Friday, September 8, 2017

Some Friday news

I have Fridays off school, for now, but will probably have to start going in to do labs. Among other things I'm learning ArcGIS, GIS-T, Stata and R, and for some reason I can't code like I could when I was a kid. Or maybe they just don't have a clue how to teach you to do that.

Anyway, here's some Friday news:

Tim Taylor - the limited exposure of the US economy to trade. As in, it's only 13% of GDP, quit whining you stupid Americans.

Klendathu Capitalist - the USD bull market. I don't get how it can be an end to a USD secular bull. But still, if we're past cycle middle, it is true that commodities should go on a secular bull in USD terms.

BBC - Facebook uncovers Russian disinfo campaign, hits "like". Yup, the Russians were stupid enough to actually pay for their disinfo advertising.



Reuters - Trump collaborates with Democrats on debt ceiling and immigration. OMG LULZ:
President Donald Trump on Thursday embraced a suggestion from the Senate’s top Democrat to end congressional battles over the U.S. debt ceiling, a day after he stunned fellow Republicans by striking a major budget deal with the opposition party.

So Trump is going to make a deal with the Democrats to pass a bill eliminating the debt ceiling!

I guess the Republicans should expect this, since they can't even agree to use their house & senate majorities to actually eliminate the ACA that they voted to repeal like 50 fucking times when Obama was in power.

Friday video: the Jesus and Mary Chain are officially oldies music

A country version of "Blues from a Gun" FFS:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

And two on North Korea

Billy Bishop says the US can easily pressure China to back then up on North Korea, simply by threatening to give nukes to South Korea and Japan. That's the one thing that will make China budge.

With that in mind:

NY Times - North Korea's nuclear arsenal threatens China's path to power. Decades of Chinese geopolitical strategy gets flushed down the poop chute if China pisses off the US.

Reuters - allowing nuclear weapons in Japan could defuse North Korean threat. The money shot:
“Just by raising this issue of nuclear principles, Japan will push the United States and China to act, and it is something that Beijing is not going to like,” said Takashi Kawakami, a security expert at Japan’s Takushoku University.

“It’s the medicine that China needs to make it act against North Korea.”
And the dominoes fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

And two articles on Bitcoin

Qz - Robert Shiller says bitcoin is a bubble. Well, we knew that. What happens when everyone is buying a currency, and nobody is selling it, while its amount is restricted? The currency goes up in relative price to the goods it was supposed to be buying, but isn't. Problem is, eventually buying and selling equalize. Then, if things go badly, selling increases and buying stops. Wonder what happens then?

Thing is, in monetary economics, "currency" is nothing special. It's really just a storable commodity, except it's never consumed.

And, even more fun:

FT Alphaville, and not even Izzy Kamizzy this time - Bitcoin is a super circle jerk by 40-something sociopathic autistic virgins. And they really mean it:
Women made up only 8 per cent of California’s population in 1850, after the gold rush brought a flood of men seeking fortune.

The gender imbalance in today’s ICO mania is reportedly worse. While there’s no reliable census for crypto users, one recent estimate says women are just 3 per cent of the Bitcoin community, even though there’s no shortage of women who live in California. Crypto-bachelors appear to be aware of this gender imbalance, but they don’t sound all that unhappy about it.
I dunno, if something is being bought 97% by men, then ipso facto it's not a currency, is it? It's probably something you ejaculate into, instead, right?

And next Alexandra really beats the bitcoin community like a mixed-race stepchild, then stomps a fuckhole in their ass and fucks it dry with this passage:
Of course, it only caught our eye because some techbros seem like they’d rather pay for a fake female team member than hire a real one. And while they often carry on about digital frontiers, it’s highly unlikely they actually want to be in the American West, with its vigilante mobs, willful women and rivals with guns.

No, some of them want to be in Westworld, the fictional Wild West theme park where ticketholders can do whatever they want to realistic humanoid robots, which inevitably leads to all the horrors you’d imagine that scenario would entail when broadcast by HBO. The urge to objectify and dehumanise other people — often women — is both thoroughly human and scary as hell. And a strip club called Legends Room basically asks crypto-bachelors to indulge that impulse to its extreme:

“Someone can go into the Legends Room and pay the young ladies by waving their phone over the QR code on her shoulder. It’s the gamification of the club environment,” Peter Klamka told the Daily Beast.

