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Sometimes a chart is all you need

Sometime a couple charts is all you need

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 05/07/2011 - 07:20


From Agora Financial, publishers of The Daily Reckoning and Whiskey and Gunpowder, two of my favorites among their many titles, here are the two charts that tell me that QE3 is inevitable.

Announced or otherwise.




What happened to the climate refugees?

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 04/23/2011 - 07:27


Last week, Gavin Atkins published the following piece at

As usual, clicking on the map will take you to the entire piece.


What happened to the climate refugees?

By Gavin Atkins Apr 11, 2011  

In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production.

The UNEP even provided a handy map. The map shows us the places most at risk including the very sensitive low lying islands of the Pacific and Caribbean.



  It so happens that just a few of these islands and other places most at risk have since had censuses, so it should be possible for us now to get some idea of the devastating impact climate change is having on their populations. Let’s have a look at the evidence: 


Nassau, The Bahamas – The 2010 national statistics recorded that the population growth increased to 353,658 persons in The Bahamas.  The population change figure increased by 50,047 persons during the last 10 years.

 St Lucia:

The island-nation of Saint Lucia recorded an overall household population increase of 5 percent from May 2001 to May 2010 based on estimates derived from a complete enumeration of the population of Saint Lucia during the conduct of the recently completed 2010 Population and Housing Census.


Population 2002, 81755

Population 2010, 88311

 Solomon Islands:

The latest Solomon Islands population has surpassed half a million – that’s according to the latest census results.

It’s been a decade since the last census report, and in that time the population has leaped 100-thousand.


That's when it gets interesting.

Even though by rights, the story belongs to Mr. Atkins, we'll let Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That and The Daily Caller bring it home.


The UN ‘disappears’ 50 million climate refugees, then botches the cover-up 


Oh boy, government idiocy at its finest. Not only is the original claim bogus, the attempts to disappear it are hilariously inept. Apparently, they’ve never heard of Google Cache at the UN. Rather than simply saying “we were wrong,” they’ve now brought even more distrust onto the UN.

Back on April 11th, Gavin Atkins of Asian Correspondent asked this simple question: What happened to the climate refugees?

It is a valid question, and he backs it up with census numbers.

After Asian Correspondent posted the story on April 11th, it was picked up by news outlets around the world, such as Investor News and American Spectator, and was referred to in yesterday’s Australian newspaper and even got a mention on Fox News.

Since that story appeared, the “handy map” Atkins cites in his original story seems to be gone down the memory hole. This is what you get now; note my yellow highlight:


Only one small problem there, UN people: a little annoyance called Google Cache, which has that page archived.

Google Cache pulls up the page that had been removed, with the “50 million refugees” title, but the map is missing.

Fear not, dear readers, because as astoundingly smart as those UN people think they are, they forgot one very important yet tiny detail. The map links to a hi-resolution version of the “climate refugee map,” and if you delete the page above and the map it contains, you also have to delete the hi-res image it links to.


I’m always happy to help the UN in times of “need,” so I’ve recovered it and saved it, because that image link is likely to go down the memory hole on Monday.

 And there you have it, folks, another bogus climate claim rubbished by reality, followed by an inept cover-up attempt.

Thanks to the reality of census numbers, followed by the UN’s handling of this, we can now safely say that the claim of “climate refugees” is total fantasy. Be sure to leave comments on any website that makes this claim, and link to this and the Asian Correspondent website.

 Kudos to Gavin Atkins for asking this simple question after six years of this fantasy being used to push an agenda.


I think that just about covers it.

Except for just one more thing.





World Military Spending

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 07:35

From The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

As always, click on the graph below for the entire press release which contains links to the paper.


World military expenditure in 2010 is estimated to have been $1630 billion, an increase of 1.3 per cent in real terms.* The region with the largest increase in military spending was South America, with a 5.8 per cent increase, reaching a total of $63.3 billion, according to new data published today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)


The United States still exceptional in military spending

Although the rate of increase in US military spending slowed in 2010—to 2.8 per cent compared to an annual average increase of 7.4 per cent between 2001 and 2009, the global increase in 2010 is almost entirely down to the United States, which accounted for $19.6 billion of the $20.6 billion global increase.

‘The USA has increased its military spending by 81 per cent since 2001, and now accounts for 43 per cent of the global total, six times its nearest rival China. At 4.8 per cent of GDP, US military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East’, states Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Head of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Project.



Rainfall? ..... Seriously? ..... Rainfall?

Submitted by Roanman on Tue, 04/12/2011 - 16:42


Wanna know why some of these countries just flat can't get it together when it comes to creating a democratic society?

Just what the hell is their problem?

Is it culture?






