What We’re Watching

In no particular order and with no ranking of importance as we see it: Global seismic and geothermal activity. Are the events linked and if so will activity increase? Japanese monetary policy. Will Abenomics finally implode and take the Japanese bond market with it? The US presidential race. What happens with and around Trump may Continue reading »

Bits and Pieces – 20180117, Wednesday

Commentary: In law, hearsay carries little weight. It is the “he said … she said” conundrum. When it comes down to a person’s word, it actually carries little weight. When it might, the credibility of witnesses is attacked vigorously, especially when no other proof of position is available.

A moment of illumination occurred tonight as I watched a video in which the commentator pointed out that there is no evidence that Trump uttered the “shithole” remark about countries that the expression aptly describes. Apparently, the assertion that he made it comes from the Washington Post, a demonstrably anti-Trump source of “fake news”, whose reporters were present at a White House meeting. No audio or video record of the meeting has come to light although the White House has said that they have such, being now standard practice to record all meetings.

That the MSM and the Liberal intelligentsia have had an orgasm over the attributed comment is of no surprise. What really hit me though was the fact that I had assumed the comment was true without any thought or question. I hope I will be more vigilant in the future, even if I do not report anything on the the issue I am considering as s the case here..

Robotics In the Labour Market

We have been capturing references to robots and their impact on the labour market. We believe that the trend to displace human workers will continue across ever more industries. Targets are high paying  and simple routine jobs. The trend will continue as robotics costs decline and labour market costs – wages and benefits – increase. We are already seeing robots appearing in fast food restaurants offsetting increases in minimum wages.

People argue that low-paying jobs may be eliminated but high-paying highly skilled jobs will be created. While undoubtedly true, the numbers are asymmetrically biased against the low-paying jobs, the labour pool for which is growing due to our immigration policies and the decline of the educational system. The social impact is the area to be concerned about.*

People will buy a Big Mac served by a robot instead of a person if it is cheaper. And the people that argue we should simply boycott this trend are irrelevant. They lost the battle of Walmart against the downtown core of small-town America and they will lose this one.

Links are below:

Bits and Pieces – 20180107, Sunday

Commentary: I generally avoid “the best … of 2017” of which there are a plethora. I also am careful about “what will happen in 2017”. After all, articles of this type are simply based on someone’s opinion. Here, however, are a couple you may not have seen:

Bits and Pieces – 20171229, Friday

Commentary: Closing off 2017. War has not broken out either in North Korea or the Middle East. However, the issues in these two areas remain unresolved. Iran seems to be the likely flash point.

I’ve been following the global cooling issue coincidentally with the grand solar minimum (GSM) and am convinced that it will be the most important event of the next decade next to a global war and a global economic collapse. In fact the three events have strong co-dependencies.

I am now publishing Bits and Pieces 3 or 4 times a month. This will continue but my focus is shifting to the GSM and its implications.

WWIII: The duplicity of the West over the aggressive expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, long referenced by many without formal documentation, is finally confirmed: `SORRY CHUMP. YOU DIDN’T HAVE IT IN WRITING’.

And not coincidentally: ‘Pentagon Papers’-Leaker Warns, US Is “Close To Nuclear Armageddon”.

The American Empire (AE): If an area on the periphery becomes too quiet, stir the pot: In Unexpected Move, Trump Enacts Obama-era Law Opening US Arms Sales To Ukraine. And the Russian response: Putin Warns “Russia Has Right To Respond” To US Military Buildup, Hints At Use Of Nuclear Weapons.

Climate: Here is a site devoted to what might be called energy issues associated with anthropogenic global warming (AGW): Alliance for Wise Energy Decision. Their most recent issue is devoted to the deleterious effects of wind energy: Energy & Environmental Newsletter: December 18, 2017 and has a list of links to articles on the subject. Here are Martin Armstrong’s latest comments on global cooling: The Sun is Cooling Faster than Anyone Suspected. Track sunspots here.

Of interest is the cause of a massive insect species dieoff. It’s due to deforestation and not global warming: A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off.

