Asia Now: Rhymes on World War II

First thing I did this morning was ask “Is this the day I become a millionaire?”  Then the answer came to me:  No chance, fool.

Still, betting on the market doing down has not been an entirely bad thing for us financially although early on this morning it looked like the market would bounce a bit, but that would be fine. 

What’s got our attention, more than anything, since we don’t get the jobs numbers until tomorrow, is what is the reference to “the rose people” that keeps peeking out of our data?  Odd word to come floating up…so you might want to check the site later on this morning because Grady will be updating as soon as the overnight runs are done.

Which leaves us with the Baltic Dry Index as our next topic du jour.  This index has been flopping around at about the 1100 level recently and this morning’s reading is 1092, but only up 6-points.  Spring hasn’t exactly broken out yet and there ain’t no birds singing….

To put that in perspective, that’s about 1/2 of what it was just a few months back, and since the Baltic Dry tends to front-run the more staid economic indicators, it’s worth keeping an eye on where it goes from here because excursions below 1,000 become worrisome.

While the mainstream is trying to figure out how to come up with yet another useless Seahawks human interest follow-up story, we’re more focused around here on what’s going on in China.

China’s state-run media (as opposed to our corporate-controlled media) is playing a strong rhyme off of pre World War II events.  Seems the head of Japan’s NHK Broadcasting service did something of a denial deal about the Nanking Massacre.  Which, if you’re Chinese (or read Wikipedia) is pretty real…

The Nanking Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against Nanking (current official spelling: Nanjing) during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. The massacre occurred during a six-week period starting December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanking, which was then the Chinese capital. (See Republic of China). During this period, hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.[1][2] Widespread rape and looting also occurred.[3][4] Historians and witnesses have estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed.[5] Several of the key perpetrators of the atrocities, at the time labelled as war crimes, were later tried and found guilty at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, and were executed. Another key perpetrator, Prince Asaka, a member of the Imperial Family, escaped prosecution by having earlier been granted immunity by the Allies.

And so this morning, Xinhua offers this: “Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that such behavior is “a barefaced challenge to the international justice and human conscience.”

Since these events hark back to the middle 30’s, and since we are in a Long Wave economic Depression (which is why interest rates are zero, if you skip the money printing festival) there are even more parallels to the pre-WW II period to be found.

For example, the US-backed president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, has been saying harsh things about China lately, including drawing a parallel between appeasement of Hitler and current events in the Senkaku Islands area  (Okinawa, East China Sea area) and that, in turn, has pissed off the Chinese.

The US, knowing which side our bonds are buttered on (if China completely goes cold turkey on the Dollar, we’re all screwed and a few folks in Washington grok that) some we’re off placing the typical US two-faced game. 

The way this runs is we say (from the US voice) that the Chinese are acting professionally in their air defense zone that they have set up over the disputed Islands area (with oil and gas under it, which is why all this dance is going in the first place).  And we’re gently asking China to adjust some of its claims.

No, we don’t expect China to adjust its claims.  Besides, China could still be miffed that so few people have an understanding of history, including that a Chinese Fleet sailed around the whole world in the years before Christopher Columbus, but they get no creds, even now, for being a global civilization because it didn’t set with the made-up history of Europe, but that’s another discussion – probably left for the chat about the deep (and twisted) roots of American Exceptionalism.

So our money is on China continue to ramp up military spending while they public are talking about their “New Economy””.  I’m thinking iron fist in soft glove.

And this has what to do with becoming a millionaire?  Ever look for Chinese defense industry companies to invest in?

Rolling in Data

We have a number of incredibly interesting numbers to report this morning…and I bet you’ve been up since midnight just counting down the seconds until you could get the new balance of trade figures, haven’t you?

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of
Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce,
announced today that total December exports of $191.3 billion
and imports of $230.0 billion resulted in a goods and services
deficit of $38.7 billion, up from $34.6 billion in November,
revised. December exports were $3.5 billion less than
November exports of $194.8 billion. December imports were
$0.6 billion more than November imports of $229.4 billion.

