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Daily Digest 10/25 - Ratings Inflation Is Back, Who Controls The Internet?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 7:43 AM

Economy

Ratings Inflation Is Back, Subprime Style (jdargis)

Some investors warn the approach has encouraged an epic debt binge that could pose dangers as years of near-zero interest rates come to an end. AT&T’s plan to borrow about $40 billion to buy Time Warner Inc., in addition to its $120 billion of debt already outstanding, is just the latest example. In 2015 alone, U.S. companies borrowed a record $1.6 trillion in the bond markets, with $258 billion of that going to finance acquisitions by investment-grade companies, Barclays Plc says. According to Morgan Stanley, corporate America is now more leveraged than ever.

What We Know About Friday’s Massive East Coast Internet Outage (jdargis)

“DNS registrars typically provide authoritative DNS services for thousands or tens of thousands of domain names, and so if there is a service-impacting event the collateral damage footprint can be very large,” says Roland Dobbins, a principal engineer at Arbor Networks, a security firm that specializes in DDoS attacks.

DDoS is a particularly effective type of attack on DNS services because in addition to overwhelming servers with malicious traffic, those same servers also have to deal with automatic re-requests, and even just well-meaning users hitting refresh over and over to summon up an uncooperative page.

Who Controls The Internet? Ted Cruz's Fantasy vs. Reality (jdargis)

Cruz’s belief that the government owns the internet enough to give it away is flawed, but the confusion is understandable—even highly competent internet users are unaware of the complex systems and institutions that make their day-to-day experience of the internet work seamlessly. And it’s such a vast, complicated thing that one might assume that somewhere there has to be a point of control to the internet, a kill switch, someone or something in charge of the whole thing.

Obamacare premiums to increase 25 percent in 2017 – White House (lambertad)

At last count, there are still 27 million Americans without health insurance, which is a historic low and significantly lower than the 47 million who were uninsured when President Barack Obama signed the ACA in 2010. The government estimated that about half of them would be eligible for private coverage through HealthCare.gov.

How drugs intended for patients ended up in the hands of illegal users: ‘No one was doing their job’ (jdargis)

“Through the whole supply chain, I would venture to say no one was doing their job,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, who led the effort against distributors from 2005 until shortly before his retirement in 2015. “And because no one was doing their job, it just perpetuated the problem. Corporate America let their profits get in the way of public health.”

How Virtual Reality Could Reshape The Energy Sector (Josh O.)

Virtual reality has turned an enormous corner in the last couple of years, thanks in large part to Palmer Luckey and the Occulus Rift. That hardware has the potential to upend many traditional tasks, especially when used in combination with drones and other autonomous vehicles tech. But the industry is still in its infancy and it will take time before VR companies learn to create truly useful applications. The VR projects being taken on by PG&E represent a step towards practical applications for VR in an industrial setting. The hard work on that front is just beginning though. Investors should keep an eye on this emerging sector and think about ways that it might improve the bottom line for various industries in the future.

Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’ (jdargis)

What China is doing in Ningxia and a few other provinces hit hard by drought and other natural and man-made disasters is a harbinger of actions that governments around the globe, including the United States, could take as they grapple with climate change, which is expected to displace millions of people in the coming decades.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 10/24/16

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."

6 Comments

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5975
Are they trying to create a social upheaval?

Sometimes I read something and I just cannot quite get my head around it. Like this next article, which is shameful and really hard to make sense of from almost any direction:

Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war

Oct 22, 2016

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

The problem offers a dark perspective on the Pentagon’s use of hefty cash incentives to fill its all-volunteer force during the longest era of warfare in the nation’s history.

Even Guard officials concede that taking back the money from military veterans is distasteful.

“At the end of the day, the soldiers ended up paying the largest price,” said Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California Guard. “We’d be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can’t do it. We’d be breaking the law.”

