Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Odds and Ends

Going to be another slow week here at FutureJacked as I have to travel again for the day job.

Just a note on the tenor of the times. Look at how the following two stories are unfolding. Look at the reactions by the Powers That Be as they reflect current mood and be aware of how the changes in mood are going to affect how similar stories play out once the Bear returns in force.

Item #1, the absurdly transparent takedown of Julian Assange and the efforts to clamp down on Wikileaks:

Interpol issues 'Red Notice' for Wikileaks' Assange
from the BBC
Interpol has issued a "Red Notice" for the founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange.

It said the Australian was wanted for questioning in Sweden over an alleged sex offence, which he has denied...

An Interpol notice on a trumped up charge - but probably effective enough for times like these. Make it a drug or sex crime and you whittle away from knee-jerk support of the human rights crowd. Now, think what this story would be deep in a bear mood, with an angry, polarized power structure in fear of an angrier and more polarized citizenry. The Assange story would probably (will probably?) be one of how he was taken out by a car bomb or a Predator drone.

Item #2, the "economic" take on stories continues to be a staple of newspaper/mainstream media filtering:

Unemployment checks to 2 million to stop by end of month
By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
About 2 million Americans stand to lose their unemployment checks by the end of the month after Congress failed to extend benefits Tuesday, threatening to crimp consumer spending in a fragile recovery and critical holiday shopping season...

Once the Bear goes rock star on us, USA Today and other newsish outlets aren't going to be leading off with how a benefits cutoff is affecting consumer spending. They'll be talking about the rage in the streets, the evil machinations of "Them" (wealthy, politically connected) to oppress "Us" (poor, downtrodden). "Fragile consumer spending" will be the last thing on peoples minds as they weave the stories that try to reflect the angry mood.

Enjoy this strange twilight era we find ourselves in as best you can. Lot's of heat and volume, but little of the anger is getting translated to action. Yet.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

While we await what comes next for society and markets, let's not lose sight that previous generations have endured and thrived in conditions far harsher than anything even most impoverished Americans have experienced. Our ancestors were not some different species - we have in us the same toughness, the bravery, the same ability to build up communities with the long run in mind. That our current society reflects a decadence and corruption that would have appalled and startled those of previous generations is all part of the same cycle. We'll get to live through the next Great Turning of the wheel. As we live through it, let's take time to stop and give thanks for the good things that were passed along to us and to plan for a better future for those who will follow us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yes Virginia, There is a Bear

This week has started off with a series of events so much in tune with the socionomic theory of how Bear Markets unfold as to almost be absurd.

First, we have War (good God, y'all):

Second, we have political rage (though it is still in its muted, infant stage - the real crapstorm awaits):

Third, we have social rage finding an outlet via our (very, very close) friends with the TSA:

Fourth, we know we are still in the early phases of this era of negative mood because the media talkers are still being nice and deferential to the plutocrats:

Take what you've seen here, extrapolate out about a thousand-fold and that is what I think you'll be seeing within in the next few years.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Note To Those Who Would Oppose the Machine

The recent story out of Sweden has me thinking more and more about the backlash that the corporate cartels and governments are going to lay down on populations across the globe once the negative mood goes negative in a parabolic manner.

Sweden issuing arrest warrant for WikiLeaks' Assange
by Declan McCullagh, CNET News

The Swedish government said today it would issue an international arrest warrant for WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange on rape charges.

A Stockholm district court ruled that Assange will be "detained in his absence" on charges of rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion. The decision came at a hearing where Sweden's director of prosecution, Marianne Ny presented evidence related to the allegations...

Traditional methods of influencing the governing elites, the stuff they taught us Civics class about writing our Congressfolks and Senators, debating the issues, etc., etc., were proven by the TARP fiasco to be the crock of steaming fecal matter that the more cynical among us had always asserted.

As for other methods of influencing the behavior of the elites, such as street protest - I personally think that era has ended with a whimper as well. "Free Speech Zones," increasingly effective police efforts to break groups into pieces before protests even occur, and the (current) lack of a coherent protest message that is appealing to the "Silent Majority" all conspire to make such efforts a general waste of time.

