One Measure of the US Economy

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

I had occasion to view a couple of Cass Trucking Index graphs, both for shipments (the physical volume) and for expenditures. Interestingly, the number of shipments in 2015 is almost dead flat compared to 1999.

Since US population has increased by over 15% during that time, from 279 Million to 322 Million today, I would have expected a similar rise in shipments.

Cass Freight Index Shipments 123115

Of course, 1999 was before the Bubble burst, while today we have anything but a robust Economy. Even so, with our political leaders trumpeting all the strides they have made to get the Economy back on the right track, dead even compared to 15% higher betrays an Economy that still is worse off than 16 years ago.

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Greenland Retained 99.7% of Its Ice Mass in 20th Century!!!

[So, Maybe we aren’t doomed! – Bob]

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Naturally, the Real Clear Science headline actually read…

Greenland Lost 9 Trillion Tons of Ice in Century

Which sounds even more serious than the original headline…

Greenland.PNG

Greenland has lost 9,000 billion tons of ice in a century

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Happy New Employment

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

As we are about to ring in the new year, we can give thanks for the “Full Employment” Economy. That big Thank You needs to go to the manipulators of the official statistics over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and elsewhere in our government.

It should be remembered that the Participation Rate among working age Americans is at a multi-generation record low. 10 Million Americans or more burned through over a year’s worth of unemployment benefits, and still could not find a job which payed more than Welfare and Food Stamps.

These people, who have given up hope, were re-defined out of the ranks of the officially unemployed. Too bad for them, but they no longer count – or rather no longer are being counted.

However, some people were able to find full time jobs, even if the skill level – and pay level – was far below what the had become accustomed to. Too bad for them, but having to accept half of what they used to be paid, doesn’t mean they are unemployed. Under-employed people don’t count – or don’t get counted by the BLS.

Some formerly unemployed Americans have accepted part-time jobs. Checking the official numbers, part-time positions have skyrocketed while full-time openings have plunged. (The surge in part-time vs full-time jobs must be one of the hidden “Benefits!” of ObamaCare.) But again, a job is a job, so no use complaining about it. And, no use expecting to be counted as unemployed.

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The Fed’s Academic-Based Theories Are Creating A BRUTAL Economic Reality

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

One of the most frustrating aspects of today’s financial system is the fact that the Fed is being lead by lifelong academics with no real world banking or business experience.

Consider the cases of Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen. Neither of these individuals has ever created a job based on generating sales of any kind. Neither of them has ever had to make payroll. Neither of them has ever run a business. What are economic realities for business owners (e.g. operating costs, capital and profits) are just abstract concepts for Bernanke and Yellen.

Moreover, there is a particular problem with academic economists. That problem is that a major percentage of their “research” is total bunk made up in order to make tenure.

This is not our opinion… it is fact based on research published by the Fed itself.

According to a paper published by researchers from THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, it was not possible to replicate even HALF of the results found in economics papers EVEN WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WROTE THE PAPER.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #211

The Week That Was: December 26, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

COP-21 – Smoke and Mirrors: The Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended with significant changes to the earlier, to be agreed upon, agreement with the changes in a few small words. As Paul Homewood recognized the word “shall” was changed to “should” in the paragraph “Developed country Parties shall should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Homewood suspected that the US delegates (probably under instructions from the White House) demanded the change. The issue was making the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction of the document legally binding. Making emissions reductions legally binding on the US would require Senate approval while the term “should” is not legally binding. President Obama has not consulted with Congress on the “Nationally Determined Contributions.” Contrary to the name, these contributions were decided by the administration, not nationally, and making them legally binding would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate present. The Administration’s game-playing faced harsh reality.

According to an article by Nitin Sethi, of the Business Standard out of India, the US Administration did not shoulder the burden of the harsh reality, but placed the burden on delegates from the European Union. The article opens with:

“If there was one overarching imprint on the Paris climate change negotiations, it was of the diplomatic heft that the US enjoys. The last hours of the talks, when the US was faced with the challenge of removing a phrase it didn’t like in the final agreement, it was left to the European Union to walk across the aisle to convince everyone to not oppose the changes the US demanded. The European Union, once hailed as the climate change leader of the world, was canvassing the developing country bloc to accept an agreement that was discordantly against its own non-negotiable position wanting a strict legally-binding protocol and not a loosely-bound agreement that the Paris outcome eventually became.

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Beyond Permissionless Innovation

By Veronique de Rugy – Re-Blogged From Reason.com

Exciting things happen outside the reach of regulators.

Paul McCarthy is the father of a boy born without fingers on one hand. A few years ago, McCarthy found that a $30,000 prosthesis—the only option then available—was not a perfect match for his 12-year-old son’s needs, so he went online to find a better, less pricey alternative. McCarthy’s search led to the assembly of an unlikely team: a South African woodworker, an American puppeteer, and another father in a similar situation. Thanks to the power of the Internet, the men were able to collaborate from thousands of miles apart to make an inexpensive but workable prosthetic appendage using 3D printers.

Such “permissionless” innovation, in which people with big ideas for how to make the world better act on them without first jumping through regulatory hoops, is remarkable. It’s also extremely fragile. The entire enterprise could crumble overnight with a stroke of a regulator’s pen, a change in an insurance company’s policy, or a lawsuit filed by entrenched manufacturing interests. It hasn’t so far in this case. But due to pressure from competitors that make traditional prosthetics, the company McCarthy and his partners created has already had to agree to define its product as a “training” prosthetic, thus opening the door to future regulatory limitations on its business model.

Consider how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in the name of safety at any cost, quashed the genomics company 23andMe by ordering it to stop marketing its cheap, at-home genetic testing kits. According to the agency, 23andMe should have obtained permission from regulators before selling its product to American consumers who were interested in learning more about their own personal genetic information.

The Value of Petroleum Fuels

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

It is difficult to compare 1840 to 2015, so much of what we have today didn’t exist then.  But, they had to move people and goods from place to place as we do now.  They had farms then as we do now. They used wagons pulled by horses, mules or oxen.  We use cars and airplanes. They used muscle power to farm, we use tractors, combines, grain carts, and trucks powered by petroleum fuels. In 1840 crude oil and natural gas production and use were rare. Coal was used in manufacturing, but steam engines were still in their infancy. So the world in 1840 was fossil fuel free for the most part. Biofuels, that is burning wood and dung, were common. Windmills would not appear until 1854. Hydropower was not in common use until after 1849. Solar power had not been invented yet.

The cost of gasoline can be seen on the sign at any gas station, but what is its value?  Using gasoline or diesel saves us time and manual labor. It also saves air, water and waste pollution. Let us not forget that the automobile was lauded as a great environmental improvement after the “Great Horse Manure Crisis” of 1894. Nothing like having horse manure up to your knees to help you appreciate gasoline!

How much manual labor is replaced when we use gasoline? In other words what is the value of gasoline? In large part our standard of living is determined by the difference between what we pay for petroleum fuels and coal and their value in time and labor. I’ll try and compute that value by comparing a 1,812 mile trip, along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City in 1840 with a trip today. I’ll also compute the value of diesel by comparing a 10 acre grain harvest in 1840 to a harvest today.

