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8, 2009 07:55 AM CDT
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If I were an optimist, I'd have to report that only three
banks were closed & reorganized by the FDIC this week:
On the other hand, someone who is pretty well read on the events
of the Great Depression could look at the data coming out of
what's now pretty clearly the Second Depression and observe
Since the market high in October of 2007, the
constant-dollar per capita cost of the Second Depression
is higher than the first one by about $75.
Despite claims that the number of 'banks closed' is claimed
to be much smaller, the FDIC figures reveal that 3,069
branches have closed since the IndyMac closure last
Another 21-branches were involved in this week's closings
and reorgs which will - to FDIC's credit (no pun, please) -
allow fairly uninterrupted banking services.
tell you almost every weekend, the comparisons between now
and then are difficult at best for a number of reasons,
which include (back to sniffing the whiteboard marker here):
D-1, the losses were immediate when banks closed. In
the SD (Second Depression) the immediacy of the losses has
been tempered by FDIC bailouts of banks (and a whole pile of
shotgun marriages to other institutions).
The massive publics works spending on whatever wars we can
Proposing even more healthcare.
massive government bailout program which will kick in (just
too late) ahead of the next congressional cycle.
Armed, as we are with the 'rickety time machine' output, which
among other things tells us to 'beware August 22', there's the
little matter of all the pieces of the linguistics that are
falling into place & headlines now.
My report a week ago Friday about the coming quake Monday of
this week with a possible second quake, matched up
linguistically close enough to what was in modelspace
that we're reasonably confident of 'game on' for August 22nd.
We've got a couple of possible ways this could work out, ranging
from the fairly benign to the truly malevolent, but I'll save
the details of that discussion for Peoplenomics.com subscribers
in Sunday's report.
No question about our "Summer of Hell" linguistics popping out
of the headlines, though. But, at the same time, we have
the predictable 'bounce' (or Elliott Wave 2) rebound from the
March 2009 down around Dow 6,626, and when we get to...oh, call
it 9,450 on a weekly closing basis next week, that will be a
near-perfect 50% retracement from the decline which sucked more
than half average folks 401(k) dreams.
I hope the
double entendre is obvious when you read about the 'bull'
market? Sure, the headline that "Dow
Industrials, Transports Top Highs in Bullish Sign" may be
nominally true. But, what all such reporting overlooks
(and conveniently so for the stock-pandering outfits that buy TV
ad space from the MainStreamMedia) is that
on a purchasing power parity basis, the Dow really
hit its all-time high in the Spring of 2000.
I've run through the math often enough that it bores the hell
out of me, but if you're new to thinking in straight lines, you
can pencil it out for yourself as follows:
If you come up with a different answer than "The Dow peaked" on
a purchasing power basis (e.g. how many cases of Bud will it
buy?) back in 2000, you've done the problem wrong and I'm not
running a math class.
But I will offer you a hint: Beware the folks that don't
use the continuing erosion of the purchasing power of money in
all their calculations. The biggest hornswaggle in history
is that mantra from the 1940's and 1950's that "inflation is
when the general level of prices rises". Sorry:
That kind of pap is pressed by the bankster class that doesn't
want anyone to remember that inflation is more cheap paper
dollars that have been printed up chasing the same amount of
goods and services.
In economics, I tend toward monetarism - interest and its
manipulation is at the root of most of our economic problems.
And we're pushing those problems off on future generations.
Put another way, in the study of economics there are two basic
schools: Monetarists and liars.
You know how when you walk into a Casino how "the house always
wins"? Well, much the same is true in finance. While
I've been sitting here in the East Texas outback telling whoever
wanders by that when you buy a house on time (like 30 years) you
end up paying for it three times over.
Guess what? The common real estate mantra "Don't worry,
you're paying it back with cheaper dollars" is more than
offset by the amount of interest you're paying. Plain
From the bankster perspective, they're just playing the spread.
If they charge you 6% on a 30-year loan (if you can actually get
one to close these days, but that's another problem and rant)
you can bet they envision a world where real inflation & money
printing will be only 4% and they will pocket the difference (2%
of the loan) as their profit.
What we've just gone through - and why the financial services
sector has been in the crapper here lately - is that instead of
servicing the loan for 20 or 30-years to make their 2%, the
bankster class bundled up piles of loans and claimed (which we
know is not true) that "A portfolio of real estate loans will
act pretty much like a bond over time. Yeah, sure, right.
So while the banksters were making their 2%, the new
bond-holders, widows, orphans, college endowments, and oh
yeah...your 401(k) and mutual funds...didn't put a pencil to it
and figure out that subprime and Alt-A's were going to behave
more like a bond backed by Zimbabwe and that once the bad
product started to implode, it would take down the good loans
(conventional/prime) over time. Which is why
Fannie this week is asking for another $10.7 billion.
Important Disclosure: My per capita comparison of
the 1930's Depression and our Second Depression here, is really
wildly optimistic since I only counted the $200-billioni for the
banksters. Believe me, on a constant dollar basis the
intervention levels are now running two to three times more than
the 1930's event, since in long wave economics, the Second
Depression is one order of magnitude larger than the first one.
Ergo, the jump-start program has to be more than the combined
spending on the
Civilian Conservation Corps, the
Works Progress Administration, and let's throw in
half the cost of World War Two as well, because any student
of long wave econ knows that Kondratiev trough wars usually end
in what? World Wars.....which was $306-billion roughly
back then and on a constant dollar basis would be about 3.624-trillion
in today's dollars.
So zipping forward, knowing that massive government spending is
one way out of an economic disaster on the playing field,
we can see how the Obama administration is trying to spend:
Billions on the wars, and with Iraq rolling down, we need to
spend like hell in the 'Stans because we're "Defending
freedom!" Yeah, sure. What we're doing is
keeping young - otherwise political active young people
Billions more on swine flu. We need a fright-factor to
keep all the sheep in line. So, off comes a
genetically modified flu and we're asked to believe the
timing in the midst of an economic disaster is coincident?
Then we need to bail out banksters, but only a trillion or
so there and we have toi spend over $10-trillion to keep the
system intact and the existing power structure / leadership/
PowersThatBe in the driver's seat. Otherwise
revolutionary change comes along.
notice if you will how the corpgov fascists are working this
like a beer hall putsch. They have rolled out the big
cannons of disruption to further the corporate takedown of
government which was already well-underway through the checkbook
democracy efforts of special interest groups. Yeah, it
sure is a new American century, isn't it?
reports that "Health
Care Town Halls Turn Violent in Tampa and St. Louis" and "Physicians
speak out on health care bill: Many say costly plan won't fix
problems..." are whipping up a national frenzy, which ought
to have the herd of sheep that is our unfortunately
media-hypnotized, looking just the wrong way when an 'out of
left field event' comes along.
subscribers will get details on this weekend - and with thanks
to a researcher up in Idaho - one can almost see the need for a
large 'shock & awe' event to stampede the herd into a mindless
stampede which might include, oh, another Patriot Act, chipping?
Who knows what's been in the desk drawers of the shadow
government which continues its wanton over-stepping of authority
by imposing its royal will far beyond the limited powers
given to the federal government by State constitutions.
that the "White
House Move to Collect 'Fishy' Info May Be Illegal, Critics Say."
But at the macro level, consider how useful a Bush-era
LIHOP/MIHOP would be useful somewhere along in here. It
would spin the herd into handing over power and bolster those
sagging ratings, extends governments already quickly growing
powers to intercede in most any part of your life, and it would
justify even more government spending toward what I figure will
ultimately be the $10-trillion level. Why the US deficit
is only up to $1.3-trillion, and that won't be nearly enough
which is why depressions last a while and anyone who doesn't
have 3-4 months of operating cash hidden by the time of bank
holidays in September/October is a damn fool for not seeing it
thing policymakers haven't thought through is that when a
population starts being really squeeze, they stop forming
families. Besides driving a stake through the Housing
Industry's already bleeding heart, the report that "Amid
recession US births dropped 2 percent in 2008" means that
our younger generation is losing sight of the dream and they too
are dialing expectations back.
sets us up for a demographic collapse - like the one Russia got
into a while back - which means a future revenue collapse and
oh, it's goes on in dominoes fashion off to the horizon.
bottom line is simple: The 'constant-growth' model is,
as Nikolas Kondratiev told Stalin shortly before being shipped
off to a gulag, a wonderful thing when it's going up. But,
it needs to be reset periodically and that's what we're on the
precipice of now. It's just most people don't take the
time to read history books or figure out anything much longer
than the 11-year California real estate cycle in terms of a
but enough of this rambling. Much to do at the ranch this
weekend. Ham radio breakfast this morning, picking up new
windows for the house and getting them installed, and the
'pisser of the week' is that my barely two-year old Husqvarna
which is powered by a 23-HP Briggs and Stratton has blow its
starter gear after just 67.6 hours of use. Damn plastic
gears, anyway. Why a small engine company wouldn't design
a metal part for something as often used as a starter gear just
escapes me. Or, does it? How do we spell planned
mornings it's like the Universe has literally dumped a flatcar
worth of material that screams for the application of a little
common sense. About that
$550-million for 8 new government jets for the big-wigs,
just to name another.
Instead, we won't get worked up and we won't buy into the manias
about. Instead I'll have a bit more coffee and a shower
then 'hit it & git it'.
you Monday morning. (Or Sunday afternoon for subscribers
Send comments to
The UrbanSurvival Mall:
5-Years Out and 10 Days in
Now that last week's report on how banks are, in effect, swapping
write-downs and garnering tax credits as their reward for crashing
the housing market has been confirmed, we can put enough pieces of the Great Puzzle of
Life on the table, using diverse source materials, that a kind of
'rough out' (as some tradesmen would describe it) of the future can
be tabled. When I tell you that this 'rough out' draws on
diverse backgrounds, everything from Federal Reserve notes on the
economy, news clips from major media including the BBC and even old
UFO-studies books, don't be alarmed. Nor should my looking to
the recent "The Shape of Things to Come", the follow-on to the ALTA
www.halfpasthuman.com, which only a few people have figured is
connected to the much earlier book "The
Shape of Things to Come by H.G. Wells." Grab your
tinfoil hat. We're off this week on a major dot-connecting
mission, which should things collapse as expected this fall, might
be a dim star to steer by on what for most will be very dark times
More For Subscribers
My commodity broker JB Slear has
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MyGroPonics trees and feed the neighborhood... $10 bucks here...
The newest version of Maxa-Tools Cookie Manager (MCM) is
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the Standard version here:
Once you try it out, click the
upgrade button (!) on the upper right hand side for the $35
unlock to get it to remove even those pesky 'non-browser
specific' cookies. Bonus: You computer may run
faster. I took over 1,000 cookies off my son's machine
that he swore was clean. It ran much faster.
Attn: Mac Drivers: MCM
does support the Safari Browser, but that does not mean it is
compatible with Mac OS. Maxa-Tools only support the Windows
Help US Go Viral
UrbanSurvival has a dandy growth rate, but sadly, it's nothing
like swine (hybrid) flu's growth rate. However, if you'd
like to sicken the PowersThatBe, just
click here for a tool that may help. (It'll pop up an
email window if you use Outlook (or a few other email programs)
then simply send a link to everyone on your distro list...
"Live on $10,000" Updated
What? You haven't
ordered the ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year -- or less"?
Suit yourself. We're all going to live it shortly, anyway.
I just thought you might like a heads up by reading about how to
do it before you get pink-slipped. But, suit yourself OR
www.liveontenthousand.com or, click one of the following
Yep - still possible.
I also took a bit of additional material that was pertinent from
recent issues of Peoplenomics and included them. The whole
thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to
not only live on the aforementioned dollar amount, but also how
to migrate up the economic foodchain if you make a little more
than that and do some active savings...
Click here for the page with more details on it.
week's report is here. For
back issues of this site, click here. (Goes back to
Friday August 7, 2009
Sleight of Hand?
