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    Daily Digest 2/23 – Catastrophe Curbs Inequality, Iraq Calls For New OPEC Meeting

    by DailyDigest

    Thursday, February 23, 2017, 1:37 PM


The Only Thing, Historically, That’s Curbed Inequality: Catastrophe (Sam D.)

This equalizing was a rare outcome in modern times but by no means unique over the long run of history. Inequality has been written into the DNA of civilization ever since humans first settled down to farm the land. Throughout history, only massive, violent shocks that upended the established order proved powerful enough to flatten disparities in income and wealth. They appeared in four different guises: mass-mobilization warfare, violent and transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic epidemics. Hundreds of millions perished in their wake, and by the time these crises had passed, the gap between rich and poor had shrunk.

Alan Greenspan: Ron Paul Was Right About The Gold Standard (Aaron M.)

In the aftermath of the dot com crisis Greenspan cut interest rates to near-zero in the early 2000s, igniting the housing bubble, which neither he nor anyone else at the Fed was able to detect along the way. He even made it into the dictionary, as the “Greenspan put” became the term for government bailing out its Wall Street benefactors. From this the leveraged speculating community learned that no risk was too egregious and no profit too large, because government – that is, the Fed – had eliminated all the worst-case scenarios. Put another way, under Greenspan profit was privatized but loss was socialized.

Wal-Mart In Trouble (suziegruber)

In spite of the increase in revenue, Wal-Mart’s prospects appear bleak in the face of the growth of online giant Amazon. At a Berkshire Hathaway meeting last year, Buffett described Amazon as “a big, big force” that “has already disrupted plenty of people and it will disrupt more.” He also said many retailers, “including us in a few areas, have not figured the way to either participate in it or to counter it.”

Digitalization, Efficiency and the Rebound Effect (blackeagle)

Debates about the so-called rebound effect go back to William Stanley Jevons’ work in the 19th century, although they had been forgotten for too long.Rebound effects occur if a reduction of inputs per unit of output (efficiency) generates an absolute increase in output (growth). Since the 1980s, research on the phenomenon recurred in the niche of energy economics, but rarely made it into other disciplines. Until now it only sporadically pops up in public debates. With two books on the rebound effect (Santarius, 2015; Santarius et al., 2016), I tried to broaden the perspectives on this phenomenon by systematizing when and why rebound effects can occur. But what does the rebound effect mean in the light of digitalization? Why did the promising ICT-driven efficiency improvements so far not lead to a significantly reduced overall resource demand? Might they even lead to an increased demand by way of rebound effects?

Tomorrow’s cities – nightmare vision of the future? (blackeagle)

“Bees exist on Earth to pollinate flowers, and maybe humans are here to build the machines,” he says.

“Urban robots are just starting to appear, and in 200 years time, machines may run the urban form.

Venezuela’s economic crisis is so dire that most people have lost an average of 19 pounds (Yoxa)

Inflation is skyrocketing — the International Monetary Fund estimates that the country’s inflation is expected to rise 1,660 percent this year and 2,880 percent next year. Shortages of food, medicine, and many basic items abound in what was once the richest country in South America per capita in the 20th century. Malaria is ravaging a country that was the first in the world to eliminate the disease in its populated areas.

It’s Like the Financial Crisis Never Happened (Don R.)

This global divergence is covered up by the record highs of global stocks in the past week. On Wednesday morning in London the MSCI All-Country World index was setting another new high, after breaking the 2015 high a week ago. Look below the headline, and the high is all about the U.S., which makes up more than half the market value of the global benchmark. Japanese, European and emerging-market stocks all remain below their postcrisis highs, let alone their precrisis highs, in both dollars and local currency.

Unsatisfied With Oil Prices, Iraq Calls For New OPEC Meeting (Michael K.)

Iraq has contractual obligations to foreign oil companies, and must deal with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which controls fields in the north, making any production cuts quite complex. In this way, Iraq faces more challenges than other OPEC members in trying to comply with the deal.

Dallas Police Pension Board Approves Benefit Cuts; Asks For More Taxpayer Money To Avoid Collapse (Mark H.)

The plan to save the DPFP was proposed by Dan Flynn, chair of the pensions committee in the Texas House of Representatives, and calls for Dallas taxpayers to contribute 34.5% of police and firefighter salaries each year into the failing pension system, up from 27% in 2015, plus an incremental $11 million per year. In total, the adopted plan will cost Dallas taxpayers an extra $22 million per year.

