Spain's Budget Deficit Already Exceeds Maximum for Entire Year; Path of Convergence

Spanish unemployment rate is 25% and rising. Youth unemployment is 52.9% and rising. Meanwhile Spanish budget deficits are such that Spain will need more austerity. I keep wondering what it will take for this setup to blow sky high in riots.

Via Google Translate from Libre Mercado central government deficit already exceeds the maximum provided for the year
The central government posted a deficit of EUR 48,517,000 through July in terms of national accounts, the 4.62% of GDP, representing an increase of 25.8% compared to last year, according to data provided by the Secretary of State Budgets, Marta Fernandez Currás. The deficit figure exceeds the new limit has assumed the state, which has risen to a point, to 4.5%, for the extra year he gave Brussels to Spain to reduce the deficit to 3%.

The deficit through July was a result of payments stood at 100.694 million euros, up 9.8%, while revenues totaled 52.177 million euros, representing a fall of 1.8%. On a comparable basis, net of transfers to regional governments and social security, among other authorities, the deficit stood at 4.12% of GDP.
Humorous Comment of the Day

"We are on the path of convergence required by Brussels," said Currrás, recalling that the deficit is an annual target, so the balance recorded until July continues to be a reference.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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New Strategy = Fed Help

We tell ya, Rahm is freaking brilliant:
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked federal law enforcement for help in combating violence and drugs in two areas of Chicago that the city says have seen the highest increase in crime this year.

    Chicago police officers will coordinate with U.S. marshals and FBI, DEA and ATF agents to go after what the mayor called “high-crime areas and high-target individuals” in the Grand Crossing and Ogden police districts on the South Side.

    The plan is modeled after a crackdown approach that involves saturating so-called conflict zones with gang, narcotics and patrol officers in the Englewood District on the South Side and the Harrison District on the West Side.

    Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that approach has reduced homicides in those two areas. “I’m pleased that we are going to get that type of support, and the strategy is working,” Emanuel said at a news conference.
And again, as we pointed out a few days ago, Harrison is EXACTLY at the same number of homicides as last year and Englewood has less homicides, but more shot. And the media keeps running with Rahm's bullshit. Is this thing on? Testing one, two, one, two.

And August Isn't Done Yet

Last we heard, we stood at about 55 murders. Whoops - 56?
  • A teenage boy was shot dead in front of his mother Friday in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side.

    Jalen Stogner, 17, and his mother were at a laundromat in the 4800 block of South Ashland Avenue when Stogner got into a verbal fight with a man about 4:20 p.m., officials said.

    The man pulled out a gun and shot Stogner in the chest, police said, adding that the shooting appeared to be gang-related.

And the woundings kept rolling in:

  • A 15-year-old girl walking home from school was shot in the abdomen Friday morning in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, officials and family said.

    Telissa Shields was walking with a friend when she was caught in crossfire in the 4200 block of West Wilcox Street around 11 a.m., according to family and a police source.
Keep your eyes open for a final tally shortly.

Nice Numbers

These are numbers to be proud of - in bizarro-world:
  • At least 10 people were wounded in shootings throughout the city – mainly on the South Side – Thursday night and Friday morning. Since last Thursday, at least 82 people have been wounded or killed in shootings in Chicago.

We've heard tell of entire nations that don't have the numbers that Chicago put up this last week.

Fundraiser

Remembering Officer Mike Jakob

On December 30th 2011, a tragedy struck the Jakob family. Officer Mike Jakob of the 22nd District suffered from a heart attack and passed away in his Mt. Greenwood home at the age of 52. He leaves behind his wife and 4 children. Mike was the sole supporter of his family, his wife Theresa is hearing impaired and is unable to find steady employment. Prior to Mike working in the 22nd District he worked in the 6th, 7th, and 8th District Gang Team.

We are " REMEMBERING MIKE" by having a benefit for the family at:
115 Bourbon Street - Sunday, September 16th, 2012 - 2pm-7pm

If you wish to make a donation an account has been set up at:

Archer Bank
c/o Officer Mike Jakob
3435 W 111th St
Chicago IL 60655

Post closed - for informational purposes only.

013 Photo

Anyone who worked at Wood Street:
  • SCC could you make a post for a photo shoot of past & present 13th District coppers? The photo shoot will be on 18 Sept at 1400 hours outside of the station. Thanks

We assume there will be a 012 photo soon seeing as how 012 and 013 are combining this fall? Anyone have the date?

China, Germany to Settle More Trade in Yuan, Euros; What's That Mean for Gold, the Dollar?

Inquiring minds note China, Germany Plan to Settle More Trade in Yuan, Euros.
Germany and China plan to conduct an increasing amount of their trade in euros and yuan, the two nations said in a joint statement after talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on Thursday.

"Both sides intend to support financial institutions and companies of both countries in the use of the renminbi and euro in bilateral trade and investments," said the text of the statement.

It also said that both parties welcomed investments in China's interbank bond market by German banks and supported the settlement of business in the yuan by German and Chinese banks and the issuance of yuan-denominated financial products in Germany.
Announcement Mean Anything?

That's the announcement, and I have no doubt people who do not understand trade math will trump this up as if it's news of big significance.

Well, it's not. The announcement is a common sense function of math.

There is more bilateral trade between Germany and China, so fundamentally it makes sense that this agreement would be worked out. Indeed, mathematically, the markets would eventually force such an agreement.

If Germany goes back to the Deutschmark, then one should expect bilateral trade between the countries to be in Deutschmarks and Yuan.

The only relevance to the dollar is if Germany is taking away US trade with China. If not, the announcement is a meaningless function of math.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Brussels Pushes for Another "All Powerful" Banking Committee, Headed by ECB, In Spite of Objections by ECB and Germany

Once nannycrats grab on to an idea, they never relinquish it. Eurobonds are the perfect example.  Many other ideas float around despite numerous objections in key places. Some of these ideas involve creation of more commissions and more working groups.

Here is a sampling of commissions and groups that I am aware of.

  • The European Commission is headed by president José Manuel Barroso
  • The European Council is headed by president Herman Van Rompuy
  • The Euro Group is headed by president Jean-Claude Juncker
  • The European parliament president is Martin Schulz
  • Numerous other committees set policy on trade, energy, and nearly everything else under the sun.

Barroso now wants another new commission, this one under the ECB with the task of being the "all powerful" banking supervisor.

As envisioned, Barroso's plan would create a 23-member board: a national representative from each eurozone country plus six independent members, including its chair and vice-chair.

No doubt there will be dozens if not hundreds of staff members all intent on expanding their own power.

The Financial Times has more details in Brussels pushes for wide ECB powers
The European Central Bank would be given sweeping authority over all 6,000 eurozone banks under a plan being drawn up by the European Commission, putting Brussels on a collision course with Germany and the ECB itself, which have urged a more decentralised first step towards “banking union”.

The plan, agreed at a meeting this week between top aides to José Manuel Barroso, commission president, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s senior financial regulator, would strip existing national supervisors of almost all authority to shut down or restructure their countries’ failing banks, giving those powers to Frankfurt.

The German government has resisted centralising all supervisory powers with the ECB, however, arguing that Frankfurt should be left to deal with just the eurozone’s 20-25 largest banks. National supervisors would then be left as independent and co-ordinating agencies for smaller banks.

Some senior ECB officials had taken a similar view in closed-door consultations with Brussels, EU officials said, though Mario Draghi, the ECB chief, is more sympathetic to the commission’s view.

Germany’s objections also stem from a desire to keep national control over smaller, politically connected regional savings banks.

Despite the resistance, Mr Barroso this week decided to adopt the more ambitious proposal advocated by the commission’s internal market directorate, drafters of the plan, which argued a narrower approach would disappoint financial markets.

Splitting responsibility could complicate the next steps in creating a banking union: setting up a eurozone-wide deposit guarantee scheme and bank bailout fund. If only large banks were covered by those schemes, depositors could flee smaller banks for more secure larger ones, officials argued.
To become law, all 27 nations must agree. Barroso hopes for a summit before the end of the year.

In addition to unanimous approval for such a position, I would point out that ceding power to Brussels is a change so sweeping that Germany would require a national referendum, just as with the eurobonds idea.

Nannycrats do not care about such issues, they just plow ahead, then blame Germany when it will not go along.

