You gotta love it when the market has just run into overhead resistance in the S&P 1,686 level and just can’t seem to get enough traction, and then looks like it will fall back.  You see, because the S&P and the Dow have not been able to punch through the old highs set on August 5th and 2nd respectively, the doors of hell could open in the next couple of weeks because (repeat after me) Crashes don’t just appear out of thin air:  they occur often times 55-days, or so, from a major high (which is coming up soon enough) and along the way there, you’d expect (under Elliott wave rules) to see Wave 1 down, then a wave 2 rally, and the decline and rally would then give you some key insight as to what will happen next.

That’s because a “normal” decline might be expected to be 1.608 times the first wave down, and then a 5th wave down would be another 1.5 to 1.8 times, except that with high frequency trading, it could be 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 times that.  So we sit with our cuppa Kona roast this morning (thanks again Hawaii Hank for that!) and ponder our navels and next trading moves.

One more “up” is possible, to the 1720-1735 area on the S&P, but catching falling knives is not the smartest thing to do on Friday the 13th. 

A week or three back I suggested in one of my columns, with gold north of $1,425, that a move down to the $1,200 level and lower seemed to be in the cards, too.  And sure enough, this morning, gold futures are down to $1,312 and, once a potential sell-off in coming weeks in the markets gets organized (if it does, remember this is not financial advice) than as big players sell everything including the kitchen sink and any gold or silver laying around, we could see the bottom drop out from under gold.  Not yet, but the potential is out there.

Retail Fails – Saved by Cars!

OK, new report out from the Census folks this morning sounds like all sweetness and light:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August, adjusted for seasonal
variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $426.6 billion, an increase of 0.2 percent (±0.5%)* from the
previous month, and 4.7 percent (±0.7%) above August 2012. Total sales for the June through August 2013 period were up 5.4 percent
(±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The June to July 2013 percent change was revised from +0.2 percent (±0.5%)* to +0.4 percent

What could be wrong?  Do I have to beat you on the head with this stuff?  OK, I snipped the year on year change chart and drew my squiggly line across what year on year inflation at the M2 level has been based on the Fed’s H.6 money stocks report.  Other than being “saved by the auto industry” are you still all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?

There, how’s that feel?  Yes, that’s why credit card use is down…people are sitting on their wallets.

Here’s comes more evidence of our deflationary depression in this morning’s Producer Prices report, too:

The Producer Price Index for finished goods rose 0.3 percent in August, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Prices for finished goods were unchanged in July and increased 0.8 percent in June. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by producers of intermediate goods were unchanged in August, and the crude goods index fell 2.7 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods moved up 1.4 percent for the 12 months ended in August, the smallest advance since a 0.5-percent rise in April 2013.

When crude goods producers have no pricing power, their wages are flat to falling and that lights a fuse going forward for weakness.  Intermediate looking flat ignores that 6.8% watering down of the purchasing power of money, but let’s pretend that doesn’t mean anything and everything is coming up roses and lollipops for another week, shall we? 

Consumer prices next Tuesday…

Climate Change to the Rockies?

Normally, the backside of Colorado’s Front Range is a notoriously dry place.  Until this week, that is.  Over the past couple of days, 8-inches of rain has fallen, leaving some cities cut off by roads washed out. and more rain ahead today in the forecasts.

With our trip starting tomorrow, we’ll be sure to take pictures and route to avoid the worst of it. 

Boardwalk Disaster

A terrible disaster at the other end of the spectrum may be found in the fire which consumed more than a six-block area of the famous New Jersey Boardwalk which was just rebuilt in the wake of hurricane Sandy.  Governor Christie getting lots of face-time on the tube with this…

More after this…

Our Good for Nothing House

How useless and irrelevant has the US House of Representatives become lately?  Let me count the ways:  No constitutionally required federal budget, check.  No immigration reform, check.  No vote to contain presidential war-making powers, check. No evening of the playing field between personal Obamacare and corporate Obamacare, check. You lose, suckas!

And what’s this?  McClatchy papers add another one to the good for nothing list with “House adds water infrastructure bill to pile of unfinished business.

Back in my days in the corporate world, I saw this behavior often enough:  People who acted like they were working while piling up huge amounts of un-done work in the mistaken belief that by having much to do, they would become irreplaceable. 

Just a word to House bunglers: Voters are increasingly likely to see through the smoke and mirrors… Does the phrase “Do something, even if it’s wrong” sound familiar?  Ya’ll are pretty good at the doing something wrong, dept.  Folks like me are making a list, checking it twice and we know about the naughty parts.  And yes, laziness (or bureaucratic ineptitude) really is malfeasance.

