News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Jul. 25, 2017

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Arsonists Plague Illinois City

2) Single Family Goes Big: Institutional Interest in Standalone Homes is on the Rise — Commercial Observer

3) Post-scarcity economy – Wikipedia

4) 9 Sneaky Fees to Watch for When Hiring a Property Manager

5) CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Tally Sticks and the Fundamentals of Money

6) Douglas L. Campbell: In the Idiocy of Kevin Warsh: More Evidence for the 'Self-Induced Paralysis' Thesis

7) Should I Buy Many Cheap or a Few Pricier Homes? An Analysis

8) Landlord alert: New index aims to take the risk out of rental investing

9) Panel-Maker Arconic Sued in US Over Losses Linked to London Tower Fire

10) L-W woman charged with burning home | The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

11) Sinkhole swallows 2 homes, continues to grow in Land O' Lakes neighborhood, nearby homes evacuated – abcactionnews[dot]com WFTS-TV

12) Pet fire safety: How you can keep your furry friends safe

13) The progression toward smart cities 3.0 is 'an evolution, not a revolution' | Smart Cities Dive

14) What Is 5G? | PCMag[dot]com

15) National Single-Family Rent Growth Decelerated in May 2017 Compared to May 2016

16) Residents return home to Marco Polo condo after fatal blaze – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

17) Study: Hackers Could Use Brainwaves to Steal Passwords

18) Judge: Insurer Off the Hook for Payment in Ohio Arson Case

19) Boomers Look To Real Estate To Afford Retirement

20) Capitalism — where Marx was right and wrong | Michael Roberts Blog

21) 'Devil's Ivy' Vulnerability Could Afflict Millions of Internet-Connected Cameras and Card Readers | WIRED

22) This Expansion Will End in a Fizzle, Not a Bang – Bloomberg

23) Where There's Vapor: Electronic Cigarettes and Their Risks

24) Western Washington not immune from wildfire risk | The Seattle Times

25) "Neoliberalism" isn't an empty epithet. It's a real, powerful set of ideas. – Vox

26) Young workers face a tougher labor market even as the economy inches towards full employment | Economic Policy Institute

27) A government can always afford high-quality health care provision | Bill Mitchell — billy blog

28) California's Drought Is Over, but a New Report Shows Wildfire Risk is High for Millions

29) 3 Coastal California Communities Sue Oil Companies over Sea-Rise

30) California Wildfire Threatens 1,500 Homes

31) Ohio Residents Forced to Evacuate from Sinking Homes

32) New York Capital City Fire Damages Homes, Residents Flee

33) MUGSHOTS: 9 arrested in Sarasota Co. unlicensed contractor sting | WFLA[dot]com

34) Massive blow to criminal Dark Web activities after globally coordinated operation | Europol

35) Minimum Wage and Job Loss: One Alarming Seattle Study Is Not the Last Word – The New York Times

36) More US households are renting than at any point in 50 years | Pew Research Center

37) Xi's Risk-Off Push Ripples Through China as Transition Nears – Bloomberg

38) Baton Rouge contractor faces more fraud charges in St. John Parish | NOLA[dot]com

39) Staten Islander allegedly used real estate scam to bilk elderly out of $1.8M | SILive[dot]com

40) Capital accumulation, private property, and inequality in China, 1978-2015 | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

41) Freddie Mac is following Fannie Mae to rental market for affordability

42) Connecticut Homeowners Dispute With Insurers Hinges on Definition of Collapse

43) Detroit-based educators to get housing breaks

44) Can a grassroots movement fix urban housing shortages? – Curbed

45) Remembering The Confession of Alan Greenspan | The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance

46) The 2 most popular critiques of basic income are both wrong – Vox

47) Here's why deeply flawed Western economic models are undermining the worst global recovery in history

48) Greed is no longer good — bond boom comes to an end | Business | The Guardian

49) As Pruitt Guts Water Rules, EPA Will Allow Fracking Waste Dumping in the Gulf of Mexico

50) All hell breaks loose as the tundra thaws | Environment | The Guardian

51) Wildfire leaves "complete devastation" in rural community | The Sacramento Bee

52) Scientists just learned how to lock away carbon a whole lot faster – ScienceAlert

53) US Mega Banks Are This Close to Breaking Their Profit Record – Bloomberg

54) Michael Mann Responds to 'Uninhabitable Earth' – YouTube

55) Is Productivity Growth Becoming Irrelevant?

56) The Ideologues Who Want to Destroy Democracy to Save Capitalism

57) Senators Urged to Join Bernie Sanders in Opposing Dirty Energy Bill

58) The Bleak Left: On Endnotes | Issue 28 | n+1

59) NBER. Mitchell to Burns about Friedman. 1945 – Economics in the Rear-View Mirror

60) Tennessee Apartment Fire Displaces 19 Residents

  1.    Arsonists Plague Illinois City

    If the arsonist(s) keep it up, he/she/they will be caught.

