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There are some interesting things popping out about whistleblowers and leakers this weekend. In one case, the CIA has fired one of its officers for allegedly leaking information to the Washington Post. The Post story won a Pulitzer.
But it gets juicier than this: There are allegations now that Condi Rice has leaked national defense secrets to a pro-Israel lobbyist - something which has landed a lower level Pentagon official a 12-year prison term. I know, I know, that's different.... right.
Apple Versus the Press
Leaking new product information to an online journalist would not qualify for free press protections, if Apple has its way in a big court fight that is centering on the idea that online reporters are somehow inferior to MSM (mainstream media) reporters.
With an increasing number of republicans who stand for election this fall learning to read polls saying the US voters are not happy about the Iraq mess, the fray over Donald Rumsfeld's conduct of the war has continued to expand, despite recent pronouncements by George Bush that he has full confidence in Rummy.
What's obvious is that republicorps need something positive to tell voters in the home districts this summer as the fall campaigns heat up. With the Bush war going badly, and about to go worse according to the future predictive web bots, the juniorCON's* who went along on the republicorp bandwagon don't have much to be proud of.
* A juniorCON is a young republican neoCON wannabe sucking up to the powers that be.
DNC boss Howard Dean says "Katrina will put the GOP out of business."
As usual, the democorps are a half-step off the public pace. My read is that the American public is worried about is the big "For Sale" sign over CONgress and the mess in Iraq (now that we're sending the Navy into the desert), and all the Hillary-type "free lunch" put-ups in the world won't cover the fact that lobbyist reform is a joke and we don't have a border with Mexico.
Russia, China firm on Iran
Although it comes as no surprise to readers of this site, this weekend we see that Russia is firming up its position on Iran - asking that there be proof of restricted nuclear activities before the US goes weapons free.
And Washington is asking Moscow to rethink their export of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. At the same time, the US is trying to bully-bluster China with the idea that the resources in Iran are somehow subject to the US getting first dibs on them. China's not buying that corpgov position, of course. They're busy working energy deals with Iran...
Dick in Seattle, Your Wallet
It turns out the rumored visit of Dick Cheney to Seattle, coincidentally at the time Chinese President Hu was there was more than just a rumor according to the Seattle PI's Joel Connelly.
I remember riding the back of the press bus with Joel and Frank Markowitz during the McGovern campaign in 76 - Connelly's a fine political reporter, always worth a read. A straight shooter, too. Example: "The Cheney trip this week is a textbook case of how to charge the public purse for a political trip."
Oil Money At Work
Notice how the government of Nigeria is paying off debt? Amazing what a little oil exploitation will do, isn't it? Oil at $75 a barrel should help them further.
And just think what a nightmare $262 oil will be when it arrives. That'd be our "restrictions on movement" for sure.
Soft Peddling Disaster
I am flat out, gaping mouth shocked as the lack of coverage in mainstream media of the facts surrounding gasoline shortages in the East this week. Some places charging $4.51 a gallon (full service), Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania impacted so far. It's only a formulation issue, goes the talk. (Watch the video on the link..) Some folks here in Texas are pawning things to buy gas.
Gold, Silver Rebound
I told you on Friday morning that the pullback in gold and silver prices would likely be no big deal over time. As I expected, the rebound was swift. Now, I wouldn't be surprised to see new highs for gold and silver next week.
This weekend's topic: The Quest for Leverage: How it works, where to find it now. Subscription information here. $30/year.
A few more people last week ordered our "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less..." A dandy primary on the art of living cheaply - and just $10 in our bookstore.
Pass the Word
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Friday April 21, 2006
Not the Bot Quake?
A few weeks back, the web bot project told us to get ready for a busy summer of earthquakes, not unlike last year's late spring/summer "Summer Shakes" sequence. Maybe five big ones with the last being the biggest.