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 8:14am



    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 30 2009

    Posts: 2922

    Nearly half of states are facing a budget shortfall. Here's why

    Nearly half of states are facing a budget shortfall. Here’s why that …

    PBS NewsHour-17 hours ago
    Greitens’ proposed $27.6 billion budget did not include any tax hikes. … and interest on the national debt make up more than 80 percent of the federal budget.

    Oregon economy strong, but state budget gap still looms

    KTVZ-19 hours ago

    But with a projected shortfall still topping $1.7 billion for the biennium, … a shortfall of nearly $2 billion – a structural deficit that has been a generation in the ..

    Sweden complains it is collecting too much tax

    Financial Times-22 hours ago
    Negative interest rates have made some of the world’s highest taxes a lot less painful as businesses and individuals race to hand cash to the state because of …

    Move back to franc could trigger French default warns S&P

    Reuters UK-22 hours ago
    Move back to franc could trigger French default warns S&P … by France to pay its debt into a new version of the franc would result in a default rating, S&P Global …

    How France scrapping the euro could go beyond a ‘Lehman moment’

    CNBC-6 hours ago
    However, Deutsche Bank has warned of the inconsistencies of likening the two votes. … While central banks could be expected to step in to secure the system, …

    BOK Keeps Rate Steady at 1.25% on Uncertainties, Household Debt

    KBS WORLD Radio News – ‎13 hours ago‎
    Record-high household debt, which increased 141 trillion won, or 123-point-six billion dollars, last year on sustained cuts in interest rates also burdened the monetary policy committee. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest

    Revised Chicago School Budget Approved, $111 Million Gap …

    U.S. News & World Report-17 hours ago
    The $5.41 billion budget still has a $111 million hole to fill before the fiscal year … $676 million in fiscal 2016, as well as drained reserves and debt dependency.

    GEORGE WILL: America faces a predictable pension crisis

    Sioux City Journal-9 hours ago
    According to its mayor, the city is “walking into the fan blades” of pension promises: The fund for retired police and firefighters is $5 billion underfunded.


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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 8:37am



    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 507

    Can't meet pensions; what about infrastructure?

    On the news of Exxon/Mobil’s write down on reserves, could we be facing a real re-evaluation of assets across the board, starting with the main substance that drives industry? If the hedge fund guru’s are basing their projections through rose colored glasses hoping business will recover, perhaps some of those long positions could be cut off at the knees. What effect on PM’s. And, if we hope to keep dams from eroding, highways from crumbling and toilets to continue flushing, where are the funds to be gotten. Mr. Krugman has an interesting read on the Trump approach to “Making America Great Again”. Is crony-capitalism alive and well in the 21st century? 

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 10:23am



    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 1815

    Controlling Discussion: Google hits Infowars, Natural News

    Alternative media has played an important role in the movement against the “neoconservative / neoliberal global-domination” group.  One example: After his election, Trump reportedly called Alex Jones to thank him for his efforts. 
    Mike Adams reports from
    GOOGLE blacklists Natural News… removes 140,000 pages from its index… “memory holes” Natural News investigative articles on vaccines, pharma corruption, fraudulent science and more

    Late last week, I received a direct threat that warned if I did not take steps to destroy Alex Jones and InfoWars, I would be targeted for destruction in a campaign of smears, censorship and defamation.
    True to form, today the entire Natural News website has been blacklisted by Google, entirely without warning. This is just one of many censorship events that have all taken place over the last few days:
    Last weekend, damning videos were leaked in a focused effort to take out Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart News editor and gay conservative who has openly supported President Trump. ….
    Yesterday, InfoWars was blackballed by, an online advertising distribution company. According to Alex Jones, the blacklisting by AdRoll will cost InfoWars $3 million in annual revenues.
    Today, Natural News has been hit by Google, which has blacklisted the entire Natural News domain and removed over 140,000 pages from its index. The take down of Natural News happened this morning, and it follows a pattern of censorship we’re seeing being leveled against other pro-Trump websites.
    Some of the news now being censored by Google includes our laboratory testing of the U.S. water supply, where we conducted laboratory testing to discover that 6.7% of municipal water is contaminated with toxic metals. Google has also blacklisted our announcement of free laboratory testing services for Native American water supplies impacted by oil pipeline leaks. Also blacklisted is our exclusive coverage of the GlaxoSmithKline criminal indictment by the U.S. Justice Dept. and our interview with the whistleblower who helped achieved a record $3 billion settlement with the criminal drug company.
    ….You are witnessing a modern-day book burning ....