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


  2.    Single Family Goes Big: Institutional Interest in Standalone Homes is on the Rise — Commercial Observer

    Managing the same number of single-family homes scattered throughout even a relatively small geographic area is inherently a less efficient process, requiring more travel, time and expense.

    But now, technology has mitigated this complexity to an extent, said Rob Harper, the senior managing director and head of U.S. asset management in Blackstone's real estate group. "There are tools that allow you to, for instance, more efficiently communicate with your tenants, manage lease processes online, use routing software and logistics technology to figure out for a repairman that has to visit 20 homes in a day the most efficient way to do that in the least amount of time. There are technologies that 10 or 15 years ago wouldn't have existed that obviously help."

    Also important is the typically lower turnover of single-family renters compared to multifamily residents, he said. "If your tenants are staying [longer] and you don't have to spend the time re-leasing the asset and going through that administrative process as frequently, that helps offset some of the inefficiencies that come with dealing with properties that are dispersed geographically."

    There's plenty more in this article where that came from.

    It explains, for instance, why the big institutional investors opted for somewhat larger houses than the average.

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  3.    Post-scarcity economy – Wikipedia

    Excellent, highly consistent with my own writings …

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  4.    9 Sneaky Fees to Watch for When Hiring a Property Manager

    I'm a bit taken aback by the use of the word "sneaky" if the provisions of the management contract are clear on the issues raised in this article.

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


  5.    CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Tally Sticks and the Fundamentals of Money

    Tally sticks were a highly successful monetary innovation, in the sense that they were used for centuries. They offer a demonstration of the idea that money, at its root, is something that can be stored and then accepted for purchases: as the textbooks say, money is a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account. They also demonstrate that money can be created by private actors, although textbooks typically emphasize the role of banks in creating money in the modern economy.

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  6.    Douglas L. Campbell: In the Idiocy of Kevin Warsh: More Evidence for the 'Self-Induced Paralysis' Thesis

    This is great! Doug Campbell nails it.

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


  7.    Should I Buy Many Cheap or a Few Pricier Homes? An Analysis

    Don't go too high end. It's easier to find tenants and keep vacancies low if you buy properties in the price range most people in your area can afford. Higher demand properties are going to be easier than higher end properties.

    True, but don't invest in your area if the area is too risky. Proper due diligence will rule out whole areas quite often.

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


  8.    Landlord alert: New index aims to take the risk out of rental investing

    I've covered this outfit before, but this article is a good and timely follow-on to the link immediately above. I'm not pushing Roofstock (though they might be just fine). I'm pushing granular, area due diligence (always have).

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


  9.    Panel-Maker Arconic Sued in U.S. Over Losses Linked to London Tower Fire

    Brave said shareholders were deceived by Arconic's inadequate disclosures regarding the cladding panels, and that their use significantly increased the risk of property damage, injury or death in buildings containing them.

    He said Arconic's public statements were "materially false and misleading at all relevant times," and that Kleinfeld and Giacobbe should also be held liable for their contents.

    We heard earlier about how the company said it had warned those to whom it was supplying the flammable siding not to use it on buildings above a certain number of floors; however, what did it, or didn't it, tell investors? We'll keep an eye on this story as it unfolds.

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  10.    L-W woman charged with burning home | The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

    "Both the SBI and the insurance company's investigator came to the conclusion that the fire was intentionally set," Holley said.

    The Sheriff added that accelerants were found inside the home, which were linked to how the fire started.

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  11.    Sinkhole swallows 2 homes, continues to grow in Land O' Lakes neighborhood, nearby homes evacuated – abcactionnews.com WFTS-TV

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


  12.    Pet fire safety: How you can keep your furry friends safe

    Loads of tips in this article …

    Across the country, pets play a part in starting about 700 home fires every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Of these fires, roughly 75 percent were traced back to candles, chimneys or fireplaces, lighting or kitchen appliances as the source of flame.

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


  13.    The progression toward smart cities 3.0 is 'an evolution, not a revolution' | Smart Cities Dive

    The future is amazing.

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  14.    What Is 5G? | PCMag.com

    In case you were wondering …

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  15.    National Single-Family Rent Growth Decelerated in May 2017 Compared to May 2016

    Seattle experienced 5.4 percent rent growth year over year in Q1 2017 2 , driven by strong employment growth of more than 3 percent year over year and rental vacancy rates of 1.9 percent in Q1 2017, about 5 percentage points lower than the 7 percent national single-family rental home vacancy rate. In contrast, Houston, which has been hit with energy-related job losses since early 2015 and a rental vacancy rate of 11.3 percent in Q1 2017, experienced a 1.8 percent year-over-year decrease in rents according to CoreLogic data.

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  16.    Residents return home to Marco Polo condo after fatal blaze – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

    … the blaze underscores the importance of fire sprinklers.

    It is my official position that all residential buildings in the entire nation that don't have them should be retrofitted with a modern fire-suppression/extinguishing system. We should start with the largest and most fire prone/dangerous buildings first and work our way down until they are all done. Also, national building codes should require such systems in all new construction. This should be nationally subsidized via tax rebates/credits/write offs. That's just for starters!

