Daily Digest

Daily Digest 7/1 - Greece Is A Kleptocracy, The Day The Law Left Town, Future Of Federal Solar Programs In Doubt

Friday, July 1, 2011, 7:50 AM
  • Stalled Construction Projects In Boston
  • Gold Daily and Silver Weekly - La Douleur du Monde
  • Greece Is A Kleptocracy
  • The Day the Law Left Town
  • The Real Causes Of The Economic Crisis? They're History
  • Egypt's Economy: Light, Dark, and Muddle
  • A New Investment Strategy: Preparing For End Times
  • Bill To Aid Farm Workers Union Is Vetoed
  • Future Of Federal Solar Programs In Doubt
  • The Relationship Between Hunger And Petroleum Consumption
  • 1 Sievert Water Leaking From Fukushima As Full Body Radiation Checks Begin Across Prefecture
  • Franken Pipeline
  • New Mexico Wildfires Approach Los Alamos Nuclear Lab

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

Economy

Stalled Construction Projects In Boston (David B.)

The recession in 2008 brought an economic downturn that stalled many construction projects across the city, leaving properties to become vacant eyesores for residents and tourists. Fortunately, some projects have resumed or are in the works to be completed.

Gold Daily and Silver Weekly - La Douleur du Monde (June C.)

You would not eat garbage off the street. Why would you put something that is of a similar character into your mind, so it will affect your investment accounts? Be selective in how you spend your time. There are quite a few opinionated idiots and broken traders who would love to drag you down to their level of incompetence and irrelevance.

Greece Is A Kleptocracy (June C.)

Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, from the Ancient Greek for "thief" and "rule," is a term applied to a government subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service. The term means "rule by thieves".

The Day the Law Left Town (jdargis)

City Council members sent the police home when they decided they couldn't afford them. On June 15, the police chief and his four officers secured the evidence room, changed the passwords on their computers and locked the department's doors for six months—longer if local finances don't improve by then.

For now, the Cherokee County sheriff's office, based 12 miles north in Rusk, is policing Alto, a city of about 1,200. Sheriff James Campbell said the extra load would strain his 25 deputies and reservists, who oversee a 1,000-square-mile territory. The sheriff is already responsible for the nearby city of Wells, which has a population of about 800 and earlier this year shed its only police officer. Crime went up initially, he said, but has stabilized.

The Real Causes Of The Economic Crisis? They're History (jdargis)

The report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission detailed the recklessness of the financial industry and the abject failures of policymakers and regulators that brought our economy to its knees in late 2008. The accuracy and facts of the commission’s investigative report have gone unchallenged since its release in January.

So, how do you revise the historical narrative when the evidence of what led to economic catastrophe is so overwhelming and the events at issue so recent? You and your political allies just do it. And you bet on the old axiom that a lie is halfway around the world before the truth can tie its shoes.

Egypt's Economy: Light, Dark, and Muddle (jdargis)

Inadvertently, Egypt was trying out an idea from Dani Rodrik, a Turkish economist. Mr Rodrik compares a crossroads in Hanoi (but it could be Cairo) with one in Russia. In Hanoi, there are no traffic lights; cars and carts crowd into an impenetrable tangle, yet everyone gets through somehow. By contrast, in Moscow the lights work; columns of cars stop and advance in turn—right up to the moment some idiot in a truck runs a red light and smashes into the waiting queue. This happens again and again and again.

A New Investment Strategy: Preparing For End Times (Dana T.)

Worried that Greece could go belly up? So-called black swan funds - named for rare and unexpected events - offer a way to profit in the event of a market collapse. Think a slowdown in the United States or China could set off a global economic crisis? New exchange-traded funds are popping up to help pad investor confidence.

Since the financial crisis, many investors have prospered from a rebound in the markets. But recent events have led some to brace for the worst.

Bill To Aid Farm Workers Union Is Vetoed (jdargis)

The legislation had been the highest priority in recent years for the United Farm Workers and had easily passed the Democratic-controlled Legislature repeatedly. Similar legislation was vetoed four times in the past four years by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but many supporters assumed they would have support from Mr. Brown, who often speaks about his personal relationship with Cesar Chavez, the venerated founder of the union.

