Daily Digest

Daily Digest 4/5 - The Failure Of Conventional Economics, Arguing Over Crumbs, Who Really Owns Your Mortgage?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011, 9:47 AM
  • Mortgage mess: Who really owns your mortgage?
  • The Fraud-Based Economy
  • Take This Job And Shove It
  • The Tsunami
  • Arguing Over Crumbs
  • March Madness: U.S. Government Spent More Than Eight Times Its Monthly Revenue
  • Are silver prices at 31-year highs justified?
  • Does A Weak Dollar Cause Inflation?
  • Toyota Says It Will Have To Shut Down North American Factories, 25,000 Workers To Be "Affected"
  • The Grand Failure of Conventional Economics
  • Fears For Global Recovery As Oil Hits $120 Mark
  • Could Shale Gas Power The World?
  • A Short Aerial Tour Of The Arrival Of Canadian Oil In The United States

Learn how to protect your wealth against the Three E forces using our 'What Should I Do?' guide


Mortgage mess: Who really owns your mortgage? (Alfredo E.)

Even if you're not at risk of foreclosure, there could be legal ramifications for a homeowner if the chain of title has been lost. Watch the "60 Minutes" report and listen to Pelley's discussion with "60 Minutes Overtime" editor Ann Silvio about the findings of his reporting team.

The Fraud-Based Economy (Ilene)

This craziness is part of the "Fraudclosure" scandal that has been well documented by Barry Ritholtz over at The Big Picture so I'm not going to spend too much time on it other than to look at the overall trend. 37,000 people went to an event in Los Angeles for people who are in foreclosure and wanted to know their rights, 12,000 people came to a similar event in Miami, law firms are beginning to take cases on contingency in exchange for liens on the homes, which can become very valuable if the law firm successfully shoos the bank away from the Mortgage.

Take This Job And Shove It (JimQ)

The true picture of the American economy is that in 2007 there were 146 million Americans employed, or 63% of the working age population. Today, there are 139.9 million Americans employed, or 58.5% of the working age population. Over this time frame, an additional 7.1 million Americans entered the working age population. In 2007 there were 26.3 million Americans on food stamps, or 8.6% of the US population. Today there are 44.2 million Americans on food stamps, or 14.3% of the US population. To call the current economic disaster a recovery is to practice the art of the Big Lie.

The Tsunami (adam)

Arguing Over Crumbs (David B.)

The budget pie illustrated.

March Madness: U.S. Government Spent More Than Eight Times Its Monthly Revenue (David B.)

During the month, according to the Treasury, the federal government grossed $194 billion in tax revenue and paid out $65.898 billion in tax refunds (including $62.011 to individuals and $3.887 to businesses) thus netting $128.179 billion in tax revenue for March.

At the same time, the Treasury paid out a total of $1.1187 trillion. When the $65.898 billion in tax refunds is deducted from that, the Treasury paid a net of $1.0528 trillion in federal expenses for March.

Are silver prices at 31-year highs justified? (Alfredo E.)

But analysts remain wary of silver's extreme volatility, which has led to some heart-stopping reversals in recent years. When commodities sold off heavily in mid-March, it dropped nearly 5 per cent in a single day, versus gold's 2 per cent fall. Silver prices have had an impressive run higher since the financial crisis gripped markets back in late 2008, rallying from below $9 an ounce in October that year to a 31-year peak of $38.40 on Monday.

Does A Weak Dollar Cause Inflation? (Joe P.)

Should investors be concerned that a weaker U.S. dollar causes inflation? The price at the gas pump should be a stark reminder that a weaker dollar may contribute to higher prices. Yet, economists tell us that food and energy inflation does not count. Why do economists have such a baffling sense of logic? Are economists really aliens in disguise, locked up in ivory towers? Let’s shed some light on the logic and why it may not merely be strange, but wrong.

Toyota Says It Will Have To Shut Down North American Factories, 25,000 Workers To Be "Affected" (pinecarr)

Remember the massive surge to world GDP courtesy of the Japanese disaster spouted by every idiot on CNBC? Well, here we go…

The Grand Failure of Conventional Economics (pinecarr)

The next decade will see the complete failure of conventional economics. Why is this so?

If we take the very long view, we find that all of conventional economics developed in the era of ever-cheaper, ever-more abundant energy and the miraculous "low hanging fruit" productivity gains made possible by cheap energy and the tools of mass production and industrialization.


Fears For Global Recovery As Oil Hits $120 Mark (pinecarr)

Oil has hit $120 per barrel for the first time since before the financial crisis – threatening global growth and putting the world at risk of an inflationary shock.

Could Shale Gas Power The World? (Dave B.)

Until recently, natural gas was the forgotten stepsister of fuels. It provides about a quarter of U.S. electricity and heats over 60 million American homes, but it's always been limited — more expensive than dirty coal, dirtier than nuclear or renewables. Much of Europe depends on gas for heating and some electricity — but the bulk of the supply comes from Russia, which hasn't hesitated to use energy as a form of political blackmail. The fuels of the future were going to be solar, wind and nuclear. "The history of natural gas in the U.S. has been a roller-coaster ride," says Tony Meggs, a co-chair of a 2010 Massachusetts Institute of Technology gas study. "It's been up and down and up and down."

