A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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Published Monday - Friday about 8 AM Central Time ....some typos are fixed by 8:30 (in theory)
December 3, 2010 13:55 PM CST
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Long Live Candor!
From Congressman Ron Paul's Twitter page:
Don't mention it too loudly to The Honorable, but dude...we ARE in a whole heap-o-trouble!
Doing a Job On US: 9.8%!!!
The nice thing about the unemployment rate stories is they are a no-brainer for reporters to cover. There are just four important points to the story when written in traditional print media style which is called the inverted pyramid style. So we've already got the first point half-done with just that 9.8% number. It fills out with the rest of the BLS press hand-out like this:
See how easy it is to be a reporter? OK, Second point is to look at the underlying data, the next stop is where we look at the CES Birth-Death Model which has an unfortunately BAD - and in terrible, ugly, putrefied BAD look to it. Usually, the CES BDM is where jobs get 'made-up' but this month, for the first time since January, the number of estimated new jobs was down 8-thousand.
Third stop? Table A-15 Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization, line U-6 [employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force]: 17 percent of the workforce.
Fourth stop - and the wind up? Reaction. Gold (chart at top of this page) has popped up to the $1,400 level. Based on yesterday's close, our Gold to buy the Dow would drop to 8.116 ounces today.
I expect the over time, we will see the Dow/Gold level go to parity. And how soon might that be? Again, one of those Peoplenomics.com kinds of questions.
Key question for now is this: Where's the new jobs supposed to come from and tell me again why Fearless Leader took all those corpgov wanks to India to further the cause of jobjacking?
Taxes Could Crash Market
Quick! Everyone run from Street! Why, it's almost like the folks over at US News and (what's left of the) World Report have been reading UrbanSurvival with their headline "Delaying Tax Vote Could Crash Stock Market".
Pu-leeze...not with Ben, Ben, the printer's friend ready to lend while government spends... [a kind of poetic just-us]
Soup Line Retro
Ah, yes: There we have it, a picture from the FDR Library of what is captioned as "WPA: unemployed shown at volunteers of America Soup Kitchen: Washington, D.C. " in 1936 during the worst years of the (first) Great Depression.
Now, go look at the picture over on the WSB (radio) Atlanta website and the story about the people lining up in Marietta earlier this week trying to get some aid for paying their heat and power bills this winter.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. "....there is a season.....and a time to every purpose, under...." oh, you get the idea.
Israel's Massive Fire
You know those canyon fires that rage across SoCal every so often? Something even larger this week in Israel where more than 40-people have been killed according to Russia Today reports - the worst disaster in Israel's history (raw video follows)
Death toll seems likely to go even higher...
...Or, is that Life's Toxic? Whatever...All that big hoopla yesterday at NASA was about what? Turns out that...
Now, I get to thinking to myself "Say, was all that money spent on EPA Superfund arsenic cleanup of the old Asarco copper smelter in Tacoma, Washington really money well-spent?"
I mean, a new form of life might have been made from the plant's residues running into Commencement Bay, know what I mean? Was the arsenic cleanup a kind of 'birth control' for Puget Sound? Hmmm...
By the way, having relatives there, I can assure you that intelligent life has been found in Tacoma, regardless.
How Cool? Not Very...
Great Britain goes icebox. That much we suspected.
But now let's engage in a little extensible thinking: You see where "La Nina Cooling May Mean more Snow and Storms, Higher Fuel Prices for US" a couple of weeks back on Gloomberg, right?
Next extension: About the same time, some of the PowerThatWere types were talking about how real the food problems could be next year. A Council on Foreign Relations note about the "New Food Crisis" popped out, too.
Fast-forward to the Wall Street Journal's Thursday online and we read how "Grain Prices Surge; Further Rises Likely in 2011" which will cause what? (All together now) "Inflation!"
One more data point and they we'll do some 'extensing": Back in 2006 a Cornell University study concluded that "'Slow, insidious' soil erosion threatens human health and welfare as well as the environment..." Folks at Cornell figured that topsoil is being washed away, blown into the atmosphere and oceans (where else is it gonna go, if it ain't staying put, right?) at 10 to 40 times the rate of replenishment.
Now let me connect some dots for you...here is a POSSIBLE extension:
Say, did I mention that "Monsanto Restarts Research on Genetically Engineered Wheat"?
Damn, don't you hate it when pieces start to fit together like this, and what's interesting about a design pattern like this is that it is easily compartmentalized.
Which is to say that terrorism looks like an isolated concept. Survivalist/preppers look like a separate 'extremism' case, opposition to GM foods looks like a separate issue, and gun control, too, can be lumped in with 'extremism/terrorism'.
Yet, the existence of an unpublished agenda, as sketched above, certainly makes sense as a 'ties it all together'. You may not see the pattern clearly yet, but there are several 'big picture' (grand strategies) that would fill the bill. No one at the pat-down level of TSA, or in the Sandystans would need to know anything. It all just fits, that's all.
Oh, and did I mention how "Investigators baffled as wheat fields wither" with no known cause out in Umatilla and Morrow counties in Oregon reports the Capital Press ag website? Or how "Wheat Surges as `Panic Brewing' on Australian Crop Amid Rising Global Use" on Bloomberg?
(Stand by for the worst pun of the week.)
It's all leaves us with something very much worth chewing on...
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Coping: The Legitimate Extent of Government
There's an extremely interesting - and worrisome - story at a website called Sherrie Questioning All that purports a state child Protective Services group, under the color of looking out for a daughter, came by a blogger's house and did an interview wondering about issues unrelated to their child protecting function: Like did the mom have solar panels, where the mother went camping, whether the mom had stored foods and what kind of renovations had been done to the home.
It's an interesting tale, to be sure, but it raises an interesting point: When does an American become an extremist? And when that boundary is reached, at what point does the person become a danger to America.
Just for example, suppose a person agitated for wider war in the Middle East. Would that make the person an extremist? And, if so, how does one account for the decisions and views expressed by former president Bush and his side-kick Dick Cheney?
Moreover, when someone takes trumped up evidence or supplies supplied by a government and uses what's presented as a basis for their decisions and actions, when does it become a matter of peril and endangerment of America? Is the line crossed when the federal government promotes a terrorism act using a paid provocateur, supplying supposed car-bomb parts and encouraging anti-government activity? Or, is it crossed when a foreign government phonies up uranium documents and passes them off as evidence of nuclear development and WMD's in Iraq; and America goes to war?
I mention this because there's a curious and difficult line that the PW4PP (permanent war for permanent peace) folks are trying to ascertain: Who is a threat to America these days?
I've been wondering about this myself, especially since I read in the Wall Street Journal about how "Nigeria to file charges against Dick Cheney over bribery".
Sadly, I don't claim to have any answers here, since, as I pointed out in Thursday's column - and will go into in greater depth this weekend - whether the USA has suffered entry into a Second Economic Depression since the market highs in 2000 which has whacked just under 80 percent of the value off common stocks if purchased in gold, for instance - everything is a business model.
The only thing that makes sense - and just barely - is that the chaotic behavior of complex systems in the world is causing a very hard-to-assess complex rhyme involving the Security State as a latter day McCarthyism mixed in with the (First) Depression's make-work programs like the Civilian Conservation Corp and Works Progress Administration, which have their analogs in the large numbers of 'security' and 'investigative' forces going to work for government at many levels.
As great as the Constitution is, there's a major flaw in it: The crafters' framework didn't take into account ultra-high population densities, completive business models both at the multinational corporate level as well as governments operating business models, the finer points of asymmetric warfare, nor weapons of mass destruction. It was made for a simpler world.
Still, the basis of the Constitution remains intact; in other words, the Framers had a fine sense of what humans ought be able to do free of government's interference:
So if a person is going about their Life, enjoying the increasingly limited amounts of Liberty permitted without breaking laws, while pursuing their own version of Happiness, is that extremism or simply exercise of one's unalienable Rights?
There's an old management saying "Work expands to fill all available time"; a teaching that I've seen proven true on more occasions than I can count.
In today's world there's an evolving analog in government which might be "Government will expand to fill all available jobs." And, since the jobs that used to be around have gone missing, it's no wonder that 'security' and 'military' job creation has gone nuts.
