The Site They Don't Want You To Read Which Outs the Big Game.
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Rally While We Can
After seeing the price of gold pop up this morning, and noticing that the Dow futures were up 71-points, it seemed like Santa was due to "hoover" over Wall Street today, an expectation that just got goosed by the release of the Consumer Price Index report for November.
Of course, the story isn't quite complete. The core rate which is highly prized by idiot-level economists who don't use energy and food was up only 2.2% year-on-year, but around here we could care less since the latest Fed figures out on Thursday showed M1 was still going up at a 3-months annualized rate of 7.9%, but which is up 18.1% year-on-year and M2 which is up 9.8% year on year.
The astute observer will look at the money supply figures and could reasonably figure the Fed is tightening up a bit, which may drive rates (hence gold prices up) in a month or two...
Then there's Trader Bart's most savory M3b reconstructed (which has incredible value since St. Al hid the sausage on M3 so as to hide the evidence of the monetary backside manipulations) It still shows M3b (four week smoothed moving average) at about 6%.
Which means to me that the current annual deflation rate is running at least (6% monetary inflation at M3b less 3.4% CPI equals) 2.6% deflation.
Of course, you already know that's open to further discussion since real estate is back at 2003 levels, and we can hardly wait till this morning's report is done to call the S&P/Case Shiller folks to ask if those National Association of Realtors revised housing numbers back to 2007 will impact the Case/S&P Housing report?
Damn! I hate questions like this...Still, fat dude is in the driver's this morning although futures kicked it a bit after release of the CPI numbs.
I may not be the only idiot out there on this stuff. But the Fat Dude rules the day and it's options day to boot.
What could go wrong? Fat Dude...enjoy it while you can. Cute trick with the LED in Rudolph's nose, too. But drop by in January when we anticipate a new LED insertion lesson will be available....
I trust you are aware of the Russia Today story about US ground troops going into Jordon?
Meantime, we notice some radioactive goods - apparently bound for Iran - have been seized in Moscow.
The Portland Occupier site has a jim-dandy article on the value of strategic retreat - which is way cool because it allows for people to simply retreat - and then reform later on.
Japan, reports the BBC is now calling the Fukushima nuclear site stable.
Wonder if they mean "stable" as in global markets or Iowa poll standings?
Don't know about you but so far I have managed to fight off the urge to run over there are buy up nearby rental properties while they're cheap. Nat'chul-born coward, I figure. Reports are that the cleanup will last decades.
Sheriff Joe is in the hot seat again - but what really strikes us in the Fox report is that the Sheriff's office ties with Homeland Security which allowed trained sheriffs to enforce immigration laws in the Phoenix area has been revoked in advance of a second review of federal complaints. Due process?
What Do Voters Know?
The fine print? Still has 51% support. Compare that to president O's 47% approval rank by Rasmussen... Oh, but wait, that doesn't play into the war-scar mode...no news there, move along.
Medicine Goes Ape
As the National Institutes of Health agrees to limit medical tests involving chimps. No word on chumps.
This time of year makes me bananas, too.
More after this:
Coping: With Mr. Karaoke: Occupies Christmas
Elaine opened one of her Christmas presents Thursday - I'm not one to leave large boxes of electronics laying around and wrapping stuff up is a waste of trees, even when the paper is amusingly printed with marketing symbols of the religion-merger in Europe a few hundred years back. Sitting in the shop in a box, there's no question she would have found it eventually, anyway. What's a calendar, anyway?
You are following this, right? Suited to their particular needs.
Most religions have particular days of the week which are important although Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday seem to be the most common. And why not? It is the weekend, after all.
Religious holidays seem to have a connection to fire, too. Maybe it's because it's so damn cold the Yule logs caught on in Europe. Less chilly, Menorahs shed light but not as much heat.
But getting back to point, this is the time of year when I get all worked up over calendars because they seem tied to marketing of you-know-what. Religions and every year I look at their marketing campaigns through a cold scientific eye.
Eid ul-Fitr ends a month-long period for Muslims (Ramadan). Chanukah runs eight days. And in every shopping mall I've been to this year (one) I'm assaulted with the reminder that there's 12-days of Christmas and retailers take particular joy in suggesting 12-gifts; silence and (look surprised, pleaser) contemplation of spiritual matters are significantly absent from the list.
Screwing up the whole world's economy is really child's play compared to getting people to come to their senses and agree to a World Celebration Calendar. It's one of the few decent things the New World Order might come up with. But then again, why would they bother? Religions are levers they get to pull as any student of the rabid right manipulation of the Christian fundamentalists might also conclude.
But if we are talking about calendars, let's go one better: Standardize lengths of vacations, too. This one day (if that) off in China while France and Germany take five and six weeks off during the summer is one of the most obvious economic lessons of all: Taking almost a month and a half off is a sure-fire recipe for disaster as the blow-over of the EU is in process of showing us. While China has enough labor left over from working all the time to even have completed "empty cities" (complete with shopping malls) just waiting to be occupied.
Give me just a few weeks as supreme global leader and I'll get this stuff synched up. The NWO is all over the bankers because they are easy prey and there's a quid pro quo - selling out their congregations in return for tax breaks and political clout.
The really hard stuff for the NWO to pull off would be introducing a retail frenzy into Ramadan and getting any major religion to move around its holidays for the betterment of humanity.
Just ain't gonna happen, so while banks corner the market on currency and commodity scams, religions have no incentive to share power and insist on righteousness and correctness of whichever traditions they're marketing.
