Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 10/29 - China Demand Slumping, Barcelona to Issue Its Own Electronic Currency

Thursday, October 29, 2015, 9:49 AM

Economy

The Fed Can’t Raise Rates, But Must Pretend It Will (richcabot)

Since spring 2013, the Fed has been playing with the idea of raising rates, which it had suppressed to basically zero percent in December 2008. So far, however, it has not taken any action. Upon closer inspection, the reason is obvious. With its policy of extremely low interest rates, the Fed is fueling an artificial economic expansion and inflating asset prices.

Barcelona to Issue Its Own Electronic Currency (Aaron M.)

For those who are not familiar with the separatist movement there the issue goes back to the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. Isabella was of Castille, or Spain proper, and Ferdinand II was of Aragon, which was Catalonia. The indigenous languages of Catalonia are Catalan and Aranese whereas Spanish was indigenous to Castille.

Secret Email Leaked From Hillary's Server: The Real Story Of Bush, Blair And Big Oil's Iraq Agenda (richcabot)

As WhoWhatWhy previously reported, former NATO commander General Wesley Clark has revealed that the Pentagon had a plan dating back even before the attacks of September 11, 2001, to invade seven different countries in the region. According to Clark, it was “all about oil.” (Vice President Dick Cheney, chairing a secret energy task force, tried mightily to pin blame for 9/11 on Iraq — and though there was no truth to that claim, ended up persuading a fair chunk of the American public otherwise.)

Paul Ryan Used to Think Blowing Past the Debt Limit Was No Big Deal (richcabot)

The deadline to increase the debt limit is November 3, and while the current speaker, John Boehner, has alluded to the possibility that he’ll increase the debt limit unilaterally before he retires, there’s still a non-trivial chance that the onus will ultimately fall on Ryan in his first days at the helm. The question of whether he considers November 3 a firm deadline is one of extraordinary significance.

The Circle of Gold (Taki T.)

President Nixon was faced with a tidal wave of dollars returning from the rest of the world (excessive spending and debt) that the US was obligated to exchange for gold. Official US gold reserves had already been reduced from over 20,000 tons to about 8,000 tons. President Nixon thereafter refused to honor the Bretton Wood Agreement and allowed the dollar to sink in value compared to gold. He blamed speculators instead of Government deficit spending and Federal Reserve policies and assured everyone it was only “temporary.” And then came massive consumer price inflation, devalued dollars, and uncontrolled debt increases.

House Republican leaders reach budget deal with White House (richcabot)

Congress must raise the federal borrowing limit by Nov. 3 or risk a first-ever default, while money to pay for government operations runs out Dec. 11 unless Congress acts. The emerging framework would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies two years of budget relief of $80 billion in exchange for cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Sheriff fires deputy for tossing teen across classroom (richcabot)

Both she and another student who verbally challenged the officer's actions during the arrest still face misdemeanor charges of disturbing schools, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail, Lott said, although in most cases, judges impose alternative sentences that keep students out of jail.

"The student was not allowing the teacher to teach and not allowing the students to learn. She was very disrespectful and she started this whole incident," Lott said. "It doesn't justify his actions. But again, she needs to be held responsible for what she did."

China Steel Head Says Demand Slumping at Unprecedented Speed (richcabot)

Signs of corporate difficulties are mounting. Producer Angang Steel Co. warned this month it expects to swing to a loss in the third quarter on lower product prices and foreign-exchange losses. The company’s Hong Kong stock has lost more than half its value this year. Last week, Sinosteel Co., a state-owned steel trader, failed to pay interest due on bonds maturing in 2017.

Jim Rickards: Recession Will Force Fed To Ease In 2016 – What Will Be The Impact? (Herman J.)

Jim Rickards says there’s no way the Fed will hike rates this year or even next. Rather, Rickards believes the next move will be easing in March 2016 and predicts the impact this will have on the markets, including gold and the dollar.

Hey Obama, Can We Have a Unified Microbiome Initiative? (jdargis)

“We’re trying to understand the central tenets of how bacteria, fungi, and viruses organize themselves, communicate, and deal with the world in any context, whether in the human body or in soil,” says Jack Gilbert from the University of Chicago. With that knowledge, microbiologists hope to better harness microbes to produce medical drugs and biofuels, stimulate the growth of crops, and treat everything from diabetes to allergies. “I’m super-pumped about this,” adds Gilbert.

Though Labeled ‘Wild,’ That Serving of Salmon May Be Farmed or ‘Faux’ (jdargis)

The earlier salmon study found lower rates of substitution, only 7 percent of 384 samples, which the group attributed to the different seasons in which the studies were conducted. The first study looked at salmon sold at the height of the commercial fishing season in 2012, while samples for the most recent report were collected out of season, during the winter of 2013-2014.

The Gasoline-Powered Car Could Be Gone By 2050 (Evan K.)