Now fast forward to last night in Russia where a 7.7 Richter scale event occurred. A couple of readers wrote in wondering "Is this the first of the five quake series that results in some of the shortages to come being made worse?"
Probably not - because at least to me, there are too many pieces out of place to make this a "fit" with the predictions.
Still, it is possible that this is the first of what will be a five-quake series, (with the last one being the whumper). True, it met the "north of 50 [degrees] criteria. The imagery goes to lots of people, middle of the night, power outage, and things like that. So, without being overly dramatic about it, you might want to have 4-weeks of water and food handy if you're anywhere west of the Mississippi.
My "George Postulate" is that the longer the lead time we have, the more dire events are when they eventually show up. In the case of 9/11 we saw about 120-days of lead time. We've got about 3 months on this quake series. But if you really want to worry about something, consider that encounters with scarcity which comes this summer has been popping out for a year and a half. So that's gonna be a big one if the George Postulate holds. Summer shakes return.
Odd Shortage References
A most odd behavior is being noted with our tracking of the "shortage" meme - it's presently declining. Who would have thunk? Curiously, the number of references to the word "shortage" on our benchmark search engine been falling since before Easter. Yet the kinds of items being mentioned are themselves potential "shortage producers."
To illustrate the point, prior to Easter, we saw the occasional reference to a "core shortage" that had the potential to disrupt other areas of the economy. But, most of the references were more "in passing" kinds of things. Doctor shortage here, housing shortage there. While there were occasional references to core shortages (diesel in central Africa comes to mind) the use of the word was generally ascendant.
I've got a couple of "hunches" about the phenomena - after all, it's not every lifetime when you get a "future predicting" system's output to play with, so it's natural that I'd try to look at something like the word "shortages" in order to watch word frequency prior to a major emotional event.
What we're seeing in the data is a big fall-off since Easter which could represent a sort of "calm before the storm" or a type of societal-level denial mechanism when the leading edge of the change actually shows up on the horizon.
For example, oil is firm near $73 while there are concerns that there will not be enough new formulation gasoline to meet demand in some states. But while the reality of $4.00 gasoline is being reported in Beverly Hills, Main Street America is being reassured by the government that gasoline prices will drop. Perhaps the government spinsters missed our report yesterday on year-on-year price inflation of gasoline, but that's now popping out around the edges of mainstream media.
I'm not a big fan of word frequency analysis (a sort of Stone Age alternative to the linguistic shift analysis techniques behind the web bots). Perhaps what we're seeing is a shift to words-meaning-something-like-shortage. Or, we're in the denial phase before the shortages show up in everyday life.
Margins and Silver
A couple of readers have asked my opinion about the action in the metals markets this week. Here's a typical letter:
There are so many explanations of precious metals movements, but ultimately it comes down to more sellers than buyers. And buying being made more costly on margin.
Driving it - to my way of thinking, the hidden motivator might be the brief increase in the US dollar this week. Remember, the dollar has just bounced off 7-month lows. Bush, Snow, and Bernanke want to message back something to China's Hu. As it has been going down, the precious metals have been going - that's simple enough.
But now let's look at "dollar dynamics." First, and foremost, Chinese President Hu is in the US trying to warn us, among other things, that the dollar can't hold value forever with the US being the world's "richest poor country" - a fact not overlooked by the San Francisco Chronicle.
As I see it, the drop in gold and silver this week is no big deal:
However, despite the decline in prices yesterday (and this morning), Elaine and I won't be liquidating any of our metal holdings (both ounces) any time soon. The long term picture is the balance of trade is increasing, so that's one hugely inflationary trend that the day-to-day hype can't hide. Another ugly factoid is that Bush's Iraq War is now going to cost a trillion dollars - or more.
Markets go up, markets go down. But over the past few years, since I was hung out to dry in the options market (which I attribute to Al Greenspan's efforts as fed head to insure "price stability" - a euphemism for controlled markets), I've changed trading style to patient fundamentalist. The macro trends are easy to spot in the headlines, and even easier when we have a future predictive tool in hand.
