DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®

Collapse trends - March 1-11, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080


3/10-11/2002  weekend headlines from hell -
  1. 3/10   US shift on nuclear weapons criticized - Use of the arms made more likely, specialists say, by Barry Schweid, AP via Boston Globe, A25.
    The Pentagon [is] planning for the possible use of nuclear weapons against countries that threaten the United States....
    [Talk about a suicidal administration setting a suicidal tone. Wal, friends & neighbors, as we used to say during the school nuclear attack drills in the 1950s,
    1. crawl under your desk,
    2. put your head between your knees,
    3. and kiss your ass goodbye!]
    [As is now standard for this braindead administration and government agencies taking their cue from it, we got the inevitable damage-control back-tracking the very next day -]
    3/11   US advisers say no nuclear attack proposed - Contingency plans called a deterrent to armed enemies, by Scott Lindlaw, AP via BG, A2.

  2. [more on the Bushkin legacy -]
    3/11   Fla. papers target public records bill, by Brendan Farrington, AP via BG, A4.
    TALLAHASSEE - Concerned about legislative efforts to restrict access to public records, more than half of Floriduh's [oops] daily newspapers published editorials yesterday stressing the importance of an open government....
    ["Legislative efforts to restrict access to public records"? Is this the dawn of the 3rd Millennium or the Dark Ages?]

  3. [and yet more -]
    3/10   Analyzing the analysts - Some observers find reluctance on [Wall] Street [or in media!] to criticize companies, by Scott Nelson, BG, C1.
    [And folks, that ain't a feedback system. And to paraphrase Big J, "a system without a feedback system cannot survive."]

  4. [and some of the Clinton legacy -]
    3/11   Immigrants find a home, despair in rich Va., by Alan Elsner, Reuters via BG, A4.
    ['Cruel Kindness' dept.]
    ...A small enclave of northern Virginia...the Culmore district, a stone's throw from Washington DC \and\ surrounded by upscale shopping malls and affluent manicured suburbs...has become a magnet for migrants because it offers a rare oasis of low-cost housing..\.. Immigrants speaking a total of about 70 languages struggle to build new lives in the face of poverty, overcrowding and crime.... With money short, families often live eight or more people to a room, rent their living rooms and still struggle to pay the rent. Teen pregnancy is rife, families are often broken apart and children face the dangers and allure of gangs..\..
    "Families coming here have many problems.... But the biggest challenge is finding a good paying job," said Maria Demerest, who runs a community liaison office in the local elementary school....
    [It all comes back to jobs. And with no timesizing program in place, bighearted smallbrained Billary Clinton bled his bleedingheart (but sign them up as Democrats!) blood all over our immigration policy - which used to have some coordination with our job openings. Result? All-time record immigration with totally inadequate follow-up (can Bill spell t-r-a-i-n-i-n-g?), let alone the kind of individual financial sponsorship that used to be mandatory - and subsequent nationwide welfare&prison overload jolt. Immigration policy should be only by annual binding nationwide electronic referendums, with English, job skills and individual financial sponsorship required. Lovely as the illusion of Miss Liberty with her lofted lamp may be ("give me your poor, your huddled masses longing to be free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shores..."), no one landmass, however large and "rich" (offset by $concentration), can bear the population, political and economic policy mistakes of all the rest of the continents by moving all their population into itself. It can reverse the benefits of any GDP growthrate you manage to muster (as in India during the 1920s when its respectable 5% growthrate was drowned by its uncontrolled birthrate), and it eventually becomes an ecological issue - some believe that started years ago in America.]

3/09/2002  headlines from hell, literally -
  1. Let us prey - Pedophile priests, cover-ups and criminal law, op ed by Bill Keller, NYT, A27.
    ...A Slate headline wondered the other day, "Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?"....
    [For non-English-native-speakers, we have a common saying that goes, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."]

  2. Canada: Jobless rate is steady, Bloomberg via NYT, B2.
    [which is bad because at 7.9% official for Jan & Feb, it's way too high. Too bad Canada is too busy puppydogging big bro to try Timesizing.]

