Daily Digest

Daily Digest 4/2 - America's Dream Unravels, Risky Pension Funds Fail To Pay Off, The Gas Glut

Monday, April 2, 2012, 9:38 AM
  • America's Dream Unravels
  • You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Part One
  • Pensions Find Riskier Funds Fail to Pay Off 
  • As Foreclosure Problems Persist, Fed Seeks More Fine
  • China Sees U.S. as Competitor and Declining Power, Insider Says
  • Inter-Regional Trade Movements of Petroleum to and from South America
  • Gas Glut: Looking at the Options Available to U.S. Natural Gas
  • House of Saud to Meet Yemen's Oil Needs as Sana'a Internally Combusts

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America's Dream Unravels (June C.)

It helps even more if there is a pool of able-bodied unemployed people prepared to work for low wages and anaemic benefits. Gary can still offer that. But in spite of all the casinos, its population keeps shrinking. In 1980 it had 145,000 people. That is now down to 80,000. “When I was five years old, my mother would hold my hand when we walked down Broadway because there were so many people,” says Saleem el-Amin, a middle-aged city demolition worker, pointing at the town’s eerily quiet main street.

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Part One (JimQ)

Entire populations taking comfort in their illusions transcends centuries. This is because all humans are driven by their emotions and react to events and danger in a predictable manner depending on their stage of life. Strauss & Howe in their 1997 opus – The Fourth Turning – utilized decades of studying generational dynamics to anticipate when our next Crisis would arrive and what core elements would precipitate it:

Pensions Find Riskier Funds Fail to Pay Off (John M.)

While managers for the retirement systems say that a five-year period is not long enough to judge their success, those fees nevertheless add up to hundreds of millions of dollars each year for some of the country’s largest pension funds. The $51.4 billion Pennsylvania public schools pension system, for instance, which has 46 percent of its assets in riskier investments, pays more than $500 million a year in fees. It has earned 3.9 percent annually since 2007.

As Foreclosure Problems Persist, Fed Seeks More Fine (jdargis)

Arthur M. Schack, a New York State Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn, has cracked down on fraudulent documentation and said he was concerned that foreclosures moving through the courts continued to be flawed. Even after mortgage servicers have been excoriated by a judge in one state, they still use similar documents in other cases in other states, according to the examination.

China Sees U.S. as Competitor and Declining Power, Insider Says (jdargis)

Mr. Wang, who has an insider’s view of Chinese foreign policy from his positions on advisory boards of the Chinese Community Party and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contributed an assessment of Chinese policy toward the United States. Kenneth Lieberthal, the director of the John L. Thornton Center for China Studies at Brookings, and a former member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, wrote the appraisal of Washington’s attitude toward China.


Inter-Regional Trade Movements of Petroleum to and from South America (Crash_Watcher)

In the past decade, North America and Africa, as petroleum import sources to South America, have increased, while the Middle East and Former Soviet Union as import sources have gone down substantially (Figure 9). Over the same period, North America as petroleum export destination for South America petroleum has gone down, while China, other Asia Pacific countries (except Japan), and Europe have gone up (Figure 10).

If these trends were to continue, South America may one day become a net importer of petroleum from North America and a strong exporter to China and the other Asia Pacific countries (Figures 11 and 12). From a South American perspective, these trends might be seen as a desirable diversification of South American petroleum export destinations. From a North American perspective, this trend might be viewed as a redistribution of South America’s petroleum wealth away from North America, and towards China and other Asia Pacific countries.

Gas Glut: Looking at the Options Available to U.S. Natural Gas (James S.)

We now get to transportation fuels which is a very interesting case. Natural gas used in transportation comes in two very different forms - compressed and liquefied. The compressed version is rather simple to distribute and use. Compress natural gas directly from the distribution pipe into a suitably equipped vehicle and away you go. The big drawback to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles is that it requires a lot of storage space on a truck or car to go any distance. Nothing, as yet, can touch a good tankful of diesel for energy density - the vehicle range you can squeeze out of the tank.

House of Saud to Meet Yemen's Oil Needs as Sana'a Internally Combusts (James S.)

The Saudi distraction in Yemen is so great at present that the kidnapping of a Saudi deputy consul in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on 28 March was met with only a muted response from Riyadh. Yemeni police told reporters that the Saudi diplomat was taken from outside his home by unidentified gunmen and his whereabouts remains unknown. The kidnapping appears to be likely related to a “personal” conflict between the Saudi diplomat and influential forces in Aden, and not political in nature or directly related to one of Yemen’s various conflicts. While the search is on for the diplomat, Riyadh has more important matters to deal with in Yemen.

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Funny video - Greek Job Interview

This is a very funny/sad 2+ minute video "A job interview during the Greek Crisis"


Link:   http://youtu.be/i5RGJrU_kSY

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Mark Cochrane
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You ain't seen nothing yet - Part 2

Here is the link to Part 2 of Jim Quin's piece on The Burning Platform



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Arthur Robey
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Why do I do it?

The object of the exercise was to persuade my CEO of the merits of the workers buying the Port where we work. What with superannuation in bloody retreat, why not withdraw our puttative funds and leverage them against whatever it is that the Fund managers have on their desk top, and buy the means of production. We can do It..

Having said my piece I had a rare chance to observe the contents of his thoughts. (Being a good listener is a practiced art. Much Recommended)

He came from the upper echelons of Australian society. (Yes, we have social stratification too).

The view from the top is that they have everything planned out to 2034. No less.  Lemme see. In 2034 China's demand for Iron ore will taper off and supply will be ramping up from Africa with a commensurate price collapse.

I mentioned peak oil and the behaviour of the Baltic Dry Index and hinted at the effect that these things will have on BAU. I said that the exponential growth of China had an evil twin, Exponential decay.

Anyway, his handshake was a lot less firm going out of the door than coming in.

Why oh why do I do it?

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Re: Why oh why do I do it?
Arthur Robey wrote:

Why oh why do I do it?

1.  Because you feel it's the right thing to do.

2.  Because you have a conscience and that convinces you to at least make the good faith effort

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