Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/26 - Global Packaging Binge Fed By Plastic Investment, Is Bitcoin Back?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 12:44 PM


One Target in Beijing’s Migrant Crackdown: Schoolchildren (blackeagle)

These schools exist in an educational gray zone, often operating without licenses and with teachers who — like the families of their students — do not have official permission to live and work in Beijing. Educators say that more than a dozen schools have been shut down or demolished this year, often with just a few days’ notice, cutting off access to education for as many as 15,000 children. Many of these children are under 12.

North Korea Won’t Stop Its Arms Tests Anytime Soon, South Warns (jdargis)

“Re-entry is a question North Korea must solve to boost its negotiating leverage and for its military and technological purposes,” Shin Beom-chul, a security analyst, said in a report published over the weekend by the government-run Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul. “For North Korea, there is a big difference between entering negotiations with the United States after acquiring full ICBM capabilities and starting such talks without them.”

He died for our debts, not our sins (Time2Help)

Similarly, the Commandment ‘thou shalt not steal’ refers to usury and exploitation by threat for debts owing.

The economist says Jesus was crucified for his views on debt. Crucifixion being a punishment reserved especially for political dissidents.

Is Bitcoin Back? Cryptocurrency Passes $15,000 as Rebound Begins (jdargis)

“The most important question facing it is whether the recent price correction will prove to be what market participants refer to as ‘healthy’,” Mohamed El-Erian wrote in a Bloomberg View column Tuesday. In other words, one that shakes out “excessive irrational exuberance, provides for the entry of institutional investors, encourages the development of market-deepening products, and widens and balances out the investor base and the product offering,” he said.

Cash Might Be King, but They Don’t Care (tmn)

Cashless businesses were once an isolated phenomenon, but now, similarly jarring experiences can be had across the street at Sweetgreen, or two blocks up at Two Forks, or next door to Two Forks at Dos Toros, or over on 41st Street at Bluestone Lane coffee. In Midtown and some other neighborhoods across New York City, cashless is fast on its way to becoming normal.

What We Discovered During a Year of Documenting Hate (jdargis)

We were told early on that while the law required the Department of Justice to report hate crime statistics, local and state police departments aren’t bound to report their numbers to the FBI — and many don't. Complicating matters further is that hate crime laws vary by state, with some including sexual orientation as a protected class of victims and some not. Five states have no hate crime statute at all.

Can Non-Billionaires Make a Difference in Conservation? An Example From Europe (jdargis)

Will individuals and families make the connection between this large act of philanthropy and the smaller-scale opportunities immediately around them? It’s a lot to expect.

$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge (tmn)

“We could be locking in decades of expanded plastics production at precisely the time the world is realising we should use far less of it,” said Carroll Muffett, president of the US Center for International Environmental Law, which has analysed the plastic industry.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/22/17

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."


thc0655's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1790
Balancing ProPublica on hate crimes

Merry Christmas, jdargis!!  Here's a link that helps balance the ProPublica piece that you included in today's "Daily Digest."  I've noticed that many liberals/progressives (including ProPublica) seem to have a blindspot when it comes to hate crimes.  That blindspot is whites being the victims of hate crimes.  I've actually seen it argued that whites, by definition, cannot be the victims of hate crimes (only the perpetrators).  That may or may not explain why the ProPublica piece above no where mentions whites as the victims of hate crimes, only the perpetrators.  Nevertheless, here's some balance to consider on this topic:


Data that contradict the approved narrative of the left rarely garner headlines.  Minorities must always be victims of the heartless white majority, you see.  So our helpful government bureaucrats bury data that contradict that approved story and forces those interested in the truth to bring out their calculators and crunch the numbers a little.

A faithful reader did exactly that and points out:

You might have heard or read a story yesterday regarding the FBI's release of 2016 Hate Crime Statistics

Just about every story I heard or read drew links to the election of Trump.  The story on NPR observed that "almost half the offenders were white."  The "almost" part piqued my interest.

Buried below the headlines in the report was this nugget:

In 2016, race was reported for 5,770 known hate crime offenders.  Of these offenders:

  •     46.3 percent were white.
  •     26.1 percent were black or African-American.

According to US Census data for 2016, African-Americans made up 13.3 percent and whites made up 76.9 percent of the population, respectively.  If African-Americans and whites committed hate crimes at the same rate, you would have expected Whites to commit five times as many hate crimes as African-Americans, and three quarters of all hate crimes would be attributed to white offenders.  In reality, when you adjust for population, you find that African-Americans are about 3.2 times more likely to commit a hate crime than a white.

If Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, and Richard Spencer are trying to encourage whites to commit hate crimes...they're not very good at it.

See also: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2016-hate-crime-statistics


Uncletommy's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: May 4 2014
Posts: 683
Dying for our debts?