Okay, this is beyond disgusting to me. If the CA national Guard screwed up and offered bonuses it shouldn’t have, and certain officers are even going to jail for having fraudulently used these bonuses to achieve enlistment targets, the onus of having to repay those loans SHOULD NOT fall on the recipients.

They made a decision to reenlist and put their lives on the line when they accepted that money. That means a deal was made and the contract was fulfilled on the part of the service men and women.

If you don’t like the deal later on, you cannot just go ahead and say you regret that contract ten years later and ask for the money back.

Unless you are the government, of course which has no compunctions about doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

As a reminder, let’s just recall how important accurate and careful financial record keeping is to the US military:

Pentagon’s Sloppy Bookkeeping Means $6.5 Trillion Can’t Pass an Audit

The Defense Department over the years has been notorious for its lax accounting practices. The Pentagon has never completed an audit of how they actually spend the trillions of dollars on wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements.

An increasingly impatient Congress has demanded that the Army achieve “audit readiness” for the first time by Sept. 30, 2017, so that lawmakers can get a better handle on military spending. But Pentagon watchdogs think that may be mission impossible, and for good reason

A Department of Defense inspector general’s report released last week offered a jaw-dropping insight into just how bad the military’s auditing system is.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the behemoth Indianapolis-based agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, could not provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.

The total clawback from the CA veterans is likely to be in the low tens of millions, while the military apparently can’t be bothered to know where trillions actually went.

Here’s how I see it; this effort by the military against the CA service men and women is being done on purpose. They actually like low-level clawbacks that get a lot of press because it makes them look like they are doing something and being precise with taxpayer money.

But they’ll never dig into the missing billions and trillions because that would expose something really rotten that the auditors really can’t do anything about. So they go after the little fish, the smaller and less powerful the better. It provides the appearance of doing something while the reality couldn’t be further from that.

But these constant pushes and shoves are going to eventually break the camel’s back. I am rather surprised there hasn’t been more uprisings, more disobedience, more violence from trained members of the service who were sent into a war of choice on bad data, and then treated so shabbily on their return.

At any rate, if you wanted to annoy and harass a population into some form of violent reaction I would think such abuse of veterans would be a perfect place to start.

 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3200
bonehead move
Quote:

Here’s how I see it; this effort by the military against the CA service men and women is being done on purpose. They actually like low-level clawbacks that get a lot of press because it makes them look like they are doing something and being precise with taxpayer money.

I agree, this is the bonehead play of the day, but I can't imagine how any military member who has ever re-enlisted would think it is a good idea.  Re-enlistment bonuses have been standard incentives as far back as when I served and re-enlisted 50 years ago.  They have always been iron clad agreements, without which the re-enlistment rate would drop precipitously.  I've never heard of such incentives being clawed back.  I understand through the media that there is already a bill being written in the House to reverse this action.

My guess is it will be traced to some bureaucrat who has never served.

mememonkey's picture
mememonkey
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 1 2009
Posts: 257
Echos of insurrections past

Can't help but think of the Bonus Army march on Washington in 1932 by WW1 Vets (which turned violent)  trying to get paid for their 'post dated' service certificates. 

mememonkey

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1714
Bullying little people: TPTB and Hillary's default setting

I am rather surprised there hasn’t been more uprisings, more disobedience, more violence from trained members of the service who were sent into a war of choice on bad data, and then treated so shabbily on their return.

This is because, in general, volunteer soldiers tend to have more honor, more love of peace, and more respect for authority than the average citizen.

The Powers That Be (and that includes Hillary as perhaps the best current example), default to bullying every day, average citizens while at the same time enabling and covering up for the evils of their peers in the 1%.  As you implied: absolutely incendiary!!  I still don't see why violence hasn't broken out among the average citizens yet.  But we can always expect it if Hitlery steals the election.

Speaking of Hitlery, Dilbert creator Scott Adams has been stirring up tsunamis of outrage among the left with his analyses of the persuasion skills of Clinton vs. Trump.  He REALLY hit the nail on the head today, and what he says ties in powerfully with this issue of clawbacks on National Guard volunteer soldiers:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-25/dilbert-creator-adams-exposes-real-bully-party

I’ve been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.

