Peak Pretending?

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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby justdrew » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:22 am

Two charts for the history books today...

US Worker Productivity

Worker productivity fell at a 0.9% annual clip from the first quarter this year to the second, the government announced yesterday. Thus, we’ve found an end of an incredible boom for this D-list data point. Companies have been asking more and more out of fewer employees for the last three years, and the threat of joining the 14.6 million “officially” unemployed has compelled workers to comply.

Now, for one reason or another, we’re collectively working less than we did last quarter (if, we presume, the government’s numbers add up.)

So why are we less productive?

Either America has found a temporary peak of human productivity, and without greater technology, greater incentive to work harder or more Americans in the work force, productivity growth is no longer possible...


There’s just no reason to work so hard. In other words, demand for our products and services is less than our current productivity rate.

Which is it? We promised you two nice charts... Here’s the other:

Capital stock is the total inflation adjusted value of all “business equipment” in the US. That’s machines, robots, vehicles, tools, software, computers, pencils, paper...the whole shebang. For the first time since World War II, US capital stock is contracting. Meaning, employers are not reinvesting in their equipment. More machines are left broken or outdated than are being replaced or upgraded.

Employers likely underinvested in capital stock during the darkest days of the credit crisis. But why aren’t they catching up now? Perhaps worker productivity is down – along with capital stock – because there’s simply not enough business to warrant investment...either in people or equipment.
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby hanshan » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:55 am


So, when the news is grim - pile on:
No Recovery in Sight: 40 Statistics which Confirm the Collapse of the U.S. Economy

Global Research, August 12, 2010
The Truth - 2010

Most Americans still appear to be operating under the delusion that the "recession" will soon pass and that things will get back to "normal" very soon. Unfortunately, that is not anywhere close to the truth. What we are now witnessing are the early stages of the complete and total breakdown of the U.S. economic system. The U.S. government, state governments, local governments, businesses and American consumers have collectively piled up debt that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP. At no point during the Great Depression (or at any other time during our history) did we ever come close to such a figure. We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen, and now that gigantic debt bubble is beginning to pop. As this house of cards comes crashing down, the economic pain is going to become almost unimaginable.

Unemployment is at shockingly high levels. Foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continue to set new all-time records. Businesses are being shut down at a staggering rate, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. government continues to pile up debt at blinding speed.

The following are 40 statistics that reveal the truth about the collapse of the U.S. economy....

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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Nordic » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:42 pm ... /index.htm

Is this finally the economic collapse?

By Keith R. McCullough, contributorAugust 11, 2010: 2:07 PM ET

FORTUNE -- The Great Depression. Wall Street in 1987. Japan in 1997. Points of economic collapse are generally crystal clear in the rear-view mirror. Professional politicians in Japan have been telling stories for 20 years as to why they can prevent economic stagnation. In the US, the storytelling started in 2007. All the while, stock market and real-estate prices have repeatedly rallied to lower-highs, then collapsed again, to lower-lows.

Despite the many differences between Japan and the US, there is one similarity that continues to matter most in the risk management model my colleagues and I use at Hedgeye, our research firm -- debt as a percentage of GDP. Now that the US can't cut interest rates any lower, the only option left on the table is what the Fed just announced it would start doing -- buying Treasury debt. And that could lead the country to the brink of collapse: According to economists Carmen Reinhart & Ken Rogoff, whose views we share, crossing the 90% debt/GDP threshold is the equivalent of crossing the proverbial Rubicon of economic growth. It's a point from which it's almost impossible to return.

On July 2nd, we cut both our third quarter 2010 and full year 2011 GDP estimates for the US to 1.7%. At the time, the consensus around US economic growth estimates was about 3%. Now we're starting to see both big brokerage analysts and the Federal Reserve gradually cut their GDP estimates, but not by enough. Even our estimate for 2011 is still too high.

Slowing growth, both domestically and in China, is core to our bearish views on both the strength of the US dollar and US equities. There will be a downward bias to our US growth estimates as long as debt-financed-deficit-spending continues to be the solution politicians and central bankers turn to as a fix to our financial crisis.

Markets trade on expectations. Yesterday's zig-zag in the S&P 500 was unlike most sleepy August trading days in America. That's because the 'government is good' crowd leaked word that this second round of "quantitative easing," known as QE2, was coming, and that Ben Bernanke was going to respond to our buy-and-hope begging. (The first round of quantitative easing was the Fed's unprecedented purchase of agency debt to prop up the housing market, along with credit facilities for big banks, which began in 2008 and ended earlier this year.)

