The latest news, April 29, 2016

Here is Reuters' take on the market this early P.M.:

U.S. economy stalls in first quarter as activity weakens broadly

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-idUSKCN0XP0BQ

Markets | Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:11pm EDT

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-idUSKCN0XP0BQ

WASHINGTON | By Lucia Mutikani
U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter to its slowest pace in two years as consumer spending softened and a strong dollar continued to undercut exports, but a pick-up in activity is anticipated given a buoyant labor market.

In a nutshell - there you have it! Rephrased - Employment statistics are good, but no one is buying.

How would we interpret that - and perhaps more important inwhat category? Gossip? Pipe dreams to influence public opinion? Repeat the lie often enough and everyone will believe it?

Built on these facts - for starters:

  1. One reporting facility - at this tiem of day - presents stats showing 85% of polled nations have the dollar in decline; meaning, everything is more expensive for the US consumer;
  2. First, Retail continues its march into the desert, head high and pockets empty; and Second, what are all the hard working people doing at their reconstituted jobs? Covering debts incurred during the past eight years? Building up reserves to carrythem through the glory years ahead?
  3. The Fed attempts assurances that the economy will look better a few months from now so the business community should hold off on expecting them to endorse our recovery path at this time - meaning, they pass on the interest raising propoosition the outlook is that good;
  4. The Fed will wait to see teh outcome of the failing Internatinal trade situation - meaning? - NO one needs our goods or is willing to accept the gamble of dealing with our debt supported trade technique, loaded with declining value dollar payoffs?;
  5. The dollar is still under seige; the indication at 1:11 P.M. - 85% of the polled nations inonelong-running set of statistics have other currencies faring better in the exchanges than the dollar - meanwhile, the conversion from dollars to gold is picking up as expected;
  6. China still has no answer for their major headache - no markets for their goods, and their stock markets have no dependable alternative support;
  7. Bank of Japan dropped ovee 600 points (about the equivalent of a similar drop in the DJIA - slightly larger than a 3.3% sudden drop.

BUT!! Our employment stats set up grounds for confidence bulding.

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Main question: How reliable is our ability to diagnose economic problems?

Tiresome it is, but we are not emerging from the consensuses with viable options; stuck instead in the "soft patches" of our weak economies according to Janet Yellen, (who picks up on the February technical term used by Loretia Mester, the new Cleveland Fed Bank president). What oter reliable descriptor is available? Predictions are out of the question, economic data is insufficient, mathematical modeling has no power in these areas, and we've burned the bridges of communication with the public accustomed to more common language. The foundering Fed is lost, wandering through a torturous desert with no landmarks, exposed to a burning overhead sun that publicizes all "filler" explanations, but serves as a searing spotlight that reveals their total lack of options.

Wait! Just wait! Things will improve.

And, in the process of waiting what improvements can we expect for the future? This is not the time to begin tinkerng with the motor. No, it isn't, but if not now, when?

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[To be continued.]

Rail declines continue

Lay-offs that began in the 4th qtr of 2015 are accelerating. A significant amount of engines are being idled. The first qtr of 2016 was extremely poor. April, the first month of the second qtr was poor. Today, the first wk of May was released and again it is poor.
The railroads largest commodity is coal. They were benefitting from oil shipments but those have fallen dramatically. They have invested heavily in intermodal shipping containers but that is also collapsing.
A little from today's report (1st wk of May):
"WASHINGTON, D.C. – May. 11, 2016 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May. 7, 2016.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 492,923 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.6 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending May. 7 were 233,047 carloads, down 14.8 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 259,876 containers and trailers, down 6.4 percent compared to 2015."
"For the first 18 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,320,667 carloads, down 14.3 percent from the same point last year; and 4,628,008 intermodal units, down 1.1 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 18 weeks of 2016 was 8,948,675 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 8 percent compared to last year."

They also commented a little about oil shipments:
"Crude Oil Carload Update

The AAR also reported U.S. Class I railroads originated 63,261 carloads of crude oil in the first quarter of 2016, down 21,664 carloads or 25.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 and down 49,828 carloads or 44.1 percent from the first quarter of 2015. "

https://www.aar.org/newsandevents/Press-Releases/Pages/2016-05-11-railtr...

rail report for May 2016

I decided to post this here since the report mentions that rail is not experiencing any improvement through the second month of the second qtr,

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 1, 2016 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for May 2016.

Carload traffic in May totaled 962,571 carloads, down 10.3 percent or 110,678 from May 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,049,631 containers and trailers in May 2016, down 3.3 percent or 36,365 units from the same month last year. For May 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,012,202, down 6.8 percent or 147,043 carloads and intermodal units from May 2015.

In May 2016, ten of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with May 2015. These included: miscellaneous carloads, up 30.8 percent or 5,854 carloads; crushed stone, gravel and sand, up 5.3 percent or 4,670 carloads; and chemicals, up 3.8 percent or 4,514 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in May 2016 from May 2015 included: coal, down 29.6 percent or 109,276 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 20.3 percent or 11,988 carloads; and metallic ores, down 12.9 percent or 3,701 carloads.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 29.6 percent or 259,735 carloads from May 2015.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 21 weeks of 2016 was 5,050,191 carloads, down 13.6 percent or 792,892 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 5,417,763 units, down 1.3 percent or 70,136 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. For the first five months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 10,467,954 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.6 percent or 863,028 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.

"Most economists think the economy has picked up in the second quarter from the dismal 0.8 percent growth in the first quarter, but so far railroads aren't seeing much of it," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "A variety of environmental and market forces continue to punish coal, and high business inventory levels and excess truck capacity, among other things, are pressuring rail intermodal volumes. Railroads are focusing on what they can control — providing safe, reliable service — while looking forward to the forces they can't control turning their way."

saldeck - and a way of opening the floodgates.

The thoughts generated by her posts seem to require more room to think.

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Not So Completely....

Submitted by saldeck on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 04:41.

The US economy come to a halt the past three months. What are the consequences for a global economy already progressively slowing? What will a stagnating US economy mean for Japan, already experiencing its fifth recession since 2008? For Europe, stuck in a long term chronic stagnation? And for emerging market economies, struggling with collapsing commodity prices and currencies?

Once heralded as the only bright spot in the global economy, the US economy now appears to have joined the slowing global trend.

Fiscal policies designed to stimulate consumption and good paying jobs are rejected. Trump is not going to have to do much...suppressed people will stand back up and do it, instead.

Describing China as "raping" the US economy embraces inaccuracy and distaste. This has not bothered Trump before and it is unlikely that he will lose any sleep over it.

Freedom of navigation? China has never impeded freedom of navigation on the high seas. The first US cruise ship in nearly four decades docked in Havana in early May. It is good to see freedom of navigation restored.

The Silk Road Initiative has in its vision and scope the potential to be one of the major economic programs since wartime debris littered the cities of Europe.

The world is changing, sorry for the cliché, but it is becoming increasingly evident. A common sense approach on the street level (literally), is taking shape in Rome and Milan where Chinese police officers are helping turists from China.

Brenda and Pete were so surprised by this!
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'Going it' alone

Submitted by Old and Gray on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 09:57.

After spending 400 or 500 years developing international trade, it's inconceivable that the US or any nation could suddenly reverse course and run an economy on its own. So, we are all victimized by each other, if not by our own delusions. The concept of "One World" has been prodded along with all the "technological" developments since prior to the use of the term. Now that we have One World we're discovering that we've overlooked a few fissures in that brittle earthern crust and marched ahead regardless - all to our collective disadvantages.

During his active career, Robert Mundell devoted most of his interest in international cooperation in the direction of compatibility - that is not only for the commercial compatibility, but cultural and financial as well. Without more unity than is found in commerce and money to bind us together in mutual interest, it was pointless to pursue the attempt. Let's presume that is a matter of maintaining mutual respect through the tribulations of negotiations and the trust required. So the issue is, what do we have in common with each other? And, how deeply rooted are these uniformities?

It's far from a simple matter of declaring that it is to our best interest to form alliances and proceed from there. When coupled with the force exerted by competition and only weakly moderated by the vision or expectations of cooperative benefits, it would seem the parties contending with each other are more in combat than cooperation with one another. Not the best of all possible worlds whether it's nation against nation or individual against individual, and still far removed from the most advantageous situation in the eternal search for mutual benefits.

So we stumble through our alliances, however far back in history one would care to delve. The roots of compatibility between - say - the present UK and the US is steeped in as much sharing Britain's history and political setup - filled with mistaken presumptions - as it is in trying to pretend we enjoy the same cultural habits and customs. - Myth more than fact - about the same amount of similarity a historian/researcher might find between modern day Australia and Britain. Disparities would be more obvious than similarities but for the language and some few structures - architectural as well as cultural in some cases.

What holds us together more than anything is the needs of each other's we service or resources we share or covet, interchanges made less objectionable (or more tolerable) with a smile and arm-over-the-shoulder brotherly cameraderie than does hard-nosed negotiation with grudgingly offered or accepted concessions - though we often pretend we're following one path when we are doing the opposite. It produces a situation we're forced into if we're to avoid the destructive clash or arms "of olde" to settle disputes or differences.

It's not much different than the circus that runs in Wasington - or Frankfurt, Bejing, - pick your venue - on a daily basis with gritted teeth and white knuckles with "diplomacy" smoothing the path.