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The Keynesian Recovery Meme Is About To Get Mugged, Part 2

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com

Our point yesterday was that the Fed and its Wall Street fellow travelers are about to get mugged by the oncoming battering rams of global deflation and domestic recession.

When the bust comes, these foolish Keynesian proponents of everything is awesome will be caught like deer in the headlights. That’s because they view the world through a forecasting model that is an obsolete relic—one which essentially assumes a closed US economy and that balance sheets don’t matter.

By contrast, we think balance sheets and the unfolding collapse of the global credit bubble matter above all else. Accordingly, what lies ahead is not history repeating itself in some timeless Keynesian economic cycle, but the last twenty years of madcap central bank money printing repudiating itself.

Ironically, the gravamen of the indictment against the “all is awesome” case is that this time is  different——radically, irreversibly and dangerously so. High powered central bank credit has exploded from $2 trillion to $21 trillion since the mid-1990’s, and that has turned the global economy inside out.

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Call for Wind Energy ‘Reality Check’

Re-Blogged From North American Platform Against Wind Power

The necessarily sprawling facilities, huge towers, and turning blades required to collect such a diffuse resource as wind degrades and fragments wildlife habitat and threatens the health and well-being of nearby residents. And the effectiveness of large-scale wind energy remains problematic.

  • Wind power’s contribution to reducing CO₂ emissions or fossil fuel use is limited, because other power plants must be kept on line — and used more often and less efficiently — to compensate for the intermittent and variable nature of electricity generated by wind turbines.
  • Increasing numbers of large wind facilities require thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines and more control installations to maintain grid stability in the face of the erratic nature of wind energy. These add substantially to the already high costs of wind energy and further degrade the environment while also raising eminent domain issues.
  • Even after several decades of technical development, wind energy remains economically not viable. Wind power devours colossal amounts of public money and depends on artificial markets for its existence. Considering the minuscule benefit, our money ought to be better spent.

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The End of Food

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

“So, you’re awake. But you’re still going to die”. The first words I heard spoken by my surgeon, waking from general anaesthetic, after a horrific operation to try to repair the mess created by my ruptured appendix.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to the surgeon, whose extraordinary skill undoubtedly saved my life. But that day I believed his warning. I thought I was going to die. After all, he was a highly qualified surgeon, a credible source of information.

I learned something that week about credibility and evidence. People who follow WUWT might be aware of the flimsiness of the evidence behind sensationalist climate warnings. But most people don’t pay much attention to climate issues. Many of them remain susceptible to authoritative sounding scare stories.

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58 Facts About The U.S. Economy From 2015 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

By Michael Snyder – Re-Blogged From http://freedomoutpost.com

The world didn’t completely fall apart in 2015, but it is undeniable that an immense amount of damage was done to the U.S. economy.  This year the middle class continued to deteriorate, more Americans than ever found themselves living in poverty, and the debt bubble that we are living in expanded to absolutely ridiculous proportions.  Toward the end of the year, a new global financial crisis erupted, and it threatens to completely spiral out of control as we enter 2016.  Over the past six months, I have been repeatedly stressing to my readers that so many of the exact same patterns that immediately preceded the financial crisis of 2008 are happening once again, and trillions of dollars of stock market wealth has already been wiped out globally.  Some of the largest economies on the entire planet, such as Brazil, and Canada have already plunged into deep recessions, and just about every leading indicator that you can think of is screaming that the U.S. is heading into one.  So don’t be fooled by all the happy talk coming from Barack Obama and the mainstream media.  When you look at the cold, hard numbers, they tell a completely different story.  The following are 58 facts about the U.S. economy from 2015 that are almost too crazy to believe…

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Judge Rules Home Raid over Tea Counts as Probable Cause

By Joe Scudder – Re-Blogged From http://politicaloutcast.com

“This is not what justice in the United States is supposed to be.” – Addie Harte

Back in March of 2014, Mark Horne posted about how the Harte family was terrorized by police in a raid. The raid was based on the husband buying material at a hydroponics store, and the discovery of used wet tea leaves in the family garbage. The hydroponics equipment was perfectly legal and was purchased for a father-son science project. The tea was “field tested,” which is notorious for false positives. They never bothered to send it to a lab for a real test. (By the way, I thought marijuana was smoked. Why would someone soak it and then throw it away?)

The basis of the warrant was treated as a secret. The Harte family had to pay a lawyer to demand answers.

When they found out the flimsy basis for the raid, they sued the police for not having probable cause.

A judge has thrown out their lawsuit. Reason Magazine reports,

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1800s Poverty Diseases, Malnutrition Surge in Green Britain

By Eric Worall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Impoverished British Family in London 1800s

Impoverished British Family in London 1800s

Falling living standards are contributing to a shocking surge in malnutrition, and diseases which were prevalent in the 1800s. My question – how much of this hardship is due to the skyrocketing cost of Britain’s green energy disaster?

According to the Independent;

Malnutrition and ‘Victorian’ diseases soaring in England ‘due to food poverty and cuts’

Cases of Victorian-era diseases including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have increased since 2010

Cases of malnutrition and other “Victorian” diseases are soaring in England, in what campaigners said was a result of cuts to social services and rising food poverty.

NHS statistics show that 7,366 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between August 2014 and July this year, compared with 4,883 cases in the same period from 2010 to 2011 – a rise of more than 50 per cent in just four years.

Cases of other diseases rife in the Victorian era including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have also increased since 2010, although cases of TB, measles, typhoid and rickets have fallen.

Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust, which runs a nationwide network of foodbanks, said they saw “tens of thousands of people who have been going hungry, missing meals and cutting back on the quality of the food they buy”.

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US Secular Stagnation?

By Steven H Hanke – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Stagnationists have been around for centuries. They have embraced many economic theories about what causes economic stagnation. That’s a situation in which total output, or output per capita, is constant, falling slightly, or rising sluggishly. Stagnation can also be characterized by a situation in which unemployment is chronic and growing.

Before we delve into the secular stagnation debate – a debate that has become a hot topic – a few words about current economic developments in the U.S. are in order. What was recently noticed was the Federal Reserve’s increase, for the first time in nearly a decade, of the fed funds interest rate by 0.25 percent. What went unnoticed, but was perhaps more important, was that the money supply, broadly measured by the Center for Financial Stability’s Divisia M4, jumped to a 4.6 percent year-over-year growth rate. This was the largest increase since May 2013.

Since changes in the money supply, broadly determined, cause changes in nominal GDP, which contain real and inflation components, we can anticipate a pick-up in nominal aggregate demand in the U.S. Indeed, if M4 keeps growing at its current rate, nominal aggregate demand, measured by final sales to domestic purchasers, will probably reach its long-run average annual rate of 4.8 percent by mid-2016 (see the accompanying chart). This rate of nominal aggregate demand growth was last reached in 2006, almost ten years ago. So, the current economic news from the U.S. is encouraging.

But what about the secular stagnation debate? The secular stagnation thesis in a Keynesian form was popularized by Harvard University economist Alvin Hansen. In his presidential address to the American Economic Association in 1938, he asserted that the U.S. was a mature economy that was stuck in a rut that it could not escape from. Hansen reasoned that technological innovations had come to an end; that the great American frontier (read: natural resources) was closed; and that population growth was stagnating. So, according to Hansen, investment opportunities would be scarce, and there would be nothing ahead except secular economic stagnation; unless, fiscal policy was used to boost investment via public works projects.

