Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/20 - CalPERS Adopts New Asset Allocation, Net Pension Liabilities Continue Rising

Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 11:01 AM

Economy

Moody's: Net pension liabilities continue rising for 42 of 50 largest US local governments

As a percentage of operating revenues, Chicago (Ba1 negative) remained at the top with unfunded pension liabilities at 703%, followed by Dallas (A1 stable) at 609%, and Houston (Aa3 stable) at 606%. All exhibit very high leverage from debt, unfunded pensions and retiree healthcare in fiscal 2016. Both Dallas and Houston recently passed significant benefit changes that will impact future pension liability measurements.
Moody's says in fiscal 2017 ANPLs will spike an additional 33% for most local governments due to lagged recognition of weak investment returns in the prior year.

CalPERS adopts new asset allocation increasing equity exposure to 50%

Critics have pointed out that the new allocation is unrealistic because the pension fund's own estimate shows the portfolio that was adopted would have a 6.1% rate of return annualized over the next 10 years. If investment returns fall under 7% that would increase the system's $138 billion unfunded liability in the near term.

Plan to pad some N.J. politicians' pensions keeps speeding ahead

It's moving along even though the state's pension liability is more than $90 billion -- among the largest in the country

Central banks, trade and bubbles threaten the 2018 status quo

The amount of U.S. corporate debt outstanding, for example, is nearly $8.8 trillion, according to Sifma, the U.S. securities industry group. That is up 35 percent since 2010 and a major driver behind corporate expansion.

Venezuela's Bond Investors Are Wondering If They've Been Dumped

Venezuela last made a payment on its sovereign debt in September. The government is now overdue on $700 million of interest on eight bonds -- six of which were deemed in default after their grace periods expired.

12 Insanely Profitable Tax Moves to Make Now (Tiffany D.)

Let’s start with a review of the structure of the new federal income tax system — good and bad.

On the plus side, as of Friday last week, the GOP tax plan included lower marginal tax rates for all income brackets, at least until 2027.

How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over The Web (lambertad)

“Surprisingly, while there is a vast literature on web tracking, email tracking has seen little research,” noted an October 2017 paper published by three Princeton computer scientists. All of this means that billions of emails are sent every day to millions of people who have never consented in any way to be tracked, but are being tracked nonetheless. And Seroussi believes that some, at least, are in serious danger as a result.

‘Gold Strengthens Public Confidence In The Central Bank’ – Bundesbank (Cornelius999)

There are two significant lessons to be learnt here - one for central banks and one for individual investors. The first is, central banks should be aware of the benefits of gold and how transparency will boost the public's confidence. The second is investors should understand why the Bundesbank is so interested in protecting its gold bullion.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 9/26/16

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."

3 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4060
Student loan defaults on the rise

Japan's megabanks raise fees as negative rates squeeze earnings

Nikkei Asian Review-21 hours ago
TOKYO -- Japan's megabanks will raise fees for changing bank notes for new or smaller bills as they look for more revenues to counter the impact of the Bank of Japan's negative interest rate policy. The increase will take effect from January at Mizuho Bank. Currently, customers can change up to 50 bills free of charge at the ...

'Not effective!' Bank of Italy blames EU for country plunging into ...

Express.co.uk-Dec 19, 2017
After the eurozone's worse than expected recovery after the 2008 financial crisis, Italy struggled to shift its huge debt burden, compounded by a weak banking system and a generally weak economy. Italy was forced to fight earlier this year after DBRS, a Canadian rating agency, downgraded Italy's sovereign debt, stripping ...

Student loan defaults on the rise

NBC2 News-47 minutes ago
The Wall Street Journal reports that some $631 billion of the $1.37 trillion debt load is in the repayment stage. As of end Q3 2017, 13% of the repayment stage debt ($84 billion) is in default. The default amount is distributed among approximately 22% of borrowers in the repayment stage, up five percentage points from four ...

 

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 1755
The future of public protest marches

Perhaps I was living under a rock, but I was unaware of this.  During the Trump inauguration in DC a year ago there were widespread protest marches.  Some of those present were dressed in black with face masks and broke window and vandalized property.

Kettling

Apparently there is a crowd control tactic where police in riot gear surround an unruly group and don't let anyone leave.  Various degrees of physical abuse are heaped on those who are thus "kettled" from being sprayed with pepper spray to being made to stand for hours without access to restrooms food or water and taken to a "training facility" where genital exams and digital rectal exams were performed.

