News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Dec. 13, 2017

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Big Contracts, No Storm Tarps for Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

2) CFO Press Release 11/28/2017 Miami Homeowner Arrested Following Attempt to Steal $178,200 in Damage Claims

3) 120 Evacuated After Roof Collapse at Florida Apartment Building

4) How Much Harm Did Harvey Do to Texas Homes?

5) Quick Look: October Wildfires Cleanup Progress by the Numbers — Cal OES News

6) GOP eyes post-tax-cut changes to welfare, Medicare and Social Security – The Washington Post

7) Tracking the Congressional Tax Debate | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

8) Giant Antarctic iceberg the size of Manhattan just completely disintegrated, 'worrying' experts

9) Pensions aren't the ticking timebomb — rents are | Money | The Guardian

10) Here's What Bitcoin's Smartest Skeptics Are Telling Investors | Fortune

11) Home Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

12) Decision time is here for blockchain, but are enterprises ready? | ZDNet

13) Southern California wildfires: What we know now

14) San Diego County and Riverside County homes face new wildfires

15) ISP disclosures about data caps and fees eliminated by net neutrality repeal | Ars Technica

16) US Payrolls Rise 228,000 While Wages Gain Less Than Forecast – Bloomberg

17) Why is Southern California burning in December? A climate scientist's answer – LA Times

18) Russia-China real gold standard means end of US dollar dominance — RT Business News

19) Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism | Boston Review

20) CoStar News – Harbor Group Acquires 9,677-Unit Apartment Portfolio in $1.8 Billion Deal from Lone Star

21) The next tax shelter for wealthy Americans: C-corporations

22) EU blacklist names 17 tax havens and puts Caymans and Jersey on notice | Business | The Guardian

23) Steam no longer accepting bitcoin due to 'high fees and volatility' – The Verge

24) Canadians Become Biggest Sellers of US Property, Bring Equity Home

25) If corporate rate cuts don't trickle down, the House tax plan will raise taxes on moderate-income households too | Economic Policy Institute

26) Gross Rents Continue to Rise

27) Tricon American refinancing more Silver Bay single-family rentals | Asset Securitization Report

28) Plane crashes into Clairemont home, killing 2 passengers – The San Diego Union-Tribune

29) Homemade bedbug extermination sets house on fire | The Sacramento Bee

30) US Job Market Not Looking Very Tight Based on Low-Skill Wages – Bloomberg

31) The economy is on the right track, but key indicators show we're not at full employment yet | Economic Policy Institute

32) Bubbles, Banks And Bitcoin

33) Murphy Beds Dimensions & Design Ideas

34) Buoyed by Healthy Economy, ABC Index Finds Contractors Upbeat

35) mainly macro: Government debt phobias, and possible cures

36) A Guide to Internal Rate of Return & Other Must-Know Financial Metrics

37) America's homeless population rises for the first time since the Great Recession | US news | The Guardian

38) Will Repeal of Net Neutrality Accelerate the Trend in Media Consolidation? The History of Cable Suggests "Yes" –

39) Southern California Wildfires December 2017

40) Stumbling and Mumbling: In defence of the labour theory of value

41) Principles of Political Economy: The opening lines

42) A Monetary Policy Framework for the Next Recession — Money, Banking and Financial Markets

43) China Audit Finds Provinces Faked Data and Borrowed Illegally – Bloomberg

44) Recent North Texas Quakes on Faults Dormant for 300M Years Due to … wastewater injection associated with the hydraulic fracturing process — or fracking —

45) Vacancy Exclusion Applies to Vandalism But Not Arson Loss

46) Texas County Approves Post-Harvey Flood Construction Rules

47) Sandston man sentenced in arson scheme to collect insurance money | WTVR[dot]com

48) 3M Says it Underreported Chemical [carcingenic] Discharge in Tennessee River [by 1000 fold]

49) California Seeking $4.4B in Federal Aid for [Northern] Wildfires

50) Exxon Takes Climate-Change Probe Fight to Massachusetts Top Court

51) Global Temperatures Could Rise 15% More Than Expected: Scientists

52) Judge Orders North Carolina-Based Pork Producer to Clean Up Water Pollution

53) FBI Keeping an Eye on Fraud in Northern California Fire Recovery

54) Seven charts that explain the plastic pollution problem – BBC News

55) Deaths from window blinds show need for cord ban, study says | WSOC-TV

56) November Construction Input Prices Expand; Year-over-Year Inflation Highest Since 2011