Even though O&G has insisted from the start that we are in transition - Again! - how much of a "change" that is may never become clear. We seem to slide from one poorly defined cultural code or political device to the next, mostly repetition of what had transpired 50, two hundred years, or several millennia ago - different settings, different styles of dress but the same animosity beneath it all.

It seems the only way we can make headway through this complicated life, is to pretend that we control the life around us, when we are doing little more than blending in reluctantly and finding the result not quite satisfying when the control we actually exert is measured impartially.

So, what must we do to reconcile the ideal and actuality? Can it be done in Babelonia or New York City, London or Hong Kong - or Rome? What are we looking for and can we find it? And, is it the world that's changing, or is it simply the constantly changing, next "modern" dressing, language and technology that changes too rapidly in the course of a too-short lifespan to allow for adjustment?
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We want to try something different

Submitted by neoh on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 08:59.

We are not a European country, We are not Japan, We are not China.

An increasing number of us have realized that being the worlds consumer is unsustainable. A growing number of us are realizing that the world is better off without the US military being its policeman.

We are rich in natural resources and we do not have a manpower shortage. We don't want to participate in the collective NWO visualized by our politicians and Wall St.
Our largest container exports to China is scrap cardboard. I'm not kidding. Our top tech success is Facebook.

The past 30 yrs have resulted in a decline of living standard for 80% of our population. Our credit cards are maxed out, one of the so called benefits of being the worlds currency in a ZIRP environment.

We know it won't be easy. We know that our standard of living will decline before it gets better. We also know that to continue on the current globalization course will mean further, perhaps permanent decline. Becoming more isolationist may or may not work. But we're willing to give it a shot.

We don't need wine from France or Italy. We have our own vineyards. We don't need autos from Germany or Japan. We know how to make them. We don't need grain from Brazil. We have plenty of grain. We don't need oil from North Africa. We have our own energy sources in North America. We don't need military support from anyone. We're up to our necks in weaponry.

The average American can't afford a trip to Europe for vacation. Only the rich or the credit card addicts go there, besides, there are plenty of places in our vast country to visit.

I know I'm oversimplifying. Of course there will always be some trade. But globalization is also oversimplifying. We let out crony politicians sell us that bull. The result will be probably blowback to another extreme. That's what happens when you've been swindled. There will probably be an over reaction followed by a more moderate stance.

As for Cuba, I hope that we don't turn it into another vice ridden brothel for foreign tourists which caused the Communist revolution 60yrs ago. It seems that Greece and some of the Eastern European Union Wannabees are fast becoming that for the rich industrial power northern countries. That's what happens when you let your politicians swindle the population into accepting being on the lowest rung of the ladder called the European Union.

The World May Be Next

Seeking to disrupt the cross-border partnership, that is a fundamental part of the Western economy, carries the threat of economic chaos.
Paying obeisance to American primacy is a danger to every company that does business in the US.
Semplistic views on security carry the threat of a border clogged by a quagmire of ruinous restrictions - ill-considered, ill-advised and self-defeating, but emotionally satisfying to those who equate American "greatness" with the ability to disrupt relations with other.
The US benefits greatly from the sway it holds in allied capitals. Shattering the trust that underlies that status carries incalculable consequences.

Like it or not, Republicans are stuck with Trump. The world may be next.

I think you might be missing the point

Saldeck, I think you are missing a very important statement V_L made earlier:
"You don't get it about Trump. He fought to win against complacency and discovered most people agree with him. He is not going to have to do much... suppressed people will stand back up and do it instead."
The point being winning against complacency not necessarily Trump's solutions to problems.
There is an equally important, though less publicized, situation playing out in the Democrat primary. Hillary does not have the support that she expected from the Democrats. Sanders has embarrassed her in many states. Again, as mentioned earlier, people are challenging complacency.
Challenging complacency is a good thing. Wise men said it long before it was popularized by Timothy Leary "Think for yourself, question authority".
Most Americans agree that we've been dragging our feet concerning immigration at our southern border. This does not mean that most would tolerate mass deportation and building a wall that would dwarf 10,000 Hoover dams.
I might advocate isolationism. This does not mean everybody agrees with me or the magnitude I would propose. Almost everybody agrees that developing products and then promptly shipping the majority of those jobs that would have made that product oversees is not working.
Don't trust everything that's printed in the msm. The only thing that seems to be actually happening at this time is that people are questioning the integrity of the system and the decision makers that control it.

I'll side with saldeck here

V-L's point may not be acknowledged but whether or not the US non-voter citizens will line up with him on this one at the polls is questionable.

Neoh, you know people talk a great game in the lead-up, but make up a long list of no shows at the polls. There have been surprise outcomes to Presidential elections in my voting lifetime beginning with Harry Truman which, as it developed historically, the voters got it right despite newspaper headlines set up - who knows? a week in advance? - proclaiming Dewey the voters' choice.

Romney blew his chances by behaving invulnerable and not keeping his mouth shut. . . O&G has already categorized Trump in the same box. We'll stay with the anticipation that he can't resist talking himself out of any resonable chance. . . only because once he starts talking, he doesn't really understand consequences of that which he proposes. . . The expectation stands no matter who the opposing candidate. . . which includes Bozo and Cheetah.

Unless there's a big disappointment in store, the faith rests with those who pull the levers in November. Rest assured, they recognize the difference. It depends on whether that knee jerk reaction to the power of the lever is too tough to overcome or not.

Keep it up, Don; the hole just got deeper

I don't want exemption from 'ignorant' Trump's Muslim ban, says Sadiq Khan

It's now plastered all over the UK's news media, been translated into every European language, has been as much lauded as has Trump's premature and completely idiotic stream of proclamations been ridiculed. And, the bet is: this observation is possible despite the current over-run of immigrants in Europe and the backlash. In other words, it's not the way differences are resolved

Since he has no grasp of the enormity of his mistakes, he has no grasp of the idea when or how he'll embarrass himself more or when his mind will reel off another bit of paranoid insanity. Every breath he takes is a threat that more immature nonsense will happen on the way out. We're all under the gun; each statement we issue is a measure of the person, and each measurement is indelible. To be in the spotlight, under observation and not understand that simple fact is the guaranteed death knell.

Operating on a shoot-from-the-hip frontier style from the sanctity and global exposure offered to the oval office is something a potential president cant afford. How long would it take to throw the world into complete chaos. . . choice of the wrong word? A sentence filled with hatred and/or prejudice?

How long would it take to slip from being the "Free" world's leader to a pretender-clown of no importance? A mistaken belief that the office elevates the occupant above unfavorable judgements? That every noise he emits is a gem?

In ten seconds he can destroy any prestige the office presents.

Go back to Truman again and his analysis that "The office elevates the man; and not the man, the office."

That's the basic point Trump will never grasp, and that's why he'll continue to dig deeper, obstinately.

You Are Acting Emotionally And Forgetting Too Much...

"Operating on a shoot-from-the-hip frontier style from the sanctity and global exposure offered to the oval office is something a potential president cant afford. How long would it take to throw the world into complete chaos. . . choice of the wrong word? A sentence filled with hatred and/or prejudice?"

Bring it on. Make it happen. At the end of the day. There is no I in teamwork.

In America alone, there are 96 million long term unemployed and 50+ million under and struggling self employed. The Dow is UP 200 points today on Amazon-- a pariah tech train wreck that makes money off stock investment, not off the goods you purchase on it's site. USPS is in major re-organization now (like a bankruptcy) mainly because it's fleet of trucks and drivers work 24/7/365 now delivering YOU imported Chinese-made goods. Oh... and commodities are UP. A great deal of Americans can no longer afford to go to the grocery store. There are more people under 30 at the, and under the, poverty line. BIG Money can buy defeated candidates out of the woodwork to run again- after they lost.

We need Chaos, young man. If you stand in the way of it, you will get tread-on, your cheese will move and there are only so many Wal-Mart greeter jobs to be had. We WANT him to destroy the Office. All three bodies of our government STINK and do nothing for the majority. So when a guy gets in that says-- wake up, stand up and do not let me catch you being PC... you get to work. I expect to be sore at first but once I get back in the groove, you get economy from me. Unless YOU can give ME some economy right now... you know what you can do with your rant.

Cheese will move. Best to know how to make cheese.

not a red vs blue election

At least that's refreshing. This election (so far) has obliterated the Republican Party and the revival of the Mason Dixon Line.It's an establishment vs anti-establishment contest since it doesn't look like Bernie is going to win the Democrat Primary.
So it will be interesting. Angry Democrats, Republican's, Independents voting for Trump. Fearful people, those that don't want to rock the sinking boat, voting for Clinton.
Does Clinton realize how many people don't like her? Is she a little embarrassed by Sanders giving her a run for her money (and her money was vast. The usual corporate special interests of recent elections).
O&G, don't be too concerned about Trump's mouth throwing the world into chaos. The last four soft spoken, presidential type guys have been responsible for the destruction (deaths) of people that are counted in seven digits and the destruction of the middle class in the USA that can be counted in 9 digits. Acting presidential they have been. Being presidential not so much. The world is in a state of chaos, has been for awhile, and it will get more chaotic.
As far as Sadiq Khan goes. Who cares. He's only the mayor of the most gentrified piece of real-estate on the planet.

Or... Wait for what's behind Door # 3....