Then they were arrested.  About 200-230 people with were charged with 6 felony counts.  The wording on the charges are exactly the same for all 200+ people.  In other-words, they are EACH being charged for the activities of THE GROUP.

The conflation of the protesters as a whole with the alleged violent acts of a few in the crowd is worrying to Menefee-Libby. It would be a “radical departure” from a basic understanding of the law, Menefee-Libby said, if the government prosecutes people solely for their proximity to criminality. “Individuals can only be held responsible for their own behavior,” said Menefee-Libby, describing a fundamental tenet of the U.S. justice system.

That the government’s case does not differentiate between actors and bystanders could be an indication of future clampdowns on protest. “Even if we take the government at their word, that members of the protest had unlawful goals,” said attorney Shana Knizhnik, of the American Civil Liberties Union’s D.C. chapter, “it’s undeniable they also had lawful goals.” (source)

From the New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Intercept.

The defendants were charged under the Federal Riot Statute and face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, including inciting or urging to riot, conspiracy to riot and multiple counts of destruction of property. Evidence against the defendants has been scant from the moment of their arrest. (source)

One arrests was of an artist who was hired to make posters urging people to show up in Washington DC to protest the Trump inauguration.  (I saw a video on facebook and can't find the link.)  He was arrested on 7 felony charges and faces a potential of 61 years in prison.  And here is the thing--he was not actually present at the protest.  (Can't find the link)

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1512
DOJ releases Pulse Night Club after action report

http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2017/12/robert-farago/department-justice-report-whitewashes-pulse-nightclub-police-response/

“The Orlando Police Department and other agencies performed strongly during the Pulse nightclub massacre, but additional training is needed to improve communication and prepare for future terror attacks, officials wrote in a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice and released Monday.” That’s the lead at orlandosentinel.com, which somehow forgets to provide a direct link to the report [click here]. Later in the piece, an excerpt quoted isn’t so flattering . . .

“Without clear visuals and with incomplete information regarding the exact location of the suspect and hostages, SWAT officers determined it was too risky to conduct a direct assault and maintained their positions behind and around the bar, approximately 15 feet away from the entrance to the restroom where the suspect was contained,” researchers wrote.

Think about that. A SWAT team was 15 feet from the bathroom where terrorist Omar Mateen was holed-up — and stayed there from approximately 2:35am to exactly 5:05am, when they drove a Bearcat into the building, after a controlled explosion failed to breach an outside wall.

During that time — some three hours and thirty minutes — an unspecified number of hostages in the bathroom bled to death. Some of them while on the line to emergency operators.“The OPD’s response, which was appropriate and consistent with national guidelines and best practices, saved lives,” concludes Russ Washington, the Department of Justice’s Acting Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Bullsh*t. The Orlando police under Chief Mina suffered from analysis paralysis. Innocent people died as a result. And no one was held accountable. That’s a disgrace. A lawsuit that ought to happen.

Well, that's a little harsh, considering what was in the whole report which I just finished reading.  The decision not to storm the bathroom for 3 hours was a very difficult one which the report discusses at length, pro and con.  It stopped short of saying they made the right decision or the wrong decision.

There was considerable coverage of what was done wrong or not done at all, without naming anyone responsible.  The local people would know who those individuals were.  However, it was pretty clear that outside of the decision not to storm the suspect in the bathroom (which was the responsibility of the on scene SWAT lieutenant who was part of one of the two contact teams that entered the building within minutes of the start of the attack), the other errors were the responsibility of front line supervisors all the way up to the highest ranking commander on scene (and especially the highest ranking commander on scene).

I had been particularly interested in learning what commander ordered the first contact team to back out of the building after they made entry.  That apparently never happened.  The first contact team went in on their own as they're trained to do, followed a couple of minutes later by the SWAT Lieutenant and his team through a different door.  They should've coordinated their actions, but they didn't.  As it turned out the first contact team focused on clearing the various spaces in the building, making sure there weren't any shooters in them, and rescuing club patrons (injured and uninjured). The SWAT entry team encountered the shooter, exchanged shots and forced him into one of two bathrooms (they weren't sure which one until the very end of the incident).  They then took up positions to keep the shooter from reemerging and resuming firing.

The link to the actual DOJ after action report is included in a link in the above article if you want to read the whole thing.

 

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