Let's start with the Labor Department statistical release which
is being turned into stand-ups (not comedy, but maybe in a what)
by the talking heads even now:
"Nonfarm payroll employment
continued to decline in July (-247,000), and the
unemployment rate was little changed at 9.4 percent, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The average
monthly job loss for May through July (-331,000) was about
half the average decline for November through April
(-645,000). In July, job losses continued in many of the
major industry sectors.
Household Survey Data
In July, the number of
unemployed persons was 14.5 million. The unemployment rate
was 9.4 percent, little changed for the second consecutive
month. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups,
unemployment rates for adult men (9.8 percent), adult women
(7.5 percent), teenagers (23.8 percent), whites (8.6
percent), blacks (14.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.3
percent) were little changed in July. The unemployment rate
for Asians was 8.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See
tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term
unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose by
584,000 over the month to 5.0 million. In July, 1 in 3
unemploy- ed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more. (See
The civilian labor force
participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in July
to 65.5 percent. The employment-population ratio, at 59.4
percent, was little changed over the month but has declined
by 3.3 per- centage points since the recession began in
December 2007. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons working
part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in July at
8.8 million. The number of such workers rose sharply in the
fall and winter but has been little changed for 4
consecutive months. (See table A-5.)
About 2.3 million persons were
marginally attached to the labor force in July, 709,000 more
than a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals, who were not in the labor force, wanted
and were available for work and had looked for a job
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4
weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-13.)
Among the marginally attached,
there were 796,000 discouraged workers in July, up by
335,000 over the past 12 months. (The data are not
seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not
currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are
available for them. The other 1.5 million persons marginally
attached to the labor force in July had not searched for
work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as
school attendance or family responsibilities."
how do you lose more than a quarter million jobs and not see
unemployment go up?
Welcome to jiggering numbers 101.
First thing you do is change the divisor.
Assert that the labor force shrank by 422,000 people during
Reduce the assumed unemployed by not counting people who
have run out of benefits. In other words, since the
number of people who have run out of benefits has increased,
the number left to count as unemployed dropped
But, wait! Employment was down 155-thousand... Right!
So the only number we need to 'bury' is the delta from 267K
to 155K, so all we need to do is make up 112,000 jobs.
Won't be able to hide all of them in the CES Birth/Death
model, but who's
going to question 43,000 jobs being statistically created in
the summertime in the travel & leisure sector, right?
Then to sort of round things off, all these adjustments will
keep the unemployed burger flipping PhD number (more technically
unemployed plus all marginally attached workers, as a percent of
the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers)
at 16.8%. (Table A-12, U-6)
Yeah, yeah, I know: How did 422,000 people just go 'poof!'
from the labor force in July, you're asking. Well, best I
can deduce from these here numbers? They all went on
Why, of course they did. People less skeptical than me are
already headlining that "Job
losses slow to 247,000; jobless rate dips" and the price of
gold has dropped and things have brightened ahead of this
morning's open of the markets.
That this will turn into a "W" shaped recession (kinda poetic,
don'tcha think), just seems unimaginable to the unwashed, who in
my estimate oughta be sucking dough out of 401(k) plans and into
Treasuries as fast as possible ahead of this fall, but heck, I
don't offer financial advice. Once we get our close over
9,400 on the Dow, that rustling noise you hear will be Ure
moving to treasuries and short positions.
Still Auguring In
Mae seeks $10.7 B in US aid after 2Q loss" hasn't escaped
our attention. I've been hearing from sources in the banking
industry that one reason the 'new home sales' figures are so
buffed up, but accompanied by a perplexing lack of economic
activity, is that when a deal is desked (sales term meaning
submitted to the bank) it is counted for as many months as it
sits unclosed. Ergo, if a bank is slow on closing
(120-days and up in some cases) the deals are counted each and
every month. Not sure about this, but that's what I hear.
And we are just waiting for FDIC to run out of money from all
the bank closures and reorganizing.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
about these days is amazing, isn't it?
Summer of Hell
We've been telling you for what? 9-months or so?
That since 2009 is the 'year of transition' in the predictive
linguistic work out of
www.halfpasthuman.com, that one of the main features along
the timeline would be a 'summer of hell" which is starting to
pick up steam right now.
Evidence is found in headlines reporting incidents like this
Care Town Hall Turns Violent in Tampa." The
raw video of the confrontation is here. (expect streaming
breaks due to high user numbers).
And no, this is not limited to Tampa. A similar
report is coming out of the St. Louis Post Dispatch which had
one of their reports arrested. Five others were arrested
What's more concerning is that the "White
House to Democrats: Punch back twice as hard'" doesn't sound
like we will get too much conciliatory breathing space any time
Since we've had plenty of time to see this coming (in predictive
linguistics modelspace) we are now in what appears to be a
building period that will culminate by early November in talk of
activating (if not actually) activating continuity of
What one sees - given a sense of detachment and noninvolvement -
is that the republicorp right is flexing its muscles
in beer hall putsch fashion, promoting disruption, since
that seems likely to track toward the kind of fascist security
apparatchik outcome that could be used to reinforce the power
position of the PowersThatBe. This is the group, as we've
come to learn, who are at the top of the food chain currently,
but which in modelspace seem destined to wildly misjudge the
It will be hard for people not to buy into the 'shock and awe'
of events now building, but since we've had plenty of heads up
time, we've laid in a good supply of popcorn.
Reasonable discussion's a good thing, like the "Rowdy
crowd grills congressmen over health care reform" in
Arkansas, but in the reports like "Tempers
flare in South Florida over healthcare" I wonder "cui bono"?
The answer seems in all probability those 300 (or so) families
that write checks to both sides of the political aisle and keep
the masses appeased with the drama and intrigue of right/left
politics when it's really a have/have-not game. That the
head of a major pharmaceutical company had his home attacked in
Switzerland recently wasn't widely reported; Elaine just
happened to catch it in one of her pharmaceutical industry
newsletters she's still getting from doing some head hunting in
You did catch the Drudge Report headline this morning "VIDEO:
UNION THUGS UNLEASHED"? Plays right into the globalists
Commanding the Heights
I've recommended several times in the past that you read The Commanding Heights : The Battle for the World Economy
since it may give you a better sense of how the divide & conquer
game is played by the factions who are at battle. In it,
the important role of communications comes into play.
Why mention this? Well, because "Facebook
confirms DoS attack same day as Twitter" is out in PC World.
The lead-in to this is that a "Hacker
attacks silence Twitter, slow Facebook".
But in view of how effectively Western tweets were used to whip
up things in Iran in opposition to their ongoing government, I
think I see the outline of some testing here to try and de-tweet
and defacebook the potential for use of such potential flash mob
tools for things like congressional meeting disruption and mass
demonstrations against the bankster class and so on.
--- snip and save section ---
With the Free Market Cult
Before a share a most interesting email with you, I think it's
worth mentioning that America still has the potential to return
to her ideals and 'restore the dream', but we are going through
a long overdue period which might perhaps be view by future
economic historians as 'the great rebalancing' times.
In other words, we have to come to terms with those so-called
'free market' types who believe that free markets are the
answer to all things economic that ail you.
Just as a for-instance: One reasons that America has an
unemployment problem is that jobs have been 'offshored' at a
horrific rate. Without assigning of value judgments to it,
this is something that's at once predictable, but which will
(and has) caused huge economic displacement.
Under the guise of 'freedom' there's a class of capitalists
which has sent IT jobs (just to name a particular group
hard-hit) and sent those jobs to places like India. Seems
whenever I have a software issue (not often) I inevitably end up
talking to someone with an odd accent who goes through a
scripted approach trying to solve my problem which is no more
than what was in the product documentation the product was
shipped with, or is contained in the online knowledgebase.
Such things grate on my nerves.
Along the same line, the local pest control outfit came out for
its periodic battle with the colony of brown recluses (recli?)
that periodically migrate to the area of the house. "We're
going to have to use (some unpronounceable) chemical today
because with can't get good supplies of
out of Kenya..."
If there was any doubt in my mind that the work of producing
hazardous chemicals has been sent to the second or third world,
it was erased by the local pest control guy telling "Nope, can't
get that here lately..."
While we could manufacture such chemicals in the USA, that would
be a lot more expensive than shipping such things to
Kenya, or if you're old enough to remember,
Bhopal, India, where a 1984 chemical disaster killed an
estimated 18,000 people.
Life, and the density of lawyers/per/capita, was lower in India
at the time, so one could observe that offshoring was a good
thing from the financial perspective. But is 'economic
freedom' and the chant of the
Laissez-faire choir would have us believe that what I
describe as the 'long-chain capitalism molecule' is the only and
best one available.
While at one extreme, wild-eyed profiteers will outsource to
lowest production cost countries, the other side of the argument
is that excessive government is equally bad. But, what's
been going on here lately in America is that the 'hands off/free
market' people are trying to shirk ownership of outsourcing and
the lack of industry in America, as evidenced by a trip to
Wal-Mart, or damn near any other large broad-spectrum retailers:
Seems like darned near everything is made anywhere but
Not that we don't need outfits like EPA and what have you, but
we're now at the point in the
America where we could easily topple from a horrific financial
imbalance which neither the government expansionists, nor the
Laissez-faire choir are talking about, namely the woeful decline
of an American manufacturing Middle Class.
When you get into the guts of today's unemployment report,
you'll see that in Table A, we have (using round numbers here)
about 131,000,000 people in the non-farm labor force, but of
these, abou8t 12,000,000 are actually making goods these
days. The rest of it has been outsourced.
To put a number to it, the number of people 'making things' is
less than 1 in 10.
contrast, we have what's pushing up toward 23-million people who
are employed in government. That means - extrapolating
things forward a few years - we ought to arrive at the ugly
state of affairs where one person in five works for government
while less than one in ten makes things.
Thinking of it this way: Put manufacturing people on one
side of a teeter-totter (1 in 11 people) and put government
people on the other end (1 in 5) and ask me which way the
teeter-totter is going to swing? Answer: Toward even more
government. That's just how teeter-totters work, isn't it?
What most economists won't fess up to is that the huge bundle of
humanity that's in the 'services' sector, about 63-million
people in retail, professional services, education, and
hospitality, roughly half of the employment picture,
don't really care who they pedal their wares to; a government
worker's money spends just as good as a factory worker's when
you get right down to it. The services sector in the
middle of the teeter-totter doesn't have much skin in the game
one way or the other.
problem, however, is that as government begets more government,
we end up with a uniquely Americanized kind of fascism which I
somewhat rigorously define as the merger of manufacturing
capitalists (Let's go to China!) and government (Let's create
artificial employment!) which is why expanding the war in
Afghanistan is so important. Yeah, I'm sure there are some
Muslim extremists there, but it's not like we don't feed into
that through our actions and deeds. Most don't even know
about Bhopal, for example. It's possible, however that
Islam is up almost 3% since 1950 in India because incidents like
Bhopal are pretty good 'sales tools'.
What's more, I expect that Islam's growth will continue because
the Western corpgov model still depends on growth at its
core. Without growth, Western economies have to go through
periodic massive contractions (like the Second Depression that's
dawning here) in order to destroy capacity, repudiate debts, and
sort of reset the clock. The Islamists, meantime, a
selling a different concept - a society which is not ;based on
the 'constant-growth' model to the same extent, since under
Sharia economics, everyone does buy-sell deals and those can
continue whether the economy is going up or down.
hope is to bring runaway capitalism to heel, something that got
out of control when interest rate caps were repealed on credit
card companies in the late 1960's ;which in turn set the 'new
framework' for America, namely the growing conditions that led
to financial products being more profitable than manufacturing
and core industry.
don't suppose you run into many people who look at economics as
a huge marketing exercise, but count me squarely in that camp.
The lifeblood of any economic system is money flows and money
will flow to the highest rates of return, molding society along
the way. Since credit card outfits can charge 30% (and
more) even after so-called reform, that doesn't even begin to
reverse the trend. Consequently, as the housing bubble
continues to implode (and we will likely get a fair number of
forced bank reorganizations after the close again today after
the market closes when the FDIC prints its weekly victim list)
we're just giving more fresh ammunition to the people who would
like to see America fail.
