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France Again Being Forced To Stimulate Is Bad News

France Again Being Forced To Stimulate Is Bad News

France Holds Title Of World’s Most Visited Nation

On Thursday the French government rolled out a new stimulus plan The fact France is again forced to stimulate its economy should be viewed as bad news. The move reflects the reality that all is not well and things are getting worse. France is facing one of Europe’s worst recessions and its deepest since World War Two. France is looking at posting an 11% drop in GDP 2020. This follows a 13.8% second-quarter contraction that coincided with the covid-19 lock-down. This is seen as an attempt to bolster French President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election prospects. Macron is not loved by many of the French people and the “Yellow Vest” protesters that have marched against his policies are proof of this. If France moves back to the right support for a stronger Euro-zone government body will take a big hit.

The stimulus scheme designed to lift the country out of the recent slump aggravated by covid-19 will cost 100 billion euros or about 120 billion dollars. As with most government stimulus plans, it is aimed at reducing unemployment which French officials concede is slated to top 10% next year. The amount of this particular package is equal to roughly 4.5% of the GDP and brings this year’s total stimulus to around 10% of France’s GDP. The French government is betting that by supporting jobs they will give consumers the confidence to start spending the 100 billion euros they stashed away during the lock-down.

Stash Learn shows France as being the second-largest economy in Europe, and the sixth-largest in the world. As the world’s most visited nation, France’s tourism industry is a major component of the country’s economy. This means that France’s economy being in the muck is a big deal.

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China’s Rapidly Expanding Credit Affects Global Markets

China’s Rapidly Expanding Credit Affects Global Markets

We again are seeing how rapidly expanding credit in China is spilling over into the global market. In reaction to its economy being slammed by covid-19, China like many countries has unleashed several massive stimulus programs to start things moving. Unfortunately for the Chinese people, they have also been dealing with other issues putting their system under stress. Not only is the trade war and a high level of political stress putting China to the test but it is in the midst of the worst flooding in decades and this is also adding to the pressure.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Chinese authorities have issued 4.75 trillion yuan ($683 billion) in local and national debt with most of that earmarked for infrastructure projects to boost construction. China is far from transparent and making it difficult to know what exactly is happening. This is also true when it comes to imports which are sometimes stored away rather than used. Speculation and projections of future use all play into this. Whether we are talking about grain prices, oil, or metal, China is a bigger user of commodities and the demand flowing from China affects prices. Factor into this the notion that China is big in projecting a positive narrative of economic growth and the spillover becomes clear.

An example of this can be seen as iron ore prices hit a six and a half year high on Thursday as the Chinese construction and manufacturing sector claims to be experienced levels of activity not seen for almost a decade. Fastmarkets MB reported that benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $129.92 a tonne on Tuesday, up 2.1% on the day. That would be the highest level for the steel-making raw material since mid-January 2014 and put gains for 2020 to over 40%. 

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False Bizarre Economy Renders GDP Useless (Part 1)

False Bizarre Economy Renders GDP Useless (Part 1)

GDP Growth Is Akin To “Magic Illusion 101”

We may be getting to the place where more people are beginning to realize the illusion created from printing and pouring trillions of dollar haphazardly into the economy can’t last. Today, consumer confidence hinges on what Washington decides to do with the next stimulus package. At this point it is likely they will pour enough money into the economy to keep things artificially inflated. Still, anyone looking at the coming gross domestic product (GDP) figures as an indication of how the economy is faring is barking up the wrong tree.

The usefulness and validity of the GDP numbers in determining how rapidly the economy is growing has been disputed over the years. Let us face the fact the illusion the economy continues to work its way forward is completely based on “government deficit spending” coupled with the Fed’s very easy monetary policy.  At the same time, we should concede much of the perceived growth is because all the money being printed has to go somewhere. Sadly, economic growth does not guarantee a healthy economy. 

The original formula for measuring economic growth was full of flaws but over the years we have allowed numbers that mean “nothing” to seep into how the GDP is calculated all in an effort to create the illusion of growth. In years past America far outproduced the rest of the world and manufactured goods that it exported across the seas. Today much of our economy is dominated by the service sector, this means if you wash my windows, then I will mow your yard. Another huge problem is that the GDP counts government spending, and politicians spend (other people’s) money on stuff simply to get reelected. If this isn’t the clearest cut case that the calculation of GDP is meant to obscure, rather than to inform, I can’t imagine what would be.

