(Las Vegas, NV)  Hot off the press this morning:  Consumer Prices up 2-10th’s of a percent for October:

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

Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 0.2 percent before seasonal adjustment. The indexes for food, energy, and all items less food and energy all increased modestly in October.

The food index, which increased 0.4 percent in September, rose 0.1 percent in October, with four of the six major grocery store food group indexes rising.

The energy index, which declined in August and September, advanced 0.3 percent in October; major energy component indexes were mixed. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in October, the same increase as in September.

Advances in the indexes for shelter and medical care were the largest contributors to the increase, with the indexes for personal care, airline fares, recreation, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco also rising.

In contrast, the indexes for apparel, new vehicles, household furnishings and operations, and used cars and trucks all declined in October.

The all items index rose 0.2 percent over the last 12 months. The 12-month change has been between negative 0.2 percent and positive 0.2 percent since January.

The food index has increased 1.6 percent over the past year, and the index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent. These advances have been mostly offset by a 17.1 percent decline in the energy index.

Now let me give you something to really worry about.

What will happen to us Social Security types should the CPI go negative?  In theory, benefits can’t be lowered.  But with just the right mix of crooks in Washington, and cooking of the books, want to put anything past ‘em?

Reaction and Speculation

The market futures are up about 50 points on the Dow – bound to bounce around.

This data set is noisy.  But there is some potential for an increase in rates when the Fed meets on December 16-17.

Here’s the thing to keep an eye on:  Look at the highlighted area:

image

As you can see, the ONE category which we have to worry about is energy.

Since we are on a cross-country driving adventure, the prices are very apparent:  From a low of $1.77 to a high of $2.35, think about what will happen when the bottom in energy comes and we turn back higher.

The Fed tends to look at the all items less food and energy.

This is a completely IDIOTIC / BS way to look at prices for two reasons.

1.  Obviously, the money it takes to live is not “less food and energy” – You need it ALL for heavens sake.  More to the point…

2.  Tell me what items don’t have an energy component to them.  Food away from home?  Like vegetables and meats are being teleported to Mickey D’s, or what?  People are walking to the drive-through window?  Help me:  What isn’t powered by food and/or energy?

This is one of the most blatant uses of divide and conquer you’ll see outside the movie Idiocracy,  though it’s close.  Maybe there will be an Idiocracy II and the Fed can meet for filming… 

Statistically stupid people are so easy to rule, aren’t they?

Roaring Twenties – Without the Roar

I am hobbling around with a touch of gout this morning – which is a hell of a thing to have kick up on a trip.  But so it goes.

One thing that comes with gout (high uric acid levels) is exceptional mental clarity. Neurons conduct differently as body salts change.

As a result, let me offer a dram of insight into how we may be replaying the late 1920’s without some of the Roar that went with the previous experience.

Take, for example, the flappers of that bygone era.  As Wikipedia describes it:

Flappers were a “new breed” of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.[1] Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

We haven’t run into any of these types, but we do see the modern analog – an emergent class of sexual minorities that are quite obvious.

How obvious is obvious?

Yesterday, as we were getting off the elevator, there was a gay couple (men) who were smooching.  Other than thinking to myself “Oh, whatever….” the most interesting aspect of their behavior wasn’t the overtly gay part.  I could care less.

It was what they did afterwards

They looked around (both of them) to see who was looking at them.  I’m pretty good at slipping into wide-angle vision mode while looking straight-ahead (poor pun intended) .

Ah!  So the sexual minorities may be,  in sociological terms, playing out the role of the flappers who were being overtly sexual, as well, in the previous era.

Wikipedia’s entry on “Petting Parties” is not quite as steamy as hot oatmeal, but interesting as adult adult education.

Since women can vote, be fine CEO’s, run for president, and have put on the yoke of corporate oppression along with males, who does that leave as a large attention-starved group?

Got to be shockingly sexual, media crazed, and represent a subculture with it’s own music and whatever else in the way of collateral…

Gays have been around (quite literally) forever…and what consenting adults do?  Well, that’s up to them and fine by me, as long as I don’t have to participate and as long as no one is asking me to pay for [whatever].

But the sexual obviousness of the flappers seems echoed in an interesting way by today’s sexual minorities and therein may lay yet another timing clue as to what’s ahead for the world.

If history is any guide, the peak of the LBGT Movement may be just around the corner when the markets peak and crash in a year or three.  Since the Roaring Twenties ended with the onset of Depression, it is instructive to note the following part of the Wikipedia entry on flappers:

The flapper lifestyle and look disappeared in America after the Wall Street Crash and the following Great Depression. The high-spirited attitude and hedonism were less acceptable during the economic hardships of the 1930s. While hemlines rose, numerous states took action; making laws that restricted woman to wear skirts with hemlines no shorter than three inches above the ankle. The ever-popular bobbed haircut was the cause for some women being fired from their jobs.[65]

It wasn’t until the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929 that the roaring 20’s era of glitz and glamour came to an end; and with it, the flapper dress.[66] Unable to afford the latest trends and lifestyle, the once vibrant flapper women returned to their dropped hemlines. A sudden serious tone washed over the public with the appearance of The Great Depression. Transitioning into the thirties was no easy task. Campaigns such as the, “Make do and Mend” slogan were becoming prevalent to ensure there was no over-consumption throughout society.[67] Fabric choices were among the many items to be cut back on during this poverty-stricken time. The introductions of artificial fabrics were used instead of elegant fabrics, like silk, which were so popular in the early 1900’s. No longer were party dresses adorned with decorative embellishments or made brightly colored. Instead, women headed to work to take over men’s roles that were at war. The physically demanding jobs called for the creation and social acceptance of women’s pants in society. Although the era of the flapper had vanished almost overnight; its symbol for women’s liberation would live on. No longer would a woman have to be a homemaker. The freedom to choose her role in society was created. Even though many opposed the radical era, one can see how the flapper dress helped bridge a gap between genders in society; ultimately leading in the direction of women’s rights.

