This economy is a what?
Updated: Saturday February 16, 2008 7:55 CST
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Satellites and Memeering
A couple of "expert" readers have checked in with additional thoughts on the US spy satellite which the government is about to start shooting at. One reader officers this on the use of plutonium onboard such craft:
Now to say that the hydrazine angle is a 'smokescreen' may sound like a strong claim, but another reader, an Alabama chemical engineer with some training in such things, send along some interesting information about it (such as price) here as well as offering this to the time monks and me:
All of which is interesting, to say the least ()along with how my email now gives me the message that it wants to "connecting to server" for something or other (PU references probably trigger at least some electronic monitoring - and perhaps with good cause.
Nevertheless, as I explained last Monday, there's this little matter of 'memeering' on the internet as a way to prepare the public for what comes next - and here's an email that goes exactly to the point:
There's lots of other traffic showing up on the net is postings - and since the time monks report they have deployed the spyders to go start sweeping discussion groups and fora for data that will freed the forthcoming ALTA 1308 report - the volume of stuff crossing modelspace will likely increase.
There's some comfort in the idea that the current satellite track seems to take if over central Alaska down to Rio de Janeiro, but that's right now -with 10 days to go and no telling what precession and Navy missile file will be doing to that.
But, because we have all the language in modelspace (not to mention some geographic descriptors in modelspace which *may or may NOT* mean something), we'll just start tracking a few Google news hits on keywords like "famine" and "shortage" in a short term index for Peoplenomics.com subscribers this weekend.
As developments in the Middle East continue pointing toward increasing tensions, I got an email from (yet a third reader) that goes some ways down the 'what's going on' behind the curtains idea:
No need to get testy (or drunk) about it. We still have the UN working this fall on getting the mass of humans ready for the 'contract' meme, and in the meantime, we still have the soaring tensions, soaring oil prices, and (stick around a few weeks) new war to deal with.
In Denmark, we have newspapers reprinting those cartoons, offensive to Muslims for they mockery of the Prophet. The headlines that "Danish Youths riot for sixth-night" are about as close to a non-surprise as you'll find.
Then, a little closer to where the fighting will soon break out, we read that "Hamas, Jihad vows revenge after killing of 8 people in Gaza."
Then, as Israel is moving troops to the North and East, we read how (near that border, Iran and Syria are teaming up to find the killer(s) of the Hama leader assassinated this week.
Against this background, my profits in short-term oil options were only a return of 400-some percent (or a gain of 300-some percent, if you want to talk gain only). And, I'm not the only guy playing it. Widely swinging prices in oil have been just a gift to commodity gunslingers, and the meek and mild-mannered types like me.
As we get a little closer to satellite 'down time' no doubt the internet hysteria about such things will build, speculation about famine seems likely to increase, and the national chewed fingernail index seems likely to head up.
Never one to look a gift headline in the mouth, I waded back into wheat call options at the end of the week, disappointed that my Friday to Thursday statements reflected a mere 19.375% increase for 4/5th of the week. Maybe it'll look better this morning when the new statement comes in.
The Runs: Russian into Things
"At a minimum, a head of state should have a head". No, not a surly morning around here - a comment on what's-her-name from Vlad Putin.
Where's That Football?
In Africa, presumably with Mr. and Mrs. Decider doing a little world tour. Racking up of mileage awards on Air Force One, maybe?
Headline of the Day Award
To the Chicago Sun-Times for this gem: "Gunman "somewhat erratic'. No sh*t?
This being "Wrong Problem Week" a reader offers (correctly) that "The problem isn't the guns. It's the drugs that corppharma is pushing on everyone." Well, duh.
Nothing to Sneeze At
Sorry State of Affairs
As I pointed out in the Tuesday report, seemed to me that Australia saying "So Sorry!" for wrecking a perfectly decent continent and destroying first people's and their cultural heritage wouldn't be sufficient.
Two points today. 1) The aboriginals are planning to sue the invaders (* some of my own family surname are actually in history books there, but t'weren't me) and 2) The reason that first peoples are an appreciating resource is that the generational learning of everyone from Alaska natives, to North American first peoples and the Aboriginals (not to overlook half of Africa while we're at it) is incredibly valuable because they folks got along without high def TV and Vista. Think we might be able to learn a little something from them? Communicating over long distances without texting and a monthly bill? OMG these folks are dangerous! Eating without a credit card? TEOTWAWKI! Get real...
"Wrong Problem Week" Capper
I started off Monday with a rant about how our "leaders" (using the term loosely!) have a marvelous way of solving the wrong problem.
Clearly, the EU has figured ouit that if the US can keep economically afloat by pouring money like mad into "security" and stun guns, then in order to ensure the same kind of economic growth in the EU, they need to whip up a little more 'terrorism fear', invade a few more countries, and do a little more back-room germ warfare development.
The underlying problem of too many people fighting over too few resources has an inevitable outcome: Dying oceans, oil past peak, and a corpgov economic system that exploits labor wage rate differentials for the benefit of the owner class (which we call around here the PTB) are but a few examples.
Those who believe in the myth of the Singularity seem delightfully ignorant of Third World dynamics. But, I suppose that's OK. Denial is doing its job keeping the markets afloat (for now).
A Hero Steps Aside
As a recovering news manager, I don't have a lot of heroes Sadly, one of my remaining few, David Walker, US Comptroller General, is stepping aside at the Government Accountability Office. His next mountain: A foundation to alert the public to the problems of the financial soundness of the US - in debt to the rest of the world for something like $53 trillion already and more coming thanks to a snoozing CONgress stampeded past thinking by staged events.
Too often I've seen what were initially people of high integrity turned to trained pets of the powers-that-be or simply raw cash. Walker's been one of those refreshing exceptions.
It will be a sure sign of our honesty and integrity as a nation to see what kind of replacement is nominated for Walker's position. Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath.
No Snip and Save
Just too much going on around here today - but keep sending suggestions to email@example.com and I will get another update on Monday.
A few important reminders
Around the Ranch: SOHO Improvements
Managing 3 (or more sometimes) computers and 5 to 7 monitors going has become a bit much. Adding a KVM switch and a FTA satellite TV to the monitoring center here. Along with a computer-controlled receiver (which is the nth back up of all the other electronics in here).
The new wireless laser printer will replace the one sitting where more monitors can go... They're fairly cheap now and simple enough to install (I hope!).
When all is done, I expect to have just five LCD's at the main work position. One three monitor laptop for client consulting, web site, and email, while a second laptop will handle wireless cams around the property, the USB TV, network admin, and the USB controlled shortwave monitor.
Does any of this sound like work? LOL Not hardly!
