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Daily Digest 12/11 - Rigging Justice, U.S. Has OPEC Over a Barrel

Thursday, December 11, 2014, 10:56 AM


"Isolated" Russia Begins Testing De-Dollarization-Driven Payment System (pinecarr)

"The modules themselves are something unique, independent, only partly related to the Openway. Now all this belongs to us: our code, the knowledge of how the system is built, and its logic. We are able to develop it and provide support," said Komlev.

NPS was established in 2014 after a number of Russian banks were hit by US and EU sanctions. In March international payment systems Visa and MasterCard stopped servicing cards issued by the banks following the introduction of the sanctions.

Russia’s Proposed Interbank System Threatens Global Economy (Tyler K.)

You probably know the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system as that little jumble of letters and numbers you need every time you send money to a foreign bank account. It’s the global banking system’s address book and postal system. SWIFT has more than 10,000 members in more than 200 countries, and handles more than 15 million messages daily.

36 Presidents of Private Colleges Earn More Than $1 Million (Wendy SD)

The Chronicle’s analysis is based on reviews of IRS Form 990s for 2012 and filings with the U.S. Department of Education. The analysis includes 500 colleges with the largest endowments. Some private nonprofit universities, including Brigham Young University’s campuses in Utah, Idaho, and Hawaii, cite a religious exemption from filing the Form 990 and are therefore excluded. As a result, the data include 537 presidents who served for all or part of the 2012 calendar year at 497 institutions.

Safe Haven Colombia: Peace, Pyramids, Parrots and Profits (Ron H.)

While part of the drive is like any American interstate highway, much of the old road is still being used while the freeway tunneling and bridging is completed. Several people I spoke with in Medellin suggested a possible 300-plus percent appreciation in real estate prices in our region when the freeway is totally completed. It was thrilling to observe the construction, and the new tunnels and bridging reminds me of Swiss freeways in the Alps.

Why Belarus wants to bring ‘serfdom’ back (Wendy SD)

Serfdom – a system in which peasants were exploited by landowners – existed for hundreds of years in imperial Russia before being officially abolished in 1861. Not many people long for its return. Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, does, however. According to a Gazeta.ru article, Lukashenko last week agreed to sign a new decree that would forbid workers on collective farms from leaving to pursue jobs elsewhere.

Rigging Justice: More Tales of the New Oligarchy and the Supreme Court (adam)

"The Reuters examination of the Supreme Court's docket, the most comprehensive ever, suggests that the justices essentially have added a new criterion to whether the court takes an appeal - one that goes beyond the merits of a case and extends to the merits of the lawyer who is bringing it. The results: a decided advantage for corporate America, and a growing insularity at the court.

Insider Trading Prosecutions Just Got Harder as Court Raises Bar (Don)

The decision draws a bright line for what was a murky area of securities law, making it tougher to charge traders the farther away they are from the source of information. While the court is one of a dozen appellate jurisdictions, it includes Wall Street and has purview over Bharara’s convictions, making the ruling a powerful national precedent. Bharara said in a statement he is considering an appeal.

Big Banks Will Take Depositors Money In Next Crash: Ellen Brown (pinecarr)

When a financial crash does happen, you can forget about getting immediate access to your money. Brown says, “The banks will say, well, we don’t have it. All the money goes into one big pool since Glass Steagall was repealed. They are allowed to gamble with that money and that’s what they do. I think maybe Bank of America is the most vulnerable because of Merrill Lynch. Everybody is concerned, and they do very risky deals and they are on the edge.

Watch out, the US taxman may be after you (locksmithuk)

Its unintended consequence is that the IRS can now demand its share of revenue it didn't know existed. Such as profits from the sale of a house in a foreign land (think twice Aussies living in the US about selling your Sydney investment property). Such as your superannuation account (the IRS doesn't recognise foreign retirement accounts). Such as income from franked shares (the IRS doesn't recognise those either). If this related to you, the IRS may come knocking.

$60 oil will be norm for next 5 years: Economist (Scott T.)