The efforts of the elites to tackle other methods of protest - cultural stuff like songs, video, books, whistle-blowing (a la Wikileaks) etc. are age-old but are wearing new labels. In the past, a poet in the old USSR would have been hit with some variety of sedition or disturbing the peace type charge. With that tactic grown stale, we now see the growth of efforts to discredit opponents to the state via drug or sex crime charges. "Peace" groups that might support a "victim" will shy away from supporting a "drug trafficker" (such as was the case in Russia back in the 1990's when they jailed the rabble-rousing poet Alina Vitukhnovskaya on drug charges that turned out to be fabricated, instead of the old tried and true method of calling her an enemy of the State).

Wikileaks is seeing this in the actions against Assange. The discussion and debate will now always center on the salacious "crime" he is supposed to have committed, not the criminal behavior his organization is seeking to bring to light.

Much of this will be obvious to many readers, but I wanted to revisit it as a reminder. Once mood craters, lots of opposition movements are going to spring up. Always remember that the elites are fantastic at suborning opposition groups that work outside the mainstream parties. Always keep that in mind. You are going to travel a rough and rugged road between here and whatever place you think you need to move the country (or what will be left of it) once mood plunges into the abyss of rage and fear that I expect. I'm not saying don't pursue whatever reform you think you need to support. I am saying, do it with both eyes wide open.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flying Fault Line?

I've been wary of commenting on the building anger over getting felt up by the skilled practitioners of safety with TSA. This is mainly because I figured it was just another example of the nutless libertarian movement which rages mightily on the interwebs about Freedom!, but truckles under the first time someone yells loud at them.

Well, the anger seems to be building (as socionomics posits that it would). The folks sponsoring National Opt Out Day seem to be gaining some momentum. We'll see come Thanksgiving what really happens. Real anger translating into real action? Or just more suburban soccer mom whining and compliance with a security review that really doesn't protect against any of the recent threats?

We'll see where the DJIA is come next week and then we'll see if it correlates. A socionomic experiment at work!

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Real Estate

I had expected the "bando" phenomenon to take off this year and was wrong. Mood and the markets it drives have held up better than I expected to this point. But the basic supply and demand phenomenon remains - lots of abandoned properties intersecting with growing numbers of homeless people or people in need of lower rent payments and an immoral dark empire of fraudulent real estate transactions lending a moral air to the adverse possession of homes by men and women desparate enough to give it a try.

At Legal Fringe, Empty Houses Go to the Needy
by Catherine Skipp and Damien Cave, New York Times
Save Florida Homes Inc. and its owner, Mark Guerette, have found foreclosed homes for several needy families here in Broward County, and his tenants could not be more pleased. Fabian Ferguson, his wife and two children now live a two-bedroom home they have transformed from damaged and abandoned to full and cozy.

There is just one problem: Mr. Guerette is not the owner. Yet....

...Michael Allan Wolf, a real estate expert at the University of Florida law school, said adverse possessors also disrupt the chain of title. Rightful owners end up having to evict tenants. The time between foreclosure and legitimate resale may be extended....

I added the bold to that snippet about screwing up the chain of title. Professor Wolf neglects to mention other things that might disrupt the chain of title. These include the big banks baiting homeowners who call in to have their mortgages reworked into missing three payments so they can qualify for a modification program, then foreclosing on them and ignoring the fact they told them to stop payment, or the fact that big banks are churning out fraudulent documentation to support shaky claims to title. But I forget, when Banksters break the law and commit fraud, it isn't illegal. When common folks do it, they get jail time. Gotta keep that in mind. This is why the assault on the Rule of Law by the financial elites is so poisonous. It feeds down into the general population, eating away at centuries of work to make the ideal of Justice and the primacy of Law the centerpiece of civilization.

This is another fault line to keep an eye on. When these tresspassers/desparate fellow citizens find conditions worsening and they feel that right and morality is on their side when they seize these properties, it has the making for an explosive cocktail that could lock up real estate transactions for decades...

Continuing to Sow the Wind...

...and awaiting the Whirlwind that will grow from it.