Energy

Future Of Federal Solar Programs In Doubt (Johnny Oxygen)

The solar power industry is facing a double threat from a Congress that may turn off the flow of federal subsidies and take a pass on mandating renewable-energy standards that would increase demand.

The Republican-led House, focused on cutting spending and philosophically opposed to subsidizing solar power and clean energy, has targeted federal grant and loan guarantee programs to reduce or eliminate.

The Relationship Between Hunger And Petroleum Consumption (Crash_Watcher)

Here, in part 2, I delve deeper into the analysis of the data base of countries for which the International Food Policy Research Institute generated a Global Hunger Index, and, my estimates of those country's capita petroleum consumption rate. My analysis suggests that there indeed a significant link between per capita petroleum consumption and the Global Hunger Index, and, that a drop in petroleum consumption below one barrel of oil per person per year (b/py) correlates with serious or higher hunger categories.

1 Sievert Water Leaking From Fukushima As Full Body Radiation Checks Begin Across Prefecture (June C.)

Daily Yomiuri reports: "Fukushima Prefecture began checking the internal radiation dose levels of selected residents Monday, the first step in its plan to examine the health of all its 2 million residents amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. About 28,000 residents of Namiemachi, Iitatemura and the Yamakiya district of Kawamatacho were to receive the initial checks." Naturally, this is all to make sure that the motor plant workers will be in pristine shape as Japan ramps up production for its car plants to fill "unprecedented record demand"... if one believes the lies emanating every day from the other side of the Pacific. (ignore record GM channel stuffing facts please).

Franken Pipeline (guardia)

According to Jeremy Symons, senior vice-president of the National Wildlife Federation, referring to the proposed $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline, "Toxic and corrosive tar-sands sludge is not like regular oil. We need to update our safety regulations to deal with it. That process hasn't happened. This is the next Deepwater Horizon disaster in the making."

Environment

New Mexico Wildfires Approach Los Alamos Nuclear Lab (jdargis)

So far, fire officials report that the blaze, well into its third day, has destroyed about a dozen homes in Los Alamos County. As of noon local time, officials said the fire had not yet reached the Los Alamos National Laboratory – a 23,000-acre complex that sprawls across several narrow mesas and canyons some 25 miles northwest of Santa Fe.

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."

11 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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fogettaboutit's picture
fogettaboutit
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The Real Causes Of The Economic Crisis? They're History

The Phil Angelides article linked above is only telling part of the story. He left out, for example, the  Democrat's push for the Wall Street bailouts and more importantly, the protection given to the big banks by the passage of the financial regulation bill last year - legislation primarily created by and passed by the Democrats. I applaud the article for pointing out that the Republicans are trying to place the burden of this financial train wreck on the backs of middle America without any burden shared by Wall Street, but that is only a half-truth. We are close enough to the history to still know the whole truth, if we dare to learn it. But I deplore the article for its partisan slant and it does nothing to mobilize this country to fix the problem. Rather it does what all politicians and everyone else with some sort of vested interest (money or power) does - it pits the left against the right or Democrats against Republicans - both groups, politically, share the blame for they are only trying to hold on to their power the only way the system allows it. Let's stop blaming the left or the right; that is just another lie! The problem is systemic and we could begin to cure the problem by reforming our campaign finance laws. Nah....that will never happen .... unless, everyone stops pointing fingers at each other and starts point the finger where it belongs: our broken system! (I do sympathize with those who argue it is too late but until I throw up my hands and say forget about it, I believe that nothing will be accomplished until campaign financing is reformed.)

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1891
U.S. Food Stamp Use On The Rise

There is a lot of partisan vitriol regarding food stamps, who gets it, who deserves it, etc.

But I think we should all take this as another sign that the American economic situation is still deteriorating - even if GDP grows and stock prices rise to new highs.

