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Daily Digest 5/17 - Multiple Collapse Triggers Everywhere, A Terrible Year for Political Transparency

Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 8:36 AM

Economy

Why Conventional Investors Are Getting Slaughtered (Aaron M.)

While he argued that the bull market has run out of steam, a point I’ve been making for a couple of years based on my belief that we entered a bear market in 2014 as the Fed ended its last bout of quantitative easing (QE) in October 2014, he pointed to a very important point: Investors are operating in an environment where the riskless rate of return is so low that it is increasingly difficult to generate positive returns on their capital.

BlackRock’s Fink Says Everyone Should Worry About China Debt (jdargis)

“You can’t grow at 6 percent and have your balance sheets grow faster,” Fink said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Angie Lau on the sidelines of a forum in Hong Kong on Tuesday. “In the future, I would prefer seeing the economy growing 6 percent with some form of deleveraging,” he said.

Neuroscience confirms that to be truly happy, you will always need something more (Ivo M.)

The human desire to seek can help make sense of studies showing that achieving major goals, or even winning the lottery, doesn’t cause long-term changes in happiness. But our drive to look ahead needn’t cause a permanent state of dissatisfaction, as seeking is itself a fulfilling activity. Evan Thompson, a philosophy professor at the University of British Columbia, says that the entire field of philosophy can be seen as an expression of this seeking impulse. Rather than coming up with a philosophical answer and then resting, content with the solution, Thompson says many philosophers would say the quest is an end in itself.

Multiple Collapse Triggers Everywhere (pinecarr)

What is the timing for the next financial calamity? “V,” who hides his real name and identity to protect his job at an international precious metals company, says, “My sources say 2017 is going to be monumental time they put on their calendar. I was also told by them this fall is looking pretty bad. In 2016, we will see a lot of events, and in 2017, this thing really comes apart. One of the things I said was that by the end of 2015, the dollar will be completely undermined as a world reserve currency, and it did become undermined. You have a lot of alternate payment systems, and the infrastructure for those systems come into place. I have also said the Pacific and Atlantic would become the moats of our isolation.”

‘Who Is This Guy?’ In Connected Political World, Few Know Donald Trump (jdargis)

Mr. Ryan was among the first to publicly note his lack of a relationship with Mr. Trump as a factor in his uncertainty about endorsing him. But multiple Republican members of Congress, when asked, said they had never met the billionaire developer. A few Republican senators active in the National Republican Senatorial Committee said they had briefly met Mr. Trump in his office during a past fund-raising expedition to New York.

It's a Terrible Year for Political Transparency in America (jdargis)

While Obama severely restricted the public’s access to information under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, his secretary of state effectively gutted the FOIA—at least as it pertained to her. Clinton stored all of her work-related email on a secret server in her home, an unprecedented action that skirted federal policies and put her digital correspondence outside the reach of the general public and congressional overseers.

Austin, Indiana: the HIV capital of small-town America (jdargis)

The kind of multigenerational drug use he was describing was not uncommon in their town, Austin, in southern Indiana. It’s a tiny place, covering just two and a half square miles of the sliver of land that comprises Scott County. An incredible proportion of its 4,100 population – up to an estimated 500 people – are shooting up. It was here, starting in December 2014, that the single largest HIV outbreak in US history took place. Austin went from having no more than three cases per year to 180 in 2015, a prevalence rate close to that seen in sub-Saharan Africa.

eSlice: a triple pricing economic system, designed for a reslient world (Jim R.)

The latest policies have had two effects. First, un-employment, workforce participation rate have not increased through the “recovery”. The outcome is reduced social mobility or even mocing down the social scale (from middleclass to poor). Social mobility is a social contract which maintains social cohesion, without it social unrest will quickly ensue. Secondly, the great recession has seen the middle-class shrink, the effect of this is that the demand for goods and servcies has shrunk. Without a demand for goods from a growing middle class; trade, tax collection and jobs will not recover. Disasters such as hyper/high inflation, deflation and resources scarcity become more likley in this environment.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 5/16/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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5 Comments

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Wall Street Faces Lawsuits after Top Court Ruling

In a unanimous ruling Monday, the Supreme Court sided with investors who sued Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch and other brokerage firms. At issue was whether the plaintiffs, who alleged they lost money because of the brokers’ involvement in illegal short selling, could use New Jersey state court to sue over their losses -- even if the litigation cited federal laws.