Meanwhile... the 222 point gain for the Dow has nothing beneath it. It clearly appears that the American stock markets are following the Chinese off the cliff. June 1st crosses the 45 day mark of a 90 day quarter that contains more turmoil and bad press based on dismal financials than any prior. I sign off soon... relocation. Sorry friends but the future does not have room for whining about unruly candidates in a rigged society. If you want an economy, you don't support politicians.

Relocation?

The more one travels the more it is apparent that it is the same the world over. We are locked for the time being in a very dark age.
They are the guiding light we extinguish with every advancement of the so-called ages of the white history and globalized destruction.
Enlightnement (slavery) and Industrialism (more slavery) and post-Industrialism (massive slavery) and this Digitilation Tsunami (complete slavery) upon us all and the coming Dark Age of Financialization plague.

Best thing in society, a place these college grads, is letting unfetterd exploitation, profits, usury. This is the felony of our times: teaching that we have an economy for the rich, the bankers, the billionaires who are the lords and masters of each micro cent the community has put into surviving.
Nations of complacence, mystified by the magic of algorithms.

The time for living has long passed, and these are the days of credit, mortgaged people and entire countries under the foot of the monster.

Don't go now old friend

the thing about this site that makes it worthwhile is that we can share different opinions about the same subject.
We also all seem to share the common belief that the system, in its present form, is not sustainable.
As far as politics goes, it usually is a decisive subject that often becomes emotionally charged.
The fact that this cycle is more emotionally charged than usual, indicates that decades long complacency is ending.
I don't watch stock market action too much anymore. It became somewhat irrelevant with free money controlled by a few players. That 220 pt surge you mentioned proves it. A rising market in a nearly dead real economy.
I laugh it off now. I think if a sudden plague wiped humanity off the face of the Earth, the algo driven market would continue to rise until the emergency generators ran out of fuel!
Take a break if you must but please come back. Your input, along with the others at this site, have been very helpful to me (and others) in preparing for inevitable change that will occur.

edit: I think I meant divisive instead of decisive :(. OH well, time to dust off the "hooked on Phonics" books!

Maybe.

Birth. Growth. Maturity. Decline to Death... voluntary or involuntary.

These times are hard because of education, not awareness. A few things... there was a recent study about wealth. It gives it's offspring advantages that apparently cause privilege. The study culminated with the recommendation to integrate ALL schools equally. That is-- the rich to poor attend the same schools and are expected to be spewed out into Society with equal chances of buying a college degree and living in Utopia. The "study" failed to grasp history or respect the environment we currently exist in. Youth claim their parents ruined the housing market, but Reality suggests that a specific group of educated people changed the Law regarding home credit interest while eliminating corporate liability for windfall gains. The subsequent economy gave birth to home remodeling and renovation that in turn "should" have created segregation in housing values (new, improved, recoverable, blight). It did, but then the underlying credit market got corrupted by Wall Street and crashed when shoddy commodity pools became a toxic racket. From this-- the housing market took on segregation, but not the way it was planned. Many of our worst blight areas are being closed-community-renovated. Basic family housing is at a premium because both new families and empty-nest couples want them. Custom housing is either highly desirable by modernization or a total bust as an Albatross-level project too expensive for those who can do the work. Wealth might indeed be able to buy their offspring a head-start mansion but where will it lead them?

Back to school. We used to go to school for education. Today it is for social grooming. The output of schools are unable to function without accessories to luxuries that become needful things. The two best categories for future survival are-- living without privilege handicapping your awareness, and, a grasp of functional skills needed and critical as time continues to erode and decay the Status Quo. Given the disparity in incomes now, it is more than not likely that concentrations of privilege will act like farms for plundering. The media suggests everyone wants to be popular and privileged because selling these as society attributes means pigeons will be willing to invest all they make into keeping up with trends and fads and look-a-part equipment and devices. Suppression never pans out that way. Our likely future society will be driven toward basics, not beauty contests.

Wealth is now extremely concentrated. So much so that most people on Earth lack the substance for basic survival. Wealth can gyrate all it wants now, but out of the majority will rise the direction we take now. It is completely unlikely that money will have value going forward. It was a viable currency device when the world was comprised of hundreds of millions of small enterprises, farms, craft and utility services. If Education was rated on functional value today, administration and profession would be on the bottom. On the top might be- plumbers, veterinarians and small practice ubiquitous doctors, scratch farmers, equipment makers, fabricators and those in reconstitution or any- "re" type field. After 10-20 years of lacking the wherewithal for currency-reliant survival, people are not going to shift out of guerrilla-mode to slouching Middle Class. AND... those imitating that in this artificial economy don't snap their fingers and blend in... they see their pathetic existences flash before their eyes and "try" to catch up but likely mental-fail before that happens.

I always marveled at O&G's choice of topic-- Tsunami Wave. That wave is the momentum of crap existence predicated on exploitation. Greed would cut it's own trapped left hand off so it's right could reach for a dollar lying on the floor-- before anyone else gets it. The pool of fools totally immersed in Greed is shrinking, involuntarily, mostly. The "monster" is mainly complacent now because sharp movements will make parts fall off the whole and in doing that-- reveal how ancient it really is. The Wave comes to shore soon-- like this year still. Wealth can't tread water and hoard simultaneously and no vessel will accurately navigate through all the obstacles that water assaults. We will all lose something. Some more than others. Paper money, specie, real estate, business platforms that import, every administrative job, most of our commercially-exploited technology... it all goes. After that wave passes and the landscape is littered with debris and trash... YOU stand back up hopefully. YOU and your skill set. There will be an awful lot of privilege seeking resuscitation. Decide... do you revive the wave or the craft skill?

I know what I want. That's why I am relocating. Many already have.

tsunami wave and recycling society

V_L, that cycle you mention - let's refer to it as a social phenomonon (though social seems benign when you consider how vicious we humans can be in chasing after what we want), there is birth, growth, "maturity" within our natural limits but in place of death I might prefer to see the word transition, even though it is to no more than a repeat of the last cycle. The unfortunate part of the transition, we don't live long enough to go through the process several times and retain the memory; if we did, we'd probably find - again within those natural learning limits we deny exist - that the restart button has brought us back to the same beginning we experienced last time, slate wiped clean.

We have no idea how to do it any other way. Back to the starting point with a blank mind, no memory, no recall, no taste for the last disaster or the cost. However we energize that community cycle, we're off, convinced we finally have the vision of nirvana in sight and the trip is under control. More delusions.

We may offer this narrative as a critique hoping that it might cause us to learn something, but, the thought is used by the grasping hands to justify their preying on others. "If it makes no difference which way we go, I choose the path that makes me feel big and important," And, the seed is planted.

From animal skins to Gucci, Armani and Versace, it's been the same cycle, and every time we believe we've discovered a new, better way, the same class of humans step to the head of the parade and claim it is their idea, their doing, and everything is in their honor - so they may as well reward themselves accordingly.

If it's a tsunami wave, it is not a single wave but a succession, and the latest may be the thousandth or millionth wave humans have gone through; perhaps learning less each time around instead of more. One thing we do know - how to force the wave into an ever-greater stress situation that increases amplitude each successive go-around. And, along with that, each new start promises we are more cramped and more restricted. Plus when there were fewer of us, there was more room to move around. The bigger the crowd grows, the more toes there are to step on. To guard against that, we surrender more personal freedom - or, it is demanded of us.

Personal freedom in a crowded world

Not long ago, O&G intended to write an essay on our government's intrusion on personal freedom. It was promising to grow more oppressive as the population multiplied. Soon, control would need another tack to compensate for the confusion unruly groups of people upset the calm of Washington life. We'd have lists of "don'ts" that would outnumber the list of allowed liberties. It may not yet be in our lifetime, but, then again. . . . How many don'ts creep into our legal system with each new law written up by our keepers in Washington who pretend to be looking after our interests?

This morning O&G had another shock - soon after posting the message above - of having his favorite, obscure firewall send a message that an intruder was detected and asking if it should be allowed. The response was, "Reject it!". The message repeated about ten times at which time it was decided that their guns were stronger than ours and the 'Net was was cut off quickly by means of a dedicated toggle switch after the last rejection, but not before down-loading the extensively coded identifier in the message box which was copied and saved.

The listed attempt was accredited to "govt1" which it seems logical to interpret as a gov priority and through the auspices of none other than google!

For some time through the recent past, there has been a muffled protest from several sources against government efforts to compromise privacy on the net - invading emails in transit and making arrangements with internet service providers to use their facilities to monitor correspondence and track habits. Innocent, so the justification went. How specific that became was never specified, but tracking people at almost any degree is useless unless the tracker can get right down to the individual and the specifics. . . And, of course unless we've been living incommunicado for the past couple of years we must all be aware that billions (perhaps trillions or more - the 'net is a busy place!) of specific items have been extracted and stored in secure government locations, "for evaluation later".

.

On firing up the PC for the current trip, an attempt was made to arm that favorite little firewall and it would not respond, the half dozen places the program was stored for security were visited and all trace of the program are gone. The icons remaining refuse to open so reinstalling is compromised - this included an external hard drive where stored copies (3 places) - were obliterated!!

Measures had been taken to protect the program against aggressive anti-virus programs. Two favorite anti-virus programs were discarded because they claimed the firewall was incompatible (? - after several years of living in harmony?) with their program. Fine, a simple announcement that incompatibility existed and I would have dropped the anti-virus programs and gone elsewhere for protection, but the privilege of reserving the right to use the firewall should remain with the owner of the PC as long as no destruction to the public ethernet occurred should be the controlling guideline, should it not?