Hansen’s economics were taken apart and discredited by many non-Keynesian economists. But, the scholarly death blow was dealt by George Terborgh in his 1945 classic The Bogey of Economic Maturity. In the real world, talk of stagnation in the U.S. ended abruptly with the post-World War II boom.

It is worth noting that many Keynesians were caught up, at least temporarily, in the secular stagnation fad. Even Paul Samuelson, a leader of the Keynesians – thanks, in part, to his popular textbook — was temporarily entrapped. But, like Houdini, he miraculously escaped. That said, there were things in Economics that Samuelson probably wished he had thrown overboard, too. My favorite from the 13th edition (1989) is: “The Soviet economy is proof that contrary to what many sceptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

Today, another Harvard University economist, Larry Summers, is beating the drums for secular stagnation. And Summers isn’t just any Harvard economist. He was formerly the president of Harvard and a U.S. Treasury Secretary. Summers, like Hansen before him, argues that the government must step up to the plate and invest more to fill the gap left by deficiencies in private investment, so that the economy can be pulled out of its stagnation rut. He is preaching the stagnation gospel beyond the ivy-covered halls at Harvard. And, he is picking up followers. For example, Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has latched onto Summers and the stagnation thesis. What better way to justify expanding government investments, or should we say white elephants?

For evidence to support Summers’ secular stagnation argument and his calls for more government investment, he points to the anemic private domestic capital expenditures in the U.S. As the accompanying chart shows, gross private domestic business investment, which does not include residential housing investment, has rebounded modestly since the great recession. But, most of this gross investment has been eaten up in the course of replacing capital that has been used up or became obsolete. Indeed, the private capital consumption allowances shown in the chart are huge. While these capital consumption figures are approximate, they are large enough to suggest that there is little left for net private business investment. This means that the total capital stock, after actually shrinking in 2009, has grown very little since then.

If we take a longer look, one starting in 1960, it appears that net private domestic investment as a percent of GDP has trended downward (see the accompanying chart). This is due to the fact that private capital consumption allowances as a percentage of GDP have trended upward. This shouldn’t surprise us. With the increasingly rapid rate of innovation, obsolescence and, therefore, capital consumption have increased. On the surface, these facts appear to give the stagnationists a reed to lean on. But, it’s a weak one.

To understand the troubling net investment picture, we must ask why businesses are so reluctant to invest. After all, it’s investment that fuels productivity and real economic growth. Are the stagnationists on to something? Have we really run out of attractive investment opportunities that require the government to step in and fill the void?

A recent book by Robert Higgs, Taking a Stand: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Economy, helps answer these questions. In 1997, Higgs first introduced the concept of “regime uncertainty” to explain the extraordinary duration of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Higgs’ regime uncertainty is, in short, uncertainty about the course of economic policy – the rules of the game concerning taxes and regulations, for example. These rules of the game affect the net benefits and free cash flows investors derived from their property. Indeed, the rules affect the security of their property rights. So, when the degree of regime uncertainty increases, investors’ risk-adjusted discount rates increase and their appetites for making investments diminish.

Since the Great Recession of 2009, regime uncertainty has been elevated. This has been measured by Scott R. Baker of Northwestern University, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven J. Davis of the University of Chicago. Their “Economic Policy Uncertainty Index for the U.S.,” which was published by the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., measures, in one index number, Higgs’ regime uncertainty. In addition, there is a mountain of other evidence that confirms the ratcheting up of regime uncertainty during the tenure of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. For example, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds that the percent of the public that trusts Washington, D.C. to do the right thing has fallen to all-time lows of around 20 percent.

So, contrary to the stagnationists’ assertions, the government is the problem, not the solution. Secular stagnation in the U.S. is just what it was when Alvin Hansen popularized it in the 1930s: Its bunk. Nothing more than a phony rationale for more government waste.

Do We Need The Fed?

By Ron Paul – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Stocks rose Wednesday following the Federal Reserve’s announcement of the first interest rate increase since 2006. However, stocks fell just two days later. One reason the positive reaction to the Fed’s announcement did not last long is that the Fed seems to lack confidence in the economy and is unsure what policies it should adopt in the future.

At her Wednesday press conference, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged continuing “cyclical weakness” in the job market. She also suggested that future rate increases are likely to be as small, or even smaller, then Wednesday’s. However, she also expressed concerns over increasing inflation, which suggests the Fed may be open to bigger rate increases.

Many investors and those who rely on interest from savings for a substantial part of their income cheered the increase. However, others expressed concern that even this small rate increase will weaken the already fragile job market.

These critics echo the claims of many economists and economic historians who blame past economic crises, including the Great Depression, on ill-timed money tightening by the Fed. While the Federal Reserve is responsible for our boom-bust economy, recessions and depressions are not caused by tight monetary policy. Instead, the real cause of economic crisis is the loose money policies that precede the Fed’s tightening.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #210

The Week That Was: December 19, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

COP-21: The Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is over. With great fanfare, an agreement was signed. The parties agreed to agree to try to limit carbon dioxide emissions. The agreement will have no identifiable effect on global climate change, because the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has failed to establish the influence that human carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have on climate. This “scientific body” has failed to distinguish between natural variation of climate, which has been ongoing for hundreds of millions of years, and the human influence, if any, of CO2 on this natural variation. Multiple studies that have the same flaw are just more of the same.

Further, no global climate model has been validated and there has been no effort, announced to the public, to validate one, in spite of billions of dollars spent by governments. This failure indicates there is a major problem in the publicly announced IPCC science, most likely because the influence of CO2 on climate is small, rendering these costly efforts to regulate CO2 insignificant. As Richard Lindzen said of the effect of CO2 on climate: “[It is] trivially true and numerically insignificant.”

A diverse array of views on the agreement is found below. In the major additions, it is an agreement, not a treaty, in the sense that it has no binding effect on the United States. A treaty would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate present. One purpose of this requirement in the US Constitution is to provide a check on presidential powers. Unlike in many other countries, a treaty in the US has the force of law. The Obama Administration realized it would not obtain approval of two-thirds of the Senate, thus delegates representing the Administration made last minute changes to the Agreement making it nonbinding and thereby avoiding Constitutionally required approval.

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In Your Face “Black Swan!”

By bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

What happened last Wednesday deserves another look because I believe it marked a huge pivot point and very few are even talking about it.  Last Wednesday the Fed raised rates one quarter of a point but that was not the big story.  The big story was the about face the U.S. did geopolitically!

We saw markets around the world convulse on Thursday and Friday.  All attention has focused on the Fed rate hike which no doubt was a contributor.  How wise was it for the Fed to tighten credit conditions on a system already struggling and burdened with debt?  There is no arguing we have systemically moved from the 2008 crisis which is now widely understood as a “credit event”, into an even more highly levered situation.  The recovery that never was is now met with a central bank’s policy error.

