Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 11/27 - Billionaires vs. the Press, The Cost And Profit Of Fake News

Sunday, November 27, 2016, 10:22 AM


The Trump U turn: How the now-settled case resembles a similar lawsuit from Canada (uncletommy)

A group of 108 students in 2008 filed a class action that argued they were duped into signing up for a business program based on a false course description in the George Brown College catalogue. Justice Edward Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court last May approved a $2.725-million settlement ending the eight-year case.

Billionaires vs. the Press in the Era of Trump (jdargis)

This kind of manipulation of the law is unfolding at a keen moment of weakness for the press, which has already been buffeted by falling revenue and mounting public disaffection. Only 40 percent of the public — the lowest rate since at least the 1990s — trusts the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly,” according to a Gallup survey conducted in September 2015. This mistrust has been growing for a long time, but it was stoked by Trump during the campaign. He called the reporters who covered him “scum” and whipped up yelling and booing crowds. There is no consensus among his supporters that the press should hold those in power accountable. A recent Pew survey found that only half of Trump backers agreed that it was important in a strong democracy that “news organizations are free to criticize political leaders.”

The Cost (and Profit) of Fake News (jdargis)

If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all, even in specific and limited doses like I’m trying to do, you might have seen articles that suggest Macedonian teens are responsible for a lot of the fake political news that ended up on Facebook prior to the election.

Even If OPEC Gets a Deal, It Risks Reviving Battered Oil Rivals (jdargis)

Across the industry, from rural America to the Siberian tundra, producers are hoping the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will trigger a rally that would allow them to secure funds to boost drilling. Without a deal, prices, now at $47, could test the $30 level breached in January, as OPEC and non-member Russia ramped up output to defend market share, analysts say.

Switzerland votes against strict timetable for nuclear power phaseout (jdargis)

It said nuclear plants should continue to operate as long as they are deemed safe, but did not set a precise timetable.

Environmentalists have said no nuclear reactors should be allowed to operate for longer than 45 years - meaning that at least two would have had to close almost immediately.

'Thunderstorm asthma' deaths in Melbourne rise to six (jdargis)

Paramedics and hospitals were stretched to their limits as thousands phoned to report breathing problems.

Thunderstorm asthma occurs in the spring when rye grass pollen gets wet, breaks into smaller pieces and enters people's lungs, causing them breathing problems.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 11/25/16

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."


Doug's picture
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Another take on fake news

I don't know if this has already been posted because I haven't paid much attention to the genre, but this NPR article has some interesting insights:



A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.


"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," Coler says.


During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. "It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they're about to get served," Coler says. "It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election."


When did you notice that fake news does best with Trump supporters?

Well, this isn't just a Trump-supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin's famous blasting of the lamestream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn't something that started with Trump. This is something that's been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters. When we were coming up with headlines it's always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.

We've tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.

According to Jestin Coler, (the interviewee) fake news is a genre that is likely to continue expanding and improving because the money is pretty good for the successful sites.  This tells me that we must be ever more critical in reading anything on the internet.  




thatchmo's picture
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'bout that red meat....

So Jestin Coler is suggesting that some folks- the "red meat" eaters (animals, no?)- are easily misled and should trust the MSM, like the WaPo.  The term definitely sets off my "prop detector".  I'm rethinking my association with NPR....Aloha, Steve. 

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Interesting insights?

The interesting insights are that only those on the right can be fooled by "fake news"?

The other insight was that anyone on the left cannot be fooled by fake news because their friends won't blindly share fake news, they often fact check it and it is refuted after "the first two comments"?. 

Let me remind you that the largest purveyor of fake news is the US Government. How many people in general (left, right, in between) actually question the story that is being told to them by the USG and their pawns in the media. It's growing sure enough, but I bet it is still <1%. 

NPR is just another wing of the MSM/government propaganda arm and their insights are worthless unless you just need some confirmation bias that those on the right are all utter morons. 


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Facebook Is A News Site?

Facebook is a news site?  Its more akin to a gossip neighborhood party line.   

thc0655's picture
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Havanna: the last Communist city


Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 science-fiction film Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, takes place in Los Angeles, circa 2154. The wealthy have moved into an orbiting luxury satellite—the Elysium of the title—while the wretched majority of humans remain in squalor on Earth. The film works passably as an allegory for its director’s native South Africa, where racial apartheid was enforced for nearly 50 years, but it’s a rather cartoonish vision of the American future. Some critics panned the film for pushing a socialist message. Elysium’s dystopian world, however, is a near-perfect metaphor for an actually existing socialist nation just 90 miles from Florida.

I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba—not because I’m nostalgic for a botched utopian fantasy but because I wanted to experience Communism firsthand. When I finally got my chance several months ago, I was startled to discover how much the Cuban reality lines up with Blomkamp’s dystopia. In Cuba, as in Elysium, a small group of economic and political elites live in a rarefied world high above the impoverished masses. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, would be appalled by the misery endured by Cuba’s ordinary citizens and shocked by the relatively luxurious lifestyles of those who keep the poor down by force. 