We have friends of all sexual persuasions and are not phobic around much.  We may carve out an exception for Charlie Sheen, however.

But our observation this morning has to do with the rhyming between the flappers of the last time around and the LBGT (etc’s) of today.

If you own, say, a gay nightclub, the potential for a large decline in markets in the late 2017 to 2018 timeframe may offer some useful insight as to when it might be advantageous to activate the exit strategy. 

Everything is cyclical and using cycles to advantage involves just a smidgeon of applied history.

Holiday Week Decline?

As long as the Big Picture glasses are on, please note that the Baltic Dry Index is still in decline and dropped 10 more to 550 yesterday.  We are in new all-time low country by this measure, although earlier this year there was some good research done on whether this is meaningful.

The Harpex Container index is now down to the 275 bottom hit in 2009, but with the index in the 390-range now, we have to wonder how much of a decline can be handled.

That Deutsche Bank outlook for several more years of consolidation is also a concern.

The question – unanswered so far – is what will drive the markets up – which is what they are doing.

You might think that markets should be pulling in their horns should have collapsed the stock market by now.

But another curious rhyme of history is upon us:  The problem of where to put money for the longer term.

Cash is not an option.  It declines as more and more is printed.  Last time I ran out the numbers, from 1913 when the Federal Reserve came along, monetary dilution was running in the 3-3.24% range (which included the Depression, by the way).

I would have thought that there would have already been a more sizeable decline, but odds are good that we will decline next week when competing forces should duke things out in earnest.

We are half-expecting another terrorism event.

The reason is simple:  The media didn’t give the Paris outrage very much coverage of the sort that would drive anyone to want to join a group of gun-slinging murderers.

A friend of mine (who shall remain namely, but let’s just say he is a senior sort of expert) made an interesting remark in a call this week:

“The problem of terrorism can easily be dealt with.  All the terrorists have to do is misjudge their actions and anger all of the P5 powers – P4 is China doesn’t want to play.

At that point, a combined western alliance would then be tempted to use nuclear arms and turn a half-dozen areas in the Middle East into puddle of glass.

The West would then announce – with uncharacteristic clarity:  ‘You want to play terrorism?  Those puddles of glass – that’s what real terrorism looks like.  And if you don’t want more, then act like a responsible group and play nice or more of the sand box will melt…”

Is that an extreme view?  Well, yes, it is.  But Russia is sick of terrorism (Chechen) just like we are.  And Germany, France, and the U.K. are getting pretty much fed up, as well. 

This leaves ISIS with a number of very deep tactical problems.

Yes, our current commander-in-chief may appear weak and indecisive, prone to talk mostly.  But that doesn’t me we don’t have some Big Stick and many cans of American-made Whump-ass that could be used.

That’s why, despite concerns of many readers, I don’t think there is too much likelihood of a major attack of America’s power grid; at least from the ISIS side.  Reason?

Terrorism is as much a public relations stunt, as anything.  The P.R. out of Paris was very negative and when sites like Amazon instantly put up solidarity with the French People banners, the limits of terrorism might be approaching.

When terrorism is carried out methodically, its purpose is to mobilize membership and organizational agendas.  Revealing that a group is nothing more than murderous thugs left over from the Middle Ages might gain them a few crazies (we have lots, by the way) but in terms of winning the hearts and minds?

They have missed significant pieces of the Chairman Mao Little Red Book.  The people are not going to line up in support of a group which does not further the interest of the people.

They also forget who owns about 1,100 W78 warheads which can be housed in Mark 12A reentry vehicles.

THAT is what terrorism looks like.  And at some point, enough is enough.

I do not favor indiscriminate killing of civilians.  But is THEY want to do down that road, we have the capability, if not the national resolve.

YET.

Governors:  Just Saying NO!

With now 25 governors, including Texas’ Greg Abbott saying no to the latest Obamination dumping program, we have to wonder how long before the Fools on the Hill will get the message?

You can find a “Which governors are stupid map” in the NY Times over here.

House republicans are talking about cutting off Obama’s funding to import more people who hate us.  But these people are poster-children for the corporate suck-up racket, so don’t hold your breath.

A couple of more bullshit attacks like Paris and I wonder how long before all 50 governors come to their senses?

Those that don’t should be replaced, pure and simple.  And, if they insist, I will personally volunteer to teach remedial statistics to the remaining clowns and clownettes.  GTFU and learn to read the data!  Obviously, no one in Washington can read.

And Europe has been (pardon this) tripping over its own dick with political correctness disease and this is what it gets them.  And they are changing…calling for no more immigrants.  Too bad for them, they got sucked into uber gov’t which no longer represents the people, directly.  Not that we are much better off since the lobbyistas seized power in Washington, but don’t get me started.

Now that anti-immigration rallies are spreading in Europe, will anyone in Washington get a clue?  Low odds, sorry.

This is not about human rights, any longer.  It is becoming what many of us have been writing about for years:  Slow Motion Invasion.  People who come here, like predatory insects in cargo.

Only one way to instantly stop the onslaught:  Close the borders, impound the cargo in its home country.  We can get along fine without ‘em and maybe if we box them up, they will learn to get along with one another at home and become good trading partners.

If not?  Well, thank ISIS for blowing that up.

And once you have a Kindle, what better to read than my latest book – and first novel?

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