By the end of the decade, Toyota plans to reduce carbon emissions from new vehicles by more than 22 percent compared to its 2010 average. By 2050, it hopes to cut emissions by as much as 90 percent. Toward that aim, Toyota expects to sell 1.5 million hybrid vehicles annually across the globe by year’s end 2020 – or annual growth of about 3 percent. The company will abandon plug-in electric vehicles and instead pursue hydrogen fuel-cell technology. By 2020, Toyota plans to sell 30,000 fuel-cell vehicles per year. Its new Mirai, launched in December 2014, has sold roughly 350 units.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 10/27/15

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."

22 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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Emerging-Market Credit Downgrades Soar to Overtake 2014 Tally

Fed's zero interest-rate policy stretches into seventh year

Washington Examiner-21 hours ago
The central bank also raised expectations for its next meeting in December, saying that it would determine whether it was "appropriate" to raise rates then.

Emerging-Market Credit Downgrades Soar to Overtake 2014 Tally

Bloomberg-19 hours ago
Treasuries fell after the announcement as investors marked up the possibility of ... A slowdown in China has helped to push down commodity prices, which is ...
 

Brazil Central Bank Says Inflation Taking Longer to Hit Target

Wall Street Journal-4 hours ago
Brazil Central Bank Says Inflation Taking Longer to Hit Target ... coverage and analysis you can access exclusively as a WSJ Pro Central Banking Member.

Brazil's 2015 Budget Deficit Could Hit BRL100 Billion, Lawmaker Says

Nasdaq-20 hours ago
Congressman Ricardo Barros said that the 2015 primary budget deficit, or the government balance before interest payments, could reach 100 billion Brazilian ...

Saudi central bank foreign assets fall to lowest level in nearly 3 years

ArabianBusiness.com - ‎7 hours ago‎
The central bank's foreign assets, some of which are managed by global fund firms, are held mainly in the form of securities such as U.S. Treasury bonds and deposits with banks abroad. Equities are believed to account for only a small fraction of ...
 

Saudi central bank foreign assets fall to lowest level in nearly 3 years

ArabianBusiness.com - ‎7 hours ago‎
The central bank's foreign assets, some of which are managed by global fund firms, are held mainly in the form of securities such as U.S. Treasury bonds and deposits with banks abroad. Equities are believed to account for only a small fraction of ...
 

Brazil central govt posts deficit of 6.932 bln reais in September

Reuters-4 hours ago
The central government account, which covers federal ministries, the central bank and social security, was expected to post a deficit of 14.6 billion reais, ...

BOJ Decision-Day Guide: Kuroda Mulls Stimulus as Growth Withers

Bloomberg - ‎30 minutes ago‎
Hold on to your hats for what may be the most anticipated Bank of Japan meeting since Governor Haruhiko Kuroda presided over his first policy board meeting in April 2013. Friday's event has been preceded by a sharp division among economists over ...

Owning Half of Japan's ETF Market Might Not Be Enough for Kuroda

Bloomberg-17 hours ago
With 3 trillion yen ($25 billion) a year in existing firepower, the BOJ has ... the size of Japan's bond market isn't a constraint, his current debt-program is capable ...

-Danske Bank hit by negative interest rates, shares slump

Reuters - ‎5 hours ago‎
Negative interest rates a challenge, says CEO. * Maintains full-year profit guidance. * Shares down 4.3 pct (Adds CEO, analyst, share price). By Ole Mikkelsen. COPENHAGEN, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Danske Bank posted third-quarter pretax profit below ...

US economy slowed to 1.5 pct. growth rate in third quarter

U.S. News & World Report - ‎3 hours ago‎
In this Oct. 23, 2015 file photo, iron workers help to build the new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center in Philadelphia. The Commerce Department issues the first of three estimates of how the U.S. economy performed in the July-September quarter ...

Japan's Top Steel Mills Slash Profit Forecasts on China Glut

Bloomberg - ‎9 hours ago‎
Kobe Steel Ltd., Japan's third-biggest producer, will release first-half earnings on Friday. The company last month slashed its full-year profit target by more than half, citing sales downturns at its construction machinery unit because of China's ...

Schneider Cuts 2015 Outlook on China, Oil Industry Slowdown

Bloomberg-8 hours ago
Like General Electric Co., ABB Ltd and Rexel SA, Schneider is grappling with a weakening Chinese economy and a U.S. oil and gas industry that's curbing ...

State-Controlled Oil Firms Feel Brunt of China's Slowdown

Wall Street Journal-49 minutes ago
BEIJING—Once the flag-bearers of China's economic rise, China's state-controlled oil behemoths are feeling the brunt of its slowdown. Poor third-quarter ...

SAIC Motor's Profit Growth Slows as Chinese Demand Cools

Wall Street Journal - ‎4 hours ago‎
Despite the cuts, China's new-car sales remained tepid in the third quarter as a plunging stock market pushed back spending and the slowdown in the world's second-largest economy deepened. China's stock markets dived 45% between mid-June and ...

