Monday on a Strange Planet

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, there lived a race of people who existed, near as anyone could tell, expressly for the purpose of fooling one another.

It was a happy planet, at least when the fooling was going right.  But much less so, when the fooling was going wrong.

On a particular Monday, Gazorp Universal Time, a ship that entered orbit around this odd planet, reviewed its recent observations and reported the following:

  1. The inhabitants of the planet are enthralled with a time-wasting activity highlighted by excessive alcohol consumption in which they imagine there is meaning to a sport called “football.”  Everyone knows they can’t play football, and neither can a lot of the players.  Without the help of drugs.  When the government of the football country pulled a surprise “inspection” to see if drugs were being use, it was front page news .  We sadly report this as only our first example of a country “Fooling itself.”  Absent worthwhile leadership pushing toward conquest of space and time, this planet is absorbed in sports marketing as a multi-billion dollar industry, a prime example of “fooling itself.”
  2. A second prime example was the G20 finance meeting this weekend.  Where it is clear that the world is quickly running out of resources to feed and energize its population, the G20 nevertheless persists in agreements to make up more paper (substitute for hard assets) and boldly (and stupidly) announcing its “Blueprint for Growth.”  We offer this as a confirming example of a planet “fooling itself.”  While it could be sharing knowledge and valuing all inhabitants more highly, their main preoccupation is with creating paper which is then traded for consumables.
  3. Religions contribute to human conflict as we report their Pope is planning a visit to the football country in 2015 while at the same time, another religious group is working out the process of ‘tasteful beheadings to advances its goals.  Again, a planet doing what?  We have to recommend against any further external intervention agents such as we have sent previously.  This planet has a history of taking the core concepts we’ve shared and monetizing them for gains of money, power, or both.
  4. While there are pockets of equality, most of the planets inhabitants engage in segregation of some kind.  The football country, having officially ended slavery 150 years ago, the segregation is now mainly along economic lines.  Again, an example of a ruling class fooling itself and imposing that error on everyone else.  We will report how well that plays when a grand jury report is handed down in Ferguson, Missouri, perhaps this week.
  5. Our concluding observation that really clinches the “world fooling itself” comes as a company called Facebook announces plans for a “work” version of a playtime distraction.  As we previously reported on the Facebook model:  companies were convinced that they needed to move customer interaction away from their own websites onto Facebook pages.  Since there was no money in that, Facebook then held the moved audience hostage and now “rents back” the audiences brought by others in order to profit.  As we understand it, the Facebook work product would be a kluge of features already existent in products like LinkedIn, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and GoogleDocs and we expect a dash of Skype. As a previous report noted, this planet keeps inventing things until no one makes enough money and it is praised as “capitalism.” 
  6. We believe that the sum of these and other observations will lead to another Global Financial Disaster, the timing of which could be anywhere from now until 5-rotations (years they call them) from today.  It’s an inevitable outcome we’ve seen on other planets when deeply delusional states take hold, and where the highest profits are made from fooling one another “most successfully.”.  Very similar to what happened on Betelgeuse 21 and Sagittarius 4.
  7. We strongly recommend we repossess our Moon and move it to a planet better-suited to developing  civilization with a chance of maturing to direct-contact level.  Should we remind them it is a dimensional fold problem and not a rocket powered solution, or let them figure it out?  They’re leaving dead batteries and space junk on comets now…

More after this…

Book of Numbers

No,  not that one.  I’m talking initially about the NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing report just out.  From the NY Fed website:

The November 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity continued to expand for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index climbed four points to 10.2, indicating a pace of growth somewhat faster than last month’s. The new orders index rose eleven points to 9.1, and the shipments index advanced eleven points to 11.8. The index for number of employees edged down to 8.5 but remained positive, indicating that employment levels grew; the average workweek index, by contrast, was negative, pointing to a decline in hours worked. After falling sharply last month, the prices paid index was little changed at 10.6—a sign that input prices had increased only modestly. The prices received index fell to zero, indicating that selling prices were flat.

The entire report with some very pretty charts is over here.

If this doesn’t turn your crank, try on the Federal Reserve Industrial Capacity and Utilization report due out in 20 minutes.

Other than final demand Producer Prices tomorrow, you may need NoDoz or some Red Bull.

By Wednesday, your butt should be wrinkled from sitting so long on the edge of your chair waiting for worthwhile economic news, so in the afternoon we will get the Fed Meeting Minutes which will be a tea leaf reader’s delight.

Thursday, the Consumer Price Index is due out and, since 8-zillion people on Social Security have already been told next year will see a 1.7% increase in benefits (calculated without regard for tax indexing effects, as I understand it, but let’s not bite that hand that slaps us, eh?) the CPI can be anywhere in the range from hell to heaven and not freaking matter other than to make people nervous.

Stocks are set to open down a tad, but one of these reports this week, either Fed Notes or Consumer Prices should spook the market enough to drop a bit going into options close.

I trust you saw Halliburton is buying Baker Hughes for $34.6 billion.  With oil at $75 (going to $60?  Place your bets…coming out!) this may be the first of many consolidations in the oil patch.


Dr. Martin Salia.  Another victim of Ebola, who was flown to Nebraska for treatment.