Peoplenomics: 13 Acres And Independence - Part One
We've lost track of the number of folks who have asked us to write up a short booklet on how to go about dropping out of the Big City - High Consumption Lifestyle, which we've managed to pretty much ditch over the past six years. So, this week I'm starting to write a short e-book (which as a subscriber to Peoplenomics, you'll be able to read here as bits and pieces of it come out. ) For those addicted to the rush of the markets (like me, for instance) this week's ChartPack (click here) will give you the economic overview and set out what I expect in the very near term. In a nutshell, while we seem due for a major increase in commodity prices (food and energy sectors) there continues to be an erosion of housing prices and what works out as illiquidity in the bond markets. This latter seems more because of fears over the fate of bond insurance companies, than a fear of default on underlying commitments, but the work-out is the same: Bond's that don't move.
If you know anyone who is interested in preserving the Constitution, fighting usury from banksters, and shaking off consumer hypnosis, tell them about this site. Click here to send 'em an invite...
No Incumbents Bumper Stickers
To get your "No Incumbents in 2008" click here. They're just $5. And no, that would not keep Ron Paul from running for the White House he is not an incumbent for that office having never held that job before, you see.
Cost Cutting Ideas
There are lots of ways to save money on food, shelter, transportation, and such. It just takes a little reading and one source of good ideas is our handy ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less. Still just $10.
I promised Elaine that I would unload some of my equipment, so if you're looking for ham gear, especially the older tube-type (EMP resistant) type, send me a note and I will send out the list of what I'm selling off when I get it together. Click here to Put Me On Ham Gear List
Friday February 15, 2007
And still another Update
Date March 6
OK, OK, told you this wasn't a precise science we're doing. We've been focusing on March 3-5 in modelspace for the satellite impacting, and now turns out it's March 6....sorry to be off a day. Shucks...
Yet another Update
Universe Slaps Us Again: Bhopal Documentary Tonight
A couple of readers have asked "Woa, just checked the link out for Bhopal…is this just coincidence that I happened to be checking out the Documentary channel?" (Link to: "Bhopal: Search for Justice 9 PM Eastern tonight...)
No, in a closed system all things are linked, if only at levels below
perception threshold. No, it was not on our minds (remember we've been
watching this for a month and a half in modelspace and scratching about
it... still, ain't synchronicity synchronistic when it happens?)
Web bot's "Military Bhopal" Linguistics
As Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator says in a CNN video today: "So there is almost nothing we can do here that makes it worse..." Click for video and go 2:10 in...
No, the general's hands are shaking....
And we also have a concurrent "Catastrophic Contamination Threat" story popping up out of Colorado - which may have to do with the linguistics about Southwest Flooding...
Reach for the Sky, Partner
Shooting at the LEO (*low earth orbit) coral, maybe? The story that the US is planning to shoot down an errant spy satellite gives us an excellent example of how word shift around the internet can be used as a sort of 'time machine' to get a handle on coming events before the fact.
Because of the strange way the story is developing, I've been in touch with the time monks about this to get their take on this, since we've been watching it develop in model space for more than a month. The radical linguistic group at www.halfpasthuman.com sent out an extraordinary email to their subscribers last night, which specifically pointed to their January 13th, 2008 forecast reproduced with exclusive permission here; (*If you repost this elsewhere fine, but a link to this page as well as www.halfpasthuman.com is required.)
Although we are loathe to putting push-pins on maps, and routinely throw away upwards of 20-million geographical references per data collection run, there are two points about this which have been curious to watch. The first is that if we were to take linguistics and map out where the 'hot zone' of language around this event is, we have highest concentrations linguistically like this :
*depending on your zoom level, these are straight lines - the curve is greater circle effects.
On the other hand, we know from past experiences using language shift on the internet as a 'libretto by which to anticipate future events' that the hot language area is the most far-flung of speculations. Still, gives monkey mind something to do.
What's not a matter of speculation, however is that:
I should put a sign up in my office someplace that reads: "When someone says 'Don't Worry' you should do exactly that. Instead, I just might buy batteries for the field survey meter. Who knows, maybe that duct tape and plastic might end up being useful for something after all.
Other ways to connect these dots? Why, even my normal conservative attorney is sending me notes about this along the same line:
Words have remarkable powers - as Jane Fonda was reminded this week.
We had an incident a few weeks back with the chemical smoke/inversion over that patch of West Virginia, and given that there's a certain fractal aspect of time studies, we've labeled that event as a possible fractal 'prequel'.
The sequel doesn't have to actually appear, by the way. It only has to be much talked about in MainStreamMedia (MSM). No doubt we've got that in spades already. But down at the 'archetypes will tell you if you listen to them' level, the 'military Bhopal' language is as close to congruence with the dots in modelspace as could be found.
I expect that something about this will be more than virtual or purely a bespoken fear. Hopefully not of Bhopal proportions. Time will eventually tell because clearly, government won't. 11-days - are you counting yet?
Hitt Theory, II
Remember the Robert Hitt theory I was mentioned a week or two back, the one that says when things are about to pile on in a bad way for the PowersThatBe, an almost predictable 'emotion-grabbing' shock headline appears to redirect energy?
After drooping 175-points yesterday (and a mixed open this morning), the shooting at North Illinois University seems eerily like the Virginia Tech shooting, only this time seven people died including the gunman.
Hitt's notion, that somehow outbursts/outrages like this are somehow at a societal level more like a giant pressure relief valve, deserves continued observation and contemplation. As does the concept of memeering explained last week (*click here and scroll down to the Feb. 4 column).
An excited YM message from my hyper-active commodity broker pal JB at 3:30 this morning caught my eye. "Coffee up 600 at the moment in the night session!"
Yeah, well, a libretto is a nice thing to have. and between coffee, wheat and maybe some corn later on at some point, we've been watching the development of the shortage/encounters with scarcity coming summer of this year (*and way out into the future) with a kind of morbid fascination.
What's interesting is how the story is percolating (*bad coffee option pun intended) just below the perception threshold of most folks. A really aware observer might read something like the Financial Times Insight piece: "The next crisis will be over food" and maybe take investment action.
Perception tuning is a funny thing. To use an electronics analogy it's just like a receiver has a 'noise floor' below which pulling out signals is very difficult.
Few people take the time and try to 'tune-in' their personal receiving abilities and sharpen up skills in deciphering what's down in the noise. Once you get used to that, you'll be able to better understand how thinking go around here with other low noise receiver analogies like 'noise blanking', 'automatic gain control', and 'passband tuning'.
Curious ain't it? We know so much about designing an external receiver and yet with the exception of a few time monks with their massive (inverse) synthetic aperture antenna (*the internet), damn few folks are conscious/aware that what works for in radio receiver design might have a parallel in humans. Like, duh.
Not that it matters: In order to practice perception tuning, you need a relatively 'low noise' environment to begin with - perhaps why I've always been drawn to 'remote' spaces (like the sailboat and the remote ranch) when I wasn't engaged in formal "work". I was constantly frustrated as the amount of 'noise' generated by daily life in the corporate fast track. I'm less a Luddite than a sensitive receiver frustrated with a high noise (saturation) environment. I suspect a lot of folks are, but just can't put it into technologically acceptable terms.