Freight shipping Domestic slowdown puts China Cosco Holdings in ...

Nikkei Asian Review-1 hour ago
DALIAN, China -- China Cosco Holdings booked a 3.8 billion yuan ($598 million) net loss for the January-September period as China's slowing economy sank ...

Venezuela is selling its gold as it runs out of cash

CNN-2 hours ago
Venezuela owes about $15.8 billion in debt payments between now and the end ... "It'll have to sell some of its gold reserves to make the debt payments," says ...

Illinois museum workers finishing up first month with no visitors

Quad City Times - ‎16 hours ago‎
SPRINGFIELD — More than 40 employees of the shuttered Illinois State Museum are finishing up their first month of reporting to an empty building. And based on the lack of a state budget, state labor law and an ongoing court case, it could be a lengthy ...

Company taking back Illinois prisons trucks after state doesn't pay bill

Chicago Tribune - ‎Oct 28, 2015‎

A trucking company that leases semis to the Illinois Department of Corrections is taking the vehicles back after the state failed to pay its bill because of the ongoing budget dispute between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the

Emanuel, aldermen ask taxpayers 'to take medicine' to cure 'municipal illness'

Chicago Tribune - ‎15 hours ago‎
... Ald. Patrick O'Connor told his colleagues it finally was time for Chicago to face up to its woeful condition. O'Connor, an alderman since 1983, said decades of financial mismanagement had brought them to the point where approving a budget stacked ...
 
 

Chicago City Council approves budget with property tax hike

WLS-TV - ‎13 hours ago‎
CHICAGO (WLS) --. Chicago homeowners are bracing for a large property tax increase after the city council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget. WATCH: Full interview with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. You need Flash to watch this video.Sorry, your browser ...

Health departments cutting staff, service hours with unsure future

Chicago Tribune-17 hours ago
(Erika Wurst / Chicago Tribune) ... The state budget impasse is forcing health departments throughout Illinois to cut back on their hours and operate with skeleton ...
 

Broke CPS approves 2 new charters, including SW Side school

Chicago Sun-Times - ‎17 hours ago‎
While Chicago Public Schools continues to beg Springfield for $480 million to balance its budget and enrollment has dropped another 4,400 students, the Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously decided to open two new charter schools in the fall.

Audit blasts Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund

First Coast News - ‎18 hours ago‎
Councilman Bill Gulliford, who spearheaded bringing in outside eyes to do the forensic audit, says the results are disturbing and quantify the pension problem. The fund currently has an $1.6 billion unfunded liability, with the city working for the ...

Dallas's Credit Rating Cut by Moody's Over Growing Pension Debt

Bloomberg-59 minutes ago
The downgrade comes after the city's unfunded liabilities to its three pension systems swelled to $2.9 billion in 2015 from about $1.9 billion in 2014, following a ...

Deutsche Bank to shed 35000 jobs, exit 10 countries

CNBC-7 hours ago
... its outdated and fragmented technology and withdraw from higher-risk locations. ... The group had already announced it expected an after-taxes loss of 6.2 ...

As Defaults Rise, Distressed-Debt Investors Seek an Edge by ...

Bloomberg-1 hour ago
As global economic turmoil pushes more companies to the brink of insolvency, competition is intensifying among distressed-debt investors to safeguard their ...

 

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DennisC
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More Money Well-spent

(CNSNews.com) - In the Detroit public school district, 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics and 93 percent are not proficient in reading. That is according to the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests published by the Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics. Only 4 percent of Detroit public school eighth graders are proficient or better in math and only 7 percent in reading. This is despite the fact that in the 2011-2012 school year—the latest for which the Department of Education has reported the financial data—the Detroit public schools had “total expenditures” of $18,361 per student and “current expenditures” of $13,330 per student.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/detroit-public-sch...

So, the next time you are at a school board meeting, and someone stands up to complain that your town isn't spending anywhere near enough money per student (compared to the snobby town next door), perhaps a printout of this article would help make the cost/academic results discussion more lively.

If you look at the chart in the article, it seems to me (I could be wrong) that about 69% of total expenditures are people cost-related (i.e. instructional expenditures and administration).  Student and staff support are 15% (not sure what this is, maybe secretaries, janitors, councelors).

Anyway, if you what to see it and believe it, you can read all about it in their 198 page annual summary here: http://detroit.k12.mi.us/data/finance/docs/2014_Comprehensive_Annual_Fin...

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sand_puppy
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Perdana Global Peace Foundation

I know little about the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, but I came across this foundation and a 7 hour day-long conference on youtube on the New World Order.  The stated goals of PGPF are to promote peace and criminalize war.  A main goal is to expose the covert efforts to establish a New World Order, a driving force behind much warfare.