I believe the “tell” on Friday was a weak dollar.  Much of what happened in the markets could have been expected as reaction to the Fed tightening credit conditions …but not a weak dollar.  The meeting between Mr. Lavrov, Mr. Putin and John Kerry far overrides anything the Fed could have done or said in my opinion.  The foreign policy about face where Mr. Assad no longer “needs to go” and Turkey being ordered to withdraw troops from northern Iraq was astonishing!  These statements were followed by Mr. Putin establishing a no fly zone over northern Syria.  In another twist, Turkey still maintains Mr. Assad must go and they are refusing to withdraw troops from Iraq http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-19/turkey-blasts-breakthrough-un-resolution-syria-it-lacks-perspective-assad-must-go .  When in your lifetime have you ever seen anything like this?  An “ally”, ANY ALLY publicly denying U.S. will?  We all saw an IN YOUR FACE BLACK SWAN but few have recognized it yet!

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Britain Authorizes Fracking Under National Parks

By Eric Worall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Britain has just controversially allowed fracking under National Parks. The fracking rigs can’t be erected inside the parks, but horizontal drilling from properties adjoining the parks, into land which lays underneath the parks, is now permitted.

MPs have voted to allow fracking for shale gas 1,200m below national parks and other protected sites.

The new regulations – which permit drilling from outside the protected areas – were approved by 298 to 261.

Opposition parties and campaigners criticised the lack of a Commons debate – and accused ministers of a U-turn as they previously pledged an outright ban on fracking in national parks.

The government said its plans would protect “our most precious landscapes”.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom also said there had already been “enormous debate” on the subject.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-35107203

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Mission Accomplished

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

On May 1, 2003 on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln then President George W. Bush, after becoming the first U.S. president to land on an aircraft carrier in a fixed wing aircraft (in a dashing olive drab flight suit), declared underneath an enormous “Mission Accomplished” banner that “major combat operations” in Iraq had been concluded, that regime change had been effected, and that America had prevailed in its mission to transform the Middle East. 13 years later, after years of additional combat operations in Iraq, and a Middle East that is spiraling out of control and increasingly disdainful of America’s influence, we look back at the “Mission Accomplished” event as the epitome of false confidence and premature celebration.

The image of W on the flight deck comes to mind in much of the reaction to this week’s decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. While many in the media and on Wall Street talked of a “concluded experiment” and the “dawning of a new era,” few realize that we are just as firmly caught in the thickets of failed policy as were Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in the misunderstood quagmire of 2003 Iraq.

In its initial story of the day’s events, The Washington Post (12/16/15) declared that by raising the Fed Funds rate to one quarter of a percent The Fed is “ending an era of easy money that helped save the nation from another Great Depression.” Putting aside the fact that 25 basis points is still 175 points below the near 2.0% rate of core inflation that the government has reported over the past 12 months (and should therefore be considered undeniably easy), the more important question to ask is into what environment the Fed is apparently turning this page.

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Post ZIRP Era.

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The Federal Reserve finally mustered the courage to end its radical zero-interest-rate-policy experiment this week.  Its quarter-point rate hike announced on the seventh anniversary of ZIRP kicks off the long road to normalization.  This leaves the stock markets and gold in unprecedented uncharted territory.  The Fed has never before attempted to exit ZIRP, let alone in the midst of such extremely distorted markets.

The Fed’s ZIRP saga symmetrically ended 7 years to the day after it began way back in mid-December 2008.  That was just after the dark heart of that year’s once-in-a-century stock panic, which struck terror into the Bernanke Fed.  The benchmark S&P 500 broad-market stock index (SPX) had plummeted 30.0% in a single month in October, and then plunged another 11.4% from those brutal lows in the subsequent month.

The Fed deeply feared the sudden loss of 3/8ths of Americans’ stock-market wealth would cast the US into a new Great Depression.  History has proven the stock markets have a powerful wealth effect on consumer spending, which drives over 2/3rds of the US economy.  As stock markets drop, people feel poorer and more financially vulnerable so they slash their own purchasing.  That slows the entire economy.

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“All In”…Did We Back Down?

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Wednesday morning before the Fed announcement, a reader sent me this: “It is Janet Yellen’s turn to stoke the fire and evidently her news today of a rate increase has stoked the stock market fire to the tune of the Dow rising 138 points 10 minutes in.  It has the feeling of being on the Texas coast holding a hurricane party waiting for a hurricane to hit.  There are hundreds of people drinking and partying.”  SO TRUE …and party they did!  The rate hike was not even the biggest news of the day as you’ll see…and maybe they were all connected, we’ll get to that shortly.

Where do we go from here after a rate hike?  First and foremost we need to see several things.  First, can the Fed actually get rates to rise?  The longer end of the Treasury curve actually went down so there was some flattening.  Next, can they make the rate hike stick?  We also need to watch to see the mechanics of the rate hike.  The Fed will necessarily need to withdraw some (maybe up to $1 trillion) collateral from the system …a system already short of collateral.  This will tighten liquidity in an already illiquid credit market.

No doubt the world as a whole is treading water at best and most probably contracting economically.  The rate hike will only serve to put more pressure on the emerging markets in the form of a margin call.  This margin call will also be issued across the board.  I believe we now wait patiently to see where the stress is evidenced.  It may take only a couple of days or a couple of weeks but stress and weakness is coming.  Trade, growth and corporate profits and importantly “velocity” are all weak and declining, now the financial sector will need to deal with a withdrawal of liquidity equal to approximately what QE2 added.

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Torrent Of Bad News Greets Fed As It Raises Rates

[Note: The FED raised it’s benchmark Fed-Funds Interest Rate yesterday, from 0% to 0.25%, although the Bond Market (at this moment) is showing 90 Day US Treasury Bills at 0.19%. – Bob]

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Ideally, a central bank would like the party to be rocking when it takes away the punch bowl. This party, however, is not cooperating. For every sign of exuberance (high-end real estate bubbles, equity and bond bull markets, job growth) there are five or six things going wrong, some of them in a big way. This morning’s news illustrates the point:

Oil slump resumes on U.S. supply build, expected Fed rate hike

Plunging energy prices are a tax cut for consumers but a calamity for the leveraged speculating community. And since finance now wags the economic dog, the latter effect is potentially a lot more serious. Look for a wave of bankruptcies and defaults across the energy world in 2016.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #209

The Week That Was: December 12, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

COP-21: The difficult part of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is over. On December 12, the organizers announced an agreement of sorts. Since the announcement went against the time constraints for this TWTW, adjectives describing the agreement will be left to others, and the analysis of it will be appear in the next TWTW, when it is more clear what was agreed. The following description comes from an article in the Wall Street Journal published on December 12, updated to 6:17 pm Eastern Standard Time. TWTW inserts are in brackets.

“More than 190 nations have agreed on a plan to limit climate change [assuming it is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases], ending a decades long search for an accord requiring the world’s economies to regulate the emission of gases that [SOME] scientists say are causing the earth to warm.

“Negotiators sealed the deal after changing provisions that would have triggered a requirement that the agreement be approved by the U.S. Congress, where there are many lawmakers skeptical about a climate accord. They won over developing nations at the last hour by exempting them from obligations to help pay the bill for confronting climate change.

“The deal calls for wealthy economies such as the U.S. and the European Union to shoulder more of the burden, including a pledge to channel at least $100 billion a year to poor countries to help them respond to climate change.

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Underwater Balloons – a New Idea in Energy Storage?