3/08/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. If  [40-hr/wk] jobs are gone, what good are [temporary unemployment]  benefits?, by Peter Kilborn, NYT, A18.
    [We've had a LOT of articles on downsizing over the last 4 years, but this is one of the few articles that looks behind the thousands of isolated downsizings to the cumulative economic damage of this insane strategy that should universally be replaced with Timesizing except immediately prior to Chapter 7 (corporate liquidation).]
    SOUTH BOSTON, Virginia, March 1 -...The unemployment insurance program...has been around for 67 years, as long as welfare. It was conceived as a lifeline to pull laid-off workers through recessions, granting them cash until their jobs came back or they found new ones, for a maximum of 26 weeks. In the last 5 recessions before this one, Congress routinely extended benefits, to 39 weeks. (A bill passed by the House on Thursday would do so again.)
    But...a larger question about the program remains: whether for many beneficiaries, including hundreds...in th[e] industrial string of towns in far southern Virginia [around South Boston, Va.], it still works as intended. Previously, factories in this part of the country weathered recessions by reducing the workforce and then bringing employees back when the economy revived.
    This time, however, the plants are shutting down for good, leaving no jobs to bring workers back to. [Although] the national economy shows signs of rebounding, jobs here are leaving faster than they are coming, bloating welfare rolls as the tally of unemployed workers who have exhausted their benefits grows....
    Unemployment in this area exceeds 10%, the level of a deep recession and almost twice the national rate. In Martinsville VA, it is 20%. In Danville VA, the area's biggest town, the number of laid-off workers jumped to 5,160 last December from 1,680 the December before.
    What new jobs there are, in fields like warehousing and telemarketing, pay less than the old ones: $6-10 an hour (as compared to $9-15), or about what people laid off from the old jobs collect in unemployment benefits.
    "It's a bad situation. It truly is. It is getting worse and more frightening.... We have gone from having 350 jobs posted on a weekly basis six months ago to less than 100," [said Ms. Snead]. To get any of those 100, candidates must often ratchet down their standard of living. At the State Employment Commission office in South Boston VA, Linda Miles...separated mother of three children, said she lost her Burlington [Industries] job in January. It paid $9.35 an hour. She searched the [Commission's] computer for new jobs, and made a list of three:
    1. phlebotomist, $6 an hour;
    2. general warehouse worker, $6.90;
    3. cashier, $6....
    People can...move. But many were born and raised here, and leaving would mean shedding the emotional and financial support of family and friends. Some are rooted in the land. James Parrish was a mechanic for 7 years at the JPS plant, where he earned $13.65 an hour. "I've got a double-wide [house trailer] on 25 acres of land half-owned with my ex-wife," he said. He also has 10 cows and 15 registered coonhounds for hunting. He is going to Southside Virginia Community College to learn to fix computers, but he is not going to move. "I've got animals I have to feed," he said..\.. [Now, still want to talk about -]
    Recession declared over; House bill is scaled back, pointer digest (to A1), NYT, C1.
    [or the article it's pointing to -]
    Fed chief sees decline over; House passes [reduced] recovery bill - Greenspan declares recession is over and recovery is already under way - The House passes a bill to deal with the decline's aftermath, by Richard Stevenson, NYT, front page (A1).
    [As colleague Kate says, you can define a recovery any way you want, to be able to declare it's already under way, for example, define "recovery" as "not as bad a recession as last month." Here's a headline that should raise our skepticism -]
    What a difference a week makes - After a recent 'maybe,' Greenspan now says recovery is on, by Gretchen Morgenson, NYT, A18.
    [This is all just pap to allow the affluent to continue piling up the unspendable mountains of spending power in their unconscious hands, unnoticing of the fact that they're suctioning the markets away from their own investments. In other words, the storage facilities for this much concentrated income and wealth (the capital markets) rest on a foundation of vibrant consumer markets, and when the size of the storage facilities gets beyond a certain size proportion relative to the size of the consumer markets, it's like a mansion built on a brick wall that the affluent keep plucking bricks from, not to actually build with but just to display in more and more highly piled lucite cases inside their mansion and up on its roof. Here's the Globe's version -]
    Greenspan cites signs expansion has begun, by Sue Kirchhoff, Boston Globe, front page, A14.
    [and here's that famous phrase that we first heard "after" the last recession -]
    ...Concern about a jobless recovery...led Congress to finally break a partisan stalemate on the stimulus bill....
    [Not only have lame economists sold us this oxymoronic (emphasis on the moronic) concept of "jobless recovery" but they're fast approaching the "zero-rate recovery" like Japan -]
    Another question is how soon the Fed, which has slashed interest rates 11 times since the beginning of last year to help move the economy along, could start reversing course and raising them from their current 40-year lows....
    [Basically the defined-to-order declaration "Recession Over!" has become merely a gimmick of the financial industry to sucker the affluent into moving back into stocks.]

