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Daily Digest 2/5 - Australian Banks Overcharged Clients Even After Death, How to Soak the Rich

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 10:37 AM

Economy

Tech Is Splitting the U.S. Work Force in Two (jdargis)

Automation is splitting the American labor force into two worlds. There is a small island of highly educated professionals making good wages at corporations like Intel or Boeing, which reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit per employee. That island sits in the middle of a sea of less educated workers who are stuck at businesses like hotels, restaurants and nursing homes that generate much smaller profits per employee and stay viable primarily by keeping wages low.

Why are millennials burned out? Capitalism. (tmn)

We’ve internalized this drive to produce as much as we can for as little as possible. That means we take on the costs of training ourselves (including student debt), we take on the costs of managing ourselves as freelancers or contract workers, because that’s what capital is looking for.

And because wages are stagnant and exploitation is up, competition among workers is up too. As individuals, the best thing we can do for ourselves is work harder, learn to code, etc. But we’re not individuals, not as far as bosses are concerned. The vast majority of us are (replaceable) workers, and by working harder for less, we’re undermining ourselves as a class. It’s a vicious cycle.

Soak the rich? Americans say go for it (Adam)

“There is a deep wellspring in terms of perception of unfairness in the economy that’s been tapped into here that either didn’t exist five years ago or existed and had not had a chance to be expressed,” said Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management who has studied the latest tax proposals. “This is quite a moment in American economic history where all of a sudden in a matter of months this thing has kind of exploded like this.”

How to Soak the Rich (tmn)

A better way to extract money from top earners would be to get rid of the loopholes, deductions, and exemptions they use to shelter income from taxation in the first place, economists said. “Broadening the tax base is generally more efficient than changing rates,” said Kyle Pomerleau of the Tax Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C. “That would include getting at what I would call the Big Three, which is the charitable deduction, the home-mortgage-interest deduction, and the state- and local-tax deduction.”

Australian Banks Overcharged Clients, Even After Some Died, Report Finds (Thomas R.)

Loan officers, mortgage brokers and many others acted to line their own pockets rather than helping customers, said the report, which urged the government to rein in an industry that it said too often operated with a cavalier disregard for the welfare of the Australian people.

A crypto exchange may have lost $145 million after its CEO suddenly died (Thomas R.)

The company has hired tech experts in an attempt to hack into Cotten's laptop and other devices to retrieve the missing cryptocurrencies, but Robertson warned that at least some of them "may be lost."

"Superhuman Is The Last Step" - AI Expert Warns Robots Will Replace Man Within 50 Years (Don R.)

“So far it is not the case but clearly this might be overcome in the future. Human intelligence can be enhanced with an AI-Chip implant, but then are we entering new realms and defining what is and what isn’t a hybrid humanoid?"

“Superhuman is the last step, and I fear to use the word last. It is what drives the future of the research."

5 reasons why autonomous cars aren’t coming anytime soon (Thomas R.)

Researchers are working on laser sensors that use a different light beam wavelength to see through snowflakes, said Greg McGuire, director of the MCity autonomous vehicle testing lab at the University of Michigan. Software also is being developed so vehicles can differentiate between real obstacles and snowflakes, rain, fog, and other conditions.

FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data With F.B.I. (jdargis)

“I am genuinely sorry for not having handled our communications with you as we should have,” Mr. Greenspan wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by The New York Times. “We’ve received an incredible amount of support from those of you who believe this is an opportunity for honest, law-abiding citizens to help catch bad guys and bring closure to devastated families.”

Elon Musk’s New Plan is to Get to the Moon as Fast as Possible (Thomas R.)

The Raptor is a staged-combustion reusable rocket engine powered by cryogenic liquid methane and liquid oxygen (LOX), rather than the kerosene and LOX combination (RP1) which powers the Merlin rockets used by the Falcon rocket family. Once complete, the Starship will have seven Raptor engines, each of which will provide twice as much thrust as the Merlin 1D used by the Falcon 9.

Black Monday at General Motors as thousand of workers are laid off, will President Trump take a shot? (Thomas R.)

The ad says, “GM continues to expand in Mexico leaving workers out in the cold. So when GM needed help we gave them nearly 300 dollars from every Canadian. If you want to sell here, build here.”

The company says the ad is misleading when it talks about the bailout a decade ago. GM says it paid the loan back to Canadians.

Oil Prices Drop After Touching 2019 High (Michael S.)

The latest surveys show that OPEC’s crude oil production dropped in January by the most in two years—since the initial production cut deal began in January 2017. According to the monthly Reuters survey tracking supply to the market and based on shipping data and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC’s crude oil production in January was 30.98 million bpd, down by 890,000 bpd from December 2018.

Decision Delayed in Cabot’s Suit against Man Fighting Natural Gas Drilling (Thomas R.)

This court battle between Cabot and Kemble has been going on for quite some time now. This decision by a judge in Susquehanna County means Ray Kemble has until late March to get another attorney and then have to answer questions for attorneys in this lawsuit.

Oil futures finish lower after touching highest intraday level of 2019 (Thomas R.)

Those included the “surprisingly soft Chinese General Services PMI for January released overnight, which showed the Composite level dip to 50.9 from 52.2 in December, barely holding expansion territory,” said Richey. “That report was then followed up by a whiff in the delayed release of the U.S. factory orders data from November, which pushed prices down to their morning lows.”

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/4/19

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

ezlxq1949's picture
ezlxq1949
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 29 2009
Posts: 311
Australian banksters

Our neoliberal federal government has been fighting this inquiry all the way. Gotta protect our mates, the banks, they're not guilty, and if they are guilty, not very and we can live with that.