Speaking of which, I highly suspect Merkel has taken a partial stance out of political expediency. Perhaps she thinks she can avoid a referendum by limiting authority to only the largest banks.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Bad News For Super-Models: Computer-Generated Fashion Models Better Than Real Thing; Fashion Questions of the Day

Here is an easy prediction: Price of fashion models in advertizements is going to collapse, if indeed the industry survives at all.

Why should retailers pay for fashion models when an advertizing department can generate models with the perfect height, weight, breast size, nationality, and complexion for whatever designs they want to promote?

Bad News For Super-Models

MarketWatch describes the setup in 5 computer-generated sales pitches


To save on costs—and perhaps assembly time—Swedish retailing giant IKEA created computer-generated images of its furniture for the new catalog, rather than hiring a photographer. By next year, a quarter of the scenes depicted in IKEA’s print and online advertising will be digitally drawn rather than photographed, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. In fact, IKEA says it is able to better depict its products with computer images than actual photography.

IKEA is not alone. Hollywood filmmakers increasingly create characters—and not just special effects—with CGI animation. And some fashion lines are finding that it’s less expensive to create the perfect specimen digitally than to track down America’s Next Top Model. These computer-generated realities may be cheaper, more appealing, and more versatile than the genuine articles.
Related Ideas

The MarketWatch article also discussed simulated driving of cars, movie special effects, and 3-D dream homes.

Special effects are nothing new. New car models come out only once a year. And I believe most people want real images of homes, not simulated models.

In contrast, clothing changes four times a year, with each season, and also varies by weight, height, size, nationality, skin color, age, etc.

Fashion Questions of the Day

Do I care if the person wearing a sweater in a printed image is generated or real? Why would I? How would I know in the first place?

Supermodels on magazine covers may or may not go away due to importance of name recognition, but every modeling job on down is likely to be eliminated over time.

Virtual models simply have too many advantages for real models to compete effectively. This in turn will pressure wages of even the super-models.

Looking for a career? Fashion modeling is not a good choice.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Japan Manufacturing PMI Hits 16 Month Low, New Orders Plunge

Markit reports Japan Manufacturing PMI Hits 16 Month Low
Key Points:

Output and new orders down at accelerated rates
Near-stagnation of employment
Purchasing costs fall to greatest extent since November 2009

Markit/JMMA Manufacturing PMI



After adjusting for seasonal factors, the headline Markit/JMMA Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) posted 47.7 in August, down from 47.9 one month previously, signalling the sharpest worsening of Japanese manufacturing sector operating conditions since April 2011. Moreover, the latest deterioration in business conditions was broad-based across all three market groups.

Japanese manufacturing production declined further in August, with the rate of contraction accelerating to the fastest in 16 months. The latest reduction in factory output was the third in as many months.

Reflecting falling new orders and corresponding spare capacity, backlogs of work decreased further in August. The rate at which firms depleted work-in-hand (but not yet completed) was sharp, and the steepest since May 2009.
Japan is in its third deflationary decade in spite of massive fiscal stimulus, massive monetary stimulus, and the major industrial world's highest debt-to-GDP ratio.

US demographics are not as bad, but US consumer debt overhang and student loans are worse. The deflationary forces facing Bernanke are massive.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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The Guns of August (UPDATE)

That would be a great title for a book about.....what? Someone did it already? Damnit.

In any event, a bloody August is drawing to a close and the numbers are...well, they're incredibly bad. McTool was quoted earlier this month saying he only compares numbers from this month to the same month last year. He might want to avoid that comparison in the future.

He might also want to keep quiet about how well his policies are working at the start of September in case he has another month like August. We imagine he'll be as happy as Rahm to see August in the rear view mirror.

UPDATE: This isn't a good beginning for the last day:
  • Eight people were shot Thursday night on the South Side, according to police, including five in a single incident in the Washington Park neighborhood.

    The five were shot about 12:50 a.m. in the 6000 block of South Indiana Avenue, according to the Chicago Fire Department. Four are in stable condition and the fifth is in critical condition. Authorities said a group was standing outside an apartment building when someone inside a passing car drove past and shot at least 12 times. The fire department's first responders asked for an Emergency Medical Services Plan 1, which calld for more ambulances to the scene.

    All of the men are in their 20s, and police described the one with the most serious wound as an "uncooperative victim" who heard shots, felt pain, didn't see anything, and didn't know who he was with when shot.

Hmmmmm. There's something familiar about all this.

More Sun Times Nonsense

This from the article a few days ago about the officer shot:
  • A Chicago Police officer and a 15-year-old boy shot each other Wednesday night on the Far South Side, police said.

    The 35-year-old officer was shot near his knee and the teen in his leg and side in the 1300 block of 112th Place, officials said.

    About 8 p.m., plain clothes officers stopped three teenage boys for “suspicious activity,” police said. But the 15-year-old boy fired at the officers and “engaged in a gun battle,” said Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

    But at least two residents said the officer shot his gun first.

So now the Slum Times expects us to take the first bullet or two before we can legally eliminate the threat to our own lives? We must have missed that part of the State Law. Was this something Quinn added at some point after hours when no one was looking?

Honest to god, the ignorance of the media sometimes astounds us. But we get used to it pretty quick - we just lower the bar a little more.

10 September

The teachers set a date. A few predictions:
  • Certain districts will probably have a few extra cars up since their high schools will be closed. Maybe that'll mean an easing of the Time Due policy?
  • To counter this anticipated use of our own time off, the Department will claim since all the children are out, about and away from their jailers free day care, all hands shall be on deck to counter the expected mayhem;
  • Wildings will pick up on weeknights. Weekend wildings will be more intense;
  • School Absentees will plunge to near zero, although we've never really written any Catholic or other private school students for some reason. We fully expect that to be the subject of that week's CompStat meeting. Some hapless Commander will take a verbal beating over the low numbers and no one will bother to tell McDoofus that CPS is on strike.
Anyone else want to guess at the impact a teachers strike will have? After all, it's been 25 years since the last one - that's longer than 80% of the people on the job.

Reader Questions On Hyperinflation; Would Printing $50 Trillion Tomorrow Do Anything?

In response to Economist Fired for Expressing Opinions on Max Keiser Show; Errors in Observation where I stated "The Fed Cannot Realistically Cause Hyperinflation" I received a couple of emails worth reviewing.

Reader Philip writes ...
I do not understand how you could say that the Fed cannot cause hyperinflation. The government has a huge debt. The debt is manageable at super low rates. But, if rates rise due to some inflation or even just caution from abroad then the government starts paying a very large sum in interest. That takes away from its obligations even more than the current deficit amount. Either the Fed has to step in and monetize the debt by printing more and more money spiraling out of control.
Definition of Terms

As always, before one can have a rational discussion, one must agree on definitions. Hyperinflation is a complete loss of faith in currency. In other words, currency becomes worthless in a short period of time.

Is there a risk of high interest rates? Yes. But I do not think that risk is high in the near future. Even assuming I am wrong, high rates are not the same as hyperinflation.

The US dollar is not headed to zero given the US has the largest stash of gold of any country. That alone would preclude hyperinflation. There are many other reasons that I have touched upon that suggest interest rates are not going up fast.

Credit Markets

The Fed has tried to revive the credit markets but has essentially failed, except for student loans. Making debt slaves out of students is actually a hugely deflationary force.

Moreover and as I have stated many times, the Fed cannot give money away, spend it, or force anyone to spend it. That is a very tough battle for the Fed with attitudes where they are (and as I have mentioned, attitudes are very important).

Banks do not want to lend, credit-worthy businesses do not want to borrow, and consumers are still deleveraging. Those are extremely deflationary forces.

Would Printing $50 Trillion Tomorrow Do Anything?

Ignoring interest on excess reserves (a proviso I mentioned), printing $50 trillion dollars tomorrow might not do anything.

Indeed, if $50 trillion printed tomorrow sat as excess reserves (the most likely event), it would have the same effect as if it was buried in the ground, or not printed at all. Such is the nature of a credit-based economy, and a point that has caused hugely inaccurate inflation forecasts from many Austrian economists.

As previously mentioned, such massive printing might briefly cause a temporary attitude change accompanied by a brief asset bubble of some sort (especially in long-dated treasuries given banks would put some of it to that use).

However, massive printing would collapse treasury rates, further destroying those on fixed income, and make it even harder for pension plans to meet assumptions.