However, this brings us to the problem of balance: How much government can we afford? Ultimately, that will determine how far the move toward more/bigger government may proceed. To quote from the just-issued report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:
It's exactly here that the next couple of years should be most instructive: IF Washington chooses to lead it will require a reduction in spending. That'll mean less people working in 'security' along with all other departments.
The question is "Is the nonelected layer past the point of control to where it can be reeled back in and spending reduced?" Hard question because to do so will mean a higher unemployment level and even more economic hardship. Failure to rein in spending would simply perpetuate the recent (post 911) move toward the corpgov totalitarian state, and we'll then be going down the same path that led to the crack-up of the Soviet Union.
Tough questions...no easy answers.
Except the ones I've worked out for myself.
And with the except of not owning solar panels, I happen to know a large number of others who had these same inclinations. Why, if these acts are in any way a threat to America, then click here for a list of 56 dangerous fellows with similar views. To a man they were all suspicious of government and actively sought to restrain it. They all oughta be investigated.
How Government Really Works
Overwhelming number of readers don't mind a few vids being included...
Bye-bye to the [Kim] Kardashian Kard issued by a bank in Messychusetts.
There's gotta be a profound marketing lesson in there somewhere...but I'm not sure yet what it is.
"Hi, this is George. It's Friday. I'm in an all-day meeting with my ViceGrips pinching myself. I'll get back to you Monday. Leave a message after the tone...."
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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So You Wanna Be a Millionaire?
Every five years or so, I get a couple of bucks scraped together and ask the hardest practical economics question of all: What do I do with it if I want it to grow? In 1973, one of my answers was buying a four-bedroom house in the high tech Northwest suburbs an easy 20-minute from Microsoft (before the traffic got really bad, LOL). My 2001 pick was gold while at $275. And in 2005, we entered silver at $7 an ounce Again, not too bad. But, what's the next big thing to own long-term going to be? As soon as we ask a question the investment community doesn't want to talk about ("Do antidepressants now used by 35-million Americans bias markets to the upside and should the SEC require disclosure of their risk of use?") we'll look at offshore bank accounts to avoid dollar risk...
Places to Go, things to do...
Looking to read some interesting items? Try out the National Dream Center site - which I cooked up to see if there's another way to peek into the future that would reinforce some of the predictive linguistics expectations. Free - here.
Up this week for the first time: JB Slear's site www.mygroponics.com where you can buy his popular ebook on backyard (scrounged together) vertical hydroponics which is way cool - life sustaining pastimes are useful, know what I mean?
The folks at Maxa Research have put together a short video (sound track by guess who?) that shows the Maxa Cookie Manager. You can see it here.
I don't usually get all whipped up about software, but this is one of those dandy tools that just simply works great. First thing I put on my new computer when I got it was Avira Anti-virus and Maxa Cookie Manager (MCM). Either follow the on-screen download instructions of simply click:
Once you try it out, to upgrade to the fully functioning version, just click the upgrade button (!) on the upper right hand side for the $35 unlock to get it to remove even those nasty and highly intrusive 'non-browser specific' cookies. Bonus: You computer may run faster.
"Live on $10,000" A Year
Having a hard time making ends meet? (Like who isn't, right?) A good starting point to better match up income with outgo is our $10 e-book "How to Live on #10,000 a Year...or less!"
It's an automatic download. It's written in an information dense style: The whole thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to not only live on the cheap, but also how to migrate up the economic foodchain if you have a little hustle left. A bonus section called "How to Build Anything" should instill confidence if you've never taken on a home improvement/home creation project before, too..... Click here for the index and details.
Pass It On
A different take on things - that's what you'll find here most mornings. If you know of anyone who might also like our content, simply click here and send a link to them. Or, if you hated what you read, send the link to all your 'worst enemies'. Like they say in Burbank, "Ain't no such thing as bad press..."
Thursday December 2, 2010
Proof of Mercy
Only in America:
Just makes you wanna belt out "Silent Night" don't it? No hangings on Memorial Day, too, notes a banker who reads...
What Rally? Compared to What?
A couple of readers have been pretty good as figuring out a day or two in advance what the Dow is about to do - before it actually does it - including one reader who I'll just call Chris (programmer of the pending site-watch software which will soon come) who sent in this neener-neener note overnight:
Doggone algorithmic thinker...
I was talking to my broker friend Robin Landry about this tendency in markets to put on big flashy moves - up, or down - and he noted that something like 83% of the volume is high-frequency trading. And then, when you look at the volume in the market on a big (or supposedly so) day like Wednesday, you notice that the volume (e.g. number of shares changing machines/hands) was only a nip over 1-billion shares. Which means after backing out the skimmer-trades of the HF systems to see the remaining 17% you're down to only 181-million shares.
Since a lot of what happens on Wall Street is done on leverage (options and so forth) it makes me wonder what the "real" handle was like. Even at a buck a share up front, that's (based on a population of 310-million people in the US presently) that's about 58.4¢ of trading per day per capita...not profits mind you, just trade. Oh, sure, you could claim that much more than a buck-a-share is put up - and even if it's ten dollars a share, you're looking at $5.80 per person yesterday.
But even that is not profits. Returning 10% is pretty good, so the profit on Wall Street for a day like yesterday could be as little as 6¢ per capita...and that's not a lot of dough given that the securities (insecurities?) industry employs how many people and returns nearly a third of corporate profits in America? And to top if off, that money (augmented with a double-scoop of advertising) has to support two television networks, pony up daily rent for those tall buildings in a single bound, and all the rest.
And as reader Chris is getting a pretty good bead on the market, it's likely because the markets have become so damn algorithmic: US dollar down, US market up. That's because the underlying companies have an almost 'fixed value'. The only thing changing daily is the purchasing power of the underlying dollars that people are throwing around.
You want to look at a scary chart sometime? (I'll do this for Peoplenomics readers this weekend...) Look at a 10-year Dow - from the All Time High on a purchasing power basis denominated in gold since the height of the internet bubble in early 2000.
Just to give you the gist of it: In early January 2000, the Dow closed the week of January 10 at 11,722.98. You'd have been doing about average for the week back then to have paid $282.50 for an ounce of gold that week. If you'd waited until the close on Friday the 14th (2000) you might have paid as much as $283.50, but you'd have been somewhere between a poor trader and idiot to have done so.
My point is that to "buy the Dow with gold" would have taken 41.42 ounces of gold. That was then.
Now zip forward to yesterday on Wall Street: The Dow closed as 11,255.78 which sounds like the Dow hasn't moved down much from the highs of 2000. Until of course, I bitch-slap you with the Fed's own inflation data which says discounted for inflation at the official rate, 11,722.98 the Dow would have needed to be at 14,956.67 just to hold its own. So, just based on inflation alone the Dow has lost 21.6% of its value.
It gets worse if you use anyone else's inflation numbers, and a trip to John Williams' most excellent Shadow Government Statistics site presents solid logic to conclude the government statistics are massively understating inflation. Of course, if you're not too far into denial, you could simply look in an old check register for what the cost of a month's food was back then, or the monthly house payment two refi's ago...and if that doesn't get you to questioning the current Disney-like financial paradigm, nothing will.
Returning to my point about algorithmic markets trading on inter-currency valuations? The price of gold was quoted by Kitco yesterday's NY close as 1,386.60. Dividing that into the current Dow, we discover that the Dow which would have cost 41+ ounces of gold in 2000 is now costing 8.45 ounces of gold.
True, there's an argument to be made that NYSE stocks have paid dividends that have to be considered - and I'll readily agree to that. But, you gotta watch people like me when they start to readily agree because there's usually a catch: In this case it's if you get to claim dividends, they I get to claim delisted Dow stocks as losses and I get to back out government bailouts and, oh yeah, commissions in, out, taxes at whatever the average tax rate was on dividends, and something for management fees if you try to slip over to a discussion of funds instead of straight data.
Whether you want to believe that the Dow has, vis-à-vis gold, be sliced to only 20.4 percent of its 2000 value (a fine way of hiding the reality of the Second Depression we're in, gotta admit).
As long as Americans persist in thinking only about artificial numbers attached to hard plant, equipment and units-made factories, it doesn't really matter whether it's Ben Bernanke at the helm of the Fed, as it might as well be Robert Mugabe just as easily, although Mugabe's track record managing Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is not as slow as the global competitive inflation (via currency devaluation) although the effects will be the same: People in Ireland and Greece were simply at the head of the line to feel the sting.