57) mainly macro: Immigration and Real Wages: Reality and Perceptions

58) [Excellent] Special Reuters Report: The High Cost of Building in High Flood Risk Areas

59) Republican tax plan poised to benefit rental landlords

60) Bitcoin Doesn't Exist — The Full Story

61) Federal scientists call the warming of the Arctic 'unprecedented over the last 1,500 years' – Chicago Tribune

62) Seattle Adopts New Rules Limiting Short-Term Rentals | Washington News | US News

63) ShotSpotter technology welcomed by central Bakersfield activists, police | News | bakersfield[dot]com

64) Fire at a homeless encampment sparked Bel-Air blaze that destroyed homes, officials say

65) Fire in Oakland hills damages multiple homes, prompts evacuations – SFGate

66) The Bulgarian Government Is Sitting on $3 Billion in Bitcoin – CoinDesk

67) Share buybacks spike — dropping a strong hint at what CEOs plan to do with tax savings – MarketWatch

68) 4 Charts That Show How Tax Cuts Will Trigger A Recession

  1.    Big Contracts, No Storm Tarps for Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

    A FEMA spokesman, Ron Roth, said the agency's review process was "somewhat expedited" after Hurricane Maria to respond as quickly as possible to the emergency.

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  2.    CFO Press Release 11/28/2017 Miami Homeowner Arrested Following Attempt to Steal $178,200 in Damage Claims

    If you plan to steal from your insurance company or engage in fraudulent activity, be prepared to face swift action from our state investigators.

    That said, innocent until proven guilty still stands of course.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  3.    120 Evacuated After Roof Collapse at Florida Apartment Building

    … "structural damage" as a result of heavy rains ….

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  4.    How Much Harm Did Harvey Do to Texas Homes?

    … renters and homeowners trying to rebuild their lives are in danger of falling through the seams of a patchwork of agencies.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  5.    Quick Look: October Wildfires Cleanup Progress by the Numbers — Cal OES News

    … one of the most important jobs of emergency management is gather facts and figures and making sense of them, not only to understand what's happening, but to make some of the most important decisions in the middle of a crisis.

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  6.    GOP eyes post-tax-cut changes to welfare, Medicare and Social Security – The Washington Post

    Please understand that these measures are going to harm your average renter/tenants ability to pay. Stress among your tenants will increase. You'll be saddled or your managers will be saddled with more work and stress on account of it.

    It's extremely clear and has been for a long time now that supply-side economics is not the driver of the real economy and that the wealthiest people keep more for themselves rather than "trickle-down" actually working.

    Demand is the driver, and supply does not create its own demand where consumers can't pay for anything. What business ramps up when consumers are maxed out and hurting? Only businesses that make money catering to the rich or somehow aiding the poor at a profit do. That's not the basis for an entire economy like America's.

    It's extremely clear that the tax cuts were designed to give the superrich more, drive up the deficit, and create a pretext for slashing and privatizing entitlements, even the once third rail of politics called Social Security.

    The plan is fatally flawed.

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  7.    Tracking the Congressional Tax Debate | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

    The Senate has voted, but this is still a valuable overview.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  8.    Giant Antarctic iceberg the size of Manhattan just completely disintegrated, 'worrying' experts

    If the ice shelf continues to thin and the ice front continues to retreat, its buttressing effect on PIG will diminish, which is likely to lead to further dynamic thinning and retreat of the glacier," Dr Larter said. "PIG already makes the largest contribution to sea-level rise of any single Antarctic glacier and the fact that its bed increases in depth upstream for more than 200 km means there is the possibility of runway retreat that would result in an even bigger contribution to sea level.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  9.    Pensions aren't the ticking timebomb — rents are | Money | The Guardian

    You need to read this.