U.S. Food Stamp Use On The Rise
"Growth in the food stamp program continued in the U.S. - with 27 states providing benefits to at least 1 in 7 people.... 44.5 million people receiving benefits, according a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture."
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/07/01/u-s-food-stamp-use-on-the-rise/

Poet

alcatwize's picture
alcatwize
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Really good video on changing the tax code.

Congressman Woodall delivers a five-minute speech on the House Floor on the merits of H.R. 25/S.13, the FairTax.

 

if only we could get everyone to watch this video...

 

rhare's picture
rhare
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Campaign reform is just a band-aid
fogettaboutit wrote:

The problem is systemic and we could begin to cure the problem by reforming our campaign finance laws.

The problem is that this is simply a band-aid like many of the other band-aids (banking reform, etc).  They do not address the underlying two main problems as I see it:

  • Fiat currency (via the Fed) that benefits those politically corrected.  For this sound money is the solution.  When you do not have access to free money your much more careful with capital.
  • Ability (via big government) for elected officials to benefit some members of society over others.  That is the government is in charge of large sums of money which they can dole out as favors.  Campaign reform is primarily trying to correct this issue.

Directly taxing constituents to fund programs rather than printing or borrowing will result in smaller government.  When costs are not obscured, the populace will be much more discriminating in voting for additional spending.  When the government has less to dole out, there will be less lobbying, less corruption, less desire to be career politicians.

 

rhare's picture
rhare
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Congressmen out to early lunch?
alcatwize wrote:

Congressman Woodall delivers a five-minute speech on the House Floor on the merits of H.R. 25/S.13, the FairTax. if only we could get everyone to watch this video...

I would settle for even just our Congress listening to it.  Notice how empty the house was.  At least from the video it looks like he's speaking to about 10 people.

It nicely dovetails with my last post above.. Smile

rjs's picture
rjs
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Posts: 445
nukes news
Fire Stirs Old-Waste Concern For Los Alamos Lab - -- Fire officials said it's looking increasingly likely that the Las Conchas fire will not reach the Los Alamos laboratory, but there are still concerns about the areas around the facility which authorities said could be filled with decades-old waste.  Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charles McMillan said they really don't know what's in the ground around the nuclear facility, admitting that old contamination could be a big question mark when it comes to the long-term effects of the fire.  "We do know some things about what are there. (But) is our knowledge perfect? No. Is it zero? No," McMillan said.  McMillan said there are areas off the lab property where waste was deposited decades ago, when safety standards were far lower.  McMillan said the laboratory continues to monitor air samples, and so far, there aren't any signs of radiological release.

 

 Los Alamos Radiation Threat 'Limited' in N.M. Fire --- Firefighters battled a 145 square-mile fire burning in a canyon leading to parts of the Los Alamos nuclear lab and an evacuated town, even as confidence rose that both would be spared from the flames.  Los Alamos Canyon runs past runs past the old Manhattan Project site in town and a 1940s era dump site where workers are near the end of a clean-up project of low-level radioactive waste. The World War II Manhattan Project developed the first atomic bomb, and workers from the era dumped hazardous and radioactive waste in trenches along six acres atop the mesa where the town sits. The threat is pretty limited," said Kevin Smith, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration site manager for Los Alamos, which over sees the lab. "Most of the materials have been dug up." os Alamos Canyon also runs through town and a portion of the northern end of the lab, where a weapons research nuclear reactor was located until it was demolished in 2003.
 

NBC Nightly News: Photo of barrels with plutonium-contaminated waste inside plastic tent at Los Alamos ‘Area G’ — “When they assure you there’s nothing to worry about I think I’d be somewhat worried” says former DOE official (VIDEO)

 

Worker Burned in Gas Pump Fire Outside Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant - A portable gasoline pump caught fire Thursday at a security building near the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant and seriously burned a worker. The Omaha Public Power District, which owns the plant, said the worker was airlifted to a hospital in Lincoln, Neb., with burns on his arms and face. He had been refilling a gas tank when the fire occurred. OPPD said the security building is not part of the nuclear plant grounds. Fort Calhoun, north of Omaha, and the power district's Cooper nuclear plant downstream both remain under unusual event notifications because of extreme flooding along the Missouri River."