From the management sciences view, religion is a product, each having songs, jingles and logos, a book of instructions, and so forth.
Not that anyone one, alone, is a bad thing. Who wants to face death as a full-stop "finis" or "end". Which is why banning drugs is so important to most religions - can't have people off "getting there" on their own without paying the tolls to whichever marketing program, but you know all this stuff, I'm sure.
The Western retail frenzy is a fine way to keep the church calendar institutionalized, no way around it, but while assembling the karaoke system (and noticing the short cables really should be longer) Ures truly stumbled into a piece of the Lost Wisdom of the Ages: Unwrapping of all gifts should be done when supplier shops are all open and ready to serve. RadioShack for cables and batteries, jewelry stores for ring-sizing...you know, the practical stuff.
None of this changes our seasonal joy and good will, but I did find myself wondering, as Elaine and bro-in-law Panama were setting up the karaoke rig, what ever happened to the "peace on earth" and wasn't there supposed to be a "peace dividend" at the end of the Cold War? Or, was that just another political marketing scam. too?
I've decided to Occupy Christmas this year: demanding that instead of retail hype we get more serious about understanding that most religions are still divisive persuasion-block marketing programs when (and if) you zoom out from programmed beliefs part. And each sect seems to exclude as heretics anyone who questions their tenets; which would be me.
While I sit out here waiting for all the "good will toward men" to show up as a wave across the world, pardon me if I admire the National Retailing Tree from the detached marketing view.
When time's up, if we don't all give a little and share more, we're all going to lose everything. A global calendar should be the starting point. Tell 'em Mr. Karaoke says so.
Shutting up the Kids
Still, there is the Story. One of the folks in controller ranks at the FAA sent us a photo which has been making the rounds this week which will shut up those semi-smart kids who argue "Santa can't do Christmas! He'd need to fill up his sleigh!"
There you have it proof! And, for the next two weeks, we're calling them chemtrails something else: sleightrails...
Is Urban Dictionary Wrong?
Noticed the UrbanDictionary definition this morning for a Banker's Dozen It's a play off the baker's dozen - 12 for the price of 13, except with a Banker's Dozen, you get 11 for the price of 12.
Only thing is, I can't find a banker that generous. Most are doing 5 units of product for the price of 12...a balloon payment and a side of personal lubricant if you're lucky.
Ho, ho ho......deer me.
Write when you break even: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Time for a Houston/Seattle Political Party?
"Hi, this is Newt Gingrich. Under president Obama...." It was Tuesday night and as I received this automated outbound telemarketing system call it sparked the answer to most of what ails America, and even most of Europe. Strangely, there actually may be a for non-millionaire humans to bring the political system back to heel - serving the people instead of corporate interests. But it will take consensus and a little work and maybe those rare commodities will doom it to failure. Oh, and maybe borrowing the franchise concept from the NBA....
"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.
Please pass along word of this site to your friends by simply clicking here to send 'em a short email. - Thanks!
Thursday December 15, 2011
One War Gone and that Bigger War in Our Future
After telling you "trough wars are how Depressions end" till I'm hoarse, along comes this Fox News report that satellite outfit DigitalGlobe has snapped a picture of the new Chinese aircraft carrier doing sea trials. Seems a strange thing to be talking of a "bigger war" when we are today marking the "end" of the Iraq War - which pardon me, but what was the point?
To be sure, president Obama called it "victory" but then again, so did his predecessor. Near as I can figure it, the only winners were of the economic sort: The way I count it, the defense industry did extremely well, the western oil outfits that signed up deals for Iraqi oil did fine, and so did those promoters who kept on selling Iraqi Dinar currency on the theory it would have a rich payback.
Just as an example, you could have bought Halliburton (detractors call it "hell-a-burnin') for about $8 bucks a share in September 2002 and at its high not so long ago it closed at $51.45. Similarly, in April 2003 you could have "fished" General Dynamics around $31 and change. It's most recent 52-week high is $78.27. Oh, and in neither case did I mention dividends.
I often have discussions with people about whether it's "right" to invest in the defense (death) industries. I don't personally put money there, but an astute observer of the data would have to at least admit that defense stocks have been a dandy investment vehicle, especially since we are about to see real estate returns even further kicked around when the National Association of Realtors releases housing sales corrections back to 2007 since we've been hearing that in some parts of the countries simple deed conveyances and in a few cases even foreclosure transfers of deeds may have been counted as "sales."
Why, in this kind of world, one can be shocked and disappointed all day long in what the numbers seem to say about humans but, like investing in casino stocks when disposable incomes are rising, whatever is says is secondary to how well it performs.
And the sad fact of the matter is: War performs brilliantly and is easy to modulate and provides officialdom with all kinds of ways to "play" with what would otherwise have been a much different period of human history.
When I wrote in Monday's column to watch the $1,600 level of gold closely, the usual assorted hate mail from rabid gold bugs hit the inbox. "Gold will never break $1,600 - you're plain crazy" one offered.
Obviously, the reader was right about the "plain crazy" part, but not about the gold part. When I looked earlier this morning, gold was edging back up toward the underside of $1,600 after seeing the futures slide about $90 dollars for a while Wednesday. But this morning, a rally would only be nature since the real driver of this week's action may be attributed to:
In Europe, meantime, the story this morning is that Spanish bonds are rising in advance of an auction, German bonds/bunds are declining a bit, and cynical people like me note even in collapsing markets, the suckers come out to buy once in a while, which is the only thing that comes to mind explaining why European markets are up a bit this morning.