If you want to sell, have at it. I expect it to be a pause while shorts get repositioned. (Out!) My fundamental view is that a spendthrift country with a huge war and no manufacturing, hostage to oil, and lying to itself about economic facts, is not a candidate to hold currency strength for long. We don't count people as unemployed when their benefits run out, we reweight cost of living numbers to help the happy talk, and we pretty much don't bother mentioning that a lot of the Gulf of Mexico production lost in the hurricanes may never come back. Dip's a blip.
MENA, Poverty, Banksters
Think Iraq War Promoter Paul Wolfowitz is solving the real problems of the Middle East? You might want to rethink that. Here's why: a World Bank report says that in the MENA nations (Middle East/North Africa) there has been little progress in 20-years.
Now, not to be too cynical (you know me, right?) but don'tcha think keeping people poor keeps their resources cheap? Why would corporatists want to run up a standard of living in countries which would also want to gobble resources as the same rate we're gorging 'em?
Call this old news: Queen of England is 80. I figure I have to put in some human interest stories now and then for ratings. Hey, what a concept. People instead of substance. Wonder if I could sell this as a novel concept to network execs, yah think?
My sister Suzi is visiting the ranch as she wraps up what she calls "nested travel" Sort of like the Faberge' dolls, she's got trips inside of trips, inside of trips for this vacation. The nesting:
I'd settle for three days with no alarm clocks...Today we'll treat her to a range of ranges: arrow, pistol, rifle, and wide open...and maybe some free range (chicken on the barbie).
Thursday April 20, 2006
Humans Fleeing Cities
An eye popper of a report from the Census Bureau is out: It shows without a doubt that people are fleeing big urban areas and heading for warmer rural places in America where bargains can still be found in land and homes. Not to mention quality of life. Some highlights from the report:
We've told you for several years big cities won't be the place to go through the coming "turn" - and it looks like a lot of folks are voting with their feet.
Latest year on year gasoline prices: Up 54.6-cents a gallon from a year ago levels. Hmmm... $2.783 this week, compared with $2.237 a year ago....that's, uh...a...24.4% increase in gasoline. As one reader noted (who we'll just call Wild-eyed Bruce) "Nope, no inflation there..."
Connect the dots Thursday
Is al Qaida after Gold?
I was on the Steve Quayle radio show last night - and just before air time, I received a disturbing report from a regular reader in Indonesia.
The story is slow to "get legs" as it is only on a few places on the web. But our reader's email is a huge concern - and may explain why gold in the overnight session was approaching $650 an ounce: What would be the ramifications if terrorists decided to attack a huge gold mine? Newmont's mine at Batu Hijau has other problems as well: The company recently announced that it is revising operations because of "recurring geotechnical instability of the operation's east pit wall. Preliminary estimates are that approximately 45 million equity pounds of copper and 60,000 equity ounces of gold production from Batu Hijau will be deferred into subsequent years."
With the arrest of the al Qaida/Jemaah Islamiyah suspect, the mysterious fire last month at a Newmont Mining exploration camp near Batu Hijau is looking less and less "mysterious" to me.
If attacking precious metals infrastructure became a trend (e.g. multiple low level actions like the Newmont Indonesia sequence of events propagate elsewhere) then former Soros partner Jim Roger's forecast of $1,000 gold might happen within months - or less.
As I've pointed out in my discussions about the Resource and Religious Wars that we're now in (the "R&R War" which I also call the "Manufacturer's Resource Wars") the West is not very well prepared for asymmetric warfare in this sense: The militant (blow things up, or burn a mining camp) Islamists have only to defend their set of "ideals and principles" to their followers. The West in general, and our corpgov that's trying to keep things on an even (business as usual) keel, has the much more difficult task of defending resource acquisition, many times armed acquisitions carried out on unfriendly ground, such as Iraq, and possibly soon Iran.