Since printing $2 trillion did not spur credit expansion, pray tell why would $50 trillion?

Theory vs. Practice

Certainly we are guessing as to what printing $50 trillion might do. As a practical matter, the odds of finding out are essentially zero. The Fed is not going to print $50 trillion tomorrow.

More realistically, would printing $2 trillion a year for the next 10 years cause hyperinflation?

No, it won't.

So where is Fed induced hyperinflation going to come from? The answer is it isn't.

Government vs. the Fed

At this stage in the cycle, and in sharp contrast to what most believe, the Fed is essentially powerless (which is exactly why Bernanke is begging Congress to act)

In contrast to a Fed that cannot spend money (except to meet its payroll and expenses and pay interest on reserves, etc), the federal government could actually spend $50 trillion tomorrow. But it won't.

Hyperinflation? Even from a monetary aspect hyperinflation is nowhere in sight.

Hyperinflation is a Political Event, Not a Monetary Event

It's important to note that hyperinflation is not really a monetary event in the first place. Rather, hyperinflation is a political event caused by governments.

I responded that way in an email to reader Peter who replied "Sorry, but your theory is not based on the data. Read the literature on high and hyperinflation episodes."

Well, I have read countless excerpts and Peter is badly mistaken.

Please consider Hyperinflation Nonsense in Multiple Places.

The entire post is worth a look for some remarkably silly predictions, but for the debate at hand, here is the pertinent snip:

Jeff Harding at the Daily Capitalist asks Why Does Hyperinflation Occur?
In every modern case of hyperinflation the decision to inflate was a political one, not an economic one. In almost every case hyperinflation followed a war or a coup or some massive political change such as the end of the Soviet empire or the rise of a dictator or a populist-socialist takeover, and other political unrest.

In the 20th Century there were quite a number of hyperinflationary events. I used the Wikipedia list of modern hyperinflations (Since WWI) and researched the political circumstances of each country. The circumstances can be put into three rough categories: post-war disruption, post-Soviet collapse, and socialist-populist regimes.



For example we all know what happened in Germany during after WWI when politicians, mostly socialists, blamed all their problems on reparations and continued to print so much money that it resulted in the famous cash-in-a-wheelbarrow photos. They literally had no clue what they were doing.

The post-Soviet empire collapse is easier to understand as former communist/socialist regimes fought for power and struggled with economic policy. Many of these countries have reformed or were forced to reform their monetary and fiscal policies.

Many of the socialist-Marxist regimes were Latin American populist governments who employed “revolutionary” anti-capitalist nostrums for economic policy. Chile (Allende) and Argentina are good examples. Argentina has had years of high inflation to hyperinflation since 1980. In Africa most countries were a mixture of strongmen with socialist-Marxist policies. I am not suggesting that these were pure socialist governments, but rather the typical situation where the government seizes or controls large parts of industry and issues regulations controlling much economic activity.

These hyperinflations all had one common denominator: during a period of instability, spending was used as a political tool and it got out of hand. I understand that the circumstances of each country were different and that it is perhaps unfair to say, lump Israel in with Argentina. But each country faced political factors that created instability or a national crisis; the government spent heavily to gain popular support, and resorted to the printing presses to pay for their spending.
Harding is correct. This is how I further elaborated...
Zimbabwe vs. Weimar

In Zimbabwe, the Mugabe government initiated a "land reform" program intended to correct the inequitable land distribution created by colonial rule. Ultimately, Mugabe's attempt to to bail out the poor at the expense of the wealthy is what triggered capital flight and loss of faith of the currency.

His reforms not only caused a flight of capital and human capital (the wealthy), they also led to sanctions by the US and Europe. In response, Mugabe turned on the printing presses but the loss of faith in the currency had already occurred.

In Weimar Germany, printing for war reparations kicked off hyperinflation. Wikipedia provides a good accounting in Inflation in the Weimar Republic.

It is certainly not impossible for there to be a complete loss of faith in the US dollar, however there odds are extremely remote.

Can The Fed Cause Hyperinflation?

I do not think the Fed itself can cause hyperinflation and more importantly I am sure they would not if they could. The reason is "Hyperinflation Would End The Game"

  • Hyperinflation by definition would destroy the currency and thus the banks
  • Hyperinflation would destroy the wealthy and all their corporate bond holding
  • Hyperinflation would destroy the Fed
  • Hyperinflation would destroy the wealthy political class

To understand how powerless the Fed is, one needs to understand the difference between credit and money, how much the former dwarfs the latter, and what the Fed's role is in getting banks to lend.
Hyperinflation Model is Complete Silliness

Those calling for hyperinflation are extremely misguided. It is not going to happen in any timeframe worth discussing.

On the political side, no country is going to force war reparations on the US. The US is not going to peg its currency to another, the Fed is not going to print $50 trillion (and it would not matter anyway unless Congress spent that much), government is not going to confiscate land to the point of causing massive human and capital flight, etc. etc.

Moreover, the US's gold holding, the fact the US has the largest capital and bond markets in the world coupled with ease in starting a business vs. nearly anyplace else in the world, absolutely 100% precludes a hyperinflationary outcome for the foreseeable future.

The hyperinflation model is absolute complete silliness.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Eurozone Retail Sales Decline 15th Month, Plunge Led by Italy, France; German Sales Contract Slightly

Once again there is grim data from Europe. The safe thing to do is expect grim data every time European data is reported. Except for an occasional outlier, you will not be too far off.

Eurozone Retail Sales Decline 15th Month

Markit Reports Eurozone retail downturn deepens in August
Key points:

  • Revenue contraction extends to tenth month
  • German sales flat; sharper falls in France and Italy
  • Inflationary pressures build up

Retail sales in the Eurozone continued to fall sharply on an annual basis in August. The rate of contraction accelerated to the fastest since May, and extended the current sequence of continuous decline to 15 months. This was despite a further year-on-year increase in Germany, and reflected substantial declines in both France and Italy.





Employment Declines 5th Month

Employment at retailers in the Eurozone declined for the fifth month running in August. The rate of job shedding remained modest, reflecting sustained workforce growth in the German retail sector. French retailers posted the steepest job cuts for over three years, while the rate of contraction in Italy eased since July.

Prices Paid Rise

The Prices Paid Index rose for the third month running from May’s 19-month low in August, signalling a strengthening rate of inflation of wholesale prices in the Eurozone. Sector data signalled that clothing & footwear and food & drink drove cost pressures in August.

Gross Margins Drop

Retailers’ gross margins continued to fall sharply in August. The rate of deterioration eased since July, but was still among the fastest registered to date. Reflecting the relative strength of demand, Italian retailers posted the steepest drop in margins, and German retailers the weakest.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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France to Hire 150,000 Subsidized Workers With Zero Qualifications; Why Stop There?

Looking for a loony idea to address unemployment in France? Look no further because I have a doozie.

Via Google Translate from El Economista, France will create 150,000 jobs for young people without qualifications
The French Government has today adopted a draft law providing for the creation of 150,000 subsidized jobs for young people with little or no qualifications, which are most affected by unemployment and employability harder.

The beneficiaries of these so called "jobs of tomorrow" will work for municipalities, hospitals, schools, social organizations, associations or, exceptionally, in private companies, and will receive a grant of up to 75% of their compensation.

The estimated cost is 500 million euros in 2013 and "more than 1,500 million" next year by the state budget, said Labor Minister Michel Sapin, at a press conference.

"We want contracts defined privilege" said Sapin, who nevertheless admitted that the storms are also accepted, and said that public support will be maintained in each case between one and three years, provided that employers provide a "accompaniment" to "very great difficulty youth push" to which they are targeted.

He insisted that the "accompaniment", which may include training for classical channels is "fundamental" to the 500,000 eligible people likely to have between 16 and 25 years, lack of skills and work.
Why Stop at 150,000?

The second half of that translation is a bit choppy but the bill clearly targets "500,000 eligible people" between 16 and 25 with no skills and no qualifications.

So, why stop at 150,000? Why not hire them all? And why stop at age 25? Why not hire everyone with no skills and no qualifications regardless of age?

Hopefully the answers are so obvious that hiring even 5,000 with no qualifications seems preposterous.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Shaved on Hiatus

For reasons CrimeFile covers in this posting, Shaved has taken down his blog, his archives and will remain off line for the foreseeable future.