Professors and Politicians Gather to Warn Us About the New World Order

The list of speakers is notable for including the former prime minister of Malaysia, Professor Michel Choissudovsky of the University of Ottawa (and a prolific author), Dr. Thomas PM Barnett, former adviser to Donald Rumsfeld.

-----------------------------------

A few quotes:

Prior to ‘credible’ people coming forward in an attempt to create awareness about the New World Order agenda, it was considered a conspiracy by most.…

The New World order is the supposed goal of a handful of global elitists who are pushing for a one world government and a heightened national security state. In order to accomplish this goal, this group uses false flag terrorism and the fear of global threats to impose increased security measures on domestic populations and to justify the [bombing, assassinations and] invasions of other countries.

“All three buildings were destroyed by carefully planned, orchestrated and executed controlled demolition.” Professor Lynn Margulis, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and National Academy of Science member, one of many academics who has been very outspoken regarding 9/11

“The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the United States.” – Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook

“Al Qaeda and the Al Qaeda affiliated organizations, including the Islamic State, are not independent organizations, they are sponsored, and they are sponsored by the United States and its allies. It is documented that prior to 2011, there was a process of recruitment of mujahideen to fight in Syria, and this was coordinated by NATO and the Turkish high command. This report is confirmed by Israeli news sources and unequivocally, we are dealing with a state-sponsorship of terrorism, the recruitment of mercenaries, the training and the financing of terrorism.” – Dr. Michel Choissudovsky (source)

“We are dealing with a criminal undertaking at a global level … and there is an ongoing war, it is led by the United States, it may be carried out by a number of proxy countries, which are obeying orders from Washington … The global war on terrorism is a US undertaking, which is fake, it’s based on fake premises. It tells us that somehow America and the Western world are going after a fictitious enemy, the Islamic state, when in fact the Islamic state is fully supported and financed by the Western military alliance and America’s allies in the Persian Gulf. … The global war on terrorism is a fabrication, a big lie and a crime against humanity.”  Dr. Michel Choissudovsky

Who is this group? Well, Dr. Choissudovsky believes it originates with those who control the US, Israel, and other allies, but who is controlling these countries and this massive global agenda?  Several speaker lament that "we do not even know the names of those who would rule us."

Dr. Mohamad (Malaysian Prime Minister) made the accusation that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was strategically aimed at global dominance by those who orchestrated it.

 

 

rjs's picture
rjs
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on GDP

the USNews/AP story on GDP says "U.S. economy slowed sharply in the summer, reflecting a cutback in businesses' stockpiling of goods," and later says "biggest reason was a push by businesses to shrink unwanted stockpiles" suggesting inventories decreased...they did not...they grew at half the pace they did in the 2nd quarter…so they added to nominal GDP, but subtracted 144 basis points from the GDP growth rate, which measures the change in the change of inventories…

both Reuters and the WSJ real time economics blog made the same mistake.. 



 

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goldrunner1
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Nice find

Nice find sand_puppy, keep them coming!

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Migrant Crisis in Europe--Transforming Society

The migrant influx crisis could bring Europe to its knees.  The shear numbers overwhelming from a logistical standpoint. 

Many Europeans are frightened and firearm sales are reported as brisk--a marker of fear. (source, source, source, source)

Spiral Dynamics (a developmental stage sociology theory)  has a bit to say on this topic.  Ken Wilbur reports that about 30% of Europe is GREEN Meme, the pattern where sensitivity and empathy for all human beings is a primary guiding principle.  GREEN is the public morality of most of the advanced democracies of Europe.

The GREEN Meme in its kindness, opens the door to all immigrants.

  • "The immigrants are just people who need a home."
  • "We are the descendent of immigrants too.  They are human beings just like us."
  • "I can't stand to see human beings drown and suffer.  We must let them in and care for them."
  • "A border fence is immoral."
  • "Who are WE to forbid THEM entry?  Are we advocating that we are some kind of superior group?"

In Spiral Dynamics theory, evolution past a Meme occurs when the limitations of that Meme become painfully evident.  This may be where GREEN may crash and burn Europe.  Perhaps a more mature Meme will emerge, but perhaps a more primitive one such as the RED/BLUE of a police state will result.

There was a story of a migrant killing an elderly couple during a home invasion robbery in Italy recently.  I expect more of this, possibly a lot more as unemployed and unemployable people fill the cities by the tens of thousands.

ZH commentators predict "the body counts are going to be very high."  Another asks simply "How many German and Swedish women will need to be raped?"

I wonder, how long before citizens of a fragmented and violent society turn to the state for protection and welcome check points, police barricades, barbed wire and central control of resources?  In other words, the RED/BLUE society of a police state may feel necessary.  And the cynic in me asks, Is this exactly why this crisis is being developed at this time?