I put this in aeronautical terms: When an airplane goes into an unrecoverable stall, there isn't any particular pain until it actually makes contact with the ground at however fast it was going. Near as I can figure it, Europe's "ground contact event" will be March-ish of next year. Between now and then the headlines ought to read like play-by-play from the captain. "We've hit a patch of rough air but everything will be fine, just as soon as we can figure out how to get out of this stall." Stuck in a middle seat (I invariably get one of those, too) not much to be done except wonder why I didn't buy defense stocks and whether karma really matters.
The Daily Numeracy
Sitting on the edge of your chair waiting for numbers to engage monkey-mind? Well, fine then, let's toss out the weakly employment data:
Made a note to ask BLS is they did a special survey of especially short people at this time of year and while I was at it, sent a note to OSHA asking about whether hooves made enough noise to require ear protection.
Next? Pee Pee Aye...
More grist: Producer Prices...
We're expecting the Santa Rally to get underway just any old time now...
Say - heard from a friend yesterday that he didn't get his social security statement of estimated benefits this year. So he called the SS folks and was told they don't do that anymore - blamed budget cuts, which is a load of crap, but whatever.
Main thing is this: Keep your most recent three years of benefits statements because this looks like a set up to a "hide the sausage" kind of deal a few years out so make sure to document as you go, OK?
Not that we don't end up being corpgov sharecroppers anyway, but just to make the case later on about entitlement to benefits.
Marriage for Why?
Number of married couples if at a record low. Seems to make sense: Why would anyone in their right mind want the responsibility of kids in this world?
The nice thing about cohabitation is this: One party can go bankrupt and not impair the assets, such as a house, of the other. Another equality cause in the offing I see...
Naked Journalism Dept.
Coping: We are What We Watch
As a long-time journalist/reporter I figure it's part of my job to report on reporting, once in a while. And this morning with most of the Christmas check-writing completed at my "National Bank of Dad" subsidiary, I figured it was time to review some of the year's journalism accomplishments both here and in other places around the country.
Before going further, I'd like to solicit some help because I'm a horrible judge of my own work and in the two news reporting groups I belong to - The National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers there are some deadlines coming up for submitting "best of" reports for consideration by awards committees.
Not that I expect to win anything; but I figure it'd be a public service to submit a few of my reports so spotting really good writing would stand out in starker relief and thereby help the judging process by giving the award committees a real range of quality to consider. So, if there's a column I've done which really stands out in your memory please drop me a note and tell me which one so I can put it forward as a candidate.
If you're a new reader, there's a web-based analog to a newspaper morgue (back issues) office located here. But if you're going to operate off keywords and just want to Goggle this site, there's a tool for that on the UrbanSurvival home page off thisaway (Bottom of the page...it's early, I know.)
Why my sudden fascination with reportorial skills?
Well, there's the annual "Year End" media reports on media period which sneaks in on the back of Santa's shipments to Wal-Mart. You saw where Time Magazine named The Protester" their person of the year?
Another outfit out with a report on reporting is the "Mr. Media Training" website which has a much more entertaining report on the "The Ten Worse Media Disasters of 2011."
I won't go through their whole press release (or column which you can read here) but they listed among this year's major gaffes:
All of this is only a tune-up for what arrives over the next couple of weeks: the Holiday Filler Stories.
The problem in the newsroom (having run one for more than a dozen years) is this: There has to be something to fill up the newscasts, even on the weekends and holidays when no one wants to go to work, most people listen to less news anyway, and the usual flow of correspondent reports from this war zone, or that disaster recovery scene grow really, really boring.
So editors come up with what they hope are good ideas - like Time's story about Time's Person of the Year. That stuff gets traction as has this 10-worst media disasters story.
I've been guilty in the past of such trite year end series as "Restrospect: 19XX's (fill in story name). The "story" is really a story about the story - rehashed for the umpteenth time, including replayed sound bytes. How many times did the Challenger blow up? That kind of thing.
Writing about finance is just a cut or two above rerunning interviews with flood victims, or wandering around Iraq doing the 10,000th version of "What a keen war this was...but gee, we're glad it's over...." but, of course, it's not. There's still the mega-Embassy and there's still "contractors" but we'll save those stories for next year's retrospective "The War that Never Ended."
In finance, we have the option of looking either ahead, behind, or right where we are.
And example of a look behind story might be: "Why you're still broke in 2011" or the ever popular "Should you hang onto your home of walk away from it?"
An example of a "right now" story may be found as we assemble the daily news flow into something useful such as the "Like Europe" story above the ad.
And example of a "look ahead" story will be catchy ones like I'll probably write up for our www.strategic-living.net site, since the title is so catchy: "10-Ways to Improve your Standard of Liviing in 2011."
All this reminds me to do my seasonal reminder of how "News Templates" work. "News templates?" Yep- time to rip the clothes of journalism a bit.
Newsrooms, in case you hadn't guessed, are terribly cynical places. In mine, we used to joke about how slow a news day it was, and we'd even sometimes call a Channel 4 TV reporters (we shared a newsroom VHF radio channel with them) and ask 'em "How many cars are you guys rolling over on the freeway for the 5 o'clock show?"
A couple of times I offered $50 toward buying a two newsroom junker so we'd have something readily available to roll over on really slow days. Never took me up on it for some reason.