That we need to oppose.
This may seem obvious, but if the Western Christian-Judeo model
(1.5-2 billion people) is to survive the competition from the
emergent Islamic model (0.5-1.3 billion people and growing
faster) it's obvious (at least to me) that we've got to 'get in
the game' by recognizing that they've got a family-centric,
values based, no interest charging model, which is a pretty easy
sell to people who see images of Western consumptions via
Western paradigm controlled mass media at virtually every turn.
Didn't mean to get off on a Peoplenomics-like rant here, but
there were two emails I got yesterday which I wanted to address.
One guy wrote in and wondered why I didn't just give away my
consulting services and Peoplenomics - and why doesn't Cliff
give his work away free? Well, duh...since we are living
in a high cost world (where monetizing everything is the
national sport, I'm a realist enough to where I don't feel like
being the first to be beggared, thanks. Do I look like an
idiot? I still gotta eat and support a couple of terabytes
of bandwidth and processing; more so for Cliff's work where tB's
second email was from my friend the 'well informed investor' who
reminded me that some 700 Post Offices are going to be closed
nationally as the Postal Service cuts expenses:
"I just had the idea of looking
at the statistics for the Post Office, and I found out that
the entire deficit for 2008 would have been covered by
charging 48 cents for each first class letter rather than 45
cents. What would FedEx or UPS charge? (Not to say that I
think all of the shortfall should be covered by first class
mailings, but the numbers were so compelling that way that I
stopped right there.
Even today, the Post Office
could turn a multibillion dollar profit by charging only 55
cents per letter. Can private companies even come close?
Re:// If they raised the price
to 80 cents, guess who would be the first to
I think it would be hilarious if
they announced an increase to 80 cents with the stated
reason that they wanted to run it like a real business. When
the howls of anger erupt, they could say they'll reconsider
when their competition starts delivering letters for 79
Then the next step would be to
pick up only once a week unless that address has sent or
received letters in the past month. The customer would have
to maintain a level of at least two pieces of mail sent
every week to qualify for 5x a week pickup. Pickup would
only be when receiving mail, otherwise. Forget Saturdays.
That costs extra, same as with FedEx.
Pretty soon we'd have a hue and
cry that mail delivery can't be left to private enterprise.
Re: //If they raised the price
to 55 cents, guess who would be the first to
If the postal service raised the
price on each piece of mail by 11 cents, they would achieve
a 25% net profit on operations. By the way, that includes
over 10% of gross receipts held aside for retirement
benefits, meaning these people will not burden social
security or Medicare at retirement.
Let's hear it again how
inefficient the government really is when it runs something
I wonder if FedEx or UPS could
compete with 58 cent letter delivery costs?
Here are the numbers for 2009,
in a major downturn with a decline in unit sales above 10%.
Not many high volume businesses I can think of handle that
kind of decline without showing a loss, but what the hey,
let's have it turn a profit!
Leading The News...
GAO: Postal Service in financial disarray By Jordy Yager
Posted: 08/06/09 03:42 PM [ET]
---"The United States Postal
Service (USPS) is in financial disarray, with plummeting
levels of mail being sent and heathcare costs for retirees
increasing, according to a report released Thursday by an
investigative arm of Congress."
--- The report says the PO
“has not been able to cut costs fast enough to offset the
accelerated decline in mail volume and revenue.”
---"The USPS is experiencing its
largest percentage decline in mail sent since the severe
drop it took during the Great Depression...."
---"The decline is expected to
result in a net loss of $7 billion, with total outstanding
debt levels reaching $10.2 billion,..." (go
read the rest of the story)
No, the Western financial model is
not yet in an intractable position, but it's quickly getting
What I'm afraid of is that so few
people see the larger context of socioeconomic developments
today, that a collision major religious/values paradigms
seems inevitable over the longer scale of history while the
world is march ever-faster toward that showdown because of
a myopic focus on short term economic performance.
All of which would be terribly
interesting to watch from the perspective of an off-planet life
form. It's be like seeing a couple of competing ant
colonies trying to get along in the same ant farm. There
might be skirmishes now and then till the ant farm is full.
But, the real excitement is about to begin now that the ant farm
is essentially full and the ants are going to have to fight over
the little bit of food and resource that's left.
Policies like projecting a national
presence over 143 countries and fighting perimeter wars with the
other ant colonies unfortunately amounts to synthetic sugars.
At some point, ants which communicate via pheromones go to war
at a colony-versus-colony level, just as the West which
communicates at a testosterone level, goes to war with all that
dare oppose us.
Whether they'll own up to it, or
not, the 'free market cult' aligning with the shadow government
amounts to a very dangerous class of warrior ants.
Something to think about when you
roll up your sleeve for a shot in the next couple of months,
Can Government Control
Several people wrote in yesterday
saying, in some many words, "George, you're fulla-sh*t.
Government can't control your car by satellite, and neither can
anyone else..." Oh? Pinch your nose and read a
little bit of reality...
I work the company that is
developing a next-generation On-Star like system for (brand
withheld). I'm not working on the project, so I don't know
all the details.
Its built on cell-phone
technology, not satellite. Satellite is still a couple of
years off (until Terrestar and similar guys get going).
Anyway, they do have theft and
other features that can turn your car off. You are right to
I believe on-Star is just about
the only thing that has this kind of remote control today.
Now, need some tinfoil?
Friday August 7, 2009
If you're not fully awake yet, and have noticed that the price
of gold had jumped $7.40 (at press time) and silver was pressing
in on $15.00 again, then you may not understand
what the Bank of England did this morning as they have decided
to hold interest rates, but print up more 'money' so they can
turn around and buy more bonds.
What's going on in the world right now is that countries which
have huge debt problems (and collapsing housing markets) are
trying to print up just enough money to cause enough
inflation to offset incipient deflation which (unnoticed
by most) has already landed us in the Second Depression.
One of the ugly possibilities of the August 22 turn date
is that since it falls on a Saturday (when markets are closed)
the door seems open for a terrorist event. The timing
would be almost too convenient, and a letter that arrived
anonymously from a reader yesterday got me to thinking through a
chilling scenario which I'll lay out (for Peoplenomics.com
subscribers this weekend) by connecting some dots
about the FEMA 'training exercise' and what I worry about could
be in the works.
Oh, related is this gem:
Oil falls to near $71 as inventories rise.
Understanding finance any more is little more than understanding
of how interlocking circular references work. A kind of
Keplerian view of the financial solar system.
Mechanistic, perhaps, but seems to work.
Do As We Say...
congress has ordered up three more executive jets to
ferry the representatives of the people around somehow got
to be the second thing to 'stick in my craw' this morning.
Let me see if I have this right The middle class is likely
to go through a BOHICA on income taxes and the folks in
Washington are now too good to fly commercial like the rest of
us? And you thought it was bad when they just flew First
Class? LOL, those were the days, weren't they?
In It For The Money
The headline this morning that "Murdock
vows to charge for all online content" as reported in the
Financial Times has gotten me to wondering: So if they
really do this, will they continue to run RSS feeds? And,
if they do that, isn't it setting the stage to end RSS by
turning it into just another advertising channel full of
commercials...??? My pondering continues, but seems like a
valid question, doesn't it? I want to see how they handle
the micropayments, too.
Think of it this way: People will pay for real news
(health, heart, weather and pocketbook) but depending on the
rates, who needs it? Over 70% of what's pawned off as 'news'
(last time I checked) was essentially clever rewrite of
a handful of government economic sites, White House hand-outs
and background 'briefer' whispers, business info you can get
free if you have a trading account and oh, let's not forget
Possible upside? Murdoch's approach may actually cause the
de-emphasis of what I call useless news - you know, that
bling-thing and who's being Idol'ed, ratings mania and
box-office takes and such. The cool part is that it could
become a circular social process over some period of time (5-10
years) where making people pay for show-biz hype causes falling
revenues, that in turn might result in less bling-things, which
in turn could spiral us away from the me-me-me'ness of HWoood.
Ask yourself - just for example: How much would you pay
to know that "Aerosmith's
Steven Tyler falls from state in South Dakota"?
Not sure what Murdoch's marketing people have in mind, but think
about it: Would you pay 1¢ to
lean about Tyler's misfortune? On the other hand, some
news, like plans of congress to increase taxes, that
might be valuable in some way. But how much? And at
the extreme, how much would you pay to learn that nuclear war is
breaking tomorrow? $1? $1,000?
And who's going to set the price?
Weather news is already free. So are financial details of major
companies for anyone who knows where to look. UFO reports?
Stick around - this would make a great marketing paper if you're
in business school...
Oh - might want to mention "News
Corp. reports loss on web writedowns, Ad Drop" in there
somewhere, too. Maybe by trying to turn up the price of
the net, he can save his print operations? No
telling...but an interesting strategic question, for sure.
Cuts Both Ways
I got a lot of flack for reporting on the Israeli invasion of
Gaza. On the other hand, we do keep things fair and
balanced by reporting that
"Hamas rocket attacks
'war crimes' according to Human Rights Watch. (No,
that doesn't infringe on a word mark at the Trademark
office...those are words in the English language, lol)
Call Scully and Mulder...
Folks down in
Florida have reported more than five alien encounters in the
woods down that-a-way over the past four months. My
theory? They're checking foreclosures to buy up...
But seriously: Suppose you were an alien and you showed up
on Earth and were checking out the planet to possible membership
in the intergalactic cultural exchange program, how would you
rate the third rock?
cohesive set of omni-goals for humanity (e.g. spiritual
enlightenment and not working might be nice)
universal appreciation and dedication to 'service to others'
fine tradition of fighting over everything
stupid system we call 'finance' where we write zeros on
pieces of paper and then try to get as many as we can from
Then we buy the biggest, most environmentally irresponsible
toys and then (this is really bizarre)...
all buy guns to defend ourselves from one another...
Not to mention how we tax one another and so forth.
are some 'truths' that I expect a more advanced civilization
might have already figured out.
You can't steal from someone without a whole framework of
And if you share everything, you wouldn't worry about owning
it, would you?
but that's not the world we live on. So we go on,
fighting, stealing and making a fine game of it. Like kids
in a nursery, isn't it? And we wonder what happens in the
longer term of history?
wait...let's go warp space-time with the Large Hadron and go
bomb the moon, shall we?
"Psychological barriers hobble climate action"? Oh,
you mean like big houses and flying to global warming meetings
in a private jet? Monetizing carbon problems by trading
paper and setting up a new paper and zero game around it?
That kinda thing?
Sometimes I waken at night sweating and fearful that all the
biblical 'judgment day' stuff is what happens with
space-brothers (dimension brothers) show up to see what we've
been up to and decide "Nope...this ant farm ain't doing so good.
Let's level it, change up the DNA of a few ants and rerun the
experiment again..." Oh boy....
shown up in China. Suspected to have come from a dog,
three are dead and 10,000 are under strict quarantine.
Have I, or have I not warned you about pets?
Can't help but notice that things in the weather department are
going a bit wonkers today. There's a story that down
waters receive warm boost" but that's a little foreign to
folks in Aridzona who are facing record temps. Temps down
are expected to be in the 109+ area today after hitting
records over the past couple of days in nearby parts of the
state. Also a heat advisory in East Texas today for triple
digits in some area. With any luck we'll only hit 99...
--- snip and save section ---
Why There Be Pitchforks
I had a couple of emails on Wednesday that were very grim in
their implications. One, just for example, sent along a
fine commentary by a writer who posed the correct issue of "545
versus 300,000,000" and connected a fair number of dots that
explains why the federal government is so anxious to table
some kind of success in damn near anything so that
they'll be able to get back to the old way of doing things; the
'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' that prevails now
that the bloodless checkbook coup d' tat of the special
interests has been pulled off in Washington with the complicity
of those in the 'shadow government' who pretend (by day) to be
looking after the public's needs, interests, and concerns, but
as soon as many leave office, they turn into (by night) what we
lovingly refer to as the minions of the PowersThatBe.
