Consumer Prices Flat

We begin this morning with a discussion of the just-released consumer price index…“

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

Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.2 percent before seasonal adjustment. The energy index declined in November, offsetting increases in other indexes to result in the seasonally adjusted all items index being unchanged.

The indexes for gasoline and for natural gas fell significantly, more than offsetting increases in the electricity and fuel oil indexes. The food index rose slightly in November, with the food at home index unchanged. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in November. Increases in the indexes for shelter and airline fares accounted for most of the increase, with the indexes for recreation and for used cars and trucks also rising.

The indexes for apparel, for household furnishings and operations, and for new vehicles all declined in November.

The all items index increased 1.2 percent over the last 12 months, a larger increase than the 1.0 percent rise for the 12 months ending October. The 12-month increase in the index for all items less food and energy remained at 1.7 percent for the third month in a row.

The food index increased 1.2 percent over the last 12 months, while the energy index declined 2.4 percent.

The biggy, if you commute to the gerbil farm is that gas is down 5.8% year-on-year.  And OK, so housing is up 2.4% year-on-year.  But the Money Supply is up 6.1% from year ago levels (at M2) so I figure we’re still in deflation which means no real pricing power in the markets and the outlook for gold and silver remains tempered for another month…

Deflation is 11.9% in gasoline and a more measured 3.7% in housing, but who pays attention to real costs when the paper in your hand is all that matters?  But it’s why wages are flat to down.

( I appreciate the letter from a reader who gave me credit for being one of the few economic pundits to get dead gold and silver right… but let’s see how the second half of 2014 looks when we get a little closer…for now inflation and deflation are somewhat in balance. But, that is likely to change…)

Snowden Writes

To America?  No.  An open letter to the people Brazil and the details are over here, or (more significantly to the computing elite) – over here, and they are interesting.  Particularly his assertion that spying on citizens is “collapsing.”  Well, not just yet…

The 60-Minutes/NSA Debate – Still Going

Lots of readers have weighed-in on the Inside the NSA story which we pointed out – that aired on 60-Minutes on Sunday.  Typical were comments like these…

Great episode only if they give Snowden equal time – As far as I’m concerned these clowns are domestic enemies of the state – spying on any individual citizen is a violation of the Constitution – as my deceased Father used to say –“There *ssholes are so tight you couldn’t drive a pin up them with a sledgehammer” – Translation – “They are scared sh*tless”

Another reader offered some pointers to the Agency:

It is now time for these guys to wake up, the public KNOWS every word out of your mouth is lies and sorry, but you are not the good law abiding guys if you break all of the laws or have them rewritten to legalize unethical actions! and again, where were all these wonderful tools when Wall Street went rogue?

Ah the questions are simmering.  And, says Russia Today/RT, this has sparked something of a war on Twitter about what’s right and where the lines should be.

Part of me figures we should just leave it to the congressoids, but the other part of me admits it would make more sense to leave 4-year olds at home with an open container of gasoline an an assortment of matches, welding strikers, and Zippos….

More after this…

Triple Marriages Next?

Oh, my…just when I was wondering if there was hope for a rational world, along comes the report over on Breitbart that an opinion lets a man who married another man (in another state) come to North Dakota to marrya woman.

Well, this is obviously super-clever marketing from the legal community which could turn the marriage industry into a regular boom-town.

You see, in a normal (two-party) divorce, there’s a lawyer for one party, and a lawyer for the other.  And you got the judge, right?

But since you now (at least in North Dakota) have three parties which we’ll call A, B, and C, you would see:  A retains lawyer #1 to handle divorce from B and lawyer #2 to handle the divorce from C.  So B then defends against A with lawyer #3 and sues C with lawyer #4.

Then C defends against A with lawyer #5 and and with lawyer #6 against B.

One more marriage adds how many lawyers?   Well, each of these actions could be tried separately, so there could be three trials…adding Judges #2 and #3.

Oh, the mind boggles.  Three lawyers to as many as nine…And that’s before we think of the benefits to the counseling industry!  Yee gads!