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  10.    Here's What Bitcoin's Smartest Skeptics Are Telling Investors | Fortune

    Stiglitz is right that much of Bitcoin's early momentum was based on either lawbreaking or capital flight, and the scale of its ongoing use for tax evasion is likely massive. He's also right that it isn't currently useful for its core purpose — payments — thanks to network congestion, high fees, and extreme volatility.

    But the long-term above-board applications for totally unhackable, distributed ledgers are still waiting in the wings: cryptocurrency could eventually run everything from cloud computing to ride-hailing to health records. And Stiglitz misses a crucial point — it would be very, very hard to regulate cryptocurrency out of existence. Its servers can be moved to any friendly jurisdiction (much like old-fashioned offshore tax shelters), and its traffic signature can be easily disguised.

    That's not a moral defense, but it's a fact. Regulatory pressure in jurisdictions like the United States and Europe could absolutely keep away institutional investors and even hedge funds, whose future entry to the market is increasingly priced into the current crypto-surge. But its shady underbelly nearly guarantees that cryptocurrency as a whole will never drop to zero value.

    Its huge energy signature, right now, can't be hidden. Besides, that's sort of changing the subject from Bitcoin, per se, to other uses of the ledger method. Regardless, the issue is anarchy versus good government, which do you want? I'm for good government: as directly democratic as practicable. I took the Stiglitz position before he did. I stand by it.

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  11.    Home Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

    Let's hope that science and medicine take care of this, but in the meantime …

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  12.    Decision time is here for blockchain, but are enterprises ready? | ZDNet

    … downsides that need to be addressed.

    Losing keys? That's huge.

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  13.    Southern California wildfires: What we know now

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  14.    San Diego County and Riverside County homes face new wildfires

    It continues …

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  15.    ISP disclosures about data caps and fees eliminated by net neutrality repeal | Ars Technica

    Businesses are consumers too. Do we really want to be left so much in the dark about what ISP's can or can't charge us and when and what their services actually will be providing? Do we really want to have to go way out of our way to see even a shadow of what we can now see at the point-of-sale?

    Why are we going backwards so ISP's can make more money off us that we couldn't even plan for?

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  16.    U.S. Payrolls Rise 228,000 While Wages Gain Less Than Forecast – Bloomberg

    Fed hikes, tax cuts for the rich, and cuts to benefits to the poor would all contribute to a recession.

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  17.    Why is Southern California burning in December? A climate scientist's answer – LA Times

    … the air is the driest it's been here in recorded history, said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

    A layer of bone-dry, dead or dying vegetation has blanketed the Southern California landscape after a historically wet winter sprouted up green shoots that were summarily killed by the hottest summer on record. Then came October and November, which also were the hottest on record for Southern California, Swain said.

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  18.    Russia-China real gold standard means end of US dollar dominance — RT Business News

    Look, Russia has made some smart moves economically and financially, but this whole article is based upon utter nonsense.

    Russia has gold mining on a large scale. That's why Russia is doing this: trying to drive up the price of gold. That's why Russia has been buying it.

    The "gold standard" is dead and cannot and will not be resurrected. We are way too well-educated and aware for that.

    The value of what is termed "fiat" currency is established by its reasonable stability and its legal status as legal tender (also that it's used to pay taxes).

    The Fed makes mistakes and works more for the commercial-banking industry than it does for the whole US economy, but the Fed is not stupid enough to allow Federal Reserve Notes (so-called US dollars) to be debased on a crash course.

    On top of that is the movement for creating a completely stable US currency where its value is set in real time by the real economy controlled by grassroots democracy. Physical gold at that point would be worth only its utility value and not its current commodity value as a store of value simply because gold-hawkers are psychologically stuck (and want you to be too) in the 1800's.

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  19.    Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism | Boston Review

    Dani Rodrik clearly isn't remotely as democratically centered as I am, but he has written an interesting piece that does make a number of quite valid points.

    … the central conceit, and the fatal flaw, of neoliberalism: the belief that first-order economic principles map onto a unique set of policies, approximated by a Thatcher—Reagan-style agenda.

    … John Maynard Keynes once defined economics as the "science of thinking in terms of models joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant." Economists typically have trouble with the "art" part.

    economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire. The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.