They're called 'captive regulators' by kindlier folks than me.
While it's true that some members of congress have felt a
bit of heat lately, the hope among hopes is that enough people
will be swindled into giving up their paid-for cars and saddled
with new car payments in the Cash-for-Clunkers (C4C) hoax that
not only will old cars be taken off the road, the coffers of the
banksters refilled on interest, but another new tool for command
and control will be in place; the ability to turn off
automobiles with the flip on a star (if'n you follow my drift)
assuming you've read about those 'experiments' that have been
carried out in a few places over the past couple of years,
including rural Colorado by one report a while back.
People are not conditioned to thinking for themselves, and yet
on my checklist of features on any new automobile we might buy
there is a very important one: No satellite connection.
While it's true that satellite for entertainment purposes is a
nice thing to have, or an XM subscription if you want a moving
map display in your Lear Jet is nice, I've heard enough 'buzz'
about satellites being able to 'turn off' cars (down to idle
only) such that I have made a conscious decision not to
buy such a beast.
By the same token, we now watch only 'free to air'; channels
using an FTA satellite system because the satellite providers
kept wanting me to hook up a phone cord to my satellite
receiver. While it's true that's how they transmit the
information on PPV movies back to their billing office, I have
nothing in writing that either bans them from tracking my other
viewing habits, hours, and so on, and besides, there's no way
for me to audit their information. No, I don't take that
'they have cameras inside them' seriously. Video takes
That said, however, no satellite connection to the car, a whole
bunch of disc ceramic capacitors on critical wiring in the car
(to bypass stray or intentional RF energy) and a couple of
ZapStop high speed diodes in the alternator/battery line to
ground and I figure like that battery bunny on TeeVee...I'll
maybe be ...still going....
"Lord o' Goshen, George, however does this relate to economics
or pitchforks?" you're aptly wondering about now.
Ah... I bet you were going to wonder how it is that us taxpayers
can pay for a whole space program and then have monthly
satellite bills off transponders where we paid for the program
development, probably the rocket launching and so forth?
Well, no, my complaint is with things a bit more earthly:
For example the headline that "About
half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011."
Not following me yet? Try this headline on for size:
to make $43.7M TARP payment." Which means that (if the
coffee is working) the federal government is getting 5% on its
preferred stock investment ala TARP while regular investors who
can't throw $3.5 billion around have been getting 5% if I am
penciling this out correctly. But says over here that (if
I have the coffee working) that regular investors are looking at
a forward yield of 0.90% - nine-tenth's of one percent.
Not to pick on Regions - a good operation - but seems to me it's
symptomatic of how government operates lately. No, it's
not an Obama administration deal, either. It was
started by Hank Paulson and that Alan deity knight fellow before
him...Easy Al the Bubble Pal.
You & I may have the concept that 'government is of the people,
by the people and for the people' but here lately, I'm getting a
lot of email from folks wondering how come government (and those
we elect) have been ignoring the will of the people so
much. Seems to be a building trend ever since the Johnson
administration came up with it's laundry list of 'entitlements'
which, though it may have seemed like a good idea at the time,
we ought to remember has to be paid for, and guess who gets
stuck with that?
We're in a very curious time now when the right wingers are
whipping up anger at congressional town hall meetings (although
not without reason) and the only course left congress is to try
and paper things over just long enough to hand it back to the
But when you get right (as in directionally) down to it, the
problems of America are not right versus left, democons versus
republicorps at all.
It's that we the people let government get out of control and
let special interests start buying their way (voters be damned)
It's a hard thing to wrap your head around, but it brings me to
this morning's point: If you look at who pays for
government and who gets a return on that investment, it's mostly
we pay and some 'they' reaps the benefit. Which explains
why satellite rates for home TV are so high, why government can
turn off cars, get 5% of its money, and fix things so that
insiders and Gold in Sacks kind of outfits make out like
bandits, while half of all U.S. mortgages will be underwater by
Not too much to be done about it, but it at least lays out the
playing field so as I do the play-by-play on what's ahead,
you'll know why one team is grumbling down in the locker room
about sharpening up pitchforks.
Imitation and Theft
We keep seeing outfits pop up that are giving away free
(modified) copies of the predictive linguistics reports out of
All kinds of modifications it seems being promoted by the
minions of the PTB who don't want the originals of the work out
Just a reminder: If the so-called report you got was free, it's
probably been modified in some way - a slimy (not to mention
illegal) thing at best and an attempt to memeer (induce various
thought viruses) to influence your otherwise clear thinking on
things. So if you're planning to rip us off, sorry, but if
you can't afford the lousy $10 bucks, I suppose you deserve
whatever modified/cocked up crap you get. Does play nicely
into the PTB's efforts though. But, if you want to
be part of the PTB's minion class, go for it. We're
keeping track of who the sold-out folks are and there are at
least half a dozen marked up/changed versions out and about
Got a real kick out of one such PTB-rip-off site that portrays
me as CFO of the web bot project. Just so you know:
Cliff owns the project outright and I have no financial interest
in it at all and don't make a dime off it. That said, we
are friends and exchange info and I contribute to
the project because it has high value. But ROFLMAO...of
we must be pissing the PTB off but good. (Another
telltale: the disinfo sites usually don't have any contact info
and are run by folks ostensibly outside the USA because
(no surprise here) we have lawyers, too...the term stupid
dickheads comes to mind, but it's a little early for that kind
Still, I expect most of the freeloaders and shallow thinkers
won't realize how they're being played.
Some Kids ARE Thinking
Two signs that kids may actually have one or two more brain
cells than we give them credit for: One is the
headline in the Guardian that "It's
SO over: cool cyberkids abandon social networking sites".
Duh. Tweets is near twits in my dictionary of life.
Other thing is that at least one parent I know has explained
recent (to a son) that "If you want to go visit your girlfriend
and need money for the trip, you better get on the phone and
rustle up some work." Seems so obvious once you grow up to
the point of realizing that mom & dad ain't gonna provide
everything and if you have big wants, hard work is the first
step to getting them.
Strange as this may seem if you're under 18, parents are not
Unless, of course, you happen to be an alien wandering around
the woods of Florida. Perspective has a lot to do with it.
Wednesday August 5, 2009
Tuning My Outlook
A number of people have asked me about the expected August 22
date that has come out in the predictive linguistics work.
"Is the market going to crash that day?" is a typical question.
The short answer is No!
In fact, what comes along August 22 should be almost
invisible except to the aware observer. It will likely be
something related to the derivatives problems reappearing, or it
may be something similarly quite subtle, but it in retrospect
later in the year it should mark the start of the snowball that
turns into the avalanche later on as summer transitions to fall.
You saw, I trust that "Cathay
Pacific to Park 6 Passenger Planes After 27% Sales Slump"
and how "Adidas
Q2 net profit falls 93 percent"? Even venerable flight
to safety beneficiary "P&G
fourth quarter profit declines as Consumers Curb spending."
Although the unemployment figures are coming out day after
tomorrow, the real unemployment situation is worse than most
realize simply because of how the numbers work out. The
National Bank of Dad is making a $300 contribution toward rent
today to daughter Denise who hasn't been able to find a job
while in the nursing program at a local college in Seattle.
She's typical of what I have to assume are tens of thousands of
20-something to 30-somethings who are unemployed, yet can't find
work, but are not counted as unemployed because they have run
out of benefits. Yep, she's at the one year mark and
the Seattle area unemployment suck - as it does over most of the
That's why the most important number coming out this week
will be the Consumer Debt figures from the Fed on Friday
afternoon. If we see a level or declining consumer debt
number, then I will be very confident of put
option shopping. Not that winnings on the short side
will pay off, but I look at this as a gigantic-sized lotto
Since the whole economic system is based on getting as many
people into debt as possible, you can see how the
Cash-4-Clunkers program is so important? It is creating
debt without which, we might as well crash right now, this
week, and get it over with.
Still, hope springs eternal in the greed of men which goes a
fair ways toward explaining the Wall Street Journal headlining
Steadies the Ship" with their optimistic take on Lloyds
outlook. Not that optimism is a bad thing, in fact I've
been accused of being overly optimistic a number of times.
But, we do want to be able to pass a breathalyzer and pee test
at all times, so now and then Reality intrudes.
Best guess at what's ahead? No warranties and this is NOT
financial advice, But...
August 22 (thereabouts) Derivatives problems reappear in the
weekend press reports. Maybe something scary after the
Friday (21st) close. Maybe FDIC closes some huge
number of banks?
Following weak, market drifts down with sharp rallies
offsetting things to let the Big Boys out.
Mid September, downside action building. Short term
panic low maybe around the 15th and a chance to play a
bounce rally into the option expiration.
Month end rally.
October 25th Iran bombing or market crash date.
November 4-8 Administration under fire for something
or other and getting very defensive.
Now, all of this is just a wild guess, but it would
mostly fit linguistics and so it's my outlook for now.
Job Crash Continues
latest Reuters/ADP employment poll projecting 371,000 jobs lost
in July sure doesn't feel like green 'shoots'. Some
other spelling comes to mind. Market was expecting 350,000
but here at the National Bank of Dad the 'help with rent' call
was the early tipoff.
New Economic Recovery
Oh, here we go: "Senators,
Advisers urge Obama to more than double Afghan forces."
By which they mean US forces committed to the defense of
pipeline routes and control of opium poppy lands...
Cynical Me? I'd be appointing a new czar of 'next
war' so we get another resource waster lined up.
Not Exactly Democracy
Here's one from our "Actions speak louder than words" file:
"Iraq to impost controls on internet." Freedom?
Purple fingers? Sure, controls on the internet on sites
that incite violence and push porn seem OK on the
I keep thinking freedom is a lot like pregnancy.
You either got it, or you don't. Must be a personality
fault of mine; sorry to have brought it up.
Speaking of the electronic frontier, word that the U.S. "Marines
Ban Twitter, MySpace, Facebook" actually makes sense. No,
not that as a taxpayer I mind building networks at taxpayer
expense to move twits (tweets? Ha! I'm talking the
people who get sucked down the time-wasting useless comms hole)
about. It's that I expect that 1) it'd be too easy in an
actual combat situation to give away vital info (loose lips sink
what?) and 2) we just mobilized much of Iran tweeting them, eh?
Danger: If communications is not part of an action plan,
it's a time sink. Life's to short & valuable - every second of
it - to dribble out my wifi link. Maybe yours isn't?
I look for the market to go higher for at least another week now
that we've had one of those curiously timed mass murder events,
this one in the Pittsburgh area. Odd that yesterday's
hypothetical new client in Pittsburgh, huh? I could
have said any other city...so when things like this happen, I
just go "Hmmmm...future leak? I wonder...why did I pick that
About Those Quakes
Quite a lot of 6+ magnitude earthquakes these days,
considering there are usually 10-20/year. This seems
definitely significant. Question is: was the California
quake a double whopper, or was quake #2 the Japanese or NZ
one? Looks really like a triple whopper to me
Like I said yesterday, it's hard telling. What struck me
as really strange was yesterday afternoon at 1:37 PM, I
got the email from the USGS list server that the smaller of the
two 6+ Mexico quakes was "REVISED".
This underscores the problem with linguistics: While we
can catch BIG things, when there are a whole bunch of similar
items (as in the three/four/ quakes), and then the USGS does an
email update right in the watch period, it all cooks into an
'earthquake stew' which is hardly worth sorting out.
Two thoughts on this, though: One is that we were watching
the History Channel yesterday which had all kinds of earthquake
stuff on it and I remarked how strange it is that a guy with a
computer and a vision of how consciousness works can
out-predict, at least from a timing model standpoint, the
millions upon millions the government pours into such research.
Second point: Even if we could get the location
down more accurately, how many people would really prepare?
Oh, one other item: Reader wanted me to mention that
staying out of stairwells in an earthquake is a damn fine idea.
doorways and under desks is fine,
of life is still debated, but it makes sense to me.
