson Research and running their DNS ranking tool, located here.

    The tool will let you test (*in the long form version) what Domain Name Servers have the best response times when run from your location.

    It also has the steps showing you how to install a new DNS in your computer.

    The reason this is important is that many computers are set up to use the ISP’s default DNS server.  It might be their own, or it might be Google, or some-such.

    There are paranoid people around (like me) who want to cast their DNS nets a little further than what’s in some of these, and I happen to like the Open DNS project.

    Through the process of shopping for the fastest DNS, clearing cookies, and removing old temp files, you can often enhance your internet experience.

    If not, I assume you wrote down  your old DNS settings before changing anything?

    About Taxes

    Great comment about income taxes over in the comment section, if you missed it:

    About tax avoiders: When the Fed prints up willy-nilly, to keep insolvent banks afloat, or “too big to fail” corporations, when our “elected” Government officials leave office multiple times richer than when they were elected, or if not take up a fat lobbying or corporate position (with no experience in the job), when our government throws away money on foreign mis/adventures and even gives to our enemies the sweat and blood of our own people, when bridges are still being built to nowhere and cow farts are more important than pot holes, when a handout is prioritized over a hand up; By God if I can find a legal way to avoid taxes I will do it.

    The government authorizes the printing of whatever money for whoever and whatever pays off the most for their re-election. And you think avoiding taxes is a bad thing? Sheesh, I think it’s down right patriotic. Every dollar saved is one less that a politician can steal from me. If I were a rich man I would use every conceivable way I could find to shelter-hide-protect all that I could. As it is I am too stupid not to follow the rules. Frankly it seems the only way to get ahead these days is to be an illegal alien who goes way into debt, files bankruptcy and ends up with a new house and car when all the columns are balanced.

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    Game Plan for the Markets

    We were (correctly, turns out) guessing that markets would open a little lower this morning because in the great game of Money, we have just been through options expiration.

    What oftentimes happens is you get some weak prices immediately after and then the Big Players step in and load the boat. 

    What it means, though, is that likely we will see new market highs this week, absent some event out of left-field.

    Asia was up overnight, and so is part of Europe when I checked, and with the dollar down a bit, that means it will take more “money” to buy stocks and that will complete the illusion of stocks going higher.

    In terms of economic news? 

    Tomorrow we get the consumer price report – always good for a laugh – because last week I carried $200 worth of groceries up from the car – in one hand!

    Meantime, the Cleveland Fed president and the Fed’s Vice Chair both have speeches today so if you find yourself desperate for something to read, the Fed Website will likely have text up later.  Bring coffee…everyone spouts pretty much the party-line especially when the Fed Statement was essentially neutral last time around.

    Cruz’ing

    I know a lot of my liberal friends (at last count, I had exactly one) would have expected us to lead with Ted Cruz dropping his hat in the ring for the White House.

    Of course it’s not exactly news since he’s been running the whole time, but now it’s official.

    The Washington post figures Liberty University is the perfect place for his launch…but whether it will be Bush-Cruz or Cruz-Bush is about the only strong ticket on the GOP side.  Sure, Rand Paul will be announcing April 7th, but this isn’t a quest for quality, it’s a quest for money.

    By the way, notice how Cruz tilts his head back a bit – as though he’s looking down.  Very subtle thing, but very William F. Buckley-ish who had the same kind of look.  It must appeal to republicans.

    Yes, Bush can write a bigger check and having two former presidents in the family doesn’t hurt tactics-wise.  But the Bush can can be painted with elitist and aristocracy labels, just as anyone with the name Clinton can be.  The only thing left is for the primaries to decide how serious we really are with the “new broom sweeps clean” concept.

    Hillary, as I see it, has a lock on brooms. (rim-shot)  And, oh yes, O’Malley might be that stupid.

    Now, About the Recovery

    We can’t help but recall those famous words “It’s the economy, stupid!” as the report comes in about how more and more people are taking the cash-advance against their IRS refunds than ever before this year.

    No Explaining “the Kneelers”

    I don’t understand the British.  I mean, sure, I understand “The City” and how it wants to rule the world financially – got that, roger, check.

    But when the remains of a former king are pulled out of the ground, put in a coffin and parades about and headlines like thisCounty swells with pride after thousands line streets to see Richard III procession “ result, I just shake my head.

    Glorification of the Ruling Class at its finest…how people could have stood and soapboxes and proclaimed themselves free…just stumps me.  And now this.

    The ‘Lost City of Mosquitia’

    Government of Honduras has sent troops into the rainforest to protect a lost city that has been found in the wilds just over the hills from Trujillo where we were last month.  Seems likely the drug cartels and rebels will try to loot the place before real archeologists can get in there to comb through and catalog things.

    Alzheimer’s Prevent Health Note

    Madison Avenue Mike has been sending along some interesting things to be up on, including this press release about how a new mix of dieting techniques may stave off Alzheimer’s:

    “A new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, even if the diet is not meticulously followed, according to a paper published online for subscribers in March in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

    Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, and colleagues developed the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet. The study shows that the MIND diet lowered the risk of AD by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well.

    “One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for AD,” said Morris, a Rush professor, assistant provost for Community Research, and director of Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology. “I think that will motivate people.”

    If they remember…

    Climate Swings

    We’ve had over 10-inches of rain here at the ranch so far this year, although officially our patch of East Texas comes in at 9.03, down in the dry end of the county.

    By comparison, Boeing Field in Seattle – notorious for rain – has had 9.99 inches year to date.

    By comparison, Sacramento has had only 3.04 inches of rain, year-to-date, while Bakersfield has 1.86-inches while el Centro comes in with 0.58 inch.  Key food producing areas, capiche?

    All of which is worth mentioning now because if you don’t plant veggies this year, the California vegetable basket prices are likely to be through the roof.

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