Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 8/11 - The War On Cash, Secrets Of The Wood Wide Web

Thursday, August 11, 2016, 8:04 AM

Economy

Goodbye Austerity, Hello Big Government Spending (Tiffany D.)

In the wake of Britain’s Brexit vote comes a call for big government spending, no less than from the think tank representing the nation’s 130,000 number crunchers: the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. After noting the decline in infrastructure spending (from 3.4% of GDP in 2009 to 1.9% now), the group calls for massive renewed expenditures on schools, hospitals, housing and energy pipelines.

BFI Insights: War On Cash (Taki T.)

The reason given for the escalation of governmental efforts to restrict or, indeed, outlaw cash transactions is the same in all of the above-mentioned cases: cash is the ”instrument of choice” for terrorists, drug lords, money launderers and tax evaders; law-abiding citizens have no real use for it anymore. With the rise of credit and debit cards for everyday payments, online banking and wire transfers for large sums, all being embraced as modern alternatives to cash, the average citizen is now actively being encouraged to abandon physical currencies and digitalize all their transactions, for the sake of transparency. In other words, the official narrative, reading between the lines, roughly translates to “you have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide”.

Driven to Suicide by an ‘Inhuman and Unnatural’ Pressure to Sell (jdargis)

Sales jobs with global powerhouses like Abbott are highly prized positions in India. But they can also be extremely demanding, putting employees under inordinate pressure to cut corners, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former sales representatives and managers and a review of internal Abbott communications provided by two of them.

In one of the most common practices, The Times found, Abbott managers told sales staff to hold what the company called health camps, where representatives would perform tests on patients for various ailments in an effort to drum up business for doctors, who would then prescribe Abbott drugs. The camps were typically held at doctor’s offices or as community events.

Obama is freeing more prisoners, but it’s still way fewer than previous presidents (jdargis)

“As successful as we’ve been in reducing crime in this country,” he said in a press conference, “the extraordinary rate of incarceration of nonviolent offenders has created its own set of problems that are devastating. Kids are now growing up without parents. It perpetuates a cycle of poverty and disorder in their lives. It is disproportionately young men of color that are being arrested at higher rates, charged and convicted at higher rates, and imprisoned for longer sentences. Ultimately, the fix on this is criminal justice reform.”

Here’s Why We Need Fintech Disruption Now More Than Ever (jdargis)

“Finance has benefited more than other industries from improvements in information technologies,” Philippon writes. “But, unlike in retail trade for instance, these improvements have not been passed on as lower costs to the end users of financial services.”

Even adjusting to account for the increased quality of financial services – more low-income households and high-risk firms can access credit these days – finance is about as expensive as it was in the 1970s. So either financial innovations have failed, or someone’s getting fleeced.

Give Me Control Of... (GE Christenson)

The Federal Reserve and other central banks exercise considerable control over our economies via interest rates, debt creation, QE and more. They create massive profits for the financial industry that in turn purchases many politicians and Presidents.

The Devil Is Loose (jdargis)

Like all border towns, Laredo is swamped by law enforcement. Uniforms are everywhere: the olive green of Border Patrol, or La Migra, which has about 1,600 agents in the area; the navy blue of Customs and Border Protection, whose agents check the documentation of people crossing Laredo’s five bridges. There are sheriff’s officers, constables, and highway patrol; in less public view, three for-profit detention facilities employ a small force of correctional officers. Working for La Migra or in a private prison can be a complicated arrangement in a town that’s almost entirely Latino — steady employment with the whiff of betrayal. Paramedics, on the other hand, are legally bound to treat anyone in need. The only questions they ask concern a patient’s medical history. Border Patrol agents get spit as a topping at a local takeout joint; paramedics get discounts.

Old, secret nuclear military base could be exposed by melting ice (jdargis)

Now, a new study projects that the rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet could expose the camp by next century — along with radioactive waste, PCBs, and other pollutants in it. This could potentially endanger local ecosystems, as well the native Inuit people who live in the area.

The Secrets Of The Wood Wide Web (jdargis)

The relationship between these mycorrhizal fungi and the plants they connect is now known to be ancient (around four hundred and fifty million years old) and largely one of mutualism—a subset of symbiosis in which both organisms benefit from their association. In the case of the mycorrhizae, the fungi siphon off food from the trees, taking some of the carbon-rich sugar that they produce during photosynthesis. The plants, in turn, obtain nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen that the fungi have acquired from the soil, by means of enzymes that the trees do not possess.

Big Sugar's Fanjul Family Hosting Miami Fundraisers for Both Clinton and Trump This Year (Michael W.)

