Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SAR #9329

How does taking money from my children and giving it to my neighbor's banker help anyone but the banker?

Short Form: Sales of existing houses were up 10% in October, m/m. At a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.1 million units is far above the long term norm of 4.5 to 5 million houses, and a reflection of purchases prompted by tax credits. Exciting, but essentially just a measure of new debt, not economic activity. These houses already existed and trading ownership does little to stimulate the economy.

Suck It Up: “The bad news on jobs is no longer a surprise to investors and history has shown that past jobless recoveries were dealt with fine by most major asset classes.” They were not, however dealt with quite so finely by the unemployed.

Balance of Trade: China gets 10% GDP growth, America gets 10% unemployment.

Science: You should not “believe” in global climate change based on newspaper reports. Read some books, plural, books that have footnotes and explanations of where the data came from and how it fits with other research and what conclusions can be supported by the data. Then you can intelligently form an opinion. You are not allowed to “not believe in” global climate change in bulk. The data behind the current theory is published in literally tens of thousands of peer-reviewed public documents: research reports, studies, letters, public conferences. You are allowed to take each and every one of these tens of thousands of data sets and replicate the research and show that it was wrong, in error, or even fudged. And then you publish your report – if it can stand peer review. Then you take up the next data set and try again. You disprove science by doing better science, not stealing emails.

Books Report: As those of us who stop in to read their magazines and drink their coffee have known since early summer, Borders is on the verge of bankruptcy. I've got $19.86 left on my gift card, so I'll stop in later this week.

Bad Movie: A killer fungus is attacking and killing over 350 amphibian species. The WHO suggests border agents screen arriving amphibians for signs of the disease. I am not as upset as I should be.

Follow Me, Men: The leaders of America's corporations have been dumping their stock in their own companies faster and faster as the Dow rises. Last week they dumped $1.39 billion but bought only $166 million of their own company's stock. Raising funds for their holiday shopping, y'think?

Spot Quiz: Why is the dollar worthless. a) There are too many of them. b) Promises, promises. c) It is backed by Fannie and Freddie and Ginnie Mae's bonds which are backed by subsidized housing and delinquent mortgages.

The Nays Have It: By a vote of 31 to 6 the Australian Senate has rejected Peak Oil. Guess they didn't see Road Warrior.

Phantom of the Markets: Dr. Shiller, he of the Animal Spirits, now wonders if the equity market recovery is all in our heads, a self-fulfilling fantasy. Perhaps; it certainly is a fantasy of some kind.

Bailouts Are US: For the third time in 16 years the US airline industry needs to be “saved” after racking up $58.5 billion in losses by following a series of obviously flawed business plans. It might help if they could talk TSA into easing off a bit on the harassment.

Hands-Off: While the Feds have been giving money to Wall Street (purportedly to create jobs) and are talking about a new stimulus to more directly do so, State governments – for lack of the money Washington gave Wall Street – are laying off ever more people.

Street Smart: The IMF says that the public in most advanced economies would not accept additional bailouts of the banks and that any such attempt “would threaten democracy.”

Blowing Bubbles: The Fed's zero-interest zero-risk money dispenser allows banks to improve their balance sheets on the cheap and forces investors into risky assets. The direct (but inverse) correlation between the dollar and equities suggests banks, funds and investors are borrowing cheap dollars and chasing assets. But a bubble's a bubble and we really need a bubble

Porn O'Graph: The globe's got a fever.


Degringolade said...

Actually: while you are correct in saying that you dispove science by performing better science, it is also imminently possible to disprove science by stealing e-mails.

What has happened that the results of a major center have been discredited. The theory of global climate change still stands. But lets be honest here, one of the foundation stones has bee seriously shaken.

The question that will stand is: How will folks take this. So many lies have been revealed at so many levels that the institutions that we use to provide touchstones for navigating an uncertain world are being taken from us.

If science becomes suspect, then it looks as though we may be in worse shape than my already gloomy crystal ball shows.

fajensen said...


If the servers are indeed hacked by pros, or just a pissed-off BOFH, the raw data would have been slowly salted with false values to get the backups and many,many published papers. Plus the data transferred to other sites!

The algorithms could be corrupted too - there is a LOT one could do with Fortran 90 numeric code if one has access to the system libraries. It's so fiddly.

Mark Derricott said...

@Science re: @Degringolade

I look at climate change as the worst case Domesday scenario about which most people will never do a thing anyway. The concept has become so politicized and vilified that even should the oceans take back several cities, I imagine people will decide to believe something else caused it.

However, resource depletion, economics of innocent fraud, and degradation of democratic institutions pose a similar threat to the life and limb of humanity. Those issues may actually be resolved because more than just the crazies on the left believe they are happening. Perhaps not so much by gas taxes and public transportation (although new urbanism is steadily gaining strength and some large companies seemed to have learned that these concepts have legs), but the latter two have drawn out the masses. The resolution is in the synthesis and organization of the movements and I think that is entirely possible (though perhaps not very likely).

Should that happen, we'll end up doing all that we could conceivably do with climate change anyway but for different reasons. It's perhaps only the musing of the delusional, but in the case of climate change, there is no reason to be pessimistic. That will happen on its own.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

fajensen - Like, wow. I hadn't thought of the possibilities in terms of falsifying data and other manipulations. Sure hope they have off-site, off-line backups.

But Rolandovich (and hi, been a while) is right - global climate change does not need our help, it'll get here when it gets here and before that we are not going to do anything anyway.
Plus, yes, we do have sufficient fraud to go around (not all of it Galbraithian "innocent fraud") in so many fields. Housing numbers is the latest scam it seems. Some days I have to sit and winnow out the lesser so as to shine a little sarcasm on the more important.

fajensen said...

Sure hope they have off-site, off-line backups.

Usually backups are rotated and eventually the original drop off at the end. Therefore one has to corrupt a little (to avoid detection) for a long time (to get all backups too).

What gets my hackles up about "climate change" is not climate change per se - it the fact that someone first argue we can (and should) "manage" the climate via CO2 emissions, then claim it is very important that we do, then hand the whole important thing over to Goldmann Sachs & Friends ... well, we can pretty much know already how THAT will work, do we not?

Best case Not At All - except GS will be RICH; worst case Tits-up in 10 years. But GS will be even better off, they will probably render us down to get fuel for their private jets.

Anonymous said...

Street Smart: The IMF says that the public in most advanced economies would not accept additional bailouts of the banks and that any such attempt “would threaten democracy.”

IMF is now the friend of the People? I think not. They are setting themselves up to be part of the Solution when, in fact, like Wall Street, they caused and are part of the Problem. Where was the IMF on Greed, Excess and Corruption these last developing years? Not a Peep. Looks like they are setting up big time with their SDR Racket.

Other takes on IMF:


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony 258 - I took the IMF's expression of deep concern to be their way of saying they were afraid that a lot of countrys were not going to be able to pay back the IMF loans and suggesting the governments find some palatable way of raising the cash. But if the whole world goes broke, what stick does the IMF have?

RG said...

The content of the emails is what stole from Science. Let's us not loose site of the real Hackers here...

And just because one does not believe in the Prophesy of Global Warming does not entail a disrespect for Mother Nature... We should all work towards a cleaner more vibrant World.