In December, the goods deficit increased $4.6 billion
from November to $58.8 billion, and the services surplus
increased $0.4 billion from November to $20.1 billion.
Exports of goods decreased $4.3 billion to $132.8 billion, and
imports of goods increased $0.3 billion to $191.6 billion.
Exports of services increased $0.8 billion to $58.5 billion, and
imports of services increased $0.3 billion to $38.4 billion.

OMG is that exciting, or what?  Well, how about the new Q4 productivity report…another wet spot for sure…

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 3.2 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The increase in productivity reflects increases of 4.9 percent in output and 1.7 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013, productivity increased 1.7 percent as output and hours worked rose 3.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. (See table A.) Annual average productivity increased 0.6 percent from 2012 to 2013. (See table C.)

Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked of all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.

All of which means more robots are doing a better job of making things and your job will be going away in the future…you just need to be around long enough to be replaced is the only question.  Can you live that long?  Gee, what a fine basis for aging, huh?

Market futures, which had been pointing up 50 at the open are now up more than that.  So churn, baby, churn…and pray we’re the only folks following the BDI…

More after this…

The Daily Bomber:  Toothpaste Bombers!

Yes, the latest airport hysteria to be whipped up is the warning to airlines that “toothpaste bombs” could be on their way to Sochi where the winter games are getting underway.

This presents a [sick] marketing consultant with oodles of opportunity to exercise catchy slogan creativity.

Bomb after every meal

Gives your bombs sex appeal

Fresh blast and fresh breath

]We sometimes wonder if the bombers are smart enough to come up with ideas like this on their own, or if TSA in some odd/symbiotic dance isn’t coaching the bombers on what to try next?

After all, how bright can a person be who would blow themselves up, right?  So maybe the governments (run by the Enterprise) have groups of people that sit around and game how really, really smart people could attack the US.

Could it be that the reason key US infrastructure is still up and running this morning be that bad-guy hackers really aren’t too bright?

Could it be that mouthwash will be the next bomb scare?  Or, will it be feminine hygiene products?  No, wait…disposable diapers! 

Speaking of bombs, gotta think Russia is sending a message (to the Enterprise) with this story:  Suspected Volgograd bombing mastermind killed, state media say.  Putin’s not playing. 

If it’s not to impolite to ask, we wonder what brand of toothpaste that bomber used…

Old folks trivia point:  bet you didn’t know the Ipana brand of toothpaste is still an active trademark.  No, I can’t find the product on Amazon, but someone is keeping the trademark alive…  I mention this so my kids will be able to follow my toothpaste/Bucky Beaver references.

Olympic-Sized Tourism Shortage

It may not be too early to put Sochi down in the books as one of the most under-attended of all Olympic games.  One reason – and it comes through in this story – is that that terrorism fears really do make a difference.

All of which brings us to a very interesting problem for the PowersThatBe types.  Could it be in the future that (because of all the whipped up hysteria over terrorism) that public gathers like this are going to fade off into the sunset?  Could it be in the future that such events will become a TV only deal?

It would sure have the effect of lowering the cost/benefit of bidding for the Olympics, but that’s how marketing works.  If the people are steeped in terrorism fears, and enough headlines go to the idea of terrorism fears, who’s going to take two weeks off work, spend probably $5-grand, or more, and fly off somewhere where you could get your ass blown up.

And now…look for officialdom to wonder “Gee, was it something we said?”

Cue Homer!  D’oh!

Meantime, Vlad Putin’s GF may light the torch


Twitter earnings…not so hot.

Gee, who told you Social would go the way of Hoola Hoops and CB radio?


Global, huh?  4406 US cold records snapped along with 1073 snowfall records.

Hey, you don’t think it’s chemtrails work and we don’t know what the f*ck we’re doing, do you?


Iran’s having fun with the ACA.  At least someone is…


Another report is out about Bill Clinton’s bad-boy times in the White House.

You really think we need a president who can’t figure out what the hubby is up to?  Hello?

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George Ure
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