The Fanjul brothers — the longest-reigning Big Sugar barons in Florida — have agreed to host Miami fundraisers for both candidates this election cycle. The Palm Beach-based brothers — Alfonso "Alfy" Fanjul and Jose "Pepe" Fanjul Sr. — own Florida Crystals, a company that has for decades been accused of polluting the Florida Everglades ecosystem while buying off politicians through campaign contributions. The brothers partially own Domino Sugar and control roughly 40 percent of the state's sugar industry, according to Vanity Fair.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 8/10/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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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Gold investment hits record first-half levels in 2016 -WGC

 

Silver ETF Returning 280% Says Party Not Over in Yield-less Era

Bloomberg-9 hours ago

“If you have negative interest rates across sovereign debt, suddenly zero percent may start to look more attractive than negative rates. That's been causing more ..

Gold investment hits record first-half levels in 2016 -WGC

Reuters - ‎3 hours ago‎
"The first is the unparalleled loosening of monetary policy, most notably the pernicious spread of negative interest rates," he said. "Second, you have increasingly fractious politics, aptly illustrated by Brexit, and ... finally the slowing pace of U ...

Negative interest rates, US election and Brexit 'driving demand for gold'

Belfast Telegraph - ‎11 hours ago‎
"Negative interest rates are the primary concern for investors, and Brexit and the US election have also played their part in driving demand." Exchange traded funds were the main drivers of investment in gold over the half. The price of gold also ...

Hedge Funds Face New Blow as $83 Billion Pension Cuts Them Out

Bloomberg-4 hours ago
With low and negative interest rates weighing on returns, cutting those costs has become more compelling. That's bad news for hedge funds, which are already ...

'Helicopter Money' Might Weaken Currencies

Bloomberg-4 hours ago
UBS co-head FX and Rates Strategy Themos Fiotakis and Berenberg Chief Economist Holger Schmieding discuss helicopter money, central banks monetary ...

IMF analysts urge ECB to focus on QE rather than negative rates

MarketWatch - ‎3 hours ago‎
The warning comes as expectations are rising the central bank will announce fresh stimulus at its September meeting to offset the negative impact on the eurozone from the U.K.'s Brexit vote on June 23. At its July meeting, ECB boss Mario Draghi stopped ...

Global negative-yielding debt slips to $11.4 trillion: Fitch

Reuters-20 hours ago

The global amount of negative-yielding government bonds edged down to $11.4 trillion on Aug. 2 from two weeks ago as Japanese debt yields rose in reaction

Japan gov't debt at Y1,053 tril at end of June

Japan Today-17 hours ago
Japan's central government debt stood at 1,053.47 trillion yen ($10.4 trillion) at the end of June, up 4.10 trillion yen from three months earlier, the Finance ...
 

You May Be Broke and Not Know It

Bloomberg - ‎21 hours ago‎
Overall, U.S. households have $12.3 trillion in debt, according to another New York Fed report, released this week. At least Americans are doing better at managing their debt than during the dark days of the housing bubble that led to the Great Recession.

U.S. budget deficit is up from last year

The Mercury News-14 hours ago
Accumulating budget deficits add to the federal debt, now nearly $19.4 trillion. That figure includes $5.4 trillion the government owes itself, mostly from borrowing ...

Chicagoans on the hook for $34B in debt from city's 4 pension funds

Illinois Policy-17 hours ago
Chicagoans are now on the hook for $34 billion in city-run pension debt – or $33,000 per city household. That doesn't include billions in additional debt ...

DPS debt ratings cut on default fears

The Detroit News-17 hours ago
The firm oversees $5.3 billion of municipal debt and doesn't own any district debt. “There was debt outstanding for which the revenue stream has disappeared.

Portugal's public debt in June the highest ever

Macauhub-7 hours ago
Portugal's public debt stood at 240.1 billion euros or 131.6 percent of gross domestic product at the end of June, the highest indebtedness ever, the Technical ...

Bank of Baroda Falls Most in Three Months After Bad Loans Surge

Bloomberg-8 hours ago
Net income at the Mumbai-based bank fell 60 percent to 4.23 billion rupees ($63 ... balance sheets of bad debt, which have curbed their ability to extend loans.

New Mexico pension funds miss targets for returns

Yahoo Finance-16 hours ago
At the same time, managers at the two statewide pension funds say below-target returns are likely to push up unfunded pension liabilities, when actuarial ...
 

