Daily Digest

Daily Digest 10/30 - 'D-Day' Near For GLD, Beyond The Age Of Petroleum, Early Nor'easter Coats Northeast In Snow

Sunday, October 30, 2011, 9:46 AM
  • ‘D-Day’ Near For GLD
  • Presidential Candidates? Few Are the 99 Percent
  • David Graeber, the Anti-Leader of Occupy Wall Street
  • Beyond The Age Of Petroleum
  • In Colorado, a Power Struggle With the Power Company
  • Batteries at a Wind Farm Help Control Output
  • How Ready Are We For Bioterrorism?
  • More Than a Million Lose Power as Snow Coats Region

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Economy

‘D-Day’ Near For GLD (Claire H.)

As with SLV, the “custodian” for all the gold claimed to be held in this trust is the largest short-seller of gold in the world, UK banking behemoth, HSBC. Thus as with SLV, on its very surface GLD represents a massive conflict of interest. Any small gains for GLD unit-holders translate into enormous losses for the custodian, meaning that HSBC has a huge financial interest in limiting the profits of unit-holders as much as possible.

Presidential Candidates? Few Are the 99 Percent (jdargis)

The wealth is not limited to Republicans. Though President Obama was not in the 1 percent in 2006, before his entry to presidential politics, he earned between $1.8 million and $6.8 million last year, largely from book royalties.

David Graeber, the Anti-Leader of Occupy Wall Street (jdargis)

It would be wrong to call Graeber a leader of the protesters, since their insistently nonhierarchical philosophy makes such a concept heretical. Nor is he a spokesman, since they have refused thus far to outline specific demands. Even in Zuccotti Park, his name isn’t widely known. But he has been one of the group’s most articulate voices, able to frame the movement’s welter of hopes and grievances within a deeper critique of the historical moment. “We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt,” Graeber wrote in a Sept. 25 editorial published online by the Guardian. “Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?”

Energy

Beyond The Age Of Petroleum (cmartenson)

[ed. note: article from 2007, still worth a look]

Petroleum is, of course, a finite substance, and geologists have long warned of its ultimate disappearance. The extraction of oil, like that of other nonrenewable resources, will follow a parabolic curve over time. Production rises quickly at first and then gradually slows until approximately half the original supply has been exhausted; at that point, a peak in sustainable output is attained and production begins an irreversible decline until it becomes too expensive to lift what little remains. Most oil geologists believe we have already reached the midway point in the depletion of the world's original petroleum inheritance and so are nearing a peak in global output; the only real debate is over how close we have come to that point, with some experts claiming we are at the peak now and others saying it is still a few years or maybe a decade away.

In Colorado, a Power Struggle With the Power Company (jdargis)

Xcel, a Minneapolis-based company that supplies electricity across eight states, including most of Colorado, is fighting back hard, arguing that a divorce would be devastatingly expensive for Boulder residents through higher electricity rates and start-up costs. And if talk of home-rule is really about having more renewable, carbon-reduced energy generation, well then, the company has said in advertisements and letters to residents, a big corporation with deep pockets can help get there cheaper and faster than any city, however well intentioned.

“I can’t find the numbers for how Boulder is going to do it better,” said Bob Bellemare, an Xcel consultant.

Batteries at a Wind Farm Help Control Output (jdargis)

The technology is young, and the finances are challenging. But the task of smoothing output, and the more ambitious one of storing many hours of electricity generated by wind production, seem likely to become ever more important as states require that a rising percentage of their electricity come from renewable sources.

Environment

How Ready Are We For Bioterrorism? (jdargis)

The specter of a biological attack is difficult for almost anyone to imagine. It makes of the most mundane object, death: a doorknob, a handshake, a breath can become poison. Like a nuclear bomb, the biological weapon threatens such a spectacle of horror — skin boiling with smallpox pustules, eyes blackened with anthrax lesions, the rotting bodies of bubonic plagues — that it can seem the province of fantasy or nightmare or, worse, political manipulation. Yet biological weapons are as old as war itself. The ancient Hittites marched victims of plague into the cities of their enemies; Herodotus described archers’ firing arrows tipped with manure. By the 20th century, nearly every major nation developed, produced and in some cases used a panoply of biological weapons, including anthrax, plague, typhoid and glanders.