"When China goes into normal situation, I think that the oil price will become normal, too, so $60 would be the normal price for the next five years or so," he said. Xie predicted the oil price plunge to $60 in September as China's energy demand tapered off. He said oil price declines are trailing the slide in coal, but he expects the gap to narrow. "Coal is down 60 percent, so eventually I expect oil to come down 60 percent, too," he said.

U.S. Has OPEC Over a Barrel (Scott T.)

Gasoline futures added 0.9 percent to $1.6561 a gallon in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:42 a.m. London time. Brent, the global oil benchmark, rose 78 cents to $65.02 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

MIT creates graphite ‘solar sponge’ that converts sunlight into steam with 85% efficiency (Wendy SD)

MIT is reporting that it has created a new, cheap material — using a microwave, no less — that converts sunlight into steam with an amazing 85% efficiency. This could have major repercussions in the realms of desalination and sterilization, and perhaps for concentrated solar thermal power generation as well.

In world first, researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency (Wendy SD)

"We hope to see this home grown innovation take the next steps from prototyping to pilot scale demonstrations. Ultimately, more efficient commercial solar plants will make renewable energy cheaper, increasing its competitiveness."

The 40% efficiency achievement is outlined in a paper expected to be published soon by the Progress in Photovoltaics journal. It will also be presented at the Australian PV Institute's Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference, which begins at UNSW Monday, December 8.

Historic leap: Navy shipboard laser operates in Persian Gulf (Arthur Robey)

Sailors worked daily with LaWS over several months since it was installed, and reported the weapon performed flawlessly, including in adverse weather conditions of high winds, heat and humidity. They noted the system exceeded expectations for both reliability and maintainability.

New form of ice could help explore exciting avenues for energy production and storage (Arthur Robey)

As a stable solid composed entirely of molecules of H2O, the empty clathrate also represents a new phase of ice. Ice XVI is the 17th discovered form of ice, and is the least dense of all known crystalline forms of water. It is also predicted to be a stable low-temperature configuration of water at negative pressures (the equivalent of tension - the opposite of compressive positive pressures), and is so far the only experimentally-obtained form of ice to have a clathrate configuration.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/10/14

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."


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Fed Bubble Bursts in $550 Billion of Energy Debt


  1. Venezuela Default Odds at 93% as Bonds Sink to 16-Year Low
  2. Fitch expects to downgrade Japan after next fiscal year's budget
  3. Russia’s Rate Increase Fails to Halt Ruble’s Slide to Record
  4. Ukrainian PM warns of default risk, calls for more Western help
  5. Japan core machinery orders fall 6.4% in October
  6. Australia's jobless rate climbs to 12-year high
  7. Junk-bond contagion fears rise as oil extends drop
  8. China pumps $65 billion into interbank market
  9. Greek Bonds Decline as Samaras Says Markets Fear Syriza Victory
  10. U.S. passes $18 trillion in debt, and nothing’s being done about it
  11. Ontario's health-care system will leave $1.9-trillion tax burden unless changes are made: Report
  12. ECB’s Arsenal Draws Danish Pledge on Limitless Currency Defenses
  13. One in eight Canadian households at financial risk with overly fat debts
  14. Congressional leaders hammer out deal to allow pension plans to cut retiree benefits
  15. Fed Bubble Bursts in $550 Billion of Energy Debt
  16. Alaska faces $3.5 billion deficit amid lower oil prices
  17. Corps: U.S. falling behind on waterway levees, dams
  18. Nearly One in Five Americans Say They'll Be in Debt Forever
  19. Korea Junk Risks Rising for SK Innovation as Oil Slumps
  20. China’s State Firms May Default on More Loans: Moody’s
  21. Alaska's looming retirement fund problem shifts to new administration
  22. Senior citizens carry student debt into retirement
  23. NYST Proposed 2015 Budget Shows Toll Hikes Are Likely
  24. Austerity tax: Tens of thousands protest againt 'regressive' Irish govt water charges
  25. Year after reform, French pension system faces new deficit risk
  26. Doctors face steep Medicaid cuts as fee boost ends
  27. PA pension costs to climb by $466M next year
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Arthur Robey
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Going fishing.