  2. Wearing blinders on welfare, letter to editor by Prof. Emerita Betty Mandell of Bridgewater State College, BG, A18.
    Most of the people who have left welfare are still poor, and nationwide 40% of them don't have a job. Instead of addressing their poverty and joblessness, pResident Bush calls for tougher work requirements and pushing more people into jobs that aren't there, given the recession [or the "jobless recovery" - ed.]....
    [Our first article today asked, if jobs are gone, what good is unemployment insurance, which is designed for temporary unemployment? Betty Mandell here raises a parallel question - if jobs are gone, what good is workfare, designed to push people into jobs? Both questions contain the seeds of the long-term sustainable solution only if we introduce the time dimension and insert in each case, "if 40-hour-a-week jobs are gone, what do we do?" The obvious answer, being experimented with around the world despite the scorn and ridicule of mainstream economists, is share the vanishing work, flex up the arbitrary 40-hour fixation, adjust the hours-definition of "job" downward to levels more realistic in the context of our mounting automation and robotization technology, and spread the immediately available market-demanded work around to everyone who needs it. And ban mergers and downsizings except in the context of Chapter 7 liquidations.]
    "Conservatives" [our quotes - ed. (we believe they're suicidal radicals, not "conservative")] crow that welfare reform has been a success because so many people have left the rolls. Perhaps they can keep their good conscience if they don't look at what is happening to the people who have left the rolls....
    [What "good conscience," Betty? They don't give a damn. "Conscience" is not on the radar scope in discussing these social autists. The only thing that will wake them up is the figures on how they are undermining their own investments by deactivating more and more of their own customers.]

3/07/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. [World's largest economy ($9152.1B GDP '99, Economist's Pocket World in Figures) -]
    Questionable business - Quietly, US firms penalized, by Glenn Kessler, Boston Globe, A21.
    [Evidently the CIA ain't the only gov't tentacle that's discovered a lucrative side "business" -]
    WASHINGTON - The Treasury Dept. office responsible for leading the financial war against terrorism secretly settled more than 100 enforcement actions from 1998 to 2000 against corporations, banks, and other entities for violating trade embargoes with rogue nations...such as Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan..\..
    The Office of Foreign Assets Control obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines from companies such as Bank of America and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of the National Capital Area, but it did not begin to disclose the cases until last week, in response to a lawsuit....
    Edward Rubinoff, a Washington lawyer who directs the economics sanctions practice at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, said this is typical of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. "They don't publish rulings, they don't put out decisions on enforcement," he said. "Their entire operation is clouded with secrecy."
    Interestingly, in the Treasury Dept's [own] most recent performance report, it said "the success of the Office of Foreign Assets Control program depends largely on awareness and education of the public and the industry.
    [Gee, then it must be failing.]
    Rubinoff said, [however] "They like the idea that companies aren't quite sure of the parameters of the regulations."...
    [In short, the Treasury Dept. has its own little protection racket going - with just a splash of possible guilt. How far is it between this and career-crunching McCarthyism, or the spectral "evidence" that sent 20 people to their deaths in 1690s' Salem on charges of "witchcraft"? Guess it all depends on which witchcraft (witch whichcraft?). (Or more likely, which richcraft.)]

  2. [World's 2nd-largest economy ($4346.9B GDP '99) -]
    Japan: Capital spending and profits fall, by Ken Belson, NYT, W1.
    Japanese companies sharply [14.5%] cut capital investments in the Oct-Dec quarter, the first decline in two years, to help offset falling profits, according to new government figures.... That came as pretax profits fell 31.4%, about as fast as they fell in the prior quarter, while sales fell 3.8%. Capital spending makes up about 15% of Japan's economy.
    [Guess that compares with consumer spending, which makes up about 60% of Japan's economy, 67% of ours (US). Here is an outfit that requires the steady automatic capital reinvestment in consumer spending that the Timesizing program harnesses market forces to do. "Do flickers of hope signal Japan economy has hit bottom?" asks AP via BG, C8. Doubt it. It's been flickering for 10 years now and it ain't gonna stop until the Japanese take a good hard look at Jeremy Rifkin's shocker, "The End of Work" (1995) and then decide between that and serious pervasive rigorous flexible market-oriented work-sharing along Timesizing lines.]

  3. [World's 3rd-largest economy ($2111.9B GDP '99) -]
    Germany: Jobless number rises, AP via NYT, W1.
    The German unemployment [UE] rate held steady at 10.4% in January [but] the number of people out of work rose to a 3-year high, underscoring the effect of the country's recession. The number of unemployed people rose by 6,200, to 4.3 million, the Federal Labor Office said.
    [So why didn't the unemployment rate rise, you ask? Granted 6200 is pretty insignificant compared to 4,300,000-6200= 4,293,800, to wit, 6200/4293800x100%= 0.0014439x100%= 0.1%, but you'd think it would have notched the ol' UE rate up by that 0.1% anyway. Evidently German statisticians have some news-blunting subtleties at work here. As usual the Globe headline captures it more dramatically -]
    Number of jobless in Germany at 3-year high, AP via BG, C8.