The ultimate asymmetry is that militants need only defend ideas whereas the West needs to defend real infrastructure like oil wells and mines. The reason we're in for a long and lop-sided fight which ultimately may not be winnable by throwing money at the problem, is that ideas are hard to kill. The only way to disarm ideas is through negotiation - or in great American style, with a demonstrably Better Idea. While George Bush says "failure is not an option," a thinking person has to ask whether the only way to kill some ideas is to kill all the humans that hold to them. Sorry to put it so bluntly.
In a related development, my buddy the gold and silver trader tells me that margins were pushed up again last night from $4,360 for the NY Comex silver contract to $5,065 for NY Comex silver.
Cheney at Everett?
Or, Hu's there? You may recall yesterday I mentioned that it seemed like that Chinese president Hu Jintao was sending a message to the Bush administration by going to Bill Gates' home for dinner before going to Washington. Today's dot: A report that Dick Cheney's Air Force Two was sighted at Paine Field (about 25 miles from the Gates home). We sniff a pre-meeting about the Hu-Bush talks. Maybe it was Hu's initial warning to the US being delivered to Cheney? Or, maybe AF2 was just in for a lube, oil and filter and the Circle B....
Russia meantime, will announce its position on Iran next week ahead of the UN meetings. Reports from Russian media talk about neutrality, but that's a stretch. Especially when Russia's nuclear chief says the Russian nuke plant in Iran is no threat to the West. Russia can use Iran and leverage on their other problem that's under the radar of most media.
Central Europe Showdown
We know from the linguistic analytics run by our friends at www.halfpasthuman.com (the web bot project) that the US will have two international showdowns of major proportions this summer, with one of these likely centered in Central/Eastern Europe. Just to keep you posted, consider these latest moves:
So watch anything with headlines coming out of the Central/Eastern Europe region. I don't think it will be the May event, more likely it will be international crisis #2, later in the summer, perhaps around the time of the big West Coast earthquake, but likely before the outbreak of general conflict August 31. Comforted?
Another item that I mentioned on the Quayle show last night was the frightening mob beating that took place in Las Vegas this past weekend. Apparently, a "spontaneous gang" of 10-15 people decided to "swarm" and took their vengeance on innocent people who happened to get in their path.
What we have here is a prime example of what could turn into a widespread social disease in big cities when the shortages and high energy prices - almost undoubtedly accompanied by brown outs and power outages - arrive this summer. A reader writes in:
Strauss and Howe's Fourth Turning may offer the image of an evolving and cooperative lifestyle after "the turn," but we may have to go through a lot of ugliness to get there - and I look at the Vegas and Maryland cases as the leading edge of wolf packs of disenfranchised young men. We may have only media to blame, for failing to put hard work and diligence out on screens and tubes as admirable values. Instead we have a media-fiction world with uncountable do-overs, heroes that never get hurt, and the "something for nothing hype" from credit pimps who would have our young people buy their way into credit hell while still in high school. Yah get whatcha sow. See "Tagging Air Force One"
Nepal on the Brink
Pro democracy people are dying in Nepal, as that country is now into the 15th day of a general strike. Without resources, and all troops deployed, US corpgov apparently could care less.
From the "smart readers" department:
So far, anyway. But wait till August 31st to the first week of September. There are still enough honest, hardworking, thoughtful, Constitution loving Americans to set things right. That's the period to watch for - then ugly through May/June 2007.
More Context Change
Another Reader writes:
Wednesday April 19, 2006
Life with 8.7% Inflation - Piles of Paper
This morning's report may read something like one of the subscriber www.peoplenomics.com reports, but stick around as it's pretty interesting stuff. You're not going to find views like these on talking head corpmedia outlets. You need to follow all this background stuff in order to put this morning's CPI report into context. And then, we'll tear into the CPI numbers to see what's really going on.