We get our turn along in here somewhere: Extended unemployment benefits ending are causing people in Paducah to be moved out of their homes ('tis the season to be WTF?) and two million others are in dire straits/imminent danger, too.
Oh, and just to spread out the seasonal joy, the Wall Street gang, in cooperation with the republicorp and democorp gangs, to go ahead and let those Obamacare tax hikes come in right on schedule with much hoopla and wailing about how bad they are, while their hands are deeper in the cookie jar than anyone else - they created the bubbles of Bush and let's not start on Reagan's legacy of debt.
Depressions are painful - and former Reagan budget boss David Stockman says the republicorp talk about tax cuts is silly. I'd offer to Stockman, the Fed, and anyone else interested, that delaying the medicine could kill the patient; sound money and smaller government, with a population working less and holding out for a better quality of life's what's needed.
Yes, boys and girls, economic depressions really are painful - but the biggest pain of all is crooked leaders who won't point out the true facts of the matter which is why you'll soon be working harder, paying more, and getting less: The second Depression is here and the point of a barrage of government statistics is to keep you comparing apples to zeros, not apples to hunger and hours worked.
As long as enough people are locked in zero thinking, the grand charade and accelerating accretion of wealth to the top 5% will continue as the expense of what was once-upon-a-time a middle class.
Try to remember this pocket-sized axiom: You don't work for money. You work to buy a life.
If all the zeroes in the world showed up on your paycheck tomorrow, you may not be rich. You might be in whatever the USA's new and improved - and slicker marketed - version of Harare is.
Les McCann and Eddie Harris put it all so neatly into words and music:
And to at least one old nutjob in the outback of East Texas, that'd bw compared to a 79% decline in 10 years...truly depression-era stuff....compared to what?
"Hold on...you mean the USA taxpayers are paid to keep a Swiss and British bank going????" Yeah, something like that.
Why this kind of thing makes me all the more anxious than ever to see higher withholding rates in less than four weeks, doesn't it you feel that way, too? NOT!
Madness on Bordering, Dept.
You know what happens between now and the end of the year? The senate is planning to ram though the "Dream Act of 2009" which would apparently - if I read this part of the 'act' right - would give Homeland Security even greater discretion in letting illegal aliens remain in the US:
Um, the rest of the bill is here, but seems like DHS is getting more discretion and states less, if I read this bill right. Basically, any alien kinds under 21 who have been in the country get to stay and so can certain aliens up to age 35. The Frosty Wooldridge piece over at NewsWithViews is worth a read.
The YouTube video of a US Senator discussing the Lame Duck Session agenda as 'rigged' (before the T-Day recess) does help turning a nation disaster into an international comedy, though...
Ah, democracy inaction....but don't worry, won't last long at this rate...
TSA - The Marketing Nightmare
Now that TSA is getting called out on YouTube for putting VIPR teams into places like Oregon, and Florida, I've been coming up with all kinds of marketing ideas - especially after watching videos like this one:
I kinda like "Take the bus, and leave the patting (sniffing, document collecting) to us!" Or, how's about "Amtrak and TSA: We're training you."
And as long as we're railroading the once free-to-move-around-the-country folks, how about a new line which we'd market as the "Atchison, Topeka, and the TSA"? Great ideas, I thought - if only someone would pay me for 'em....and why not? What'dya mean I'm "small enough to fail?" Harrumph!
Government Doing Right
Despite a wave of right-wing corpgov neo's spinning otherwise, the FCC's chair's plan to make sure that 'all packets are created equal' on the internet looks to me like good policy. Better, than say, baking airline travelers while they walk to their planes....
The corpgov types want differential use tariffs so they can charge other content providers more dough and thus, limit your choices to those which are the most profitable. Watch for the democorps and republicorps sucking up money from lobbyists on this one...inevitably the telecomsters will try to get a spay & neuter clinic opened for the FCC to cut their regulatory balls off - on the pretext of free markets, but it won't be so. It will be so they can cut back & forth deals without anyone looking or regulating.
You know Law of Market #2: Scarcity Builds Price? That's why the t-com outfits are trying to push bit-rate tariffs...to push up the price of the net, silly! This informed democracy stuff is a pain in the ass and a cheap net fuels it. Can't have that, or words like "it's all rigged" will seep into the public mindset and more people will come down with "Ure's Disease" - laughing at (and sometimes with) authority proclaimed by people who are the same as us, no better, no worse (OK, sometimes worse, then) ...and damn, that'd be dangerous so we have to protect democracy from such thinking! Yeah, sure, you betcha...
Like sharks smelling blood, they're coming to put a price on freedom on the net. Woe to the po who can't afford freedom. Say, there's an eerily familiar battle line, huh?
Beggaring Your Pardon
Oh,, I forgot. There is no inflation. Social Security checks say so and for three years...
Numbers - Breakfast of Champions
[Contexting: No, we're NOT talking definition #1 the word 'number' at the Urban Dictionary. We're talking The Free Dictionary definition #1.]
Newest from the Labor Department:
Say, that's some Christmas Hiring Rush, ain't it?
Be sure and drop by tomorrow and we'll do another number: the Unemployment report. In the meantime, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." The other one. Future's are up, but doubt it can last a whole day...
Coping: The Business Process Reengineered Christmas
I was going to write this up for a Peoplenomics report this weekend, but in light of the fact that so many people have been busted, laid off, and so on, I thought I'd share some of my economically revised Christmas plans.
And if none of these strike your fancy, an cheap prepaid credit card for a trip to Spokane, Washington for a look at what's become the season's most perfect crossing sign, would be just the ticket to fill in the rest of our holiday mood...
Watt's that, Sherlock?
I'm feeling great today. No, not because the market jumped a couple of hundred points yesterday - I've been investing long enough to know that some days I kick the market's ass; other days, it's the other way around.
Thing to learn early on in the sport of trying to turn otherwise near worthless paper into home, cars, vacations, and a retirement home in the country is to figure out whether you're a trading trader, or a position trader.
The distinction's an important one. Position traders make money the old fashioned way...slowly. The trading trader shaves a dime or more on their deals before high noon. Nossir, whatever the investment world's equivalent of foreplay might be, these folks skip right past that. And, as everyone in class knows, skipping the foreplay part sometimes ends in divorce...especially from one's money.
A couple of thoughtful weeks staring at past tax returns (didn't I warn you, this is not the season to get too jolly, since the tax hikes are just a few weeks off?), I've concluded my best investment decisions have always been the big longer term position plays. Not the 'first-look, first-shoot' on a big impulse move like yesterdays. Lightning don't come around often at the same place and at some point, someone besides me will figure out what the S&P/Case housing price chart meant; I mean besides people's feelings are out of synch with the data.
As a result, I've decided to slow down my life another notch and spend at least a few hours a week tinkering with each of my two other interests: repairing electronic equipment and ham radio is one, music & video production (client and personal) is the other.
A particularly pleasant moment came Wednesday when - after staring at a schematic diagram of my old RCA Volt-Ohmist Senior (also known as a vacuum tube volt meter/VTVM) I kept coming back to the idea that the reason why measuring resistance had failed couldn't have been that the range measurement switch had just stopped working, but would somehow begin working again - slightly - after a three day warm-up. The top -center white meter jobby in the pictures above is what a VTVM looks like while resting.
This is the classic sign of a dead battery. But how could that be? That was the very first thing that was changed out, followed by a couple of new vacuum tubes (if you're under 40, you may not know what those are, but think of them as the hot version of chips or the cast iron stove-before-microwaves - kind of things that used to run radios and televisions.
It was the vexing 'slow recovery to almost working' that stumped me. And then came the dawn: Turns out (when I got the yellow old-school analog meter (yellow, lower right in the picture) after it, I had managed to get a dead battery and solder it into place! Amazing. Who would have thought I'd have a dead battery in my battery drawer?
All of which relearned in me something every AC technician, auto mechanic, electronics tech, appliance repairman, and computer repair person learn is forced to relearn on a periodic basis: If the logical only possible repair doesn't work, maybe the (pick one from the list here, depending on your trade or craft) the replacement part was broken whether it's a new defective:
...the first thing you do is check that the replacement part is actually good before tearing up anything else...which would potentially create as many problems as you started off to fix.