The following is the opening paragraph from a paper by Stephen Haber and Victor A. Menaldo titled Rainfall, Human Capital and Democracy.

The map comes from World Climate Maps.

The entire 59 page paper which by the way I read (I would not lie ..... about reading) can be accessed here.

You have to fool around joining up and stuff, but it's free and seemingly spam free.


Why are some societies characterized by enduring democracy while other societies are persistently autocratic?

We show that there is a systematic, non-linear relationship between rainfall levels and regime types in the post-World War II world:

stable democracies overwhelmingly cluster in a band of moderate rainfall (550 to 1300 mm of precipitation per year); persistent autocracies overwhelmingly cluster in deserts and semi-arid environments (0 to 550 mm per year) and in the tropics (above 1300 mm per year).



We also show that rainfall does not work on regime types directly, but does so through the its impact on the level and distribution of human capital. Specifically, crops that are both easily storable and exhibit modest economies of scale in production grow well under moderate amounts of rainfall.

The modal production unit is a family farm that can accumulate surpluses. In such an economy there are incentives to make intergenerational investments in human capital. A high level and broad distribution of human capital makes democratic consolidation more likely.


Here are some excerpts from the paper.


Briefly stated, the world’s liberal democracies are situated in climate zones where the level of rainfall permitted the advent of an agricultural system based on grains and legumes, which are characterized both by a high degree of storability and modest economies of scale in production.

Conversely, high storability and small minimum efficient scales of production do not characterize the crops that can be grown in other climate zones. In deserts, it is not possible to grow anything, except under special circumstances that dramatically raise the scale of production—a subject to which we shall return at some length.

It is, of course, possible to grow food in the tropics—but what can be grown either has very low degrees of storability (e.g. tree crops, such as bananas) or is characterized by extremely large scale economies in production (e.g. sugar cane).

Those specific features of grains and legumes created conditions that favored societies composed of family farmers, as opposed to societies composed of nomadic Bedouins or coerced plantation workers.

High storability and small minimum efficient scales of production generated surpluses that could not be arrogated by political elites bent on political centralization. This structure of agricultural production therefore created incentives for economic specialization, trade, and inter-generational investments in human capital.


Over the course of long periods of time those outcomes of an agricultural system based on storable crops with modest scale economies in production gave rise to societies characterized by high levels and broad distributions of human capital.
These characteristics are conducive to democratic consolidation because democracies tend to flourish when citizens are evenly matched in terms of education, political sophistication, and social standing.
When they are not, “free and fair elections” can lead to a tyranny of the majority—a point first made by Aristotle, but echoed by generations of scholars since.
Elites are not, as Acemoglu and Robinson (2006) point out, sheep to be fleeced: the threat of a tyranny of the majority causes them to either resist democratization or undermine it.
Moreover, when democracy arises in a social structure characterized by high levels and broad distributions of human capital, citizens are better able to monitor and discipline politicians, holding them accountable and incentivizing them to provide public goods that strengthen democracy.

Indeed, the first democracies—both in antiquity and in the modern era—were not only located in this band of moderate rainfall, but they emerged out of societies composed of citizens who not only had attained high average levels of education but who were relatively equally matched in terms of their educational endowment and sophistication.

Colonial New England is, of course, the archetype: a society of highly literate, family farmers.

What was true about New England was also true, however, about Ancient Athens, 17th Century Holland, 18th Century England, and 19th Century Canada.


How they keep us apart.

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 09:42


 First of all, apologies to whomever put together the below chart.

I grabbed it off from somewhere thinking that there was some identification on the chart to acknowledge and link to.

There is not.

Now I can't remember where I found it.

If somebody has seen it before, let me know.

I will cheerfully give credit and link to the source.


The following chart provides an outstanding example of how our government keeps us apart and at each other's throats.


Anybody paying the slightest bit of attention has heard that the rich pay the lion's share of the INCOME TAXES in this country.

It is true.

The top 1% of taxpayers pay about 35% of our nations INCOME TAX.

The top 25% pays about 83%.

The top 50% pays about 96%.

It is also true, the rich earn the lion's share of our national income, but on a percentage basis they pay more in taxes than they earn in income.


But INCOME TAXES on individuals only makes up 43.5% of the total tax receipts of the federal government.

42.3% is paid in in the form of "PAYROLL TAXES" aka "WITHHOLDING TAXES" aka FICA, aka Social Security and Medicare taxes which are deducted directly from wage earners paychecks and are sent to the government.

The balance mostly comes from by corporate taxes which we all pay when using the goods or services provided by corporations, and some other relatively minor sources.



The withholding rate for "The Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (OASI), again what most of us call Social Security or FICA is 12.4% of one's taxable income.

