As happens once a month, a two-part report today: The S&P Housing report will be posted about 8:15 Central time.
We are also working on shorter reports. Not that I don’t love to write, mind you. But the reports on the Peoplenomics.com subscriber site are chewing up processor time. Tomorrow we have a piece on “The Web as a MIRV-WMD”. Then Saturday, a new idea for lifestyle optimization: “The Reaction Speed Diet.” Which is far more interesting that a simple recitation of blatherspeak from the [alleged] news sources.
A News Reminder
If you’re new around here, one of our core ideas is there is far too much “news-channel capacity” compared to available “hard news” to fill it.
As a result, “The News” has become polarizing. Too few facts, too much time to fill. Whether you fall into the Tucker or Maddow camp doesn’t matter: The percentage of “perspective and opinion” is far higher than underlying factuals would support.
(In a “lost country” where time isn’t “of the essence” such stupidly-long commentaries are acceptable. But it reall means we don’t have enough higher-value work to attend to as a country. But I digress…)
As we’ll get into tomorrow, too few people realize that the Tower of Babel story (Genesis 11:1-9) sounds to us suspiciously like “ And Internet of Yore – Gone Bad…” This part from the Wikipedia entry is worth deep study, though: Haven’t we done an information blow-up before?
“According to the story, a united human race in the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating eastward, comes to the land of Shinar. There they agree to build a city and a tower tall enough to reach heaven. God, observing their city and tower, confounds their speech so that they can no longer understand each other, and scatters them around the world.
Some modern scholars have associated the Tower of Babel with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, a ziggurat dedicated to the Mesopotamian god Marduk in Babylon. A Sumerian story with some similar elements is told in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.
Seeing it yet? Much of our thinking on historical matters is based on the idea of religions incorporating local history into their story lines. In this case, Babel isn’t just a Judeo-Christian myth, it’s probably Sumerian…and from there? We don’t know how far back it goes. But is the Internet a Replay?
We have spent many an enjoyable cocktail hour out here in the woods laughing about human folly. “ But, George, people do all speak a different language nowadays, don’t they?”
Absolutely. The proof? Ever read the comments section on any politically-charged website? We’re ALL talking-past one-another. We are therefore, with some probability, just the “Next Babel-On.”
Was that (wholly unfounded) run up in markets a “Buy the Rumor” and today and the rest of the week a “Sell the News”?
We dispense with any further debate coverage. Pseudo-news and just babbling-on. Biden will attack Trump. Trump will attack Biden. (Yawn.)
Most of the pre-debate crap rolling around the web this morning isn’t worth 2-cents. Everyone has an opinion. And opinions are like “you-know-whats” – that everyone has one of….and sit on.
Our vote by mail ballots arrived Monday. So this weekend, a cocktail hour will be spent discussing and voting. Politics drives us to drink, so seems like the right venue for decision-making.
Side beer bet says despite all the violence at protests, Chris Wallace won’t bring up “law and order” in the debate tonight. Trump’s way over-leveraged (in part due to CV-19). While Biden’s got the “media fix” on his side – ensuring softball questions and no law and order…. Which is why we’re “debating watching it.” No major league hard-ball anticipated.
As consenting adults, we figure out our own screwing, thanks.
Daily Dollop of Data Delight
We have some actual “hard data” this morning. BUT before laying it out, we need to remind you of a terrible fact.
That is, all government reports on trade and and inventories are reported in dollars. But we have to discount reported dollars by as much as 35% because the Federal Reserve is trying to “paper-over” the CV-induced Second Depression.
This, I think, also applies to indices like the Housing report that will be along this morning in a few minutes, as well. It’s an article of faith that Housing prices will go up.
But there are two ways to consider price moves: Nominal and PPP.
Nominal prices means just that: Whatever the reported closing prices is in dollars on the notes and titles…that’s it.
PPP however, is a different matter. Stands for Purchasing Power Parity. And we’ve got issues there because the Federal Reserve has been blowing up the Money Supply at an astounding rate. In the range of 40% per year!