But remember, I got kicked out of engineering school for
calculator when slipsticks were required. Now that I
have looked into the future a bit, I appreciate them more and
have a couple around. You never know in a post apocalyptic
world when someone might come up to you and ask "What was the
exponent of the money flow decline that just destroyed earth?"
Let me check the Ln scale...
--- snip and save section ---
with Contradictory Indicators
When Pappy was in charge of running a fire station in the West
Seattle outback, or it might have been Station 28 before that
when he was down in Rainier Valley (garlic gulch it was because
a high percentage of Seattle's fine Italian residents lived
there), he was often referred to as the 'encyclopedia' by other
firemen of the time. A typical firehouse discussions would
begin over this, or that triviality, and pretty soon someone
would yell "Hey Cap! What the [insert damn obscure
Not too many years later, in my broadcast journalist day, I
worked with a fellow by the name of Don Clark and besides
spinning Top 40 discs at the old KOL AM/FM (before it became
KMPS in September of 1975) Don had a feature on his show called
"The Answer Man". A typical incoming phone call would go
something like this:
"The Answer Man is in...you're on KOL..."
Caller: "We're arguing about the battle of Lexington.
What year it is?"
"It's 1974...you are so hopelessly out of touch...." (music
And that was the sum of it. Short, but funny quips, but
all factually correct in their absurdity.
It's in this tradition of knowing but remembering the joy of
absurdity, that we go to emails like this one:
recall that you recommended the N100 over the N95.
The N100 sounds like a useful
product to filter out most contaminants. (http://www.natlallergy.com/product.asp?pn=1167&bhcd2=1249415790)
and actually claims to be
effective against airborne viruses like flu and SARS.
But it only claims to capture
97% of particles at .3 microns (3 x 10 ** -7 meters).
However, Wikipedia says the
following about viruses: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus)
"Viruses are about 1/100th the
size of bacteria. Most viruses that have been studied have a
diameter between 10 and 300 nanometres."
The 300 nanometer maximum size
of a virus is the same as the .3 micron mentioned above.
Smaller viruses would pass right through this filter.
Flu viruses, according to Wiki,
are only 50 to 120 nm in size. That's only .05 to .12
So I feel obligated to question
the effectiveness of the N100 mask for filtering viruses.
It's good that you're looking at viruses. But remember
this (it's the whole key here (or its that keyhole...whatever).
Viruses don't generally go walk-about on their own. They
use a carrier.
In the case of people sneezing, the live virus is contained in
mucosal fluids which are expelled at largish diameters as an
aerosolized fluid. The more fluids are running, and the
stronger the cough/sneeze or what have you, the finer the
droplets. But mostly they are contained in that
aerosolized droplet form which is why N-100 works better than
P.S. if the musocal fluid becomes hard from evaporation and
people start to sneezing that, I recommend one of those clear
plastic shields that police hide behind in riots.
Preferably Lexan or some high impact/non-shattering variety.
"George, You really do owe your loyal followers an
explanation as to how you can write such a gloom and doom
prediction of coming events (10 Days in October) and then
today write such an upbeat column where you go to great
lengths describing your plans to resume flying and even
discussing stock market possibilities next year!!!! What
kind of coffee do you drink anyway? I include a quote from
the end of your article from Sunday: "It's really much worse
than this; it's the vision of what those of us who look at
how bad the future could be this year worry about." Come on
now, whats going on? Are we headed toward a third-world
lifestyle or not. I am dazed and confused in Missouri."
Excellent question! Remember the old mantra "Hope for the
best, prepare for the worst"? Well, that's what the plane
is about. In order to have a high motivation I like to
have 'sparklies' out there in the future from which I can draw
energy. In other words, if you have a dream, major goal,
or aspiration that you really, really, really, want, then
drawing energy out of Universe to create that goal is simple as
On the other hand, if I were to just look at the gloomy stuff,
I'd probably be in a small institutional box or cowering in a
dark room somewhere, and what kind of Like would that be?
As a result I find myself working on various fun projects that I
really enjoy (home remodeling, ham radio, doing a little
community service like building a web site for the local
volunteer fire department which should come on line in the next
week or three, maybe even doing a year or two of fire
volunteering, keeping an antique sports car up, and getting my
pilot's license current again and maybe doing some of that with
Every one of this projects has the potential to be a
useful tool of the future no matter how badly things turn out in
the future. Think I'm kidding? Consider these
Remodeling is a fine way to build shelter-making skills.
A roof leak now, when you've got a Lowes to run to for parts
and materials is a lot easier than if there's a systemic
collapse. So you can use the occasion to read up on
how NOT to make a roof leak and join the
Society for Creative
Anachronism so you can get current with some of your
Middle Ages skills. Also helps when you have a
discussion with a colleague (Cliff) about the virtues of
post & beam construction, of you are laying in supplies for
an emergency tipi.
The community service work is marvelous because it gets you
out & about around all kinds of people who you would never
meet if you went into 'recluse mode'. Just yesterday,
for example, the VFD fire chief dropped by for a few
minutes, Elaine & I dropped by the local ham radio club for
the quarterly hamburger dinner fund-raiser (about
30-hams showed up), talked to two who are members of the VFD
about the upcoming training session my son's flying in to do
(Thursday night, 6:30 PM at the Anderson County Courthouse
Annex). Then we dropped by the VFD business meeting,
said 'Howdy!" and took some pictures for their web site.
If the you-know-what ever hit the fan, I will have
communications plus a whole bundle of people who I will know
by sight as being local 'good guys' who I won't have to zero
in our defensive perimeter on...
Antique sports car? One non-monetary way to store
value after you have everything else covered. If you
need a fast bug-out ride, something that will do 160-plus
and keeping up those skills is potentially useful,
although the high speed exit seems unlikely...
The pilot's license? Same thing: Multiple uses:
Client use in normal times and in not-so-normal times, it's
a way to get out of Dodge and up to 2,000 feet (or higher)
land in a hurry without the bother of choked off freeways.
Alternative, Universe may need me to steal and airplane or
take over the controls of one some day...
experience is that people get paralyzed when they don't have one
or two big projects in view ahead of the one they are currently
working on. If Elaine finds herself getting bogged down in
the house, or if my office starts to looking cluttered, you know
how we fix that? We invite a guest (or guests) here.
Nothing is a better project kick-starter than having people
over. They need to see change, right?
Another aspect of it having something to look forward to.
A large number of people I meet don't have much going on in
their life. People who get a lot done usually have a lot
on their agenda., thus the old saying "If you want to get
something done, give it to a busy man (or woman)..." That
way, even if you're not into the Zen of the Moment on a project,
you can always look up at the next project - one you are really,
really, really looking forward to, and draw inspiration from.
is a warning, however: Sometimes you'll get too many
projects doing which is why my well-drilling project is stalled.
Just too darned much going on to finish it at the moment and so
my motivation is to plan to use the drill rig for a 'super
ground' for the ham station here. In other words, in order
to get more enjoyment out of ham radio (strongest signal on the
band) I need to get my tower up and a 'super ground' built.
That means I need to get the well drilling rig freed up to help
drill the hole for the ham radio tower foundation pour so it's
ready when the tower base steel from Tashjian Towers shows up
and as long as I need concrete for the ham radio project, that
would be a fine time to pour the pad for the new carport (or
will it be garage?) that Elaine wants before we get a new car.
See how this stuff cascades?
build, dream ,some more, build some more. That's how life
works when you get a little 'fire in the belly'. Saddest
thing I can think of is people with no dreams because without
them there are no meaningful goals and without those,
then there's no big rewards and huge satisfaction of a good
90-year fight to wrestle all the fruits out of this life you
up the ugliest situation you can ever place yourself in, and
then put some incredibly fun/cool one on the far side of it.
You'll find the present ugly situation will get more bearable,
the misery will go quickly and you'll soon be at the pleasant
part of Life again. At least it works that way for me.
Being open to any future that comes along gives youi a lot more
choices and as Cliff is fond of noting: "Chance favors the
One other thing: If you are dazed and confused in Missouri,
don't leave. You'll probably find yourself dazed and
confused in the next place you move, too. I know it seems
to follow me around like that...
A few folks who do have planes have been through my current
decision-making process: Get a slower (cheaper) plane, or
hold out for a 'complex' airplane. that's something that
has landing gear and an adjustable propeller.
Sidebar: Here's a good demonstration of my "Recipe
Approach to Life" reasoning: Statistically, you probably
haven't asked "Why have an adjustable propeller?" The
answer is simple: For a given number of horsepower, a
propeller can either take a thinner 'bite' which has more power
behind it, or it can take a thicker 'bite' which will move more
air faster. It's the same concept as changing out props on
a boat, too. One prop on a ski boat might be good for 'out
of the hole' pulling a skier, while a bigger bite prop will get
you higher speed, but have less pulling power from 0-20 until
the skier is pulled up. See how this recipe stuff works?
Everything in the world distills down to simple
'recipes/concepts' like this. Once you have the recipes,
anything is easy.
Since a fixed pitch prop is always a compromise (whether in
boats or planes) the variable pitch prop is great because it
gives you both the good 'out of the hole/takeoff climb
rate' yet it can be dialed back to take a bigger 'bite' and give
you the maximum airspeed in level flight. Nothing being
free, however, it's another control, one more thing to break,
one more item on the run-up checklist before takeoff, and
something else to maintain. Still, lots of readers like
I read you column everyday. Glad
to hear you are dusting off you pilot's license.
And even more glad to hear that
you like Mooneys. I have a '72 Cessna 150 (my first plane)
as well as a '65 Mooney M20C with an '88 M20J fuel injected
engine and cowling upgrade (basically a short J model now
with manual landing gear). I do love that "C" model Mooney
with the Johnson Bar gear... so easy and trouble free; no
worries if my electric ever goes out, as the gear still goes
down. Not sure why Mooney ever stopped making planes with
the Johnson Bar. They run circles around a Cessna 172 or
182, and I can get 165+ MPH on 8 to 10 gph, depending on the
altitude I am flying. And, I am adding a Power Flow Exhaust
right now (plane is in for its annual) to get another 10 MPH
or so with no extra fuel burn.
When calculating the cost, do
not forget: 1. the annual... they are expensive. $2,000 to
$4,000 per year, and more if the mechanic needs to fix some
problems...and there are ALWAYS some problem to fix 2. Cost
of avionics. Most of these older planes have old radios with
VOR, and maybe an old Loran or ADF. You may have to invest
in a good
WAAS GPS, at least a Garmin 496 if VFR only, which
requires an XM radio subscription if you want weather (I
recommend highly for safety). Add a Zeon traffic avoidance
box or a Garmin 330 transponder to plug into the Garmin to
see other planes, and you've spent more money but added a
lot more of safety. If you ever do IFR, then you'll spend
the big bucks to install a WAAS GPS...or just trade up to a
plane that already had such.
A Cessna 150 that "needs work"
will run you $18,000...plan to spend $8,000 to 10,000 in the
next few years cleaning it up. A good 150 with all that work
already done will run $25,000 to $30,000. Maybe they will
drop in price next year... or maybe inflation will raise
their costs higher... I'm hanging on to mine. Same goes for
the older Mooney's... a good C model will run you $50,000 or
so (no updated avionics). One less priced may have "issues"
so be careful. Here is a great website to read about
I love flying, and all that you
said in your article is true. I keep my Mooney always full
fuel for a quick departure in an emergency... ie, terrorist
attack on Houston, for example. The Cessna is a backup if
something happens to the Mooney... like you said, I can
still get out of here fast and get 250 miles or so (depends
on the wind direction, so maybe more) before refueling.
Don't dismiss the Light
Sports.... they are better (but more expensive) than the old
Cessna 150's. Most go 120 kts (138 mph) on 4.5 to 5 gallons
per hour, and NO medical is required. Only downside to
flying as a sport pilot is no IFR, and no night flying.
Good luck on getting airborne
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA's) are pretty interesting. There
are restrictions on them (e.g. can't carry as much and I did
mention about Elaine shopping, didn't I?