By Eric Worrall – Re-blogge From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Hydrostor has created an interesting innovation in energy storage. The energy is stored as compressed air, in giant underwater balloons.

Hydrostor’s system works in several steps. Electricity is run through a compressor and converted into compressed air. This compressed air is then sent underwater.

“There, we have a whole series of what are effectively balloons, that fill… like lungs under a lake,” he added.

“They fill with air, and when they’re full you stop charging the system and it can sit there indefinitely. When you want power back, again, a valve opens … air comes rushing out, we run through a low pressure turbine called a turbo expander, and that reproduces power back to the grid.”

Energy storage is becoming increasingly important. In the United States, the Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability states that the development of technology to store electricity so it’s available on whenever it’s needed would be a “major breakthrough in electricity distribution.”

Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/09/underwater-balloons-clean-energy-savior.html

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The IMF Just Insured The Dollars Demise!

By Roxanne Lewis – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) just made a historic decision for international finance by adding the Chinese yuan to its basket of currencies.  The yuan joins four other currencies in the SDR basket including the U.S. dollar, the euro, British pound and Japanese yen and there is talk that more currencies may be added diluting the dollars damage even faster.

These currencies make up the global exchange unit known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR).  The SDR, created in 1969 is used by governments and central banks as a foreign exchange reserve to facilitate international trade and finance.  The yuan will be added to the IMF’s basket October 1st, 2016 and although the yuan is not currently backed by gold China could decide to do just that and back the yuan partially with gold unlike any of the basket of currencies today.

This newest addition by the IMF signifies that the international community now has a great deal of confidence in the yuan due to China adopting a more open, market based economic approach.  The Chinese currency will even rise above the yen and the pound making up 11% of the currency basket.  This increased stability will only rise in demand as the BRICS bank (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, U.K., Australia, France, Germany and Italy) gets set to exchange money in the Chinese yuan instead of the U.S. dollar for their international trade!

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Mark Steyn rebukes democrats in climate hearing: ‘You’re effectively enforcing a state ideology’

Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

This is a must watch, share it widely. Mark Steyn demolishes the “science is settled” meme in the Senate hearing yesterday. His ability to argue effectively on the fly is very impressive.

What Happens When YOU Are Put On A List?

By Mac Slavo – Re-Blogged From http://www.FreedomOutpost.com

After they have come for the terrorists, and the once-legal gun owners, what happens when they come for you?

Secret lists are becoming the law of the land. Overseas, Obama uses a secret list to authorize the killing of suspects (and bystanders) via drone strike. Execution, as determined by “secretive processes, without indictment or trial.” Some of those killed have been American citizens.

Secret lists have been used to determine who can fly on a plane, who is worth watching as a potential terrorist, and who can travel. None of this necessarily requires that a crime has been committed, or that the individual in question has done anything wrong.

But it won’t stop there.

Somewhere down the line, there is a deeper list, a simpler list. Somewhere inside the shadow government, and the ominous and secretive infrastructure it has built and seized, there is a list that doesn’t have to mind the complexities of law, or the subtleties of public scrutiny, but can just mark you down – red or blue.

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Ten Investor Warning Signs for 2016

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.PentoPort.com

Wall Street’s proclivity to create serial equity bubbles off the back of cheap credit has once again set up the middle class for disaster. The warning signs of this next correction have now clearly manifested, but are being skillfully obfuscated and trivialized by financial institutions. Nevertheless, here are ten salient warning signs that astute investors should heed as we roll into 2016.

  1. The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping rates and a barometer for worldwide commodity demand, recently fell to its lowest level since 1985. This index clearly portrays the dramatic decrease in global trade and forebodes a worldwide recession.

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Government Actions and Basic Premises

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Many times, reversing your basic premise can give you valuable insights. Let’s look at oil, religion, and the US Constitution, as well as our political leaders actions in these spheres.

Looking around the world, we see numerous oil exporting countries who also are avowed enemies of the US, either outright like Venezuela and Iran, or surreptitiously like Saudi Arabia. While in the past, OPEC members have curtailed production to keep prices high, now they are in “pedal to the metal” mode, producing as much oil as they can, and have pushed the price so low, many analysts are declaring the death of American production.

Our leaders, most obviously President Obama, have been treating OPEC with kid gloves, while at the same time they are in an undeclared war on US produced energy – mostly of the fossil fuel variety. How might these seemingly at odds actions make sense together?

I expect that most Americans would believe, as a basic premise, that the elected President of the United States is working for the benefit of the American people. So, for the purposes of this mental exercise, let us assume the exact opposite – that President Obama is working AGAINST the best interest of America.

It is a well established fact that the availability of cheap, reliable energy is very well correlated to growth in a country’s Economy, to the people’s Standard of Living, and to the general Well-Being of all who live in that country.

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Fallen Angel will Seek to Press Presidential Candidates to Change Rules of Engagement

By Tim Brown – Re-Blogged From http://www.FreedomOutpost.com

Extortion 17 was the worst loss of life in the Afghan War, which included 17 Navy SEALs and 13 other US military and National Guard personnel, along with 8 Afghans. Both Billy Vaughn, father of fallen SEAL Aaron Vaughn, and Don Brown have written on the shoot down of Extortion 17 from two different perspectives: one was from a father’s point of view, the other from a former JAG’s explanation of the evidence. Now, the Extortion 17 story, aptly titled “Fallen Angel,” is set to hit the big screen on the fifth anniversary of the downing of Chinook helicopter by Taliban forces, and producers are looking to force presidential candidates to deal with the rules of engagement that are jeopardizing the lives of America’s finest and are responsible for the downing of Extortion 17.

Fallen Angel is being produced by The United West.

I spoke with Tom Trento, who heads The United West, about the production in an exclusive interview.

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #207

The Week That Was: December 5, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

COP-21: The festive part of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is over in Paris. This part began COP-21, giving various national politicians the opportunity to preen for the cameras as if they are celebrities. After all, some claim they are attending the conference in order to save the world from global warming/climate change. Who knows, some may actually believe it.

Now comes the hard part. The delegates to COP-21 must work out an agreement that, at least, gives the appearance they are saving the world. Of course, COP-21, and the UNFCCC, follows the party line laid out in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5, 2013 & 2014) by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Humans are mostly (more than 50%) responsible for 95 to 99% of global warming/climate change since about 1950. As stated in last week’s TWTW (November 28, 2015), this is a scientific hypothesis that must be tested. It has not been tested. Instead, the needed testing has been replaced by a cloud of assertions, some scientifically very good, some extremely poor, from which no one can logically draw firm conclusions with a 95 to 99% certainty. Simply, there is no scientific reason to accept severe limitations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as envisioned by many parties at COP-21.

Further, as discussed in last week’s TWTW, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released a report that contradicts many of the claims by the IPCC, including:

“Probably the only “consensus” among climate scientists is that human activities can have an effect on local climate and that the sum of such local effects could hypothetically rise to the level of an observable global signal. The key questions to be answered, however, are whether the human global signal is large enough to be measured and if it is, does it represent, or is it likely to become, a dangerous change outside the range of natural variability? On these questions, an energetic scientific debate is taking place on the pages of peer-reviewed science journals.