To think that we have institutionalized market expectations to this degree is downright frightening. It seems impossible but true that all rallies start and end with rumors about what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, a humble looking man of government, had to say at 2:15 PM EST yesterday afternoon, or any other day he makes a statement.

So now what?

With 40.8 million Americans on food stamps (record high) and 45% of the unemployed having been seeking employment for 27 weeks or more (record high), what's left if (or when) QE2 doesn't kick start GDP growth? Should we start begging for QE3? Should we cancel the bomb of the National Association of Realtors' existing home sales report, scheduled for public release on August 24th? Or should we bite the bullet and accept that current economic policy dictates 0% returns-on-savings, even as Washington continues to lever-up our future to the point of economic collapse?

Before the Fiat Fools -- Hedgeye's name for political actors and bankers who have placed their hopes of economic recovery in printing endless supplies of new cash -- run out campaigning for QE3, maybe they should analyze some real time market results to yesterday's announcement of QE2:

1)The US dollar is battling for resuscitation after 9 consecutive down weeks -- down 9% since June.

2) US Treasury yields are making record lows on the short end of the curve, with 2-year yields striking 0.49%.

3) The yield spread (in this case the difference in return between 10-year and 2-year Treasury bills, which shows a long-term confidence when high) continues to collapse, down another 4 basis point day-over-day to 223 basis points.

4) The S&P 500 is down below its 200-day moving average (a common signpost for the health of a market or stock) of 1115.

5) US Volatility (VIX) is spiking from its recent stability.

6) In Japan, long time quantitative easing specialists found their markets closing down overnight by 2.7%, which makes them down 11.9% for the year to date.

Lest our doom and gloom seem built entirely on technical measurements, what they boil down to is actually quite simple -- an idea about our country which dates back to 1835. Alexis De Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, which was published that year, seemed to warn of this day when he wrote: "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

-- Keith R. McCullough is CEO of Hedgeye, a research firm based in New Haven, Conn.

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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby ninakat » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:25 pm

U.S. Dollar Now Ripe For Catastrophic Devaluation
By Giordano Bruno
Neithercorp Press – 08/09/2010

. . .

The inflation vs. deflation debate has been raging for nearly three years, but I suspect that when all is said and done, we will find that both sides in a sense were correct. The people who consistently miss the mark on what is truly going on in the economy are those who blindly insist that this is an either/or situation. The fact is, we are seeing symptoms of BOTH deflation and inflation simultaneously. Deflation in jobs, stocks, real estate, and wages. Inflation in energy, food, and commodities. At bottom, we are seeing the worst of both worlds colliding to make a financial mutation, an aberration of the natural processes of supply and demand. Our economy has become a frothing rampaging Frankenstein’s monster bent on the destruction of its former benefactors; the American citizenry. Anyone who alleges otherwise is either a liar, or a fool.

At the very heart of this nightmare, we find the U.S. Greenback; perhaps the number one reason the economic meltdown was engineered by global banks in the first place (yes, I said ‘engineered’). The sovereign ideology of the U.S. is the only thing left standing in the way of complete centralized economic control, and by extension, political control, by the top 2% wealthiest people in the world, who now hold around 50% of all the world’s assets. The dollar, though a fraudulent fiat currency, is still a representation of that sovereign drive, at least in terms of finance. Its position as the foremost traded currency on the planet affords us great leeway in our ability to spend without fear. It is the glue holding absolutely everything together. With most of our industry shipped overseas, and our communities completely reliant on a 70% service based system, the Dollar is the only homemade “product” America has left to lean on.

Unfortunately, the strength of our currency is waning, and nearing outright collapse. It is something we have been talking about for the past two years at least, which has drawn some into a false sense of security. The signs have been muddled in the MSM fog, but now the picture is becoming clear. Will the dollar crash tomorrow? That’s hard to say. What I do know, is that all the elements necessary for a catastrophic dollar devaluation have moved into place, especially in the past month. That is to say, there is now nothing preventing a steady and precipitous fall in the Greenback over the next six months or more. Below are many signals which indicate such an event is near:

. . .
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Nordic » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:38 am

Okay, this is getting a little weird now. The signs are cropping up everywhere ....