More Than a Million Lose Power as Snow Coats Region (jdargis)

As darkness fell, more than 1.7 million customers from Pennsylvania reaching up into New England found themselves without electricity as the region was lashed by surprisingly high winds, snow drifts and surging seas. On a weekend that might normally have been spent raking leaves, people were forced to react quickly — retrieving shovels, charging batteries, finding fuel for generators, searching for boots and mittens and checking refrigerators and cupboards.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

13 Comments

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Difference in measurment of the 1%?
NY Times article from Jdargis wrote:

The wealth is not limited to Republicans. Though President Obama was not in the 1 percent in 2006, before his entry to presidential politics, he earned between $1.8 million and $6.8 million last year, largely from book royalties.

Interesting that they had to find some economist at NY University to come up with the $700,000 figure instead of using the governments cut-off for entry to the 1% which the CBO puts at $344,000.

[quote=Reuters]

In 2009, the income entry point for being in the top 1 percent was slightly less than $344,000. To most Americans that is an unimaginable deal of money. But let’s put that in perspective.

Quote:

Even at the end of the article we find this:

Membership in the 1 percent can be measured by wealth or by income. By household wealth, the cutoff point would be a projected $9 million in 2010, according to an analysis of the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances by Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University. The cutoff for annual household income would be about $700,000, Mr. Wolff said. (Using Internal Revenue Service figures, which count earnings differently, the Congressional Budget Office puts the earnings cutoff at $350,000 for the 1 percent in 2007.

Quote:

I find this part of the Reuters article far more indicative of the top 1%:

DISPARITY AT VERY TOP
The median income taxpayer — half made more, half less — made slightly less than $33,000 that year (and their average adjusted gross income was under $15,300, or less than $300 per week). The median income taxpayer would need 10.6 years to earn as much as someone at the low end of the top 1 percent.

Far greater disparities exist within the top 1 percent.

The top 1 percent includes people who made many hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps some with incomes of more than $1 billion, official government data will show when it is released in two years.

Economically, those just entering the top 1 percent have nothing in common with those in the top tenth of the top 1 percent. Someone at the entry point for the top 1 percent would need 29 years to make $10 million, and more than 2,900 years to make $1 billion.

The point is that while all those in the top 1 percent are certainly well off, the vast majority still go to work every day.

Almost half of the top 1 percent, or 1.4 million taxpayers, make $344,000 to $500,000. More than 1.1 million make $999,999 or less.

The bottom half of the top 1 percent rely on salaries for about two-thirds of their income. They get modest income from capital but rely mostly on their labor, giving them more in common with Joe Sixpack than Warren Buffett.

Quote:

Is the point it's easier to be angry at someone making $700K that it is to someone making $350K?  Two professionals in the same household (note the figures are households not individuals) at the top of their careers can easily be in the realm of the 1% - particularly in the larger cities.  I wonder when we will see the 99% dragging their neighbors out of their houses....This villification of any part of our society is dangerous and divisive.

Even if we taxed the lower 80% of the top 1% at 100% we still wouldn't even cover the deficit the Federal governemnt is running.  I think the interaction Peter Schiff had recently with the protestors shows how much hatered this OWS movement is generating and I think hits the nail on the head with this:

Schiff says he is “sympathetic” to Occupy protesters but thinks they should direct their anger at the government, and capitalists who have been bailed out, not at legitimate business interests.

 

 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 3124
Reuters article

While the article makes much of the range of incomes earned by the top 1%, that segment does most assuredly have one thing in common.  They bring in much more than they need to live happy productive lives.  And, assuming their incomes increased over time, as opposed to being trust funders or lottery winners, they should have millions stashed away by now.

As the NYT article pointed out, the cutoff for wealth is $9 million.  I can assure you if I was worth that much I would not be going into work everyday.  If they are going to work every day, its because they love what they do.  So, trying to make some kind of equivalency between the bottom of the top 1% with the masses of the 99% is simply hooie.  I suspect the next 1% down the scale takes you down a lot further than $344K.

Doug

rhare's picture
rhare
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Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Judging thy neighbor?
Doug wrote:

They bring in much more than they need to live happy productive lives.

And who are you to judge? At what point is it not more than they need?  At what point does stealing the labor or property of others become okay?

I'm betting we could find others in the world that believe you make far more than you need to be happy.  If you believe you do as well then I assume you are giving away everything above that level that you determine acceptable, otherwise your a hypocrite.  Or do you simply move the level of what is acceptable to whatever you happen to be making?

 

 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 3124
rhare

When did "stealing the labor or property of others" enter the equation?  I'm assuming for purposes of the discussion that everyone makes their money legitimately.

Quote:

I'm betting we could find others in the world that believe you make far more than you need to be happy.