  4. [World's largest economy's "client state" (read "pitbull") -]
    Israel strikes hard at Gaza Strip... Arafat's Ramallah compound is shelled, by Serge Schmemann, NYT, front page.
    Israeli forces struck hard [yester]day by land, sea and air at the teeming Gaza Strip, where Palestinians breached another red line on Tuesday when they fired rockets into an Israeli town....
    [i.e., "those who have everything to lose vs. those who have nothing to lose." But ... subhead -]
    ...As Powell assails Sharon stance
    [and, inside article -]
    Bush officials end support of Sharon's tough stance - Fear that silence would lead to wider war - The White House says an Israeli vow to 'hit hard' is likely to fail, by David Sanger, NYT, A8.
    [In other words, it's all right when we do it, but goddammit, will you little guys siddown&shaddap! Waddawe mean, "when we do it"? OK, now, maybe we can find that other article. Darn it, where on earth did we see that other headline? Oh yeah, on the front page -]
    U.S. adds troops and helicopters in Afghan battle - The war's biggest clash - 1,200 American soldiers are on ground - Enemy loss is called substantial, by John Burns, NYT, front page.
    [We're just surprised there's anyone left over there for us to kill, but apparently -]
    Some see panic as main effect of dirty bombs - Pashtuns young and old have been forced out of their villages and now live in caves in northern Afghanistan, by Glanz & Revkin, NYT, front page.

3/05/2002  headlines from hell - 3/01/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. IRS audits of working poor increase - Level of scrutiny for the affluent and big companies is lower - A focus on the earned-income tax credit, by David Johnston, NYT, C2.
    [All they need to do to straighten out the returns of the poor is just simplify the income tax and the instructions. In tune with the Bush administration, they're investing a maximum of time and energy at points of minimum return. It's the affluent who can afford the tax lawyers to pull the scams, not the poor. And it's the affluent from whom they'll get the big bucks to pay their salaries when they catch something.]

  2. Billionaires club loses 83 members, AP via BG, C2 (BG C2 is a particularly fecund goodnews page today).
    The world's billionaires club dropped 83 members this year to 497 as the recession and fallout from the terrorist attacks reduced their wealth.
    [Aaah, poor babies. Our heart bleeds.]
    The group's combined worth fell to $1.54 trillion from $1.73T last year, according to Forbes magazine's 16th annual ranking of billionaires, released yesterday.
    Among the missing: Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates lost $6B last year, but that didn't stop him from being the richest man in the world for the 8th year in a row. With a net worth of $52.8B, Gates remained ahead of Warren Buffett, who held the number two spot, with $35B.
    [One would like to think that this means global wealth is deconcentrating and getting back into circulation, but alas, these things are entirely relative, and it is indeed possible and even likely that the concentration of wealth actually intensified last year despite these 83 defections from the billionaires circle.]

  3. Enron paid huge bonuses in '01 [nooo kidding!]; Experts see a motive for cheating, by Kurt Eichenwald, NYT, front page.
    [For this, you need an expert? And remember when they used to tell you that capitalism had better incentives than socialism? Here's short-term "constipated" capitalism rife with incentives, for CEOs from Chainsaw Dunlap to Kenny Lay, to destroy companies and profit hugely. The quicker we tranzish to long-term timesizing capitalism the better.]