Don't know why I felt compulsed (sic) to share this, but I think a lot of young people who haven't had a good education working with their hands (let alone coordinating hands and thinking which is how we get to know the physical side of the matrix here), and as a result, may not have learned that usually only one thing fails. True, there are cascading failures, but most can be traced back to a single source problem.
And now that I've had so much fun trouble-shooting my VTVM, I have a question for Japan, Taiwan, and Korea: Hey! Can we have our jobs back if we remember this stuff a little better this time? And maybe we'll agree not to make cars on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons, too....
Speaking of Science...
I know you'll probably close to all your online shopping at Amazon, but you know (wonders a reader) that you can buy 15-inch locking ViceGrips - ultra long-nose pliers for just $17.50 a pair at American Science & Surplus?
Not only does this work out to a buck-sixty-seven an inch, but as the reader pointed out: "George, now you can stand back and watch as you pinch yourself."
Have a very (and I mean very) thought-provoking notes from a reader which is worth a few neuron firings:
I've been worried about this every since reading Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods and the references to the base of the Sphinx being in water what, 12K years ago? Is there more to this water levels stuff than is let on? Was that 12,000 year old event overshoot of an even BIGGER phenomena?
Of course!. But being humans - which seems to be a fine thing on special occasions) has its drawbacks. Imagine walking into a zoo to watch the elephants. One or two elephants tell the other elephants they are in charge and go around 'taxing' their food and generally getting more than their share for no greater effort than being bullies.
That's a design pattern, plain as day. Yet, when people do the same kind of thing - using law books and guns, we call it 'order' and bow down in front of us.
What we really need, near as I can figure, is another Flood. Shouldn't bother those who aspire toward swimming in every sense of the word. Might be hard for the free-loading class, how-some-ever.
Lacking enough clouds, we keep pushing forward with the accretion of wealth to the bully elephants. But don't mention to them what they oughta be thinking about is kapok and balsa, not zeroes. 40 days of rain, or 40-days of economic ruin...either one puts us back in spears and walking. Oh! And people in Indonesia may have a different sense of waterfront housing prices...
Shy and Retiring?
And Still, There is Hope
This of this as the up side of flash mobs...gone viral...
A simple request: Let me know if you like the daily reports including some YouTube content embedded?
Wednesday December 1, 2010
Keeping the Global(ist) Perspective
What a grand time to be a kingpin of globalism this must be! Oh sure, there were a couple of days which looked rocky in Ireland this week, doggone Irish think they must be entitled to their life savings, or something. Oh, sure, the Bloomberg report that "Sovereign Debt Losses Extend to Highest-Rated European Bonds: Euro-Credit" is sobering, but the 'hot money' doesn't go there.
More important is the IMF's issuance of nonsense to be spooned Pablum-like into the minds of sedated Irish: "IMF predicting Ireland will bounce back" as soon, that is, as their reserves have been heisted, and taxes raised. Why, it's almost magically all on plan, is it not?
Try not to notice that thinking Irish are not pleased, and the discovery of a car bomb in Northern Ireland only serves to bolster my contention that if people are beggared enough, they will take matters into their own hands to better remind governments that they serve the people and not the other way around. We could get another Irish Rebellion yet, especially since the key vote on the EU intrusion to the Emerald Isle comes to a vote on December 7th, which is, BTW the day of the bank run being planned by opponents of European banks.
The main thing, for the globalists in here, is to keep marching in lockstep because that's what the paradigm demands. If workers are being beggared in Ireland, then we need to see American doing their fair share of suffering as well, as so, we notice how well the orchestration has gone as today millions of people will see their extended unemployment benefits expire.
Oh, sure, refinancing of housing continues to fall....here, read this hot off the press from the Mortgage Banker's Association:
Let's take a wild guess at how today will work out in the markets, shall we? The European markets are up because the Asia markets were up, and they were up because the US is pumping out POMO money like there's no tomorrow, and without it, there probably wouldn't be.
It leaves me wondering whether Ben Bernanke ever watched those lectures of the late Carl Sagan: "Billions and billions.." pronounced with fine reassurance.
As a good globalist, we see the checklist:
Peachy! You don't really think the US Navy would have only three aircraft carriers and only three amphibious assault ships deployed if Korea was 'real' do you?
Need a little frosting on this cake? How about planned job cuts hitting an eight-month high, as outlined in the look-ahead Challenger, Gray & Christmas forecast just out:
Ah, just as that 'nutter' in East Texas has been warning: second dip arriving, shortly. Imagine that. Why the crazy SOB must have developed a globalist perspective. (More in today's "Coping" section)
Fools on the Hill, Dept.
OK, so WikiLeaks leaks and the net's becoming more visibly where WW IV is being fought. (*WW III was the cold war from a long wave economics perspective, with Gulf Wars 1, 2 through x being the 'peak' wars. We're now sliding toward the trough which will bring another war along, but not yet, thanks...)
I'm trying, for the life of me to figure out when the whole freaking world is reading the WikiLeaks, why the US would cut access to the files. I mean, the stuffs out and about, fer cryin' out loud. Or, is the idea to keep Americans as much in the dark as possible, so we can't intelligently defend America when the whole rest of the world has seized on the data? I'm confounded by this, but since that's how most of my days go, wandering around confounded, I guess it makes sense...
This is all, in effect, tossing gasoline on the fire some are trying to build to force the US to adopt 'net controls' to keep people's thinking in line with government policy. Despite the Founder's silly notion that things should really run t'other way around...e.g. government oughta run to the wishes of the constituency...
Thanks for Noticing
The report over at "What
Does It Mean" which brings up the oddities out in the Gulf of Aden mentions
web bot timing....how about that. Must read...
Dangerous Bankers Watch
The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control has this list (which you maybe don't check often) called the "Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons" list. If you don't have time to sort out the change, Bankers Online website has details. Five Iranian individuals and 10 business entities, mostly with ties to Iran if my counting skills are awake yet.
Proof Reading the Sun
OK, if the coffee hasn't kicked in yet, let me ,walk you through this one: a space watch from the Solar Influences Data analysis center in Belgium and notice my yellow highlight::
I'm kinda thinking that the Nov 3-4 reference is a typo and should be Dec 3-4 (I'm not a science jock, but if it is correct, then time travel has been discovered, LOL.)
Which means late tomorrow into the 4th we'll have our earthquake antennae out...and with that....
Climate or Crust?
As the international effort to whip people up into climate change frenzy continues, I hope you noticed the UK Independent report headlining how "Rising seal level threatens 'hundreds' of Caribbean resorts, says UN report".
I have a little different take on this: Could be that parts of the Earth's crust are shifting with some parts rising while other parts fall...happens all the time say geologists...just doesn't lend itself to carbon credit trading, I suppose. I Mean, how does one trading continents rising and falling? (*Is there a hedge fund called Atlantis?)
Oh, and that gets me to....Remember in the old ALTA reports how we were expecting :
Well, some portion of that is being filled over the last week with the arising of an island which is almost 300 feet high and 1.86 miles in length off the coast of Pakistan.
So how cool is that, huh? Rickety time machines don't get it all perfect, timing is fluky, but there's a real island for you...and an explanation of why it may not be 'sea level's rise, but land levels fall.... all made less worrisome if you can walk on water....
Coping: Go Local, S.510, and General George
Not often I get a thoughtful letter with a positive solution to some of the world's problems included, but here's a please number of concepts with something other than a "me, me, me, dammimt" core to it...
Your note, reader (S.C.) made getting out of bed worthwhile this morning. Let me address each of your points one-by-one, since with limited mental processing power, I like to focus on one thing at a time, then step back and look at the whole birthday cake...
I really like the idea of letting people buy locally made products. Been friends of mine prompting me to go local as much as possible for years. The problem, sadly, as I see it, is that we are at the dead-end tunnel (Box canyon then, if your prefer Westerns) of jobjacking:
So many jobs have been sold overseas to fatten the corporate purse, without regard for the welfare of countries (as nuisance to transnational corporations, believe me) that there ain't much left to buy that's made local other than food, and with the FDA's food police about to get ratcheted up with SB.510 being passed by the Senate (73-25) the maximum range for local food products from a small farm is shortly to be 275 miles.
Not to get off-topic on this little ditty, but a different reader had a rather negative experience trying to urge a not vote on S.510:
As I've said before, both houses of congress go deaf, dumb, and dumber except for the 20-minutres immediately preceding an election, in which case they get very attentive, much as a horse thief does while trying to unload a stolen nag before the posse shows up.