The Hindenburg Omen Has Arrived

Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined) is the dreaded Hindenburg Omen. Those who know what it is, tend to have an atavistic reaction to its mere mention. Those who do not, can catch up on its implications courtesy of Wikipedia, but in a nutshell: "The Hindenburg Omen is a technical analysis that attempts to predict a forthcoming stock market crash. It is named after the Hindenburg disaster of May 6th 1937, during which the German zeppelin was destroyed in a sudden conflagration." Granted, the Hindenburg Omen is not a guarantee of a crash, and the five criteria that must be met for a Hindenburg trigger typically need to reoccur within 36 days for reconfirmation. Yet the statistics are startling: "Looking back at historical data, the probability of a move greater than 5% to the downside after a confirmed Hindenburg Omen was 77%, and usually takes place within the next forty-days." The last Hindenburg Omen occurred during the lows of 2009. Today, we just had another (unconfirmed) Hindenburg Omen. It is time to batten down the hatches - something big is coming.

As a reminder, the 5 criteria of the Omen are as follows:

That the daily number of NYSE new 52 Week Highs and the daily number of new 52 Week Lows must both be greater than 2.2 percent of total NYSE issues traded that day.

That the smaller of these numbers is greater than or equal to 69 (68.772 is 2.2% of 3126). This is not a rule but more like a checksum. This condition is a function of the 2.2% of the total issues.

That the NYSE 10 Week moving average is rising.

That the McClellan Oscillator is negative on that same day.

That new 52 Week Highs cannot be more than twice the new 52 Week Lows (however it is fine for new 52 Week Lows to be more than double new 52 Week Highs). This condition is absolutely mandatory.

Today, all five conditions were satisfied. June 2008 was another such reconfirmed event, and as Barron's pointed out then, "there's a 25% probability of a full-blown stock-market crash in the next 120 days. Caveat emptor." Boy was the emptor caveating within 120 days (especially if said emptor was named Dick Fuld). Which brings us to the present: should the Omen be reconfirmed within 36 days, all bets are off.
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:46 am

Interesting times. Who would have thought that in 2010 we'd be getting our best economic commentary from George Washington, Giordano Bruno and Tyler Durden? ANONYMOUS FTW
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Luther Blissett » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:52 am

I've come to really like Zero Hedge, that's my kind of place. I love the comments.
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby anothershamus » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:30 pm

Just one more, with dobermans!


Marc Faber: Protect Your Property with High Voltage Fences, Barbed Wire, Booby Traps, Military Weapons and Dobermans

Investment guru and publisher of The Gloom, Boom and Doom report, Marc Faber, regularly discusses investment strategies for protecting and building wealth during times of economic distress. He has recommended purchasing gold, silver and foreign assets because of what he perceives to be an impending economic catastrophe in the United States.

He’s suggested that war, including traditional international conflict, civil war and non-traditional terror strikes, may eventually affect the United States and potentially turn it into what would could be perceived as a third-world country. Even if the US were to avoid a war on our own soil (which is unlikely according to Faber), the economic crisis will lead to serious problems for citizens by driving most into bankruptcy through hyperinflation of the US dollar, forcing most to literally fight for food and resources - thus he sees social unrest and riots on the horizon.

In addition to investment advice, Marc Faber also provides practical advice for those looking to preserve their well being. His advice is often looked at as a joke, but make no mistake, Faber is totally serious, even if he has a grin on his face when he says that the world as we know it is coming to an end.

In his latest GBD Report, Faber again advises those with the means to do it, to leave urban areas and seek safety in rural, country areas, preferably farms, and to be prepared to defend that land in the event the worst happens:

Faber has an interesting suggestion for investors if the plunge comes to pass.

With tongue apparently in cheek, he says buy a farm you can tend to yourself way out in the boondocks. And protect it with high voltage fences, barbed wire, booby traps, military weapons and Dobermans.

source: Money News

For those expecting a full-fledged recovery to take hold and new highs in the stock market, be careful. Marc Faber on markets:

The market is overbought, and there is a renewed sense of complacency that could get shattered pretty quickly.

While the stock market is not a clear-cut measure of the health of an economy, most Americans watch only the Dow Jones to determine the state of affairs. According to many, all is well. The Dow Jones is back over 10,000 and the depression, as President Obama himself has said, has been averted.

Those same perceptions will shift on a dime if the stock market were to collapse yet again - which in our view, is likely going to happen.

