Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/6 - Amazon's Robot Army Grows, Fitch Downgrades Venezuela's Citgo Unit

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 10:06 AM


Retail jobs decline as Amazon's robot army grows

So where are the jobs going? Quartz suggests that an increase in robotic workers could be to blame. They estimate that Amazon added 75,000 new robots to their workforce in 2017 for a total of roughly 100,000. By these approximations, machines constitute 20 percent of all Amazon "employees."

Editorial | State-crushing ‘California rule’ on pensions must go

A study released in October by Stanford’s Institute for Economy Policy Research Nation forecast that total government spending on pensions in California will more than double from this year to 2030, going from $8.5 billion to $17.3 billion in 2029-30, increasing much faster than expected gains in revenues. Local governments which already spend 20 percent of their budgets on retirees will look back on 2017 as the good old days.

Desperate Venezuelans Turn to Video Games to Survive

Inflation has spiraled into quadruple digits. The bolívar has shed almost all of its value against the dollar this year and was trading at 108,279 on the black market on Dec. 4. “It’s shameful. I never thought game currency would be worth more than that of our country,” says Enegebe Sención, 30, an out-of-work computer programmer who for the past five months has played Tibia to support his family.

Fitch downgrades Venezuela's Citgo unit

Venezuela has been struggling to make debt payments, spurring two of the leading rating agencies and a derivatives industry association to declare the country and PDVSA in default. A default by PDVSA on its 2020 notes could see creditors foreclose on the Citgo equity, forcing the US refiner to buy back the notes for cash or obtain a waiver from creditors to avoid default itself.

Going Cashless: Bad for Tax Cheats, Privacy, the Poor: QuickTake

Some economists say that without cash, central banks could fight recessions more effectively by imposing negative interest rates — effectively a tax on savings meant to spur spending — if hoarding cash weren’t available as a way to sidestep the penalty. Critics say that in a digital-only economy, governments and banks could take control of your financial life; with a flick of a switch, they could leave you without a penny.

End of Year Reminder: Sell ETF Losses; Buy Physical Metals—No Wash Sale Rule (Diane C.)

However, in its current form, the wash sale rule only applies to “securities,” and physical precious metals are not included in the definition of “securities.” This means the rule does not apply to bullion ETF holders who sell those securities for a loss and buy physical metals within 30 days before or after their sale of the bullion ETF. While both the bullion ETF and physical metals give you exposure to the price of metals and the volatility insurance that comes with it, the investments are sufficiently different in nature that they do not trigger the wash sale rule.

Bailins Coming In EU – 114 Italian Banks Have NP Loans Exceeding Tangible Assets (Cornelius999)

The health of a bank’s non-performing loans (NPLs) can be measured using the Texas ratio. This is a measure of bad loans as a proportion of capital reserves. When the reading is over 100 it is a warning signal the banks need a solution quickly.

Data cited in a March 2017 article shows that 23% of Italy’s near 500 banks are showing signs of severe stress. 24 of the banks that have a Texas ratio reading of over 200.

Is The EIA Overestimating The U.S. Shale Boom? (Michael K.)

“It’s really hard to bet against the ability of the industry to improve and get more out of the rock,” Manuj Nikhanj, co-CEO of RS Energy Group, told World Oil. Three years of oil prices have forced oil and gas majors worldwide to get creative to lower costs and avoid bankruptcies. Mass firings and empty offices pushed multinationals to operate on a leaner human resources diet, utilizing robots and merging job descriptions to keep the companies functional.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/5/17

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."


sand_puppy's picture
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Jeruselem recognized as the capital of Israel by the US

Today's announcement reflects the power of the pro-Israel factions.  A couple of quotes and their sources are included below.


J.J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment.

James Petras, The Power of Israel in the United States (brief summary here)

Meirsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy


 [James Petras quotes p13 ]  A more recent survey by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post shows higher figures: 60 percent of Democratic financing comes from Jewish pro-Israel PACs and 35 percent of the Republican fundraising.

[Petras, p14]  The Jewish Lobby's PAC power is rooted in the high proportion of Jewish families among the the wealthiest families in the United States.  According to Forbes, 25% - 30% of the US multi-millionaires and billionaires are Jewish.  Jewish-Canadians, with assets worth over 30% of the Canadian Stock Market [also contribute].  The power of Israel is based on that of the Diaspora, the highly structured and politically and economically powerful Jewish networks which have direct and indirect access to the centers of power and propaganda in the most powerful imperial country in the world.  

No single other lobby including Big Pharma, Big Oil and Agro-business plays such a dominant financial role in party funding.