Since most people were wearing seat belts by the mid 1970's the footage of a rolled over, smashed up car, was great filler material, made even better if there was a picture of the victim being checked out by a medic unit, and bonus points in the audience rankings if the car was a) rolled into a guard rail, b) teetering on the edge of an overpass, or c) involved a big dangerous semi-truck which had lost its load... Still popular on slow news days, but look for variants. "Snow caused Christmas lights to go out for...." or the ever popular "This Christmas won't be a merry one for...." kind of intro's work for everything from roll-overs to burglaries to minor house fires according to the Olde Newsman's Almanac.
I even went so far as to write up a "news template" outline so I could teach news interns (I taught a UW class for one or two interns at a time) how the "news game" was played.
"Take a house fire, for example: The who, what, when, were, how, and why all boils down into a template for your story," I instructed. Which means, there are at least five ways to write any story:
I won't go through the whole litany of news templates but that's how they work and the only other thing to mention is that the inverted pyramid style of writing which even has its own Wikipedia entry here, is way overworked since there is not much editing done of most news shows, at least as Franklin might have done from the Pennsylvania Gazette.
General information and relative background ends up on the editing room floor because thanks to the specialization of labor, as the world has ramped up complexification, the science of "media attention" has replaced such important editing concepts with story counts, voice qualities, onscreen time optimized per reporter and let's not leave off galvanic skin tests.
Jeez, I love consultants. "Health, heart, and pocketbook" was the mid 1970's consultant's rage. This was followed by (depending on station/media type) "Production values!!!" "Better CGI - we need to fly in those titles..." "More chroma key!!!" and a host of other consultant-discovered secret sauces to spice up the ratings.
An old joke has it that "A consultant is nothing more than a shit salesman with a load of samples." Better and truer graphics were never flown in...
So be advised: While you're out shopping, and especially in the news dead zone between Christmas and New Years, brace yourself for "undated reports" with scads of useless rehash. 2011 has sucked for most...the role of television and other media is now to remind you of that so that anything in 2012 will seem like an improvement. It won't be. Society peaked in 1959.
'Tis the season and reporters want some time off, too.
WuJo Plagues Science
While we keep waiting for CERN to announced they have sighted the edge of the world that we're all going to fall off, I keep forgetting to post this most excellent encounter with the WuJo from a Midwest reader. I assume you remember the WuJo is where woo-woo runs into hard science and they duke it out in ink?
Since I happen to personally know this reader, we spent some time on the phone this week trying to figure out just what the hell had occurred. I left said science person with a whole shopping list of tests and things to do, not the least of which would be finding someone well-versed in hypnotic regressions to both take him back through the truck trip to the theater from the precise moment of parting with his family to the "How the heck did they get here before me?" moment.
I'm open to suggestions, but turns out the wife and daughter were at the car place for what they estimated to be in excess of 10 minutes before they headed for the theater. No use of statins, or any other obvious sources of transient global amnesia, either.
There's one other little oddity: This event happened to someone who is in a field of study which could pop up on your TV screen any time with a "life changer" development. He has been through a whole wave of high strangeness just prior to a particular event in his field of study.
Since we (think we) know that UFOs and strangeness seem to happen before major news events (Roswell is less than 100 miles from Alamogordo, NM, right?) we wonder if strangeness is somehow related to major "events" - predecessors kind of thing.
We ought to know more in the next month or three...depends on how his specialty and event plays out. But odd, indeed, that high strangeness came along in this form and yes, missing time is high on the suspect list. And that's more than slightly interesting.
Around the Ranch: Sports Injuries and My Big Mouth
I'm pleased to report my first sports injury in about 55 years - the last one being at about age 8, or so, when the chain slipped on my bike while I was going up a steep hill and I remember thinking "Will I make it into a boy's choir?" No harm done, for that, apparently since I'm still here and so are my kids.
On the other hand, my left foot hurts like hell. Took Elaine to Tyler yesterday to pick some walking shoes for use on the new treadmill - and came home and started to break them in, since walking barefoot doesn't seem medically right, or at least so the ads for $200 athletic shoes had me thinking. Now, thanks either to the new shoes (or trying to run sideways out of boredom) I have a sore foot. Thanks for asking how my PT was going.
I've taken off running sideways from my list of exercises while bored on the treadmill for now, at least till the low-end walking shoes are broken in.
If I survive it.
The big mouth part is my mistake of writing down how my morning visit to the throne room is where I have been catching up on light magazine reading (QST and Countryside, to name two).
This morning there was a huge pile of leftover stuff from around the house - junk mail including a pitch from the George Bush Library with a picture and my name typed in on it - awaiting my disposition while holding forth.
I went through everything, but now I'm wondering about the wisdom of revealing any more of my "How to get lots of stuff done" where E. can read it.
Too much brain-engaging paperwork in the John could lead to constipation.
Despite my sorting frenzy (100% into the trash isn't that hard) today is going to be toast, for Elaine, though.
I got her a karaoke machine and a bazillion songs. Thing is, the machine is in a box, which means styrofoam and cryptic instructions. She's good at wiring up stereo gear, but I'm still guess somewhere between 10:30 and noon I'll get the call to come help with some detail or other.
This particular karaoke machine has a built-in video camera, which should really be amusing.
Noticed the bag of deli meat had a "sell by" date of 12/20 as I was constructing a breakfast sandwich about 07:15.
So here's the thing: Elaine walks up to the deli counter on Tuesday (12/13) why would they say "sell by 12/20" on the packaging? Come on, I'm easy to fool and all, but the lines in town aren't that long...
Why don't stories get a little more consumer friendly in their labels? If it says sell by 12/20 and my fridge is 42 degrees, does that mean it should be tossed out seven or nine days later?