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cmartenson
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Great point on GDP....
rjs wrote:

the USNews/AP story on GDP says "U.S. economy slowed sharply in the summer, reflecting a cutback in businesses' stockpiling of goods," and later says "biggest reason was a push by businesses to shrink unwanted stockpiles" suggesting inventories decreased...they did not...they grew at half the pace they did in the 2nd quarter…so they added to nominal GDP, but subtracted 144 basis points from the GDP growth rate, which measures the change in the change of inventories…

both Reuters and the WSJ real time economics blog made the same mistake.. 

Great catch.  You are exactly right...what happened was that inventories grew, but not as fast as in prior periods.

There are two reasons for why inventories might grow or shrink; intentionally and unintentionally.

Intentional refers to business decisions to either produce more or less to meet customer demand.

Unintentional means that final demand was misestimated and customers unexpectedly bought more or less than expected.

But let's be clear...inventories have been nothing but a huge positive for GDP for a very long time now as they have only grown and then grown more over the past five years:

With this last build, we're closing in on $500 billion dollars of additional inventory since 2010...that's a lot of inventory!  I wonder what's going on here?

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robie robinson
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invetory?

i guess nobody is buying.

Vet is coming to do a pre-natal on Kelsey. Pray all is well.

 

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saxplayer00o1
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Central Banks of World Unite! Pact Seen Needed to Spur Inflation

Central Banks of World Unite! Pact Seen Needed to Spur Inflation

Bloomberg-8 hours ago
With inflation undershooting the goals of most major central banks, Nick Kounis, head of macro research at ABN Amro Bank NV, is recommending Federal ...

BOJ Refrains From Adding Stimulus Even as Inflation, Growth Wane

Bloomberg-11 hours ago
The Bank of Japan declined to step up its monetary stimulus Friday even as it postponed its time-frame for reaching a 2 percent inflation target for the second ...

BOJ Pushes Out Timing to Reach 2% Inflation

Bloomberg-7 hours ago
Takuji Okubo, principal and chief economist at Japan Macro Advisors, discusses the Bank of Japan keeping its record stimulus unchanged and pushing out its ...

BoJ cuts growth, inflation view as Japan economy stalls

Daily Mail - ‎5 hours ago‎
The Bank of Japan on Friday cut its growth outlook and pushed back the timeline for a key inflation target, but held off fresh easing even as Tokyo's blueprint for reviving the world's number three economy falters. The central bank's chief left the ...

Global economic downturn fears prompt high street gloom

The Guardian - ‎15 hours ago‎
The news follows reports that businesses are being hit by weaker demand as the global economy loses steam and UK consumers worry about interest rate rises and more government spending cuts. Official figures this week showed UK GDP growth eased in ...

Singapore manufacturing and services sectors more pessimistic ...

The Straits Times-9 hours ago
EDB said its latest quarterly survey that a bigger majority of manufacturers expect business to weaken due to soft global economic conditions, especially the ...

US Mint Silver Bullion Sales Headed for New Record

Newsmax-3 hours ago
However, currently the dollar is stronger than its peers and deflation is more of a fear than inflation. But in times of economic uncertainty, investors usually want ...

Britain faces potential two-notch credit slip if it votes to leave EU

The Guardian - ‎19 hours ago‎
S&P is the last of the big three to keep a top triple-A rating on UK government debt. The Fitch credit ratings agency and Moody's both cut the UK to a notch below AAA in 2013. The “negative” outlook from S&P indicates it sees at least a one-in-three ...

We don't even know the amount': Sessions slams debt hike

Washington Examiner - ‎19 hours ago‎
Sen. Jeff Sessions on Thursday ripped the bipartisan deal on the debt ceiling and the budget as a recipe for piling on more than $1 trillion in new debt by the time President Obama leaves office. "It erases that debt limit until March of 2017, allowing ...

China Banks Enter Eye of Storm Adding Risky Debt to Wealth Funds

Bloomberg-14 hours ago
The ability of Chinese lenders' $2.4 trillion of WMPs to generate the returns they ... Banks are piling into riskier debt despite warnings of a leverage-fueled ...

Puerto Rico Bond Yields Reach Record High as Default Risks Mount

Bloomberg-57 minutes ago
1, it would be the first default on the territory's direct debt. ... The waters are a vital thoroughfare for the global economy, hosting $5 trillion of international ...

Treasury to Sell $54 Billion in Bills

Wall Street Journal - ‎21 hours ago‎
The Treasury Department will auction $54 billion in securities next week, comprising $26 billion in new debt and $28 billion in previously auctioned debt. Details (all with minimum denominations of $100): Monday: $28 billion in 13-week bills, a ...

India's fiscal deficit reveals strains to budget plans

Reuters-2 hours ago
So far he has raised only 127 billion rupees from the sale of shares in state ... India's federal fiscal deficit has declined from 5.8 percent of GDP in 2011/12 to 4.0 ...

Modi Sees India Asset Sale Target Slip Away on Market Swings

Bloomberg-11 hours ago
Jaitley instead set the goal at 695 billion rupees -- almost triple from what the ... Modi's biggest obstacles to reducing the fiscal deficit to an eight-year low. To hit it ...