We fail to see where a non-government agency takes it upon itself to check on the activities of private citizens. It definitely hints at collusion between the government (Rahm) and a supposedly "non-partisan" organization.

There are already entities within the Department to investigate allegations of wrong doing (we should know - we have Barb West's illegal First Amendment investigation of this blog in our possession). For the BGA to wander into these waters has a decidedly chilling effect on things.

Responsibility (UPDATE)

Big chase up north:
  • At least one person was in custody in connection with an armed robbery following a pursuit by Chicago that began in one Northwest Side police district and ended in another Tuesday evening.

    The pursuit began after a robbery in the 6300 block of West Diversey Avenue Tuesday evening, and included at least one crash involving two police vehicles, said Chicago Police News Affairs [...].

    The chase began after 6 p.m. in the Grand Central District and ended a while later in the Jefferson Park District, police said.

Evidently, there was at least one termination order given, then countermanded by 1600X at least twice. This set off a lively discussion in our comment section, some of it flat out wrong. First up, if you've been involved in a pursuit lately, you'd notice a box at the bottom of the Pursuit Form for the exempt member re-authorizing the chase. Although rare, it has happened on occasions, the rare part being because a gold star is seldom close enough to make that sort of call on the fly. In this case, it appears 1600X was actually involved, so no problem there.

The only problem we see is the accident(s) during the chase. Any traffic crash is supposed to be an automatic termination. Period. There isn't much wiggle room in the order for that:

  • GO03-03-01 III-C The continuation of a motor vehicle is prohibited whenever:

    1.a pursued vehicle or pursuing Department vehicle is involved in any traffic crash in which there is a probability of personal injury.
To continue pursuit following a crash is either incredibly ballsy or incredibly stupid. Maybe a little bit of both. That is where the debate should be. Because you and we all know, an XO is going to be subject to a very different form of discipline than a blue shirt who disregarded the termination order or a sergeant/lieutenant who failed to give it.

NOTE: This isn't second guessing. This is the pointing out that a directive directly applicable to the situation at hand is available. How the Department handles it is another matter completely.

UPDATE: Word is there were kids were in the car. Given the history of the offender, kidnapping was a distinct possibility. Regardless of personal feelings about the XO and her history, reauthorizing the pursuit seems to be the correct call. These are split-second decisions people and the XO carries the entirely of this one...at least on paper. In front of the Traffic Review Board is a different story.

More Mentals

Besides Rahm's cuts to mental health clinics, you can lay this one at the feet of former aldercreature Helen Schiller for welcoming every halfway house and mental disorder storage facility into her ward for years upon years:
  • It’s dangerous being a hands-on Chicago alderman who walks the streets of his ward and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Rookie Ald. James Cappleman (46th) is living proof.

    Two months after being shoved and pelted with bread crumbs by an Uptown woman known as the “Pigeon Lady,” Cappleman is pressing charges once again — this time against a woman he claims ran after him with a knife.

    It happened at 6 p.m. last Friday at Broadway and Montrose. He said he was calling police after he saw the woman sitting on the sidewalk drinking a can of beer when she came after him. He said he didn’t see the knife, but he had no doubt his life was in danger.

    “She reached into her blouse and was chasing me. . . . Two witnesses told me, ‘She has a knife. You’d better run’ — and I did,” he said. “What went through my mind was, ‘I don’t want to get stabbed and killed over some stupid thing like this, over someone drinking in the public way. That’s not the way I want to die.’ ”

Gee aldercreature, people have died for a lot less.

But it kind of makes you wish you were allowed to carry a gun, doesn't it? Oh wait, you are authorized to carry a firearm by ordinance. You just choose not to. Not the sharpest pencils over there in the 46th Ward evidently.

Teachers Set to Go

Rahm is going to look bad:
  • The Chicago Teachers Union filed a 10-day strike notice on Wednesday in an attempt to put additional pressure on Chicago Public Schools negotiators in ongoing contract talks.

    At a packed news conference Wednesday, CTU president Karen Lewis accused CPS leaders and the mayor of engaging in a "smear campaign" against teachers, raising the possibility for the city's first teachers' strike in 25 years.

    "It has been insult after insult after insult. Enough is enough," Lewis said.
Rahm can't control the Teachers. The homicide rate is up 30%. For such an allegedly smart politico, he's turning out to be quite the idiot.

Officer Shot in Knee

Channel 5 News:
  • A Chicago Police was shot Wednesday night on the Far South Side.

    It happened shortly after 8 p.m. near 112th Street and Racine Avenue. The officer was shot in the knee and was reported in stable condition.

    FOP president Pat Camden said the bullet went right through his knee.

    One suspects accused of shooting the officer was also shot and was reported in serious condition. Another suspect is at large.

No name yet. Godspeed Officer.

Governor Brown Admits the Obvious "We Have Lived Beyond Our Means"; Brown Agrees to Vast Overhaul of the California's Pension System; Unions Howl Over Obvious Truth

In a long-overdue moment, governor Jerry Brown has finally admitted the obvious, the state's pension system is broke and California Has "Lived Beyond Our Means". Unions of course are howling at that obvious admission.

Please consider California leaders strike public pension reform deal
California Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers have reached a deal to raise public employees' retirement ages, have them pay more into their pension accounts, and cap retirement payments in a vast overhaul of the state's pension system that he says will save $30 billion.

California faces a huge liability for funding the nation's largest public pension system, but other states and cities also have enormous pension funding gaps and will be watching the state closely.

Brown did not get everything he wanted from lawmakers, such as a hybrid plan that would funnel some contributions into 401(k)-style accounts, and some of the deal's measures will not affect current employees.

"We have lived beyond our means," he said. "The chickens are coming home to roost and this is just one in a series of countermeasures that will be required over the next decade."

LABOR UNIONS OUTRAGED

Democrats in a conference committee of both legislative chambers approved the deal 4-0 late on Tuesday. The two Republicans on the committee abstained, protesting lack of time to study the measures, and labor groups were stunned.

"We are outraged that a Democratic governor and Democratic legislature are taking a wrecking ball to retirement security for teachers, firefighters, school employees, and police officers," said Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, which represents 1.5 million public employees and retirees.

Outside the state building where Brown unveiled the agreement, union activists said the deal unfairly bypassed collective bargaining rights.

"Labor did not have input on this and we are very, very concerned on what this will mean for rank-and-file workers," said Barbara Maynard, also with Californians for Retirement Security.
Labor Did Not Have Input

That my friends is precisely the way it should be. Labor does not deserve any input and collective bargaining by public unions needs to go the way of dinosaurs.

There is no public benefit to public unions, so there is no need for them. All public unions do is raise costs. The goal of public unions is to do no work for mammoth wages and benefits.

No one in their right mind would willingly take input from such a group.

Beacon of Light in Ocean of Darkness

The key sentence from Governor Brown stands out like a beacon of light in an ocean of darkness. In case you missed it, here it is: "This is just one in a series of countermeasures that will be required over the next decade."

Precisely. Brown's proposal is not the end of what needs to happen, it is the beginning of the beginning of what needs to happen.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Economist Fired for Expressing Opinions on Max Keiser Show; Errors in Observation

According to Forbes, economist Sandeep Jaitly was forced to resign from his position at the Gold Standard Institute after expressing his views with Max Keiser.

Said Phillip Barton, president of GSI "Lest there be any misunderstanding, the views expressed by Sandeep Jaitly in his interview with Max Keiser are not the views of The Gold Standard Institute. To the contrary, we strongly disagree with those views. .... Sandeep Jaitly has resigned from his position as Senior Research Fellow with the Institute and we sincerely thank him for his past contributions."

Let's Tune Into Max

You can read the interview at Keiser Report: Frankenmarkets and Austrian Economics.

What appears to have gotten Sandeep in trouble is his criticism that Mises made "too many mistakes".

However, Sandeep did say, "He [Mises] was certainly the greatest economists of the twentieth century. It’s just that he made a slight, few errors of observation. That’s all."

Errors in Observation

When it comes to errors in observation, Sandeep has made a few of his own. For example consider these statements from the interview: "What I want to make very clear Max is that you don’t need marginal quantitative easing from here for asset prices to start escalating. You only need what has already been printed to start spinning more quickly. And once things start spinning, nothing can slow it down."

Interestingly, the first sentence is true. However, the following sentences show Sandeep fails to understand the role of attitudes as well as the fundamental nature of credit in a credit-based economy.