Impact 1: $14+ Silver, $625 Gold
I told you last summer that Elaine and I were getting into physical silver ownership because of my long-term outlook for inflation in metals and commodities:
We still hold the silver which has kindly doubled in price as measured by piles of paper. We also just sold off 38-semi loads of timber from our property, and we may well buy a new Kubota tractor (with implements) for $14,500 because when the dollar declines further this year as I expect it will, overseas goods will jump dramatically in price (more piles of paper) if I'm correct.
The way this works is pretty simple. Let's say that that you are thinking about buying a new Camry for $20,000 today. If you wait, and if the dollar drops 10%, the purchasing power of the dollar in Japan will be only 90% of its current level.
What's going to happen to the Camry price? It might increase to $22,222.22 just on the effects of the foreign exchange difference.
The last time I caught one of these moves right was in 1985 or so. I bought a used Porsche 911, drove it for four years, and traded it in for the same price that I had paid for it. I'm thinking that a new Japanese tractor might be a similar move in today's market. A $14,500 tractor today with a 15% currency move vs. Japan's Yen could turn into a $17,000 tractor in a year or two. Thus, I might be able to buy the tractor, use it for two or three years and sell it for no loss! Except when I Section 179 it for taxes this year to hide the timbering income, I will have to recapture the depreciation claimed on the Schedule F for 2006, but that's a minor nit. It's close enough to a free tractor for home use.
Impact 2: Silver Margin Change
My friend the gold and silver trader tells me that last night silver The word officially was "margin is being increased to $4,390 per contract." Previously, margin was $4,050.
There are two ways to read margin changes. One semi-conspiratorial way is that fat-cats are trying to keep the up-and-comers from playing with margin. However, another way to read this is that with the huge increases in silver pricing, the upward margin move is nothing more than maintaining the same percentage ownership requirement. In other words, the margin on $15 silver would be 50% higher than the same margin on $10 silver.
So if you read about silver margins being raised, take it with a grain of salt - there are two ways to read the number.
Impact 3: Inflation and the Dow
I offer all of this for your consideration this morning because there is a macro-trend going on with inflation that is both graceful and more or less hidden from the general investment public.
The idea that I shared with subscribers to our premium service last week is that when you crank in the effects of inflation since the market's all-time-highs in January of 2000, you could make a good - and to my way of thinking unassailable case - that the Dow is just now completing an 80% retracement from its all-time-highs when measured on an inflation corrected basis. Using the government's annual inflation figures, applying them the first week of trading in May each year, you come up with an inflation-adjusted Dow (green) that clearly shows inflation impacts hidden by the daily drone of Dow numbers not inflation-adjusted (yellow).
I've always suspected that the Dow was partly driven by inflation valuations, more like real estate than valuing a cash-machine. No reason to change that view now: Inflation going up could really jam up the Dow.
The visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao with Bill Gates up in Seattle is important. What's being said publicly is that US-China ties must be strengthened. But there's a lot more to it than that.
China is in the position of being a shoemaker for poor people, when it comes to US trade. Right now, China has been lending the poor people (the US) money (buying our debt) in order that the shoemaker can keep making shoes.
But at some juncture - and we think it's close at hand - the shoemaker will say "we have other people who want to buy our shoes, so we won't lend you poor people are much money to buy shoes.
Then the roof falls in on the poor people and the dollar collapses as ever bigger piles of paper are printed. you don't want to see what hgappens when the music stops.
The other warning likely delivered by Hu is that Condi and the neoCON's better watch their step in trying to whip up/create a frenzy to bomb Iran. China is strengthening ties with Iran by pushing for their membership in the Asian Bloc, and I wouldn't be surprised to see China sign mutual defense pacts with Iran, Venezuela, and any other resource rich country the neoCON's are drooling over. Peg that somewhere between a guess and prediction.
