Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/3 - The Collapse of Paper Assets, Has The Internet Become A Failed State?

Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10:20 AM

Economy

Stanford Study Reveals California Pensions Underfunded By $1 Trillion Or $93k Per Household (reflector)

Looking back to 2008, the underfunding levels of California's public pension have skyrocketed 157% on abysmal asset returns and growing liabilities resulting from lower discount rates.

Perhaps this helps shed some light on why CalPERS is having such a difficult time with what should have been an easy decision to lower their long-term return expectations to 6% from 7.5% (see "CalPERS Weighs Pros/Cons Of Setting Reasonable Return Targets Vs. Maintaining Ponzi Scheme")...$93k per household just seems so much more "manageable" than $150k.

Criss-Crossed Fuses And Lit Bonfire (reflector)

This article attempts to list many threats to a systemic breakdown from ignition of several megatons of TNT dynamite. The financial press has often mentioned derivatives as capable of inflicting damage and devastation like with nuclear explosions. The systemic breakdown is due to occur soon, actually way overdue to occur. The prevention has been a massive global project run by the major central banks in coordination with a few ministries of finance. The primary control center is the USDept Treasury and their Exchange Stabilization Fund. This truly gigantic multi-$trillion fund is a very well-kept secret. Its recent activity has been to permit the USTreasury Bond yield to rise, but without pushing down the sacred USDollar. Not much mention has come from the sleepy lapdog financial press on this unusual anomaly. The motive is to keep the Japanese happy, since they are the last holdout among the $1 trillion USGovt debt holders. The Chinese are dumping USTBonds, but the United States cannot afford for Japan to dump USTBonds at the same time.

S&P warns CT: Surging debt costs could lower bond rating (DennisC, Adam)

“The outlook revision reflects our view that projected growth in fixed costs could rise to a level we believe could comprise a substantial proportion of the state budget and thereby hamper Connecticut’s budget flexibility as the state addresses large out-year budget gaps,” said David Hitchcock, a credit analyst with S&P.

Retirement benefit costs and payments on bonded debt are expected to equal nearly 33 percent of General Fund revenue in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The Collapse of Paper Assets (Tiffany D.)

The U.S. dollar — a paper asset in that it’s backed by nothing more substantial than the petty whims of politicians — is in a bubble that has seen it rise to a 14-year high. Relative to other major currencies that are worse off than the buck, that makes some sense. But relative to the underlying fundamentals of a nation strangled by more than $19 trillion in debt and a political class riven by diametrically opposed views on substantive matters that will define our financial future, the dollar is used toilet paper masquerading as art.

Silver Prices And Interest Rates (GE Christenson)

Interest rates rose approximately 35 years from 1946 – 1981 and fell for 35 years from 1981 – 2016. Silver prices could rise for several decades, along with interest rates, as the dollar is devalued further, silver is aggressively used for industrial applications, investment demand increases, and perhaps … the world is forced to return to a monetary system tied more closely to gold or silver.

In new lawsuit, Instacart shoppers say they were regularly underpaid (jdargis)

Plaintiffs were required to make themselves available to perform work within a predetermined range of time each day but were not compensated in a manner that guaranteed they were compensated at or above the applicable minimum wage during those hours. During nonproductive time, or time during which Plaintiffs were required to make themselves available for work but were not given an assignment, Plaintiffs were not compensated in any manner whatsoever. On various occasions during the relevant period, Plaintiffs spent sometimes up to four hours of a designated shift sitting in their cars in a grocery store parking lot awaiting direction from Instacart. Plaintiffs were not compensated for this time in any manner.

Has the internet become a failed state? (jdargis)

On 21 October, a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks caused widespread disruption of internet activity in the US. The attacks involved directing huge amounts of bogus traffic at servers belonging to Dyn, a company that is a major provider of domain name services (DNS) to other companies. For a time this severely affected major websites – including Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, GitHub, Etsy, Tumblr, Spotify, PayPal, Verizon, Comcast and the PlayStation network. The attack was conducted using a huge botnet of unsecured “internet of things” devices such as home webcams and broadband routers.

Silencing the Messenger: Communication Apps Under Pressure (jdargis)

Internet freedom has declined for the sixth consecutive year, with more governments than ever before targeting social media and communication apps as a means of halting the rapid dissemination of information, particularly during anti-government protests.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/22/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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4 Comments

efarmer.ny's picture
efarmer.ny
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 7 2012
Posts: 63
Downloadable Book: 2020: WARning

This is not news, but I'm not sure where to post it so hope some of the nerdy members will see it here.

This book: 2020: WARning. Social integration and expansion in anarchistic systems: How connectivity and our urge to survive determine and shape the war dynamics and development of the System. IP-Publications, Amsterdam is available as a 795 pdf.

From the introduction:

The conclusions of this study are very straightforward: the system we live in obeys physical laws and is highly deterministic in nature. The system produced - and still produces - two types of wars: systemic and non-systemic wars. Systemic wars qualify as ‘world wars’ and ‘rebalance’ the system, whereas non-systemic wars are normally smaller in size and only have limited effects. By means of wars the system releases tensions, that can be understood as free energy that must be put to work, in order to comply with physical laws. This study shows that systemic wars are periodically necessary in anarchistic systems to rebalance relationships among states and to implement upgraded international orders that provide - at least temporarily - relative stability and allow for further (e.g., population) growth.

 

Approximately twenty years ago, I became increasingly intrigued by whether the international system qualifies as a complex system that produces self-organized dynamics and structures that show regularities, that then can be used to predict war dynamics and obtain better control of these dynamics. This interest resulted in a Ph.D. thesis (2006) whose outcome was promising but still inconclusive.