Mearsheimer and Walt … describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact ... and the policies it has encouraged are in neither America's national interest nor Israel's long-term interest.

Petras then explains that while the pro-Israel Jewish Community is vocal, persistent, organized and intense, the anti-Israel Jewish American community is silent, especially on the subject of the forced expulsion of the Palestinians.

[Petras p 128]  Despite the near unanimous support of the major Jewish organizations, 20 percent of American Jews do not support Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.   Even more significantly, 61% of Jews almost never talk about Israel or defend Israel in conversations with non-Jews.  It is important to note that the Israel First crowd represents less than a third of the American Jewish community....  Having said that, however, most Jewish critics of Israel's [behaviors] are not influential in the big Jewish organizations and the Israel lobby. 


This matches what I am seeing in my small circle of American Jewish friends.  None would condone killing an indigenous people and taking their lands, or advocate for superiority of one race over another.  Yet they do not talk to us non-Jews about the topic either.  They are silent.

Rabbi Micheal Lerner, a far left editor at Tikkun Magazine, has talked about the difficulty that liberal (GREEN & YELLOW Meme) Jewish college professors have with speaking about the killing and forced displacement of the Palestinians--even in their own families and communities.  Most feel that they cannot speak out or they will be ostracized (or divorced).  

Demands for internal conformity is one of the consequences of the Siege Mentality

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Christie Panel Says Only Benefit Cuts Can Fix NJ Pensions

Christie Panel Says Only Benefit Cuts Can Fix NJ Pensions

Bloomberg-21 hours ago
New Jersey employees' medical benefits are the only budget expense with enough potential savings to fix the state's pension deficit, according to the final report ... half of its planned ramp-up of pension funding,” according to the report released Wednesday by the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission.

With NJ unfunded pension liability at $90B, panel advises cutting ...

WHYY-46 minutes ago
Despite unprecedented levels of funding and the dedication of state lottery revenue to the pension plans, the state's estimated unfunded liability is now $90 billion, $10 billion more than in 2014, said commission member Tom Healey. “While some progress has been made, it has not been enough,” Healey said. “The new ...

S&P says US fiscal loosening could spell ratings action

Reuters-19 hours ago

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Proposed U.S. tax cuts would increase the federal deficit and looser fiscal policy could prompt negative action on U.S. credit ratings unless ... The window of opportunity for President Michel Temer's government to approve a long-awaited pension overhaul was closing as elections loom at the end of .

As health premiums rise, small businesses seek alternatives

ABC News-Dec 6, 2017

Health insurance consultants expect more owners to rethink their strategies beyond 2018 and choose alternatives like paying for claims themselves or adding health services that can lower costs. Workshop Digital's premiums are soaring 55 percent, and co-founder Brian Forrester says the business will be less profitable

Chicago sells new kind of debt amid strong muni demand

Reuters-16 hours ago
A chronic structural budget deficit and a huge unfunded pension liability that totaled $35.76 billion at the end of 2016 have led to low credit ratings and increased borrowing costs for the nation's third-largest city. The corporation pledged Chicago's state-collected sales tax revenue to pay off the new bonds. Investors get a ...

Italy's Target 2 liabilities hit new record high in November

Reuters-4 hours ago
MILAN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Italy's debt with the European Central Bank rose to a new record high in November, after falling the previous month, data from the Bank ... Euro zone countries' Target 2 positions are monitored because they highlight imbalances within the bloc and the potential for colossal sovereign defaults were it ...

Japan to issue more bonds to fund ¥2.9 trillion extra budget for ...

The Japan Times-5 hours ago
... the country cope with any negative fallout from free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and an economic partnership agreement with the EU. To finance the extra budget, the government plans to sell about ¥1.2 trillion of construction bonds and cover most of the rest with leftover debt-servicing money.

Asia's Booming Bond Market Leaves Distressed-Debt Investors With ...

Bloomberg-15 hours ago
Noble Group, the embattled Hong Kong-based commodity trader, started engaging creditors in November to reorganize $3.5 billion of debt in the newest chapter of its three-year survival battle. At Reliance Communications, a collapse in its asset-sale program has pushed the Indian telecommunications firm into a default, ...

Illinois lost 43000 federal tax filers, $4.8 billion on net in 2015 tax year

Illinois News Network-17 hours ago
Illinois keeps losing population and wealth, and while there may be many reasons, one analyst thinks continued tax increases aren't helping. Another says the continued loss is putting the state's mounting debt to cover basic services on the backs of fewer and fewer taxpayers. There were 96,201 federal tax returns filed from ...


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