Nuke query: What if dam breaks?, Federal regulators want to make certain Nebraska's flood-threatened nuclear reactors have adequate safety measures in place if a dam breaks upstream, so they have asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its latest analyses on the risks of dam failure.Six dams constituting one of the nation's largest reservoir systems sit above Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Stations. The corps is sending record runoff through the dams, and the consequences for Missouri River communities include broken levees, inundated homes and businesses, submerged highways and threatened power plants. The dams are being monitored around the clock and remain robust, corps officials say. In addition to standard inspections, teams of engineers from the Omaha district have been helping at the dams for more than a month.  High release rates have caused erosion in some areas downstream or around the spillways at each of the dams, Bertino said.  On Friday, the corps plans to interrupt spillway releases for several hours at Big Bend Dam so it can check there for possible erosion, he said.

fogettaboutit's picture
fogettaboutit
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Broken system

Well, I would respectfully disagree, rhare. Addressing both of your points (I believe you meant "connected" in the first bullet point so I'll go with that). If politicians were no longer beholden to special interest that pay the money that get them elected but rather the big money donors (and lobbies) were taken out of the process with every person running for office forced to run on the same monetary base that comes from the population that will elect them, there would be far less incentive to benefit the special interests which are now the politically connected.  When the banks, insurance companies, military-industrial complex, et al. are funding the machine needed to run a campaign and win, nothing will change until those who make the rules stop making it for the special interests that make it possible for them to win the election - that won't happen until the way campaigns are financed changes. While the Fed Reserve is not an elected body, it is political and therefore answers to the powers that control our Congress (conspiracy theories excepted). A sound currency has no chance until the rule makers are not beholden to the banks. 

 

rhare's picture
rhare
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Posts: 1323
Peak government...
fogettaboutit wrote:

I believe you meant "connected" in the first bullet point so I'll go with that

I did, those dang spell checkers need to be thought checkers. Smile

fogettaboutit wrote:

If politicians were no longer beholden to special interest that pay the money that get them elected but rather the big money donors (and lobbies) were taken out of the process with every person running for office forced to run on the same monetary base that comes from the population that will elect them, there would be far less incentive to benefit the special interests which are now the politically connected.

I think it is naive to believe that just because you put a law in place regarding campaign reform that you aren't going to get favors from those that the politicians can redistribute or benefit.  So you can't contribue to their campaign, so you just drive it underground and they get fancy meals, free plane rides, cash under the table or you end up with money going to various soft political groups.

The problem is we have given politicians the abilty to take money from the populace and dole it out as favors.  So you have missed the point, with smaller government (much smaller) you do not have all the lobbyists in trying to direct legistlation and hand outs to their employers.  I think this podcast and this article cover it quite well.

fogettaboutit wrote:

While the Fed Reserve is not an elected body, it is political and therefore answers to the powers that control our Congress (conspiracy theories excepted). A sound currency has no chance until the rule makers are not beholden to the banks.

Quite the catch-22 huh.  You can't get rid of the Fed until you get politicians not beholden to the banks, but politicians will remain beholden as long as the Fed keeps supplying money for them to buy off voters with favors and handouts.

I still believe you are addressing the symptoms and not the root cause.  Sound money being the main issue.  Without fiat currency there could be no big government because no one could pay for it.  The day is coming when it falls apart, and then we will have smaller government by default.  I heard someone use the term peak government, and I think it's appropriate.

DEUS X MACHINA's picture
DEUS X MACHINA
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Posts: 28
a yard sale coming to YOUR neighborhood

Greece Fights Debt with $71 Billion Yard Sale

Sax:  this is a classic central banker implosion scheme then fire sale to pay off fake debt.  I suspect the same will happen to us in the relative near future.  can't we all just get along?

DEUS X MACHINA's picture
DEUS X MACHINA
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notice at 10am in the morning your congressman are a no show
alcatwize wrote:

Congressman Woodall delivers a five-minute speech on the House Floor on the merits of H.R. 25/S.13, the FairTax.

 

if only we could get everyone to watch this video...

 

The congressman already left for summer vacation...they are too busy to listen. 

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