    What you can do …

    1.  stop using anti-truth internet gatekeepers like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. They are quietly controlling your thoughts, ideas and beliefs…
    2.   use as your search engine…
    3.   bookmark in your browser
    4.   make a primary resource to watch for breaking news on important events that are being censored by the fake news media (CNN, WashPo, NYT, etc.).
    Finally, prepare for total war on humanity. …. they are preparing for a very big false flag assault and they don’t want independent media websites to be able to counter the “official” news narrative.

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 12:07pm

    Reply to #3


    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 15 2011

    Posts: 691

    Don't Be Evil

    The title of this post, “Don’t be evil” was the corporate motto that Google adopted early on. The board members could see the power that information access provided. Power can be used for good, evil, both, or anything in between. I thought (and still think) that is a very clear, concise statement for those in the corporate hierarchy to follow.
    Fast forward to now and we see that Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet – a holding company.

    New Google Parent Company Drops ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto
    Oct 04, 2015
    Alphabet, which took over as Google’s new holding company on Friday, has dropped the tech giant’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra from its corporate code of conduct.

    That doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily do evil, but it is no longer culturally prohibited. When push comes to shove, a little (a lot of) evil can be tolerated. Is it evil to be in Google’s shoes and promote their own political ideology? Is it evil to remove entire websites from their search results? Where does evil begin?
    One thing for sure is that it shatters the trust that users should have in their products. If I can’t trust the results … why would I use their service? Google has a lot of wonderful products, like Google Earth that I use frequently. I won’t use their search engine.
    There are lots of search engines out there. I’ve never heard of I currently use because they claim that they don’t track the user. They may not, but if you’re looking for a hammer and click a big box store website with that search, you’ll start seeing ads for hammers on sites supported by advertisement. If that doesn’t concern you, you aren’t thinking clearly!

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 1:16pm



    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2221

    Hail again?

    Weather is going haywire.

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 4:48pm



    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 13 2008

    Posts: 295

    Re: Wal-Mart In Trouble

    I don’t believe Amazon is going to cause problems for Walmart. Walmart provides goods to low income people that likely don’t have the means to order through Amazon. Walmart’s bread and butter is “bread” and butter, the common items you purchase at a super market. Amazon is geared towards gadgets, entertainment, tools, etc. 
    That said, I think Amazon is going to drive other retailers out of business: ie the Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears. Retailers that stock products sold by Amazon.

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 4:59pm

    Reply to #2


    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 13 2008

    Posts: 295

    Re: Hedge Fund Guru's

    Uncle Tommy Wrote:
    “If the hedge fund guru’s are basing their projections through rose colored glasses hoping business will recover, perhaps some of those long positions could be cut off at the knees.”
    I more or less think Hedge fund know what is really going on, but if you want to attract investors, They have to promote a rosy future. Rarely are pessimistic salesmen successful.  
    As far as Krugman, He is the economist from Planet 9. That guy need some serious psycological help!

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 6:24pm

    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 849

    Kelsey, getting her nails done.

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 6:36pm

    Reply to #6


    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2008

    Posts: 1085

    Nice, Robie!

    Your farrier knows her business!  And Kelsey was a sweety! 🙂

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  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 7:18pm

    Reply to #6


    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 22 2008

    Posts: 345

    Thanks Robie

    Bright young person. Very nice. Gives me hope.

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  • Fri, Feb 24, 2017 - 8:03am



    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 30 2009

    Posts: 2922

    Breakdown: China swaps bad debt for faint hope

    Breakdown: China swaps bad debt for faint hope

    Reuters-6 hours ago
    Following Yunnan Tin’s debt exchange, the company’s listed unit announced a 2.4 billion yuan private placement in December and plans to invest 2.6 billion …

    Portugal’s non-financial sector ends 2016 with debt of 715.8 billion

    Macauhub-4 hours ago
    The non-financial sector in Portugal was 715.8 billion euros in debt at the end of 2016, of which 308.4 billion were attributed to the public sector and 407.5 billion …

    Puerto Rico Governor Says Years Needed to Fix Island Budget

    Bloomberg-19 hours ago
    Even with steps to address the deficit, he said the island will only have $800 million to $1.3 billion a year available to cover debts — less than half the more than …

    Le Pen Advisers Explain Euro Exit Plans to Banks

    Bloomberg-6 hours ago
    Top aides to French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen have met with bank representatives in order to explain her economic program and plans for exiting …

    Los Gatos tackles $54M in unfunded pension liabilities

    Milpitas Post-14 hours ago
    Unfunded pension liabilities total nearly $54 million, with just more than $33 million of that owed to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, town …

    Sparks fly over county’s proposed pension panel

    Sonoma West-18 hours ago
    A previous citizen’s panel worked through 2015-16 and adopted a series of recommendations to address the county’s $800 million unfunded pension liability …


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