Budget stalemate causes cuts at North Side social service agency (Illinois)

WLS-TV-17 hours ago
Without a budget in place, the state is unable to pay some people who work in ... it will have a ripple effect on the economy in Illinois," said Deana Giacometti, ...

Report: Health Spending Grows 3.4%, Rx Drug Spending Jumps 8.2%

California Healthline - ‎Oct 29, 2015‎
Meanwhile, spending on prescription drugs among individuals with such plans climbed significantly, in large part because of high-priced hepatitis C treatments (Herman, Modern Healthcare, 10/29). Harvoni, a first-of-its-kind hepatitis C treatment that ...
 

Health providers pressured by insurance, drug costs

CNBC-2 hours ago
Financial pressures stemming from negotiations with insurance companies and higher drug costs are making it critical for U.S. providers to become more ...

Why New Jersey's Notoriously Steep Property Taxes Aren't Going ...

NJ Spotlight-10 hours ago
By allowing the smaller state payments, the pension system's current $40 billion unfunded liability is only expected to grow unless new actions are taken.

 

Time2help's picture
Time2help
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Race vs Culture
sand_puppy wrote:

I wonder, how long before citizens of a fragmented and violent society turn to the state for protection and welcome check points, police barricades, barbed wire and central control of resources?  In other words, the RED/BLUE society of a police state may feel necessary.  And the cynic in me asks, Is this exactly why this crisis is being developed at this time?

I've given this some thought, and from my perspective race is a red herring. It's much more about culture. People naturally tend to clump together in loose "tribes". Throughout history, geographical isolation and natural boundaries tended to isolate different groups of people. These people would then develop a local language, customs, beliefs - typically in tune with there local environments - local culture. And people like familiar - their local culture becomes an integral part of their identity. It becomes a big part of who they are.

When you stand next to someone of a different skin tone - genetically speaking there's only the most minute difference between you. The biggest difference between you is typically cultural.

Some cultures mesh well. Others don't. Some tend to clash.

When the message from on high is to mix everyone together in the interest of "diversity", is it altruism? Or, perhaps, is the end goal the dilution and dissolution of individual cultures in general - in favor of global corporate consumer monoculture?

Better to keep diversity I think. Diversity in culture. Ecological diversity is more robust, why wouldn't the same go for cultural diversity?

Leave people to pick their local culture, their "tribe", and quit trying to shove monoculture down everyone's throats.

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sand_puppy
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Destroying Cultural Diversity

Time2Help,

You just articulated one of the viewpoints of Second Tier Memes, (YELLOW in Spiral Dynamics).  This thinking pattern sees value in permitting and encouraging local pockets of diverse view points, even viewpoint that seem "wrong."

We might have local enclaves of: Amish, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Material Reductionist Scientists, Flat Earthers, NeoNazi's, Shia an Sunni, Fundamentalist Muslims/Jews/Christians/Buddhists, Scientologists, etc., etc.  And you are absolutely right--these groups do NOT MIX well.

There is a term being used in the Spiral Dynamics literature, "Spiral Wizard," to describe a theoretical shepherd-like-function of a wise leader that can protect the many different levels of development and cultural variations.

None of the local cultural groups can be permitted to set the standards for the whole.  Each individual is able to wander into a group, embrace its principles, dress code, customs, values, etc., then when ready to say "I'm ready to move on.  This isn't working for me anymore."

Michel Chossudovsky, Econ Prof at University of Ontario, has written about the Globalization of Poverty and believes that the destruction of national, religious and ethnic identity will be needed eventually for the elite to dominate the world.  (Until then, these same differences will be used to create the chaos sufficient that the population begs for a police state for protection.)

 

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HughK
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just saying no to monoculture
Time2help wrote:

Ecological diversity is more robust, why wouldn't the same go for cultural diversity?

Yes, I agree that diversity in general is more robust and this lends credence to the importance of allowing as much self governance and home rule of local communities as possible in most cases.  

No matter what our acquired, vestigial political orientation may be, most of these were formed in a time when industrialization on steroids (aka oil) made it easy for national governments to have a lot of power and therefore a lot of political conversation became national.

Perhaps as transportation gets more expensive we move towards more local control on a lot of levels.  This will most likely be good in many ways, although it will have a dark side as well, as local majorities will have an easier time abusing minorities, whether racial, religious, socio-economic, or what have you.

Aside from that, I like that idea that my political concerns might revolve around more practical questions such as which local person does the best job keeping the peace and keeping the water system functioning, etc, and not around what seem to me to often the distractions of social issues that currently divide the right and left.

 

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Time2help
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I'm thankful today
For the "ignore list" wink.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about you is "off" Hugh.
 
HughK wrote:

Yes, I agree that diversity in general is more robust and this lends credence to the importance of allowing as much self governance and home rule of local communities as possible in most cases.