Just another blazing example of my "Asteroid Theory" of the financial and political elites in action. The "Asteroid Theory" is that no one can be as willfully blind, as crassly greedy and as eager to destroy the fundamental pillars of trust and sound banking upon which our modern economy rests as the Banksters and Wall Street Playerz and the lickspittles they own in D.C. have been over the last ten years - for the sheer fact that they are burning down the house in which they live. Therefore, the elites must all know that a world-killing asteroid is on the way and they are all just living it up today with no expectation that there will be a future to plan for. This is just a running joke on my part, but as I continue to read about the foreclosure-MBS scam and the fact that Prosecutors and Judges are actively working to destroy the very Rule of Law that gives them their power, I begin to question whether it is a joke or not. No one, especially in the realm of Prosecuting Attorney - known to be unsympathetic hardasses in the main, can remain this blind to vast criminal undertakings can they?


Matt Taibbi shines a little light on the subject. Amazing when I have to turn to Rolling Stone for investigative journalism into this topic. And mainline newspapers wonder why their business is cratering...

Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners
by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
...Foreclosure lawyers told me one other thing about the rocket docket. The hearings, they said, aren't exactly public. "The judges might give you a hard time about watching," one lawyer warned. "They're not exactly anxious for people to know about this stuff." Inwardly, I laughed at this — it sounded like typical activist paranoia. The notion that a judge would try to prevent any citizen, much less a member of the media, from watching an open civil hearing sounded ridiculous. Fucked-up as everyone knows the state of Florida is, it couldn't be that bad. It isn't Indonesia. Right?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Anger Translating to Action?

I tend to look to the U.K. as a leading indicator for what will come to the U.S. in trends of governance, the surveilance state and how the population will react to controls or other government actions.

If they hold up as a leading indicator and as mood deepens into a negative trend, expect to see mobs in the U.S. to spring up as cuts in spending go into effect next year. I still think mood is not strong enough here yet and we still have enough Xanax and Prozac flowing in our collective brains to dampen the mass herding impulse for a bit longer, but the dam is weakening and when the break comes, I fear it will be spectacular.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Some Frightening Food for Thought

Take a few minutes and read about the Mexican Drug War from someone on the ground there. Note, how the Zetas got their start. Think about this in terms of a collapsed economy, the inability of the U.S. to sustain massively expensive foreign wars and hundreds of thousands of well-trained soldiers facing a Department of Defense that will be slashing its budget and a private economy that is stagnant at best and, once Wave 3 gets underway in earnest, will be in freefall. Oh yeah, and don't forget the anger that goes along with eras of negative mood:

The Mexican Drug War in One Lesson: Know Your Zetas
By Pancho Montana

...Los Zetas started out as an elite Special Forces unit–or GAFE–created and trained in the School of the Americas (in the USA), with counter-insurgency in mind: Specifically, to combat the 1994 Zapatista Army of National Liberation insurrection in Chaipas. A few years later, at the turn of the millennium, GAFE units found themselves with no insurgencies to fight. So they were re-trained for drug-interdiction operations and were sent to Tamaulipas to capture the capos and disrupt narcotrafficing operations in the region. One of those GAFEs was headed by a man named Arturo Guzmán Decena, who would go on to be known as “Z-1”–the leader of the Zetas. Z-1 realized there was a lot more money helping the traffickers than trying to police them, and ended up as the personal escort of Osiel Cardenas. Nicknamed “The Friend-Killer,” Cardenas was just starting to take control of the leaderless Gulf Cartel around 1998-1999. Hiring elite soldiers was his way of consolidating power...

...And that’s how it all began: Bored, over-trained professional soldiers going rogue and working as hired killers for the Gulf Cartel...

...Monterrey went from to suburbia to shithole and then into hellhole category in less than a year, and it’s getting even worse. In the last two weeks there’ve been two shootouts between Zetas and the Army. The first one left 28 Zetas dead on the road in General Treviño, Nuevo Leon, plus 5 more in Juarez the next day, and 22 the next week on Mier City, Tamaulipas, on the border with Nuevo Leon. And that’s not counting all the individual executions between the battles. Nearly every day there are grenade attacks against police headquarters of different municipalities and state prisons.

That’s leaving out the mass graves, rural training camps for sicarios, the assassination of a local mayor by Zetas dressed as Federal Police, and all kinds of other stuff that makes life in Monterrey an adventure whether you want it to be or not...

Not sure what to recommend. Keep your eyes open as things continue to deteriorate. If you have means to provide structure, employment or something - anything - constructive for young males to rally to, deploy it.