Admittedly this a weather event and not a climate event but lest the AGW crowd try to lay the blame for it at the feet of global warming one might dare ask “Do you really mean global cooling?”Snowmageddon Dumps Record 60 Inches Of Snow On Erie, PA; “Declaration Of Disaster”
Further: Arctic Blast Leaves 200 Million Americans In Record-Smashing, Freezing Temperatures. At this rate with the rate of global warming, we’ll ne in a new ice age by 2050.

Bits and Pieces: Martin Armstrong comments on Bitcoin as a currency: Bitcoin = Money, Commodity, or Shares?. The real test of the idea I would propose as: can you conduct your first 5 transactions of the day in Bitcoin such as getting gas, washing your clothes at the laundromat, paying your taxes at city hall, buying groceries or buying cookies from the girl guide at the door?

This story has been brewing for a while: The Racist Subtext Of Philly’s Ban On Bulletproof Glass In Convenience Stores. The issue is that bullet-proof glass in black neighbourhoods is thought to demean the black citizens implying that they are the source of gun violence. Now who would have thunk that?

The trend to the re-population of the inner city core is reversing with millennials heading for the suburbs: Exodus Starts: Millennials Ditch City Life. This poses a problem for transportation policy and traffic congestion.

Obama, the Nobel laureate of peace who, as commander-on-chief, conducted foreign wars throughout his entire presidency, is increasingly having his dirty laundry inspected: Congress To Investigate Obama Efforts To Thwart A DEA Investigation Of Hezbollah Drug Trafficking , Lapid: If Obama protected Hezbollah over Iran deal, he should give back Nobel, and the Uranium One deal: Hillary In The Crosshairs As DOJ Prosecutors Begin Asking FBI Agents About Uranium One.

Here’s a new essay from our friend Paul Merkley: CLOSING DOWN CHRISTIANITY AT ITS SOURCE.

It’s time to send the Syrian refugees home and certainly time to stop their importation into Canada: Christmas In Liberated Aleppo. We have seen the same return towards normalcy in other areas of Syria liberated from the Western war. I may have referenced Mount St. Helens and how biologists were surprised at how fast life returned to the area devastate by pyroclastic flows. Natural systems (including human communities) restore themselves when left unobstructed by external agents, because they are optimal, ipso facto their existence.

There has been a notable body of articles critical of social media as of late such as Digital Distraction Is Bad for Creativity. In addition, we are seeing comments from some high profile defectors from the dungeons of Facebook, Twitter and Google. Here’s an interesting take on a negative impact of these platforms: Why Twitter, Facebook and Google Are the Antisocial Networks. That it’s by Niall Ferguson should grab your attention.

I’m coining a new acronym. Besides “lol” – laugh out loud – used by texters, I propose “col” for cry out loud. As a consequence the following article may make you either lol or col: California Professors Are Now Claiming Farmers’ Markets Are Racist.

CLOSING DOWN CHRISTIANITY AT ITS SOURCE

We present this new essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. This essay is important in its focus on the mainstream media for both its failure to report the genocidal persecution of Christians in the first place and the use of the Jerusalem gambit to hide the persecution. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Prophet, and offer prayers and give obligatory charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property. (From the “Sayings” (ahadith ) of Muhammad.)

The Muslim campaign to extirpate Christianity has been inaugurated at the place of the birth of Jesus– and no one seems to have noticed.   

he Mayor of Bethlehem, has decreed that, in protest of President Trump’s recent declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it is necessary for him to close down Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. The result has been catastrophic for Bethlehem’s Christmas trade. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/christmas-bethlehem-trumps-move-ruined-171220085815666.html

Bits and Pieces – 20171215, Friday

WWIII: The following article provides a summary of the multinational military activity in the wars in Iraq and Syria. The accuracy of the numbers may be questioned but the key point is that this is a global war. It is notable that Canada’s role has been omitted: World War in Syria and Iraq (MAP).