It would be a major improvement in deli counter operations and they might even sell more if instead of leaving it to omnivore guesswork the labels were a little more direct:
"Turns to poison 12/29/2011" That I could understand.
Tuesday December 13, 2011
Rally on Retail
No big deal, our decline yesterday of 162 points on the Dow. Not when seasonal factors argue that it's time for the "Santa Claus Rally" to show up. And, right on cue, what should pop this morning from the Census Bureau but a nice report on retail sales?
All of which reads peachy keen, except that the data is not adjusted for price changes and so with M1 up well into double digits compared with last year, we could be seeing a mix - part inflation, part actual increases in spending - though just what the mix is should come into focus later this week when Friday's Consumer Price Report comes out.
I'll stay skeptical till then and focus on my ever-growing collection of reindeer jerky recipes. Not that I'm a Grinch or anything...but Santa's flimsy statistical data to prop up his annual rallies really "sleighs" me...
Terror in Europe
Of the non-banking kind this morning with reports of a grenade throwing attack in Belgium... at least two dead so far.
How the World Ends - Maybe?
A couple of things have become clear in my thinking over the past day, or so. There are two numbers floating about for the price of gold which are fairly important. One is the $1,600 level. This is the level below which, if gold were to keep on sinking, might spell the end (at least for a very short while) of gold's decline. There's nothing magical about it...just a sense of things based on looking at charts.
The second number is $1,425 - another chart number - but one I have heard by an acquaintance who used to be in the gold refining business.
Now suppose - just suppose - that the PTB are aware of such numbers, but also let's suppose that they can read in the most recent Federal Reserve Money Stocks report that M1 is going up at an annualized rate of 29.2 percent for the most recent three-month snapshot.
Wouldn't it be an interesting opportunity to buy up gold just before it goes to a kind of a moonshot in 2012 and beyond, as it recaptures pricing due to printing up all the paper being bandied about these days?
But that leaves us with a little problem: Where would the money come from?
Enter the missing money from MFG? Maybe run through offshore dark pools? Say, this gets to be a really juicy line of inquiry.
So much so that I've developed a little Boolean truth table that reads:
Looks to me like a "Heads I win, tails you lose" kind of set up, doesn't it?
The real problem is how fast - and how violent the "swing" from incipient deflation to incipient inflation can be made to occur and how soon before the World War (III or IV - depending on how you count the Cold War) comes about in longwave economic terms.
Some of the "best guesses" I'm hearing from sources are that we will not really see global war until the 2015-2016 timeframe. It would take that long to really get China into position to be a major player. Oh, sure, they're building carriers and such, but they're not done yet and my sources tell me that by the time they get additional hardware built, sea trials conducted, and so forth, we're talking Q3 2015 at the earliest. Our source reminded me that China Carrier 1 went to sea trials in August of this year, but one carrier does not a super power make. (Although manufacturing all our consumer goods does, but that's a different discussion.)
So where do the carriers all meet up and what happens? We note "Iranian officials said the military will exercise blockade of Strait of Hormuz" with growing suspicion.
Although linguistics point to the coming collapse of March 2012 (and beyond) from the perspective of several players, the longer global war can be held off, the stronger their position will be. On the other hand, in terms of the US/Israel position in the Middle East, there's a great incentive to march into conflict rather sooner than later, since the longer the US /West sit back, the stronger the other side is likely to be...whoever that country with more than a billion people and more manufacturing capacity than use might be.
In a discussion the other day with a strategic-thinking friend, an interesting point was made: "Wars, when you think about it, are not usually in Modern Times about killing people and destroying production, so much as being about cancelling debt."
In that light, care to guess which countries have a whole lot of debt, much of which is held by "whoever that country with more than a billion people and more manufacturing capacity than use might be..." which holds, in aggregate, how much of our debt and might be of a mind to "enforce collection"?
A big slam of gold, buying a bundle of it cheap as an inflation hedge, then lighting off the fireworks of inflation would be a dandy way to "write-down" the value of the assets held by that country building aircraft carriers. Many levels to this stuff, but when you think about it, there's a reason our "Coping" section this morning goes into a deep discussion of ground conductivity from a non-engineering perspective.
While this whole different view of reality slowly comes into focus, we find our long-standing prediction of a major clamp-down on free speech via the internet is about to appear on your monitor with the arrival of the Stop Online Piracy Act which has the potential to turn off free discussion on the web which actually, when you think about how to get a crowd whipped up and converted to your way of thinking - would be a most useful thing.
No, that's not to say I support Draconian regulations. It's just that thanks to the slow erosion of personal and civil rights everywhere from airports to computers is now part of the battlefield and we've all be drafted. Foot-soldier, thought-soldier...all just soldiers in the count and ritual sacrifice organized around "debt."
Accident or Reading Ahead?
While this morning's report may sound a bit gloomier than most, it's not like it comes as a surprise. I take if you are aware of the false alarm on part of the NJ Verizon system that was telling people to "take shelter" yesterday?
So while we wait for the carrier welders to finish their work, the presumed installation of hypersonic missiles by the Iranians to choke-point the Strait of Hormuz, the next major drop in whatever to set the stage for more profits via inflation, we should also point out whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' column on how "Foreign Troops begin to spread" near the Jordan-Syria border.
Santa is starting to shop Geiger counters and N-95 and better masks.
Ban Cash - End Wars?