  4. France: Jobless rate rises, by John Tagliabue, NYT, W1.
    ...to 2.41m people, or 9% of the workforce, its highest level in more than a year....
    [We thought it had got up to 9.1, maybe 9.3%. Maybe it was later corrected downward. Either way, it's still a lot better than the 12.6% of five years ago, and the work spreading occasioned by the 35-hour workweek has been largely responsible and creditable also with France's slowest-of-all descents into recession.]
    The French economy contracted 0.1% in the fourth quarter, its first decline in 54 years, slowed by the economic sluggishness of France's 2 biggest trade partners, Germany and the United States.
    [Dumb Question dept. - What's a "quarter" in this context? A: it's 1/4 of a year or 1/4 of 12 months = any 3-month period. First, second, third and fourth quarter can be written Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4. When we're talking about the four quarters of a certain year, say 1999, we can write 1Q99, 2Q99, 3Q99 and 4Q99. Quarters are not always 3-month periods in a calendar year like Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep and Oct-Dec. They can also be quarters in a company's fiscal year, which can start with any month (or date!) the company wants, and run, say, Jul-Jun, or Aug-Jul, or Apr-Mar, or Mar-Feb. In fact, the original Roman calendar started the year in spring with March (Martius) and ended with February (Februarius). The Roman Empire had to wake up as soon as the snow melted and follow the war god, Mars (Greek: Ares) in the sense of getting ready to repel any invasion from beyond the borders of the Empire, at least by marching troops along those borders (the "marches") to refresh Roman turf claims and check for violators. The European aristocracy derived from this practice. A marquess and his wife (marchioness or marquise) were in charge of this function. Roman border generals were required to measure or count off the length of the borders in miles (mille passuum = thousands of paces), so the British marquess (French marquis) was called a "count" in most European countries (recall Count Dracula, now defanged into a mere cereal killer known as Count Chocula). The name of the wargod Mars is related to the word "mark," as in marking property and boundaries. Marking and measuring, or marching and counting, were the core roles of the border generals. And the most basic cause of war was a clash between counts on opposite sides of a border. "This is ours, part of Our Share of land." "Oh no it isn't, it's ours, part of Our Share." So most fundamentally, the biggest source of war has been disagreement over shares and sharing, or the method of sharing. Hence, the Chesterton pan-utopian flaw. So today, we must update our technology of sharing, and that means sharing the healthy and mutual source of earning and making a living (livelihood), namely paid work, alias remunerated or compensated employment. And the only design for all the necessary core institutions in such an update is the Timesizing program of five phases, which boils the next step on the mainline of human progress down to its core elements. As humans progress beyond their ongoing dark ages of sado-masochism, they will repeatedly update their technology of sharing from the time dimension (employment), to the money dimensions of flowing income and standing wealth, to the security (reserve) dimensions of credit and credibility, to the power (potential) dimensions of reputation and authority, and so on and on perhaps without end. We estimate, in round simple optimistic terms, a century for each level (but notice there are two levels in all but employment sharing). Luckily, it seems the same 5 phases that apply to the time dimension can be mapped onto the other dimensions as they become arenas of self-undermining concentration and sources of costly disagreement. So Timesizing keys the future for intelligent life forms, or those who aspire to that repute.]

  5. Brazil: Economy stalls, by Jennifer Rich, NYT, W1.
    ...contracting 0.7%, as high interest rates and power rationing caused a decline in industrial production....

  6. Bush renews push to partly privatize Social Security, by Elisabeth Bumiller, NYT, A17. [Not only can this moron not learn from the erratic behavior of the markets recently - he clearly can't see beyond his rich contributors from the investment industry. Talk about hopeless stupidity. Check out the following wise quote from the Globe's version -]
    Bush backs pension privatization, by Robert Schlesinger, BG, A2.
    ..."Privatizing Social Security is like booking a seat on the Titanic," said Peter Fenn, a Democratic consultant....
    [The subhead is "Democrats see idea as liability for GOP." They should be laughing and thanking their lucky stars for this level of suicidal behavior on the part of the GOP. Bush is handing them the next election on a silver platter.]

  7. [then there's Bushbrain's ongoing stand, or rather stomp, on the environment -]
    Top EPA official quits, criticizing Bush's policies, by Katharine Seelye, NYT, A15.
    ...venting frustration with the Bush administration for policies that he said undermined the agency's efforts to crack down on industrial polluters.
    [Note also today's op ed "A step backwards on clean air," by Wm. Hill, BG, A17. Back to the NYT -]
    The official, Eric Schaeffer, Director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement for the last 5 years, wrote to his boss that he was "fighting a White House that seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce."...
    [Yep, that's what it's tryin' ta do fer shure, to help our nice millionaires. Look at the latest on Microsoft, "US endorses Microsoft plea modifications - An effort to pre-empt 9 states' objections," by Stephen Labaton, NYT, C4. Yessir. Lotsa different kinds of pollution. Don't wanta cross Bill Gates and his big pollutin' CEO buddies. Thay're sooo nearsighted they scramble to sh*t where they eat, just like the old Soviet Union with its disastrous environmental track record. They need markets but they're constantly deactivating their markets with downsizing, not maintaining them by timesizing. And here's maybe an explanation for why our top brackets are sooo shortsighted (aside from inbreeding) -]

  8. Educationally, the rich get poorer, op ed by Scott Lehigh, BG, A17.
    ...The new study - a sophisticated statistical analysis by two academics [Thos. Ferguson & Jie Chen] from UMass/Boston - may cause consternation in some of the state's tonier towns. It finds that well-heeled school districts like Weston, Dover, and Lincoln lag well behind dozens of less affluent places when it comes to adding real educational value....

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