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The Spreading Feeling “This Is All Happening By Design”

The Spreading Feeling “This Is All Happening By Design”

As events unfold I have witnessed a growing opinion being battered around that something sinister is happening beneath the surface. This includes the feeling we are no longer in control of our fate. More and more the idea that form follows function and the winners were picked before all this started is being injected into the mix. This theory embraces the proposition the bottom half of society is destitute and totally dependent on the government which means they have been removed from the battlefield. Now that these people are no longer a threat, corporate and government collaborators are consolidating power and control.

Is This All happening By Design?

Like many of the people watching this slow-moving train wreck, I’m beginning to lose perspective. My insight has become blocked by the increasingly irrational actions taking place. The uneasy feeling that things will get far worse is being heightened by the suggestion this is all by design, and when you don’t get that, you have no defense is indeed frightening. It is bolstered by the supporting argument we should not listen to what those in charge say but rather that we watch what they do. Much of the growing apprehension is rooted in the domino effects about to be unleashed upon the economy. An example is, the tenant doesn’t pay the landlord and risks eviction. The landlord doesn’t pay his mortgage and risks foreclosure. The bank doesn’t get paid, but that’s OK because taxpayers will bail them out.

With so much unresolved and hanging in the wind conspiracy theories are taking wing. While I do not endorse the theory this is all developing as planned, it is difficult to deny the situation is dire and the general population remains clueless as to the dangers ahead. 

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Amazon, Jeff Bezos, And The Influential Washington Post

Amazon, Jeff Bezos, And The Influential Washington Post

Influence And Power Wrongly Placed!

After Jeff Bezos and several other CEOs testified before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee over anti-competitive conduct the following article has taken a huge leap in importance. The Washington Post is an influencer with great power. What is the definition of an influencer? The definition of an influencer is a person or entity thatexerts influence. An influencer inspires or guides the actions of others The old theme of laziness and mellowness runs counter to today’s influencers, who are business-people and upscale inspirational promoters. During recent years several of the tech giants have come under fire for skewing and manipulating public opinion but sliding below the radar is the Washington Post. This means few people question the newspaper’s findings, stories, articles, or opinions.

The Washington Post is by far the most influential newspaper in America. Its subtle ability to influence, shape, and mold the opinion of Americans cannot be overestimated. Day after day those working for the Washington Post are quoted time and time again as experts and authorities as they appear on talk-shows and news-feeds spreading their message. Much in the way a stone hitting the water sends out ripples, this amplifies their spin and in many ways determines the focus and direction in how we view issues. The Washington Post’s power goes far beyond just reporting the news but it has the ability to plant an idea like you would a seed. It then shapes public opinion utilizing various tools and even coordinating the timing to maximize their impact.

Power Corrupts (click to enlarge)

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China’s Massive Three Gorges Dam On Edge Of Failure

China’s Massive Three Gorges Dam On Edge Of Failure

The massive flooding taking place in China continues, for some reason, this story has been widely ignored by mainstream media. It is important because China’s massive Three Gorges Dam is in peril. If the dam fails there will be a staggering loss of lives and property. The Three Gorges Dam is around one and a half miles long and just over 600 feet tall. About 400 million people live downstream of the dam and apparently, no plans have been made for their evacuation.

The failure of this dam, which is the largest in the world, would have catastrophic consequences. It is estimated such an event could result in around half a million people being killed. The Asia Times reported several days ago that Beijing has admitted that its 2.4-kilometer Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River in Hubei province “deformed slightly” after record flooding.The deformation occurred last Saturday when waters from western provinces including Sichuan and Chongqing along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River peaked. At this, point the biggest concern is that rain continues and more is expected.

China’s Three Gorges Dam

The company that manages the dam noted that parts of the dam had “deformed slightly,” displacing some external structures. Seepage into the main outlet walls had also been reported throughout the 18 hours on Saturday and Sunday when water was discharged through its outlets. Wang Hao, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and an authority on hydraulics who sits on the Yangtze River Administration Commission, has assured that the dam is sound enough to withstand the impact from floods twice the mass flow rate recorded on Saturday.