Few people I've met are consciously aware of how a clock and calendar are 'noise' in the sense that time is a bounding element of thought. Similarly, we have bounces/fence posts imposed by the phone which can ring at any second, imagery fed into your mind by the television, and preconscious messages in the form of lyrics in music that you somehow like, although you can't quiet understand the words.
Trying to get down to a personal noise floor (*where the loudest signals from the Universe may be occasionally encountered) under those conditions is like trying to listen to a far away AM radio station with your personal receiver surrounded by noisy brush-type AC motors. Try as you may, ambient noise will prevent reception of the weak signals such that after a time, you'll be more influenced by the pitch of the noisy, which depends on the speed of the motor. That's how high-speed 'we all gotta be Type A' life goes.
Television, music, and the Starbucks at the airport culture, the speeding on the freeway; it's all a consciousness bounding analog to the old variable speed Kenmore sewing machine, which as a boy caused me innumerable 15-year old outbursts at my sisters when I was trying to work weak distant (DX) signals with my ham radio equipment as a boy.
In some kind of grand way, the 'sewing/sewing' seems largely now done, with the reaping/receiving part straight ahead.
But, I suppose you didn't come here for that kind of philosophical/contemplative discussion - so grab the coffee or tea and let's pop a cynical pill. Since we have a broad-brush outline of the future going, that oughta be really easy. Sensitive receivers are easily overloaded and (still) angered by the sowing (sic) machine...
War Watch: Hezbollah Warns
While we sit around waiting for the Israelis to launch a war against, take your pick of a) Syria, or b) Gaza, c) Iran, D) all of the above, which will be seen as the "Israeli mistake" [linguistically] by future historians, we note that Hezbollah is issuing all kinds of warnings.
I keep watching oil for a tradable pull-back. Oil was down to $95 after an overnight rise.
My favorite 'war commodity' is copper and it was up 1.4% last time I looked.
The Runs: Foreign
Elections in Pakistan spark little fanfare says a report today.
Gee, I wonder why? Assassinate the credible challenger, and what's left? The larger and more important question is "Is this a fractal prequel for events later this year here?"
The Runs: Domestic
The Bad in Chad
While the president of Chad has declared a state of emergency against rebel forces, there's a claim that Sudanese and al Qaeda members are among those captured.
Seems to me the line to be considered here: Is it militant Islam out to conquer the West, or is it the "Have nots" versus the "Haves"? We'll know personally, soon enough, with the 28% interest rate banksters at the helm and being bailed out almost daily by the PTB.
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Coping: Memeering, III
I like the old joke "No, you're not paranoid, they really are out to get you."
In this case, as a follow-on to our report about Memeering last week (*A meme is a 'thought-virus' and the new vector of these is internet discussion groups), a reader suggested that it would be a fine thing if everyone who was partial aware would read the article in the UK "Independent" about "How the spooks too over the news."
Now, be a good victim and don't walk away from that upside down mortgage and that 28% interest debt-card, OK?
How's Your Plumbing?
No, I'm not talking about the male panic induced by the sound of a snapping rubber glove, nor the female panic induced by frozen stirrups. Nope, talking about the other plumbing - the stuff that gets the shower going.
Remember my comments about "The George Ure All Time Plumbing Parts Collection" saved me this week? Seems I'm not the only one:
Now we're talking. I'd sure have a set of spares over everything by the end of September, as who knows what will happen to the supply chain after October's financial cluster what's-it.
Attention Speed Freaks
This is like the coolest online thing I've seen in a long time: "Speed Traps Worldwide Shown with Online Mapping Tool". Didn't I tell you I'm a recovering Porsche driver and not a Luddite? Now, how do I get my mobile connection to the map for cross-country use on I-20? Yee haw!!
As the satellite commercial goes, "How cool is that?" Tres cool...
Send snip and save notes to firstname.lastname@example.org - anything is fair game - although I'm a tasteful editor (*most times)
Around the Ranch: Burning Desire
When we had the south 16 thinned of trees about two years ago, we were left with some slash piles to burn. Today, looks like this weekend's weather may get us a burning window next week:
Next week, I'm taking some time off from the consulting chores to catch up on things around the ranch. I've made a list and put in realistic time estimates. The problem is that it works out to 9 non-stop days of 13.94 hours each. And that's without the daily updates here, showers, food, sleep time, and so forth. I'll let you know how it goes.
Thursday February 14, 2008
As the Depression Turns
Although I've been writing about the evolution of the 'second depression' since 1996, and thinking about it since the mini-melt of 1987, there are some mornings I have to pinch myself to be reminded that in the precursor/lesser event called the "Great Depression of the 1930's" we didn't have mass media to the extend we do now.
The 1930's was a simpler time, relatively freer of jingoism, foreign troop commitments, nuclear weapons, terrorism, and oh yeah, most recently the phenomena of "memeering" - where various forces behind the curtains are planting ideas/concepts and doing psyops via many internet discussion groups to precondition public opinion toward some undisclosed end.
Still, the point has to be remembered that at the outbreak of the Great Depression, people didn't just wake up one morning a week after The Crash and declare "Gee, we must be in a...a...a...Depression! That's what we'll call it..." and from there it went into the history books.
Instead, the evolution of the term Depression evolved over a couple of years. The famous comments of Irving Fisher sound eerily similar to what Wall Streeters said when the Tech Bubble burst in the spring of 2000, and more recently, what the Street has been saying lately about the Housing Bubble's and mortgage collapse:
To be sure, a major decline of the stock market (more than 10%) doesn't necessarily mean that a depression is about. Only that a major economic slowdown is afoot. Where the Depression became 'real' in the 1930's was with bank runs and a collapse of the bond market. That's when things went from bad to worse.
It's with this in mind that three stories have to pop up on today's scan as perhaps worth considering from an historic perspective, rather than just pushing them off to the back-burner of daily news drone.
First is the Bloomberg story - not unexpected in light of my friend Robin Landry's experience trying to sell a muni bond recently for which got no bids for days - and it goes to the idea that bond rates are going through the roof. If this doesn't speak to the 'split outcome' of simultaneous collapse of housing versus a countervailing wild inflation on consumer goods, I don't know what does. Fasten your seat belt and read just one sentence from a recent article:
If other headlines are right, which go to the idea that bond insurers can weather the current tempest without a bailout, then it looks suspiciously like folks down at the bond market (*many times the $$ value of the stock market, by the way) haven't gotten the word. Reports that "MBIA raises $1.1 B to Shelter Rating" doesn't mean much with the size of the problem may be orders of magnitude larger.
To be sure, Warren Buffett may have a little deeper pockets than that, but again, when interest rates are jumping to as much as 4-times three-week-ago rates, we have to wonder if the bond market has a deeper reason to be skeptical of the bailout, fund raising, and assistance plans tabled so far. The resignation of the Chief Risk Officer over at Ambac, certainly doesn't send the bond traders a confidence booster, either.