    … Investment regulations, health and safety rules, environmental policies, and industrial promotion schemes all became potential targets for abolition if they were deemed to stand in the way of foreign trade and investment. … Nowhere was the new deal more damaging than in financial globalization, which produced not greater investment and growth, as promised, but one painful crash after another.

    Critics often point out that this emphasis on economics debases and sacrifices other important values such as equality, social inclusion, democratic deliberation, and justice. Those political and social objectives obviously matter enormously, and in some contexts they matter the most. They cannot always, or even often, be achieved by means of technocratic economic policies; politics must play a central role.

    But neoliberals are not wrong when they argue that our most cherished ideals are more likely to be attained when our economy is vibrant, strong, and growing. Where they are wrong is in believing that there is a unique and universal recipe for improving economic performance to which they have access. The fatal flaw of neoliberalism is that it does not even get the economics right. It must be rejected on its own terms for the simple reason that it is bad economics.

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  20.    CoStar News – Harbor Group Acquires 9,677-Unit Apartment Portfolio in $1.8 Billion Deal from Lone Star

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  21.    The next tax shelter for wealthy Americans: C-corporations

    Okay, so even though this article argues against favoring the rich over the economy as a whole (and I agree with that sentiment), it is a very useful article for those who would take advantage of legal changes in the tax code.

    My concern is with how quickly a left-wing administration and government (legislature) would reverse the changes and how easy would it be to switch from C-corp status/election.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  22.    EU blacklist names 17 tax havens and puts Caymans and Jersey on notice | Business | The Guardian

    Are they delaying sanctions in order to give cronies time to get their money out?

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  23.    Steam no longer accepting bitcoin due to 'high fees and volatility' – The Verge

    Leaving aside the near certainty of crashing, it isn't good for transactions.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  24.    Canadians Become Biggest Sellers of US Property, Bring Equity Home

    … some are certainly recognizing this as a smart time to take the nearest exit, before the market changes. Data and trend tracker Zillow notes that some major US metros have already peaked. It forecasts that growth of Phoenix home values will slow by around 70% for the next year, and has turned cold. This trend could be compounded and accelerated by broad US tax reform ….

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  25.    If corporate rate cuts don't trickle down, the House tax plan will raise taxes on moderate-income households too | Economic Policy Institute

    There is no evidence from the recent U.S. economic history, no evidence from international comparisons, and no evidence from individual U.S. states that corporate tax cuts will boost the wages of American workers. And CEOs have already signaled their intention to shovel corporate tax cuts to shareholders, not workers.

    The tax cuts for the rich will be increased by the ability to easily and instantly elect C-corp status. We know that the plan has always been to increase the deficit and then attack welfare-state spending for the sake of anarcho-capitalist/crony privatizers at the direct negative expense of the poorest of the poor, as always (truly heartless, truly wholly selfish). Allowing anyone to instantly elect, or switch to, C-corp status will only exacerbate that.

    The welfare state will be privatized so the rich can continue the pattern of consolidation even though the economy, environment, and nation will be hurt. on the backs of the shrinking middle and expanding lower classes.

    Is that what we wan?

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  26.    Gross Rents Continue to Rise

    The nation experienced an overall average increase of $21 in median gross rent according to statistics released from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates, compared to 2007-2011 American Community Survey five-year estimates results, which have been adjusted for inflation.

    Gross rent is the contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, and water and sewer) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid by the renter (or paid for the renter by someone else). Gross rent eliminates the differences resulting from a variety of practices associated with including utilities and fuels as part of the rental payment. The estimated costs of water, sewer and fuels are reported on a 12-month basis but are converted to monthly figures for the tabulations.

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  27.    Tricon American refinancing more Silver Bay single-family rentals | Asset Securitization Report

    [Subscription]

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  28.    Plane crashes into Clairemont home, killing 2 passengers – The San Diego Union-Tribune

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  29.    Homemade bedbug extermination sets house on fire | The Sacramento Bee

    There are do-it-yourself methods of dealing with bedbugs without using heat. The bugs are drawn in the dark to CO2 we exhale. If a bed is on legs, the legs can be placed in catchments that have slippery sides. The bugs can crawl up the catchments, but they fall into them. The internal sides are too slippery for them to get out. The same thing happens to bugs already on the bed. They go down the legs and fall into the slippery traps.