But this is the kind of administrative outcome that would be possible should…

Hey, wait!  Does the woman in North Dakota auto-marry the other dude?  Help me here…Did I miss the auto-marry law, or is she only going to be half married?  And isn’t half of ‘Merica half-married already?


Meanwhile, Back at the Cold War

Thought it was over when “the Wall came down” did you? 

Nope, sorry.  China and Russia are still big and don’t like competition from us breakaway Colonists, what can I say?

From our resident war gamer turned academic…

Hi George,

Tsar Putin certainly understands power diplomacy and he wields it well too!

US, Nato express concern over Russian Missile deployment near border.”

Ukraine has been getting uppity lately while Europe is bending literally over backwards to defuse potential volatile regional confrontations in a way bot seen since 1936 in Munich. Russia sees this pacifism as a golden opportunity to extend its military influence without the risk of serious U.S. or European confrontation, while deftly positioning the hammer (missiles) that could insure favorably high prices on Russian oil and gas for decades to come.

Who just who is going to do anything about it? If the current trend continues, America will eventually retract to its pre-WWII isolationist posture in Europe and the Middle East while Putin jumps in the drivers seat in those key areas. Look also for more aggressive Russian economic and military expansionism at the expense of America, the Warsaw Pact countries and a vulnerable EU.

Meanwhile, Syria, Egypt, Iran and N. Korea could stand to gain from Russia’s resurgence and America’s balanced decline (not counting the Pacific, where the U.S. is about to go “all in”). If this trend ever fully expresses itself, Israel stands to lose . . . a lot, and the Saudis will be hopelessly marginalized as Iran ascends in regional power and influence.

True, which is why next Monday I’m going to reveal publicly the details of my FedCoins proposal which could not only solve our worldwide financial ills, but also bring sound money back to America.

That’s one area where we still might be able to hang on – but more next week on that front.

Re-Arming Japan?

Speaking of brushfires that could spiral out of control, we should also mention the BBC coverage of Japan which is boosting its military in order to counter the growing threat from China in the Senkaku Islands.

Some worthy of note here, and I think it speaks to how humans are programmed.  We note that the Islands at the center of the dispute are located in the “East China Sea.”  Which gets me to thinking that this is where Japanese national leadership failed.  Wouldn’t the global public be a little more sympathetic if the islands were in the West Japan Sea?  Or the Okinawa Sea?  

The key point, methinks, remains that when a 5,000 year old culture speaks, it behooves even us ambitious Colonists to listen.

Note to Crooked Capitalists

Vietnam shipping execs given death penalty for embezzlement.” is worth a read.  How soon before the American public catches up to the global “not taking this crap” mood?

Which gets us to…

World on Fire

We need to take note of the latest from our Canadian News Analyst fellow up in tropical Winnipeg.  He’s been sniffing around how the financial world blows up, again:

Dear Mr. Ure,

Amy Chua, a Chinese-Filipino American scholar, offers examples in her 2004 book “World on Fire” of how globalization can concentrate wealth in the hands of nations’ ethnic minorities subsequently creating social instability. I wonder if her February 2014 release of “Triple Package” will address your previously expressed concerns pertaining to stalled initiative on the home front?  


Heck of a book, by the sound of it:  Under $14 in hardback: World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.

Gee, you mean the Free Traders lied?  Oh dear, oh dear…look surprised!

Other Readings and Computings…

One of the more interesting articles in a while, pointed out by reader RBS is this one:  “Noash’s Ark has been found.  Why are they keeping us in the dark?”

Fine question that, but I’m just guessing it has something to do with money and power…but that’s only a shot in the dark, mind you…

Reader Howard found D-Wave Quantum Computing.  Which gets us to wondering how long before the ability to solve “impossibly hard problems” comes to the home market?

Soon, I hope.   They sure as hell aren’t being solved in the halls of government…

If you ask how this new kind of super-computer does with  Call of Duty Ghosts looks on it, I’m gonna slap you…

Hey!  Isn’t The Lone Ranger due out on DVD today?