Impact 4: Your Wallet
The inflation rate measured by the CPI was up 0.6% in March according to figures out from the Department of Labor this morning - that's a little over 7.4% annualized:
Hide Sausage, Change the Weights
You will see the Labor Department uses the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate. You don't have one of those in your checkbook. The headline number means 7.4% inflation. But buried in the report, the Labor Department says the benchmark has changed. Check the emphasis added part:
So there you have it: Inflation at an annualized old weight 8.7% rate. If you believe the Fed's done raising rates, which pimped the market so well yesterday, you might volunteer to go through drug testing and counseling, 'cuz it seems to me you're "on something."
The market will no doubt interpret the CPI number wrong, and won't read the fine print, or look at gold and silver. I expect a rally and as usual, most folks will get it wrong.
Normally, I would go into a lot more headlines than this inflation focused report. But not today. I want you to pencil out a few things in your life. Car prices, dollar changes, inflation impacts (the real ones, not the happy talk numbers) and figure out a plan to live and prosper under these and accelerating trends in the same direction - spiced up with shortages and the immigration sideshow.
Get the inflation call right, hedge your housing decisions and you will may be able to moderate what looks like an even more inflationary time to come. Not based on spending without taxes, pushed by the White House to fund the Iraq and other wars, but by the inevitable implosion of current dollar strength.
The world is our shoemaker, automaker, baker, gardener, and we've lost manufacturing. The chickens come home to roost when those countries and industries stop lending us money to live a lifestyle we didn't earn through traditional American hard work.
A Reader's Tale
I couldn't help but include this reader email, though - it underscores the reality of this 8.7% (old weight) inflation we're in:
Yup. But why avoid? I noticed peppers at the local Wal-Mart were $1.79 a pound. We planted 20 feet of them in our garden a few weeks back. We might get rich at this farm stuff yet. 8,045 Wal-Mart peppers would pay for the new Kubota. And that's before inflation...
Tuesday April 18, 2006
Grumpy Bots, Caloric Reality
It's a hot time in Texas - as heat records fell yesterday as the Ma Nature had her way with humans. Not in a big ugly way, but in a gentle reminder of who is in charge. Neat, I thought, I'd send the report of the new Dallas record to Cliff and Igor at www.halfpasthuman.com - because they have been going on for the past week or two about "caloric reality" to be visited on humans in many ways this summer:
Their reply was somewhat less than comforting. A sort of "grumpy old men" kind of answer:
Mothers of mirth. Caloric realities are out there alright with more today before we chill out - comparatively, late this week. Retailer Hennes & Mauritz is blaming cold weather for sales being down 8% YoY. In a curious move, we see the prime minister of Canada has turned on the Gander (New Foundland) weather office again. Off in India, scientists are spending some money to study cloud bursts in the Kullu Valley.
Despite some really nice weather in the Upper Midwest on Monday, there are others besides the web bot crew trying to divine the future. Minnesota's department of Public Safety and the Red Cross, for example, are all warning abou the need to be prepared for severe weather.
Calorie Consciousness Popping Up
But the caloric reality is not just a weather-related phenomena. Which is why the phrase popped up recently in the web bot runs. For example, it goes to heat energy in general in modelspace, and and food.
My favorite source of calories in hot weather is crackers and smoked salmon along with a cold beer (or a semi-cooled Chianti) and tossed Caesar salad with bacon replacing the anchovies. Perhaps with a nod to bot understudy Igor, we should point out to the research geniuses that measured calorie snacks - all neatly pre-measured are starting to pop up on store shelves - with precisely 100 calories per pack. I'll stick with the kippers, crackers and beers, thanks.
All of which may explain why I sit just north of 200 while Elaine remains a perfect 120. About two years ago, she bought one of those 3-foot inflatable exercise balls, which she uses while sitting in front of her computer. Turns out, it really is a good way to burn a few calories. OK, maybe there's more to the 80-pound delta than an exercise ball, yah think?