    There are also dry ice traps that do the same thing. The ice melts into CO2, attracting the bugs.

    There are instructions on the Internet for making traps.

    These methods are a matter of attrition. The last bugs are trapped and die before laying their last batch of eggs.

    The professional heat method is more expensive, but it does get the eggs too before they hatch. Sometimes it requires multiple treatments.

    Suggestion: Inform your tenants that heat-related and other dangerous DIY approaches are forbidden. Put that in writing and add it to your rental agreement. Consult your landlord-tenant-law-specialist attorney for enforceable language.

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  30.    U.S. Job Market Not Looking Very Tight Based on Low-Skill Wages – Bloomberg

    The Fed wants to keep raising rates in the face of what they've never seen before as if it isn't happening. That's denial or subterfuge.

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  31.    The economy is on the right track, but key indicators show we're not at full employment yet | Economic Policy Institute

    Wage growth in recent months has been slower on average, below target levels, and certainly provides no concerns over spiraling inflation. The Federal Reserve should keep this in mind when it meets later this month and should resist pressure to raise interest rates. For the recovery to reach all workers, we need to let the economy get back to genuine full employment.

    Yes, but even though that's their stated mandate, is that what the Fed really puts first as it's highest priority? I personally don't think so. I think they put the banking industry's "health" (profits) first.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  32.    Bubbles, Banks And Bitcoin

    Frances has the mechanics and economics correct, but I think she's demonstrating a lack of sufficient concern here about the little old ladies in tennis shoes and others who've been mortgaging, etc., their houses for cash to put into Bitcoin because they do not know what Frances, others, and I do.

    The Fed, Treasury, and SEC are not doing their jobs. It's either that or the laws need to be changed such that had the right laws been in place, they would have been forced to shut down Bitcoin as soon as its head popped up.

    BTW, the dot-com bubble didn't have to be allowed to run like the Wild West either. Too much money was created by the commercial-banking industry (including the Fed's Chairman, Greenspan, setting its rate too low) so that, that money could irrationally chase Internet development. That was known at the time. I remember reading about it as the whole thing unfolded.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  33.    Murphy Beds Dimensions & Design Ideas

    I like these especially for studio apartments. Behind that table is a pull-down bed. The foldout table is a great additional feature. I can envision a table that would drop legs down too so the table could be big enough for a gathering.

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  34.    Buoyed by Healthy Economy, ABC Index Finds Contractors Upbeat

    "There are many reasons for confidence among the nation's construction firm leaders," said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "American wealth has never been greater in absolute terms as the economy experiences faster wage growth, surging equity markets and rising home values. Consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, while unemployment is at a 17-year low.

    "Despite the completion of approximately eight and a half years of economic recovery, both inflation and interest rates remain low," said Basu. "The combination of elevated wealth and confidence with low borrowing costs drives spending and investment, which supports higher demand for construction services."

    Are surging equity markets justified by traditional fundamentals, or is it a sign of corporate buybacks and few places to earn a decent return? Rising home values are caused primarily by insufficient construction of affordable housing, which is not a good sign. Also, those values could plummet due to proposed tax cuts if enacted as-is.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  35.    mainly macro: Government debt phobias, and possible cures

    If you think you want to reduce government debt because you are paying higher taxes and none of that is coming back to you or your pension, how do you think the government is going to reduce its debt? By raising your taxes of course.

    Not necessarily so. Simon answered his own question differently when in this same article he explained that the central bank could buy up the government debt and let it run to term. Well, the same government could simply issue the money to pay off the debt rather than the bank buying that debt and letting it run to term.

    I keep telling the academic economist this, but it's as if they have a mental blockage or are suffering from cognitive dissonance or they are not agreeing because that would ruin the bankers scheme for earning money on money they create on their own (as a counterfeiter does).

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  36.    A Guide to Internal Rate of Return & Other Must-Know Financial Metrics

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  37.    America's homeless population rises for the first time since the Great Recession | US news | The Guardian

    … government investment in low-income homes has lagged since it was slashed during the Reagan administration, and today most people on the cusp of homelessness do not receive government rental assistance. Indeed, the government spends twice as much on a housing tax break for the wealthiest Americans, and the tax reforms under review by Congress would deal a further blow to affordable-housing funding if enacted.