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s Plan for America

By Onan Coca – Re-Blogged From http://www.FreedomForce.com

Brigitte Gabriel is one of the world’s leading defenders of speech and women’s rights. She is the President of ACT for America and she was recently speaking at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference. Her speech was about the threat of radical Islam, and she focused on the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for our nation.

In 2004, federal investigators discovered a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum during a search of a northern Virginia home. The memorandum, written by Mohamed Akram for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council, described a “civilization jihad” aimed at North America. It stated: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” This explanatory memorandum also included a list of 29 Muslim Brotherhood connected organizations in the U.S. The memorandum was entered into evidence at the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial in 2007-2008.

You can see the plan here.

Listen as Gabriel explains what the Muslim Brotherhood has planned for us…

The Minimum Wage

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The push to raise the Minimum Wage refuses to die, both the Federal Rate and Rates in the various States. Supporters say that poor people need to earn enough to support themselves and their families, and nobody – certainly not I – can argue with that sentiment.

However, I think that it is valid to explore the actual effects of a Minimum Wage hike. I’d like to suggest three examples to consider in this quest – two may seem unrelated at first, while the third will use extreme numbers.

Example 1: Suppose you are considering the purchase of a new computer. In your locale, you find you have two choices. The first is a fully loaded, name brand PC with a selling price of $5000. The other choice is one assembled at a local shop to your specifications. For what you need, the price will be $1000.

The $5000 box is appealing, but your budget pushes you toward the $1000 option. Before you can make your purchase, the government (at whatever level) issues an order saying that “No computer may be sold for less than $4000.”

You still may opt for the lower cost choice, but relatively, the $5000 price is not so bad. Of course, your budget still is your budget, so you may just forget the purchase altogether.

Example 2: Your roof leaks. One contractor offers to repair your roof for $5000, while another will do only a full new roof, and the charge will be $50,000. Before you can choose, the government declares that roof work may not cost less than $40,000.

Once again, the law is discouraging the lower price option, while encouraging either the higher priced work or letting the leak continue.

Example 3: Putting food on the table, clothes on your back, and a roof overhead are serious needs. Nobody should have to make do with less than everything he desires. So, let’s raise the Minimum Wage to $100 an hour, so that every wage earner can afford to live in dignity. </sarc>

As it turns out, very few employment opportunities can repay the hiring business enough to be able to pay the $100 per hour tab. So, almost zero new jobs appear. Many previous tasks that people could do become automated. With less business competition, the few remaining companies are able to raise their prices to offset the higher Minimum Wage.

Existing jobs also are affected by the same burden of $100 per hour wages. Many (most?) existing jobs disappear and unemployment goes up. Jobs are traded in for automation where possible.

Image result for $100 minimum wage clipart

The net effect is that a few businesses, and a few people, benefit from the new $100 Minimum Wage. However, the business must pay more, many people become unemployed, consumers must pay more, and taxpayers now must support a larger population of out-of-work people.

So, how do these three examples apply to a raise only to $15 over several years? It’s all the same!

A few people benefit. The few who get hired benefit. The few who get a raise will benefit. And because of reduced competition, higher wage employees also may get a raise.

BUT!! Many more people will be unemployed. Taxpayers will have to pay more. And, consumers will have to pay more.

So, why would anybody support this nonsense?

As it turns out, Democrats are favored by several voting blocs, two of which are unions and poor people. We’ve seen that higher wage earners benefit from reduced competition, and indeed, unions are the driving force behind the push for a higher Minimum Wage.

Poor people will be hurt as their already high unemployment rate becomes even higher due to a higher Minimum Wage. But the socialist left which makes up the majority of the Democrats are telling the poor that they’ll get paid more – and yes, those who do get new jobs (and those not being fired from current jobs) will be helped.

But, the socialist left is committing a lie of omission by not telling the poor how the higher Minimum Wage will hurt them.

The Democrats had to choose between two constituencies – unions and the poor. They’ve made their choice and have thrown the poor under the bus. They’ve covered it up with the lie that they’re helping the poor.

Image result for unemployment clipart

It’s not like the ill effects of raising the Minimum Wage have been kept a secret. Anybody with average intelligence who has seen the kinds of examples I’ve laid out can understand the concept.

To me, the Democrats (and not a few Republican socialists) are doing evil. They are stabbing the poor in the back and then bragging how their stupid policies are helping the poor.

The Hidden Cost of Zero Interest Rate Policies

By Laurence B Siegel & Thomas S Coleman – Re-Blogged From http://www.advisorperspectives.com

Should the Fed raise interest rates? Some believe that ultra-low interest rates are good for investors because they drive up the prices of stocks and real estate, fattening household balance sheets. Others counter that zero rates are an insidious tax, transferring wealth from borrowers to lenders, distorting incentives and misallocating capital for individuals and government and making the American investor poorer over time.

Where you stand on the Fed raising rates is likely to depend on which of these two positions you support.

We think the latter. Zero interest rates – which translate to negative real interest rates after inflation – are a massive transfer of wealth from investors to governments and other borrowers around the world. We’ll show that the scale of the transfer is nearly $1 trillion per year in the U.S. alone and will argue that the zero-interest-rate policy lowers expected returns on stocks and real estate as well.

Low interest rates hurt more than just investors. Everyone suffers because low rates distort consumption and investment decisions, potentially causing economic growth to be slower than it otherwise would be. Initially, in 2008-2009, low interest rates were an element or consequence of a policy of liquidity injection needed to avoid a collapse of the banking system and serious depression. Since then, however, they have become a tool of stimulative macro policy with limited success.

They are disastrous as an ongoing strategy.

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Star Wars Economics

By Tho Bihop – Re-Blogged From http://www.lewrockwell.com

Blowing Up the Death Star Didn’t Destroy Economy, Building It Did

A paper written by Zachary Feinstein discussing the economic consequences of blowing up the Death Star has been making the rounds on social media. While I’m a fan of using Star Wars to teach economics, Feinstein makes a very basic economic mistake in his focus on the Death Star’s destruction.

The paper actually starts out strong. Feinstein notes that, “Economics and finance, much like the Force as explained by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, is ‘created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.’” Unfortunately, the author shifts from looking at the organic economy towards the dark side of economic models and aggregates – in this case Gross Galactic Product. The paper goes on to outline the quintillions that would be spent in the construction of the Death Star, the estimated size of the galactic banking system and the bailout that would be needed to restore financial confidence after the collapse of the Empire.

While some of the points made are interesting, the paper overlooks that the real economic problem with the Death Star is that a genocidal government built it at all.

I would point both Feinstein (and Emperor Palpatine) to Henry Hazlitt’s Economic in One Lesson. In the words of Hazlitt:

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

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Fed’s Rocket Ship Turns Hoverboard

B Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From Euro Pacific Capital

Over the past year, while the U.S. economy has continually missed expectations, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has assured all who could stay awake during her press conferences that it was strong enough to withstand tighter monetary policy. In delivering months of mildly tough talk (with nothing in the way of action), Yellen began stressing that WHEN the Fed would finally raise rates (for the first time in almost a decade) was not nearly as important as how fast and how high  the increases would be once they started. Not only did this blunt the criticism of those who felt that the delays were unnecessary, and in fact dangerous, but it also began laying the groundwork for the Fed to do nothing over a much longer time period. To the delight of investors, the Fed has telegraphed that it will adopt a “low and slow” trajectory for the foreseeable future and move, in the words of Larry Kudlow, like “an injured snail.”