Unlike E, I figure that if I can burn 100 calories an hour sitting at my desk working, the few extra pounds I could stand to lose is merely a message from Universes that I need to sit at my desk longer and do more work. With studies showing a balanced diet can knock 15-years off the age of your heart, I'm conscious of the importance of the four food groups: )the wine group, the hors d'oeuvres group, the main course group, and the dessert group) - My cremation should power a good sized town for a week.
Oil Over 70
The other caloric reality is oil, which is wandering around just north of $70 a barrel (42 gallons, not 55 by the way) for the first time ever. But on an inflation-adjusted basis, the high in January 1981 would pencil out to about $87 in "today dollars." Funny how precious metals and oil seem to move in tandem. Funny, that is, if you own either in quantity.
Rummy and the Coup Fears
Good Howard Kurtz story in the Washington Post this morning about retired military leaders speaking out against the US wars for energy and economic solvency. Can't have too many people pointing at the Emperor's clothes, can we?
As I wrote several years back, if you're facing a looming depression, you could theoretically moderate the effects of deflation by printing money like mad (which is why M-3 disappeared) and fast-forwarding to a major shooting war to suck up excess capacity.
Unfortunately, without demand destruction (e.g. dead people and flat homes) and capacity destruction (e.g. flattened factories) normally afforded by an economically "good" war, what you get is a sort of status quo war that drags on ad infinitum, with public aspects like terrorism modulated in order to maintain economic stability. If you do enough demand destruction outside your borders, it eliminates the mess of war, which is why the Bush crew won't allow corpgov media to show returning caskets from Iraq. Not only that, but it keeps the National Guard largely out of country so corporatists can run in illegals to work dirt cheap to pump up the profits. Go greed!
Oh yeah, when you read about how corporations are working hand in hand with government to trash your rights, don't complain. Darn them socialists anyway.
No Shortage, Really
A number of readers have mentioned the forthcoming shortage of ventriloquist dummies with the closing of Maher Studios last week, makers of dummies.
Not to worry: I know where you can find thousands of dummies - and unlike the classic Maher designs, these don't even need hands to operate. Just wave money in front of them and they'll do anything you want! To buy one for yourself, simply hire a lobbyist venture inside the Beltway in DC.
A reader write in wondering if the "context shift" that we're now stumbling around in might somehow be linked to the soaring price of silver:
Cliff and Igor were rolling on the floor laughing last night at the subtlety of Universe. "Don't cha get it? Pair-a-dime shift! Hahahaha..." Spare me. Have some of these kippers and beer.
Just as precious metals are climbing, illegal migrants are taking to our streets, shortages loom in our future, and oil heading skyward, it's hard to decide which aspect of the "witches brew" of current events will ultimately own the label for this period.
Back in the late 1980's, the International Atomic Energy Agency figured about 4-thousand people died as a result of the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Now, armed with more complete data, Greenpeace says the number will be closer to 100,000 dead.
Not that we don't have closer in radiation issues. Washington (state) Senator Maria Cantwell is trying to get Don ("Aspartame") Rumsfeld to reveal just how much damage is being done to the whole planet by depleted uranium shell use in Iraq and wherever else there's resources to be had.
After reading the article called "Depleted Uranium for Dummies", a visitor from another planet might reasonably conclude that the US is perpetrating war crimes on the whole of humanity. But hey, don't let me talk you out of investing in the Death Machine and the Security Apparatchik to keep it greased. It's where the money is, here at the edge of the Petri dish. Here's a little poem I wrote to help you reconcile your karmic balance sheet:
There, doesn't that help? Try some of these kippers and beer.
Monday April 17, 2006
Religion and Resource War Drags on
Time for a little reframing of your thinking. Why is gold and silver up so much? The answer is long, but bear with me.