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Predictions Of The Dollar’s Demise Are Likely Premature

Predictions Of The Dollar’s Demise Are Likely Premature

Predictions of the dollar’s demise are likely premature and overblown. This post is in response to the rising interest in both precious metals and cryptocurrencies. Several factors are driving this trend. One is the idea governments have targeted cash and wish to move us towards a “cashless” society where they control our every move. Another is rooted in the idea inflation is about to raise its ugly head as currencies are debased. 

I contend that for several years currencies have been trading in a hyper-manipulated state. It should be noted that fiat money is often sheltered from the storm of volatility by both politics and because it exists in a rather closed system. Wealth is contained within this system of fiat money by laws and rules that discourage freedom of movement. It is the coordinated collusion of the major central banks that have allowed this charade to exist. The fact it has not been recognized or acknowledged does not alter or guarantee the system will continue. The failure or major repricing of any of the world’s four major reserve currencies will destroy the myth that major currencies are immune to the fate that has haunted fiat money throughout history. When the nations granting these currencies prove unable to control their budgets history shows their currency is destroyed and crushed under the weight of debt.

Central Bank Balances Have Exploded

One thing the global economy doesn’t need with all the uncertainty that is currently floating around is unstable currency markets. When you consider just how destabilizing currency swings can be it is easy to see how a strong dollar could obliterate the global economy. It should not be a surprise in our current situation that behind the curtain central bankers could be busy manipulating currencies so they trade in a narrow range that will not rock the boat.

Paper Assets And Promises Often End In Default

Paper Assets And Promises Often End In Default

During times of financial disruptions defaults rise in importance and move front and center. The term financial crisis is applied broadly to a variety of situations in which some financial assets suddenly lose a large part of their nominal value, a default falls into this area. In the last decade, debt has soared across the globe. With this in mind, you never want to be caught on the wrong side of a debt default. That is the place where you don’t get paid or are paid with a less valuable currency that has seen its value eroded by inflation. A debt default can take many forms but what they have in common is they all can be considered as reneging on financial obligations. Generally, we make a distinction between public and private debt but even that may become blurred when a government in need of funds has to seize or take over assets or institutions.

Relationship Of Tangibles To Intangibles (click to enlarge)

An area of great concern should be the growth in non-recourse loans, this includes unsecured personal loans. The fact these are particularly dangerous has not discouraged many investors from becoming seduced into thinking the yield justified rolling the dice and putting at least some money at risk. The chart to the right shows how intangible assets have grown, be cautious if you are owed money, that falls into the area of an intangible asset. The problem is that lenders will find little help in recovering their money from an expensive legal system that has become overwhelmed by the complexity of modern life.

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Starry Starry Night An Ode To Idealist – We Are doomed

Starry Starry Night An Ode To Idealist – We Are doomed

The images of protest and violence that fill viewing screens across the globe underline the fact we are not on the way to nirvana, a state of idyllic peace and happiness. In my younger days, I was a full-blown idealist full of optimistic thoughts of how if we all worked together we could create a wonderful world. It soon became apparent that many people were not interested in work or doing, “their fair share” just for the sake of adding to the overall health and well-being of the community. This is the fatal flaw in the socialist theory. Adding to the problem is the human-animal by nature, while considered a social creature, seems unable to agree on much of anything. This of course extends to how we live, goals, and even the kind of lifestyle we wish to live.

Vincent is a song by Don McLean written as a tribute to Vincent van Gogh. It is also known by its opening line, “Starry Starry Night”, a reference to Van Gogh’s 1889 painting  The song, by Don McLean, in some ways, is an ode to idealists everywhere. The lyrics are a comparison to Van Gogh’s actual life.

They take us on a musical journey from Van Gogh’s vantage point looking out from the asylum at Saint-Remy. History shows Van Gogh to have been a troubled soul that lived in torment and spending time in the mental asylum where he painted mainly from his room or the courtyard garden. Later he went further afield to paint. Van Gogh attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest, which ultimately led to his death two days later. 