Apparently not! Having it on your PC is cause enough to intrude and set the world straight again.

On this occasion, the program could not be loaded from the DVD's on which it is stored! Thus, the purging of the program is too complete to be an accident; more serious than that, it does appear to this old guy that the venue for his beliefs in freedom, liberty and personal responsibility has expired as has his welcome to personal expression of non-violent protest. Faith in that belief was prerequisite for "free speech" as specified in Article I of the Constitution which has been part of our heritage since the December 16, 1791 ratification of the Bill of Rights. Government has been closing the opening of personal preference and judgments little by little as population increased and our Washington solons had long ago reached the limit of their ability to cope with growth and/or tolerating an "unruly mass" of citizens as they milled about uncontrolled while tending to normal daily business - meaning what? - not bending in the preferred direction at crucial moments.

At one time, not too long ago, there was an unexplained interruption in the electric line feeding O&G's PC. When the current returned, curiosity prompted the use of a German program to track down the IP address and location. A warning stated bluntly that this PC was not supposed to be where it was . . . that was in a Google warehouse in Mountain View, California. Now, how could my PC connection wander to that site without an escort?

Why someone should take oppressive action at this point, after O&G had posted thousands of pages of criticism, defies plausible explanation. Whether it truly is the US Government or the professional hackers at work serving someone who objects to the tone of the posts, makes not much difference in the case of O&G. If it is someone else, it is doing so with government approval, or non-intervention. For O&G, the strength to resist isn't as powerful as it was. A friendly cardiologist has been insisting that I'd fare better and my heart would behave more passively without the extra burden.

It's been quite a few months since the cut-off from the feedback on the numbers and locations of the widely spread global readership of Duffminster Times. Then, too, government agencies were the last recorded contacts to this site on the occasions of being cut off from net access from a matter of a few hours to a few days sometime back - was it a year or more ago? This yeoman PC has also tolerated a battering when its operating systems sere destroyed and its back-up systems corrupted. . . None of it accidental, of course. But, a little work and we were back in action.

A very friendly cardiologist has been advising that this is not the time of life to plunge into the stressful situation of introducing unnecessary turmoil into an evermore fragile life.

Perhaps, then, yielding would be the better choice after eight years of carrying placards in this thinning out parade. The eyes are not yet ready to shut everything out and there is an undying curiosity to see just how this farce will end; but, then, on the other side of the ledger there's a saying about discretion and valor. . .

This calls for the personal quest of mulling over the situation. . .

Thanks

I can't elaborate much beyond that simple word. I don't know how long you will be with us. Age conquers all of us eventually.
You have influenced my way of looking at the world profoundly. Not in a negative sense even though I may write that way. You have influenced my world views in a positive sense. I know a little more about things that I knew nothing about. That's a positive. Reality is always better than ignorance or deception.
Your writings and comments are full of energy, and energy can't be destroyed.
I hope you continue to comment when you feel like it. We miss it when you don't.
I hope V_L will stay with us as long as possible also. You too saldeck. I learn a different perspective from an educated person in a land I'll probably never visit.
Nothing lasts forever. Even this site will close someday. But today is not that day.

Change

We know each other online... our personal lives are different. My last 8 years have been- educational, to say the least. I am changing again. Who I will be, will be completely different than who I was 8 years ago and the 8 years since. It's hard work to change this much. Prayer has helped immensely. If I could, I have stories that might amaze you. I hope to continue growing, evolving and progressing. I will disappear for a while because the move involves a lot more than just a simple household. I will return.

O&G... I have experienced what you have. If there is one thing I have learned in this world, over-confidence usually accompanies complacency and the "government's" need to suppress through information accumulation will also be what stands between the world that crashes from over-control and manipulation, and the one people gravitate to when the old one is too far gone to hope it will return.

Markets-- Bezos and Amazon have some psychotic wish of omnipotence. Meanwhile, i-Phone sales are tanking and online subscribers are dwindling. The tech train wreck (self-inflicted) is heading for the washed-away bridge. Retailers are tanking everywhere... that doesn't mean the world is running to Amazon, it means the world has run out of money and can't afford anything. Consumer debt is hyper-inflating. Yesterday's 222 point Dow gain just disappeared with today's 219 point loss. Get it? You can have a zillion super computers but if you can't make a sandwich, not buy a sandwich, you are screwed.

Before the end of the year- 2017, my hopes are that our first book gets published. One doesn't leave good friends for long... bizarre that in this time in the world... 4 people can get to know each other but not. I am better for our relationship.

For the last week... there have been 2 guests on here while I post.

That is not the end of the story.....

Immensely grateful, touched, astonished, abashed. You cannot be seen or even touched. I feel you with the heart.
Now let's move on. That is not the end of the story, that is the very, very beginning.

One last comment. . .

Initial unemployment compensation claims this AM -

Estimated at 265K -
Came in at 294K

Off by a mere 11%, but in the unfavorable direction. Typical of feeding the anxiety to wish our way out of the depression.

Goodbye

Where is the good in goodbye?

Give Them Money

Veteran_Lender said: "I know what I want. That's why I am relocating".

Former autoworkers, steelworkers and coalminers need to pick themselves up and move to where fresh jobs are available or retrain.
There is a logic to this argument but it glosses over the deep wounds of a large industrial closure. It is not just that workers lose jobs. The entire economic ecosystem of an area can collapse. Newly jobless workers find that their homes are worthless, their pensions too sometimes. And workers with the kind of skills that are under pressure from technology or trade may find that they move from one sinking lifeboat to another, with their new jobs under threat from the same forces that destroyed the old ones.
More radically, retraining - maybe as a neurosurgeon or data scientist, would solve that problem, but then so would discovering a Rembrandt in the attic.

Bringing new jobs to people is the most natural idea, but regional regeneration is difficult. Depressed communities often stay depressed.
If the jobs won't move, perhaps the workers can? New reaserch at the IMF finds that US workers move less than they did back in the 1980s. Instead of moving, they are more likely to stay put and stay jobless.
Why is mobility falling in the US? Maybe because dual-income hauseholds find it harder to move, but then the same pattern is seen for single people. Housing costs increasingly prevent people from moving in search of work.

An answer as how to compensate the losers is the simplest: give them money.

So difficult to determine

Your point of jumping from one sinking boat to another is true. I've seen it happen to many people that I know.
Often, it takes a long time to conclude that the job that you were trained for is actually gone for good.
I experienced this personally during the early 80's recession. I wasted almost 2 yrs after they had closed the factory I worked 10 yrs before being convinced that steel fabrication was not returning to Northeast Ohio. There were always mixed signals that it would return.
Imagine a new small high tech fabrication shop being opened in Cuyahoga County, The POTUS along with other politicians being there for the dedication, and all of them proclaiming that this type of high tech industry would be restore the region to its former industrial greatness. After all, wasn't a branch of the Federal Reserve located in downtown Cleveland? That plant is gone.
At that time, I could identify only two types of jobs that seemed might have a future. One was the emerging computer technology and the other was a lot of infrastructure conversions that were occurring in HVAC and industrial conversions to natural gas being used instead of oil (The Arab oil embargo had occurred a few years prior). I was more comfortable turning wrenches so I chose the latter even though "computers" seemed like it had greater earning potential.
Many of us went to full time trade schools for two years. Most of us were in our early to mid thirties. Sometimes we wondered if we made the right choice because manufacturing seemed to be hiring again and were offering a good starting salary for experienced people. The brightest guy in our class dropped out after 13 months when his former employer offered him a job that was over twice as much as what he would be offered for a starting salary in our new trade. At the time I was envious of him. In hindsight I was lucky. Terex and Euclid closed about 6 yrs later.
Eight years ago I recommended that young people be trained for welding. There was a shortage of qualified welders and the oil patch was paying a premium for that trade. Today, I imagine there are many people living in those areas receiving the same mixed signals I received in the early eighties. They wonder if it's a temporary slump or is it over for a long time.
Those of us that chose mechanical trades were lucky with an emphasis on lucky. We didn't know the future and never anticipated that we would be approached by recruitment agencies when we were in our 60's. There aren't many young people in my field. They closed the 2 yr full time schools years ago because there was a temporary glut of new workers. Many of the local schools only offer 6 wk-6 month programs. They don't know enough for a small firm to risk a couple hundred thousand dollar investment since they usually leave for a number of reasons that are not necessarily salary issues.
I don't know why God blessed some of us economically and not others. It's a humbling experience. I wasn't a saint. I was in my 30's and at that time it was prime hiring age. Those in their mid 40's or older never recovered financially.