Though the stock market itself will not be the responsible for a hyperinflationary collapse, the resulting government intervention in terms of massive monetary expansion (like we saw after 2008) could very well lead to Marc Faber hyperinflation scenario somewhere down the road.

In a recent interview on CNBC, Marc Faber sees the crisis accelerating and the-powers-that-be have only one solution they’ll use to try to save the system:

The Fed would continue to monetize and this is my view. They will never let up. They will print and print and print, until the final crisis wipes out the entire system.

The Federal Reserve with its policy and with the writings and papers that Mr. Bernanke has published about the great depression that more quantitative easing will be forthcoming. And significantly more.

Significantly more.

The take away from Faber? As he’s stated before, it’s going to end in total disaster and you must own gold and land.

And if you do happen to make it to the boondocks (or are already there) in the worst case scenario, consider the thousands, perhaps millions who will be migrating out of major cities in search of food, clean water, resources and a safe place to sleep.

Perhaps having several hundred feet of barbed wire stored up in the barn out back isn’t such a bad idea.

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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:56 pm

Perhaps having several hundred feet of barbed wire stored up in the barn out back isn’t such a bad idea.

Several hundred feet?

This farm has kms and kms of barbed wire fences, each with at least 5 strands of barbed wire, and although they keep cows in (or out) thats about it.

What is it about rich americans ... at what point does holing yourself up on a farm with guns and gold = surviving an economic collapse? With several hundred feet of barbed wire. LMAO
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby 82_28 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:11 pm

Joe Hillshoist wrote:
Perhaps having several hundred feet of barbed wire stored up in the barn out back isn’t such a bad idea.

Several hundred feet?

This farm has kms and kms of barbed wire fences, each with at least 5 strands of barbed wire, and although they keep cows in (or out) thats about it.

What is it about rich americans ... at what point does holing yourself up on a farm with guns and gold = surviving an economic collapse? With several hundred feet of barbed wire. LMAO

Hahaha. Agreed, Joe. I once had a coil of barbed wire that I carried around with me (everywhere I moved), LITERALLY in my imagination, to use once the "collapse" came. Some dudes came over to our house and were in a metal band and expressed great interest in it for, obviously, stage effect. So I gave it to them. That's America bro.
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:48 am

Hey when I hang shit on "americans" its not all americans obviously.

But that survivalist stuff really spins me out. I can understand it to a point tho, I grew up waiting for the russians and the americans to blow the shit out of everything, probably before I got laid ...

I understand where that "survivalist" mentality came from - on your own against hoards of mutants ala the Omega Man - after the nukes are launched.

I don't think its an appropriate response to an economic collapse tho.

Unless you are a rich prick and the majority of the country are angry at you for screwing them over then heading for the hills. The survivalist mentality leads to someone up a valley never seeing anyone else while their children all root each other silly. A few generations later (ie 10 years as the inbreeding kicks in) and its Hill Have Eyes all over again.

Just says it all really - Ayn Rand taken its logical extreme.

That Mark Faber ... some idiot listens to him and ends up shooting his neighbour cos his neighbour comes over to ask for some help after the collapse.

These people seem to have never heard of community.

Some dudes came over to our house and were in a metal band and expressed great interest in it for, obviously, stage effect. So I gave it to them.

Thats so cool. Good one. Its a bit like everywhere else too.
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Re: Peak Pretending?

Postby Rory » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:48 am


Behold the Troy, Michigan, Children’s Hospital, apparently based on the idea that little kids will associate chemotherapy with playtime. Yes, the USA is a toxic stew of molecules not found in nature, and this building actually looks like Willie Wonka’s Carcinogen Factory. The yellow stands for “Roundup” (Glyphosate) engineered into the very genetics of the corn that ends up in your child’s Froot Loops; orange stands for the dye that gives Cheez Doodles their vivid radioactive glow; and blue represents the clinical depression induced by all the off-gassing carpet back in the family room at home in the subdivision. Love the planting bed in the foreground with the rusty steel pipe mysteriously protruding. And that would be for… uh…? The usual tropes of brain-dead, off-the-shelf Modernism are on display, of course: the horizontal window bands evoking Ye Olde Insecticide Works, the canonical flat roof, the absence of any ornament that alludes to natural forms or expresses the contours of femininity (horror!). The kicker: you can be sure the grounds crew is using Roundup on the grass.

Thanks to Frank Griffo for nominating this humdinger.

Always an entertaining feature in his blog. This is a particular favorite (I think was a thread on it here at the time)
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