Which Job Report to Believe?

Before we roll in to this morning’s job numbers from the feds, a quick look at the Gallup Poll data on the payroll to population poll is instructive.  According to the numbers they released Thursday, the percentage of the US population actually taking part in “work” is down to 43.7%, which is nearly 20 points below what the government has been selling; generally in the 60’s.

The roughly equivalent number on the federal side is the Labor Participation Rate, which last month was at 63.4%.  There are always bound to be some differences in statistical methodology.  Why, even when I run exactly the number numbers, I often come up with different results – and that’s in my own data!  So no wonder, there’s a good bit of jobfusion.

Still, knowing that Gallup says 8.7% unemployment, it’s fun to read this morning’s job report:

“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in retail trade and health care but declined in information. Household Survey Data Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.3 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.3 percent, changed little in August.

The jobless rate is down from 8.1 percent a year ago. (See table A-1.) Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women (6.3 percent), teenagers (22.7 percent), whites (6.4 percent), blacks (13.0 percent), and Hispanics (9.3 percent) showed little change in August.

The jobless rate for Asians was 5.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.) In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.3 million. These individuals accounted for 37.9 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 733,000. (See table A-12.)

In order to ensure the happy-talk, the labor participation rate was whacked 2/10ths, however, down to 63.2 and the number not in the labor force was 516-thousand.  The Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force declines to 13.7% from 14 percent last month.

Amazing to see what the decline in participation rate can do, isn’t it?   The stock market looks to rally on this, and there’s even a chance we could hit an ideal S&P target up around 1,685 before heading down again.  (*How do you save wave 2 rally closing some gaps from the way down?)

I’m not sure what to make of either number this morning except (says the wild optimist in me) it means we have plenty of room for improvement.  The pessimist in me says “Oh, you mean like the kind that a decent war would stimulate?”  Well, maybe.  Ask me in a week.

For this morning morning, we’ll consider the jobs report by itself, not linked to the Syria vote pending (next week?) in the House and just consider it relative to world markets.

Overnight Asia was up the tiniest bit in China, slammed down 1.45% in Japan, and Europe’s attempts at sorting out reality this morning show very small losses as the world waits for something reasonable to come out of the G-20.  Good Luck to Us All on that one.

Syria Strike in Question

The headlines this morning set up a challenging betting pool, not unlike setting up the logical odds in a gambling situation.  What I like to do is set up a decision-tree first, and then sit down and count how many ways there are for a “win” to happen and then count how many ways there are for a loss to happen.

What we know is that there will likely be a House vote next week and from there, I see what look like 3-possible outcomes:  Russia blinks (1) which then allows for a continuation of the civil war, which is basically what it is, anyway.  OR, Vlad Putin pulls together an escalation against the US which has the potential to light of WW III:

OK, so what’s going on right now, then?


This morning’s news coverage is all about the framing of the House decision and that’s why when you read the news. one of the most useful tools to keep handy is a notepad where you sketch out these logical decision models because then you can sort of see how things are going at the moment. 

Some example headlines, then, about influencing:

Syria rebel admits using chemical weapons.

Republican congressman withdraws support for Syria strike.

Al Qaeda seizes village that still speaks the ancient language of Christ

Biden attempts rescue

Iran orders reprisals in Iraq if Syria is hit.

This last one is an obvious if-then case, since the Syrians operate an air defense radar system which is closely tied into Iran’s high command and it, in turn, is constantly looking for the coming Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations, which this is all about from the ground up, anyways…So when you read stories like “Israel backs limited strike against Syria” you now can understand why.

As you can see, though, the breadth of the “influencer” stories is pretty good, but there are still some opportunities to get hot emo (tional) hooks into congressional thinking.  Imagine, if you can, a set of set of headlines like these – which are entirely fictional:

Anti Assad forces killing gays and lesbians

Syria forces kill puppies

Syria’s racist agenda

Assad announces opening free abortion clinics

Again, THESE ARE ALL FICTIONAL but they illustrate how humans are factory-equipped with emo-hooks.  An emo-hook is an assertion (which doesn’t even have to be backed by particularly hard evidence) which – because  it is so hotly charged at an emotional level – gets to bypass rigorous logical review.