The statements imply that printed money may come spinning into the economy at any time causing massive inflation the Fed could not stop.

There are two errors in such an analysis. The first error is that banks do not lend from excess reserves. Rather, banks lend, on two conditions, both of which need to be true.

  1. Banks are not capital impaired
  2. Banks believe they have credit-worthy borrowers.

By credit-worthy I mean "lending rates are high enough, or assets strong enough for banks to believe they will make a profit commensurate with risk".

Clearly banks made serious mistakes in the housing bubble in regards to the credit-worthiness of borrowers (primarily based on belief that home prices would not fall), however, both conditions were met.

Sure, banks can start lending again at any time (which is why Sandeep's first sentence regarding no need for further QE to ignite a credit boom is true in isolation). However, the idea that excess reserves are about to come spinning into the economy at any moment is fatally flawed.

For a complete rebuttal to Sandeep's mistaken observation, please see Can Bernanke Force Banks to Lend by Halting Interest on Excess Reserves?

Attitudes Have Changed

Note how much attitudes have changed. Banks are not lending now out of rightful fear of more losses.

Very few Austrian economists seem to understand the nature and role of attitudes and credit in boom and bust cycles. Most woodenly stick to views that excess reserves will come pouring into the economy 10 times over causing massive inflation.

Careful observation would suggest the economy does not act as prevailing Austrian theory believes it does. Unfortunately, this is why many Austrians have looked ridiculously silly vs. Paul Krugman when it comes to inflation predictions.

This is by no means a defense of Bernanke or Krugman, as Bernanke has created other very serious problems and economic distortions of all sorts. Moreover, Fed policies and deficit spending have indeed created boom-bust cycles of ever-increasing amplitude.

Indeed, the policies espoused by Bernanke, forever bailing out banks whenever they have gotten in trouble is one of the factors driving money and assets to the 1% vs. the 99%. Clearly, those on fixed income have been destroyed by Bernanke's policies.

Bernanke Translated

For a short, yet thorough trashing of Bernanke's defense of his policies, please see Mish Translation of Bernanke's Statements on the Treasury Carry Trade and the Tax on Savers.

The only way to fix the problem is to end fractional reserve lending and return to sound money. On this point the Austrians are 100% correct.

Spinning Out of Control?

The second error in observation Sandeep makes is belief that "once things start spinning, nothing can slow it down."

That is ridiculous.

The Fed could easily rein in inflation by the simple matter of hiking interest rates. Whether or not the Fed would do so is certainly debatable. However, please be aware that the Fed in and of itself cannot cause hyperinflation without purposely trying to do so, and perhaps not even then.

Fed Cannot Realistically Cause Hyperinflation

The Fed cannot force banks to lend. Nor can the Fed force consumers and businesses to borrow. In a credit-based economy that is what matters most.

Once again, my observation is Austrian economists in general have failed to observe this crucial point. Bear in mind that the Total Credit Market Debt Owed is over $50 trillion!  From that aspect, the idea that $1.5 trillion in excess reserves is going to come spinning into the economy causing inflation the Fed cannot stop, is simply ridiculous.

Sure, in theory, the Fed could print $100 trillion and agree to pay 4% interest on excess reserves, but the Fed is not out to destroy the banking system.

Interestingly, if interest on excess reserves was zero, it is debatable whether printing $100 trillion would do much of anything at all other than perhaps cause a brief asset bubble and subsequent crash. I actually doubt it would spur lending or hiring and once again, careful observers will note lending and credit are what matters most.

Practical Restraints

Remember, the Fed is beholden to bankers. Moreover, the Fed does not want to wreck the system because to do so would wreck the banks and the Fed's power along with it.

In a nutshell, hyperinflation fears caused by the Fed are silly. Hyperinflation fears caused by Congress giving away money are more realistic in theory. However, such odds are still extremely low because Congress would not give enough money away in the first place.

With a total credit market exceeding $50 trillion, $1 trillion deficits would not cause hyperinflation for a long, long time.

That said, a global currency crisis at some point in the future is unavoidable if countries keep on the path they are on. Deficit spending and competitive currency debasement globally for the sole benefit of banks and the wealthy (the 1%) is simply not sustainable. Something has to give somewhere, and it will, most likely in multiple places, at a very inopportune time.

Addendum:

Max Keiser reports that Professor Antal Fekete Supports Sandeep Jaitly, with Fekete stating "truth can be approximated only through debate and that at no point was GSI envisaged as a ‘thought police’".

For a brilliant trashing of an article in The Atlantic against the gold standard, please see Pater Tenebrarum's article The Atlantic Weighs In on the Gold Standard

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Investment Conference Featuring John Hussman, Michael Pettis, Jim Chanos, John Mauldin, Mike "Mish" Shedlock, Chris Martenson

I am pleased to announce an economic conference in Sonoma, California on April 5, 2013 featuring some of the best economic thinkers and speakers in the world including...

  • John Hussman
  • Michael Pettis
  • Jim Chanos
  • John Mauldin
  • Chris Martenson
  • Mish
  • Special Guests

Sonoma is in "Wine Country", west of the Napa Valley and slightly north of San Francisco. If you like the idea of enjoying great weather, excellent food and wine, plus inside access to many of today’s best economic minds – all together in one of the most beautiful places in the world – this conference will likely interest you.

Reservations and Details

For reservations and details please click on Wine Country Conference.

The list of speakers includes select economic forecasters that I respect most. The group includes experts on China, monetary policy, and investment opportunities in a shrinking-yield world.

These minds have never all been in the same place at the same time before, so I cannot tell you how excited I am for us all to be together.

Net Proceeds to Charity

Net proceeds from this event go to an extremely worthy cause: funding research for ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Matching $100,000 Grant From Hussman Foundation

From now until the start of the conference on April 5, 2013, the John P. Hussman Foundation will generously match $1,000 of each conference registration fee as well as match any donations made to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, up to a total of $100,000.

Book Your Conference Reservations Now

There will be presentations and panels throughout the conference, as well as ample time to meet the speakers during breaks and mixers.

Please book your reservations now. There is a nice discount for those who book early. The total number of reservations is limited to 200.

Donations and Raffle Tickets

Matching donations continue up to April 5th but raffle tickets are not included in that match.

For those not familiar with the raffle, it is something I organized in honor of my wife Joanne, who passed away on May 16, 2012 from ALS.

If you missed it, please see My Wife Joanne Has Passed Away; Stop and Smell the Lilacs

In response to the above article, donations have come in from 40 countries around the globe! See link for details.

Raffle Ticket Entries are split 50-50 with ticket buyers in a drawing to be held November 8 (a change from my original posting date of November 15). Ticket sales end September 27, but you can still make a donation at any time.

Checks

To make a cash donation by check or money order, please send a check or money order to
Lacey Wood
Mish Campaign
Les Turner ALS Foundation
5550 W. Touhy Avenue, Suite 302 Skokie, IL 60077
847.679.3311 (Main)
Any questions, please call the above number.

Credit Card

You can make a donation or purchase raffle tickets by credit card on the Les Turner ALS Site.

Some people emailed they did not like entering the information fields required. However, the purpose is only to ensure the foundation knows how to get in touch with raffle winners!

People move, phone numbers change, and email addresses change. It's as simple as that.

Thanks!

Thanks in advance to all who attend the conference, make a donation, or purchase a raffle ticket. Money will be used for ALS research, a very worthwhile cause.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Clue for the Media

See if you can follow this:
  • Bank robberies are UP - these are reported to the FBI. Lying to the FBI is a very big no-no. People go to prison for this;
  • Auto Thefts are UP - Insurance companies report to stock holders and won't pay out without quite a bit of paperwork;
  • Shootings are UP - the Tribune, either by accident or by design, published the actual number of shootings as compared to last year;
  • Murders are UP - it is extremely difficult to hide a dead body, Drew Peterson aside.

We can't locate the Arson numbers at the moment, but it was UP earlier in the year. No idea if it leveled off or dropped at the moment.

Now, you can prove that these crimes are UP, but you want to believe everything else is down? Not just down, but down by 9% to 15% according to Rahm and McNumbers? Go read the CompStat book we've touted here a few times. Go look at the Milwaukee PD that is in all sorts of hot water for downgrading assaults, batteries and other crimes. Go look at any other metropolitan police force that is using the CompStat method of counting crime

We're leading you to the water here, but you're still drinking the Kool-Aid. Wake up.