Another Mooney driver sends this:
"George, you are correct on your airplane ideas, as you seem
to be on many things.
I just returned from Oshkosh,
WI, in our 1988 Mooney M20J. Non stop from Wittman Field,
Oshkosh to Western NC in 4 hours and 20 minutes (headwind,
normally 4:05). True airspeed was 165 knots, slightly better
than book speed due to ongoing drag reduction work.
This is about 660 miles, flew
direct via GPS, at 9,500 and 11,500 using O2, to get to
altitudes for a burn rate of 9.7 GPH in cruise for range.
This is at 75 degrees rich of peak, you can do better lean
of peak. With 64 gallon tanks, we used 46.3 gallons at about
$3.80 per gallon, with two people onboard, at around 14 MPG
average. This is about $175.00 fuel cost one way, not bad
for two people, but that does not compare to being able to
come and go anytime you want to, without a shoe check or
advance planning to get a ticket that does not require a
loan. With the remaining 17.7 gallons, we landed in NC with
1.8 hours of fuel at 9.7 GPH cruise still in the tanks, and
that after non stop to NC from darn near Green Bay. Could
have made Atlanta with good reserve, and had headwinds all
day Saturday. You cannot beat a 4 cylinder Mooney M20J for
fuel efficiency and range if you needed an escape pod.
The 4 cylinder Lycoming variety
Mooney is the efficiency champion, and is strong and safe.
The 70's to early 80's M20J model is the best buy, with the
most speed per dollar, and fewer AD and wear and tear
problems than the older M20C's. It has the 200 HP fuel
injected engine, IO-360. Look at the 201 model, the ones
after Roy Lopresti improved them as designer in Kerrville.
Al Mooney was a genius, and Roy improved it from there with
drag reduction. "Do not irritate the air unnecessarily".
Join the Mooney Pilots Association to get and read their
magazine, including price guides for different models.
I am adding Power Flow tuned
exhaust right now for an estimated 8 percent additional fuel
With a panel mount WAAS Garmin
430W, and a Garmin GDL 69A XM real time weather receiver,
and a yoke mounted Garmin 496 or 696 for back-up, flying a
light plane is now safe and fun. I started in the early
Pleistocene epoch, with a whiz wheel and plotter as my only
tools, as you might have.....you will not believe how much
better it is now........I also have TAS 600 traffic and
weather on a Garmin GMX-200 MFD screen, but that is not
mandatory. You will want a JPI EDM700 or 800 graphic engine
monitor, with fuel flow option, to lean the mixture without
cooking the cylinders, that IS mandatory.
I have had this one 14 years,
and will fly out to see you if you want a closer look at a
real speed/distance/"time" machine. Got friends in Houston,
come down your way a couple times a year. Houston is Non
stop in 5:20 hours, arriving on fumes though.
Complex airplanes (retractable gear,
constant speed (adjustable props) are a lot harder on the wallet
at maintenance (annual) and several readers went on to explain
how at best a Cessna 183 (constant speed prop but fixed gear)
might be a better choice, or better yet, a fixed prop and fixed
gear. I was informed that the Cessna 175 (not the 172) is
the prized on to go hunting for, but rarely it seems do they
come up on the market.
On the other side of the coin, there's this reader note which
has to be given equal weight in my ruminations on this:
"Okay, George, as one of your loyal readers and subscribers,
I had to write when you started penciling out your notions
of owning a plane. I was a crazy, wild about flying kind of
guy for a few decades, and spent every penny I had on flying
(which wasn't much). When I finally had the money, I dove
into getting an instrument rating, looked seriously at
buying a plane, etc.
In the end, I quit the lessons
and never bought a plane. Why? Here are some of my reasons:
1. Even with an instrument
rating, you are going to have to postpone or cancel 15-20%
of your trips due to weather. Small planes are not big iron.
You cancel or die. Even as far south as you are, in the
winter you get icing. Spring and summer, thunderstorms.
Weather will prevent you from flying.
2. To keep really proficient for
instrument flying, you gotta fly. A lot. And train. A lot.
50 hours a year is dangerous, 100 hours barely acceptable.
All that non-business flying and training costs $$ over and
above the dollars you are projecting just for your trips. My
time is worth far, far more than the potential savings of
flying a plane a few hundred miles.
3. As Flying Magazine's Richard
Collins always said: "The purpose of a small plane to is
rapidly part you and your money." Maintenance and insurance
are HUGE expenses. If you really dig into the numbers of a
small plane, you know Collins is right. There is only one
reason to own a plane: because you really, really, really
want to fly.
4. And, as an old shrink I used
to know told me one time:
A wise man knows, if it floats,
flies, or f*cks: rent it!
Skip the plane, George. Get rich
and let Warren Buffet's NetJets fly you around in a
fractional. That's my plan!"
T&hanks for reminding me of the old
"f, f, or f's" saying. Hear it was originated among the
wild catters down in the oil patch, which from my office here is
a half mile walk south to the first well head.
As for the timing of any possible
plane purchase, I suppose I should have mentioned that.
You might have heard the story about the fellow who bought a
top-of-the-line car (something for its day in the Bentley/Rolls
class) for a single gold coin? There is also the tale told
of a hotel that changed hands in San Francisco during the
Depression for a single gold coin.
A little more reliable?
Cliff's got a relative who bought a whole mountain in California
complete with a house and about 3,450 acres if I recall the
story right, during the Depression with gold that he had
acquired by walking from California to Idaho, doing mining
there, and then walking back to California with it. Turns
out that a gold coin's actual purchasing power in a
Depression can be a real wonder to behold.
Getting the pilot's license current
again? Makes sense. If the longer term outlook for
what's ahead is anywhere near right, a gold coin, or at most
two, might be turned into one hell of an airplane. I intend
Tuesday August 4, 2009
Quake #2 Today?
You may recall that in the fourth hour of George Noory's Coast
to Coast AM show when Cliff & I were on, Cliff mentioned the
possibility of an earthquake of some magnitude on August 3 and
4. It's that little word and that has me on the
lookout today for a second quake of similar magnitude to the
Baja shaker that rolled a 6.9 that was felt as far away as
Phoenix on Monday. I also repeated the prediction last
Friday, if you scroll down and read last
All of which is not to say for certain that we will have
another 6.5, or larger, quake today, but the same part of the
language meta set that contained the Monday quake also contained
a lot of what we call 'duality' language. So I've got an
eye out for it.
About the Monday quake, a reader sent this:
"George, One of my sons, an
attorney was on the 24th floor in a building in downtown San
Diego when the quake hit. He first experienced dizziness
then vertigo has the building swayed back and forth seemly
"forever...it never stopped moving". He said he's never been
this scared and he is the outdoor type with plenty of
wilderness experience. A few people "lost it" he said
.......there was panic..... the "few" would have never made
it down the stairs.
The building is relatively new
and built to move and not collapse......so they say.
Question, is a 6.2 mile depth
location a deep or shallow quake?"
it is, and the shallower quakes tend to do more damage and be
wilder rides, as your son experienced. On depth averages,
this is one of those areas where it really depends on what your
meta set looks like. The simple answer is that you could
take all quakes, add all their depths and divide by the number
of quakes involved. That would give you one depth.
On the other hand, if you sort them our by size, you'd
likely find that (bad joke here...) size matters. No, I
don't know why some many come in at 10 KM deep. Maybe
that's a default value applied when the data is not clear...just
don't know that one.
"I'm sure that you have better things to do, but I would
like to have some more details about 22 August if you can
spread the word. I'm getting married this day and i don't
want "to feel the earth move under my feet" as you can
understand. If this "22 August thing" is something that
concerns only US, then just ignore this e-mail. Oh, and if
there's time for vacation, you are invited also."
Shouldn't be any problem getting married on the 22nd. In
the linguistics that when the next phase of the derivatives
problem becomes visible. Doesn't mean that we get a
market break on that day - so don't be loading up on
shorts just because of a language shift. I think of it
more like the 'turn date' where what has been a building mood of
optimism reverses and sets up the dates in the fall. Oh,
sure, I might be buying a few long-term put options around
there, but that would be based on my expectation that the
current rally from the March low could run out of steam in
The best overall sense of things (which is where the marriage of
long wave economics, Elliott Wave and predictive linguistics can
be used to sort of 'box in the future' might
suggest a scenario something like this:
September 16 (arbitrary date on my part) market begins to
seriously fall. That's when we may get some
bank closings and market holidays.
October 25th either we get the Israeli attack on Iran in
here or the WHO says 'shut off all international air travel'
and the future of globalism becomes really sketchy and the
markets drop to (or below) their 6,626 lows on a weekly
closing basis we saw in March.
Things come down through November and into early December
only to be followed by a modest rally in the early part of
2010. But not for long because...
Super Crash happens in March/April of 2010. That's the
one where I may come out on the winning side of an option
short play in a huge way, but the 'winnings' are really
meaningless since the inflation rate will be going moonward
of it this way: Say you take $1,000 and make an incredibly
good option decision on the short side and you lay on the trade
in late August of this year. Next April/May, your option
has 'hit' and you collect $5,000. But suppose now, also in
that period of time, that the price of a gallon of gasoline has
gone from $2.50 to $9.00. Ask yourself: "Am I really
answer appears to be yes...by a little bit. Until, that
is, you figure out the capital gains taxes, which we you figure
it all out, might take that paper trading and make it
is why I am looking at owning physical things instead of
trying to 'own paper'.
The bottom line: While we might get our second big
quake today, it could be an artifact of processing or just
circumstance of the meta set being drawn around data that
coincidentally contained a lot of 'duality' language to it.
Still, not a bad call, huh? Hats off to Cliff.
The large number of accompany6ing quakes Monday (7, in fact that
were > 5.0) is why we're not even bothering to report big quake
dates. Just too much work. If you're on the Pacific
Ring of Fire you oughta have 2-4 weeks worth of food and water
Personal Income Drops
New figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (say, do they
have a czar yet?) offers a darkening look at incomes as if
you hadn't already noticed:
"Personal income decreased $159.8 billion, or 1.3 percent,
and disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $143.8
billion, or 1.3 percent, in June, according to the Bureau of
Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE)
increased $41.4 billion, or 0.4 percent. In May, personal
income increased $155.1 billion, or 1.3 percent, DPI
increased $168.7 billion, or 1.6 percent, and PCE increased
$9.0 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates."
The part I find myself gagging on is the personal savings rate
"Personal saving -- DPI less personal outlays -- was $504.8
billion in June, compared with $681.0 billion in May.
Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal
income was 4.6 percent in June, compared with 6.2 percent in
May. For a comparison of personal saving in BEA’s national
income and product accounts with personal saving in the
Federal Reserve Board’s flow of funds accounts and data on
changes in net worth, go to
OK, you explain to me how housing foreclosures go on like crazy,
unemployment goes through the roof, and Gross Domestic Product
falls and we still book a savings rate. This just doesn't
hang together for me. Maybe because so many people are in
arrears on their homes they are able to 'save' money?
Or, better, maybe disposable income was only a dollar and people
were able to buy a pack of gum and there was one stick left that
hadn't been chewed yet and is somehow figured as savings...I
just can't tell you. But NO ONE I know was able to save
4.6% this past reporting month or 6.2% of their disposable
personal income (DPI) in May. No one!
This may all be statistical sleight of hand anyway, since
today's figures involve a complex recalculation of pretty much
"For this comprehensive revision, personal income, personal
outlays, DPI, and personal saving are revised from 1929
through the first quarter of 2009. The most notable
revisions are generally limited to the period
from 1997 to the
first quarter of 2009. The revisions for earlier
periods tend to be small."
Why that's NOW isn't it. You wanna tell me what small is
for the earlier period?
futures dropped following release of this. But will
that keep the Dow down? Not if we all take enough pills,
This is Depressing
To read that 27-million Americans are on anti-depressants
and that more and more people are accepting the 'diagnosis' of
depression is one thing.