Why moving is not an option for most

It is widely reported that over 50% of US households do not have $500.00 for an emergency car repair. The same 50% probably don't have a credit card.
One of the problems with bubble economics is that bubbles usually don't last long and when they burst, other bubbles are created.
Northeast Ohio is not a booming economic zone but we are affected, although to a lesser extent, as more prosperous parts of the nation. An example would be the cost of home and apartment rents which have increased significantly since the housing crash. Many of those who lost their jobs and homes have completed the long process that make them eligible for section VIII housing assistance. Depending on the amount of income and dependents, they may be paying less than $100.00/month for a single family home that would normally rent for $750.00/month. Ohio also provides generous food allowance and medicaid assistance for lower/no income households. Many of these people are able to find some "under the table work" which provides some money for household items.
Although many of these people would prefer to work and pull their own weight (especially those that lost jobs in the past eight years), they find themselves trapped. They don't have the amount of funds available for paying the typical two month deposit plus one month in advance for living quarters in a section of the country that may appear to be prospering (but often only another bubble). They usually find that even in those sections of the country that there isn't a severe labor shortage anyway.
This causes a problem. Our welfare system, despite good intentions, turns into a permanent way of life that welfare recipients adapt to. It's a problem that even left leaning people like myself can't find a solution. Do we kill them with kindness? Do we take it away in an economy that does not have enough jobs that pay a living wage?
I believe that is part of the reason we experience much higher grocery costs than the "official" rate of inflation. Giving people free money for a specific type of commodity, in this case food, is destined to result in higher cost for that commodity when nearly fifty million people are receiving it. I've seen it happen in my trade. When the government gives away free money for energy efficiency upgrades or emissions reductions AND says that the free money is only available for a limited time, then the manufacturers of that equipment, the good and the bad, suddenly charge more for that product. The result is always the same, too many pay for equipment that is at best poorly designed or not tested, or worse swindled by blinking lights high tech (not) equipment salesman that disappear shortly after it's sold.
There are millions of people in this country suffering from a disease called resentment. They make just over the amount of salary that would allow them to be eligible for housing, food, and medical assistance. They see too many people in the neighborhood living in subsidized homes who are able to keep the thermostat at a higher temperature during the winter due to subsidized utility allowance, are able to buy better groceries due to subsidized food allowance, and are able to receive medical care for free, and don't have to go to work everyday. Then to add insult to injury, they turn the TV on and listen to the POTUS, Mr. Change You can Believe In, brag about how he saved the country from economic calamity by rescuing Wall St. And then they puke when he brags about creating the best jobs market in history. Wall St, they can't afford to invest one dollar in.
Unless things change seriously, we are going to experience migration to states that provide the most free money. It makes sense. Corporations have been doing for decades. Why not individuals?

Create Hope, People Gravitate To It...

Around 2003... I sat through a presentation on the economic future of America.. It portrayed the Rust Belt states as going dead when millions relocated from it to the South. It speculated that the old and [job-less] stubborn would stay and things would get ugly. It showed the tenacious leaving last and then a renaissance movement back there by a mainly solvent Southern migration. Not ONE logical commonsense question refuting the composite was answered, instead there was-- the dance. The dance indicated this scenario had been rehearsed.

During the Obama Era, we saw people walk away from mortgages and either buy repossessed home uptown, move into other family residences or relocate, like to the South. People who would be 70-80 today, literally picked up their economy and caused de-stabilization here and Wal-Mart reliance in the South. They bought guns, ammo, anarchy and played bad money games like day trading and false stock run-ups. The Southern Surge dried up reservoirs, jammed roads, killed off culture so chain retail could thrive and literally went insane. Still are. Meanwhile, the Rust Belt rusted more and saw the ugly rise. Most of Ohio has yet to actually grow beyond it's Industrial/Agricultural Era hey day. There are more dead towns in Illinois than in Iraq. Michigan is surrounded by 20% of all the fresh water in the world and has a massive lead pipe drinking water problem AND... 1 in 4 children here live in destitute conditions. There are thriving metropolises in the Rust Belt states, but no sustainability.

The East, South and West were not incredible opportunities because the forecast economic state failed to reflect the train wreck of techno-dominance, job blockading, political derision and divisiveness. The South has no water and isn't going to pay for Michigan's pipes to be retrofitted with Pex. America has no industry now and business platforms have degenerated so badly that they are little more than administrative management heavily engaged in political steer and financial gambling and a publicly-traded stock pumped regularly by fake-printed money. East and West are wobbling at best... both populations spend most of their time paying on debt they are drowning in.

Relocation. The future is not rosy. With Amazon now usurping 42% of online sales in the 1st quarter 2016 and the bulk of brick-and-mortar retailers buckling, the sprawl models are endangered. To some degree, people will need some internet access, some economy, some society and some viable stability or no place will be good to live in. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to surmise that amassed wealth-- fake or real-- is a grotesque problem that will be dealt with cruelly beginning later this year. What does that mean? It means we won't need so many of everything everywhere and have destitute people try to patronize and pay for overhead while a select few live as elitists.

There are some places that may never recover. Many Plains state places never emerged from Dust Bowl and Depression Era destruction. Industrial cities will suffer that course. For all the Press Flint is getting over bad water, the Charles Mott Foundation is rising to help. Mott grew apple trees and made apple sauce. Those orchards gave weigh to auto plants that largely closed in the late 1980s. Flint hasn't really had an economy since. Southerners aren't going to relocate there. For as much as the western side of Michigan has attempted a cool campus effect culture... it doesn't have sustainable economy-- too much tech reliance. Further north is literally job-barren, as is places bordering Michigan's southern exposure.

How do I know all this? Now you know what I've been trying to do for 8 years. By the time of mass termination, my skill set was pretty broad. I could sustain employed in any number of venues, stopped by job blockades designed to filter out free-thinkers and attract those who would be assimilated. Nationwide, we saw that happen with limited exception-- undeniable skills and arrogant wealth. I had neither. My skills largely diverted to tactical practical survival. I saw the demise of Big Retail and the unfortunate rise of Big Brother. I traveled all over looking for nesting areas to grow a counter-culture enterprise because it was obvious then that dumping the majority into sub economic status would grow a sub-economy that would one-day overtake the artificially-supported economy only a few really got to enjoy. Sadly, so much of the past had been rehashed so many times that reviving a location had very limited chances of thriving.

Change-thinking. When faced with a conundrum, most will stop there and stare at it until their demise, or run away to attempt resolution another day. The third option is to examine carefully, what the conundrum is made of and what it rests on to be so ominous. THERE is the rub, people. We import everything- including essentials. We sell it to groomed impulse buyers with hollow shallow cardboard lives. We shifted income-generation to paper and button pushers, torturing their brains with silly input. We require degrees costing tens of thousands but do not educate life survival, financial awareness, critical thinking or free enterprise. All of that narrows the best places for relocation to-- crossroads. Why? Because going WAY back in Man's History, survival always thrived there. Petra is a good example... the only passage once, until an earthquake altered a river course, then-- abandonment. Its like that in every state now... places where population does not routinely visit. No cause, no need, no economy.

Come inauguration in the USA, decay and foundation stress will usurp any other cause or need. The world will hurt from all the financial tyrannical control and manipulation and hopelessness will cause conflict where it has not before. Zombie routes will be detoured and cheese that has not moved much, will. In the movie- The Day After Tomorrow, the former arrogant asshole VP that becomes President in catastrophic conditions and is forced to move most of our nation to Mexico or die, learns how petty organized administrative buffoonery can be. Change like that is now inevitable but acquired wisdom never is as inevitable. Learning to adapt is another form of relocation. It is sad to think that so many "wait out" a recovery that cannot be, we lost the way back and cannot go forward now due to catastrophic repercussions.

I am a smart noodle now.

decisions

We have 6 months until the election. Less than a blink of an eye as far as time goes but occasionally a thousand years when it comes to an election cycle.
Hopefully, you haven't misunderstood me about my comments concerning Trump. I trust his integrity about as much as Charlie Manson and Hillary Clinton. That is to say, all three have no integrity. Their past actions prove it.
When I talk about Trump, and his usefulness, I'm speaking about the few times (actually very few) he's made coherent comments about policy that both parties have been avoiding for years. For example. The typical political debate concerning Iraq of the last election cycle would have consisted of whether the US should send less troops, more troops, what kind of troops etc. Neither party would have said "Bush lied" "There were no weapons of mass destruction".
I actually do understand a little about free trade. I know it's a complicated issue. That being said, I also know that the treaties are crafted by multi national corporations, for the benefit of those corporations, and are not really the free trade but crony capitalist trade rubber stamped by both parties. I also abhor the multi decade secrecy agreements. While the average Main St man may not understand them, we do have journalists that thrive on examining those type of things. The people have a right to hear those arguments and arrive at their own conclusion whether that conclusion be correct or incorrect. I find the secrecy clause to be condescending at best and conspiratorial at worst.
Sanders has a similar message concerning important issues, that is to say he is motivating a certain portion of the population that knows Washington is hopelessly corrupt, but he has not received as much press coverage as Trump. So Trump has served a useful purpose. I wish it would have been someone else but it wasn't so.
I truly hope that I'm not faced with a choice between Hillary and Trump come November. I don't like choosing between no integrity vs no integrity.
Regardless, as you said above and a few earlier comments, much can happen in six months.

Most job losses are not due to international trade

I think focusing on "losers from trade" is a bad ideas. There are losers all over the place. When Uber comes in, taxi drivers and their companies lose. When an auto company moves from Michigan to Tennessee, the Michigan workers lose, just as much as if the plant moved to Mexico. When washing machines come in, laundries and wash workers lost.
The focus on borderd appeals to unpleasent nationalistic and xenophobic feelings.
The economic phenomena cares little where the innovator resides.

We want to trade with people: our next-door neighbor, the person down the street, the person on the other side of town, the person in the next state, the person on the orher side of the country, and finally, the person on the other side of the world. When we trade with people, we are not only tolerate them but we have much less reasons to fight with them.

When Simple Things Don't Add Up...

Job losses are actually because of liabilities to promises never meant to be kept. The idea of international trade is ludicrous. When 90% of the world imports cheap crap from Asia and exports very few things Asia can't duplicate cheaper, then the concept of international trade is a smoke screen.