    Localities are left to improvise solutions. Los Angelenos voted to tax themselves to provide billions in funding. Tiny-home villages have taken root in Oregon and Washington state (though a plan to erect them in Silicon Valley was met recently by angry residents chanting "build a wall" to keep homeless residents out). Hawaii is pursuing the idea of authorized tent encampments.

    There is zero legitimate excuse for America not to house every American who wants to be housed. It is not because we can't afford it in dollars. It is only because the monetary system is a racket. There is no other reasonable explanation. I'm speaking in broad terms here.

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  38.    Will Repeal of Net Neutrality Accelerate the Trend in Media Consolidation? The History of Cable Suggests "Yes" –

    How much do you use the Internet for business and investing, etc.? Is it as important, as fundamental, as nonsmartphone use?

    The history of cable and cable programming strongly suggests that without specific FCC safeguards, we can expect a massive "arms race" by providers to vertically integrate and to discriminate against unaffiliated services. From what we have seen so far in the broadband market, we can expect this history to repeat itself once the FCC deregulates broadband.

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  39.    Southern California Wildfires December 2017

    According to the Los Angeles Times, the Thomas Fire is the fifth largest wildfire in modern California history.

    … [it] has destroyed 644 single-family homes and damaged 165 others, and has destroyed 15 commercial buildings.

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  40.    Stumbling and Mumbling: In defence of the labour theory of value

    The next link immediately below also addresses this issue but adds a wholly new take on it.

    My view is that both land (in the broadest "fat of the land" sense: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fat_of_th e_land ) and labor add what humans consider value sold by capitalists.

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  41.    Principles of Political Economy: The opening lines

    … "Economics went astray from the very first sentence of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations in 1776". In this opening to the book, I will argue that economics should have been based on the work of the Physiocrats, especially Richard Cantillon and Francois Quesnay. Though Smith read their works, and met Quesnay, he abandoned their fundamental insight that all wealth came from land–which, when understood from today's knowledge of Thermodynamics, means Energy.

    By claiming instead that labour, rather than land, was the source of wealth, Smith set off a two and a half century long wild goose chase over what was value, leading to economic theories from both Marxists at one extreme and Neoclassicals (and Austrians) at the other which violated the inviolable Laws of Thermodynamics.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  42.    A Monetary Policy Framework for the Next Recession — Money, Banking and Financial Markets

    This is all very interesting for the first time, but now it's getting really, really old.

    Here's why. The Fed should do nothing until inflation is really a problem because they will cause "business-cycle" instability by trying to guess they won't overshoot tightening prematurely (if they do what they are currently planning, they will).

    Second, when it really becomes necessary to tighten, do it gradually and in small bites. Stop sooner than the old models would suggest.

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  43.    China Audit Finds Provinces Faked Data and Borrowed Illegally – Bloomberg

    The only surprise to me is that the fraud numbers are as low as reported (if the audit isn't tainted).

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  44.    Recent North Texas Quakes on Faults Dormant for 300M Years Due to … wastewater injection associated with the hydraulic fracturing process — or fracking — of oil and gas drilling

    Before the first fracking occurred, I said it would cause earthquakes.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  45.    Vacancy Exclusion Applies to Vandalism But Not Arson Loss

    This is a prime example of why, when someone asks, "Is it covered," it is more often than not proper to reply that it depends. Furthermore, it depends upon more than the words as understood by the insured, the insurer (carrier), agent, broker, adjuster, attorney, or judge, etc.

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  46.    Texas County Approves Post-Harvey Flood Construction Rules

    "After the regulations we adopted today, Harris County will have the toughest, the stiffest flood building code regulations in the country," said County Judge Ed Emmett.

    So much for the vaunted Texan-libertarianism regarding building codes. You knew, or should have known, it had to happen if you weren't a libertarian. Building codes, when properly done, are a great thing! I wonder if 8 feet is enough. I hope they don't say 12 isn't allowed. Frankly, floating and extremely anchored may be the way to go. It's either that or not live there without gigantic ocean an flood barriers that can't break or wash away. Of course, the smartest move is to stop burning carbon until we have total sequestration: no buying and selling carbon credits allowed.