I'm sure you're right and your hypothetical "others" are also right.  What's that got to do with anything?  The point of the whole conversation is wealth disparity which is at its highest level since 1929.  Does that year ring a bell?

Quote:

If you believe you do as well then I assume you are giving away everything above that level that you determine acceptable, otherwise your a hypocrite. Or do you simply move the level of what is acceptable to whatever you happen to be making?

I assume my level of happiness will increase significantly next year when I retire with sufficient income and wealth to pay for what I want, but then I'm accustomed to living below my means.  I really don't understand your obvious ire.

And, btw, I'm a long way below the top 1%.

Doug

wstanhall's picture
wstanhall
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Posts: 6
Reuters article

 Doug, I manage a portfolio of 10 million or so in commercial real estate . Tomorrow I will have my rich self putting up chain link fence. Later in the week my privileged self will be running a bulldozer or maybe my pampered self will be standing on a pallet on a forklift repairing a light fixture.

Although our assets put us in the top 1% we do not live a life of privilege in any sense of the word.i drive a 7 year old minivan to work everyday and come home dirty a lot.

Being in the 1% doesn't happen by magic, it happens by busting my balls and taking risks...and being frugal

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
is that all?
wstanhall wrote:

 Doug, I manage a portfolio of 10 million or so in commercial real estate . Tomorrow I will have my rich self putting up chain link fence. Later in the week my privileged self will be running a bulldozer or maybe my pampered self will be standing on a pallet on a forklift repairing a light fixture.

Although our assets put us in the top 1% we do not live a life of privilege in any sense of the word.i drive a 7 year old minivan to work everyday and come home dirty a lot.

Being in the 1% doesn't happen by magic, it happens by busting my balls and taking risks...and being frugal

ONLY 10 mil?  Mate, you're still with us.......

Mike

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 1512
Stop hatin'

I agree with rhare to the extent that there are many people and groups trying to convince all of us who to hate, who to write off as not fit for civilized society, who to jettison from among us.  (What level of income or wealth qualifies someone for the hate of the rest of us? Who is "us" and who is "them"?)  If anyone succeeds in convincing enough of us that "some people" (could be anybody) are so bad they are not fit to live freely among us then those who did the convincing will then move immediately to send "those people" to gulags, confiscate their property (for the good of the rest of society), and kill them.  Hitler and the Nazi's convinced the Germans that the Jews were "those people."  Pol Pot convinced Cambodians "those people" were those who were educated, had money, taught school,  had advanced skills in some field, or failing all else simply wore eyeglasses!  It happened it France during their revolution. Mao did it in China. It almost happened in America in the '50's, but the rabid anti-communists did not ever develop the critical mass of supporters necessary to take over the country.  It almost happened in colonial America when witches were "those people" (along with Catholics, Jews, Baptists and Quakers!!).

This kind of outcome is one potential for us in the US out of the trouble which is fermenting right now.  To prevent it, we have to insist on: 1) the rule of law for all people; 2) equal rights for all, even those we don't like or agree with; 3) freedom and tolerance; and 4) love our neighbors as ourselves.

As distasteful as it may seem, we're all "us," and there's no "them," or we are doomed.  Jesus, Ghandi, and MLK are all with me on this.

However, nothing about what I've just written says there shouldn't be fair and lawful prosecutions for criminal acts.  There should be and there must be.  Or we're doomed.

Mirv's picture
Mirv
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Posts: 105
we have to insist on: 1) the rule of law for all people;

Dear THC
You state a conviction that "we have to insist on: 1) the rule of law for all people."  This is very bad because in many instances the so-called "law" is not fair, is not just and, in fact is WRITTEN by the very rich for the very rich. The "rich" that I refer to did NOT get rich fairly but by cheating.  Much of this cheating came from modifying the law to give them the ability to cheat.  In many instances the rich have crafted law and crafted a government to allow them to simply loot America. This has led to the situation wherein the very rich use (indirectly)  various police forces to act on its behalf to take from the people, be it a house, their money, payment of debt by forcibly taking from the people via government agency), and prevent us the people from objecting whether if by outright purchase and control of media (Murdock for example), little things like outlawing megaphones during demonstrations, even preventing protests by requiring "permits" with specific conditions etc.  In this regard, the best logic is to remind the reader that real law exists and that the man made (presently rich man made for the benefit of rich man) law may or may not comport with real law.  Anyone who does not believe in real law should hold their breath for 8 minutes and test some of the real laws.  An interesting discussion for another place and time would be on the topic of natural law wherein justice and fairness is seen as a valuable tool to grow a society and also create wealth.
  