The republicorps back in the 1990's tried a "Buy American" program about the time I was peddling HF SSB radio gear (MIL-STD-188-100 interoperable in 1998/1999 mind you), what we found was that very few customers would pay for a good quality American-made product if a competing foreign-made piece of foreign equipment was even $20 cheaper, had a few minor specs better, or were enjoying a more solid reputation.
These offshore radios (dubbed 'rice boxes' in ham radio circles) had gone through the same jobjack to Asia that had afflicted the auto industry, the home appliance industry, and even heavy transportation goods (meaning expensive to ship) goods like tires have over the past few years completed the least-cost-labor Exodus. There's a closed down tire plant up between Tyler and Chandler, Texas that made dandy tires.
Not foul meant to Komatsu, but ain't this supposed to be John Deere and Cat's backyard? Yet because of marketing judgments and actually listening to consumers, I happen to drive a Kubota. True, made on an assembly line in Georgia, but when Toyota came to Fremont (Ca.) and Kubota came to Atlanta, management (and profits) went where?
Still, there's humor, or at least wry irony (I call it wryrony) in some of it. I happen to love Asia cooking and Rose Brand Products up in Seattle every six months, or so, sends me a 70-80 pound batch of their most excellent Chinese Egg Noodle, made in the USA. Somehow, those taste especially good.
Back to point, the problem of onshoring US goods is a tactically difficult one. As we see in the food arena, the corporate checkbooks were out to protect least-cost foreign-frown goods...to the situation is becoming institutionalized along a design pattern of:
While the USA has a 'commerce department' their involvement at the tactical level in the period when it mattered was about nothing compared to Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry. These guys were like the Yakuza of jobjacking.
There's a reason why recent USA attempts to quantify and teach Japanese style management have terms like sigma-six black belt and so on. And if you doubt it, go look where your television set was made, if it's less than 5-years old. Betcha it ain't in the USA.
Having worked on the exporting side of American industry, one of the ways that companies get around regulations is by selling goods in SKD (semi-knocked down) form). This is a tariff-skirting "some assembly required" move. And the final assembly can take place in least-cost labor camps like Mexico and what have you. The high end professional jobs? Engineering, materials research, and so on? Sorry, but no way, Jose.
That you buy first local, then Canada, then USA shows that there is still a light on, upstairs. Most people in the USA are not so blessed. I expect it's the result of being hooked on mindless entertainment which cooks up time, but which besides wasting valuable breaths and heartbeats offers 3rd-grade level lowest common denominator humor and excess-consumption cravings in return. I think it's a crappy trade-off, but networks and the MSM gotta love it. Besides, I've already assigned myself the label 'nutjob' and few have chosen to argue the point.
Your pointing out the RevolutionaryRadio article "Americans are willing to Tample one another to get their hands on cheap foreign-made plastic crap even as the United States turns into a post-industrial wasteland" is mostly true, except that the foreign-made crap ain't as cheap as it once was.
As I outlined in this morning's lead article "Keeping the Global(ist) Perspective, 'ownership' the world is presently being fought over by several factions and as their fortunes rise, or fall, the price of foreign-made goods in America trends after it.
Two side points, I think ought to be made along in here somewhere.
First is that the US government has a very tough time dealing with 'outside the box' thinking on the internet. There's a Bush-era hangover in today's Security State that has swallowed the whole "You're either with us, or against us" absolutism of positioning as a matter of fact when nothing could be further from the truth.
To disagree on a particular point, process, or constraint on freedom and personal liberty doesn't not make someone an enemy of the state. When I read stories about TSA doing shakedowns of kids, not changing gloves between gropes, and such, I just shake my head and drive: I'm trying my best not to participant in mass hysteria.
I have few doubts that future historians, when the world sobers up a bit, will look at the period of which I've been calling the "Manufacturer's Resource Wars" for years, as one where the Security-State mindset came along at almost the longwave economic cycle length (48-64 years) from the late 1940's to early/mid 1950's McCarthyism.
Doesn't take a rocket surgeon of history to figure out that if there's anything rotten in Denmark, it's not the Danes, but the European Union, and if there are people talking about a revolution in consumer behavior, then "Hallelujah!" It's about damn time.
Which gets me to my second point: Corel dishes.
Corel dishes reveal the absolute dirtiest, filthiest, most subversive fact about modem life there is. No kidding, they do.
They reveal the one concept that can bring down the most arrogant corporations and the most run amuck madness. Fact is, I've been sketching up plans for a new and improved secret society of consumers where members - instead of meeting on the circle and parting on the square, would meet on the cash and part with the bank. Another day.
Corel dishes are nearly indestructible. I had a set when I lived on my sailboat for 10-years. The only time I ever broke a dish was when a buddy of mine at the time (Scott, an ex-SEAL paramedic) and I were racing in the Iceberg series in Seattle. We'd had sandwiches and coffee prior to the start of the race (35º F, a southwest wind at 30 gusting 40, and rain squalls). I forgot to close the dish locker.
About the time the boat tacked (getting the mail in the water, BTW, we were pushing the boat that hard, which is to say a lot for a 40' boat) there was a helluva noise from below. About one-third of my dishes had flown from one side of the boat, about 10-feet through the air onto the teak of the nav station. Only three broke.
Yoiu see the point? We are - as a society - perfectly capable of making dishes that can quite literally last a lifetime. Same thing with knifes, forks, and spoons. To a lesser extent, that's true with cars, too. Ever hear of a "Checker"? The Checker autos were living proof that a car could be designed and built which could goo 400-500,000 miles. No big deal for a superbly engineered car.
Problem was what? It wasn't disposable. And thanks to GM's invention of the annual model which is one of the reasons that the US came out of the last depression, Americans were not really interested in buying something of permanent.
And that's my point with Corel. How much of all the work people are doing in the world is being done not because it needs to be so, but to fatten the purse of the Global Cabal of Industrialists who want us all to work 18-hour days so we can buy more (pardon this) shit that will be obsolete as soon as we're off the auto dealer's lot?
This may seem like something of a radical manifesto if you're not used to thinking about 'big picture' stuff and sorry about that, if it makes your head hurt.
It's just that people have to sit back as a group - whether it's my friend in Saudi Alberta, the folks in the local ham radio club, the wife, the kids, and what have you.
Economics and the fascination with 'style' has made beggars of us all and thanks to the MSM, fluoride in the water, 40% of Americans strung out on antidepressants, you'd think a few folks would stir from the trance.
Sorry, don't see it. All we can do in individually make choices. 10-years ago when I bought my last (serious) ham radio, it was an Icom-746 made in Japan. Since I expect to buy a new radio, perhaps next year (the state of the art in radio equipment keeps moving ahead, a different issue that style in consumer goods) I've been eyeing the built in the USA Tec-Tec Orion II DSP radio and the offering from Flex-Radio Systems up in Dallas. which has been beating down the wall between radios and computers with their Flex-Radio products which go toward the idea that once the hardware reaches a certain point, the rest is all software...
I could go on about this stuff all day long, but you've got work to do (so you can buy more stuff, right?) and I have a nap to take.
Oh, on the idea of General George, it's not a bad idea. Except that we live in a world of too many generals already, particularly General Confusion, General Greed, and General Lee Selphcentard.
Between fits of shopping attacks, you might go watch the excellent documentary "The Philosopher Kings" which is up on NetFlix now. It's the tale of a sampling of Janitors from colleges and universities around the country. Turns out they are all humans and all have remarkable stories to tell.
It underscores a premise around here: That all souls weigh the same, despite the marketing campaigns of various religions, and it doesn't take money to make an extraordinary human.
But it does require coffee and some hard thinking about the kind of world we agree to cohabitate and for a few revolutionaries, change is mandatory, since in case you've forgotten, the quality on the inside is rarely related to the possessions on the outside.
The great thing about poverty is it gives a body time to think; and since it's on the rise, America's been doing a lot more thinking here lately...
Tuesday November 30, 2010
Housing Declines - Again
Remember (if you subscribe to our Peoplenomics.com premium content) I was mentioning how we would likely see a continuation of the decline in Housing Prices which would mark the step down into the second half of the currently unfolding Depression II?