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Inequality On Rise – Many Of 99% Dirt Poor As Rich Gain

Inequality On Rise – Many Of 99% Dirt Poor As Rich Gain

Inequality has soared over the last several months with billionaires seeing huge gains in their wealth while many people are getting slammed. Much of the adverse effect on the average American has so far been masked by trillions of dollars flowing from the government in the way of temporary stimulus checks. The covid-19 crisis and how it has been handled by the governments and the central banks have resulted in creating a twilight-zone economy. The moment the current $600 a week federal unemployment benefits run out at the end of July, many people will find they are caught in a financial vise with few options. Getting that unemployment money is the biggest reason many people who’ve lost jobs are able to keep a roof over their heads. Knowing many of these people are not going back to work is a big problem. You are not alone if you are having difficulty reconciling the growing divide between Wall Street markets that seem totally ignoring economic reality.

Many market watchers and pundits are troubled and confounded by the recent market action. Several explanations exist with each one having some validity but great uncertainty remains. In a manipulated environment such as we have today where markets are propped up and manipulated with no true price discovery, all investments have become risky. The markets are reflecting a V-shaped recovery that Citigroup warns may be far too optimistic.

A slew of new investors, most inexperienced, have stepped into the breach and bought the dip under the impression it will lead to prosperity. This is evident in the area of the most shorted stocks which are on such a rant as those most negative on the economy are forced to capitulate to a soaring market. This is occurring while Citi writes its model still shows that a greater than 70% probability of a down market in the next 12 months remains.

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Mission Of Police Has Morphed From Serve And Protect

Mission Of Police Has Morphed From Serve And Protect

Again images of a cavalier and dismissive police officer with his knee on the neck of a handcuffed man that later died have brought people to the streets in protest of police brutality. This is not the first time police have overstepped their mandate. For years many officers have used a heavier hand than is necessary to enforce laws. While such heavy-handed treatment is most likely to be used on minorities and the young, it is often evident on anyone having the nerve to question the authority of someone wearing a badge. The reality is that police violence goes beyond black and white. Those granted the job of protecting and serving need to understand that “Do it because I said so” doesn’t work. The bulk of the article below indicates little has changed over the last several years.

A news story on my local news channel in 2014 reported how a man faced charges stemming from Halloween party. It told how prosecutors charged a white  20-year-old man after police say he threatened them when they broke up a party on our local college campus on Halloween. According to court documents, police responded to a call about a loud party and while speaking with party-goers, officers noticed a half-empty vodka bottle on the floor. Police said when they went into the apartment, a very white fella was loud and refused to cooperate. After putting him in handcuffs and leading him out of the building via an elevator, he reportedly threatened the officer by saying he would beat and kill him. A struggle ensued and the officer used a Taser to subdue the man who was charged with resisting law enforcement, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct.

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Retail Store Closures Have Huge Impact On Communities

Retail Store Closures Have Huge Impact On Communities

Across America many buildings stand empty or under-leased. They once housed thriving businesses that provided Americans with good-paying jobs.Over the last several years retailers have been closing stores and as the carnage rapidly accelerates this will be back in the news bigger than ever. The impact of these store closings all across America will be huge and take a huge toll on communities with a great number of jobs being lost forever.Much of this is linked to small businesses having its clock cleaned when forced to shutdown because of Covid-19, however, a lot is related to paying higher wages, compiling with new government regulations, and being forced to compete with big businesses backed by Wall Street money.

Retail closures come with a hidden cost to society that the average person fails to internalize. Retail closings will result in lots of other small businesses closing their doors. Not only will the retail employees lose their jobs but these stores support many local businesses.People often forget that the brick and mortar stores suffer several expenses not fostered upon online companies. All these constitute a sort of tax on these stores which benefits the community in which they are located.

These costs rapidly add up and include such things as maintaining landscaping, ensuring safe ingress and egress, or providing a parking lot for customers. Staffing for longer hours, for the convenience of customers, often results in being open when foot traffic would indicate a store should be closed. Dealing with security and shoplifters is another expensive burden. Over the last few years, stores such as Target and Macy’s have even had to face a slew of dishonest shoppers trying to sneak defectives products purchased online back as exchanges and trading them for a fresh unbroken product. I have seen this costly abuse recommended by several online shoppers that see this as an “easy fix” on how to handle defective merchandise.