M2 is a broader measure than M1, but based on this, we expect that by March of next year, the 12-month increase in M1 will be somewhere north of 50% and M2 around 40%.
What I’m jumping up and down screaming is that if your thinking is based on “Dollars” you need to study money creation (like we do). Then re-calibrate your beliefs ab out “values and price.” Government doesn’t report “units” or tare tons when measuring foreign trade or inventory. It’s all dollars and that means?
It’s all suspect!
The Trade Data
This doesn’t require any thinking on my part. Since I just told you these numbers are misleading at best:
The international trade deficit was $82.9 billion in August, up $2.8 billion from $80.1 billion in July. Exports of goods for August were $118.3 billion, $3.2 billion more than July exports. Imports of goods for August were $201.3 billion, $6.0 billion more than July imports.
This doesn’t mean Wall Street, or the Money Babel Channels won’t do their damnedest to convince everyone that the figures matter. But, over time, the idea of papering over a deflationary depression (which, oh yeah, should mention we are in right now) sets the stage for a year or two out when the resulting hyperinflation comes along.
Not yet, of course. The Fed has already modeled it out for sometime 2024, or later…so the “Paperpression” could be a long, confusulating event for a ton of people. Financial engineering is not magic. It’s lying to dumb people. Which you knew…
Again, in dollars, so a shot of Jack and an oxy may be more meaningful:
Advance Wholesale Inventories Wholesale inventories for August, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $637.0 billion, up 0.5 percent (±0.2 percent) from July 2020, and were down 5.0 percent (±0.7 percent) from August 2019. The June 2020 to July 2020 percentage change was revised from down 0.3 percent (±0.2 percent) to down 0.1 percent (±0.2 percent)*. Advance Retail Inventories Retail inventories for August, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an endof-month level of $599.7 billion, up 0.8 percent (±0.2 percent) from July 2020, and were down 10.1 percent (±0.5 percent) from August 2019. The June 2020 to July 2020 percentage change was unrevised from the preliminary estimate of up 1.2 percent (±0.2 percent).
With the usual “We’re in a Depression, you just don’t see it because the prices aren’t changing much…” disclaimers. I mean, that’s fine…beats the hell out of mass starvation and other options… Just don’t miss Reality just because the alt. storyline is so good.
Our HNJ (Houston news Junkie) sent us a really dandy CNBC piece over here comparing the CV-19 event present day with the Spanish Flu of 1918. Fits in nicely with our advice to all “news and information consumers.” Which comes down to “Collect facts and doing your own commentary.” You don’t need any “Lemmon aid” for example.
Actual Data-Driven News
Fires from hell continue out West: 3 killed in Northern California wildfire; thousands flee. And there are fresh concerns in the wine country.
Oregon fire follow up, too, in USA Today’s “‘Completely botched:’ Failed emergency alerts raise questions for future disasters.”
The Oregoon “energizer uprisings” are? Still going: Portland Police move in on planned protest before it begins; march goes on anyway, police declare unlawful assembly.
File as Useful to Know
Not sure what this means, but “Archaeology breakthrough: Humans arrived in west Europe 5,000 years earlier than thought.” Did it matter? Were they late for something?
Blitzkrieg was invented by Germany in the late 1930’s as a tactic. Yet here we read how “‘Attacking at speed’: Army Project Convergence and breakthrough lightning-fast war” is current research. Um…did someone skip history at the Academy? Or, is Blitzkrieg with a side of SmartTechnology” somehow a new Big Thing?
And good news for our time-bending experiments: It’s Possible To Travel Back In Time Without Changing The Present, Shows Breakthrough Math Modeling By Australian Student. We will likely now pick up that project as “time” permits. Been getting some useful thinking in based on Appendix 1 of the UFO book (download section of the Master Index page for Peoplenomics.com subscribers).
OK, standing by the play house, with the S&P/Case-Shiller data in short order.
Got the new infrared BBQ assembled last night. Very enjoyable (3-beer) project. We may fire it up tonight…
Write when you get rich,