Perhaps the most interesting headline of the week came out of John Parry (Reuters) who wrote a piece suggesting that the present "Depression risk might force U.S. to buy assets." While the idea of the government buying stocks, bonds, and other assets may seem outlandish, I'm afraid that boat has already sailed.
To investors who insist on maintaining a thick layer of sand to bury their heads in, the existence of the President's "Working Group on Financial Markets" is mythical. But, for those up to the hard work of awareness, here's a link to the Executive Oder which set it up (12631) . It means, in short, that since six months after the mini-crash of 1987, government has taken up the ...
Consequently, armed with a little dough from the Treasury's Economic Stabilization Fund, the government has a very free hand in market interventions. Depending on your caffeine loading dose, you might recall I was driven out of playing stock options (and am currently playing commodity options) because the 'periodic interventions' that screwed me over royally in several short plays with enough dollars on the line, that I still have another couple of years of loss-carryforwards to deal enjoy. Bitter? Loose a Lexus-worth in an afternoon and you tell me. Bitter? Maybe a tad, but it is only paper, after all.
No, it's not like I am making up this 'government intervention' stuff. A quick check of the government's own web sites brings a low-key admission by Treasury that OK, maybe there were lots of Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) interventions in the past...
With markets now facing risks at least equal to (* and I would argue actually much greater )than) the short -term problems of the mini-crash in 1987, the Asia Contagion, or the LTCM debacle, there's be no reason for an small-time operator/speculator (like yours truly) to do anything other than to invest as though those you're sitting across the table from Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson. You try to read their poker tells.
Removing the "Tells"
Even sitting in on a high-stakes game with the Big Boyz is not that difficult to win, especially if you know which numbers to read. The disadvantage on the government side is that although they play a role almost akin to that of "the House" in Las Vegas, at least in Vegas, the House has the good sense to keep its positions and holdings under wraps.
For the government, there's no such hidey-hole. They are law bound to remove the most obvious signs of how they are trying to counter a great tide of history. Except....
One way they hid a tell was to remove the broadest measure of the money supply, the so-called M-3 numbers. And, it wasn't just M-3. Clearly the Greenspan Fed knew exactly what they were doing in helping to create the housing bubble and hiding the M-3 was just one part of their efforts to cover their tracks.
Still, some 'heads-up' folks around the net have managed to see through the government's gobbledygook and have pieced together some significant reasons why the government would wish to bury some statistics.
John Williams, for example, runs a site called "Shadow Government Statistics" - a place where those of us with an alternative (*unless, non-official, and not appreciated by the PowersThatBe) point of view often to get a check of what the real world looks like with the rose-colored glasses off.
Besides showing that the real rate of inflation is actually much closer to 7 1/2 percent at the moment, compared with the "official" 4 % kind of range, the site offers things like the Misery Index.
Although the subscription price ($175 per year) is well worth it, if you're a real serious player (it's beyond mine), the point about 'blowing up the money supply' to cause inflation to counter deflation is available at Trader Bart's site where a reconstructed M-3 chart shows the current rate of increase in the money supply is approaching 18%.
Another 'tell' that the government is having a tough time 'keeping the lid on' is the Federal Reserve H.3 report which shows what were supposed to be 'bank reserves' under the concept of fractional reserve banking, are now virtually all borrowed. The implication of this is subtle: But there was once a time when banks had some money in the bank to back up their deposits. Today, that's a very difficult conclusion to justify.;
So, what's the next 'tell' to be hidden? A report out this week says the "Bush Administration Dies More Data, Shuts Down Website Tracking U.S. Economic Indicators" is (pun intended) telling.
Well, of course they would. Come to think of it, the Bush version of corpgov has been busy hiding all kinds of inconvenient statistics under the rug - as a quick trip to The Carpetbagger Report by Steve Benen will attest.
Once again this morning, I read how stocks are headed for a higher opening, and I ask myself, "Are all these people pouring money from their 401-K plans into so-called 'investments' crazy?
I suppose that will be sorted out by historians in due time, if we have anything left to write with, or any time for such diversions in thought when linguistically over the next couple of years, we all move from comfort zone into survival mode due to natural disasters coming. For now, that's below the perception threshold (bespoke level on the net) of most people.
The US mortgage 'aid' plan is little more than a stop-gap solution - and in keeping with this week's theme, it solves the wrong problem. The right problem to solve is to transition back to a time when people borrowed less, lived within their means, and where jobs weren't exported for the sake of corporate/corpgov expediency. The wrong solution is to put in moratoriums and pretend the problem is just going to disappear on its own.
There is, however, perhaps some wry humor, or at least irony in watching how this all shakes out: It seems that several financial institutions have received so-called "Wells Notices" that the SEC is was looking under the covers a bit. "FSA, BofA Could Be Sued by SEC Over Muni Contracts" goes one headline.
That in and of itself is not wry, but if you zoom back far enough, you can almost see one side of government trying to keep the illusion of a healthy economy alive (hiding stats), while on the other hand, the other side of government (enforcement) is starting to chew on the very tail of the beat. It's a 'snake swallowing itself by eating its own tail' kind of way.
Graceful, from a design standpoint, although I'd hold back on hopes that government chewing its own tail will actually result in something a little more compact that the current bloatament of what was supposed to be a small central government as the Framers laid it out.
None of this should come as a shocker though, as the concepts are already well documented around here. It simply means that what had begun as corporate-cannibalism via globalism has now metastasized and spread to the larger body of corpgov itself and the underlying (*with the emphasis on lying) paper assets. Bonfire of the asset class comes this fall..
Trading With the Enemies
Which is not to say that trading with foreign countries is a bad thing. It's only bad when we fire a whole bunch of people in the USA and export the formerly USA jobs overseas, so that corpgov can pay people less paper and pocket the wage-rate differential and transfer the hard work of others into the pockets of their shareholders rather than sweat makers.
Yeah, yeah, it's not like making a better mousetrap, but whatcha gonna do?
Back on point: The export paper/import things festival is slowing as people run out of money...
Most of which looks really good until you think about it: We've got people being foreclosed on right and left, tent cities springing up, and banks that are screwing people over for 28% interest rates on late payments. You think people have anything left to spend on imported goods? Maybe there's a sliver lining to this foreclosure stuff, but it's not enough to spur me into a serious party mood. I look it more like 'death of the Middle Class."
News Corp Yahoo
Well, well, well. The concentration of media power continues with word that Yahoo may be acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Take that, Bill.
The Runs: Bye Hillary
Airbus marketing deal: a flying casino is in the works. This would make going to an airport more of a gamble, or at least give new meaning to taking a flyer.,..
War Watch: Israel Moves Forces
Although still a couple of weeks (maybe) from Israel's 'lashing out that goes badly at least from the standpoint of world public opinion', we note with interest that troops are being rushed to the northern border today.
I may take another flyer on oil, once we get a contract settlement pullback. It's not like shooting fish, though, timing is everything. Oil's still too rich for me.