Senate: Ripping Up Rights, Too

Not like the US Senate is any better than the House, tough.  A Senate panel has just decided to define what a “journalist” is and in case you missed that part in law about a free press (which these folks apparently did) the idea is that anyone who can publish should have the ability to do so with equal protection under the law.

Until yesterday, that is.

What old-paradigmers like senator Feinstein, Schumer, and Graham, have done is endorsed a sneakily worded measure which defines a journalist as someone who is “employed” which, even if a person is a successful online writer/journalist/researcher writing their own blog might not be considered “employed” if they don’t receive a paycheck.

Yeah, lawyers are that sleazy.  Worse, but that’s another story.

Here’s an interesting question:  Would Ure’s truly be considered a “journalist?”  Some points in my favor:

    • I derive some income from writing and reporting
    • I belong to journalism groups (like the National Association of Newspaper Columnists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers)
    • Hold a degree in my specialty area (financial coverage) (MBA)
    • Have previously won journalism awards (regional SDX, among them)
    • Past big city news director for 13-years in a top 5 station in the 13th largest US market.
    • Past holder of White House press credentials and on and on…

    But wait!  Am I (in the eyes of said senators, really a journalist worthy of protection? 

    Simple me, I would have thought so…until these weaselcrats came along.  So now does my LLc have to start cutting me “employee” checks, doing quarterly employee withholding (instead of paying quarterly income taxes) in order to make me an “employee” and thus a journalist?  Bullshit.  Well, except then if I fired myself I could claim UI comp…hmmm…

    Seriously: Senator John Cornyn of Texas is one of the few rational folks among the Fools on the Hill on this issue who is quoted in The Hill this way:

    Cornyn said Congress shouldn’t pick and choose who’s protected by the First Amendment.

    A-frigging-men to the gentleman from Texas!  Obviously, tainted politicians aren’t happy with the scandal-outing, getting there first, New Journalists who as bloogers haven’t sold out are not favorites of the old guard which hasn’t adjusted their obsolete power tripping to the new reality of a genuinely free press (and reawakened public) of the sort that can’t be managed with a phone call to spike a good story.  Accountability is a bitch, ain’t it?

    And the new/alternative/blog-based media is making shit happen – like no war in Syria (at least for the moment). 

    Dangerous stuff, this free-thinking, not-for-sale, call’s-em-like-we-seem-‘em New Journalism types.  We dare entertain ideas like false advertising suits against “say one thing before elections and then get amnesia” populist slime ball crowd that perpetrates other seditious acts, including…..well, enough fire-breathing on this for now.

    At least Cornyn’s got it right.  Those who try to shackle journalists of any stripe are part of a dying group of paradigm-defenders who are still playing the antiquated “We’re special” game.  As I figure it, no, they’re not, except as living proof that they could fool some of the people at least once.

    Even  if I disagree with what some rabid socialist writers, they still have the same rights to publish as the New York Times under the Constitution.  Except the Senate is now chipping away at that.

    Lookie here:  This is America, there’s only supposedly one game:  Equality.  Or is that in process of being licensed now, too?

    Absolute equality under law is a tough concept to grasp and it can make a person terribly unpopular, but it’s the right thing to do…Oh look!  Here’s another absolute equality quagmire to ponder in our next story!

    Like Now Spying Will Matter?

    Madison Avenue Mike’s find of the day is the article in the Jerusalem Post this morning under the headline “How are US Citizens in Israel vulnerable to NSA espionage?”  Is this much to-do about nothing?  Wouldn’t the same issue apply to US Citizens in England, for example?

    It’s probably a good thing I don’t sit on the FISA court because I would put all second-passport (dual citizenship) holders who live in the US – especially those in government – on the fair game list for NSA.  But then again, I’m the guy who figures anyone who holds a second passport or dual citizenship should be barred from holding elective office on the basis of mixed loyalties….

    That’s not picking on Israel, either.  Would you tolerate a US officeholder having a second citizenship in Russia or China?  Good for the goose, good for the gander or there goes our concept of equality under the law.  Equal means exactly and precisely that.  No more special, just total equality.  Otherwise it’s putting discrimination into law which is BS wrapped up in “special” paper.