Faced with probability tables and logical process analysis, a reasonable person might be asking “Why should we risk global war with Russia over…what?”

But what we see in the headlines is the difference between spreadsheet analysis of the cost of pet ownership versus ads that beg us to save the poor animal with more hooks about unconditional love offered by pets…all that kind of rigmarole.  It’s the difference between analysis and impulse.

Oh, and if you hadn’t guessed by now, the longer the vote in the House is put off, the more members of congress will start to hear from just regular folks out here in “Fly over country” who pay a lot of taxes and have an expectation of logical analysis from leaders instead of knee-jerk emotional plays.

Which gets me to the “War Gamer’s Notebook”

Hi George,

So we have Czar Vlad Putin’ up his report declaring Syrian rebels launched the chem attack


while proclaiming U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a liar.


The kicker is, Putin is talking about apples (the March 2013 chemical attack) while Kerry is speaking of oranges (the August 2013 attack).  But such is life for those adrift in treacherous political oceans teaming with strong diplomatic currents.

The problem for the Obama administration is getting the media and the world to talk about oranges.  Czar Vlad has the bully pulpit while mother Russia hosts the G20 summit near St. Petersburg.  Putin owns the spin, and generally he who owns the spin, wins.  Standing on one’s home turf can embolden a leader to make audaciously ambiguous claims.  Plus, the fawning media now holding court with Czar Vlad historically gets crazy intoxicated with the smell of conflict, further encouraging Putin to add accelerant to the firestorm. 

Ah, but Uncle Sam is no rookie at such things.  The U.S. is employing the suddenly antiwar Brits as their sovereign proxy at the G20, and PM David Cameron reportedly claims to possess gobs of new evidence regarding Syrian forces using chemical weapons against the population (aka, armed to the teeth rebels led by al Qaeda) during the August (not March) chemical attacks.


Further fanning the Syrian flames, Russian Foreign Minister Aleksandr Lukashevich is painting a scenario where U.S. attack missiles could go astray and vaporize the Russian built Miniature Neutron Source Reactor near Damascus, resulting in Middle Eastern ‘nuke-u-lar’ Armageddon.


So the war of words is getting quite serious and, in the case of Putin and Kerry, quite personal.  Herein lies the real and present danger.  With no consensus on who is to blame, fuzzy red lines and agreed upon actions to be taken, a diplomatic chasm is spreading between Russia and America.  Compounding the discord, regional Middle Eastern military forces are on their highest states of alert, U.S. forces stand prepared to engage in the Mediterranean regions, the Russian navy is steaming to the regions, Israel is literally on pins and needles, and Iran is searching for a way to throw the switch and start the party.

This weighty train is rolling fast.  No one controls it as it builds momentum.  On that note, the following ode penned around 70 years ago by ‘The British Bulldog’ seemed most fitting for our own disquieting times:

“Who is in charge of the clattering train?
      The axles creak and couplings strain,
      And the pace is hot, and the points are near,
      And sleep has deadened the driver’s ear;
      And the signals flash through the night in vain,
      For Death is in charge of the clattering train.”
–Sir Winston Churchill (in the 1930s, as he saw World War II coming)

As reader Derek up in Alberta wonders, is there something more at play here?

Hi George,

Heard this sound bite from Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird on cbc radio today:

“We do not want a new world order established where dictators can use these weapons of mass destruction, a poor man’s nuclear weapon, act with impunity and to see this type of behaviour encouraged,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters in St. Petersburg.

Said another way it would read: ” we WANT a new world order established where dictators CAN’T use these weapons of mass destruction”

“We want a new world order”

Is openly saying this showing confidence in the success of plans for one world government?