Worth 1,000 Words

What does this picture say?

It shows McTool in the background while his boss speaks.

Now what does the picture say when it's posted with this headline and paragraph?
  • Cops treading water? Emanuel says no

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried Monday to skin back ­— ­or at least clarify — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s claim that Chicago Police are “treading water” in the fight against violence after another weekend bloodbath on Chicago streets.

    “I talked to Garry about that. That’s not [what he meant]. What he was talking about is a particular area at a particular point. Overall . . . crime is down 9-to-10 percent.

The picture has a tiny little caption saying it was taken back in July, but Fran Spielman does her dirty work for Rahm well. Our initial take just based on the article is that Rahm is removing McJersey's testicles and waving them around for everyone to see. Add the picture and the public castration takes on even more significance.

And in case anyone missed it, Rahm is now directly involved in deciding police policy:
  • After another violent weekend with a concentration of shootings in a single South Side neighborhood, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday said he wants to bring a police crackdown to Greater Grand Crossing.

    Nine people were killed and 32 wounded last weekend in Chicago. A third of the homicides and roughly 40 percent of the shootings were in that one neighborhood.

    "We now have to deal with what's happening in Grand Crossing over the weekend," Emanuel said at an unrelated news conference.

    Emanuel wants a crackdown that involves saturating roughly 16-square-block areas with police, eliminating corner drug markets and having officers stay there to maintain the peace. The mayor has credited the approach with reducing homicides in two of the city's most dangerous areas.

So why even conduct a "nationwide" search for a superintendent, spend months touting his crime fighting skills, publicly and pointedly demonstrate full support for his gutting the specialized units to fulfill your lie about "1,000 more cops on the street" and then turn around and end up personally directing the police to "saturate" a few square miles of an out-of-control populace with what's left of a gutted department? If Rahm is taking the wheel, McLastDays is probably being eased out of the loop.

Why even have a superintendent at all?

More Numbers

We posted most of an e-mail yesterday that pointed out that after all the manpower, teams, operations, and resources poured into the Harrison (Fillmore) District, their homicide totals from 2011 (year-to-date) were exactly the same as 2012 (year-to-date) - 29 dead.

Now, a helpful soul has done the same for Englewood:
  • Through 26 August 12, 007 had 30 murders for 2012 versus 41 in 2011 which equates to a 27% decrease, however, 007 also had 185 shootings during this same time frame versus 178 in 2011 for a 4% increase.

    In a nut shell, through 26 August 12, 007 has had 5 less people with holes in them than they did in 2011 through 26 August 12.

    So, they are pretty much even with last year like 011 even with throwing all the extra manpower into these districts.

We think the math is off slightly, but the number of people with extra holes is 215 (2012) versus 219 (2011). Four less. So Rahm and Garry are touting a 35% "decrease" to what might be bad aim and medical advances.

We would point out that 007 has received at least as much attention as 011 and the end result is an under 1% improvement in the total numbers.

But "Crime is Down!! Crime is Down!!"

Bernstein Announces Promo Exam

Who is tipping this guy off?
  • You should know that the City of Chicago is currently planning to give a sergeants exam in 2013. If you are going to be taking the 2013 police sergeant or future police lieutenant promotional exams, the attached information will be important to you. If not, please forward it to someone you think might benefit.

    In order to prepare police officers for the new promotional exams, Bernstein & Associates will be offering a series of classes. The feedback from our students on our promotional review has been extremely positive. Bernstein students have had some of the highest scores! Picking the right class for the new test is an important decision. You want to go with a proven winner.
This e-mail started circulating yesterday. At last count, the city spent some $4 million dollars on an exam that is six years old and only netted them 160 legit promotions by score (other exams have gone down to number 500).

But Rahm is finding another few million dollars from Chicago's broke ass in order to set the next generation of "merit-clout-orious" promotions on their career paths.

To the Unpublished Morons

Every so often, we get a particularly annoying set of trolls who come in here and spout their racist, sexist, antigun, liberal fantasies and expect to get a platform here. Usually, we delete them without comment, but a couple stand out today:
  • To the anti gun nut who says the only people signing up for the course offered to our readers are "gun fanatics like you SCC," why would you be against anyone, especially cops, becoming more adept at their jobs and the weapon they carry? You're the one constantly bitching about how untrained citizens shouldn't be armed. Here's training. Now what Asshat?
  • And to the other cretin who claimed they'd never take a course offered by a woman - this lady (with McDonald) took Richie Daley, the City of Chicago and the entire anti-gun lobby all the way to the United States Supreme Court.....and won. What have you done lately?
You will continue to not receive a platform here. That is all.

Capital Flight in Spain Hits 15-Year High

If Spain is going to be saved, someone better convince Spanish citizens because Deposit flight from Spanish banks hits 15-year high as bailout rumours grow
Spanish banks lost €1 out of every €20 deposited with them in July, making it the worst month for deposit flight in 15 years as rumours grew that the country is edging closer to a full bailout.

News that banks were losing deposits came as Spain's statistics institute revealed the current recession is worse than thought, with the economy shrinking at an annual rate of 1.3% in the second quarter.

"The downturn in the Spanish economy is deeper than previously thought and accelerating," warned Robert O'Daly of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Tuesday's revised figures showed recession started three months earlier than previously indicated. "The data shows the recession started in the third quarter of last year," secretary for state for the economy, Fernando Jiménez admitted.

A collapse in internal consumption in a country squeezed by government austerity and massive unemployment is largely to blame for the recession, as this fell at an annual rate of 3.9% in the second quarter.

Unemployment is already at 25% but the speed at which jobs are being destroyed quickened to an average rate of 800,000 jobs a year in the second quarter, according to the statistics institute.

That helps explain why Spaniards, and their companies, are both reducing spending and putting less money in the bank.
The amount of money Germany is going to lose when Spain and Italy decide to exit the euro grows leaps and bounds every month.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Are You Fucking Kidding Us?

Really? This is a serious "What the fuck" moment:
  • Kelly Davis wonders what would have happened had he been looking the other way for just a few moments.

    He was standing in Daley Plaza, watching his 2-year-old and 4-year-old daughters slide down the Picasso sculpture, when he saw a man rushing toward Myla, the youngest girl, Saturday evening.

    The man grabbed the girl's arm, muttering "This is my daughter, Goldilocks," but Davis said he wrestled him away and then chased him through alleys and building lobbies before finally flagging down police.

What? Saturday evening? And it's now Tuesday at 1530 hours when this story hits the Tribune Breaking News site? Almost seventy-two hours and this is "breaking news." Honest to pete, we though we were having iPhone issues when the news alert button chimed. How the hell was this kept quiet?

  • "I have no doubt that if I had my back turned, he would have grabbed her and she would have been gone in the city and I would have never seen her again," said Davis, 31, who lives in Zion and drives a school bus.

Oh, a tourist. We have not a doubt in the world that Rahm and Rahm's people made a shitload of calls to the media and demanded they sit on this. Can you imagine the headlines?

  • Suburban Child Kidnapped
  • Chicago Unsafe for Tourists
  • Rahm Cuts Mental Health Budget; Delusional Maniacs Run Rampant

Does anyone have any idea how many calls must have been made and how many people told to keep their mouths shut about this one for it to languish for nearly three fucking days?

Chicago comes off looking insanely (pun intended) bad on this:

  • As Davis struggled with the man, their mother Amanda Green grabbed the girls away. "I used myself as a barricade and I told him if he takes another step toward me or my kids, I will beat the ever living (expletive) out of him," Davis said.

    The man finally stepped down and began walking away, but Davis said he followed him. "We went through a maze of buildings and streets, he’s looping around. . .Sometimes he’s running, sometimes he’s walking, and I was trying not to lose him," Davis said.

    The chase even went through the Chase Bank building. "At the desk, I told them my name and a his description." Around LaSalle and Washington streets, Davis said he spotted police officers and alerted them and the man was arrested.

    Green said she was frantic after Davis ran off. "I was standing there, there are no cops coming, I have two very upset children and my boyfriend just took off with some crazy man and I’m standing by myself in the middle of Chicago."

Two-hundred extra police downtown and none around Daley Plaza? Probably all keeping an eye on the wilding crowd.