The main conclusions of this initial research were that the international system (1) shows the characteristics of a so-called self-organized critical system, (2) develops as a punctuated equilibrium dynamic, (3) periodically experiences fundamental changes, (4) becomes increasingly stable over time, and (5) is normally chaotic in nature. These initial assumptions (conclusions) turned out to be quite accurate but not complete, which this study shows.

 

Initially, I wrote this study for the scientific community; the study is in many respects technical and understandably somewhat complex. What adds to its complexity - and probably also to the skepticism of the scientific community - is that this study does not fit within a typical scientific domain. In this study, I apply concepts related to theoretical physics and network and complexity science to historical and social structures and their dynamics; for this reason, the study is new and does not easily fit in a conservative
scientific community.

I am aware that that this study will be received with skepticism, as it should, but I urge and challenge scientists to prove me wrong. I am not a prophet who is predicting the end of the world or someone who is inspired by conspiracy theories or vague spiritual signs; to the contrary, the results of the study are hard science.

As I mentioned, during my research I made some (disturbing) discoveries. The disturbing discovery that the system will become critical around 2020, implying systemic war, is the reason I decided to make this study available to the general public in order to create awareness of this unsettling development and to try to prevent a catastrophe. I urge scientists to validate or falsify the discoveries presented in this study, and politicians to take responsible action.

I don't have the time to read and analyze the points made, so am unable to comment on the author's thesis myself. But I thought it relevant to the PP community as there is often a discussion of the factors that move societies toward war.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2034
PURPLE, Charles Eisenstein and Standing Rock

As a person who thinks in Spiral Dynamic language I'm occasionally asked to explain PURPLE Meme thinking.  (PURPLE = "Turquoise" described here.)  Well it is very hard because I'm not there.  Only 0.1% of us are.   But occasionally I come across an essay that is from the PURPLE Meme viewpoint and can recognize it.  I found one today in a post by Charles Eisenstein on Standing Rock.  Very well written, IMHO.

Eisenstein sees the big picture of the various forces in play.

BLUE: 

Many law enforcement (but not all!!).   Feels that upholding the law (as it is currently written) is itself the highest ideal.  Preserves order.  Follows procedure.  Obeys lawful orders given by superiors simply because they are orders given by a superiors (not because they are smart, kind, helpful, practical or "seem right to me").

ORANGE:

Eisenstein recognizes the hundreds of millions already spent on the pipeline by ETP and the $10 billion in lines of credit offered by the worlds largest banks.  The US geopolitical interest are aligned with pipeline completion.  ORANGE is a fantastic meme for getting things done and accomplishing stuff.  Notices that the automobile driving public is the source of the demand for oil that creates the pipeline.   (In one of its darker forms, ORANGE, when cut off from budding GREEN sensitivity, can be insensitive to everything but personal profit.  Called the Mean ORANGE Meme (MOM), it is the viewpoint from which the environment is destroyed for short term profit.

GREEN:

The sense of the sacred, love for the Earth, the need to protect the water.  Defending burial grounds because they are sacred.  Protecting Mother.  Uses prayer.

YELLOW:

A respectful meeting of the GREEN tribal elders with the Sheriff about the use of the water cannon. 

Eisentstein notices that a majority of LEO's are not violent.  Some are actually sympathetic to the prayers of the elders for the land.  (examples given.)  Others are just "stand around looking uncomfortable." 

Eisenstein refuses to vilify the LEO's and private security contractors despite seeing injuries they are causing.  Not out of niceness, but because vilification leads to certain loss by the tribal peoples.  Vilification/conflict is not an effective strategy against a more powerful and heavily armed group.  The tribal people will not be able to win by force. 

If the Water Protectors go onto the warpath and see and treat the police as enemies, they play into the narratives that legitimize state violence. Consider this report from an army veteran, Harlan Wallner, who wrote to me after spending some time at Standing Rock: “I witnessed people on the shore shouting that the police were fat donut-eating pigs, cowards, etc., that they should be ashamed of themselves, that they have no honor. I heard one man shout that a curse was being placed on them and all of their descendants. I saw one man throw a rock at police in a boat and then be shot in the leg with one of their bean-bag bullets. On two occasions when the anger got particularly fevered I shouted ‘It’s still important to be kind! It’s still important to be kind!’ and the second time I was nearly attacked. ‘Fuck you! Fuck that, it’s way beyond time for that!’ one man nearly growled at me. I shut up after that.”

Now put yourself in the shoes of the police officers. Nothing creates solidarity in the ranks like a common threat. Slurs like “donut-eating pigs” eliminate any possibility that the police will sympathize with the protestors. They play into the very narratives that justify police action to begin with: maintaining law and order in the face of violent extremists. In other words, by engaging in this kind of verbal violence against the police, the militants comply with their own demonization. They put themselves in a position where the only kind of victory possible is a victory by force.

To meet their objectives, the tribal peoples must help all of us change the way of thinking about the pipeline and our relationship to the Earth.  ORANGE and BLUE will need to be drawn closer into GREEN.

This is a master PURPLE thinker at work.

 

 

 

thatchmo's picture
thatchmo
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2008
Posts: 476
Gandhi

Reinventing the wheel seems to take up a lot of our effort as humans.  Aloha, Steve.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2034
Smuggling Migrants From Africa Into the EU

What do you folks make of this?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-04/something-strange-taking-place-mediterranean

Several comments fan the flame of the deliberate strategy idea mentioned by Tom yesterday.  See:

-Fractal Parasite on Peter Sutherland

-Diatom, and

-equity_momo  on Barbara Spectre.

 

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