Derek in Alberta Canada

Seems ol’ Derek’s coffee has kicked in and he’s now getting on page…but it’s all proxy war by proxy players, have your checkbook in hand. We’ll pick up another can of beans or two and be ready for whatever, I suppose.

An Oddity in Language

Our development work on the www.nostracodeus.com project continues with this little oddity being picked out of a data run Thursday:

While we sit around pondering special canyon and watch for “Indian really connected” Grady makes the point “We don’t like looming events…” and what’s does the “destruction of cells by lysins” have to do with things?  Just an oddity, thought I’d mention…

More after this…

Revolving Door at the Fed

With speculation on the next Fed Head slammed by Syria stories, we do note that turnover at the Fed is becoming a topic in the Washington Post.  Given market action lately, seems to me that a lot of people are quietly planning to get off the Titanic.

Also in the  central banking circles,  the ECB didn’t do anything on rates at their meeting this morning over there.

Ain’t No Sunshine Meets Sanat Kumara

It’s maybe a stretch, but you’ll maybe want to dial in some Bill Withers as you read on from here.  Not that there ain’t no sunshine exactly, but what we can say conclusively is that the current solar cycle is definitely undershooting expectations about what it should be doing as this chart from NASA’s Solar Weather Prediction Center shows:

While it’s likely all true (what’s been written about global warming and the effects of greenhouse gases) it’s also true that the current solar cycle is hitting a peak which is less than 1/2 (and closer to 1/3rd) of previous solar peaks.  If this kind of level continues (as it seems likely to) then Earth could manage to skate by on global warming.

In fact, from a plotline for a novel standpoint, wouldn’t it be cool is the Sun’s output were to drop to a new Maunder or Dalton Minimum (you can name this the Ure Minimum, since’ I’m one of the few guys talking about it now, early on), that we could actually be saved by global warming with would otherwise plunge us into a mini Ice Age?

Funny how all this could work out, isn’t it?  Universe has a wry sense of humor or simply doesn’t put humans as high up its agenda as bipeds would like to think.  Which brings us to this morning’s odd thinking point from the Wikipedia entry on Sanat Kumara…

“The Theosophist A.E. Powell stated that Sanat Kumara (whom he refers to as the Lord of the World) is in continuous telepathic rapport with ANNA / Gaia, the Spirit of the Earth (i.e., the Planetary Logos – equivalent to the goddess known in some religions as Gaia or as Prithivi in Hinduism).[35]C.W. Leadbeater and Alice A. Bailey stated that Sanat Kumara is in continuous telepathic rapport with the Solar Logos (the Being considered by Theosophists as the consciousness of the Sun). It is believed in Theosophy that Sanat Kumara captures the mystical power of the Seven Rays from the Solar Logos and distributes it to his assistants who guide the spiritual evolution of humanity, the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom (the Ascended Masters), who then focus the power to us. An intermediate trinity of Pratyeka-Buddhas assists Lord Buddha in stepping down this power from Sanat Kumara to Earth’s Spiritual Hierarchy, and these Buddhas are also said to be Kumars originally from Venus.”

Which gets us to the question of whether Gaia and the Solar Logos are somehow interoperate. but we already know that they do based on radio wave behaviors, but is this what those ancient sun worshippers were about?  Trying to get the 20-meter ham ban d to open up in winter, or something?  Or, was it something to do with Venus’ late arrival and, figuring the sun was going to be too hot, colonizing the next rock out – us – which would tie all this stuff together including some of the sun worship and the odd similarities between Sun/Son…but that’s off into speculation and so back to this morning’s points…

NASA is working its Solar Dynamics Observatory to figure out what’s going on…I’m sure if they bump into the Solar Logos, there’d be a press conference.

Bad News for Food Servers

New IRS rules are coming which, according to reports, will change the “automatic tips” which are added to large party tabs at restaurants from being considered tip to being consider a service charge which makes it subject to withholding and all kinds of fun paperwork, and likely, less income for working those big tables.

Weird Haps Dept.

Woman sun bathing in San Francisco Park run over, killed by city truck.