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  47.    Sandston man sentenced in arson scheme to collect insurance money | WTVR.com

    When AI gets into looking for patterns, this sort of thing is going to be vastly more difficult to get away with. It's coming, which is good.

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  48.    3M Says it Underreported Chemical [carcingenic] Discharge in Tennessee River [by 1000 fold]

    … had reported its discharge monitoring reports in milligrams per liter instead of micrograms per liter ….

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  49.    California Seeking $4.4B in Federal Aid for [Northern] Wildfires

    The 21 wildfires that ripped through Northern California last month were the deadliest in state history.

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  50.    Exxon Takes Climate-Change Probe Fight to Massachusetts Top Court

    Healey, a Democrat, and New York Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought records following news reports in 2015 how Exxon's own scientists determined that reducing fossil fuel combustion was needed to mitigate the impact of climate change.

    Those reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times were based on documents from the 1970s and 1980s.

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  51.    Global Temperatures Could Rise 15% More Than Expected: Scientists

    We are now more certain about the future climate, but the bad news is that it will be warmer than we thought ….

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  52.    Judge Orders North Carolina-Based Pork Producer to Clean Up Water Pollution

    We have been waiting for more than a decade for Murphy-Brown to clean up the pollution and fulfill their promise.

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  53.    FBI Keeping an Eye on Fraud in Northern California Fire Recovery

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  54.    Seven charts that explain the plastic pollution problem – BBC News

    Make sure your tenants are doing the right thing recycling plastics. It's not a cure-all, but it's better than not.

    This is a huge, global problem:

    In July a paper published in the journal Science Advances by industrial ecologist Dr Roland Geyer, from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and colleagues, calculated the total volume of all plastic ever produced at 8.3bn tonnes.

    Of this, some 6.3bn tonnes is now waste – and 79% of that is in landfill or the natural environment.

    We must clean it up!

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  55.    Deaths from window blinds show need for cord ban, study says | WSOC-TV

    There is a liability issue here for landlords supplying corded window-treatments.

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  56.    November Construction Input Prices Expand; Year-over-Year Inflation Highest Since 2011

    Labor shortages continue to represent the number one concern of construction firms in America, but materials price inflation can no longer be ignored.

    Russia and OPEC (the Saudis in particular) agreed to reduce production, which has increased prices. Fracking will increase in the US on account of that. However, electric vehicles will reduce the negative immediate impacts on the economy while helping the oil industry. Electric vehicles will also reduce the negative environmental impacts, which ripple through the economy.

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  57.    mainly macro: Immigration and Real Wages: Reality and Perceptions

    I think what's missing here is a discussion on the varying demographics of nation-states. In general, a nation with a high rate of unemployed youths will not benefit by an increase via immigration in the number of youths. So, it depends.

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  58.    [Excellent] Special Reuters Report: The High Cost of Building in High Flood Risk Areas

    This is a major, valuable report by Reuters.

    If you want less government, less regulation, this is what you get: vastly worse disasters.

    Becerra's and Keeble's homes were built or rented out in violation of National Flood Insurance Program rules. Like thousands of others in the hurricane-ravaged Florida Keys and on the Texas Gulf Coast, such houses are undermining efforts to limit flood damage, lower the cost of disaster assistance and reduce claims on the taxpayer-backed federal flood insurance program, a Reuters investigation found.

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  59.    Republican tax plan poised to benefit rental landlords

    Miller agrees that prices could fall in more expensive markets, but most single-family investors don't operate in high-cost areas.

    "I just don't think it's particularly likely in the lower-cost markets where most people don't itemize to begin with, and if they do, they're more likely to see a benefit than a hit," Miller said.

    The biggest variable will be demand — does it increase or decrease with the tax bill? Republicans would argue that the tax plan will stimulate the economy and put more money in Americans' pockets. That, in turn, could help more young renters buy a home.

    But, at the same time that the government is adding fiscal stimulus, it is also raising interest rates, which could make housing even more expensive.

    In my view, the idea that the current tax plan will add fiscal stimulus is pie in the sky. I think it would only help the Fed's planned rate-rises cause a deflationary recession.