Many tourists return home convinced that the Cuban model succeeds where the Soviet model failed. But that’s because they never left Cuba’s Elysium. 

had to lie to get into the country. Customs and immigration officials at Havana’s tiny, dreary José Martí International Airport would have evicted me had they known I was a journalist. But not even a total-surveillance police state can keep track of everything and everyone all the time, so I slipped through. It felt like a victory. Havana, the capital, is clean and safe, but there’s nothing to buy. It feels less natural and organic than any city I’ve ever visited. Initially, I found Havana pleasant, partly because I wasn’t supposed to be there and partly because I felt as though I had journeyed backward in time. But the city wasn’t pleasant for long, and it certainly isn’t pleasant for the people living there. It hasn’t been so for decades. 

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins...

More interesting (and little known) details follow.

Hotrod's picture
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I wonder if all government systems end up eventually as a small cabal of insiders who greatly prosper and the rest of the population left to share the crumbs?  What would the economy of this country look like if we had never financed our lifestyle with mountains of public and private debt?  I think it's a good bet that we may have never left the Great Depression behind and much of the country would look like Havana.  Much of rural and deep urban America already look like the Depression never ended. Is it inevitable that the rich and powerful will always gain complete control?  Some questions for thought.

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ECB to Be 'Pillar of Stability' in Risky Year, Policy Maker Says

ECB to Be 'Pillar of Stability' in Risky Year, Policy Maker Says

Bloomberg-10 hours ago
... that might be an argument for the ECB to keep its stimulus -- currently 80 billion euros ($85 billion) a month of debt purchases alongside negative interest rates ...

Draghi: ECB Aims to Keep Current Level of Monetary Stimulus

ABC News-2 hours ago

The central bank is to discuss whether to extend its 1.77 trillion euros ($1.87 ... Since the eurozone's woes with high debt started in late 2009 with a financial ..

Saudi central bank net foreign assets shrink by $10.8 billion in October

Reuters - ‎4 hours ago‎
DUBAI Nov 28 Net foreign assets at Saudi Arabia's central bank shrank by $10.8 billion from a month earlier to $535.9 billion in October, as the government liquidated reserves to cover a large budget gap caused by low oil prices, official data showed ...

Saudi central bank's net foreign assets shrink to lowest level since Dec 2011

Gulf Business News - ‎4 hours ago‎

Net foreign assets at Saudi Arabia's central bank shrank by $10.8bn from a month earlier to $535.9bn in October, as the government liquidated reserves to cover a large budget gap caused by low oil prices, official data showed on Monday. Assets tumbled ..

Surging homeowner loans in China raise alarms over debt

Japan Today-16 hours ago
China's total debt—including housing, financial and government sector debt—hit 168.48 trillion yuan ($25 trillion) at the end of last year, equivalent to 249 ...

BOJ Has First Loss in Four Years on Hit From FX and Bonds

Bloomberg-7 hours ago
The bank posted a net loss of 200.2 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in the six ... 242 billion yen to a reserve fund to pay for future liabilities on its huge debt holdings.

Japan Fukushima nuclear plant 'clean-up costs double'

BBC News-2 hours ago
... from the trade ministry put the expected cost at some 20 trillion yen ($180bn, ... Critics say this is effectively a tax on the public to pay the debt of a private ...

RPT-Greece seeks to fix borrowing costs in debt relief talks

Reuters-5 hours ago
In the medium term the government also hopes to renegotiate a further 52.9 billion euros of the official debt. This is bilateral debt owed to euro zone creditors ...

Italy shock poll finds referendum protest vote is poised to beat the government

Daily Mail - ‎Nov 26, 2016‎
It is being seen as his failure to reach out to the working class in the poorest areas of Italy, predominantly located in the south. The vote could prompt an exit from the European Union and rejection would follow results in the Brexit referendum and ...

CalPERS balancing risks in review of lower return target

Pensions & Investments-22 hours ago
“We've got cities out there with half their general fund obligated to pension liabilities. ... CalPERS has an unfunded liability of $111 billion and critics have said ...


Michael_Rudmin's picture
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On the contrary, if we had not financed on debt

... I suspect we'd be extremely well off, so long as we weren't conquered and made war loot.

Here's the two pronged thing about all this debt:  If you don't have debt, you can build towards the future, with an expectation of the future.  As a result, investments are better made.  The standard of living continues to improve. 

Moreover, when you do take on debt, you drive the prices up; that discourages proper investment by those who *would* invest, while encouraging malinvestment by those who suddenly get access to free money (debt).  As a result, the brilliant mathematician wastes on the sidelines, while twenty smart people with IQs of 125 go on to college; the brilliant mathematician doesn't have access to the debt money. 

So investment is sporadic, business runs in cyclic boom-bust swings, and although you see progress, progress is slow.

Now, the one thing debt is good for is mobilizing assets quickly.  So you *ARE* able to defend your country from other countries.  Even better, you can to some extent export your poverty to other countries that YOU conquer.  So if you don't take the debt route, you'd better hide your wealth from all, until you are strong enough that you can withstand the best of the debtor nations without taking on any debt yourself.

Other than that, you'll become loot.

Anyhow, that's my thinking on the matter.  Anyone wanna disagree, feel free.


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