Rot comes in many forms. The most vivid are usually seen as a reflection of current circumstances. It is systemic and insidious. Has the U.S. Fed reached it preternatural limit? I hope the old magnolia rests-in-peace. 


According to documentation seen by CNN, the bulk of the trouble with the Jackson Magnolia began as far back as five decades ago, when three "leaders," or trunks, emerged from its base, creating a mass of tangled and shared bark.
Around 1970, it's believed one of the leaders broke off from the other two and was removed, and its cavity was exposed, leaving the entire tree susceptible to decay. As such, the cavity was filled in with cement, a procedure not advisable today, but which at the time was deemed the proper course of action. The concrete did irretrievable damage and in 1981, it was removed and replaced with a large pole and cable system, which remain today, holding up the remaining leaders.
In person, while the tree and its trunks appear quite normal from the front side, from the back, the massive hulk of the tree is virtually hollow, with wood chipping away, in places crumbling to the touch.
fionnbharr's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 27 2012
Posts: 100
The Road to Zero Wealth

Hi Thc,

I recently read a report by the Institute For Policy Studies - link to pdf - that I think you'll find of interest, illustrating the magnitude of racial wealth disparity : -

In our 2016 report, The Ever-Growing Gap: Without Change, African American and Latino Families Won’t Match White Wealth for Centuries, we showed that it if current trends continue, it will take 228 years for the average Black family to reach the level of wealth White families own today. For the average Latino family, matching the wealth of White families will take 84 years.

In this report, we look at the racial wealth divide at the median over the next four and eight years, as well as to 2043, when the country’s population is predicted to become majority non-white. We also look to wealth rather than income to reconsider what it means to be middle class. In finding an ever-accelerating gap, we consider what it means for the American middle class and we explore what policy interventions could reverse the trends we see today. We find that without a serious change in course, the country is heading towards a racial and economic apartheid state.

  • Earning a middle-class income does not guarantee middle-class economic security. White households in the middle-income quintile (those earning $37,201-$61,328 annually) own nearly eight times as much wealth ($86,100) as middle-income Black earners ($11,000) and ten times as much wealth as middle-income Latino earners ($8,600). This disconnect in income earned and wealth owned is visible across the entire income spectrum between these groups.

  • If the middle class were to be defined by wealth rather than by income, Black and Latino families in the middle-income quintile would need to earn 2-3 times as much as White families in order to enter the middle class. If we were to define the middle class in terms of wealth, households would need to own between $68,000-$204,000 in wealth to qualify for the middle class. Under these terms, only Black and Latino households in the highest income-quintile (those earning more than $104,509) would qualify for middle-class status or higher, compared to White households in the top three income-quintiles who already own wealth in excess of this threshold. In fact, only Black and Latino households with an advanced degree have enough wealth to be considered middle- class, whereas all White households with a high school diploma or higher would be considered middle class.

  • Defining class in terms of wealth instead of income, roughly 70% of Black and Latino households would fall below the $68,000 threshold needed for middle-class status, whereas only about 40% of White households would fall below the middle class. In contrast, roughly 13% of Black and Latino households could be considered to have “upper-wealth” (meaning they own at least $204,000 in wealth), compared to 40% of White households.

  • The accelerating decline in wealth over the past 30 years has left many Black and Latino families unable to reach the middle class. Between 1983 and 2013, the wealth of median Black and Latino households decreased by 75% (from $6,800 to $1,700) and 50% (from $4,000 to $2,000), respectively, while median White household wealth rose by 14% (from $102,200 to $116,800). If current trends continue, by 2020 median Black and Latino households stand to lose nearly 18% and 12%, respectively, of the wealth they held in 2013. In that same timeframe, median White household wealth would see an increase of 3%. Put differently, in just under four years from now, median White households are projected to own 86 and 68 times more wealth than Black and Latino households, respectively.

  • By 2024, median Black and Latino households are projected to own 60-80% less wealth than they did in 1983. By then, the continued rise in racial wealth inequality between median Black, Latino and White households is projected to lead White households to own 99 and 75 times more wealth than their Black and Latino counterparts, respectively.

  • If the racial wealth divide is left unaddressed and is not exacerbated further over the next eight years, median Black household wealth is on a path to hit zero by 2053about 10 years after it is projected that racial minorities will comprise the majority of the nation’s population. Median Latino household wealth is projected to hit zero twenty years later, or by 2073. In sharp contrast, median White household wealth would climb to $137,000 by 2053 and $147,000 by 2073. 

    The Road to Zero Wealth PDF



Matt Holbert's picture
Matt Holbert
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 3 2008
Posts: 161
The statistics are striking...but there is more to the story...

I reviewed the pdf. Truly eye-opening. However, it does not reveal the underlying reality -- at least here in Spokane.