Several "central banks" have made record profits but-- there is no economy grossly worldwide and because there is no viable economy, the profits are bogus paper that will go up in vapor without a tangible tie-in to viable labor. The crux of our entire current-era predicament is-- we don't need ANYONE with supposed wherewithal right now. They are worthless and do nothing to contribute to economy.

Things are approaching critical mass. LGBT is insane-- give Lawyers, Gays, Blacks and Transgender in the USA a life, bring in seemingly unintelligent illegal aliens to indenture, make so many laws that no one on Earth can abide by them, require or find lawyers in everything... have no viable sustainable economy. The cost is astronomical but the FACT exists that removing all of this restores a balance that makes a sustainable economy.

Have no fear. Banks WILL close, the Federal Reserve WILL end and we WILL get RID of Wall Street. Be apprehensive of what remains after that... it has to ignite a recovery. We will never need MBA degrees for any purpose above ticket-taker. When oil chooses to do itself in, no administratively-run business platform is open for business or corrupt practices the next day. That said-- all of the rest of humanity carries on.

transport update and fuel

US and Canadian railroads continued their severe declines for the week ending 4-23-16:
"WASHINGTON, D.C. – Apr. 27, 2016 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Apr. 23, 2016.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 491,946 carloads and intermodal units, down 11.7 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending Apr. 23 were 230,599 carloads, down 17.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 261,347 containers and trailers, down 6.3 percent compared to 2015....For the first 16 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,844,016 carloads, down 14.3 percent from the same point last year; and 4,109,691 intermodal units, down 0.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 16 weeks of 2016 was 7,953,707 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.6 percent compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending Apr. 23, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 315,373 carloads, down 16.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 333,142 intermodal units, down 5.4 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 648,515 carloads and intermodal units, down 11 percent. North American rail volume for the first 16 weeks of 2016 was 10,433,247 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.1 percent compared with 2015....". The information is available at The Association of American Railroads. So the first quarter was off to a very poor start and the first month of the second quarter will be disastrous. This is noteworthy since April 2015 was when the railroads first showed signs of a decline (at the time written off as due to weather.).
Maersk has reported a disastrous year for 2015 and is cancelling or reducing some Asia/European trips. The Hellenic Shipping news reports that some smaller container ships are commanding a sustainable fee but mega size container ships are having difficulty finding capacity loads. The shipping industry was hoping for better since fuel costs are at multi-year lows. Some oil tanker companies are currently not doing too badly since an ever increasing percentage of the fleet is being used for storage. Chinese and other Asian shipbuilding yards are having difficulty receiving orders. Interesting when you consider the collapse of steel prices.
Many of the small businesses in my area of the country are disappointed. They were expecting more business from what was formerly known as the middle class. The very mild winter which resulted in lower home heating costs combined with very low gasoline prices did not result in the increase of sales for products and services that they sell. A local pizza shop owner has been accurately been able to forecast whether his week will be good by watching the price of gasoline. $1.95/gallon probably a good week. $2.25/gallon probably a bad week.
The news is saturated with news about what the major oil producers will do as far as curtailing production. I have been watching what our local producers are doing. The wells on my boss's property which produce between 30-45 barrels/day are paid off and are idle most of the time. The owner only turns them on for a few hours/week so as to keep the moving parts of the system working. He is not the only one.
While my boss's wells produce more than what would be defined as a stripper well (15bbl/day or less), I think it is important to note that the US has over 400,000 of these marginal producers. Add the number of small wells like my bosses and there are hundreds of thousands more. Include the ones in the rest of North America, Europe, and other places the number of wells becomes millions. Those that don't have to pump (are not in debt up to their eyeballs) are being idled. Land owners who were receiving royalties from these smaller wells no longer have this extra money available. Recently drilled shale wells that have a high depletion rate and have heavy debt obligations are pumping like crazy trying to meet their debt payments. I have to admire the intuitive business instincts of the Amish who chose to take a lump sum payment instead of the monthly royalty check...A bird in the hand...
The business that I work for has noticed a huge decline in engineering and equipment quote requests for saving fuel. The ROI, combined with a slowdown of orders for what they produce, has resulted in such projects being delayed for now. It's easier and more cost effective for them to shrink their workforce (bad for the guys who got the ink slip) and increase the hours of the remaining workers (temporarily good for hourly employees). The ones currently benefiting from the extra hours are not celebrating. They worry that they may be next. Many have extra financial stress trying to help family members who have been pink slipped.

The following is an interesting link to the National Stripper Well Association:

https://nswa.us/custom/showpage.php?id=25

The Amish?

Think of a society that rejects technology, and you are probably thinking Amish. Cars, TVs and computers are shunned in almost all Amish communities. But fracking isn't.
You'd think that they'd steer well clear of the energy companies stooges to get landowners to lease their property to fracking operations. But everyone got to eat. Were they aware of the myriad of dangers? Besides contamining well water, fracking degrades lands, releases air pollution. The Amish may end up paying more for road repairs , water control than the short-term boom money has sent their way. But they know that what is done is done. Legal battles to invalidate leases can be truly struggles.
They were cheated by the energy companies.
When brave critics ask:" What about the consequences to our evironment?" They answer:" Don't listen to those people. They are radicals. They are tree-hugging. They are anti-development. They are socialists."

very easy monetary policy

I think the term fracking is probably a little overused and not completely understood by the general public. Generally speaking, it's been used for decades, in various forms, for maximizing the recovery of hydrocarbons. A toxic sludge of chemicals and sand has been widely used on shallow wells. For some reason, people seem to think that shallow wells are clean. They're not. The oil business has always been dirty.
I would blame the chase for yield as being the major player of the rapid expansion of the oil drilling industry. The result has been constant drilling for wells in areas that are known to have a rapid depletion rate and/or a questionable return on investment. I would think that most people would have been smart enough to figure this out when the Exxon's, Shell's, etc either let their leases expire or sold them in small parcels to small companies.
Oil wells have been on Amish farms for generations. Most either lease the acreage, agree to royalties, or sell the mineral rights for a lump sum. While there are stories of some Amish farmers being ripped off, I believe it is less than most non-Amish property owners. The Amish for the most part are shrewd businessman and are not easily swindled. They certainly aren't naïve. They know the art of negotiating a deal. When they sell a stand of timber, they know what it's worth and what the market is paying. They know the going price for organically grown crops and what the non Amish are willing to pay for meats and dairy that are chemically clean. They don't give it away. When I do business with them, I know I'm in for some tough negotiations. I also know that they'll pay when the jobs done.
Flooding the world with money has its consequences. A rush to drill, mine, deforest etc. Being the top predator is tough. It's really tough when you have nearly eight billion top predators. I have no idea how it will play out.

Amish settlements in the US. . .

. . in the northeastern quadrant are not unusual. As neoh implies, Ohio has a large group in the central area; Pennsylvania, too, has a sizeable settlement. We have some here in Florida! They're well ensconced and are not at all receding personalities or uninformed about today's conditions and problems and what will prove lasting or short-lived.

They are also aware, as we are, that temporary circumstances may have prompted some speculators to move into the chase after shale oil, which in some areas proved lucrative and in others not so. In that initial rush, there always seems to be an inordinate rush of wealth available - at least enough to cloud judgments. Thus in Colorado interest in shale oil may be continuing at a stronger clip than in Ohio where deposits may be younger, less pronounced in deposits and therefore considerably less profitable in yield.

With oil skirting the lower levels of marginal profitability at this time (at $40+/barrel, only locations like Saudi Arabia where all they need do is open the spigot another half turn and the current strengthens can profits pour out at an easly adjustable rate.

Of course, costs from that point on mount so it is not a totally cut and dried profit, yet, the expense of exploration and proving out wells is much less of a gamble in the Arabian deserts than elsewhere. This of course means that the Saudis can undermine the shale oil exploitation nearly at will. . . And they have.

Notice, the mid-east has continued to over-produce crude until it brought most of shale oil developoment to its knees. When a modicum of comfort in the distribution set in, production was curtailed, and when there was even a vague conjecture of the shale industry picking up again, the Saudis announced an attempt to wean everyone from their "addiction to oil", signifying another determined mind-set to disocurage the shale speculators.

And, they can, too!

With their reserves and easy accessibility, they can afford that determination, in the process considering it an investment in their future - just as they no doubt considered their over-production and stockpiling no more than a temporary investment to drop the price to a fraction of what they considered should have been reasonable for the "oil addicts" tolerance for market pricing. (Recall they had set a target in the $80 /barrel range? . . And, we ended the plunge just below $30! Quite a concession!)

So, when we turn our attention back to the Amish, they are no less bargainers and realists than are the mid-easterners. They realize fracking is a temporary incovenience for which they will be well-compensated and in the process turn the speculators enthusiasm against themselves. Their only concern may be whether the gamblers will still have sufficient funds available to close off remaining debts when the speculative game ceases.