You want to go ahead and mutter a few choice expletives, we'll understand.,
WikiLeaks: A Path to Seize the 'Net
I don't usually start off a morning report with a reader note, but this one is just too important to pass by unshared:
Sure enough, with Wikileaks occupying the top half of the Drudge Report (Which headlines Snoop, Spy, Spin at the moment) and other media, we have to wonder if this isn't indeed some kind of a setup to 'net controls' which we have often previously alluded to?
Outside of the MainStreamMedia, questions about whether WikiLeaks has state level support are being hinted at. And it continues today with the idea that Wiki-Murders could happen in Iran.
But why would a state actor be trying to subvert the 'net? Perhaps because so much attention was brought by independent/noncorporate-owned media to the attempts to engage the US as an ally of Israel in a preemptive attack on Iran?
The WikiLeaks case continues moving forward, with a report in Forbes this morning by Andy Greenberg that hints that WikiLeaks is planning a major dump next on a major American Bank.
The way I assemble things, this is very much in keeping how a Middle East State Actor could strong-arm the US into complicity with it's preemptive military plans. And the leverage is a well-disguised threat to blow up the world financial system if we don't play ball. Disguised, that is, to those unfamiliar with fourth generation war-fighting, including the American public.
Given the high level of US intelligence obtained by a particular Middle East country, seems to me the key data point to watch for in all these stories, will be the answer to the ugly question no one is asking (which would immediately be labeled anti-Semitic, for sure): "Is a certain Middle East country the source of the leaked information?"
I may have been a bit 'off'' in yesterday's column expecting Gulf of Tonkin 2. Maybe I should have been thinking USS Liberty 2.
Different ocean, different rhyme. A variant on an old design pattern, in present time.
American humorist Mark Twain summed America's excessive bent toward political correctness without calling it that:
So move right along, nothing to see here. You will eventually be able to get your internet license at the same time you get your driver's license where you already in some states have to throw in with one, or t'other of the state-sanctioned parties which agree to comply with the paradigm before us.
Won't be anything on that version of the net but state-sanctioned 'news' and all discussion forums will have to be licensed, and it will all be so frigging necessary thanks to WikiLeaks and whoever the state actors are supporting 'em. America's freedoms are under attack, by enemies all around.
If you're keen on the design patterns of asymmetric warfare, keep reading...
A couple of follow-on notes about the [purported] would-be Portland Oregon bomber. Besides reports that the would-be bomber had been under surveillance for 15-months, bringing up serious questions about entrapment, it now turns out this that may have been part of a plan to 'strong-arm' the city of Portland, Oregon back into the fed's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In what might be held to be a coincidence, or gen4 politics, Portland opted out of the fed's JTTF program in 2005. Now, by 'catching a would-be bomber' and leaving Portland's finest flat-footed and in the dark, the bum's rush is on to reel Portland back into lockstep. Hell of it is, so far, it's working.
All of which leaves this terrible question: Is this a coincidence or long-term planting... I mean planning...at its finest? Or, purely co-inky-dink? Insufficient data, but a heavy odor hangs around which may have a source...
And, so long as we're talking about marketing the security state in Oregon, try on this first-hand Central Oregon reader report about events Sunday:
Doesn't have to make economic sense. Only has to fit an agenda somewhere and we'll leave speculation there up to you.... of course it's all part of what?
Related Read: "First they came for the file-sharing domains."..fyne rhyme on history.
(permanent war for permanent peace - Orwell et al)
Speaking of terrorism and such, I forgot to acknowledge, points out a reader that even prestigious CNN is asking a difficult question about the US role in the Middle East, a/k/a/ the sandbox: "Is America on the path to 'permanent war'?
Hate to plagiarize the Declaration of Independence at this hour, but does "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." fit?
A report that the EU might be looking into search practices of Google kinda got my dander up. There are other search engines which are griping that Google is showing their favored sites ahead of others. Seems to me, Google can do WETF (whateverthe****) with their own search engine. If Europe can get to the cloud and find it, why aren't these whiners just coming right out and turning off internet access? Fer cryin' out loud... The EU seems to get disproportionately missy about anything big if it's American.
Oh, except that the war for the 'net is onand the EU seems to have a different agenda that WikiLeaks.
US futures are down a bit. 30-50? All that POMO money tossed on the bonfire of the equities didn't help a whit Monday. I figure China's selling as much as we're buying. Circular reference #1.
Still MSM- US underplays the level to which Irish are becoming upset that their retirements are being ripped off by banksters, with 100,000 outlast week and agitation still percolating.
I guess it's understandable: If I had been working my butt off as a country and then had EU banksters come in and screw me out of years of hard work, I'd be seriously pissed, too. No fooling these Irish.
But the joke (which is the EU) comes into even better focus than the Google-Gripes as the EU puts some of the cost of the Irish 'bail out' on PIIGS countries. Circular reference #2.
Ain't nobody ever told these po' folk 'bout circular references in spreadsheets & global economies? So where is all the money going? Out the door and right to the top of the leach class who refuse to admit anymore that the very reason interest to be paid in the first place was as compensation for risk.
Poor losers they are. Mighty damn poor, and hopefully soon.
The only thing really too big to fail is freedom. But we've been hoaxed out of that, eh?
Check back about 8:30 Central by when the S&P/Case housing report's due out.
This being the season to be jolly and all, we don't expect it to be a real 'read 'em and weep'. More like a read 'em and sniffle quietly...
Coping: Ghosts of Christmas Future
Like the Dickens dude with his ghosts of Christmas past, I spent a reasonably restless night tossing and turning working on the value judgments that accompany every Christmas season and a few which seem bound to accompany this one only.
I began by reviewing Monday's news and how it was handled here. Yes, we talked about the WikiLeaks story a bit, but I didn't download the umpteen gazillion MB file and post any extracts of it. Reason? This is is mainly socioeconomic in nature, and while the defense industry is a huge driver of our wars/economic/security-state-mindset - thus any politics in the back room might be instructive - I have neither the time nor inclination to do much more than mention it in passing. Except the design pattern of it could lead to net seizures.
There's something about the story that bothers me - and it bothered half a dozen or more readers yesterday: At what point does Wikileaks become suspect as releasing information which is designed to alter US policy in a particular direction?
Having covered the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers story extensive years so, I was acutely aware that this was a matter of Ellsberg's conscience about an active war, the deliberate misleading of the American people into war, and so on., But, in the case of the Wikileaks release, might they have been helped by a State actor for some end which is not revealed? Moreover, after releasing other damaging information, unless a State player has them 'protected' seems the US has enough resource to shut them down, since we seem to be able to attack/seize websites not only of two-bit filing sharing operations, but even sites committing no larger crime than indexing such information, such as Google or the other 'acceptable' MSM engines might index.
Something's a bit fishy here. George's news nose knows news, but that's also not my beat and this morning's lead story sums up my investigations so far.
On my real beat (socioeconomics) there's plenty to worry about. Take, for example, the upcoming December 7th "Break the Banks Day" in Europe.
It's been suggested to me - by readers - that we talk about the possibility of a bank run here in the US that same day. A few have urged me to 'take up the cause' but that brings us to a hotly-debated point among journalists. We need to ask "Is it the role of a good journalist to report the news (after the fact, but with a moderate amount of conjecture about future developments which could go this way, or that?
Or, should a journalist become a social advocate, which is to say choose up sides and actually LEAD the events?
The closest analog to the story was the debate among big city news directors in the early 1970's about bomb scare stories. The problem with reporting a bomb scare (e.g. say a story where a city agency receives a threat, evacuates a building, but nothing is found) is that every Tom, Dick, and Harry, but mostly Dicks, I suppose, decide that they can become an interactive participant with the day's events by simply going to a pay phone and calling in a bomb threat.
Which is why most news directors - right up through today - have a policy of not reporting bomb threats. If they did, we'd be up to our ears in bomb threats and one thing would lead to another...and bomb threats would be on the news uncountable times per day.
Almost curiously, news directors seem universally ignorant that terrorism works very much the same way. Any objective person would figure, using old-time bomb threat logic - that reporting of any suspicious package that is hauled off by a bomb squad, even if it's someone's shaving kit left by mistake in a baggage area, then becomes fair game. Good building codes have reduced the number of major fires and such, so what's a good news operation to do? Play by play of opening a shaving kit....all so as to create inventory for the ad sales department.
All of which becomes a self-reinforcing mechanism that just tosses more leverage in the direction of terrorists, compels more intrusive government action, fresh gloves or not, and that's in good measure how we got to where we are today.