But now here's the thing: With 10 percent of the
population (by this study) on pills, hasn't anyone
besides me started to wonder why we don't make marijuana use
legal and tax it? I can't imagine its long-term impacts
being any worse than these fluoride compounds. And
compared to tobacco? You're kidding, right?
Government sanctioned instruments of death, near as I can
They SHOULD BE Afraid
Oh, summer of hell pops along nicely now, hitting it's pace with
people in Austin demonstrating against Obamacare.
pushing things on healthcare through fast ain't sitting well
with constituents. Notice the security people at the
front in this video??
Same kind of
of New York against Tim Bishop.
You say you want a......what ? Did we tell you this was in
Local Government Cuts
They're just for California anymore.
A County in Alabama is slicing off 2/3'rds of its workforce.
And yes, people like me are going to be protesting any increase
in property valuations this year. You'd have to be a damn
fool not to.
Meantime, federal tax revenue are in the crapper, too -
drop since the middle of the first depression.
Go ahead, tell me we're not in the Second Depression as I've
been writing since the tech wreck days...
This is Il, II
Bill Clinton has arrived in North Korea to try and arrange the
freedom of a two journalists accused of 'grave crimes'.
Wife of Bill (what's her name) is
in Kenya, the first of a seven nation African tour.
This is a trip the 'birthers' are watching closely...since Kenya
is suspected of being where our current president was born; a
concept being widely promoted on the right (and middle).
Me? Oh, I'll just be looking to see how much of an
increase in Kenyan foreign aid there is over the next year, or
so. Not that it would connect a dot or two, but my, don't
they have leverage at the moment?
Articles like "Debunking
the unbearably stupid" are entertaining for some, but I've
got work to do.
Look! Up In the
Sky Department, I
Controversy continues about laptops and flying. Most
recently, there has been some building adverse reaction to the
TSA being able to impound laptops crossing borders.
Stories with headlines like "Airport
Feds can now take your laptop" have caused our resident
cartoonista, Rebecca Price of
to take things to their logical limit...
--- snip and save section ---
Look, Up in the Sky
I'm not a great fan of flying, but it does keep[ one sharp so
just for the heck of it the other day I logged onto the FAA's
web site and discovered that yes, my pilot's license was still
on file and I went ahead and updated my information and got a
new copy of it sent out.
Now I'm wondering if we should buy a replacement for the Daewoo,
or save our money and maybe buy one of those good (but older)
planes on the market that gets good gas mileage. Don't
know if you realize it, but some planes will get nearly 20-miles
per gallon (or thereabouts) and will move in straight lines at
anywhere from 100-250 miles an hour. Something like an
older Mooney 20-series,
M-20-C Ranger, for example. Fast and cheaper than an
Not that an instrument flight rated 20-series Mooney with low
hours will cost much under $40-thousand, or so, but then again a
new upscale SUV is that much and won't get the same gas mileage.
On the other hand, a little more approachable, a little Cessna
172 will get around 13-15 MPG, cost under $30-grand and
will still cruise at 135 MPH, getting you wherever you're headed
in less than half the time of driving.
On Sunday morning I went out to the local airport and met the
two most important people any pilot knows: The fellow who
can administer the biennial flight review and the local flight
surgeon who needs to sign off on the medical.
Obviously, before even seriously thinking about the owning of an
airplane, the medical needs to be done and renting a little
single engine jobby like a C-150 is only $70 an hour (as in
only if you say it fast). Nice folks, both, so the
next stop was talking to Elaine about how she'd feel about
getting her license. No point having a plane unless we'd
actually use it.
She's game for it - and after a couple of tough & go's in Flight
Simulator she's thinking about an 'introduction to flying'
lesson, just to see what it's like. While she's been
flying with other people in the past, it's usually been one of
those 30-seconds on the controls (but not the rudder) kinda
things. An 'introduction to flying' is usually way more
serious and generally includes a few 'Dutch rolls' which get you
a 'feel' for the airplane.
So the steps will be:
Both of us get our third class medicals
Elaine does ground school and learns on a trainer (C-150)
George does biennial flight review
When we're both current, we can shop for a plane. By
then it should be next spring and plane costs way down since
economy should be collapsing downward by then.
both remember seeing all those cars stuck in the Kat-Rita
evacuation, so a plane would be 'one more way out' and would get
us anywhere from 350 miles in a C-150 to n780 miles in an old
Unlike driving a car, an airplane operations in 3-dimensions,
which means there's a fair bit of 'head work' to it.
Having cheated death for 60-years, I am well aware of 'use it or
lose it" applies to thinking skills...
There's no substitute for 'face time' with clients, though,
which would mean the odd trip here, or there, would be a legit
travel expense. Me? A schemer?
Say I were to land a client someplace like Pittsburgh, just for
example. My travel time to fly from the ranch to a meeting
would work out like this: On a commercial jet, depending
on connections, it would be a one hour drive to Tyler airport.
An hour flight to Dallas or Houston, an hour waiting for the
connecting flight and then a three hour plane ride to
Pittsburgh. Total time: 6 hours.
In my own plane, if I had something like an old Mooney, it would
be a half hour to drive to the airport, preflight, and taxi.
Then about 7-hours allowing for a pee stop and fuel along the
way. Plus the adventure of it all.
Then we get to the economics of it. If I were to land a
client in Pittsburgh, and Elaine wanted to go along, our costs
would be $275 for fuel plus something for the maintenance
reserves, maybe $600 total.
Where our own plane would make a lot of sense is in the
short lead time department. A relatively spur of the
moment flight (go tomorrow, come back Thursday) would cost
either $1,098 each and Elaine couldn't 'go for free' on
Continental or $1,317 each on American (before taxes and
So, yeah, if you need flexibility, that's sure one way to get
Buying a new airplane may not make much sense, but if you do a
lot of transcontinental flying, even some kinds of planes
make sense. Their real 'sweet spot' is for spontaneous
meetings within a thousand miles, or so, however.
For the sake of comparison on fuel efficiency/carbon footprint,
an old Mooney 20-series (and many other planes) can get
15+ MPG flown just so. A 737 will blow through about
850-gallons per hour (depending on flight length and climb out
profile plus other variable like baggage, outside ground air
You have to be careful on mileage calculations, since its only
an apples to apples if you compare costs per seat mile.
Our commercial jet will burn something like 2,550 gallons on a
three hour flight which might move 136 seats those thousand
miles, so they burn something like 2.55 gallons per mile,
divided by 136 seats, call it 3.4-cents a seat mile. Jet
fuel's presently running about $1.85 a gallon.
An old airplane might not have the conversion to auto gas, so
100 octane av gas might cost on average $4.00 a gallon and the
airplane would only move four seats. So on a thousand mile
flight it might use 55 gallons on fuel $208 worth of fuel
(one way) so call it 21-cents a mile overall and since it's a
four place plane, the fuel pencils out to between 5 and 6 cents
a seat mile. Av gas prices vary wildly. Rusk Texas
has it for $2.97 for 100 LL today while one outfit at TYR
airport wants $5.05. Gotta love the net, huh?
Yeah, maybe a dumb idea, but flying is fun and since I'm a
consultant, I can pick weather windows and besides, might just
give us a bit more grist for the column along the way.
Downside? Oh, how about Elaine shopping in new cities?
Maybe that's another risk I need to try and dollarize...
Monday August 3, 2009
Major Baja Quake
You're welcome to be as skeptical of our rickety time machine as
you want, but if you would so kind as to click back to last
week's Friday report here and scroll on down to where I told
should get a good hint whether that's still on tap since
there's a temporal marker due August 3/4 with a largish
earthquake (+/- a couple of days). What I'll be looking for
will be something in the 6.5 in a populated area to a 7.0+
in an unpopulated area and decent headlining or maybe
tsunami warnings. We shall see, non? "
An d once you recall what I told you last Friday based on
the predictive linguistics work of
you will want to click
over to the Reuters story about the 6.9 earthquake that just
happened off Baja California.
Two important items: One: We should get another
quake, possibly similar in size tomorrow (odds on that are
relatively high) and since this is one of the temporal markers
the time monks have been pointing to as 'notice this marker
because if it hits, then it's 'game on' for the derivatives
visibility showing up on or about August 22.
Don't say no one mentioned it to you in advance. We may
not have more than two dimes to rub together, but we do own
something of increasingly higher value: The future.
The Weak Ahead
want to buy WHAT? Equities? Are you crazy?
to start off Monday morning on a sour note here (I'm in pretty
good spirits, really) but I need to inject a little harsh
reality into your thinking if you're not fleeing paper assets as
fast as you can. There comes a time when every long wave
economic cycle gets into its death throes and while there are
headlines that we're maybe nearing "The
end of the Great Recession" you'll note that even such
reports include a note that "Stopping falling means we're still
While most on Wall Street are hoping that another major Bull
Market is organizing, what they seem to want to bury is that if
you had put equal amounts of money into the Dow, the S&P 500,
and the NASDAQ Composite at the beginning of 2000, as is shown
in my Aggregate Index chart (here), you'd
have lost almost one-half of your grub stake, and that's before
cranking in the correction for the declining purchasing power
of the dollar. When that's done, sorry to report,
you've lost more than half. [I exclude commissions if you
exclude dividends.] The Street would just as soon you get
memory fogging of events prior to 9/11 and forget that huge losses
many portfolios suffered in the Tech Wreck. How soon we
Since last November I've been telling you there will probably be a
double-dip recession. While it may seem like the
country is turning a corner here, don't be surprised to see the
'green shoots' wither before we get through September for any
number of reasons.
that I'm a lone tinfoil hat on this stuff: a "Double-Dip
Recession Still in the Picture" says Nouriel Roubini, one of
the few folks, who like us, saw the mess before it started to
wipe out recovering 401(k) plans after October of 2007.
Roubini is not the lone expert sounding a note of caution,
David Rosenberg, Chief Economist and Strategist with wealth
Toronto, issued a newsletter last week ("Break Lite with Dave" -
see their web site for more) made an incredibly astute
observation which seems beyond the understanding of most
"It is amazing that anyone would go long an equity market
with a reported P/E multiple of 700x but that is indeed what
we have on our hands."
the expanded note (not his 'lite' column) Rosenberg presents a
chart which looks at the S&P's recent action compared with the
first Great Depression:
(Thanks to Gluskin/Sheff's COO Brian Ginsler for permission to
As the Kitco pricing at the top of this
page suggests, we're seeing strength in gold and silver this
morning, driven by weakening of the US dollar vis-à-vis other
currencies, and (again due in part to the falling buck)
the price of oil is back over $70 a barrel.
Lining all of this up, I'm seeing
what I'd summarize as a classic case of overshoot, as the market
tries to digest what are sometimes confusing signals. The
way to get over 'overshoot' is what? Overshoot on the
downside to come...
For example, the fact that the Cash
for Clunkers program ran through its money so fast prompted
former Fed Bubblemeister "Greenspan:
[to declare] Clunkers Cash an Effect of Economic Rebound, Not
Yep. The guy who didn't get
the Tech Wreck right, then pumped up the Housing bubble and
almost singlehandedly created the house-flipping environment, is
crediting a 'rebound' with the the program's success, when many
dealers are telling me looks to them like a deliberate
move on the part of the PowersThatBe to take what had been
serviceable autos that were paid for and sucker-punch
people into taking on debt they can't really afford.
This isn't a view that I pulled out
of the hat to have something to write about. It's based on
emails like this one from people in the auto industry who see
it this way:
I am the manager for ****** ***** leasing in *******,
Arizona. This provides a very unique insight into the
current economic morass we are in. Facilities are shared
with the parent company, the local Chrysler/**** dealership.
This too gives me a front row seat for these fascinating
times. My anger over this cash for clunkers program coupled
with a frustration about how blindly people buy into these
programs was the catalyst for (my) impetuous call this
To date an overwhelming percentage of the people taking
advantage of this program have traded vehicles that were
free of encumbrances. Now they are in bondage, trapped into
making payments during a time of great economic uncertainty.
A number of the vehicles being traded in are in amazing
condition. So, through this program we now eliminate a large
segment of the used car market, vehicles that could be sold
in the $3,000 to $6,000 range to those on tighter budgets.