And Here it comes for Australia. Thanks Sax. And CM. At least I have a nice warm bunk because of my preps.

Recent data have pointed to falling consumer and business confidence in a country that is struggling to cope with a slowdown in mining investment that has powered the economy for much of the past decade. Figures last week showed the economy slowed to a crawl in the third quarter, as sharp commodity-price falls also dented export earnings.

I might have to try my hand at fishing. I already know how to brew beer and how to cook dried beans, rice. My friend Rob says that in the Whitsundays there are help-yourself gardens. You pay with sweat-equity. You plant more than you take.

Hummm. Beer and fishing. It doesn't sound too bad.

I think that the magic ingredient will be to help others succeed too. Pass it on.

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Obama administration mobilizes to save faltering spending bill

From Reuters, the threat of Government closure is being used to try to push through more bank-friendly legislation...interesting to note the distinctions between the "talk" and the "walk":

"The Obama administration made a last-ditch attempt on Thursday to drum up Democratic support to salvage a faltering $1.1 trillion spending bill, just hours ahead of a midnight U.S. government shutdown deadline....

The 1,603-page measure, negotiated by Republican and Democratic appropriators and leaders, sparked a revolt when rank-and-file Democrats discovered it would kill planned restrictions on derivatives trading by large banks, allowing them to continue trading swaps and futures in units that benefit from federal deposit insurance and Federal Reserve loans.

The Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers also were worried about setting a precedent that emboldens Republicans to cram more Dodd-Frank rollbacks into must-pass legislation, especially when Republicans have control over both chambers of Congress next year.

The Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul was enacted in the wake of a financial crisis triggered partly by the collapse of complex mortgage derivatives.

While the White House said it objected to the Dodd-Frank provision, its mobilization to secure passage showed ...." blah, blah, blah, blah [bold, blahs and underline mine]

Reference: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/12/us-usa-congress-budget-deadline-idUSKBN0JP23320141212

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That sounds like a natural follow-on to the recent news of bail ins being passed by the G20 in Brisbane. Counter parties to derivatives get first pick when a bank goes bankrupt, before pension funds and depositors under the G20 agreement, and now FDIC insurance if this bill passes. I don't understand why these power plays by the corporatocracy aren't getting more attention in the media. It's truly frightening.


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Amen to that, Doug.

But just to show you how jaded I've become, I was surprised to even find an article speaking about bank-related power-plays in the mainstream media.

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Well, the big banks won again

The "cramnibus" bill passed with last minute "whipping" by the not-so-odd couple of Obama and Jamie Dimon and over the strenuous objections of Elizabeth Warren.  It now goes to the Senate where maybe Warren can have more influence, but I suspect the pressure to pass the whole thing as a unit will be too great.  Anyone who objects will be accused of trying to shut down the gov't.

Jeffrey Sachs had it right this morning.  To paraphrase, he said that the big banks are now firmly in control of derivatives regulations and the fossil fuel industry is firmly in control of environmental regulation.  This control is bipartisan.  We are entering a decidedly uglier world.



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US taxpayers horribly betrayed by "representative" Government

It's a very, very sad day for the US taxpayers, Doug.  We have been royally scr*w*d  by our so-called "representative" government (representative of the TBTF banks, that is):

As noted previously, among the provisions in the bill is Citi-directed watering down of Dodd-Frank by way of a Swap "push-out" provision, which as we explained over the weekend, would put taxpayers on the hook for derivative losses as it "would allow financial institutions to trade certain financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. — potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for losses caused by the risky contracts."

Reference: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-11/house-votes-11-trillion-cromnibus-bill-live-webcast

So you might not want to be taking comfort in the knowledge that your savings are covered by FDIC insurance anymore; you get to stand in line behind the banks after the derivatives WMD blows up.

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