For a long time, I've characterized the present period as the "R&R Wars" - meaning the religion and resource wars. Unfortunately, with the Easter weekend just over, a quick look at events in the rearview mirror shows that construct to be sadly and unfortunately accurate:
In my analysis, what we have going on is a polarization between religious groups beginning to bite at the hand of corporatism in an interesting way. One might view militant Islam as a reaction to Western capitalism's grab for resources (and drugs if you're talking about Afghanistan).
Another "front" if I can call it that, in the religionists is sometimes visible in the US's immigration debate. The Fort Wayne (Indiana) News Register notes in an op-ed piece this weekend that:
But, the immigration debate is a delicate balance for the Catholic Church, as evidenced by Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, asking migrants to skip the planned Latino work stoppage on May 1st. Some reports suggest George Bush and his wealthy friends are the cause of the immigration problem. But we see it as corporate vs. humans.
It seems that a reasonable way to "Big Picture" contemporary events is to see the broad outline of religious/humanist groups as standing up to corporatism. In some cases, such as the militant Islamists, standing up involves direct and violent confrontation. In others, as in the case of Cardinal Mahoney's moderate view, the effort is aimed working out a peaceful coexistence of humans and corporate objectives.
But the corporate personas (the anti-humans if you will) continue to gain strength. Not that you see it clearly all the time, but consider just a few headlines and you'll see how corporation rights are more important to the continuation of corpgov, r what Eisenhower called the military-industrial [and we'd add pharmaceutical] complex.
The "powers of corporations" issue has been swept under the rug quite effectively. Yet, when we sit back and consider many of the movements afoot in the world, including those were there is direct conflict (Iran vs. Israel, migrants vs. government, people tax vs. corporate tax), it's amazing to us that people don't see the big picture more clearly. We just saw Jack Abramoff convicted for his lobbying activities, and yet most folks just go on about life, not bothering to be upset that our beloved Freedoms and Constitution have been hijacked by corporations to the point where you are nothing but corporate chattel any more.
What's more interesting is that so far, we're only talking about the "religious" part of the R&R Wars. There's always action going on over on the resources front, but it's in a "footwork phase" right now.
I don't mean to start Monday off with a long (and hopefully thought provoking) perspective piece, but there is a certain design pattern emerging which is plain as day if you take the time to reframe your thinking outside the staked out "mediasphere" where you are supposed to be operating, if you've swallowed conventional thinking whole, hook, line, and sinker.
A couple of things we can be reasonably sure of, as the week opens: Corporations by the end of this week will likely up pressure on humans. Humans, in kind will chafe a bit more at the corporate bit. And in the end, the escalation will continue as the markets soften, realizing there's trouble in the air which may break out in global conflict around September 1st as the web bots are predicting.
Saying the obvious, former Speaker Newt Gingrich is saying that the GOP is in for a rude awakening with elections this fall unless they get back in line with the interests of the people. Seems obvious enough, but then again a lot of members of CONgress are pretty think-headed.
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Roger Ferguson's thoughts on Financial Stability and Central Banking are out this morning. He wraps up by talking about the Plunge Protection team as you'll see in my highlighting:
Wal-Mart Axes Firearms
A number of weeks back, while the 7.62 ammunition shortages were apparent, I mentioned that a Wal-Mart clerk had advised me that the company would likely phase out of firearm sales. Today, it has come to pass. Shutting down firearms sales in about 1,000 stores. We continue stocking up.
Flooding in Europe
Don't forget to file your taxes today, if you haven't already. Here are 10-tips. Our tip? Do a lot of tax planning. We sure are. In fact, with our filing a schedule F for this year, I may go out and buy a new tractor this morning.
If you've only recent discovered this site, our daily schedule Monday-Friday is the first report is up by 7:55 AM Central. Updates during the day on impacting news days. That's as events are impacting the economy - we don't follow the glitz and bling crowd. A morning report is usually up about 9 AM Central on Saturday and the weekend's in dpeth report goes on Peoplenomics.com by 4 PM Central Sunday.
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Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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