 
Didn't realize one needed to be allowed to self govern. Home rule? Not looking to rule anyone here. As possible in most cases? Who gets to determine what is (and is not) possible in most cases for those that self govern?
 
Quote:

Self governance (definition):  Self-government is a system in which people rule themselves and control their own affairs. Self-governments are free from external government control or outside political authority.

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Goverment and Freedom

I really liked what Issac Asmov had to say on such things.

[In response to this question by Bill Moyers: What do you see happening to the idea of dignity to human species if this population growth continues at its present rate?] "It's going to destroy it all. I use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have what I call freedom of the bathroom, go to the bathroom any time you want, and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And this to my way is ideal. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up, you have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, aren't you through yet, and so on. And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. 

The Syria refugees are not bad people, but they do create problems and erode freedoms in Europe just by mere existence.  Places is Europe just need more bathrooms right now (and I would guess this is literally true in some places)... and this is are solution to all problems today, we create more bathrooms, which leads directly into exponential growth in a finite world, which is yet another problem.

"The chief cause of problems is solutions" Eric Sevareid  

This is one way that I think about freedom and government quite at bit.

 

 

 

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I hear you, but...
Sterling Cornaby wrote:

 And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation.

Wasn't talking about democracy. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting over who gets to be dinner. Democracy ends with dead sheep.

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Damn Thats Good, Sterling

I really appreciate your bringing that Asimov quote to this discussion.  That really sums up the dilemma and explains it cleanly (IMHO).

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Nature v/s Culture

As far as I can tell, nature always goes for diversity and variety of species. Also, nature does not work in time. It has been at work for more than 14 billion years, and that tells me it has very little care for the next quarter's earnings and growth figures.

Please excuse my bias, I watch more nature and history documentaries than movies or TV series, but it seems to me that things were going pretty swell on the planet until modern man showed up. And as far as I can tell, nature simply allows those who adapt to change the best to carry on. Nature does not choose winners and losers. I think it simply establishes the rules and the players react accordingly.

The human being, with its all-powerful mind seems like a headless chicken in search of its own answers for what lies plainly in sight. And so, it has to invent "authority", "administration", "power of the few over the many", etc... to carry out its affairs, on the basis on its never-ending suspicions of his own motives and that of others.

Granted, nature is ruthless and survival is not a trivial game. But humans won a long time ago. If it cannot afford to relax now, abandon its wars, clean up the planet and work towards a prosperity model that is built upon individual freedom and liberty, it never will. I am afraid it's bicameral mind cannot shake off its evolutionary angst, and it is condemned to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

A few among the species will hold the candle light for a better tomorrow until a more nimble, smarter and more forward thinking human take over, to actually set the stage for our next stage of growth - as a society and as individuals on spiritual, mental, creative, emotional, psychological, energetic, sexual and physical planes, rather than just the economy. For the time being, I'd rather be productive, and keep learning rather than waiting for Godot.

Cheers!

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We're talking about the same thing, T2H
Time2help wrote:
Didn't realize one needed to be allowed to self govern. Home rule? Not looking to rule anyone here. As possible in most cases? Who gets to determine what is (and is not) possible in most cases for those that self govern?

T2H,

I think we basically agree on this, and I'm happy if you think my wording should be changed from allowed to self rule to people should rule themselves.  Also, here's a link that explains the idea of the home rule

But, it gets pretty sticky on the details.  

One of the characteristics of most functioning governments in history has been a near-monopoly on force and violence. So, after the last great collapse in the West, the fall of the Roman Empire, governments were, for the most part, small areas where a war leader was able to get enough guys to follow him. The borders of the country were set at the spot where these warriors would meet another group of warriors that they didn't want to mess with. During this time there were a few attempts to unify territories into the size of modern nation states (e.g. Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire), but for the most part governance was local and determined by force of arms.

As things stabilized in the High Middle Ages and Renaissance, many of these smaller governments, or fiefdoms, started unifying, hence the birth of modern England, Spain, France etc.  A lot of this happenend on the basis of force as well, although I don't want to oversimplify.  Spain, for example, was also united via the common ideal of the reconquista, i.e. pushing the Muslim caliphates out of the Iberian Peninsula, and by their Christian faith.  So, ideals matter in governance, and probably did to some extent even in the darkest of the dark ages in Europe, but it's hard to ignore the importance of force in creating governments.

A really good example of the power of force is the European conquest of the Americas. If you look at this via the lens of the European enlightenment, our ancestors violated the rights of the Native Americans on virtually all levels, and because we had much greater force (guns, germs and steel...) taking over the American continents was a very rapid affair. Not much in the way of ideals going on there; mostly just force of arms.

Once a country or continent, in the case of W. Europe, achieves more stability, then force sort of recedes into the background and the focus of government becomes ideals.  Hence the Enlightenment and all the talk about rights.  With the very glaring exceptions of WWI and WWII, Europe has been a relatively calm place since Napoleon was defeated. Same for the US and Canada, with the exception of our Civil War. So, we have the luxury of talking about ideals a lot.