A sharp-eyed contributor sent in the report that Slate has "How eliminating paper money could end recessions." True, places like Italy are eyeing banning of large transactions for cash, but like here in the US that makes sense from a money laundering standpoint.
On the other hand, as we were mentioning earlier, wars seem to pop up when someone gets "stiffed" suggests that ending cash really won't end wars, although it's a seasonal whimsical think - like flying reindeer and such.
If banning cash worked, what would replace it would be runaway inflation via money creation - and those who borrowed most would make the most money. Until it ran out of expansion room and collapsed. Remember? The Housing Crisis? D'oh....
Closing in on God
Might want to bookmark this page, since the Higgs Boson particle is thought to be on the verge of being scientifically validated at CERN.
What's curious to me is that Higgs is not quite there yet - with something more than 5 sigma results needed and only 3.6 (or 2.4) "in the bag" so far.
Here's the thing: As the Higgs particle gets closer and closer to formal "confirmation" will it - as the so-called God Particle - put up ever increasing barriers to its discovery confirmation?
Might want to get out your copy of "The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, what is the Question?"
This could be the day we find out.
Maybe its discovery will set in motion an incredible Crashcade of the entire Universe, for, if beatnik philosopher Alan Watts was right, or the poet Shelly ("I am the eye through which the Universe beholds itself and knows it is divine...") then discovery of the God Particle would make the continuation of God playing hide and seek with Itself across this Universe rather pointless.
Or maybe the Mayans knew that and it's not really the first time?
Coping: With Faraday Cages
With the possibility of EMP or a Carrington Event in our future, my remarks yesterday about building a home Faraday cage managed to pop up with this response:
Just going my memory here, but most of the energy of an EMP event is under 10 -15 MHz, and so the grounding issue is more important if the ground (or to British readers, radio "earth") is used as part of the shielding. Say, for example that you have five shielded sides (four walls and roof) and that the EMP protection under is planned to be the earth/ground.
Most people, I suppose, have never had to really deal with ground conductivity from a technical standpoint, but it really becomes one of the major variables when you're designing, setting up, or retuning the qualities of an AM radio station's multiple tower array.
It's worth mentioning in here that AM radio stations with a single stick/antenna are of the non-directional type. Those with two (or more, up to seven sticks worth) are of the directional type. The two tower arrays are not very impressive, but were used for nighttime pattern adjustments of the non clear channel stations. KJR in Seattle, as I recall, has a main tower and a small phasing tower that makes a cardioid pattern to the south/southeast with the null down toward Denver, or some such. And you know that AM stations during the day are almost 100% ground wave but at night, as the reflectivity of the F2 layer drops down, skywave develops and that's when those nulled cardioids (or more complex with more antennas) all come into play.
Which gets us around to mentioning this because AM radio stations use lots and lots of copper radials (wire spokes) out from the base of the tower (nominally where the antenna is "grounded" to a "common point" ground/antenna feed location. You are keeping up, right?
The thing most people (including a fair number of hams) don't know is that ground conductivity is not the same year round, and it varies by where you are in the country. When I was chief engineer of a station in the Seattle area back when I was 19, or assistant chief of another (18) we would get out a portable calibrated signal strength meter with a loop antenna in it, and drive out to various radials which were defined by the radio stations technical documentation for a directional antenna.
After warming up the radio and doing a null calibration, the strength of the radio station's signal was measured and logged. To use KJR as a hypothetical example, they may be protecting a station to the south/southeast, so monthly the engineering staff would go out (hypothetically, and just to show the form of this stuff) 10.7 miles on the 135º degree radial and measure so many millivolts per meter.
In Seattle, since it rains so damn much, it was not uncommon to see field strength readings vary by 10%, or so, over the course of the year. But only very seldom did the actual tuning of the array need to be touched up. Assume you know that winter radio propagation is different than summer and a few other things.
And this has what to do with Faraday cages? Nothing. (Just kidding!) Actually a lot since as part of the process of putting together how radio station grounds should be designed for the older "back in the day" AM stations, the FCC and other radio engineering types developed some pretty comprehensive ground conductivity maps which can give you a fair idea of how "good" the ground is in your area.
The whole concept of ground conductivity is very useful. The unit of measure is now official a "Seimen" but back in the old days this was called a "mho" - and since a mho is the reciprocal of an ohm (the unit of measuring resistance) it was really ease to keep things clear in your head.
So when you look at these maps, their usefulness is that IF you are planning to dig a hole to go crawl in - like some of the PTB are rumored to be ready to do - the actual depth will vary for a given level of EMP/Carrington impact based on how the mho's read - call them Seimens but not around me. Old school.
Practical terms? Note that on FCC ground conductivity map 14w the ground conductivity in Chidress, Texas seems to be about 30. But down the road a piece in Lubbock, county seat of Lubbock County it's only 15.
This would imply the hole depth in Lubbock should be twice as deep. Or, going down even further, Odessa, Texas had a ground conductivity rating of only 8 so the hole would be guesstimated at almost 5-times as deep to get the same level of protection from EMP or Carrington.
The ground conductivity is not something people look at when buying property, but it's a useful number to be aware of for several reasons:
Besides, in a worst case EMP or Carrington Event, who's gonna be left worth talking to? Besides me and a couple of guys in the ham club around here, I mean.
Thanks to Panama Bates for digging out the details on the "Choosing a Survival Knife" article at the www.strategic-living.net site.
A reader came to my rescue by pointing out many of the items I am thinking of cobbling onto my treadmill could simple be placed on a Trek Desk treadmill desk ($480 - Amazon).