To an extent, the Amish may resist technology in personal use, but that does not mean they are not shrewd business folk and up-to-date realists in business matters, nor should it imply that they do not know how things operate. They are exceptional mechanics. O&G can attest to that! Not a talent acquired by living with your head in the sand.

excellent mechanics indeed

They are able to complete complicated tasks with the simplest tools. I'm handy with a wrench but watching the Amish makes me blush a little. They also understand basic physics and math well. They can move incredibly heavy objects using pulley, leverage, gravity.
I use a pocket calculator when bargaining with them. They may use paper pencil or, if they want to make me feel bad, do it in their head.
You understand the Amish. Their are many degrees of how far "off the grid" they live their lives. Some will use only a horse drawn plow. Others may hire someone with a tractor with a plow. Others own a tractor (even the one that uses primarily horses or mules may occasionally hire a tractor when a long wet spring does not allow time).
They are practical people. The ones that have wells on their property may receive a negotiated amount of free natural gas as part of the deal. This allows them to use natural gas powered refrigeration instead of kerosene. The advantage being that natural gas can be thermostatically controlled instead of adjusting the wick on a kerosene unit.
I saw solar panels on numerous Amish homes for many years before they became popular in suburbia. The Amish rightly determined that neon (edit led) lighting and hot water storage was safer than open flames.
When tourists ask how to join the Amish, their answer is simple: "You can be as Amish as you want. Go back home and live the Amish life to the degree that you're comfortable with".
A local hardware store that is popular with Amish, non-Amish, and tourists.

https://www.lehmans.com/

Fracking the Amish...

Few realize that Michigan has a massive shelf of rock beneath it. Up around Bay City or the Saginaw Rift... there are farmer-sized oil wells. They send water down to lift oil trapped below the rock. Under Romeo, MI is a big rock with a cavern beneath it. Oil and gas right owners actually store resource below the rock. The Exploitation Game is a different story-- it's fracking like a weapon to rape and pillage. It's happening worldwide... garbage men doing terrible things for grubber money. The Amish have come as far as they ever want to from their humble existences in harmony with the planet, to dealing with exploitation encroachment. Soon... we will all wish we were more Amish than frackers.

Correlations...

The Chinese financial world is teetering on the brink of collapse. Japan is in denial and is likely dead. There is no economy anywhere in the world.

Bezos (Amazon) gains $6 billion in pre-opening bell trading here in the US. Meanwhile, e-Bay has not fixed glitches related to it's Spring Update and any savvy person can go to Sold Items and see a lack of them. Think about it, who benefits from the demise of e-Bay?

Alibaba had a record retail day not too long ago... $14 billion. One buyer dominated... Amazon.

ICahn sold ALL of his Apple stock. Google believes it's AI will replace all devices... SOON.

Where are we going?

Restoring Currency Before It's Too Late

China's manufacturing sector reports crash-level numbers-- it appears they are in the death throes now.

In between China's delusional manufacturing fanaticism is- over-supply and absolutely no place by Alibaba and then Amazon to shill it out to the delusional throw-away constantly at play psychopath generation.

Some observations-- we never see white color administrative personnel pink slipped unless they don't kowtow to the psychotic nutcase above them. It's truly at that insane level now. The worker is-- exhausted. Nearly 100% of those actually capable of doing physical labor in jobs are either working stiffs without lives or-- under/unemployed. We are nearly the crossroad where that matters.

It's a known FACT that the 1% at the top liquidated positions as we crashed in 2008-09 to largely remain intact and maybe even solvent IF the assets had been validated against anything tangible. They were not. Everything from bigger homes to business platforms to asset holdings in the financial sector were mainly stated values, including the likes of gold, contracts, etc.

It's a known FACT now that there are no safe harbors, bastions, backyard Mason jars... nothing except one thing- where financial assets are tangible... unmoved money in savings protected by FDIC or NCUA coverage. Think about this conundrum... if we retain wealth value, we see secular stagnation end the world that validates that wealth as being valuable. If we don't get actual cash flow to billions of people globe-wide, they will lose hope and rebel against wealth, ending the value of wealth, too. We have arrived at a place where all roads lead to one answer.

Several things make sense-- capping senior entitlements to a figure consistent with their costs, not their wealth and caring for them all equally. Cover the cost of children being raised with mandatory requirements for care and accommodation. Tie a new currency to the Erg (work unit) with pay determined by what you actually do, not your title (admin at bottom, labor generates substance so- highest).

China's mythical GDP

David Stockman had an interesting article on his website yesterday. Although China may claim that their exports are up compared to last year, the data can be easily found to be false by counting the amount of imports to other countries from China. The point was also made that huge amounts of money are being moved out of that country through fake invoicing by third parties. For example, a Chinese importer buys a certain amount of beef for ten million dollars but asks to be invoiced for a higher amount. The third party charges a fee for laundering the overpayment.
The article is worth the read. If it's true, even partially, then the inevitable collapse is accelerating:

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/its-not-random-the-global-economys...

Two of a mind - China and the US

Volatility is expected; equtiies are shunned; mutuals are losing ground - currently subject to desertion; and investors favor jeans, eggs and steel rebars.

Now that's a combination ripe for evaluation!

Bloomberg has two articles featuring the above info: "These Six Charts Show Investors Don't have Faith in U.S. Stocks" and "China's Improbable Commodities Frenzy Leaves Stocks in the Dust".

Some stats accompanied the stories which bolster V_L's Stockman coverage.

  • Sellers of stocks are everyone but the issuing corporations - Institutions in a big way;
  • Short sales have been climbing in volume for the past five years - and show no sign of relenting;
  • Investors "pulled money out of mutual funds for at least eight straight weeks";
  • And, since the Feb/Mar dividing line, Vix has rocketed through a nearly straight upward trend.

China's investors like eggs and steel rebars, find some consolation in cotton for jeans production, and turn their backs on equities - sustantiation of the contention here that markets are far from scintillating and international trade is uninspiring - so vital to global survival nowadays (moreso than previously with emerging nations converted toward production than the remaining consumption oriented)- is suffering. We'll have further confirmation of the Int'l trade in less than an hour from now when data is released.

.

Nothing new in any of the above. . . except that data now confirms the obvious experience.

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Oh, yes! To no surprise. . . Bloomberg shows global futures decidedly in the red!

Nothing Higher Without Buyers

Without buying consumers, no financial market anywhere sustains. It's a very simple formula... people buy stuff and make economy EXCEPT buying financial products because any cash going in goes directly to that exclusive machine. We SEE the exclusive machine act like a shredder... paper goes in, fertilizer comes out.

China just remarked about the strong potential for Trump to be our next President engaging his Tariff. We are NOT equal trade partners, nor has our executive body (government, financial and business) done us right by what they did in arranging this ordinary person holocaust. We could easily jettison the executive bodies overseas and restore all of our economic viability in a month. Every job that went overseas has a skill set idled here. Will the Chinese be as-willing buyers of American Made product? Bet... not.

You have to step back off the playing field and get a good look at positions now. The very last thing you want to be is a GOP holding wealth. Liquidation is occurring but without viable bastions, there are no safe harbors. It might come down to giving it away as opposed to be caught rolling in fake money. You might say--- it's greed's turn to be "liberal" and de-construct those towers. Otherwise... rubble is rubble.

Collateral is only viable when tangible. Let's go back to the basics... WHO determines collateral value? Buyers. Without them, you got-- squat.

Nothing To Negotiate

The world economy is dead in the water. It is astonishing that the only policy measures that the major economies of the world have undertaken in the face of a flat-lined world economy is currency depreciation. Nowhere in the industrial world has any government proposed the sort of structural reforms that are required to encourage innovation and entrepeneurship. It is lifeboat economy and the lifeboat has a new passenger: Trump will find there is nothing on the table to negotiate.
The wicked Chinese and the feckless Mexicans have stolen jobs and wealth that rightfully belonged to Americans, and he, Donald Trump, with his world-class negotiating skills, would go out and get them back.
There is nothing to negotiate, no pie to re-devide, no Chinese hoard to bring home. World exports are down by 12% year on year in terms of price and dead flat in terms of volume.
Something that happens during recessions.

Completely Wrong...

Trump doesn't have to world-class negotiate anything. Read up on what Bill Gross is talking about. Technology has no profitability without customers and it usurps jobs. That will require massive capital to correct it's own mistake. I suspect the trick is-- zero-interest-rate environment while borrowing, 24% APR on collections. Techno-states enjoy a premium on asset appreciation but... whoops... ran out of pigeons, I mean imported data addicts to buy from the last guy. Real estate, cars, toys, devices... all headed WAY UP while over-supply and pre-owned right-price based on the ability to have cash, not the algorithmic formulated device-displayed price. 20 American states will see a nuclear fall-out in prosperity.

You don't get it about Trump. He fought to win against complacency and discovered most people agree with him. He is not going to have to do much... suppressed people will stand back up and do it instead.

How about Europe? Anyone got a skill set? Mexico-- they can imitate American processes but not buy the product. The future is more impractical that globally balanced. What exactly does America sell to Mexicans that validates the North American Free Trade Agreement? Expect that to get "Trumped".

Not So Completely....

The US economy come to a halt the past three months. What are the consequences for a global economy already progressively slowing? What will a stagnating US economy mean for Japan, already experiencing its fifth recession since 2008? For Europe, stuck in a long term chronic stagnation? And for emerging market economies, struggling with collapsing commodity prices and currencies?
Once heralded as the only bright spot in the global economy, the US economy now appears to have joined the slowing global trend.
Fiscal policies designed to stimulate consumption and good paying jobs are rejected. Trump is not going to have to do much...suppressed people will stand back up and do it, instead.

Describing China as "raping" the US economy embraces inaccuracy and distaste. This has not bothered Trump before and it is unlikely that he will lose any sleep over it.
Freedom of navigation? China has never impeded freedom of navigation on the high seas. The first US cruise ship in nearly four decades docked in Havana in early May. It is good to see freedom of navigation restored.