A Short Aerial Tour Of The Arrival Of Canadian Oil In The United States (jdargis)

This tour is split into two components: first, TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline system (PDF), which runs from Alberta through Manitoba via a fork in Nebraska to endpoints in Illinois and Oklahoma, and second, trucking corridors in Montana and Idaho, used by both Imperial Oil and ConocoPhilips.

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."


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Re: Arguing Over Crumbs, Budget Pie


Since the Budget Pie picture isn't being shown, I thought I'd include it here.

Our Republican AND Demoratic politicians are delusional. Crumbs is what their huge debate is over.

What's also very sad is, the $1.6 trillion in deficit spending is basically 11% of our economy. Without it, our GDP wouldn't grow about 3%, it would crater about 8%.

But There's Hope
Think about it: If we weren't in Iraq and Afghanitan, we wouldn't have to spend about $800 billion. Also, the Bush tax cuts, if not extended for anyone - thus bringing us back to 2001 tax levels - would bring back in additional $200 billion per year (roughly between liberal and conservative estimates, but erring on the side of recession). Now we're more than halfway toward closing the deficit.

Then average proposed Republican cuts and Democrat cuts. Even better. And (I know, pipe dream here) if only we had real Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid reform, and some further government reform, too...

Okay, so we've got  rat's ass chance in hell of exiting those two countries by Fiscal Year 2011. Back to reality...


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India Halts All Food Imports from Japan due to radiation in fish

From Zerohedge, "India Halts All Food Imports From Japan After Fukushima Fish Found With Excess Radioactivity", http://www.zerohedge.com/article/india-halts-all-food-imports-japan-after-fukushima-fish-found-excess-radioactivity 


After dumping thousands of tons of radioactive water in the sea, Japan appears to have been stunned to find that the radioactive content of various fish has surged and is now above just imposed radiation safety thresholds.

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Screening the Day’s Catch

Screening the Day’s Catch for Radiation

Published: April 5, 2011

Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernardin, the high temple of seafood in Manhattan, bought a new kitchen gadget a few days ago: a radiation detector.

Librado Romero/The New York Times

A chef at Le Bernardin in Manhattan checking fish for radiation on Tuesday.

“I just want to make sure whatever we use is safe,” said Mr. Ripert, whose staff is using the device to screen every item of food that enters the restaurant, regardless of its origin. He has also stopped buying fish from Japan, which means no high-quality, farm-raised hamachi and kampachi for raw seafood dishes.

“Nobody knows how the currents will carry the contaminated water,” he said.


(nb:at least the expensive restaurants can get geiger counters...)

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FESTO built a bird...

I'm not sure if some might flag this as off-topic but since CM is about more efficient use of energy, how about this - FESTO (Germany based company specialized in many uses of robotics) built a bird


..and this is no April 1st joke  ;-)  though posted that day.. FESTO is known for their R&D work and in the engineering comunity sometimes compared to the ingeniuty of Apple.


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Man that is awwwesome!

Man that is awwwesome!

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Cool bird video. By the

Cool bird video.

By the way.  I am a semi-professional woodworker and out of work economist(ironic isn't it).  Festo makes Festool tools which are not the Cadillac of tools but the Ferrari.  They are without equal in my opinion.  My wife just got me 3 for Christmas and my birthday. 

Oh, and  what school of economics do I  follow? Austrian...

It is just my hunch, but I think the jig will be up on this economy if the Congress/President fail to make real and meaingful debt reduction.  If they fail, and they will, no one will buy our debt.  Perhaps...perhaps some in government want failure.   Why?  You figure it out

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bird camera?

The first thing I thought when I saw the bird video was how it could be fitted with a camera.  When I saw the comments, I realized that I was not the only person to think of that.  very creepy.  pretty video though.

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Smart Bird - very cool

Germanni, thanks for posting the video, very interesting.

maceves wrote:

The first thing I thought when I saw the bird video was how it could be fitted with a camera.  When I saw the comments, I realized that I was not the only person to think of that.  very creepy.  pretty video though.

if you watch the second longer video, it is clear some of the shots during flight are from a camara on the back of the bird - approximately 14:30.

-- editied to add:

I wonder if we will find it easier to build birds (Blade Runner style) or simply control real birds to perform tasks like recon, since a real bird can eat to refuel:


or perhaps it will be a combination of the two:


 Of course the engineering shown in the Smart Bird video will find many other uses.




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Yep, the options this bird could be (mis-)used are plentiful. But if you think about it, it's like a car or air planes in general, engineered for man's good but abused in wartime .. whereas this bird could be used in "peaceful war on terror times".. 

The way FESTO caused attention in the filed first was with their use of hydraulics & pneumatics as you can get very interesting effects (forces, displacement etc.) that can be transitioning from one state to another in a very smoth manner. That's the beauty of many of FESTO's designs.


Elephant trunk (!)

Fish, flying pnguine and now even a bird. Their idea of looking into nature who had millions of years to develop us all is great and should inspire us to use less energy for achieving the same results.


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