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Coping: A Personal Plumbing Lesson
So, there I was about to set up new subscribers last night after an afternoon bout of fence installing. As I turned off one of the water lines, feeding a goat men, the valve came off in my hand along with a decent-sized hunk of pipe.
Seems whoever put in the original water line used schedule 80 (instead of thicker schedule 40) which left me out in the dark until 8 last night doing plumbing repairs.
Two lessons from that, though. One is Elaine came up with the idea of using plastic 'peanuts' for packing the 4" insulating pipe around the 1" supply line. Good idea. They are much more efficient (especially when wet) than conventional fiberglass insulation which soaks up tons of water.
The other learning lesson (*and I'm pleased with this) is that you should have all kind of plumbing parts on hand. T's and end caps, adapter, spare faucets - and lots of pipe on hand so when something like this happens, it's only an hour outside, rather than falling victim of an accident.
I got a nice hot shower about 8:30. Lesson: Have lots of plumbing fittings on hand, a couple of bottles of "hot" and a few bottles of "wet set" cement on hand.
Ask yourself: If youi blew out of water line out by your garden, or in the middle of your yard someplace (*and it was night) would youi be back up, ready for operation with the pipe insulated and all in an hour and 15 minutes?
I will head to the suppliers today to pick up more parts. While a $50 inventory of parts, pipe, and glues sound crazy when everything is working, when stuff hits the fan, it's could be a life saver.
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Wednesday February 13, 2008
I promised myself a couple of things yesterday, not the least of which was to keep my morning columns a little shorter. Not that you need a shorter read, but because, as the old Talking Heads song went, "I can feel my lifetime piling up..." and there is far more to do than there is time in the day. I'm taking next week off from consulting projects to get things done around the ranch. Mostly work-work items like getting taxes done, sealing up the shop against the local insect population, putting up (still more) fencing, and laying out plans for the new HVAC unit for the main house - and maybe even putting a "hush kit" on the A/C here in my office. All of which takes what? Time.
Writing the column is not difficult, though, because just about everyday, the Universe slaps me upside the head with this or that, providing a big 'stare-you-in-the-face' clue or theme about what to look at. Last night's adventure in the kitchen was a perfect example.
I was pre-making the coffee and as I was filling Mr. Coffee, something gnawed at the back of my mind: Do I really drink 5-6 cups a day, as the markings on the side of the Mr. Coffee carafe would seem to indicate?
"Heck no, you don't drink that much," my prehensile brain reported. Being of nearly German decent (Danish folks have a coffee gene, you know), I habitually drink my coffee from either a Pyrex of Anchor Hocking 2-cup measuring cup. When I say I drink 2 to 2.5 cups of coffee per day, that's a pretty accurate measurement.
So I started to fill Mr. Coffee with my coffee cup/measuring cup. It was clean, BTW, so no worries, right? I managed to put in about 4 two-cup measuring cups full before the Mr. Coffee carafe was over the 12 cup line! If I had been holding the carafe over the floor, and putting in 12-real (8 oz.) cups, it would have made one hell of a mess.
Moreover, when we bought this Mr. Coffee unit (and a lifetime filter - one of those ultra-fine mesh gold plated whizzies) I remember Elaine asking "You sure you want a 12-cup unit? Sounds kinda big..." Needless to say, she found my little late-night kitchen science project of interest, too.
Now, I'm ponder what to do with this new-found knowledge. Apparently a 'cup' of coffee to the Mr. Coffee folks is 6-ounces, but in any radio station, Air Force site, airline, college, software company, sailboat, or ranch I've spent any time at, 'a cup' was generally thought to be eight (8) ounces, not six (6). I bet the small Americano split shot's I used to drink tipped in close to 8-ounces, too. Maybe Denny's uses 6-ounce cups, I don't remember.
Could this all be part and parcel of what seems to be a growing trend in America? Telling consumers that they are getting a cup - which someone witht he last name "Coffee" now thinks is way less than 8-ounces?
I wonder if the Mr. Coffee folks have thought about branching into economic statistics?
Measuring Retail, Markets
New figures out from the Commerce/Census folks.
My take? Range-bound stock market until three days of closing over 12,743 or a day or two under 11,634. Wake me up when we get there, would yah?
Measuring Economic Reality
It would be redundant of me to do a long rant on what to expect from the 'wizards and [statistical] sorcerers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics this spring because John Crudele's article in the NY Post Wednesday did such a damn fine job of it.
If you want to keep your 'eyes wide shut' don't click here to read it.
Waits and Measures
As long as we're talking about measures this morning, GW is to sign the "economic stimulus" package today and media seem largely convinced that it's a rebate, not an advance against a future tax refund. (The folks who write may be drinking 6-ounce cups of coffee, so maybe they just aren't alert yet.) The difference being that we're being given the privilege of borrowing from our own future tax refunds without interest. Gee, how nice of them. How really frigging nice.
Measuring Housing Gloom
Worst foreclosure rate in the country in 2007 was Detroit, according to a report out today. And that was before GM's announcement that they will be offering early retirements/job buyouts to a further 74,000 workers this year. If you wanted to be Detroit would not be in the top 10 this year, I'd take your money, I expect.
A Measure of Oil...
The Runs: Measuring Voters
Measuring Voters, II
The pro-Musharraf party in Pakistan predicts victory. Paper trail?
A Measure of Grain
Oh, oh. Remember the linguistics boys telling us that "grains are going to go through the roof" (which they have, so far)? Well, looks like there's some basis entering MSM about the food shortage/possible famine out there on the horizon when we read headlines like "Cereal Stockpiles Continue to Fall: UN Food Agency Says Cereal Stockpiles to Hit Lowest Level in Over 20 Yrs, Causing High Prices.'
Our wheat position dropped a bit overnight, and that's fine. I'm planning to leg back into the trade shortly when prices come down to what JB thinks would be a 'screaming buy zone.' Me? I just read the linguistics. Oh, and speaking of which..
Lifetime Piling Up, Redux
The last of the ALTA 1008 linguistics run [part 7] ought to be posted today. And, besides waiting on Israel to invade Gaza (and maybe more, as long as they're at it in a week to four), The time monks sent me this last night:
So, that's the timing of a 'next round' of wind-driven disaster. I guess the 'lifetime piling up" may be literal as I get to digging a storm shelter this spring. This recent worst-ever early tornado was only a prequel, so it appears in modelspace.
And speaking of weather, the super-sized statue of Jesus overlooking Rio de Janeiro was hit by lightning during storms there earlier this week - and it was caught on film...
Worse natural disaster is still to come before Christmas - late fall kind of range for that one.
And, the time monks seem to have hit one of their temporal markers...
A little. We'll DCA in more on weakness and pullbacks. I leave the juicy stuff, like the presidential wannabe with a health issue that sidelines him this fall for subscribers to the ALTA series.
Data collection for the next series (Either 1208 or 0110 [mon/yr]) gets turned on for the spiders next week. Highlights of the 1007 are usually summarized in the next run's baseline report (Part Zero).