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  60.    Bitcoin Doesn't Exist — The Full Story

    This leads into one of the spurious claims on Bitcoin: that it's a refuge for drug smugglers and illegal activities. I assure you mathematically, that is not true.

    Math doesn't prove that. Come on. Governments are clamping down. Criminals have been and are afraid. Why did Bitcoin start? It started so individuals could buy and sell anything without illegalities getting in the way. There were other reasons, but that's one of them and very important to keep in mind as other such "currencies" pop up.

    The article mentions taxes only twice. Where's the government being able to function if Bitcoin-like "currencies" take over? Do we want anarchy, what with the way criminals behave? Is everyone suddenly going to be "good capitalists"? Hardly.

    The argument for Bitcoin because the current system is bad is not a good argument. Reform the current system until it is good for everyone but the criminals. Do you see Public Banking mentioned? No. Democracy is mentioned only once.

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  61.    Federal scientists call the warming of the Arctic 'unprecedented over the last 1,500 years' – Chicago Tribune

    "The Arctic has traditionally been the refrigerator of the planet," Mathis said, "but the door to that refrigerator has been left open."

    It is not natural, unless you consider the human carbon-burning we do as natural rather than artificial. I think blurring that line is obfuscation. We are the driver of global warming in that if we were not to have done the carbon burning we have, the planet would not be warming up at anywhere near the rate we are experiencing.

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  62.    Seattle Adopts New Rules Limiting Short-Term Rentals | Washington News | US News

    New operators will be limited to listing their primary residence and one additional unit.

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  63.    ShotSpotter technology welcomed by central Bakersfield activists, police | News | bakersfield.com

    This will, among other things, reduce the capitalization rate (cap. rate) in low-income neighborhoods, and that's a good thing.

    Before the expansion, police in Sacramento relied on ShotSpotter sensors across two separate 3-square-mile areas. According to The Bee, the sensors have had 1,096 activations from June 15, 2015, to May 31, 2017.

    In that time frame, information captured by the sensors has led to the arrests of more than 89 people and the seizures of 90 guns, police said.

    New York City deployed ShotSpotter in March 2015, and the technology provided 1,672 gunshot alerts — 74 percent of which weren't reported by 911, according to a 2016 story in the New York Daily News.

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  64.    Fire at a homeless encampment sparked Bel-Air blaze that destroyed homes, officials say

    … underscores the need to do more to house the homeless.

    That's the right attitude, not kick people when they are down.

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  65.    Fire in Oakland hills damages multiple homes, prompts evacuations – SFGate

    "… Living in a house that's made primarily of wood and watching what happened in Santa Rosa and in Southern California, it just takes a moment to lose everything," he said referring to the deadly Wine Country fires in the North Bay in October and the multiple wildfires currently sweeping across areas from Santa Barbara to north San Diego County.

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  66.    The Bulgarian Government Is Sitting on $3 Billion in Bitcoin – CoinDesk

    When reading this, remember what I wrote above concerning the article, "Bitcoin Doesn't Exist — The Full Story." Also, don't forget the ransonware infiltrators who demand Bitcoin in payment.

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  67.    Share buybacks spike — dropping a strong hint at what CEOs plan to do with tax savings – MarketWatch

    This is the point I've been making, which much of the MSM knows but hasn't been driving home with average voters.

    Audience members there were asked to raise their hands if their company planned to invest more if the Republican tax bill were to pass. When very few hands went up, Cohn expressed surprise, asking, "Why aren't the other hands up?"

    Executives later told reporters that they would use the anticipated tax savings to reduce debt, increase buybacks or pay dividends. David Mendels, the former chief executive of online video company Brightcove Inc., and before that an executive at Adobe Systems Inc., called the idea that companies would do otherwise "bonkers."

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  68.    4 Charts That Show How Tax Cuts Will Trigger A Recession

    This article is right that the tax cuts (and I add in the Fed moves) will most likely cause a recession. However, the article is right for the wrong reasons. Time and historical patterns absent the tax-cut-for-the-rich plan and the Fed raises have no impact and provide no proof. With the right money policies and practices, the US could be eternally recession proof.

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