I do not agree with obeying unfair, unjust man made laws. The system is not fair but allows wall street entities to loot our country "legally."  Our world is so complex that much of the cheating via law is under most people's radar.   See for example http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/opinion/sunday/friedman-did-you-hear-the-one-about-the-bankers.html   I respect the real laws, and am constantly exploring the real laws in a effort to improve my life.  I am an engineer who studies the laws of physics and chemistry to build things to make my life easier.   I am also a lawyer.  I am shocked by how much our man-made  law has been subverted/changed to tilt the playing field toward the super rich.  Someone else can adore, respect or even worship the man made "law" crafted by lobbiests who are paid to do the bidding of the plutarchs. It is sick to "obey" crap laws designed to take wealth from the people and to keep them subjugated.

 

 

 

guardia's picture
guardia
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Joined: Jul 26 2009
Posts: 592
Japanese official drinks radioactive water to make a point

Yummy

tedsan's picture
tedsan
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Posts: 20
This is not a simple class war

Mirv, you appear to be the only one who comprehends what the protesters are really angry about - the abuses of power by Wall Street.

While it's easy to simply look at the 99% vs. 1% as a simple financial equation, if you actually listen to what the protesters are saying, you'll find that the common theme is that they are highly offended by the lack of respect shown the American people by companies like Goldman, that game the system, and suck billions out of the economy while enlisting our politicians to create favorable tax structures and legislation that allows them to do so without any risk. These billions are coming from somewhere, and that somewhere is the rest of us.

 

playon's picture
playon
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Posts: 9
 It's not really about

 It's not really about income as it is about ownership... the 1% that own a huge amount of real assets, commodities, real estate, etc.

rhare's picture
rhare
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Posts: 1323
As the debt crisis continues - wealth disparity should reverse
playon wrote:

It's not really about income as it is about ownership... the 1% that own a huge amount of real assets, commodities, real estate, etc.

Keep in mind, much of what the 1% owns is fiction.  It's paper wealth - stocks, bonds, other financial instruments.  When things really fall apart, I believe the wealth disparity will become much less pronounced.  Those who have little to no assets don't really change - the biggest impact will be can they find a way to feed themselves and family.   Those who own truly needed productive assets will benefit (farmland, mines, energy production, etc) but many of the other wealthy who own things like real-estate (Commercial and Residential) will loose big.  I suspect that at some point most people living in a house with a mortgage will end up with the house.  It's only worth repossessing if you have someone to sale it too.  With no market to sale into, it's better off just giving the house to the current occupants since maintenance, taxes, upkeep (as required by governments) is more costly than the write off.  We are already seeing that in some areas.  Real estate (houses, commercial properties) become a liability when you have a glut of availability and they are not portable - which if you look at the demographics charts in the crash course - it is evident, we will continue to have a glut for sometime to come.

 

 

livewire120v's picture
livewire120v
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Joined: Sep 29 2010
Posts: 4
Fuzzy Math

I do not need for someone to tell me what the top 1% make.  I have seen for myself. These stats. seem to come from paychecks (taxes reported, the good old IRS). After working for an attorney that was noted as one of the top 10 in the country, I saw that he did not pay taxes and he bragged about it. Noone ever bothered him from the IRS. I also have meet a wasp reject. After talking to him I again realized the extent of tax evasion by the wealthy. How do they do it? Their income does not come on a paycheck. They have loopholes. If you do not believe me, invetigate the largest US refinery and what they earned at 1 cent a gallon (600,000 barrels * 42 gallons a barrel * .01) which netted them many millionaires. Now they charge 6 cent a barrel with no significant increase in costs. Do the math again with .05 and that is profit. Now divide this into the amount of currency minted in the US. How long did it take for them to earn all minted currency in the US? Don't worry it is virtual money.

I could go on with the list of crooks or just plain old aristocrats sucking up all the wealth but believe what you will. Can anyone say over the counter derivatives?

Just think for a minute. the big players in the media, sports, multi-national Coorp., banking, etc... Do a little math and you will soon realize that around 1% of the population is grossly absorbing the wealth and very quickly.

Lastly, with virtual currency and no checks and balances on their suspicious activity, just deduct the bottom 99% wealth from that $80 - 120 trillion and you can plainly see they make way more than $3##K a year and far, far exceed $9 million on the bottom line.

This guy is not going to fool most of the 99%.

 

 

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