Disclaimer: This is all a very interesting project for our personal amusement and entertainment only. however, we're not to be held responsible should the Universe deliver a future which fits rather closely with what's in modelspace.
Writes back to writing in Tinsel Town. If you noticed any change in TV while they were out, maybe you're watching too much?
China and Russia are proposing a ban on weapons in space. Are we going to sign that, after all the money we've poured into defense contractors? Are you nuts? (Or maybe, are we all?)
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Coping: Bootstrapping Society
Every once in a while, I get a real gem contributed by a reader - and this morning I'm pleased to share with you free, plans to build your own MultiMachine.
If you don't know what a MultiMachine is, think of it as a home-built combination of a metal lathe and a milling machine and drill press. A sort of all-in-one machinery making tool that can be cobbled together using common parts and scraps of an old car or truck.
Now, before I give youi the link to download this 80-page guide or give you the email address to order a copy of a DVD which is in the works on this, let me first give a big "Thank you!" to Pat Delaney, who coincidentally lives here in Palestine, Texas. (The world is really a much smaller place than you would ever imagine.)
Pat has asked me to do two things. The first is that if you really plan to build a MultiMachine, you sign up for the MultiMachine Yahoo discussion group. There are lots of reasons why, but it all comes under the heading of 'users/builders sharing construction tips and hints.' The Yahoo group is at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/multimachine/
The second is a little more difficult. Pat's a very nice fellow and has put nearly countless hours into the development of this project (along with how to make a lathe from an old car block) and he has done so with the idea that finding a junked car or truck out in the Third World/ developing nations isn't a hard thing to do. I know you've got the vision forming: Give a man instruction on how to bootstrap up a whole machine shop, and pretty quickly, you can get all kinds of local industry going and help the world become more locally self-sufficient.
The curious thing is, however, that Delany has had almost no success at trying to give the resource kit he's developed and continues to evolve to Third World development and relief organizations.
I have my suspicions why: Clearly, if indigenous people learn how to build their own machine shops and factories, that might put a huge hole in the ability of corporation to exploit all aspects of people in lesser developed countries. Further, it likely also has something to do with the singular mission of aid groups: Most seem to deliver services and sermons, not infrastructure build-out or grassroots development plans. Still, if you know of any international aid groups with a broader focus, please send an email to me at email@example.com, or Pat Delany directly via firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe if you know the folks at www.sunoven.com, or some group like that which is delivering technology to the outback parts of the world.
Pat, by the way, has come up with an innovative new take off on the Cole drill. If youi don't know what a Cole drill is, don't feel bad, I didn't until yesterday, either. Turns out it is a hand drill which is designed for cutting holes through really tough materials.
If you are interested in setting up your own 'huge, planetary devastation' or Third World economic recovery kit, you might also want to visit the Dave and Vince Gingery books site over at Lindsay Technical Books.
File Under Thank You!
A reader about a month back sent me a set of metal files. What made these special was that the handles they were set in were all hand-cut from trees on his property. I used a couple the other day and I made a metal note to say "Thank you". I kept meaning to send an email note, but that sticky note is over in...uh...that pile over there, I think.
OK, one more item: I was sitting back thinking about our garden yesterday (in the context of an email discussion I'm having with some heirloom/heritage seed folks who were wanting to advertise here) and it occurred to me that although there are tons of books out there which say which zones will support what kind of plants, and what the last frost dates are, I haven't seen one that says "Here's the plants that you can grow in your area pesticide-free" and with little effort.
To show you what I mean, Elaine and I put in lots of veggies last year, but it was mainly 5tomatoes and squash, plus a few herbs, the cauliflower and broccoli that really did well. Fire ants ate the sugar peas, and so forth.
I haven't seen a book yet where a standard planting of X number of veggies have been planted and then categorized as to yield and food nutrition values.
So before I get all worked up and outline some grandiose plan to get schools in every part of the country to grow a 'standard patch' of vegetables, so we would have some kind of idea what the yields would be without pesticides and minimal work, do you know of any such thing?
Seems like it would be a damn useful idea and would sure have spared us a lot of work if we had known that "This critter eats your beans and these ants will take out your sugar peas, and you'll need an armed guard for the last month of the corn to keep the possums and raccoons out..." instead of learning from the folks across the road, who are still experimenting, too, that deer don't eat turnips.
Send it along if I missed something like this. Or, if you have something worth sharing in our 'snip and save section' send that, too: email@example.com.
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Around the Ranch: From the Middle-aged Farmer's Almanac
Still no baby goats from the nanny Boer goat. Although, her udder is almost as shiny as a canned milk can, now.
Elaine saw her first snake yesterday while we were punching in posts for the pygmy goats, who have been feasting on the vegetable garden's leftovers. 10" copperhead, she thinks. Great. Elaine's seeing snakes and the groundhog seems to be right this year.
We may not be full-on for snake season yet, however. The Weather Service has a nastygram for what's coming this weekend. Figures: I plan a week of projects and we get crap weather. No pot in going postal about it, rancherly chores will get done in spite of rain, wind, snow, and all that. It would just be nice to have 9-days in a row of perfect working weather: 60F high, 50F low, and no rainy. No such luck.
I wonder if I can train the goats to run a Skil saw or put up their own damn fences?
Tuesday February 12, 2008
War: Flying Foreplay?
Linguistically, while we await Israel's attack on [whoever] in the three-week to three-month timeframe linguistically, it's interesting to see how the headlines are starting to carry stories about the building tensions between the US and Russia, most recently with a reported over flight of the USS Nimitz by a Russian bomber. Not once, but twice...
Since I've been getting into commodities a bit lately, which we'll get to in a few minutes here, I've started using them as indicators about future events. This morning, with headlines that "Oil steady as investors weigh Venezuela supply threat," I think to myself "Hmmm...if oil starts to pop up more, then that would mean a war is close. There's never been a war that at least a few insiders didn't see coming...". A few minutes later, along comes the report that oil is back under $93...
Another good "war indicator" is copper. Why? Oh, shell casings and things like that. Today, the headline is out that "Copper rises as inventories drop again."
To be sure, there are lots of reasons why copper is dropping. One reason is the horrific winter being experienced by China. The weather situation is not only bad, say reports, but looking to get worse. While the weather wizards figure that it likely has something to do with La Nina, I'm looking at the situation in China and wondering what it means for the US which depends so heavily on China for large portions of commercial goods?
Quietly, the linguistics team has been looking, too. In the seventh part of the current ALTA 1008 run (*likely out today or tomorrow) details of what's ahead for China may be included. Without blowing the whole story, just bookmark this page and remember the word "dark" about six months from now.
In the meantime, the discussions around the web are that certain big Box-Stores are quietly letting goods on the shelves run down, and then are bringing in replacement goods at much higher prices. If you hit the Google news search engine, you can see that the number of hits for the word "shortage" is now up over 32,000.
