|07-22-2009, 01:33 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hot Springs, Ouachitah
New Future Bot Released 7/22/09
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Want to get a decent handle on what we’re expecting in the way of news events over the next year and a half or so? Got $10-bucks? Then head over to www.halfpasthuman.com and download the newest “Shape of things to come” report. This one runs 40+ pages and covers all kinds of things ranging from our expected price of previous metals by the end of 2010, plus a number of very unpleasant developments in the socioeconomic arena. Dead folks in the millions, just to give you an idea.
Besides the warning about how grim the contents are (they are really grim), having studied the contents for a couple of days what strikes me is that much of what’s out there in the way of ‘future predictions’ (we’re not the only folks in that space) are developed by other forecasters taking existing trends are then making more-or-less linear extrapolations. That’d be scary enough, but wowzer…the period beginning in a month, or so, building into fall and through next year, looks like many part of the model go seriously nonlinear…and that’s the part which will catch most people by surprise, I expect.
One other warning: You may not want to read it at work, or you won’t get much done.
Speaking of “Coast”, I was on with Ian Punnett back on January 2, 2009 for their annual ‘predictions’ show and at the time put up the notes on how the year 2009 would work out generally. Here’s the overview:
? Possible economic collapse of USA due to additive impacts of the socioeconomic contract breakdown
? Housing bubble collapse
? Debt instrument bubble collapse
? Possible repudiation of the US dollar
? Global Coastal Event
? “Secrets revealed” start to pour out of NASA and political offices
? End of the ‘comfortable high tech/high consumption’ lifestyle and an involuntary return to lifestyle of previous generations.
Just to pick on one part of the January 2009 forecast, consider this (page 11):
“U.S. government will begin to collapse. Perhaps not in head count, but with revenues falling dramatically, 30-40% decreases in government size & services seem likely by year end.”
Already, we’ve seen California marched to ‘the wall” although in the short term, it looks like a “California budget deal closes $26-billion gap.” I trust you noticed that the White House missed a deadline for reporting planned spending cuts? We may get some thing early, but in the end we’re often right.
Want to be very clear here that we are not endorsing the ‘falling apart’ of the cou8ntry or government, just forecasting here, but it’s shaping up pretty much right on forecast.
National spending on ‘recovery’ hasn’t (nor will it) have much impact, since so much of Stimulus one was pork (2/3′rds) versus meat (1/3′rd) which means another stimulus will likely be needed, but we may have ’shot the wad’ for the dollar already.
But that gets me around to reminding you that predictive linguistics is just that - a prediction based on the language surrounding events. So, in terms of looking ahead, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the reality of economic collapse versus a lot of bespoke words to that effect. What comes up in the data is the bespoke words component.
That may provide a little solace from an otherwise dire report when you read the part on page 42 “Cuban Missile Crisis (1960’s): Linguistic Study” which explains how we get the archetype/emotional mood usually bang-on while specifics of events may vary. Anyway, it’s a fine read as long as it’s taken between meals since it will give the aware reader what I’d describe as an ‘expectation framework” in advance, which in turn may prevent ‘deer caught in headlines’ inaction at the very moment when future events will demand your most decisive and quick responses to avoid potentially fatal consequences.
Not to give anything away, but I have been pointing toward the October 25th (+/-) hot date and worrying like crazy about the potential for an Israeli attack on Iran about then and what do you know, along comes a headline in today’s Canadian National Post: “Middle East atomic conflict would kill tens of millions: report“. Gee, how comforting.
Port Traffic Collapse, Redux
Want a real ‘dead canary in the coal mine’ to look at with the economy? Look at West Coast Port Container traffic…especially the foreign cargo coming into the US.
The Port of Seattle reports TEU’s (twenty-foot equivalents) down 21.7% compared with year-ago YTD operations. Inbound foreign full TEU’s which were already down more than 19% in 2008 compared with 2007, and on a YTD basis reports that in June ‘09 inbound full foreign TEU’s are down a further 27% year-to-date. Don’t look now, but that’s your dead canary.
Yet another port on the West Coast is reporting the effects of falling trade: The Port of Tacoma has released June figures showing that on a year-on-year basis their container traffic is down 14.9% and on a month-on=month basis, traffic is down 19.1% since a year ago.
Sooner, or later, the Port of Portland will post figures, probably here. Maybe this is one of those times when being able to find data easily isn’t such a good thing, you think?
Meantime, the Port of Oakland’s container statistics showed a 13.9% drop in June on a YTD basis, monthly figures aren’t revealed, but 2008 was down 6.1% so guessing down 20% since the frenzied high of 2006/2007 is reasonable.
Why am I so focused on West Coast container trade? Damn fine proxy for how corporate globalism is working out…or as is the present situation, how corporate globalism is failing.