Journalism is dead in this burg. No way any old time reporter lets this sit for three days. You can't tell us that no one, on a Saturday night, wasn't tipping off someone somewhere about this one. We just don't believe it.

Wake up Chicago. You are being kept in the dark by a bought-and-paid-for media while politicians rifle through your pockets and turn out your socks for the spare change. They are in it together and you (or suburban tourists) are paying the price.

Anti-EU, Anti-Brussels Sentiment Rises in Netherlands; Don't Expect Much From a "Merkollande" Summit

Emile Roeme, a socialist running on an anti-Brussels, anti-austerity plan is likely to become the next prime minister of the Netherlands.

On the extreme right, populist Geert Wilders wants the Netherlands to withdraw from the eurozone completely.

The centrists who support the nannyzone feel squeezed in the middle, and their days appear numbered.

In a case of Dutch Discontent, Socialists Ride Wave of Anti-EU Sentiment
The economy is in trouble and unemployment is rising -- in the Netherlands as in much of the rest of Europe. Ahead of upcoming elections, the Socialists are riding a wave of euro-skepticism and may emerge as the strongest political force in the country.

According to the polls, [Emile Roeme] the former elementary school teacher could become the next prime minister of the Netherlands.

'Over My Dead Body'

Roemer owes this popularity to his skepticism about Europe. "Having even more Brussels is not the solution to Europe's crisis," he says. The Socialist rails against the European Commission's austerity targets, under which the Netherlands is supposed to reduce its budget deficit to below the Maastricht Treaty ceiling of 3 percent of GDP by next year.

"Over my dead body," says Roemer, referring to the possibility of penalties being imposed by the European Commission. It is also a jibe at the German chancellor, who used similar language to express her views on introducing euro bonds. Too much power has been placed into the hands of uncontrollable technocrats, Roemer claims. "The economic policy Brussels wants to dictate to us is downright antisocial."

If Roemer prevails in the parliamentary election on Sept. 12, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose one of the few supporters of her Europe-wide austerity program. The Dutch have stood with the Germans when it comes to imposing strict conditions on countries like Greece.

Now the Socialist leader wants his fellow Dutchmen to vote in a referendum on the fiscal pact, one of Merkel's pet projects, which aims to impose budgetary discipline on the 25 signatory countries. The government in The Hague, which collapsed in April over a national austerity package, has not ratified the agreement yet.

One Fewer Gold Star

Right-wing populist Geert Wilders, who is known for his anti-Islam stance, is also fighting against Europe. He opposes the euro and wants the country to withdraw from the European Union. He even says that one of the 12 gold stars should be removed from the European flag if the Netherlands were to leave the EU.

The left and the right in the Netherlands are coming at the traditionally pro-European centrist politicians from both sides. "It's like a horseshoe," says a senior EU official, talking about his home country. "The extremes are almost touching each other." The center-right Christian Democratic Appeal party (CDA) and the center-left Labor Party are being overtaken by populists on the left and the right.

In a country that, like Germany, has particularly benefited from the common currency, champions of the euro have seen their numbers decline. "Some 60 to 70 percent of our income depends on exports to other European countries," says Mona Keijzer, a top Christian Democratic politician. But she too stresses that each country should address its own problems, and she roundly rejects any additional transfer of sovereignty to Europe. "We want to be a sovereign country," says Keijzer. "We are Dutch."
First Sarkozy, Now Merkollande

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel were uneasy allies in an effort to unite Europe. Sarkozy wanted eurobonds, an idea Merkel emphatically rejected at least 20 times.

Hollande has now replaced Sarkozy, and the alliance would appear to be even more tenuous. Not only does Hollande want eurobonds, he also wants to rework some of the austerity measures insisted upon by Merkel.

Thus it is amusing to see politicians who cannot see eye-to-eye on much of anything agree to work together on solution to eurozone crisis.
Germany and France have moved on Monday to bury months of squabbling over how to resolve the euro crisis by agreeing to form a joint policymaking body to create a more integrated economic and fiscal policy in the eurozone and structure a new banking supervision regime.

The German and French finance ministers, Wolfgang Schäuble and Pierre Moscovici, said the aim of the new working group was to produce common policies on how to deal with Greece, Spain and Italy. as well as mapping out longer-term strategies. The Germans hope this will conclude in a full-scale political union within the eurozone.
Full-Scale Political Union? Really?

OK, Hollande wants to save the euro too. Lovely. However, he does not want to cede power to Brussels.

Consider this snip from the Wall Street Journal article France Shows Caution on EU Integration on July 8.
As they debate over the pace of future political integration, Mr.Hollande and Ms. Merkel are expected to spar over whether time has come to appoint a euro-zone budget czar. German officials have called for giving the European Commission more powers to police national budget, and make sure profligate nations don't put the currency union at risk any more.

France, fearing a loss of control over its national budget, has so far rejected that idea.

Instead, Mr. Hollande wants to boost the status of the leader of the Eurogroup, the informal forum where the leaders and finance ministers of the countries that use the euro currency meet.
How Long Can the Merkolande Alliance Last?

My guess is not long given radically different viewpoints on how to get there from here.

United States of Merkel

Let's recap what I said yesterday, in Merkel Pushes Convention to Draft New EU Treaty; United States of Merkel?
Do the German people want a centralized authority over budgets led by bureaucrats in Brussels or is is it primarily Merkel?

I suggest the latter. Merkel wants as her legacy a United States of Merkel (which I define as a United States of Europe in which she gets primary credit for building). She does not care what it costs Germany as long as it gets her in the history books forever and a day.

Numerous Problems

The problems should be obvious. Many countries, especially the club-med states, do not want austerity or loss of sovereignty. They want printing.

Also note that Holllande wants to continue his tax the rich policies while lowering the retirement age and preventing businesses from firing workers.

Will Hollande's ideas work in a United States of Merkel?

Let's assume they will work. Indeed that should be Germany's big fear. Put a bunch of nannycrats together and they are likely to decide anything. And whatever rules they decide will apply to every country in the nannyzone that foolishly signs the treaty.

If the treaty is a simple majority rule treaty, Germany would be at risk of being overruled by the club-med states. If  the treaty is by percentages, the club-med states would be at risk of being dominated by what is good for Germany and France (assuming of course Germany and France can agree).

Do-or-Die Political Expediency

Finally, politicians might want a nannyzone, but citizens of many countries would not, and I strongly suspect that includes Germany.

Recall that France and Germany pushed through a treaty in December (still not ratified). Also recall that Hollande ran on a platform of renegotiating the treaty.

Germany and France are still bickering. How's that supposed to work? Does Merkel think an agreement now is likely?

I think not. Instead, her proposal is simply a matter of do-or-die political expediency and her one last chance to push for the United States of Merkel.
Don't Expect Much (Except Bickering) From a "Merkollande"Summit

While Hollande is skeptical at best, the Netherlands is downright anti-Brussels belligerent.

So please tell me again how the Merkolande summit is supposed to work given the Netherlands, Germany, and France still not have ratified the last one, and numerous countries do not want to create a United States of Merkel led by nannycrats with budgetary veto powers.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Fed a Profit Center for Taxpayers?

Congratulations to CNBC for one of the silliest economic assertions in history. Please consider this sentence from Fed steps up release of results, says first-half income up.
Its release of first and second quarter results detailed a sharp rise to $46.447 billion in its payments to the Treasury, from $40.456 billion in the first six months of 2011, reminding U.S. taxpayers the Fed has been a significant source of income.
Fed a Significant Source of Income?

Say what? From Federal Reserve FAQs
The Federal Reserve does not receive funding through the congressional budgetary process. The Fed's income comes primarily from the interest on government securities that it has acquired through open market operations. Other sources of income are the interest on foreign currency investments held by the Federal Reserve System; fees received for services provided to depository institutions, such as check clearing, funds transfers, and automated clearinghouse operations; and interest on loans to depository institutions. After paying its expenses, the Federal Reserve turns the rest of its earnings over to the U.S. Treasury.
Got that? The Fed receives interest on government debt. The more it bloats its balance sheet, the more interest it receives (from the government, courtesy of US taxpayers of course). Whatever the Fed does not waste on salaries and other expenses, it returns to the US treasury.

Somehow the authors of that article managed to turn the Fed into a significant, $46 billion, profit center for the US taxpayers. Wow.