I would suggest that Kudlow is a bit aggressive. I believe that if the Fed raises rates by 25 basis points next week, as everyone expects it will, that the move will likely represent the END of the tightening cycle, not the beginning. (As I explained in my last commentary, the current tightening cycle actually started more than two years ago when the Fed began shortening its forward guidance on Quantitative Easing). The expected rate hike this month has long been referred to as “liftoff” for the Fed, an image that suggests the very beginning of a process that eventually puts a spacecraft into orbit. But, in this case, liftoff will be far less dramatic. I believe the Fed’s rocket to nowhere will hover above the launch pad for a considerable period of time before ultimately falling back down to Earth.

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Has the Fed Ever (Accurately) Predicted a Recession?

By Peter Diekmeyer- Re-Blogged From http://www.sprottmoney.com

In a recent survey not a single major central bank could provide an example of an accurate “a priori” recession forecast. The silence from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, BOE, BOJ and the Bank of Canada is deafening.

Precious metals investors rely heavily on economic projections when deciding where to put their money. But there’s something fishy in the land of mainstream forecasting. The US economy is now in its seventh year of recovery; however, Fed officials project growth as far ahead as the eye can see.

The Fed isn’t alone. Despite the fact that the US economy contracts for two consecutive quarters every six or seven years and is on schedule to do so again soon, not a single major central bank is forecasting a US recession as its baseline scenario. Why is that?

A miserable forecasting record

The Fed’s lousy forecasting record is well known. The US central bank completely missed predicting the 2008–2009 financial crisis and ensuing recession. Worse, it has consistently issued over-optimistic projections since then. Less well known is the fact that the US central bank appears to have never accurately forecast a recession before the country was already in one.

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Social Security And The National Debt Are Misleading The American Public

B Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

We are told that many economics experts don’t worry about the total national debt because $5 trillion of that debt doesn’t really exist; it is rather just a theoretical bookkeeping transaction for money that the federal government owes to itself. Netting out this bookkeeping entry then allows some authorities assert that while the debt is a bit on the high side relative to the size of the economy, it is far from historically unprecedented, and certainly no cause for despair or rash talk about insolvency.

We are also told that many financial experts don’t worry about the solvency of Social Security and other federal government retirement programs, because they are funded with $5 trillion of the safest assets on earth, those being United States government Treasury obligations (i.e., the national debt), which are being held for our benefit by the federal government.

Unfortunately, both statements cannot be true simultaneously.

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What Are They Really Counting?

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

teddy_bears

WARNING: This is not a technical essay. There is almost no science in it. It is not about AGW or any issue involved in the Climate Wars. My editor describes it as “chatty”. It does ask two extremely important questions.

We are all constantly bombarded by numbers….in the press, on the radio news, on the TV news, here at WUWT. Numbers as sheer numbers, numbers as graphs, charts, images, and in words and more words. Putting a number with an idea has a magical power over our minds – it makes the idea ‘more true’ – it offers to our minds a sort of proof for ideas and concepts.

In this essay, I look at an important question, one we must all ask – ask ourselves and ask the sources of these numbers – What exactly are they really counting? In our little introductory image (cute, huh?) we see they are counting  “counting bears”. 1 bear, two bears. But, what exactly? In the upper panels, they are counting green plastic counting bears. Their count = 1 (and in words – one). In the bottom panels, they are still counting plastic counting bears, but one red bear and one blue bear, or 2 (in words – two) bears altogether. Even more exactly though, the bottom panels have one red bear, one blue bear and zero green bears.

This is not just being fussy. When we have only the information in the top panels, we count one bear (and maybe note that it is green). As far as we know, all bears in this context are the same color, and color doesn’t matter. If these were real seal-eating/fish-eating bears, some might be white, some brown, some grizzled, some a cross-breed mixture. For biologists, the difference is important – refer to the Polar Bear Wars. For a camper on the tundra, one very hungry bear, possibly man-eating, is more than enough, regardless of color.

For this kindergarten example, we see that even in the most elementary types of counting , there are details that may need to be explored and explained.

Just to be clear, all measurement is the same as counting in this regard.

meas·ure   ‘meZHər/   verb      to ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units or by comparing it with an object of known size. “the amount of water collected is measured in pints” some synonyms: count, calculate, compute, quantify

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Ozone Scare Was A Dry Run For The Global Warming Scare

By Dr. Tim Ball -Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

My grandmother told me “Your sins will find you out.” I don’t know if it’s original, but it certainly seems true when you look at the sins of those who created the ozone hole and global warming deceptions. Exposure of the sins is not surprising because many of the same people produced the template used in both cases. It involved creating unnatural scenarios that would eventually be out of phase with natural events. The truth is slow, but it eventually catches up, because, as Aldous Huxley explained,

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

There is not now and never was a “hole in the ozone.” The phrase was a public relations construct to mislead and exploit fear as the basis for a political agenda. The procedure used in the exploitation of environmental and climate for a political agenda is to take normal patterns and events and present them as, or imply, they are abnormal. It works because most people don’t know what is normal. Global warming became the largest exploitation of this practice, but it was based on the knowledge gained from reported ozone depletions over Antarctica. The ozone deception served as a forerunner, a practice run, for the global warming deception to follow.

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These Ain’t Your Grandfather’s “Jobs”

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com

This “Jobs Friday” ritual is getting truly absurd. So it can’t be repeated often enough: These artifacts of the BLS’ seasonally maladjusted, trend-cycle modeled, heavily imputed, endlessly crafted and five times revised “jobs” numbers have precious little to do with the real health of the main street economy.

Indeed, the six-year run of job gains since early 2010 primarily represents “born-again jobs” and part-time gigs. In economic terms, they do not remotely resemble your grandfather’s industrial era economy when a “job” lasted 40 to 50 hours per week all year round; and most of what the BLS survey counted as “jobs” paid a living wage.

Not now. Not even close.

The Wall Street fools who bought the dip still another time on Friday do not have the slightest clue that the US jobs market is actually quite dead.

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Restaurants Try to Make Customers Eat Obamacare

B Joe Scudder – Re-Blogged From http://www.politicaloutcast.com

Chief Justice Roberts said that the Affordable Care Act’s fine for not purchasing Obamacare insurance was Constitutional because it was really a tax. That was legally outrageous but it was economically interesting. What is the difference between the government taxing you for the sake of “services” the government wants to provide and the government fining you for the same reason? The fact is Obamacare is a massive tax in lots of ways. Being required to pay more for services we don’t want (at least, not at that price) is no different than having our taxes raised.

And it has the same effect on businesses–it hurts and destroys them. Ellie Bufkin writes at The Federalist,

By now most people have heard that many popular restaurants in New York City have abolished tipping, and raised their menu prices by up to 40 percent, which now gives them the ability to pay everyone on staff more and provide full-time health coverage. Some restaurants tried a different tactic, including Brooklyn pizzeria Franny’s. They announced that checks would soon include a line item that reads “3% surcharge for Obamacare,” then quickly reversed that decision after complaints. Now they will raise all their prices, despite their concerns this means “putting $22 pizza on the menu.”