Bits and Pieces – 20171205, Monday

Commentary: While politicians, bureaucrats, the media and the general public are obsessing over the impact of anthropogenic CO2 on the climate and a segment of the climate science industry is busy trying to make models and data agree with the political agenda, other climate scientists are studying a much broader range of factors that are affecting our climate.

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season in Perspective

When I was doing graduate work for doctoral studies, my advisor caught me up on the use of the word “significant” in a paper I was writing. He observed that this term had an explicit statistical meaning that was quantifiable and I hadn’t supported its use with the necessary analysis.

Today, a paper came to my attention that reminded me of the use of descriptors that are emotionally loaded while failing to provide an analytical basis for their use. The paper, Causes and Predictability of the Exceptionally Active 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, uses words such as “exceptionally active” and “extreme ACE anomalies”. Other terms such as “active” become meaningful only with a similarly precise definition.

We will comment on the use of these terms in the context of the two graphs from the paper, presented in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Data on the 2017 US hurricane season

Bits and Pieces – 20171130, Thursday

WWIII: In case you weren’t sure China appears to have taken sides: China To Deploy Elite Troops In Syria To Fight Alongside Assad’s Army.

Climate: For the record: Health Officials Warn: 40,000 Could Die As Britain Hit With 3 Week Long Arctic Cold.

Bits and Pieces: George Friedman gives a succinct overview of Iran’s geopolitical position in the Middle-East, along with US blunders: Iran Reshapes the Middle East.

Canada Corner: The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has released their 2017 list of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) and a new addition is the Royal Bank of Canada. Wikipedia defines a systemically important financial institution (SIFI) as a bank, insurance company, or other financial institution whose failure might trigger a financial crisis. The Basel III accord specifically targets SIFIs by requiring increased bank capital reserves as capital surcharges. The table published by the FSB lists 5 levels of additional capital requirement with the Royal Bank being in the lowest or 1% level.

Of note in the Wikipedia article is the statement: Virtually every Systemically Important Financial Institution operates at the top level as a holding company made up of numerous subsidiaries. Should a SIFI default and particularly a savings bank, this would allow for an orderly structured dissolution of the SIFI in a manner that subsidiaries that have deposits and other financial assets of the general population might be kept operational with assets intact while other subsidiaries are wound up to satisfy creditors. The intent would be to avoid bail-ins of depositors although politicians might be bought off lobbied effectively to go the bail-in route to protect wealthy investors.

The US Federal Reserve examined the adequacy of Basil III provisions for systemic protection in the face of a financial crisis: Are Basel’s Capital Surcharges for Global Systemically Important Banks Too Small?. The assessment of an adequate capital reserve is complex, is probably SIFI-dependent and the Basel III requirements are likely far short of what is necessary to preserve some, if not all, of the 30 SIBs in the event of a global financial system collapse. Since the SIBs known as the “too big to fail” banks are bigger now than in the 2008 financial crisis, the next global crisis will likely be unstoppable. The interconnected nature of the global financial system guarantees the entire house of cards will come down.

We may see one (RBC) or two of the major Canadian banks fail but all may go down due to inter-dependencies. Those banks with the highest international exposure may be the most at risk from a global systemic crisis. I have commented earlier how the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) has capital sufficient to ensure less than 1% of the deposit base, so your money may be at risk.

The general recommendation by smart asset managers and authors is to  invest part of your capital in hard assets like precious metals and (farm) land. The wealthier are investing in fine art, antiques and precious stones. These will remain when money is totally devalued.

As a final note I would recommend cryptocurrencies only as a speculation in the same class as Dutch tulip bulbs were at one time. I read a reference in the past week to some fellow who lost his hard drive (in an unspecified manner) with the cryptographic keys to his 7500 Bitcoins which are now part of the estimated 4 million lost forever. At around $11,000 a coin currently that has to hurt.

Bits and Pieces – 20171126, Sunday

Commentary: A topic that has a small following is that of global cooling and an approaching grand solar minimum (GSM). Martin Armstrong speaks of the famine associated with such minima: The Approaching Famine. The “Little Ice Age” correlates with the Maunder Minimum in sunspot activity as shown in the next chart:

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