This compares with just 11,500, or so, when we first got vision of 'shortages/encounters with scarcity' in modelspace more than 2-years back. Since there aren't any books out there on 'How to Use the Internet as a forward looking time machine employing radical linguistic analysis" (meaning, we're learning as we go) one thing has become clear: The further ahead of events we see things, the bigger/more widely impacting/emotionally painful they are.
While we've seen the 'death of the US Dollar' (embodied as Federal Reserve Notes [FeRN's] for three or four years by 'November', it's a bear to figure out which 'November' is referenced, although the one coming is a fair guess, especially considering how much papering-over of the financial crisis is going on. For today, the dollar is reported "steady"
Also in the Wars and Rumors of Wars file: Two arrests have been made in an espionage case involving China.
Lucky Me Department
A couple of readers have questioned whether I really did that amazing oil trade last Thursday where I bought (3) seven-day oil calls for $510 (plus commissions and fees) and then sold one Friday for $700. As you'll recall from the earlier report, that left me two options playing with "house money". And sometimes I get really damn lucky (*some would call it skill, but luck is closer to it) and sell out at the top on Monday. From my statement this morning, it seems that I got out of the 7-day oil at almost exactly the high Monday:
TRADE SETTL AT BUY SELL CONTRACT DESCRIPTION EX PRICE CC DEBIT/CREDIT
------- ------- -- -------------- -------------- ------------------------------ -- ----------- -- --------------------
2/07/8 F1 2 CALL MAR 08 LT CRUDE 9350 07 .17 US 340.00DR
2/11/8 F1 2 CALL MAR 08 LT CRUDE 9350 07 1.20 US 2,400.00
2* 2* GROSS DEBIT OPTION PREMIUM 340.00DR
GROSS CREDIT OPTION PREMIUM 2,400.00
NET MEMO OPTION PREMIUM 2,060.00
If you're following along as I test to see how linguistics and commodity options can be played, this leaves me with one wheat call worth $3,062.50 which is a 'free ride' - having already sold one and made enough money on it that selling one paid for two and then some. And the other position (*which has nothing to do with linguistics, but is more a play on my expectation that the US dollar will turn lower this spring and the cost of anything imported will go up - a lot) is five July coffee call options which seem to be worth $4,800 as of statement time overnight.
This leaves me with an account value at statement time of $14,252.38 on cash in (since July 9, 2007) of $2,700, which is a return of 527% or, if you figure it the other way, it's a gain of 427%.
As I've said may times, there are four things you need to remember as you read these updates.
Please, don't ghost (*copy) my trades. I am bound to make some monumental screw-ups and lose the whole thing. Moreover, when we are in 'fast market' conditions, I can be in an out of a trade in a day (*like the Thursday/Friday oil trade last week). There are plenty of sites on the web where you can read up on commodities and make you own judgments and play your own game.
With all this disclaiming, you might be asking "George, why are you posting the trades in the first place?" The answer is simple: I fancy myself a half-decent business/finance/economics writer.
I've had people ask me in the past "If you were really any good at this stuff, why aren't you rich?"
I am writing this whole adventure down as I go for a couple of reasons. First, a lot of people who hold themselves to be "financial writers" don't publish how their own portfolio is doing - or what they do in the way of income from sources other than their 'news report' jobs.
If they would publish their personal financial performance, then we'd all know when reading or watching them do interviews, what their batting average is. Unlike sports, where the interviewers are not expected to actually take to the field, finance is a one-on-one: Investor in full contact with the market.
Wouldn't it be cool if there was a national financial reporters ranking system? I would love to see what the trades of so and so on Fox, or so and so on Bloomberg, or Fox, or MSNBC was? It would be a dandy way to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Moreover, I believe that if we are going to demand campaign finance disclosure by politicians, why not hold reporters to the same standards? I'm all for reporters being subject to some kind of financial disclosure so we can see on what side their bread is buttered, so to speak.
Back to the realm of the possible: This weekend, for subscribers to my Peoplenomics.com newsletter, more thoughts on how to better your personal financial outcome. If you don't have the $40 a year to subscribe, I'll give it to you in just a few words for free: The objective is to continually build your net worth. Simple as that. Of course, even that is complicated, which is why a more detailed discussion is warranted for subscribers this weekend...
Next moves with the cash? Maybe ladder back into wheat on any weakness over the next few weeks as a couple of farmers have mentioned to me that elevator prices are high and may go much higher. Oh, it also seems to me like all that bad weather in China may push up prices, too. One sources has penciled out $20-$50 a bushel for wheat. That would be a 'no brainer' if it were to happen. What was the old Biblical prediction? Working a whole day for a measure of grain and a measure of oil? Seems like call options would work in the kind of world, wouldn't they?
GM's losses head for $38.7 billion and they are planning to buy out (*that's a layoff with a check) for 74,000 hourly workers. Two thoughts: Seems to me like lots of managers could be on the line too...and golly, losses like this might qualify management of GM top run a mortgage company...
You know what amazes me (at the moment, anyway)? That the Dow is headed for a higher open. Just think of the rally is we laid off everyone! Isn't there like drug testing for investors, or something?
Revising the Dow
OK, if you clicked on the link and noticed that the report is the one from a Turkish Press report, I don't want you putting 'Turkey" and Dow together and thinking "Clever, Ure, clever." Oh, alright, clever then...
Australia is preparing to apologize for the death, doom, and destruction wrought on Aboriginal Peoples. Sorry, but 'sorry' doesn't seem sufficient.
Solving the Wrong Problem Department
Euroland to Finger Print
Says the Washington Post: "Travelers to Europe May Face Fingerprinting." This is just more evidence, seems to me, as solving the wrong problem. Just like patting down a 80-year old grandmother at the airport seems wrong. Sorry, but when we know who the terrorists are, seems profiling just makes sense. No, not 'politically correct'...so we what, go completely nuts on a fascist (corpgov) agenda applied to everyone instead? Like that's a better approach than profiling? I must not have had enough coffee yet. Maybe there's more money to be made in fingerprinting everyone - yeah that must be it...
The Treasury Department and HUD have plans to unveil a mortgage assistance program. The corporate participants reads, to me, like a who's who of mortgages and balance sheets in trouble...
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Coping: A Do It Yourself Vacuum Sealer
Here's something really cool - a vacuum sealer made from an old car air conditioner.
Before you click on this, the usual disclaimers. I am NOT recommending you make one of these, but if you do, you'
re on your own. This is clearly not something you should take on without care because vacuums are not to be trifled with. I'm not responsible for any harm or injury...
OK, having said that, click here for the .PDF file of how to make one.
Now, being as we're all a bunch of 'do it yourselfers'; around here, do you have plans that are in the public domain to build anything useful/practical for around the house? If so, send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll share them. No copyrighted material!
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Monday February 11, 2008
No, getting up before the chickens to write about the day's news, expected future events, and financial affairs is not particularly difficult. In fact, on morning's like this one, virtually no thought is necessary: just fingers to type, eyes to read, and a continuous sense of incredulousness at the foolish behavior of humans. Or, as this morning's theme goes: "Watching people solve the wrong problem."