CalPERS math portends grim future for goverment budgets

The San Diego Union-Tribune - ‎2 hours ago‎
If issues go unaddressed, hundreds of government agencies — especially cities that have a higher percentage of costly public safety pensions — would be required to sharply increase their pension payments in coming years. As these costs eat up a ...

Big cuts in store for Royal Mail and Post Office workers' pensions

The Guardian-22 hours ago
The companies argue that the cost of maintaining the pension schemes has become unsustainable, in part because of big increases in longevity but also ...

Fears for pensions as gilt yields turn negative

Financial Times-21 hours ago
British government bond yields traded in negative territory on Wednesday, compounding fears that a global collapse in government borrowing costs has tipped ...

Japan's Elderly Face Growing Risk of Poverty

Wall Street Journal-16 hours ago
Wages and average pension payments in Japan have fallen over the long term as ... government efforts to contain ballooning welfare costs is hurting the aged.
 

Next president faces possible ObamaCare meltdown

The Hill - ‎5 hours ago‎
The next president could be dealing with an ObamaCare insurer meltdown in his or her very first month. The incoming administration will take office just as the latest ObamaCare enrollment tally comes in, delivering a potentially crucial verdict about ...
Tall's picture
Tall
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Posts: 564
Biodiversity: The ravages of guns, nets and bulldozers

There is a growing tendency for media reports about threats to biodiversity to focus on climate change.

Here we report an analysis of threat information gathered for more than 8,000 species. These data revealed a contrasting picture. We found that by far the biggest drivers of biodiversity decline are overexploitation (the harvesting of species from the wild at rates that cannot be compensated for by reproduction or regrowth) and agriculture (the production of food, fodder, fibre and fuel crops; livestock farming; aquaculture; and the cultivation of trees).

http://www.nature.com/news/biodiversity-the-ravages-of-guns-nets-and-bul...

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Extreme Heat Events in Middle East

I was not aware this was going on. 

Epic Middle East Heat Wave

Recent extreme heat events in the Middle East have climate scientists worried about future climate-related catastrophes. Temperatures have climbed above 115 F across the region this summer and Kuwait and Iraq recently recorded most likely the hottest temperatures ever in the Eastern Hemisphere. Temperatures simulated by the GFS model in the Middle East reached 129 F on Friday, July 22. WeatherBell.com Record-breaking extreme heat—estimated to have claimed more lives than wars—has worsened over the years and recent studies have suggested future climate change will make parts of the region uninhabitable. A sergeant major in Iraq equated the heat wave to a weapon of mass destruction, saying,  "... It is killing us."

Imagine trying to live here in a collapse scenario:   without electricity and with limited access to water....

 

TechGuy's picture
TechGuy
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Posts: 428
War on Cash

"cash is the ”instrument of choice” for terrorists, drug lords, money launderers and tax evaders; law-abiding citizens have no real use for it anymore. With the rise of credit and debit cards for everyday payments, online banking and wire transfers for large sums, all being embraced as modern alternatives to cash, the average citizen is now actively being encouraged to abandon physical currencies and digitalize all their transactions, for the sake of transparency. In other words, the official narrative, reading between the lines, roughly translates to “you have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide”."

Not to fear like:

1. Frequent power outages do to transformer failures, hurracanes, ice storms. Without power for electronic transactions forget about buying emergency items 

2. The rise of hackers. At least twice a year a major company like Target is hacked causing millions to have there credit/debt card information stone. This is trend is going to get much worse as the number of cyber criminals grow and find new and better ways to exploit electronic transactions.

3. Electronic transactions enable terriorism. Terrorist can use identify theft and electronic transactions to purchase items as well as use identify theft as a shield.

4. Electronic transactions have a 2% fee which is now more and more being charged back to the customer instead of the merchant. 

Personallly I hate using electronic transactions, especially at small retailers, where its easy for low wage employees to capture debt/credit card information from customers. 

TechGuy's picture
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Well to put it simply the

Well to put it simply the middle east is mostly an un-inhabibital region. Humans leveraged fossil fuels and ground water. The level of population in the ME is horribly unsustainable and alway has. if it wasn't for  the abundant supply for fossil fuels in the ME, it would have remained occupied by small nomadic tribes. 

I would imagine that when the resources of the ME are no longer able to sustain the population, There will be a monster wave of refugees pushing into Europe and Asia. There is also a very high probability for a major regional war as ME neighbers duke it out for survival.  Just this week, KSA has an agreement to purchase about 150 US Abrams Tanks. I believe Iran is buying about $8 Billion in Russia and Chinese miltary equipment this year. 

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Trying to imagine...
sand_puppy wrote:

Imagine trying to live here in a collapse scenario:   without electricity and with limited access to water....