  • If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.
  • If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.
  • if you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.
  • On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.
  • We know from Project Veritas that Clinton supporters tried to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media downplays it.
  • We also know Clinton’s side hired paid trolls to bully online. You don’t hear much about that. Yesterday, by no coincidence, Huffington Post, Salon, and Daily Kos all published similar-sounding hit pieces on me, presumably to lower my influence. (That reason, plus jealousy, are the only reasons writers write about other writers.)
  • Joe Biden said he wanted to take Trump behind the bleachers and beat him up. No one on Clinton’s side disavowed that call to violence because, I assume, they consider it justified hyperbole. Team Clinton has succeeded in perpetuating one of the greatest evils I have seen in my lifetime. 
  •  
  • Her side has branded Trump supporters (40%+ of voters) as Nazis, sexists, homophobes, racists, and a few other fighting words. Their argument is built on confirmation bias and persuasion. But facts don’t matter because facts never matter in politics. What matters is that Clinton’s framing of Trump provides moral cover for any bullying behavior online or in person. No one can be a bad person for opposing Hitler, right?
  • Some Trump supporters online have suggested that people who intend to vote for Trump should wear their Trump hats on election day. That is a dangerous idea, and I strongly discourage it. There would be riots in the streets because we already know the bullies would attack. But on election day, inviting those attacks is an extra-dangerous idea. Violence is bad on any day, but on election day, Republicans are far more likely to unholster in an effort to protect their voting rights. Things will get wet fast.

    Yes, yes, I realize Trump supporters say bad things about Clinton supporters too. I don’t defend the bad apples on either side. I’ll just point out that Trump’s message is about uniting all Americans under one flag. The Clinton message is that some Americans are good people and the other 40% are some form of deplorables, deserving of shame, vandalism, punishing taxation, and violence. She has literally turned Americans on each other. It is hard for me to imagine a worse thing for a presidential candidate to do.

    I’ll say that again. 

  • As far as I can tell, the worst thing a presidential candidate can do is turn Americans against each other. Clinton is doing that, intentionally.

    Intentionally.

    As I often say, I don’t know who has the best policies. I don’t know the best way to fight ISIS and I don’t know how to fix healthcare or trade deals. I don’t know which tax policies are best to lift the economy. I don’t know the best way to handle any of that stuff. (And neither do you.) But I do have a bad reaction to bullies. And I’ve reached my limit.

    I hope you have too. Therefore…

    I endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States because I oppose bullying in all its forms. 

    I don’t defend Trump’s personal life. Neither Trump nor Clinton are role models for our children. Let’s call that a tie, at worst.

    The bullies are welcome to drown in their own bile while those of us who want a better world do what we’ve been doing for hundreds of years: Work to make it better while others complain about how we’re doing it.

    Today I put Trump’s odds of winning in a landslide back to 98%. Remember, I told you a few weeks ago that Trump couldn’t win unless “something changed.” 

    Something just changed.

     
thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1714
Along the same lines: disposable people

This addresses the bullying also, but includes foul language and dark humor (but clear thinking):

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/

 

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2039
Snopes says it ain't so....

...but I will keep an eye out for developments on the reports that former Clinton Foundation CEO, Eric Braverman, has sought asylum at the Russian Embassy.

He has a day job, so he should show up to work soon....

This occurs the day after the death of WikiLeaks founder Gavin MacFadyen (of "natural causes") while WikiLeaks was attempting to take down HRC. 

----------------------------

The most striking thing to me about this story are the comments that appear beneath it.  (I found the story in multiple venues and can't find the comments.)  Basically people were saying stuff like "don't lift weights"  "watch out for nail guns," "don't go near the edge of a building or fly in a small plane" ....

I believe that we are seeing widespread awareness that the deep state uses murder routinely.  The magnitude of the corruption is immense and people are getting it.

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