Gamification? A game where they… they… wave a phone over a glorified barcode, to buy attention from a living, breathing human woman? They wave their phones? Over a barcode? On a person?

Forget old-fashioned stuff like “making eye contact” and “rote niceties”, that’s all history now that we’ve got the blockchain!
Oh man. Alexandra just did this to bitcoin:

"Bah gaw Jim! He's broken in half!"

Wednesday reading

Here's some economics news with which to enlighten your sorry ass:

Calculated Risk - ISM non-manufacturing increased in August. Ignore the manufacturing index: this is the one you should pay attention to, because it's a large part of the US economy.

FT Alphaville - Brainard's framing challenge. Tim Duy notes that it'll be harder for her to get her point across to the board now that the US isn't threatening a slowdown this year.I personally think the Fed is the one place where you can sometimes find economists who aren't wedded to idiotic dogma. Definitely she can convince Kashkari.

The Krugginator - the very bad economics of killing DACA. But forget about the economics, just look at it more simply:
throwing out 800,000 young people who are Americans in every way that matters, who have done nothing wrong, basically for racial reasons.
No, I'm sure there's going to be at least a dozen white Aryans who also get kicked out for having been brought to the US illegally in childhood.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Toosday Noos

So I'm back at university for possibly my final year, or maybe not.

I'm even trying for a TA position, which is funny if you've ever read this blog. But don't worry, I really honestly can do customer-facing with a smile on my face... when there's money involved.

Here's some news:

Jared Bernstein - yeah, as if Trump is really going to accomplish anything. Moderate Republicans will find enough Democrats to go along with a debt ceiling hike, but all other partisan right-wing policy is going to be dead on arrival. Factor that into your stock market strategy.

New Deal Demoncrat - motor vehicle sales vs real retail sales. I actually think there may be a distortion due to cash-for-clunkers. Then again, maybe the US economy really is about to roll over for no reason at all?

Lael Brainard - understanding the disconnect between inflation and unemployment. Well, at least they're understanding there is a disconnect. Now all they have to do is grow a pair of fucking balls and place the blame where it's deserved: on policy. After all, you wouldn't expect real price inflation in a slavery economy, or a serfdom economy, right?

IPE Zone - more on Texas and deporting Mexicans before rebuilding Houston. Face it, the US needs undocumented immigrants. The alternative is - shock! horror! - offering naturalized citizens a higher wage. I mean seriously:
There are plenty in and around Houston who might consider taking on the work, which can pay $20 an hour or more, if ID requirements were relaxed, construction industry officials say.
Are you fucking kidding me? You're bragging about paying $20/hr for construction work? That needs to be at least $30, probably more. But I guess it would pay very little if the people were competing with undocumented Mexicans.

BBC - Azerbaijan laundered billions thru the UK. Kinda funny that you'd choose the UK to launder money through, no? I mean, it's as if they're a corrupt third world hellhole or something....

Raghuram Rajan on the rise of populism

Promarket - Raghuram Rajan on the rise of populism.

Doesn't say much we don't already know, but as he's a member of the economic elite it's informative to at least see what he's saying.

"Wait, is he really linking to Zerohedge?"

Zerohedge - the trouble with global asset bubbles is eventually they pop.

Wait, are they talking about Bitcoin?

Unintended consequences or feel-good jargon

IPE Zone - but who will rebuild Houston? Turns out that undocumented Mexicans are the lifeblood of the US economy, but we already knew this:

Back in 2007, the Washington Post reported on a Tulane and University of California, Berkeley, study that found some 100,000 Hispanic workers thronged into the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Katrina, many of them undocumented. Houston will need a similar migration for it to recover. In 2017, from where will those workers come?

Actually, the whole deportation narrative of the US right wing is a scam, and everyone knows it, because it's the supporters of the right wing who rely the most on undocumented workers from Latin America.

But since it's a scam to gain votes from racism, it's a particularly odious and informative one.