The only way I can imagine these temperatures is because I read the novel Dune.

Get these people underground, use stillsuits, and a lot of, um, spice or whatever to dull the heat and in a few thousand years when the sandworms come along they can develop a set of cultural rituals and rite of passage around them.

Otherwise I cannot make sense of such extreme heat - I wilt badly starting at 93.  At 103 life stops.  At 113?  I cannot imagine, really.  At 123?  Nope, nope, nope.

robie robinson's picture
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Another Crash Course

Wendell Berry, sobering and excellent.

 

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-08-12/it-all-turns-on-affection

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blackeagle
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Posts: 225
High summer temperatures

I found this site which have historical data for cities with airports.

https://www.wunderground.com/history/

Some examples:
- Ouargla (Algeria): 49C max in July 2013 (120F)
- Mecca (Saoudi Arabia): 49C max in July 2014 (120F)
- Errachidia (Morroco): 43C max in July 2015 (109F).

These high temperatures are common during summer time. People stay inside during the day. In these places traditional houses are build with thick walls and domed roofs, which keeps them in a relative cool.

It is possible that 123F or 126F be measured at some specific places for a short duration (One day).

Modern buildings are not fit for the heat (Thinner walls, concrete, flat roof, large windows, etc...).

 

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Imagining/ Obama Releases more prisoners

I don't have to imagine high temperatures.  I was raised in Texas.  Over 100 was normal, even way back then.  108 was not an eyebrow raiser. I know +120 was not impossible in Arizona or occasionally the Dakotas, but I've never witnessed it.

I'm riding a motorcycle through North Dakota right now, my first visit to the state.  With the exception of the fracking area, it's underrated.  It looks like a Midwestern farming region, but with frequent mid sized and large bodies of water.  Even the fracking is less obtrusive than the Permian basin, although that may just be because of the fracking regions being further away from the interstate highway.

Obama wrote:

It is disproportionately young men of color that are being arrested at higher rates, charged and convicted at higher rates, and imprisoned for longer sentences. Ultimately, the fix on this is criminal justice reform.”

Obama failed to address the issue of whether a disproportionate number of young men of color are involved in crime.  What is the criminal justice reform needed?  Is it to ignore crimes in some cases due to ethnic factors?

A recent incident in my home town is a good case in point.  Police were called because a woman was threatening another woman with a knife.  When the police arrived, the armed woman violently resisted arrest.  The final outcome, was that the woman was not arrested, because the officers involved did not want to stir up racial tension by arresting a minority.  

I'm simply old fashioned enough to believe that the US stands for equality, real equality, both in the work place and in law enforcement.  That is not the system we seem to be striving for today.

 

 

 

 

 

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VeganDB12
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Posts: 742
heat

I think many here in the NE US just aren't acclimated to heat like this. I know several people now who have gotten ill working or just walking outdoors. I have tried to acclimate myself the past few years and its not so easy. We are obese and many of us are on meds or sick (as a group). And yes you are so right the architecture ( including lots of windows and glass walls especially popular) is not conducive to staying cool so true.  Unfortunately once your internal thermostat is broken from being overheated your internal organs overheat and that can happen pretty quickly. Not a good outcome at all.

Better safe than sorry. People just cannot tell when they have heat exhaustion they get a little loopy.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Wendell Barry: Living on the land

Thanks for a pointer to this article, Robie.

My grandmother's generation were small subsistence farmers in Arkansas and Missouri.  Hearing Barry value their lives makes me imagine back to a century ago.

A excerpt from a wide ranging essay:

In this age so abstracted and bewildered by technological magnifications of power, people who stray beyond the limits of their mental competence typically find no guide except for the supposed authority of market price. “The market” thus assumes the standing of ultimate reality. But market value is an illusion, as is proven by its frequent changes; it is determined solely by the buyer’s ability and willingness to pay.

By now our immense destructiveness has made clear that the actual value of some things exceeds human ability to calculate or measure, and therefore must be considered absolute. For the destruction of these things [like farmland and rivers] there is never, under any circumstances, any justification. Their absolute value is recognized by the mortal need of those who do not have them, and by affection. Land, to people who do not have it and who are thus without the means of life, is absolutely valuable. Ecological health, in a land dying of abuse, is not worth “something”; it is worth everything. And abused land relentlessly declines in value to its present and succeeding owners, whatever its market price.

But we need not wait, as we are doing, to be taught the absolute value of land and of land health by hunger and disease. Affection can teach us, and soon enough, if we grant appropriate standing to affection. For this we must look to the stickers, who “love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.”

 

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