    The dual standard of contemporary American political correctness is such that dual citizenship of exactly one country (Israel) is acceptable but in today’s climate I can assure you that dual citizenship of any other country by officeholders (say, Iran) would NOT be acceptable.  Just sayin’…

    On  the other hand, if I were on the FISA court, I’d be infuriated with reports like “NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports.”  Oh, wait, look surprised.

    Related: A Kind of  NSA Payoff?

    Meantime, as long as we’re wandering through our growing pile of WTF’s., what are your tax dollars and mine, doing underwriting Google fat-cat jet fuel bills and facilities and who is going to get up some balls and bill them retroactively for the taxpayer subsidized perks?

    Oh…not in Washington, for damn sure.  Probably another fine example of “non-journalists” making uglies, huh?

    War in Time

    For a moment, I thought this was a misspelling:

    “Herat Attack:  Afghanistan Taliban target US consulate.”

    Then there’s more talks on trying to work out a chemical weapons deal in Switzerland (ya’ll got cheeseburgers?” while the Syrians have applied to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    Obviously, these talks will have to fall apart because if they don’t, we might here Russia cheerleading Iran and Syria to start up the publicity machine to point out Israel has signed but never ratified  the convention. 

    Weren’t we just having a discussion about absolute equality a minute ago?  Not that it matters, it’s paper only.

    Besides, sights like AmmoLand are writing things like “Arming Terrorists and Disarming Americans” which is, oh, somehow not surprising…

    Sizing Up Putin’s Letter

    Oilman2’s got a worthwhile take:

    You can choose your network; Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN – but every one of them has found the uniquely American perspective in Putins letter. Every one of them has chosen to take umbrage rather than seriously consider what is both said and implied in Putin’s letter.

    Excerpt from Nuremburg :  “Individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity.”

    Russia knows this very well, as do most of the world. We are not looked upon as a friend by people of other countries but as an aggressor nation. The US citizenry not so much, but our government definitely. Pepe Escobar writes for Asia Times, and many people of non-US citizenship concur with his views. Here is what he wrote a few days back:   “The (farcical) emperor is naked.”

    The world does not regard Putin as an altruist by any means. But it i their low regard for us that leaves Putin shining in many ways. And he is much more of a statesman than the team we brought to the world stage.

    Friend of mine in Colombia sent me the link – and feels pretty much like Escobar does….

    From a strategic assessment view?  We’re spending too much time on marketing and not enough on core values & product.  Until that gets sorted out, Putin’s able to present his options as the better product. 

    For advertising historians, he’s rolling with a variant of the Avis “We’re #2 and We Try Harder” campaign.  Folks love an underdog with a better story.

    Lifestyling Notes

    A reader sent a note, which coincides with the launch of our website project, about how people in some of the most eat-up (economically) parts of the world are rediscovering the return to land movement along with this note:

    Looks like our mutual plans are not based so much on a maybe any longer….

    Link to “Portuguese return to farming to counter unemployment, austerity.”  Now, let me think, who was it telling you back in January:  Plan to “…,grow food or die/.//”?

    Death by Peanuts Whitewashed

    Daughter Denise, who is so allergic to peanuts as to qualify her as a research subject has started up a new website called the “Peanut Allergy Survival Guide” and I’d recommend it highly.

    One of the most significant parts of her research so far is that “Food allergies are killing people and nobody knows…”  and the reason is a fine testament to how precision in the medical community muddies up people’s understanding of a situation.

    A key quote about why food allergy deaths are kept off the radar:

    “Right now the CDC isn’t even tracking deaths correctly that were caused by food allergies.  Deaths due to fatal food allergies are classified in many different ways:  bronchospasm, hypotension, heart failure, laryngospasm, fatal asthma attacks, heart attacks, and sometimes anaphylaxis is listed.  Sometimes. The cause of death is a term which refers to an official determination of conditions resulting in a human’s death.  Right now we are classifying “fatal food allergies” according to the final bodily system that failed resulting in brain death.  We do not even have a current, accurate count of how many people are dying each year. “

    In articles to come, you can bet she’ll get into topics like the link between food allergies and the increased mandatory vaccination rates among young people.  But for now, this misleading classification of food allergy reactions under misleading headings, such as bronchospasms would make a fine research project for an up-and-coming doctor or researcher.

    Just don’t go looking for Big Pharma to get excited about funding this:  Ain’t no money to be made if the link between increased vaccinations and higher long-term food allergy reactions was to become a court-room provable statistical relationship, now, would there?

    Nice to see her writing – the old saying “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree” has a nice double-entendre to it.