Take for example, please, the story that Hillary Clinton has gotten herself a new campaign manager. So, why would I label this "wrong problem" solving? Because in George-land, the problem was never the campaign manager -- it was the candidate. That problem continues and the underlying problem (electing a corptocracy member to the WH from the ranks of the insiders/elites) continues unabated.
Want another example? Sure thing. How about the headline that "Afghan Opium Fields Show Failure of U.S. Economic-aid Efforts"? Why are the opium fields off limits in this war? The answer runs contra to what we want to believe: Narcoterrorism's part of the business of making wars.
Today, there is suggestion in the British Press that the Archbishop of Canterbury should resign over remarks about sharia banking (though they might have a point). Obviously, the Archbishop's point about bankers screwing almost anything that walks upright is the root problem, and firing him won't make that go away.
Then we have the B of A notice in very fine small fine print that you had could only opt out of a credit card rate hike by sending a letter with your personal account info to a PO box - I didn't see an 800 number - just as a for instance. I had fully intended to send in my notice that this wasn't acceptable, but in the storm of paperwork that floats around my office, I just never got to it. Not that it matters to me, my account balance is zeroed - usually within any use of the credit card anyway. But, what about people who don't read their fine print?
I've been a B of A customer since the late 1960's (or was it early 1970's?) when they acquired Seattle First National Bank. Now, they are about to lose a 35-year customer because of shenanigans like this. How so?
I don't know about you, but I figure that even in la-la bankerland raising the interest rate via fine print BS of a guy with perfect credit, who has enough dough in his account to write a check for a well equipped new car, and who has a zero balance on his credit card, is a picture-perfect example of our Monday theme: solving the wrong problem.
Bankers, unfortunately, are not the only ones afflicted with "Solve A Problem Wrongly Identified, However Syndrome" (SAPWIHS for short - pronounced SAP-Wheeze).
The announcement in mid February that the FDIC (*Yes, the folks that supposedly insure money in some banks) are, finally getting around to rulemaking in how to go around "Processing Deposit Accounts in a Bank Failure and Modernizing Large-bank Insurance Determinations."
Banking is an area so full of 'wrong problems' solved it will make your head spin. I will just leave aside for now the wrong-problemness of having the bankers handle the nation's money supply.
And because the coffee is especially good this morning, I will skip over the obvious question which goes "What the hell have these people been doing since 1934, anyway?"
The root problem, as anyone can see by reading the Federal Reserve's H.3 monetary measures report, is that banks no longer have reserves! They're all borrowed. What had been the 'fractional reserve' banking concept is now distilled down to just a paper & ink deal.
You wonder why Ron Paul has called for an audit of Fort Knox and the best answer he can get is "We won't dignify that with a response" kind of doublespeak? Why not just do the audit instead of attacking the question? Obvious to me: The PowersThatBe don't want to real problem solved.
Why, if they did, government would print its own money, usury laws would come back, people would be encouraged to lead a life of thrift, and maybe, just maybe, one person working could support ;a family again. Of course, concepts like that are appalling to the corpgov nanny state.
Which is why we read headlines like Hillary swapping out campaign managers, rather than hearing how well Ron Paul did in Washington State. He's within 5% points of front runner John McCain - and that's with damn near no media coverage of his campaign. Look: Here's an AP story about Washington State republicorp results that fails to even mention Paul. 'Mazing! Keep defending that corpgov status quo!
Are all SAPWIHS (*say it out loud: Sap-wheeze) events confined to banking, drugs, and politics? Why of course not!
We have to look at "Terrorism Alerts" bandied about by DHS. Again, the wrong problem solved. The real issue is that if you have a just society you don't have terrorism. On the other hand, when you have a ruling class of power elites/bankers who are about to foreclose on estimates go into the millions, terrorism is but a leading edge of broader social problems to come.
As I got it figured: First you get terrorism, then you get revolution, as anyone who's read the story of the Shah of Iran ought to remember. And if it seems that the US domestic response to terrorism is headed down the same path as the Shah's SAVAK, and that now, in addition to enlisting assistance from private business to spy on folks, and getting ministers/pastors enlisted in groupthink, we also read how personal laptop contents are being read at borders now, too.
Don't let my caffeine inflamed notes here bust your reverie, though. That'd be solving the right problem. It is, when all's said and done, just another "wrong-problem" Monday. Go back to sleep.
George Bush calls McCain a "true conservation". This from a guy that calls the Constitution just a what? And rules by executive decree... oh boy! The modern definition of "conservative" has apparently been changed to defending the corporate/government state.
Hell, I'm so old I remember when it used to mean being a firm Constitutionalist. But, that was a long time ago. Back in he days of Habeas Corpus and warrants... speaking of which, a good similar view in the SF Chronicle's site in the open forum section.
Attacks on Firemen
I've held, for a long time, that England is not a place you want to live. Nor, is it a place you want to be a fire fighter.
The Sky Is Falling Department
Alaska has its Cleveland volcano on the 'orange watch' this morning.
Oil might get a boost later today as Venezuela's Chavez is table-thumping again. I'm playing in commodities today with House Money with my wheat and oil calls, so I could care. Except for the five coffee call options, those are real (my) money.
You go right on thumping, Hugo.
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How Much Information?
My son, George II, sent me an email that read:
As a parent, I would like my son to develop a little skepticism about doing things like asking folks to put their private information (like birthdays) into a web site.
So for me, please, go to the link, put in some name and birthday. Maybe he will get the idea...
Send snip & save ideas to email@example.com
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Around the Ranch: Busy!
OK, just the short version this morning: No baby goats from Nanny yet. However, we picked up three pigmies in a sort of rescue situation on Friday night. No, we won't mix them with the larger Boers.
Got almost 500 feet of fencing done (hurt in all kinds of strange places as a result). Opened a four acre field to the Boer goats.
Busy schedule today, too...so until tomorrow (*unless urgent events warrant an update)...
An explanation of this chart
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for 'truth' in economics, that the powers That Be, the talking heads on the teeve, and the other information sources that actively engage in the programming of humans not to think, had conveniently swept several trillions of dollars that disappeared in the Internet Bubble's bursting (since spring 2000) under the rug. Surely, it wasn't unnoticed by the thousands of people who called brokers and said "Where is my money?" "Gone, but hang in there as you're a long term investor!" was about all they heard back.
But, the truth of the matter is that this chart shows what your account would look like if you have taken a few thousand dollars and invested equal amounts in the Dow, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ Composite in the waning days of 1999. It's not a very pretty picture, and it sort of gives away the other side of the story. You know, the one that no one has an interest in telling, because it's a truth which shows the amazing coincidence of the timing of 9/11, the disappearance of naked shorting evidence and all, along with the impact of The Wars which have managed to keep the economy out of an earlier depression than the one expected by me by late 2008.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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