Now the report is out to an amount of consternation and comment in the media. The people are not happy because of what it has revealed. The government is not happy ditto. Bank shares rose yesterday quite nicely.

I wait to see the extent to which the whole thing will be papered over.

ezlxq1949's picture
ezlxq1949
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 29 2009
Posts: 311
Autonomous cars — not

Some 85% of Australia's population lives in urban areas. In these areas autonomous cars have a chance of being successful.

In the 85% of Australia that's rural, most roads are gravel surfaced, no lane markings and indeed no lanes at all, dodgy surfaces, indistinct edges, plenty of horizontal and vertical curves in some areas, gates and cattle grids, and so on. Autonomous vehicles in these areas are doomed to failure — unless Chinese AI efforts pay off and the superhumans take over.

We could end up with two classes of citizen: deskilled urban dwellers who are chauffered around in and by autonomous vehicles and are clueless and useless when they go out of their urban compounds — back to the 19th century and earlier —, and rural dwellers, small in numbers, who retain driving skills but must purchase expensive vehicles capable of autonomy for brief periods of use when they come into urban areas.

Yeah, great, just great.

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1766
Remote, rural retreats are very vulnerable without rule of law

Remote, rural retreats are very vulnerable without rule of law.  Here's an example from today's headlines in the US southern border with Mexico:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/border-residents-fear-retaliation-from-cartels-if-they-report-crimes

Border residents in New Mexico say they are hesitant to report suspicious immigration activity to local and federal law enforcement because they fear the Mexican cartels moving drugs or people into the U.S. will retaliate against them. 

Seven residents who live 30 to 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border told the Washington Examiner that picking up the phone to call for help if they have been burglarized or found someone sleeping in their barn can lead to nasty consequences. 

Billy Darnell, a cattle rancher in Hidalgo County who has lived in the region more than 70 years, said he calls in every incident but has paid the price for informing Border Patrol and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department.

“I turned in 700 pounds [of marijuana] up here ... I called it in [to Border Patrol]. They went and got it. That night, they [smugglers] came back. They ... broke off all the floats off my troughs — chopped 'em up, drained all of it," Darnell said, adding groups of 12 men carry heavy packs filled with marijuana through the region.

Cammi Moore, a cattle rancher and farmer who lives about 50 miles north of the border in Animas, also worries about whether to report illegal activity. 

“You don’t know whether to call them [suspected criminals] or not, if they are packing 'cause there is retaliation on some families," she said. 

She noted the case of Robert Krentz, a prominent rancher in nearby Cochise County, Ariz., who many believe was murdered by drug cartel members after he left to check on his cattle in 2010 and never returned. 

Department of Homeland Security officials declined to respond to questions about possible retaliation from cartel members. But retaliation isn't a figment of the imagination or a conspiracy theory, according to Kris Massey of Animas. 

"My house is maybe 100 yards from my barn. One time, I found a hand-drawn map that I turned over to the sheriff's department that listed every ... water tank from south all the way to my house. And my barn was marked with a big X. And they even labeled it 'Massey barn.' So, they’re pretty informed on what they’re doing. And this is literally on the highway, so you know what they’re doing out here in the pastures, and you find bundles of drugs in your field when you’re harvesting — backpack size," Massey said. 

Tricia Elbrock, a business owner and resident in Animas, said her family believes spotters for the cartels camp out in the hills overlooking her house and will know if she tries to report suspicious activity. She said her family members have gone up the hill during the day and found semiautomatic rifles, satellite phones, cellphones, and telescopes. 

"Most of those peaks you’ll find batteries, lot of wire, cellphones," she said. "And what they’re doing is they’re spotting for the loads." 

Elbrock said she doesn't approach anything left on her property because those watching "could pick us off with a rifle." <more>

I'm not saying you shouldn't be in a remote, rural area or plan to bug out to one in a SHTF scenario.  I'm just saying those locations can be very insecure and dangerous in WROL (without rule of law) situation.  Today, rural locations in stable, prosperous countries are generally the safest in the world, but they won't necessarily stay that way.  Theft, robbery, vandalism, and violence up to murder would become ever-present threats in a SHTF scenario in which you need the food you're growing to survive and don't want to be in population centers because they are so dangerous and violent.  This is true today on the US southern border and it has been true in other rural places in recent times in a variety of countries in crisis: Argentina (ask Ferfal how unsafe the countryside was when their economy collapsed), Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia (ask Selco about whole villages being slaughtered by armed groups during their civil war), Venezuela and others.  We can watch this dynamic in real time today as South Africa descends into chaos and begins stealing farmland without compensation and authorities can't or won't stop common crimes.

And it's not just individual criminals and criminal gangs you have to worry about. In many cases the whole "system" is working against you in a rural area and you don't have many resources to fight back effectively.  On the southern border, for example, this author sketches out all the forces working against your safety and prosperity there in regards to illegal immigrants and drug smugglers:

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2019/02/04/border-town-residents-fear-cartel-retaliation-for-reporting-criminal-illegal-alien-activity/

If you're counting on weathering The Storm in a rural location, just make sure you have the plan, equipment, training and manpower to defend yourself and your homestead should the peace and quiet you enjoy today turn to crime and danger in some version of a dystopian future where you're at.  Don't be naive.

Some people (me!) choose a small town as a third option (as opposed to an urban/suburban or rural area).  Small towns tend to have the manpower, organization, will and infrastructure to defend themselves from individual criminals and small bands of organized criminals, without being a large population that contains significant numbers of criminals to start with.

Your mileage may vary.

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