Humor: EU's Econ 103 Class
This one is making the rounds in Europe this week:
I won't toss in the obvious punchline...or should I? The US will of course fund Albania in this example via foreign aid and massive bank loans...
Monday December 12, 2011
A Second Russian Revolution?
A person looking for a cataclysmic end to Life on Earth doesn't have to go far to look up meaningful candidates these days. Why, just in the past week, or so, there have been images of protesters in the street, firebombs and all, upset with the strong showing by the United Russia part in the former Soviet Union. All of which looked mighty convincing, until, that is, you see what Russia media are saying.
One piece off Russia Today (www.rt.com) which is particularly interesting is titled "Fox, lies & the wrong videotape: That's NOT happening in Moscow." Watching the FTA Satellite channel over the weekend, I got the distinct impression that Russia is continuing to signal the West that the US is meddling in Russian internal matters and references to past voting irregularities in the US, including Florida and Ohio in past presidential polling were pointedly mentioned.
Still, the Western media continue to try and pour more gas on what is an internal issue. Even if it means stretching a bit as in the case of the story "Protests pitch Russian Blogger against Putin" about a Russian blogger (Alexei Navalny) who has been elevated to the "spiritual leader" level of the vote-questioning movement.
So, how important is Navalny's blog? Alexa puts it at 107,057 globally and 3,842 within Russia. But, as you can see by looking at his traffic stats, here, until he latched onto the elections issue in December, his site was just a weak also-ran in terms of web traffic.
For comparison, www.urbansurvival.com has a global rank of 45,858 and 12,275 in the US, just by way of comparison. And I sure haven't been elevated to "spiritual leader" of the investment community bears, but I'm sure this is merely an oversight on the part of the US/West mass media.
Still, the drumbeat from the Western press continues. How about this one? "Dmitry Medvedev Facebook message against Russian protesters backfires"
Or, how about the Washington Post story saying "Hillary Clinton takes the right tone with Vladimir Putin"?
We seem, as a nation, to have come down with a bad case of double-standarditis while suffering national amnesia. Russia kept its mouth more or less closed during the US Florida vote theft as well as Ohio's. I don't recall the Russian ginning up fake riot footage, nor do I recall any bloggers being elevated to "spiritual leader" status.
I suspect what's going on is rather simple - and capitalistic at its core: Everything's a Business Model is the mantra around here. Without the imminent collapse of Europe, sudden catastrophic climate change, the indiscretions of this presidential wannabe, or that one, what possible reason would people have to read the papers or keep their eyeballs glued to the happy horse dung that passes as news?
And so the hype should continue. After all, mother Hillary has to do something to create an audience for the up-and coming media stare daughter to talk about. Chelsea Clinton is becoming a special correspondent for NBC.
There's a marvelous old saying "You provide the pictures, I'll provide the war." You can either attribute it to William R. Heart or Citizen Kane, but which one is right matters little.
The sad fact of modern economics is that without a certain amount of tension, stress, and dis-ease about the future, the whole global mediaplex collapses in a heap leaving the MSM (MainStreamMedia) and the American Errorstocracy with no particular claims to fame.
For this morning, the point is not whether there will, or won't, be a second Russian Revolution. The real point is where ad revenues are going and the trend for old-line media is not encouraging. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online ads in Q2 of 2010 were generating $6.2 billion while this year's Q2 was up to $7.7 billion. That's a 24.2% increase.
Old line media isn't keeping up. Excluding online distribution, newspaper revenue was down 8.2% in 2010 and the year before, 2009, it fell 38.1% and down 29.7% the year before - 2008. Care to place bets on this year?
The only problem is this: As ad revenue falls, there's ever-increasing incentive for old line media to do a bad job of reporting. Pictures of rioters in Greece being shown in lieu of peaceful assemblies in Russia don't stem audience collapse.
And if that ugly little problem requires rolling out the old-style hard-line Cold War mentality, then that's where we're going.
Film at 11. Mushrooms on the horizon.
With the rash or talk a couple of years back about Transparency, Dodd/Frank, yada, yada, one might have actually believed that a new world of open and candor was on the verge of appearing.
Nope. Still verging. Bloomberg report "No one telling who took $586B in Fed swaps" - but hey! That's only a bit more than half a trillion.
I must have implied something in one of last week's columns about how Jon Corzine was having no luck figuring out where the money went from MF Global. A reader suggested it's not hard to lose huge sums of money in today's world. Said reader suggested we mention the missing money case from the Donald Rumsfeld era at DoD.
As the late Senator Edward Dirksen put it so well: A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
Dirksen also pointed out The oilcan is mightier than the sword. Some things never change.
But that does tee-up our morning look at the global hemorrhoid called the Middle East Mess...
Middle East Medley
Or maybe it's a compote: President Obama is meeting with the Iraqi prime minister...which gets me to wondering about all the military surplus likely to be left behind. We gonna get a rebate on some of that stuff?
Despite some objections, Israel has approved 40-more homes in the West Bank area. That's sure to heat things up again/more/further.
They're also calling for paralyzing sanctions against Iran, which got one of our readers to wondering if the "blown" Obama candle lighting for Chanukah wasn't some kind of signal as to when to strike. "Count the candles and count the days?" wondered out contributor.
The Weak Ahead
The futures are down a tad this morning, while we await data this week. There's a Treasury auction today, retail sales tomorrow, import prices on Wednesday, the weekly job numbers and PPI Thursday, while the Biggy of the Week will be the CPI report on Friday.