Furthermore, by suppressing interest rates, the Fed has crucified those on fixed income. Also recall that Fed fueled the housing bubble in the first place by holding interest rates too low, too long, in its open market operations.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Rahm Contradicts McBorrowedTime

The end game continues:
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried Monday to skin back ­— ­or at least clarify — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s claim that Chicago Police are “treading water” in the fight against violence after another weekend bloodbath on Chicago streets.

    I talked to Garry about that. That’s not [what he meant]. What he was talking about is a particular area at a particular point. Overall . . . crime is down 9-to-10 percent. That doesn’t just come your way. You have to go work for it,” the mayor said.

    “Where we have tried new tactics — like in Englewood where you see a 25 percent drop in homicides — how do we take that to other places? In the [Grand Crossing] district, we saw we had a problem, put [in] new leadership [and] we’ve seen a dramatic change in just the last three weeks . . . We have to now deal with what’s happened in Grand Crossing over the weekend — and we will do that.”

Rahm doesn't have people walking back what McFigureHead said - Rahm walks it back himself. What does that show besides a micro-manager desperate to stop the hemorrhaging (both literally and figuratively) that is destroying his political legacy before his eyes.

And the citizens aren't helping matters any:

  • At least nine people were hurt in six separate shootings across the city in an evening that included three double shootings, police said.

And the Tribune inadvertently exposes McCarthy's lies from yesterday:

  • Through Monday, the city had 1,648 shootings, 152 more than the same time last year, according to preliminary police statistics. The city also had 52 homicides for August, 17 more than all of August 2011.

But yesterday, shootings were down (but only in select communities - don't read the fine print).

NEWSFLASH MEDIA MORONS: Shootings aren't being prevented - they are being pushed from one area to another. We have no police to "hold" a neighborhood, so the jagoffs go down the block or around the corner to do their business....but never the alley for some reason.

The media types are being led around by the nose.

Government Spending as Percentage of GDP

Here are a couple of charts from Doug Short at Advisor Perspectives regarding government spending.

Federal Government Spending as Percent of GDP



Total Government Spending as Percent of GDP



I asked Doug for those charts because Paul Krugman said he would be concerned if government spending hit 50% of GDP. The trend does not look good, but by Krugman's measure there is a ways to go.

Nonetheless, I think we should be concerned now. The numbers ignore exploding national debt and interest on national debt. Interest on national debt will skyrocket if rates go up or growth estimates penciled in do not occur. Both of those are likely, although Japan proves that amazingly low interest rates can last longer than anyone thinks.

For a discussion of interest, please see Trends in Interest Rates on National Debt Suggest Currency Crisis is Coming

The figures also ignore ever-escalating costs of Medicare, Social Security, and pension promises, all of which are guaranteed to soar in the not so distant future. Romney says Unfunded liabilities amount to $520,000 per household.

I will point out that those liabilities are not debt yet. So might Krugman. However, I am comfortable in reducing benefits and slashing spending while Krugman is not.

Clearly there are many ways to spin this data but please note that government spending in France exceeds 50% of GDP. Also note that French unemployment is 10.2% and Hollande is poised to hike the top marginal tax rate to 75%.

Do we really want to imitate France?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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Smell the Desperation

It reeks. In fact, it reeks so bad, McNumbers is resorting to lies:
  • It’s another Monday morning after another weekend of violence in Chicago, but this morning, a situation that appeared to be getting better is only getting worse.

"appeared to be getting better"? From what angle? Homicides are up across the city, over 28 to 30% depending on which day of the week it is and what the butcher's bill is for the weekend.

  • “The fact is that we still have unacceptable level of violence here. We’re struggling in the month of August,” he said.

    During an interview on the CBS 2 Morning News, McCarthy said – up until August – shootings in Chicago were down for four straight months.

    “We compare month to month. So, last August we had basically the best August in the city in 30 years. The numbers were unbelievably low, but that’s not an excuse,” McCarthy said.

Shootings were down? Is this guy fucking kidding? Which version of the numbers is he using? The number of "incidents?" Or the number of people with extra holes in their bodies. Because if he's using the first measure, incidents might be down, but under the second count, we certainly can't recall so many incidents of multiple casualty incidents since the late 1990's. Three, four, five ambulances are being called to scenes with astonishing regularity.

And then hanging his hat on this?

  • McCarthy said, despite the weekend violence that left nine dead, officers were able to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation near Michigan Avenue.

    McCarthy told CBS 2 this morning that about 20 teens were running through a crowd Saturday night, pushing people and then darting into traffic. Officers quickly responded before anyone was hurt.

Twenty captured out of over 200, maybe 300 depending on which version you believe. Our best estimate was over 200 and that's on scene eyeballs.

But this is the real laugher:

  • McCarthy said, with added patrol officers in the Englewood and West Lawndale neighborhoods, things have started changing around. The murder rate in those areas is down 35 percent this year.

Really? Well let's just open up the SCC mailbag and see what pops out:

  • SCC,

    You're going to love this. In 011, there is a running tally of homicides this year as compared to last year on a board in the hallway. In 2011, through today's date, 011 had 29 homicides. Not many compared to historical highs, but enough to keep Fillmore in the running for the title this year.

    In 2012, McCarthy and Rahm have supposedly sent 011 hundreds of extra bodies, teams, cars, sweeps, buy/busts, reverse stings, you name it, 011 gets it (unless it's Time Due.) Guess what the homicide total is today with all the extra help?

    29. Exactly the same. How you like Chalkie now?
So evidently the entire 35% reduction McDesperation is touting comes solely from 007? Not bloody likely. And the media eats this shit up.

Shooting Course Bargain


A friend of ours and instrumental plaintiff in the McDonald v Chicago lawsuit, Colleen Lawson is offering our readers a specially priced shooting course:
  • As a certified Mag range instructor, I hereby offer Massad Ayoob's Mag-20 range course next weekend, to any interested LEO, at a full $100 less than normal, and if they'd like to qualify with their back-ups in addition to their duty weapons, that will be okay too. The entire class will be set aside for LEO exclusively that weekend.

    I know next weekend won't work for all, but I hope the dates of Sept 1-2 will work for some - it's a 20 hour course and there are NO other 20 hour weekends available till next year -- I checked. It will be held at Article II in Lombard, which I've chosen since it's the only indoor range suited to the Mag-20. In a conversation with a couple of officers this morning regarding the Empire State shooting today, I decided to shuffle previously scheduled classes and offer the weekend to any interested CPD.

    What is the Mag-20? The MAG-20 Range Course was formerly known as the StressFire Course of Massad Ayoob’s Lethal Force Institute. After interviewing hundreds of officers who had survived gunfights, Ayoob drew on their experiences, combined with his own decades long research, and created a powerful combat handgun system, initially known as the StressFire shooting method. Ayoob's research showed that in life threatening situations, human beings experience profound physical and psychological pressures causing deterioration of fine motor skills, and altering perceptions of time and other sensory inputs. Combining proven shooting techniques with principles from various martial arts styles, StressFire is a system that not only works under the enormous stress of violent encounters but actually feeds off it.

    In short, Massad Ayoob's MAG-20 Range Course is an eye-opening, two day program designed to bring out the officer's maximum potential for shooting a handgun under stress and to achieve the optimum blend of speed and accuracy while maintaining the highest control possible in concert with what's been learned through a focused study of combat psychology and physiology.

    Students will learn drawing from concealment, two-handed shooting stances, one-handed shooting with either hand, shooting from positions that work from behind cover, speed reloading and more with overall emphasis on fast, accurate shot placement. Training includes completion of a police-style qualification and entails an expenditure of approximately 500 rounds during training. While the qualifying student's comes away with a frame-worthy certificate, his body comes away with actions and reactions honed to life-saving response.

    For those officers requesting it, I'm fine with a payment plan, rather than turn down any officer who'd like learn to be that much safer while sharpening his or her skills.

    I'll be updating my website overnight to reflect the class changes, but interested individuals can just call to register, as my firearm skills beat my WordPress skills by a mile!

    The number is 773-234-5053, but I'll attach a business card to this email as well. Hope this strikes you as a good way of saying thanks: the mag-20 is the best I have, out of a roster of 9 classes from greenest beginner to well-seasoned shot.

    Stay safe, SCC

    ~ Colleen Lawson
Give her a call. Any course that lets you put 500 rounds through your gun is something worth looking at. And at a discount?

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