The ruling forces Merrill Lynch, Bank of America’s corporate and investment banking division, and other firms to mount a defense in New Jersey state court. The plaintiffs in the case are using the state’s RICO statute as part of their complaint.

While concerned with so-called naked short selling, the ruling could potentially be applied in other securities matters, said Gary Aguirre, a former SEC enforcement attorney with Aguirre Law APC in San Diego. Plaintiffs may get a fuller airing in such cases in state courts than they would in federal venues, other attorneys said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-05-17/wall-street-faces-...

 

Tall's picture
Tall
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Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Germany Just Got Almost All of Its Power From Renewable Energy

Clean power supplied almost all of Germany’s power demand for the first time on Sunday, marking a milestone for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Energiewende” policy to boost renewables while phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-16/germany-just-got-almos...

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5971
Close...but no cigar.
Tall wrote:

Clean power supplied almost all of Germany’s power demand for the first time on Sunday, marking a milestone for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Energiewende” policy to boost renewables while phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-16/germany-just-got-almos...

I'll continue to be a stickler here, because it's important.

Germany got almost all of its electricity from renewable sources...for about an hour out of one 24 hour day.

Of course Germany uses a lot of petrol and natural gas and coal too all of which supply 'power' to Germany. 

On the basis of its actual (total) power use, Germany is nowhere near supplying 100%, not even for a single minute.  Thus the Bloomberg headline is not just misleading, but also quite in error.

I wish that these articles would make the easy and important distinction between electricity generation and power consumption so that the casual readers out there won't think to themselves "oh, then we can just switch to solar and wind like Germany and solve all this..."

 

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1714
Updates: Freddie Gray trials, Black Lives Matter

We had a lot of discussion here at PP.com when the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray deaths occurred. Here are a couple of updates, as these things tend to move at the pace of a glacier.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/05/another_baltimore_show_trial_commences.html

This week the second trial of a Baltimore City police officer over the death of small-time hood Freddie Gray is set to commence. The officer now in the dock, Edward M. Nero, is being prosecuted on the unprecedented grounds that he lacked probable cause to arrest Gray, and that therefore his actions in detaining Gray and placing him in a police paddy-wagon were not just a mistake in judgment (if that), but criminal. The Gray police prosecutions are a case study of how an American metropolis can descend into mob rule, and how fragile are the social bonds and legal protections that hold this republic together. 

Nero was one of the bicycle patrol officers that first detained Gray and is charged with the least serious offenses. The prosecution’s theory of the case is that Gray died from injuries received during his ride in the police van, not through anything that Nero or his partner did. As a result, neither Nero nor his partner is charged with offenses directly related to Gray’s death. But Nero and his partner are white, and appear on video dragging a recalcitrant Gray into the police van. Letting them off the hook when three black officers have also been wrongly charged in Gray’s death would be politically impossible for Baltimore’s craven mayor and state’s attorney. So they have ginned up charges against Nero and his partner which are different, but just as legally and morally outrageous as the charges against their black colleagues. 

One of those black officers, William Porter, was charged with manslaughter and already tried, with the result of a hung jury. That produced a legal quandary for the prosecution which had planned to force Porter to testify against his colleague Caesar Goodson (charged with the most serious offense of murder) when Porter would no longer face legal jeopardy, having been either acquitted or convicted. When that did not happen, the prosecution could have declined to retry Porter and grant him immunity. Instead they decided to retry him and force his testimony against Goodson with limited immunity while he is still in legal jeopardy, another unprecedented situation in Maryland and most other states. The trial judge, Barry G. Williams, agreed with the prosecution and Maryland’s leftist and pusillanimous Court of Appeals affirmed his ruling, meaning that Porter will be forced to testify against Goodson (or presumably go to jail for contempt) this summer.

http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/the-danger-of-the-black-lives-matter-movement/

For almost two years, a protest movement known as “Black Lives Matter” has convulsed the nation. Triggered by the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement holds that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men today. This belief has triggered riots, “die-ins,” the murder and attempted murder of police officers, a campaign to eliminate traditional grand jury proceedings when police use lethal force, and a presidential task force on policing.

Even though the U.S. Justice Department has resoundingly disproven the lie that a pacific Michael Brown was shot in cold blood while trying to surrender, Brown is still venerated as a martyr. And now police officers are backing off of proactive policing in the face of the relentless venom directed at them on the street and in the media. As a result, violent crime is on the rise.