And this relates to the December 7th bank withdrawal plans which may spreading to the US how?
Well, like a bomb threat, prior coverage becomes something of a self-fulfilling story. If I were foolish enough to encourage such a thing, I'd be taking part in ripping up the global financial system.
Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather be a follower on the Dec. 7 story, since we discussed well prior to the tipping point the one action that a prudent person could take without participating in global economic destruction: Check your banks safety ratings (using Weiss or other reputable outfits) and then spread your risks around that way.
This comes on top of our overall strategy to invest in things that will make us all more independent; the greenhouse, the solar panels, the eschewing of debt, storing three to six months of food and water, plus becoming active in everything from the local Red Cross chapter, learning some basic emergency medicine, and while profiling may not be politically correct at the governmental level, I nave no problem applying it to my own observations of other humans walking around near anything remotely sensitive. I'd report something genuinely out of place at the drop of a hat, as I'm sure you would, too.
More than a small handful of readers have suggested I take up some kind of 'lead the charge' role, but no thanks. I keep a pretty clear line in my head (and in writing, I hope) defining reporting versus advocating. The one being an American right, the other being dangerously near sedition.
When people I know in the banking industry tell me they are seeing larger numbers of people moving money out of banks because of December 7th fears, that'd be news. However to advocate such a thing in advance is participatory and worse, it causes events.
To observe that linguistics around a kind of GlobalRev wherein humans redefine the control systems imposed on them by their rulers who serve at their leisure is one thing. To report on trends pointing in a particular direction seems newsworthy. But to take up arms, bank balances, and actively promote such behavior is not the reporters role. The job is to report.
Just as I spent some time in the Seattle Black Panther Party headquarters, hunkered down behind sandbags, just off 23rd Avenue back in the day, and was invited to stay and join the struggle, the analog today is to try and maintain (as best we can) a sense of detachment from events.
Is a lot of high finance crooked? Why sure! But wasn't that the case in the Depression of 1873? Yep.
America has been going to hell for two hundred years and while it seems a bit warmer lately, and there's the odd whiff of sulfur burning now and then, I'm trying not to run around with kindling and matches.
There's still no better place on earth.
Having tossed and turned through those topics, the rest of the sleepless night was less dramatic. Mostly it was trying to strike a balance between giving to the general cause of humans on the one hand, and the good of the family on the other.
On the public gifting side, I've long been impressed with local food banks around the country. We give to the local one on a regular basis and they in turn can leverage a few hundred dollars into thousands of meals. That's a fine investment.
So, too, are the small agencies which do the public good out of the limelight of the MainStreamMedia. An example might be the Randolph Carter Center in Seattle which has for as long as I can remember, worked for people who were born with two strokes against them: Mental retardation and members of a racial minority. All souls weigh the same it's said, but some get shoved to society's back of the line and that just don't seem right.
On the family gifting side, I've been pleased with the National Bank of Dad's grant program called "PEG". Parent Education Grant. This recipient this quarter is my EMT son, who, after he finishes up Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), will then track into PALS - pediatric advanced life support.
Like the old man, G2 seems to have figured out that the more paper you've got, the further you may be able to go in your field and the more options you'll have. His collection includes a phlebotomist ticket, EMT basic, HIV counselor, working on his CNA, and on from there. He likes emergency medicine and wants to be a trauma EMT, a worthy pursuit.
What about the other kids? A couple need house payments, two need rent, one's putting together an (pardon this) "Oh shit!" fund to build up some backlog to hedge against an expected layoff in January.
Employers hanging onto people through December just let's 'em pile on debt - and firing people in January when the bills come in oughta be against the law.
When we were all younger, Christmas was a magical time of year. As I've gotten older, I notice that it has become more and more difficult.
For a 'tis the season to be jolly', I think the FTC ought to have a look. Seems like a lot of false and misleading advertising.
Light Christmas Reading
This one is good - and free. A kind of counter to the MSM pandered "free markets gone mad" insanity of runaway corporatism. Chapter 3 of Tom Hartmann's serialized "Rebooting the American Dream" online over at TruthOut.
Consensus in America would be so easily achieved, if it t'weren't hidden between extremes. But, I suppose, you figured that out on your own?
Lies of History
Remember the story from school days? Christopher Columbus was just a hard-working aggressive guy with a notion about heading to the Indies by going West - his own insight and all?
Nope. Toss that out. A new book says Chris was the son of a Polish king, as such probably had one of the best educations anyone could have at the time, and he hid that family connection to keep his exiled dad in Madeira clear of harms way from his escaped....
Monday November 29, 2010
Waiting for GT-2
Am I going to begin this morning by pointing out that the WikiLeaks story suggests that "Iran may have missiles from North Korea"? Nope.
How about pointing to the NY Times piece about how the "South Korean leader warns North against new attack?" Newsroom floor clipping - interesting in real-time, maybe, but from a look-ahead perspective? No, again.
Since UrbanSurvival is an economics site (ostensibly, anyway) might we mention that Moody's has already factored-in a misbehaving North Korea to their ratings of the South's debt? No, no, not that one either.
"You gonna mention the North Koreans are bringing 20,000 expatriates home from places like Russia, like was mentioned in the UK Independent?" I could, but no.
Instead, I'm going to mention that reading up on the Second Gulf of Tonkin Incident might be a worthwhile thing to do about now. From Wikipedia:
So, here's the game plan: World needs wars to keep huge militaries busy, right? And if the militaries are busy, there are plenty of jobs in the defense/death industries, and a good bit of that slops over into what would otherwise be ploughshare kinds of industries.
Since the Israeli's have not been able to strike up a war with Iran yet, and since there is some discussion in the WikieLeaks diplomatic cables about North Korean-Iran weapons trade, and since we've got military exercises with US-South Korean forces going, you see where this leads, I hope. Or, you need a LOT more coffee.
Now, whether the US will go along with China's call for immediate/emergency consultations on the Korea situation will, I expect to some measure, be determined by how the Fed/Treasury POMO auction goes this week. If the POMO is 'good' (low rates, US markets rally) then my money slides over to the
no upgrade of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula. However, if the POMO this week goes badly, then I slide my money toward the GT-2 outcome.
We'll just skip the really hard questions, like the one raised on The Examiner last week wondering if the Fed's POMO is just a way to help fund the exit of lots of insiders, who, if you've been following Tyler Durden's excellent work over at ZeroHedge, seem to be jumping ship faster than hydrophobic rats here lately.
It's all - 100 percent of it, I tell you - purely coincidence...or nearly so.
Someone asked me Sunday if this could set up the 'nuclear war' that I mentioned in what, 2007 in that History Channel interview I did? I'd mentioned the 2009-2010 timeframe, but may come a bit later. January 7th, 2011 would be an interesting day to circle, if I had to throw a dart blindfolded.
On the other hand, that would mean slowing the rate of the ramp-up of tensions. And we might not see that until....wait....South Korea has just canceled drills...why it's almost like how in pro basketball, one side or the other will deliberately slow the game to get everyone into position. Sports being ritualized war with a side of of bling and all... Stealth fighters are a fighting man's bling, you see...
Taking a Leak
If the internet is slow today, there are likely three or four different reasons we could ascribe things to. One would be this is (massively over-hyped) Cyber Monday. We got our Amazon orders all placed on Friday, but isn't online shopping why people go to work on the Monday after turkey?
Then there's all those folks in Australia who are still trying to get their money out of the National Australia Bank, which experienced a serious (what's more serious than no dough?) computer glitch-out last week which continued into Monday (Asia time). No doubt that's got to account for some of the unusual web traffic. No worries, mate, should be up again tomorrow, or so go reports.
But above both of these is the WikiLeaks release of sensitive/classified US diplomatic cables.
The following video is more on the same.
Dead Euros Coming
Beat Up the Irish Dept.
Ain't predatory capital fun? Sure the EU is going ahead with its $89-billion bailout, but the way they're going to do this is by leverage, promises, oh, and so long as we're at it, let's beggar any Irish pension fund reserves, too...
I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to keep analyzing the Irish economic situation without putting parental controls on this website. Yes, there's that much screwing going on. At some point it becomes obvious that defending a currency is like bailing a sieve. What's the point, again?