The destruction of these vehicles will eliminate a huge
resource pool of used parts to keep older vehicles on the
road in a cost effective manner. The second reason this
really lights my fuse is waste on this magnitude is truly
immoral and irresponsible. I will forward photos tomorrow of
some of the vehicles we will be destroying and I will also
post them on my blog,
www.route66chronicles.blogspot.com. The blog
generally leans toward the light hearted side of life but as
an automotive historian with a lengthy resume of published
work and as associate editor with Cars & Parts magazine I
feel a responsibility to say something about this insanity.
Next is the simple fact we are merely sopping up some of the
excess inventory of automobile manufacturers and doing
little or nothing to stimulate responsible production.
Even worse we are placing dealerships in a position where
there will be few potential customers in the months ahead.
Then there is the environmental charade. Which cause more
"pollution"? Driving a well maintained 1973 Olds responsibly
(bicycling to work most days, renting a fuel efficient
vehicle for long distance trips, and using the Olds for
limited transportation) or destroying it to produce a new
Two quick vehicle notes you may find of interest. I am
notoriously "frugal" when it comes to vehicles. We paid $350
for the Olds seventeen years ago! The second note pertains
to the Cherokee mentioned previously. After extensive
evaluation we decided the Cherokee of the 1990s was an ideal
replacement for our very tired 1988 Ford s/w. Recently our
patient search was rewarded with a one owner 1998 model,
103,000 miles, for $3,000. You have noted on several
occasions the need for a replacement vehicle and I
respectively suggest some research on these highly
versatile, extremely durable vehicles.
Last but not least on my list of reason to be angered over
this cash for clunker program is the simple fact we are
paying for this insanity with our tax monies. With each
passing day the feeling increases that I have stumbled into
the middle of a French movie with Japanese subtitles. Thank
you for letting me vent. On numerous occasions the intention
was to drop a note of thanks for your website but rather
than intrude on your busy day decided to let the number of
hits speak for me. Following your sage advice on relocation
and preparation has been hindered by family obligations that
keep us rooted in Arizona. Still, we prepare to the best of
our abilities and limited resources. The long term plan is
to have things in place for a rapid relocation to southern
Alaska as soon as these obligations are resolved. Your site
is a sanctuary of sanity in this increasingly bizarre world.
Keep up the good work.
Oh, and let's not forget many of
those new cars can be turned off remotely by satellite.
Of course, it won't just be the end
of the Cash for Clunkers program that will sneak up on most
unaware folks by the end of Fall. There's a lot going on
in economic circles that's not getting close attention, too.
Take as one example, the decision of the FASB (Financial
Accounting Standards Board) which has decided to roll out a kind
of "Mark-t0-market II" in the near future.
This comes as the Wall Street
Journal headlined last week how the Financial Crisis Advisory
Group (they overlooked putting me on it) "Panel
Assails Meddling into FASB Rules Making." And while a
Forbes article says none too subtly "Suspend
Mark-To-Market -- Now", an AP story out last week that
Crisis Advisory group denied that accounting rules caused
the financial crisis.
With all these cards on the table,
I wouldn't be surprised to see a peak in the market perhaps as
soon as this week or next. All it would take is the right
combination of spin to hit the 38.2% retracement figure between
9,400 and 9,500 on the Dow and then the technical expectations
for the bounce from the March 6,626 weekly low would be met.
There may be some moments of
skepticism along the way: Since housing foreclosures are
going gangbusters, any increase in the Construction Spending
report later this morning seems a bit incredible. The NY
Post has the latest "AP
Analysis: Foreclosures stabilize in Key States" but remember
stabilize is not improve just yet. However,
the Auto Sales figures which should reflect Cash for Clunkers
may add momentarily even more nitrous to the already giddy tone
of The Street.
Friday's numbers will be the
biggies: Tuesday's Personal Income and Wednesday's factory
orders pale in comparison to the Friday Unemployment Rate and
the Fed's Consumer Debt report due out Friday afternoon.
Although only five banks were
reorganized Friday (after the close)
by the FDIC, they combined
accounted for 40 offices changing hands. That 91 'banks'
have been reorg'ed, officials might well indicate means this is
still only a 'recession'. However, if you've been counting
(as I have) it's now 3,048 offices. Meantime, I've
yet to find the definitive study comparing the closure rates now
with the 1930's event. Any analysis that excludes online
transactions and ATM's is pretty much pointless whitewashing, in
As reported previously, the per
capita cost of the First Depression worked out to about $460 per
capita in actual bank losses (constant dollar basis) and
the costs here in the Second Depression are on the order of $649
per capita and that was just looking at the $200-billion in bank
bailouts. Auto industry bailouts and AIG bailouts add to
futures are up sharply before this morning's open, so 'game
on' for the 9,400 level more'n likely. Some of this is
attributed to bank earnings, although when you think about it,
reporting some earnings on what has essentially been 'free
money' from the Fed should be a no-brainer. Wall Street
continues to practice wrong-way economics, steering by the
rearview mirror rather than what's obviously in our path
Oh, did I mention that a lot of
company earnings may be the result of laying off mi9llions and
outsourcing jobs to India? No? Don't mind skeptical me.
The main difference in the two
Depressions (then & now) is that in the first instance, the impact was both immediate and
personal. In the Second Depression, we have staved off
recognition of the peril at hand by funding FDIC's bailout work.
But, depending on how many more banks fail and have to be
shot-gun married off, or directly funded is a big unknown.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Business Journal headlines that "As
bank failures rise, the survivors are left to pick up a hefty
You'll maybe never guess who that's
going to be?
BOHICA - Tax Hike
A check of the
UrbanDictionary web site reveals that BOHICA is the abbreviation
for 'bend over, here it comes again..."
This morning the AP reports "2
Obama officials: No guarantee taxes won't go up" for the middle
Like the old right-wing email said
"Change: It's all you'll be left with..." seems to evoke fewer
smiles here lately. headlines like "Obama
officials eye more jobless aid, weigh taxes" are appearing.
A couple of folks have reported
seeing the new tee shirts out too: "A recession is when your
neighbor is laid off. A Depression is when you're laid
off. A Recovery is when Obama loses his job."
That said (and humor is intended),
we can't overlook the fact the the Bush administration's really
to blame for setting this all up. runaway corporate
globalism has always resulted in a correction that
involves excessive downside action. At least it's been
that way since the
Seas Company collapse circa 1720 and the collapse of the
tulip market before that in 1638, or so.
Popularized by British Journalist
Charles Mackay in his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and
Madness of Crowds, Mackay's advice is still sound today:
""Men, it has been well said,
think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds,
while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by
Around here, the idea is not to be
in the herd in the first place, since it's the source of all
kinds of aggravation and more often than not, ends at a
slaughterhouse. The Memoirs (1852) of the book (e-text
here) is also a fine read with more lessons on herd
The UK Independent reports a "Warning:
Oil supplies are running out fast" which then goes on to say
that the world is facing a catastrophic shortfall. Again,
this is not something to blame the current administration for.
Gotta take a look at his predecessor who was an oil man, if'n
A visit to my friend Matt Savinar's
fine site "Life
After the Oil Crash" goes back on the sites to scan list.
Also worth reading (and fast, too,
since it's a PDF of a PPT) is Matthew Simmons's presentation "How
did our Energy Hole Get So Deep?" which was done for a
Chevron conference recently. If you haven't read his book
Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy
you need to put it on your "stupidity prevention" reading list.
New HIV Strain
The headline that a "New
HIV strain leapt to humans from gorillas: study" Say, you
don't think that 800-pound gorilla in those teevee ads
An important temporal marker for
those who follow the predictive linguistics work out of
We've been waiting for a 'scarred woman' to appear in the
headlines in a major way and look here: "Sudan
trouser woman 'ready for 40,000 lashes" which oughta
--- snip and save section ---
One reason we live out in the sticks of East Texas is the lack
of noise. Not that it's silent, mind you.
Why, just this morning on the way over to the office I was given
a nasty hissing by the juvenile raccoon who has been sparring with
the cats over their early feeding. I may set up a
live-trap for him one of these days and take him for a ride.
But mainly, it's quiet, except for the hoot owls, crickets and
the odd goat reminding us what time they think dinner should be
With this in mind, I'm trying to imagine what it would be like
to yell 116.8 decibels worth of anything. Yet, that was
this weekend at the world screaming championships in Thailand.
People don't seem to have much common sense, or courtesy,
when it comes to noise. I won't ruin your Monday
recounting my usual gripe with people revealing every most
personal intimate detail with fellow Wal-Mart shoppers waiting
in a check-out line.
But consider your ambient noise levels. Ever been in a
room with someone who is watching TV and doesn't turn it down
when you address them? That makes me nuts.
Not so nuts as when I check into a hotel someplace on a client
trip and the person at the counter puts me on ignore only to
answer a telephone call. I usually just pick up and go
elsewhere if I can. Once I had a fellow yell "Where are
you going? Sir? Sir?"
"Away! I was standing right in front of you and you chose
to ignore me. So I'm going somewhere that a person doesn't
just hold up one finger indicating 'Wait a minute..." and then
go deal with someone who called...I was there first, right?"
Few get it. But out here on the ranch when Elaine comes
over to my office, she enters knowing that I will stop when I
get to the completion of a thought (should I ever get one ;-)
and when she calls on the intercom it invariably beings with
either "Are you busy?" or "Are you on the phone?"
On the other side, when I go into the house, if she's watching a
movie, or the TV's on, it's turned way down since neither one of
us like to speak loudly and in direct competition with the
teevee. We try to let 'actions speak louder than words'
because this ain't Thailand.
If you ever get serious about managing people and need everyone
to be 'equally weighted' in the business decision-making
process, one of the biggest dangers is that a 'loud person' will
often drown out or over-power a softer-spoken team member.
For this reason, I'm really partial to something called the
"Delphi Technique" so if you ever run across THE DELPHI METHOD-TECHNIQUES AND APPLICATIONS
in your local bookstore, you might enjoy reading it.
Explains how to use the technique and it explains how to avoid
having meetings hijacked by loudmouths.
Of course, that assumes you aren't running a company in
grad can't find job, wants $$$ back" from the school where
she graduated. Part of me is sympathetic, having run a
couple of colleges and been an admissions director. Yet my
experience was on the private vocational college side, not in
the four year degree world.
When asked, I always summarize things this way:
Accreditation means a program has been reviewed by a group
of educators and that the accrediting commission somewhere
has handed the institution the keys to the vault - the
ability to apply for and dispense federal student aid.
Private vocational colleges are a bit different in that not
only is their training quality reviewed, but placement is
documented. In many colleges, job postings are coming
off Monster.com and CraigsList.
If you want to get ahead in the world, never never take
anyone out of your Outlook contacts file and keep it
Get into one services for professional networking (I
but there are other good services like
Most really good jobs never hit the paper or the online
services. They come from beating the pavement and
That someone can graduate from college not knowing this is a
little, well, surprising.
A reader is asking...
"Dear Mr. Ure, There has been talk that buried deep inside
Patriot Acts I-III,and the Bankruptcy Acts of 2001 and 2004,
regulations/provisions designating DEBTORS as "enemies of
the state" who will be interned at "FEMA LABOR CAMPS" in the
event of a 'catastrophic economic collapse.' Your thoughts
on this issue would be greatly appreciated."
Send me the part where this is spelled out, please, if you have
the specific reference. It would sure fit with the National
Guard's recent recruiting to get internment camp security folks
signed up. Still I never comment without a read in context
first. Hate looking dumber than I already am....
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for
'truth' in economics, that the PowersThatBe, 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.
So one of our
charts for Peoplenomics subscribers oughta be widely circulated - it
shows that if you line up the peak of the Dow in January 2000 with
the peak in early September of 1929, we're on a very very close
replay track. Much closer than even the chart shows if you
were to back out inflation, and put in the effects of 1929
deflation, but that'd be real work, and I'm sort of lazy if the
truth be told.