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    Daily Digest 4/11 – Middle Class But Feeling Economically Insecure, More Than Honey

    by DailyDigest

    Saturday, April 11, 2015, 3:24 PM


Middle Class, but Feeling Economically Insecure (jdargis)

Part of the reason has to do with lost jobs and stagnating incomes. At the same time, the psychological frame — how Americans feel about their security and prospects — and the sociological — how they stack up in relation to their parents, friends, neighbors and colleagues — are just as important as purely economic criteria. And on both these counts, middle-class Americans say they are feeling increasingly vulnerable.

Why Brazil’s megadrought is a Wall Street failure (Terry L.)

But if Brazil’s drought is shocking, Wall Street’s shortsighted approach to the country is appalling. Institutional investors’ reports on the country – the seventh largest economy in the world – cite worries about inflation, government cutbacks and low consumer confidence. But I could not find a single analysis that mentioned the existential threat facing the country: the megadrought that is expected to last decades and could destroy the Brazilian economy. Not a single analysis cited the brutal global impact that this will cause.

Stingray spying: FBI’s secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts (Terry L.)

The agreement also contains a clause forcing law enforcement to notify the FBI if freedom of information requests are filed by members of the public or the media for such information, “in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels”.

Cops and Robbers (jdargis)

That alternate worlds coexist here is perhaps best reflected in the economies that sustain them. For all the job growth and promise—the $47.5 million plans for a university medical school, the gleaming $206 million wing for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, the chic McAllen Public Library—the average per capita income in Hidalgo County is only $14,222. And yet it’s impossible not to notice the many Cadillac Escalades and Louis Vuitton purses in the area, which are sometimes distant by-products of still another concurrent universe: that of the thriving drug trade run by the Gulf cartel, the Zetas, and local street gangs. The influence of smugglers is diffuse and indirect, but it’s undeniable; a popular joke among law enforcement agents is that without the drug trade, half the businesses in the Valley would fail.

CA suspends millions of licenses, issues huge fines for minor violations that keep people in poverty (jdargis)

What’s more, traffic courts handle a wide range of minor infractions that have nothing to do with driving, such as littering, sleeping on the sidewalk, or failing to pay transit fare. That means people accused of offenses unrelated to driving can easily lose their driver’s licenses and get stuck with huge debts. And regardless of the original incident, when people lose their licenses, it can be significantly harder to find or maintain employment, which can subsequently make it much more challenging to pay the owed fees, advocates noted.

Borderlands Food Bank: Cutting Food Waste At The Border (jdargis)

“We’re able to import fruits and vegetables from any country we want,” he says. “We no longer live in that era where our parents or grandparents used to tell us, ‘You can’t have strawberries, you can’t have zucchinis, that’s not in season right now.’­­­­­ ”

New Sea Drilling Rule Planned, 5 Years After BP Oil Spill (jdargis)

“We’re coming on five years, and we’ve been working tirelessly in the regulation division since it happened,” said Allyson Anderson, associate director of strategic engagement in the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. “We’ve doubled down on building a culture of safety,”

More Than Honey (jdargis)

To his credit, Imhoof wastes little time pointing fingers at the possible culprits. Yes, the CCD is probably due to pesticides, mites, antibiotics, transportation, genetic inbreeding or stresses—but that’s beside the point. The simple fact is this: When bees are domesticated, they fail to thrive.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 4/10/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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  • Sat, Apr 11, 2015 - 7:08pm



    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 1961

    Lessons from World War Z on cognitive distortions

    Lessons from World War Z on two particular cognitive distortions

    I watched World War Z a couple of nights ago and found this gem on two cognitive distortions that prevent us from seeing "the writing on the wall" (developing trends/patterns before they are fully manifest).  A pattern that cannot be seen cannot be prepared for.

    The plot:  Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) has been sent to Israel to find out why the Israelis knew about the coming Zombie apocalypse ahead of its arrival, something that no one else was able to do.  A crusty but perceptive Mossad agent, Jurgen Warmbrunn, explains to him the "10th Man Theory":

    Paraphrasing slightly:

    Jurgen:  Most people do not realize something can happen until it actually does.  It is not stupidity, or ignorance.  It is just human nature.  

    Lane:  But how did you know.

    Jurgen:  We intercepted a communique from an Indian general saying that they were fighting the Raksasha.  Zombies.  Technically, "the undead."

    Lane:  You, Jurgen Warmbrunn, described as sober, efficient, [realistic].  Yet you build a wall around Jerusalem because you read a communique that mentions the world "zombie?"

    Jurgen:  With just that information I would be skeptical as well…..  In the 30s, Jews refused to believe that they could be sent to concentration camps.  In the 70s they refused to believe they could be massacred at the Olympics.  In the months before October 1973 we saw troop movements and we unanimously agreed that they did not pose a threat.  Then a month later, the attack almost drove us into the sea.  So, we decided to make a change.

    Lane:  A change?

    Jurgen:  The Tenth Man.  If 9 of us looked at the same information and reached the same conclusion, it is the duty of the tenth man to disagree.  No mater how improbable, the tenth man must start thinking that the assumptions of the other nine are wrong.

    Lane:  And you were that tenth man.

    Jurgen:  Precisely.  When everyone assumed that this fight against zombies was cover for something else, I began with the assumptions that zombies meant zombies.  [….and  I began looking and finding evidence to support this view…]

    The two cognitive distortions I see being discussed here are:

    1.  The inability to see the pattern developing.   I'll add that the Myers-Briggs intuitive type does see patterns, while the sensate type only sees what is fully manifest.  The sensate type sees the wall, while the intuitive type can see "the writing on the wall."  Like a defensive football linebacker, can you see the possible plays developing and recognize them before the ball moves past you?

    2.  The tendency to narrow the MULTIPLE possible future scenario's to the ONE MOST LIKELY scenario and believe that we now know what is going to happen.





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  • Sat, Apr 11, 2015 - 9:43pm

    Reply to #1


    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1520

    Then #3: the will to act accordingly

    I concur sand_puppy.  But even after you've overcome those two cognitive distortions (and any others), you still have to ACT.  Many/most people are paralyzed by situations where they are presented with more than one perspective, especially if there is a great deal at stake (like one's life or all of one's possessions and wealth).  It is often said that when confronted with an existential threat people will either fight or flight (flee).  But there is a third option and people "choose" it at least as much as fight or flight: freeze.  

    Many of the predicaments and problems we discuss on will cause the "average" person to freeze (take no appropriate action based on any of the possible scenarios).  I think this is why we perceive so many people we interact with as being "asleep" about the 3 E's and the predicaments we are currently faced with.  It's not that they can't see the issues.  It's that the whole thing is so overwhelming they refuse to choose and respond, and/or they refuse to act.  After that choice is made, then they just try to enjoy the moment as best they can until the disaster strikes.  Perhaps they distract themselves with drugs and alcohol, sex, food, and various forms of entertainment: anything but facing reality, because it's too frightening.

    I once read about an experiment in which a live mouse was place into a large terrarium in which there was a sleeping boa constrictor.  At first, the mouse spent time exploring his new space.  Then he came upon the sleeping snake and became frantic to escape.  The frantic mouse darted from place to place in the terrarium looking for an avenue to escape.  After a while he seemed to give up on finding a way to escape and returned to the snake.  Seeing it was asleep and at that moment no danger, the mouse got real busy covering the snake up with the wood shavings that carpeted the bottom of the terrarium.  Eventually the mouse got the snake completely covered up with wood shavings, and relaxed.  He then was able to leisurely enjoy what turned out to be a short existence as if he hadn't a care in the world.

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