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It Doesn’t Matter What You Think, Reality Is What It Is

It Doesn’t Matter What You Think, Reality Is What It Is

It doesn’t matter what you think, the reality we face is what we are seeing here on the ground. Reality is what it is and our government will as usual muddle through with poorly thought out politically correct solutions geared to kick the can down the road. This brings me little delight. I have gone a bit quiet lately because of how events are slowly unfolding, the keyword, in this case, is slowly. Rather than a wave washing over us we are experiencing a troubling drip after drip of bad news which a majority of the population has now come to accept as normal. You can put lipstick on a pig but no matter what you tell yourself, it is still a pig.

In some ways what is happening to people across the world could be compared to what occurred when the white-man came to America. The Indians slowly traded their freedom for baubles and what they did not trade away was slowly taken by force. In this analogy, technology is the shiny promise unto which we sadly surrender our future. Beware, those that claim the promise technology is the key to a better future are not quick to share its rewards.They prefer to turn us into mindless slaves and government is a tool they employ in their efforts.

Exploding debt and a slow recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. Many of us claimed it really was not a true recovery but rather a debt-fueled false economy. All this continued with the aid of a few major distractions which took our eyes off the ball. Then the corona-virus hit. Looking back, the first diversion was the emergence of ISIS and the wave of refugees that destabilized Europe and the second was the trade war with China.

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Someday They Are Going To Write Books About This!

Someday They Are Going To Write Books About This!

What is occurring today is absolutely mind-boggling. Someday they are going to write books about this! While there have been some messed up financial conundrums over the years none rival the current situation now before us. The dilemma before us is a fast-moving enigma wrapped in a gossamer cloak. Not only are the players that make up the global political-financial complex busy buying up bad debt, stocks, and bailing out those they deem too big to fail, they have destroyed the concept of real interest on loans. They have trampled all over true price discovery the basis of a free market.

The budget forecast be damned, its full speed ahead. The only justification we need is saying it will be far worse if we do nothing.The bungled response of a delusional government so obsessed with the idea that by simply passing legislation they can make things happen should not be overlooked. The Paycheck Protection Program or PPP was originally funded with $350 billion but the money was soon gone. Of the thirty million small businesses in America, only 1.7 million received money from the 2.3 trillion dollar aid package passed to help sustain America during this difficult time.

This resulted in more funding but still, the last report I saw indicated only around 13% of the, less than half the businesses that were eligible, were approved before the fund was again depleted and 60% of these had yet to receive any money.  Just as poorly handled was rapidly getting out money promised to individuals and creating a system where many people could receive more money by collecting unemployment than returning to work. The problem is that when all is said and done, large businesses with access to cheap capital will again be the winners and the big losers are the middle-class, small businesses, and social mobility.

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“It Will All End Badly” The Coming Economic End Game

“It Will All End Badly” The Coming Economic End Game

The wonderful thing about numbers is that when they are not jockeyed, jerked around, and falsified they tend to tell the truth. Continuing on this thought looking down the road the numbers do not work. This is where the late, Allen Meltzer, recognized for his wisdom and achievements in economics, enters the story. Meltzer was a professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. He authored the three-volume “A History of the Federal Reserve” and for over 25 years he chaired the Shadow Open Market Committee, a group that meets regularly to discuss the policy of the Federal Reserve.

Allen Meltzer On YouTube (click to start)

To say Meltzer was not a fan of the economic policies that have unfolded since 2008 is an understatement. “We’re in the biggest mess we’ve been in since the 1930s,” he has been quoted as saying, before he went on to claim that, “We’ve never had a more problematic future.” This is about a person born in 1928 that while viewed by many economists as America’s foremost expert in monetary policy is little known by the masses. Meltzer was not been a fan of recent economic policy.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on June 30, 2010, titled “Why Obamanomics Has Failed” Meltzer wrote about how uncertainty about future taxes and regulations was the biggest enemy facing future economic growth. He goes on to say that the administration’s stimulus program failed. Two overreaching reasons explain the failure of Obamanomics. First, administration economists and their outside supporters neglected the longer-term costs and consequences of their actions. Second, the administration and Congress have through their deeds and words heightened uncertainty about the economic future.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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