Until I start to see some meaningful increases in YTD port traffic (like up 5-10% on a trailing twelve month basis) I will be filing reports of ‘green shoots’ where they rightly belong. In the round file.
No small number of readers have asked me (in so many words) “What’s with Obama being on TV all the time?” Can’t tell you why, except that maybe it’s the most efficient way to reach as many people as possible. But, whatever the reason, the OTV folks have had to move a planned primetime press conference because NBC seems to have figured out coverage would be a lot less costly in terms of lost ad revenue from primetime, by moving it to 8 PM (Eastern). Good move.
It’s a Hit!
But just what hit Jupiter (the planet, which you might have forgotten since things haven’t been looking up for a while) is a mystery the folks at NASA are trying to work out.
A few readers is Messachusett’s are up in arms about state plans to tax scooters.
No sympathy here, though. This got all screwed up when the first automobiles hit the road and people were made to license them.
To my way of thinking (which is a bit odd, admittedly) a country goes from being a democratic republic (which we once were) to a totalitarian state when government stops acknowledging rights and starts selling permissions. A mandatory permission is control.
Believe it, or not, driving your own piece of machinery on public lands was once a right since the lands were commonly owned and your machine was your own. But try that anymore and guess what? Tickey time.
Even though originally, cars were licensed only for use in commerce, the traffic laws and permissions have been extended by government fiat (like the income tax has been extended without a clear definition of ‘income’). But, if you don’t play the game you get squished all bug-like because the system is so big and individually we are so small.
So, the question is ‘Step on the tail of the beast, or wait till it self-destructs?” Shouldn’t have more than a year or two to wait once the dollar implosion gets underway in a big way, witness government workers being laid off all over the country already, so pay the protection money and deal with it. For now.
And don’t forget to use process! When you get your next property tax revaluation notice and some tin-horn bunglecrat says your home has gone up in price, demand a reduction in valuation since the S&P/Case-Schiller report implies that home prices are down nationally over 30% in the past couple of years. The sword can cut both ways.
A National Highway Safety Administration long term report on cell phone use among drivers was apparently scrubbed because the agency didn’t want to anger congress. Another way of saying they didn’t want to do their job, isn’t it?
Driving by celling is apparently right up there with drinking and driving, causing almost a thousand fatalities and nearly a quarter of a million accidents in 2002 alone. Took Freedom of Information actions to get at the data, no less. National security issues, you think? Fer cryin’ out loud…
So tax scooter owners? Sure. Put facts on the table about cell phone use dangers? Nope. That, my friend is the best government money can buy inaction. Yeah, that’s not a typo.
Dancing Mountains Department
“Quake, tsunami potential high on U.S. west coast” says a new study out Monday. Seems the risks may have been under-estimated.
Indo Bombing Follow
Our one-time Houston Bureau Chief has filed a follow-up on the Jakarta bombings of last weekend:
“Jakarta Post headline says it best: Jakartans Unperturbed By Bombings
The bombings have been met with a collective “ho-hum.” They are hardly a topic of conversation, much less hand-wringing. The Indo version of Camp David is about 3 km from the mountain house, and President SBY decided to make a retreat there this past weekend, at the same time I did. To say the military presence there was heavy is a mild understatement. The locals were complaining about the disruption to traffic and daily life. When I arrived Saturday, the military vehicles had jammed the main road and there were soldiers crawling out of the woodwork. The biggest problem I had is that they bought out my favorite rice porrage before I could get mine. By Sunday night, they had all left as SBY returned to Jakarta.
I had 2 people ask me if I was going home now. I laughed and said it was better to have isolated bombings than terrorists inhabiting every level of government. They were a little confused by that statement, as Amerika is still seen as a beacon of freedom in some parts of the world, not to mention the ongoing infatuation with native-son Barky here. But living in a country that is a libertarian’s wet dream is far more preferable.
So life goes on. I will pass near the hotels today and try to get some photos for UrbanSurvival, if I can get that close. Despite the best efforts of the media here to whip up a frenzy, the people really don’t care. If Mexico is famous for “ma?ana”, then Indonesia should be known for “the day after ma?ana.” Yes, there are militant movements here, but the biggest effect they have had in on the outside world, with tourism already showing big drops. Inside the city, there is a kind of collective shrug of resignation and business as usual.
If your vacation plans include Indonesia, I would say you are probably safer here than at the airport check points trying to get out of Amerika. You might want to avoid Bali, as it is a tourist hot-spot and a focus for any group trying to disrupt the economy for political reasons. However, Manado has world-class diving and the jungles of Boneo are not to be missed. And as far as the general atmosphere here? What bombs?”
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