The need is urgent, therefore, to examine the Black Lives Matter movement’s central thesis—that police pose the greatest threat to young black men. I propose two counter hypotheses: first, that there is no government agency more dedicated to the idea that black lives matter than the police; and second, that we have been talking obsessively about alleged police racism over the last 20 years in order to avoid talking about a far larger problem—black-on-black crime...

Standard anti-cop ideology, whether emanating from the ACLU or the academy, holds that law enforcement actions are racist if they don’t mirror population data. New York City illustrates why that expectation is so misguided. Blacks make up 23 percent of New York City’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime, according to victims and witnesses. Add Hispanic shootings and you account for 98 percent of all illegal gunfire in the city. Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than two percent of all shootings, four percent of all robberies, and five percent of all violent crime. These disparities mean that virtually every time the police in New York are called out on a gun run—meaning that someone has just been shot—they are being summoned to minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects.

Officers hope against hope that they will receive descriptions of white shooting suspects, but it almost never happens. This incidence of crime means that innocent black men have a much higher chance than innocent white men of being stopped by the police because they match the description of a suspect. This is not something the police choose. It is a reality forced on them by the facts of crime.

The geographic disparities are also huge. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, the per capita shooting rate is 81 times higher than in nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—the first neighborhood predominantly black, the second neighborhood predominantly white and Asian. As a result, police presence and use of proactive tactics are much higher in Brownsville than in Bay Ridge. Every time there is a shooting, the police will flood the area looking to make stops in order to avert a retaliatory shooting. They are in Brownsville not because of racism, but because they want to provide protection to its many law-abiding residents who deserve safety...

Police operating in inner-city neighborhoods now find themselves routinely surrounded by cursing, jeering crowds when they make a pedestrian stop or try to arrest a suspect. Sometimes bottles and rocks are thrown. Bystanders stick cell phones in the officers’ faces, daring them to proceed with their duties. Officers are worried about becoming the next racist cop of the week and possibly losing their livelihood thanks to an incomplete cell phone video that inevitably fails to show the antecedents to their use of force. Officer use of force is never pretty, but the public is clueless about how hard it is to subdue a suspect who is determined to resist arrest.

As a result of the anti-cop campaign of the last two years and the resulting push-back in the streets, officers in urban areas are cutting back on precisely the kind of policing that led to the crime decline of the 1990s and 2000s. Arrests and summons are down, particularly for low-level offenses. Police officers continue to rush to 911 calls when there is already a victim. But when it comes to making discretionary stops—such as getting out of their cars and questioning people hanging out on drug corners at 1:00 a.m.—many cops worry that doing so could put their careers on the line. Police officers are, after all, human. When they are repeatedly called racist for stopping and questioning suspicious individuals in high-crime areas, they will perform less of those stops. That is not only understandable—in a sense, it is how things should work. Policing is political. If a powerful political block has denied the legitimacy of assertive policing, we will get less of it.

On the other hand, the people demanding that the police back off are by no means representative of the entire black community. Go to any police-neighborhood meeting in Harlem, the South Bronx, or South Central Los Angeles, and you will invariably hear variants of the following: “We want the dealers off the corner.” “You arrest them and they’re back the next day.” “There are kids hanging out on my stoop. Why can’t you arrest them for loitering?” “I smell weed in my hallway. Can’t you do something?” I met an elderly cancer amputee in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx who was terrified to go to her lobby mailbox because of the young men trespassing there and selling drugs. The only time she felt safe was when the police were there. “Please, Jesus,” she said to me, “send more police!” The irony is that the police cannot respond to these heartfelt requests for order without generating the racially disproportionate statistics that will be used against them in an ACLU or Justice Department lawsuit...

Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 19 2008
Posts: 470
Not even that close

There's more to the German "power" story even if we just limit it to electricity:

  • How much "spinning reserves" was online waiting just in case the renewable power dropped unexpectedly.
  • How much extra fuel did the base load power plants burn because they had to power down and then power back up over hours in anticipation of a drop in wind or solar power?
  • How much extra variability was their in voltage and frequency on the grid due to the non-dispatchable nature of renewables and the resulting unpredictable variations in power generation?  How much damage did this do to electronics?
  • What was the risk of a larger frequency or voltage deviation that could have caused more damage?
  • What was the total extra investment in equipment for the grid to handle this?  What is the embodied energy of the equipment?  Was this emodied energy from fossil fuels? (likely)

I could go on, but that's enough for now.

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