The Silk Road Initiative has in its vision and scope the potential to be one of the major economic programs since wartime debris littered the cities of Europe.
The world is changing, sorry for the cliché, but it is becoming increasingly evident. A common sense approach on the street level (literally), is taking shape in Rome and Milan where Chinese police officers are helping turists from China.
Brenda and Pete were so surprised by this!

'Going it' alone

After spending 400 or 500 years developing international trade, it's inconceivable that the US or any nation could suddenly reverse course and run an economy on its own. So, we are all victimized by each other, if not by our own delusions. The concept of "One World" has been prodded along with all the "technological" developments since prior to the use of the term. Now that we have One World we're discovering that we've overlooked a few fissures in that brittle earthern crust and marched ahead regardless - all to our collective disadvantages.

During his active career, Robert Mundell devoted most of his interest in international cooperation in the direction of compatibility - that is not only for the commercial compatibility, but cultural and financial as well. What do we have in common with each other? And, how deeply rooted are these uniformities?

It's far from a simple matter of declaring that it is to our best interest to form alliances and proceed from there. When coupled with the force exerted by competition and only weakly moderated by the vision or expectations of cooperative benefits, it would seem the parties contending with each other are more in combat than cooperation with one another. Not the best of all possible worlds whether it's nation against nation or individual against individual, and still far removed from the most advantageous situation in the eternal search for mutual benefits.

So we stumble through our alliances, however far back in history one would care to delve. The roots of compatibility between - say - the present UK and the US is steeped in as much sharing Britain's history and political setup - filled with mistaken presumptions - as it is in trying to pretend we enjoy the same cultural habits and customs. - Myth more than fact - about the same amount of similarity a historian/researcher might find between modern day Australia and Britain. Disparities would be more obvious than similarities but for the language and some few structures - architectural as well as cultural in some cases.

What holds us together more than anything is the needs of each other's we service or resources we share or covet, interchanges made less objectionable (or more tolerable) with a smile and arm-over-the-shoulder brotherly cameraderie than does hard-nosed negotiation with grudgingly offered or accepted concessions - though we often pretend we're following one path when we are doing the opposite. It produces a situation we're forced into if we're to avoid the destructive clash or arms "of olde" to settle disputes or differences.

It's not much different than the circus that runs in Wasington - or Frankfurt, Bejing, - pick your venue - on a daily basis with gritted teeth and white knuckles with "diplomacy" smoothing the path.

Even though O&G has insisted from the start that we are in transition - Again! - how much of a "change" that is may never become clear. We seem to slide from one poorly defined cultural code or political device to the next, mostly repetition of what had transpired 50, two hundred years, or several millennia ago - different settings, different styles of dress but the same animosity beneath it all.

It seems the only way we can make headway through this complicated life, is to pretend that we control the life around us, when we are doing little more than blending in reluctantly and finding the result not quite satisfying when the control we actually exert is measured impartially.

So, what must we do to reconcile the ideal and actuality? Can it be done in Babelonia or New York City, London or Hong Kong - or Rome? What are we looking for and can we find it? And, is it the world that's changing, or is it simply the constantly changing, next "modern" dressing, language and technology that changes too rapidly in the course of a too-short lifespan to allow for adjustment?

We want to try something different

We are not a European country, We are not Japan, We are not China.
An increasing number of us have realized that being the worlds consumer is unsustainable. A growing number of us are realizing that the world is better off without the US military being its policeman.
We are rich in natural resources and we do not have a manpower shortage. We don't want to participate in the collective NWO visualized by our politicians and Wall St.
Our largest container exports to China is scrap cardboard. I'm not kidding. Our top tech success is Facebook.
The past 30 yrs have resulted in a decline of living standard for 80% of our population. Our credit cards are maxed out, one of the so called benefits of being the worlds currency in a ZIRP environment.
We know it won't be easy. We know that our standard of living will decline before it gets better. We also know that to continue on the current globalization course will mean further, perhaps permanent decline. Becoming more isolationist may or may not work. But we're willing to give it a shot.
We don't need wine from France or Italy. We have our own vineyards. We don't need autos from Germany or Japan. We know how to make them. We don't need grain from Brazil. We have plenty of grain. We don't need oil from North Africa. We have our own energy sources in North America. We don't need military support from anyone. We're up to our necks in weaponry.
The average American can't afford a trip to Europe for vacation. Only the rich or the credit card addicts go there, besides, there are plenty of places in our vast country to visit.
I know I'm oversimplifying. Of course there will always be some trade. But globalization is also oversimplifying. We let out crony politicians sell us that bull. The result will be probably blowback to another extreme. That's what happens when you've been swindled. There will probably be an over reaction followed by a more moderate stance.
As for Cuba, I hope that we don't turn it into another vice ridden brothel for foreign tourists which caused the Communist revolution 60yrs ago. It seems that Greece and some of the Eastern European Union Wannabees are fast becoming that for the rich industrial power northern countries. That's what happens when you let your politicians swindle the population into accepting being on the lowest rung of the ladder called the European Union.

Everything Points To Faultlines In Global Economy

Everything you stated is one more indication that an entire period of economic and geo-political development, spanning a quarter century, is coming to an end, ushering in a new and violent period of economic conflict, nationalism between major powers.
The current bubble is greater and more pervasive than any of the previous ones, involving at its center a massive accumulation of debt by the central banks themselves. The systemic crisis of world capitalism is driving the ruling classes ever more violently to seek a way out of their impasse through nationalism, war and dictatorship.

See this. Then comment, please.

Animal Planet

The Animal Planet channel has a series called River Monsters. The star, Jeremy Wade, travels throughout the world looking primarily for huge fresh water fish.
He was granted a permit to fish in the cooling pond at Chernobyl for a limited amount of time. It was amazing how many fish there were and what seemed to be abundant life in the surrounding forest. A Russian biologist explained to him that although he had caught what looked like a huge catfish, it should have been larger for its age. The abundance of life was actually not physically healthy due to radiation sickness.
There was also a recent article about feral pigs from the area, with radiation poisoning, migrating outside the quarantined zone. Also a problem with human poachers taking game from the area and selling it to unsuspecting Ukrainians.

What That Show Actually Told Us...

Jeremy Wade's show showed us first hand (by his radiation meter pinned to his shirt) that even with sustaining levels of radiation-- life continues but is subject to distortion. This occurred once before when the supposed meteor struck Earth. We know for a fact that extreme radiation blanketed that era Earth and dwarfed all the species. Sadly, we also know now that the ocean currents around Japan have been sending radiation everywhere and that many species of marine life are helplessly affected.

Things you may not know... Russian billionaires have been harvesting the lumber around Chernobyl and grinding it to pulp used in particle board, furniture and flooring. Certain apples may be contaminated coming from Japan. Healthy eaters will love the fact that raw seafood may be impacted by both oil spillage AND radiation.

Handford

I heard of a dangerous radiological threat to the West Coast of the United States that puts the health of millions of Americans at risk.
It includes dangers to public health, dangers to the food supply and dangers to future generations.
It is Handford. It is the site where the United States produced the majority of its plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

US nuclear incidents - handled on the QT?

O&G is aware of one incident which was briefly publicized, but then was heard of no more. Which, of course, raises questions.

One Saturday, perhaps in the vicinity of forty years ago more or less, the New York Times published a photo which accompanied a report of failure at the Indian Point nuclear generating plant located on the Hudson River north of NYC.

The photo was published, complete with a photo of the bulge on the wall of some kind of container. The news and photo appeared once and disappeared from conversation or reportage accept for the opportunity O&G had to mention it to a physicist, who responded with, "My God! They had a melt-down! I never heard anything of it."

Saturday might not had a very heavy readership - weekend, everyone out and about doing things they had no time for during the week. And I thought no more of it except for not being able to erase from memory the reaction of the trained physicist.

Everyone knows about the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania - on the Susquehanna River, it is believed. Received a great deal of attention, though it was nothing near the magnitude of Chernobyl.

Yet, the thought remains: how many other incidents similar to the Indian River event have we had with a brief, one-time local exposure and nothing more?

In my and V_L's backyard

This one was handled on the QT. The plant near Toledo, Ohio had a large corrosion hole that had penetrated the reactor. Miraculously, the thin protective plate covering the inside of the vessel managed to contain the pressure. I have seen the actual photos.Talked with the vessel inspectors involved. They were widely available on the internet but can no longer be found, but, a few actual photos are still in circulation. The vessel inspection agency (the oldest in the world) was ordered to surrender all photos to federal marshals.
The plant delayed several inspections so as to avoid purchasing power from a competitor. The purpose of these inspections is to identify these problems before they become critical.
The result, a couple of low level operating engineers were prosecuted and fired. The actual decision makers to delay the inspections walked.
The incident is ranked as the 5th worse nuclear plant accident (edit, not sure of the ranking of 5th worst was prior to Fukushima).
This is why a harp about the msm. The incident was widely reported for about a week then practically abruptly stopped.
I wish you could have seen the pictures O&G. A six inch deep pit that had started on the exterior of the reactor with the thin protective plate visible at the bottom.

http://www.nirs.org/press/03-13-2002/1

Edit: I take exception to the claim in the article of a possible reactor leak causing damage to plant components similar to that caused by a high pressure hose. If the water had become superheated then released to an atmospheric pressure, a catastrophic steam explosion would result.