At some juncture, reasonable people are going to see this for what it is. When I see stories about how the Germans are saying the Euro must be defended, or the Belgian finance minister says the same, I wonder why they'd say that rather than admit the EU's in a heap-o-trouble and supergovernment ain't gonna work?
Where's my damn ViceGrips? Am you & I the last honest thinkers around? Apparently the word 'stunned' is being used by experts, too...
Long as we're talking about screwing and such, my friend Gonzalo Lira has a good article on his site today under the heading "If Ireland Doesn't Take the Bailout..." which then gets us around to the lack of US media attention to the 50-150,000 people who are taking to the streets in Ireland in protest of this.
If you're thinking "Gee, could the Irish rebel again, only this time against bankers who are only trying to screw them out of a financial future?" Watch coming events, Sherlock...
The US markets look set to pop to the upside, 75 or more (?) as the weekly day traders return to the table. Later today, the tables may cool...
Big Government's March
And in Washington this week, the stampede by the food & security lobbyists will be continuing to ram through the so-called Food Safety Bill. I'd suggest you call your Senators today, I'll be calling the two from Texas. But, we all know that except for the 20-minutes before an election , non-experts (e.g. those without ready cash and favors or votes to deal) end up on hold talking and maybe talking to an intern...
I'm not saying this is the first step in collectivization of agriculture, comrade, but while there are some good provisions (like holding foreign foods to US standards) it seems to put more and more paperwork reporting requirements on small farmers who don't have big legal department like the AgBiz firms and related lobbies enjoy. So what better way to soak up more properties into the AgBiz holdings? Repeat after me: Everything's a business model.
Since we had such a long-lasting solar minima recently, the winter this year is going to be unusually cold. Folks in the UK are already reading headlines about how they've had the coldest night in 134-years over thar. Really? Try and act surprised.
Just because there's a near-perfect correlation (with lag) between solar output and global warming, that doesn't mean that the climate change true believers are giving up...and yes, higher CO2 levels are a bad thing and all, but.....
When I read headlines like " Cancun climate change summit:" Consequences of global warming for Britain" I wonder how many of the scientists involved in still trying to sell climate change don't get out of the lab - or their narrow focus - very often?
Like I said, I'm pro-environment, but with an extra helping of suspicion when right-grabs like carbon credits come along. You did see where Radio Iowa had a good report on how the "Company created to sell carbon credits will shut down"? This follows the announced shutdown of the Chicago Climate Exchange of carbon credit trading come year end.
Cap & trade is 'on life support', too. Golly willikers, somehow don't think I'll need a Kleenex for that one...
Answers in the Stars
Say, did you happen to catch the CNBC piece about how "Sunspots predict 'major crisis' after 2013; Chartist" says? Might be a good time to be out...I've been thinking for a long time that while 2012 may be getting lots of popular press, the idea that sunspots peak after the nominal peak of the solar cycle, the 2013-2014 period may be the period of highest EMP/earth directed solar blasts which could disrupt electronics... or not.
But, in the meantime, a recent Heritage Foundation study says the US remains critically exposed to the threat of man-made electromagnetic pulse attack and is urging the administration to do something about it.
Passings: A Comedy Legend
Comedy great Leslie Nielsen died this weekend - age 84 - down in Florida. Everyone I know in the airline industry thought "Airplane" was brilliant, as were most of his movies. Having spent some airline management time, it was closer to a documentary than not.
The UK Guardian film blog has a good collection of Nielsen video clips here - sure to bring back a lot of memories.
Son of an RCMP Mountie, he will be Shirley missed, by his hometown folks up in Saskatchewan and the rest of the world too.
Coping: Can The World Afford Christmas?
The AP story over at Yahoo Finance that the '12 Days of Christmas' items costr nears $100,000; one of those stories that news editors/directors love because they can be done well ahead of time and 'put in the can' till it's a slow news day and something is needed to fill either 3½ minutes, or whatever the local commercial inventory plus national spots leaves in a 30-minute TV news show - usually about 17-minutes worth of content, at least times were...
But, it brings up a very good question to be asking in these troubled times, what this being Cyber Monday and all: Can the world afford Christmas anymore?
Don't get me wrong, all over the ideas behind it and all, but how many trees get cut down just to play out the hijacked Pagan & Druid midwinter festivals which was the whole point of the trees and such in the first place - a marketing exercise?
Hate to pop your bubble (if you have any left that haven't been) but Yule logs and whole lot more have an interesting past, just as 'flying' around Halloween was all about putting down widespread use of drugs which busted people out of the 'ruling paradigms' back when.
But here you have another one of those distracting "things to think about": As we've said before, everything's a marketing plan, and so was Christmas from the outset. Christians in the holy lands didn't celebrate the event until came time to subdue the Pagans up in Europe.
One of these days I've got to write the definitive 'new history' book which will open people's eyes to the broader scope of history, I guess. "World History: The Marketing Manual" could be the titled.
The last chapter of said un-written book would be the most interesting. After going through a wide range of historical events that are as the base of so many human traditions, I'd pop the most difficult question of all: "What value are 'traditions'?"
Some seem well worth holding onto, "All men are created equal" and such. But others? Marketing plans, positioning statements, and and centuries long book tours. Taken as a whole, the cross-section of law, religion, ethnic what-have-you's forms a formidable barrier to human evolution by retaining - based on tradition - things that at an unemotional/analytical level may no longer make sense in today's world.
This is something that's been bothering me ever since my first or second year as a reporter, covering those annual stories - also inevitable like the "12-days costs how much?" stories: The trailer fire that killed X children started by Christmas ornaments, candles, and whatever; the angry shopper stories...you know, the dark side of the season. The suicides in January when the bills come in and the job's gone out...that sort of thing.
Not that we're anti-Christmas, mind you. It's just that we're pro facts. Elaine's got a 12" high ceramic tree that will do just fine as a reminder of the season. You spend enough time in a newsroom to see the human tragedy that accompanies the season, the deaths in car accidents after office parties, the overdose cases, the annual reports on Seasonal Affects Disorder (SAD), shopping excesses and so on...all changes your outlook on the December.
Like the "Plop-Plop, Fizz-Fizz, Oh what a relief it is" Alka-Seltzer commercial, people for some reason remember the Big Marketing Campaign more than the underlying lessons of human history to be recalled. And like Alka-Seltzer, the importance of either marketing campaign depends on what you put on the inside beforehand.
Seems to me that if world-wide humanity is to evolve, the UN has made a fundamental mistake starting their deliberations on non-starter issues like borders, wars, and such.
Way I've got it figured, the should start by hold a global summit on Holidays since religions through history have been at the heart of so many wars. If the world could agree on 2-3 vacation days internationally per quarter, might help bridge the gaps different humans have in their ways of thinking. Call 'em international days of rest, or some such.
If we could just convince all humans to kick back and enjoy 12- international holidays "Days of Rest and Peace" throughout the world, only then would I trust any international organization to try and 'make peace' between countries.
The whole notion of peace-keeping starts, I figure, with getting people to work on how they are similar, not different from one another. Common global holidays would make a fine start. Wars are the wedge between people's. The peace-loving world could disarm Korea tomorrow, if it had a mind to: Simply drop pallets of food and consumer electronics on them. And a side order of video games and books to read for the kids.
But, peace isn't good for business, at least the arms business. And what is it that nutjob in East Texas says? Oh yeah: Everything's a Business Model.
Tipping Point Essentials
I thought we ought to start making a list of the 'picket fence' posts since we passed the tipping point November 14th:
Nope, nothing's change in the past two weeks - still they look like picket fence posts to us. Maybe we'll add one or two more this week...
There's more, but I'd offer that for a two week period, these items are moving through the headlines at a much faster clip than in the period proceeding the tipping point. All of which leaves us still near start of the tipping point, which I expect to continue picking up speed over the next 48-days.
Folks up at www.halfpasthuman.com are still be slammed by ISP issues. Their service is up and down and they are answering emails and such best they can.
Before the chart, a little background:
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.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
"George, that's only a coincidence!" your monkey-mind will protest.
Why sure it is...you bet. A 9½ year long coincidence...yessir....just a coincidence, we're like SO sure... (Shhh...don't tell anyone that major Depressions are two-part coupled affairs like the linkage between 1920-21 and 1929, OK? Damn, dude...don't spoil it for the sheep...)
Oh...don't forget to "Write when you get rich!"
George Ure, The People's Economist
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