The rate for Medicare is 2.9% of one's taxable income.

For a total of 15.3% tax on wage earners above the INCOME TAX.

In the case of Social Security, the tax is largely paid by middle and lower income taxpayers because the income against which it is applied is capped at $106,800.

Here's where the truth gets bent.

 I'm trying to put the best construction on this.


You are told that the funds go to the "Social Security Trust Fund" or the "Medicare Trust Fund".

And that's true as far as it goes, but what really happens is that the Federal Government issues debt (bonds) which is exchanged for your (cash) payroll taxes.

And subsequently sends your payroll taxes (cash) to the general fund.

Every dime of income the Government collects regardless of source, ends up in the general fund where it is spent as though it were exactly the same thing as "INCOME TAXES".


Name an activity that the Federal Government participates in, and that is where your FICA is being spent.

Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, now Libya, maybe Iran.

Defending Europe (NATO) from Russia, or Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan and South Korea from North Korea and China, the Saudis from Iran.

Not to mention from their own people.

Welfare benefits, unemployment compensation, food stamps.

Government salaries, pensions, benefits and perks.

National parks, roads, bridges, education, research.

Office supplies.


Now, some of that stuff you can legitimately call an investment in America.

But is it appropriate to be investing people's health and retirement monies on all of the above?

Here's the government's argument,

"Some people are not able, or prepared to invest their retirement money themselves.  What if they make bad investment decisions and lose their money?

Were some people in control of their retirement funds they would indeed make some bad investments and suffer losses.

But just for fun, imagine a prospectus selling an investment in the defense of Europe.


Here's the offering.

You provide military equipment and personel to Europe free of charge, and in so doing allow the average European citizen a month of vacation every year, mostly free health care, and retirement at around age 58.

You don't get a plug nickel back, get to work until your 61.5 at least, but ................. you get to say that you're making the world safe for Democracy.

You can be a drooling moron and you're still passing on that opportunity.


So, here's the consequences:

Upper income people feel abused because they're thinking they're doing all the heavy lifting.

The middle class feels abused because they thought they were saving for their retirement, but are starting to realize that Social Security is likely to go broke, their money having been squandered.


In truth, it ain't gonna go broke.

The government will print the dollars to pay you back.

The bad news is that each dollar is likely to be worth a helluva lot less than the one you payed in.

Retirement money is just being spent and not invested, which results in the poor feeling abused because there are no jobs, and subsequently no future.

While all they hear is "The Rich" bitching about their taxes.


Good news, more money is heading your way

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 04/04/2011 - 06:36


The bad news of course is that the money you have ..... worth less.



Click the chart to link to a long, rambling but interesting David Galland piece with some history of Nuclear Power that I had never heard before.


Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 04/03/2011 - 07:57


The official, published chart for the Consumer's Price Index located on page 5 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Detailed Report for January 2011" looks as follows.

"Core Inflation" as they like to call it is running at about 1.5%.

  That's not so terrible.

I personally would like to see it at 0% or even negative, but what the hell do I know?

Except, as many of us know, "Core CPI" doesn't include food and fuel.

Hmmm ..... I'm thinking government economists must not eat or drive.



The other day at the facebook page for this site, someone plugged John Williams' outstanding site, Shadow Government Statistics.

Despite the fact that we've known about this site for a long time, we've never really explored it thoroughly, mostly because so many of the people that we read, are reading it for us.

Once again, big mistake.

Anyway, to begin with the primers are free, mostly 12-15 paragraphs, easy to read and enormously worthwhile.

The following short excepts from Mr. Williams' primer on the Consumer Price Index offer some insight into the hows and whys of those items and calculations that do go into the CPI, and in so doing go a long way toward explaining how it is that government economists neither eat nor drive.


Inflation, as reported by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is understated by roughly 7% per year. This is due to recent redefinitions of the series as well as to flawed methodologies, particularly adjustments to price measures for quality changes.

The CPI was designed to help businesses, individuals and the government adjust their financial planning and considerations for the impact of inflation. The CPI worked reasonably well for those purposes into the early-1980s.

In recent decades, however, the reporting system increasingly succumbed to pressures from miscreant politicians, who were and are intent upon stealing income from social security recipients, without ever taking the issue of reduced entitlement payments before the public or Congress for approval.

In particular, changes made in CPI methodology during the Clinton Administration understated inflation significantly, and, through a cumulative effect with earlier changes that began in the late-Carter and early Reagan Administrations have reduced current social security payments by roughly half from where they would have been otherwise.

That means Social Security checks today would be about double had the various changes not been made.



As always, click on the above chart to link up to the entire piece.

Way, super double, highly recommended.



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