Fortunately, being a married man and president of the National Bank of Dad, I already know the CPI number. Nevertheless, the federal version is endlessly amusing. Especially if you don't count food and energy and suppose the remainder is meaningful.
I wonder if the term "statistical arson" has been used before? Has a nice, warm feeling, doesn't it?
Even More of a Bad Idea Dept.
Remember how we suggested a while back that the War on Terror was designed to create massive employment by having people watch people?
Invariably, this sort of thing goes to extremes and here we are this morning with a report that "'Strip search' claims prompt call for advocate at US airports."
Fascinating at hell! So not only is TSA a bad idea but we're going to now fix it by ADDING another layer of bureaucracy to it? Kafka for president!
Coping: Treading Lightly
I have turned into an exercise fanatic with the arrival last week of a treadmill, which eats up enough of my office space that a WW II era submarine seems spacious in comparison. No worries: I hope to get over this latest outbreak rather quickly.
The initial training regimen has been for 2-miles a day at a leisurely 2½ MPH.
Fine and well, except that this has taken nearly an hour out of my day and that leads to the math problem of the day.
If I spend an hour a day exercising, that works out to 9.125 weeks (at 40-hours each) per year as the cost of all this fitness activity. Assuming that there should be some quid pro quo here, another way to look at it is that exercise is on the verge of consuming 4.5625 weeks at 16-hour days.
Now, my question comes into focus: Is my life going to get longer by 4.525 useful waking weeks for all this walking done for a whole year?
It gets worse the further out I pencil it. Say one of my kids were to have become an ardent health-exerciser at age 20 and lives out a work life of 45 years before going into a penniless retirement like the rest of us at age 65 or older.
Here's the deal: Over that 45-years, there would be about four whole years spent in pursuit of exercise. 3.9483 years if you want to be picky about it.
Which gets me to this: Do people who work out live four years longer than people who don't?
These are the kind of questions which vex me no end when I mount up for my 20-minute walking sessions lately.
The other thing I have noticed is that there's not much to do while walking on one of these beasties. Oh, sure, some headline news, but that gets old in about one minute. So what to do?
I tried something new on Sunday - and it has to do with my looking at Life as a clock-tick problem in a computer. We all get so many "clicks" and so one way to look at life is to load up as many clicks per hour as you can.
For example, I read periodicals/magazines on the throne in the morning. Why? Most magazines are well-suited to scanning - and you can pick up the gist of most articles while waiting for nature to take its course. I like ham radio and flying magazines - nice mix of graphics/pictures and technical content.
I figure I gain several hours per year this way.
So my Sunday project was engaging ham radio while walking on the treadmill. Haven't hooked up the key yet (I like Morse code, and please visit the www.fists.org website when you can) but being able to 'copy' Morse in your head is a useful thing.
I found that I could listen fairly closely to what was going on and decided that there's one important piece of data about the human body I don't know, so I thought we would put it out there:
When people exercise it releases endorphins. So the question is, do people learn faster or slower, and do people retain information better or worse, when engaged in treadmill work?
Send answers along, please. My relationship with this treadmill is in the early development stage and not sure if it's going to work out a love, love-hate, or simple hate relationship. A lot seems to ride on actuarial tables and brain-function research which I should have carried out $800 ago.
EMP & Faraday Cage Alternatives
Say, here's a good email:
There are two ways to approach this: One is to build a real grounded Faraday cage, but the only way to do this would be get some galvanized sheet metal, do the floor, ceiling, and walls with it, and cover all the windows. Then, cover up the doors, too, and use copper bushing and finger stock to make sure no radio frequency energy can come in that way.
If you are of an architectural bent, or have a partnership in an electrical engineering consultancy, you could get fancy and use different kinds of copper hardware cloth for the same effect.
But there is a simpler way:
Simply eliminate all contact with other people. I get 7/8ths of the people in my Outlook contacts could be lost tomorrow and while it might not help my personal income stream in the future, if the lights are out, food, not paper, is going to be way more important.
Don't think me a terrorist for saying this, but when I was young, people walking down the street talking to themselves were considered crazy. Today that the new "normal."
Pappy used to pop his head into my ham shack when I was a kid and ask the most pertinent question of all: "What do you have to say that's so important?"
In my world, playing chess via Morse Code is a marvelous exercise of the brain (although unlike some people I know, I still have to use a chessboard, they don't).
Still, EMP continues to pose a completely under-appreciated threat to America's future. In some ways, it could be even more effective than the Federal Reserve making up money, but the jury is still out on that one.
One of my 2012 projects is the building of a small underground room, not so much for EMP but as a tornado and natural air conditioning spot. Veggie storage and foodstuffs, too. Never can be too careful about such things.
Why College Enrollments are Up
A reader figures it this way:
The Myth of Debt
And as long as we're going through the mail bag...
Which would explain the recurring rumors of "camps" to house the American public. What is to be done should enough people wake up to the mirage of modern media and the mental abstraction of "debt"?
Maybe Debtor Prisons are staging to make a comeback? Besides, look what prison labor has been able to do for China, and other places!
I trust you're awake enough to have read U.S. Army Regulation 210-35? That's the US "Civilian Inmate Labor Program." (Note: Link now broken - as one reader said "Maybe they don't want us to read this one?" But see here for additional background.
See how all this stuff comes together? I'm getting back on my treadmill now...more tomorrow or see you in the camps. (We're in one already, just try and leave the US without permission now... No wonder Hil has to call out Vlad, huh?)
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 11-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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