In the ideal world, local communities are not allowed to self-govern.  They have the right to do so and no one should violate this right.  So I agree with you on that, as I'm a big fan of enlightenment ideals, even if we are coming to the end of their relevance in some ways.

But, it's probably more realistic to say people should be allowed to have local governance and home rule in any context where the national power has greater force/violence than local communities.  And that situation clearly applies to most big countries on the map today, with the national governments of China Russia and the USA having a near-monopoly of force/violence within their own borders. It would be foolhardy for a citizen of any of these three countries to think that they are going to start a local home-rule or self-governance movement based on force. The Chechens tried that and it didn't end well for them.

People could conceivably argue for home rule or even total control of local governance on the basis of ideals, and this is a good argument for not using the word "allowing" when I posted. Scotland and maybe Catalonia are trying that, and Scotland is having some success.

It would be great if the US was governing in a manner consistent with the Enlightenment ideals on which it was founded and staying aware of those principles is very important if you believe in the construct of inalienable human rights. 

But most, if not all, governments based on ideals, are propped up by a near monopoly of force.

That's why the best response to the current political situation may be to find a quiet, out of the way place to tend one's own garden and help one's neighbors, as far away as possible from all of the amenities, and dangers, of modern life.

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HughK
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chief cause of problems is solutions
Sterling Cornaby wrote:

"The chief cause of problems is solutions" Eric Sevareid  

Great quote, Sterling. This is one of Joseph Tainter's main points: As societies solve problems by getting more complex, then these new, more complex solutions engender new problems. Eventually, the benefit of an additional layer of complexity is outweighed by the cost of the new problems it creates.  And, when the tower of complexity stops rising, it usually doesn't just stand still at a great height, but instead experiences a partial or (God forbid) total collapse down to a much simpler level.

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It's all relative
HughK wrote:

I think we basically agree on this...

Not sure I agree with you on much, Hugh.

HughK wrote:

But, it gets pretty sticky on the details.

It's all relative, isn't it?

HughK wrote:

One of the characteristics of most functioning governments in history has been a near-monopoly on force and violence.

Yep.

HughK wrote:
A really good example of the power of force is the European conquest of the Americas. If you look at this via the lens of the European enlightenment, our ancestors violated the rights of the Native Americans on virtually all levels, and because we had much greater force (guns, germs and steel...) taking over the American continents was a very rapid affair. Not much in the way of ideals going on there; mostly just force of arms.

Ah, the "European enlightenment". Was waiting for collective guilt. Sorry, not buying. Don't care what my ancestors did, I'm not responsible for them or their actions.

HughK wrote:

That's why the best response to the current political situation may be to find a quiet, out of the way place to tend one's own garden and help one's neighbors...

I would agree with you there.

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The big picture

T2H,

We agree on a lot of things.  All of us here agree on a lot of things, but since most of us are introverts and somewhat cantankerous free-thinkers and black sheep we also tend to rub each other the wrong way sometimes, and I think many of us are OK with that.  :)

For whatever reason, both in my original response and in the follow up, you seemed to take individual sentences and respond to them out of context, without really engaging in the original topic, which was something you brought up and I agreed with, namely the importance of localism and diversity, and the dangers of monoculture.

If you followed the line of reasoning you would have realized that I wasn't using the conquest of the Americas to invoke any sort of guilt but rather simply as an example of force trumping ideals. Just a statement about how things were, with no normative baggage whatsoever. You're the one who brought up guilt.  

I was just taking a stab at force versus principles, since that topic came up in the conversation.

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Time2help wrote: HughK
Time2help wrote:
HughK wrote:
A really good example of the power of force is the European conquest of the Americas. If you look at this via the lens of the European enlightenment, our ancestors violated the rights of the Native Americans on virtually all levels, and because we had much greater force (guns, germs and steel...) taking over the American continents was a very rapid affair. Not much in the way of ideals going on there; mostly just force of arms.

Ah, the "European enlightenment". Was waiting for collective guilt. Sorry, not buying. Don't care what my ancestors did, I'm not responsible for them or their actions.

There is another viewpoint on the conquest issue - one espoused by a mentor of mind in the nature connection movement: 

if we go back hundreds or thousands of years, our ancestors were tribal people living close to the earth who were conquered by one city state, nation state, empire or another and forced to take on their way of living.  In general, tribal people have much gentler child rearing practices, a more cohesive communities on a smaller, more human scale, a much more egalitarian society, and greater connection to the natural world around them.  In his opinion, we all suffer from that initial trauma of being torn away from a way of life that was more in tune with our biology - and that we unconsciously pass that trauma to our children through the authoritarian patterns that run through our social organization down to a family scale.

While this might not be the entire truth, and there might be some holes in parts of the theory, my experience tells me that it is a significant part of the truth.

What do y'all think?

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