My wife and I recently walked by the most exclusive hotel in town. (It almost got razed as the result of the former owner being the No. 2 son in a Chinese family. No. 1 son gets all the resources.) It was built in an era when properties properly addressed the street. In other words, we could look through the windows and observe those who were enjoying the conviviality of the establishment. As is always the case these days, it was -- to a person -- individuals with gray/white hair. This cohort got all the resources due to being born at the right time. If you strip out this group from the statistics in the Road to Zero Wealth pdf, you will find that whites are in the same boat as Blacks and Latinos. Most do not have any wealth.

The article is written by an organization that is analogous to the man with a hammer. Everything looks like a white nail. We should move past this propensity to have non-profits with specialist hammers. Knowing the broader picture can go a long way towards solving problems -- or recognizing our predicament.

fionnbharr's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 27 2012
Posts: 100

Hi Matt,

for sure, using our "Peak Prosperity" specialist hammer can generally turn most mainstream perspectives into something other. However, I looked at some stats for Spokane on the US Census which came up with some figures pointing out that there are roughly 89.46% white - black or African Americian at 2.07% - Hispanic or Latino at 2.99%. This puts your demographic far below the median average for the US. Further, your exclusive Chinese owned hotel for the local is, again, below the median at 0.28%. I suspect we mirror our surroundings with our normalization.

Truthfully, if our social status is primarily a white and middle-aged demographic on this forum, and judging by the stats from the article, we can still live in poverty within our bias, but not in such poverty as is found in the black and hispanic communities.

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Tell me, are you aware of the late Donella Meadows, co author of Limits to Growth? There was an article I recalled from 1997 called Places to Intervene in a System. I'll reproduce it at length below for your consideration : -

Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in "leverage points." These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.

The systems community has a lot of lore about leverage points. Those of us who were trained by the great Jay Forrester at MIT have absorbed one of his favorite stories. "People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I've done an analysis of a company, and I've figured out a leverage point. Then I've gone to the company and discovered that everyone is pushing it in the wrong direction!"

The classic example of that backward intuition was Forrester's first world model. Asked by the Club of Rome to show how major global problems—poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, resource depletion, urban deterioration, unemployment—are related and how they might be solved, Forrester came out with a clear leverage point: Growth. Both population and economic growth. Growth has costs—among which are poverty and hunger, environmental destruction—the whole list of problems we are trying to solve with growth!

The world's leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth as the answer to virtually all problems, but they're pushing with all their might in the wrong direction.

Counterintuitive. That's Forrester's word to describe complex systems. The systems analysts I know have come up with no quick or easy formulas for finding leverage points. Our counterintuitions aren't that well developed. Give us a few months or years and we'll model the system and figure it out. We know from bitter experience that when we do discover the system's leverage points, hardly anybody will believe us.

Very frustrating. So one day I was sitting in a meeting about the new global trade regime, NAFTA and GATT and the World Trade Organization. The more I listened, the more I began to simmer inside. "This is a huge new system people are inventing!" I said to myself. "They haven't the slightest idea how it will behave," myself said back to me. "It's cranking the system in the wrong direction—growth, growth at any price!! And the control measures these nice folks are talking about—small parameter adjustments, weak negative feedback loops—are puny!"

Suddenly, without quite knowing what was happening, I got up, marched to the flip chart, tossed over a clean page, and wrote: "Places to Intervene in a System," followed by nine items:

9.  Numbers (subsidies, taxes, standards).

8.  Material stocks and flows.

7.  Regulating negative feedback loops.

6.  Driving positive feedback loops.

5.  Information flows.

4.  The rules of the system (incentives, punishment, constraints).

3.  The power of self-organization.

2.  The goals of the system.

1.  The mindset or paradigm out of which the goals, rules, feedback structure arise.

Everyone in the meeting blinked in surprise, including me. "That's brilliant!" someone breathed. "Huh?" said someone else.

I realized that I had a lot of explaining to do.

In a minute I'll go through the list, translate the jargon, give examples and exceptions. First I want to place the list in a context of humility. What bubbled up in me that day was distilled from decades of rigorous analysis of many different kinds of systems done by many smart people. But complex systems are, well, complex. It's dangerous to generalize about them. What you are about to read is not a recipe for finding leverage points. Rather it's an invitation to think more broadly about system change.


Matt Holbert's picture
Matt Holbert
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 3 2008
Posts: 161
Donella is a hero...

See this post from 2005:


Give me some time to respond to your other comments...

Afridev's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 11 2013
Posts: 155

Thanks for sharing the link to the article of Donella Meadows, very interesting

fionnbharr's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 27 2012
Posts: 100
Thanks for sharing
Afridev wrote:

Thanks for sharing the link to the article of Donella Meadows, very interesting

You're very welcome Afridev

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