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The Fed’s In A Bind

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

One can understand the Fed’s frustration over the failure of its interest rate policy…and its desire to escape the zero bound. However, since the FOMC has all but said it will increase rates at its December meeting, events have turned against this course of action. The other major central banks are in easing mode, and the slowdown in China has further undermined both world trade flows and commodity prices. The result has been a strong dollar, which has effectively eliminated any perceived need for higher dollar interest rates. Meanwhile, the US’s non-financial economy remains subdued.

Last August, a similar situation existed, when the FOMC signalled that a rise in the Fed Funds Rate might be announced at its September meeting. Ahead of it, China revalued the dollar by announcing a small devaluation of its own currency, taking the wind out of the Fed’s sails. While the talking heads saw this as a failure of Chinese financial policy, it was nothing of the sort. Given the US was dragging its feet over the yuan’s inclusion in the SDR, it was a salvo in the financial war between the two states, and the Fed found itself in the firing line.

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True State Of The Financial System

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

For six years the world has operated under a complete delusion that Central Banks somehow fixed the 2008 Crisis.

All of the arguments claiming this defied common sense. A 5th grader would tell you that you cannot solve a debt problem by issuing more debt. If the below chart was a problem BEFORE 2008… there is no way that things are better now. After all, we’ve just added another $10 trillion in debt to the US system.

Similarly, anyone with a functioning brain could tell you that a bunch of academics with no real-world experience, none of whom have ever started a business or created a single job can’t “save” the economy.

federal reserve

However, there is an AWFUL lot of money at stake in believing these lies. So the media and the banks and the politicians were happy to promote them. Indeed, one could very easily argue that nearly all of the wealth and power held by those at the top of the economy stem from this fiction.

So it’s little surprise that no one would admit the facts: that the Fed and other Central Banks not only don’t have a clue how to fix the problem, but that they actually have almost no incentive to do so.

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False Charges Used to Punish Former Pastor for Political Speech

By Joe Scudder – Re-Blogged From http://politicaloutcast.com

A man is charged with jury tampering even though there was no jury involved in his action and there was no court case taking place. The man had no opinion about a trial that he could share with a jury member. Yet Keith Wood spent twelve hours in jail until he paid $15,000 to be released (10% of the $150,000 bond). He is facing a possible five-year prison sentence.

Michigan Live reports,

A 39-year-old former pastor was arrested and jailed in Mecosta County after he handed out fliers informing people about jury nullification in front of the county courthouse.

Keith Wood said he was handing out pamphlets from the Fully Informed Jury Association on Nov. 24 while standing on the sidewalks along Elm Street.

Wood said he was inspired by what he read online about the proposition that jurors can follow their conscience if they think a law or prosecution is patently wrong and refuse to find a defendant guilty regardless of instructions from a judge – a concept referred to as jury nullification.

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COP21 and the Madness of Crowds

By Charles G. Battig – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

mackay-madness-of-crowdsIt is unfortunate that Charles Mackay is no longer alive to add yet another chapter or two to his insightful book of human follies, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.  First published in 1841, his book chronicles in sixteen examples of crowd psychology with some of the notable economic and social foibles of the past.  The preface includes his observation that “[w]e find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds on one object, and go mad in its pursuit: that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it, til their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

Chapter headings include The Mississippi Scheme, The South-Sea Bubble, The Tulipomania, Fortune-Telling, The Magnetisers, The Crusades, and The Witch Mania.  These and the other chapters were chosen by Mackay to illustrate recurring but  transient moral and economic epidemics, and to “show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes.”  The foreword by Bernard Baruch in the 1932 edition references Schiller’s dictum: “Anyone taken as an individual is tolerably sensible and reasonable – as a member of a crowd he at once becomes a blockhead.”

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Recent Page 2 Items

By Mark J Perry – Re-Blogged From American Enterprise Institute

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1. Chart of the Day (above). Based on the most recent “Traffic Volume Trends” report from the Federal Highway Administration, Americans drove more in September of this year (about 264 billion miles) than in any previous September in US history. The number of total vehicle miles driven over the most recent 12-month period from September 2014 to September 2015 of about 3.12 trillion miles set a new record for that measure of US traffic volume. And the 3.4% increase in September’s 12-month total traffic volume over last year was the largest annual increase in that measure since 1997. Falling gas prices, along with a gradually improving US economy are the likely reasons for the record-setting traffic volume this year.

2. Interesting Facts of the Day: Mobile broadband subscriptions (47.2% of households worldwide) have now overtaken households with Internet access (46.4% of households worldwide), and there are now 7.1 billion mobile subscriptions globally. Source: TechCrunch

3. One of the Best-Ever Letters to the Editor (in the Star Tribune 11/13/2015):Letter

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Skeptical Climate Documentary Set to Rock Climate Debate

From CFACT – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

President Obama & World Leaders to Be Greeted By New Film Debuting in Paris

Gala Paris red carpet premiere for new “Climate Hustle” skeptical documentary

Cinéma du Panthéon, December 7, 7:30 PM

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(Sorbonne, Paris) CFACT will hold the world premiere of its long-awaited Climate Hustle skeptical documentary film at an invitation-only red carpet event in Paris during the UN’s COP 21 international summit on climate change.

Featuring interviews and comments from more than 30 renowned scientists and climate experts,Climate Hustle lays out compelling evidence that devastates the global warming scare. Film host Marc Morano, founder and publisher of CFACT’s award-winning Climate Depot news and information service, leads viewers on a fact-finding and often times hilarious journey through the propaganda-laced world of “climate change” claims.

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A Story of the Climate Change Debate. How it Ran; Why it Failed.

By Larry Kummer, from Fabius Maximus – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Summary: Here is a powerful presentation by Professor Roger Pielke Jr. that provides missing background for the flood of stories about climate change accompanying the UN Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21). The events he describes show how the public policy debate has been conducted, why it failed — and point to fixes necessary if we are to prepare for the future.

“It is not their wrongness so much as their pretensions to rightness that have brought economic predictions and the theory that underlies them into well-deserved contempt.”
— Peter Medawar in The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice: and Other Classic Essays on Scienceclip_image001 (1981).

Occupy Wall Street Climate Protest Image: AP

Contents

  1. Introduction.
  2. His Presentation.
  3. Conclusions.
  4. For More Information.
  5. Upsetting the President’s science adviser.

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Obama Is Correct, Climate Change Is Biggest Threat, But Only Because Official IPCC Climate Science Is Completely Wrong

By Dr Tim Ball – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Kafkaesque is one word that encapsulates the entire Paris Conference. It is defined as:

A nightmarish situation which most people can somehow relate to, although strongly surreal. With an ethereal, “evil”, omnipotent power floating just beyond the senses.

There are insufficient superlatives to describe the disaster that is the UN COP21 Climate Conference in Paris. None of the superlatives are the ones used by the organizers and their lackeys. It is the largest, most political conference ever, based on completely false claims deliberately created in the greatest science deception in history. It will cost more socially in direct damage to individual lives, communities, and social structures. It will cost more in economic damage to jobs, businesses, and industry. In addition, besides destroying lives it will remove freedom and actually cost lives. It will weaken economies preventing resistance to terrorism. This far exceeds any potential damage from terrorism and is much worse because it is self-inflicted (Figure 1).

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