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  17.    Study: Hackers Could Use Brainwaves to Steal Passwords

    This is not science fiction.

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  18.    Judge: Insurer Off the Hook for Payment in Ohio Arson Case

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


  19.    Boomers Look To Real Estate To Afford Retirement

    Within real estate, single-family homes remain the most popular asset for IRA holders to purchase, according to research from The Entrust Group. In 2016, more than half of the real estate purchases made by Entrust clients were for single-family homes.

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  20.    Capitalism — where Marx was right and wrong | Michael Roberts Blog

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


  21.    'Devil's Ivy' Vulnerability Could Afflict Millions of Internet-Connected Cameras and Card Readers | WIRED

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


  22.    This Expansion Will End in a Fizzle, Not a Bang – Bloomberg

    I agree.

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


  23.    Where There's Vapor: Electronic Cigarettes and Their Risks

    As a landlord, just as with hoverboards, you are completely within your rights to ban e-cigarettes from your properties, including parking lots and parked vehicles.

    A report published last year found that, between 2009 and the second quarter of 2015, a total of 92 reported incidents involved overheating and explosions of e-cigarette batteries—as well as fires while the e-cigarettes are in use, with some incidents resulting in life-threatening injury, disability and major property damage.

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


  24.    Western Washington not immune from wildfire risk | The Seattle Times

    Much of our highest population density areas exist in an "urban forest" environment. This is not just the foothills of the Cascades, but extends into the city limits of urban and suburban cities. We have entire communities nestled in wooded areas with green belts running throughout and parklike forested greenspaces. Typically, none of the "Fire Wise" practices used in Eastern Washington to reduce the impact of a wildland fire spreading have been applied by homeowners here on the West Side.

    Short term, there are a few measures you can take to protect your own home.

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  25.    "Neoliberalism" isn't an empty epithet. It's a real, powerful set of ideas. – Vox

    Nice overview by Mike Konczal …

    We need a full break with what happened before, both because the times are different and because the recent solutions — whatever word you use to describe them — aren't cutting it anymore.

    I'm totally opposed to neoliberal economics.

    When I was young and neoliberal economics was being lauded as a new/old approach we need, I listened because our economy really wasn't doing very well relative to how it had done under FDR and shortly after WWII coming out of the deep depression. Now that I'm older and have had the benefit of much more studying on all the issues involved, I see that the reasons for the stagnation were not nearly what the neoliberal advocates were claiming. We could have reformed without killing the New Deal and have had a much stronger economy all along and without suffering the Great Recession at all.

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  26.    Young workers face a tougher labor market even as the economy inches towards full employment | Economic Policy Institute

    Over the last several years, the economy has moved steadily (if more slowly than we would have wanted) towards full employment. Payroll employment growth in excess of working-age population growth is a positive sign of a growing economy, but unrecovered labor force participation and below-target wage growth are clear signs of remaining economic slack—signaling that we haven't yet reached genuine full employment.

    Last week, Valerie Wilson and I put the black unemployment rate in perspective. Today, I want to talk about the plight of young workers in our economy.

    … While the economy is steadily improving, it needs to be allowed to reach genuine full employment for the recovery to reach young workers as well as old and workers in states across the country.

    Given the indications we have that there are still workers who want jobs but cannot find them, and the lack of inflationary pressure from wage growth, the Federal Reserve should keep their foot off the brakes and let the recovery continue. Otherwise, we will fail to reach genuine full employment—where workers, young and old, and of any race can fully benefit from the economy by finally having the economic leverage to demand and receive raises from current or potential employers. The cost to these workers of prematurely declaring full employment and slowing the recovery far exceed the costs of waiting to restrain growth and allowing a brief period of above-trend wage and price inflation.

    I fully agree.

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  27.    A government can always afford high-quality health care provision | Bill Mitchell — billy blog

    What I've been saying for years and years and years:

    The Commonwealth Report shows emphatically that strong (dare we call them socialist) government-dominated universal care systems like the NHS are vastly more effective than the profit-driven US system.

    There also doesn't seem to be any reason for private insurance in health care at all. And it is here that we enounter the 'funding' myths.

    In a fully employed economy, the intergenerational spending decisions on pensions and health come down to political choices sometimes constrained by real resource availability, but in no case constrained by monetary issues, either now or in the future.

    It takes years and years and years of repeating the obvious before one breaks through mental blockages.

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  28.    California's Drought Is Over, but a New Report Shows Wildfire Risk is High for Millions

    Anthropogenic Global Warming is having a huge negative impact. The weather is now a wild roller-coaster ride, swinging from extreme drought to extreme rain more than ever in human history, even existence. Vegetation swings with it, drying out, then growing, then drying out again, ripe for wild fires, ripe for wiping out homes and businesses and taking lives too. Add to that increased floods, sea-level rises, tornadoes, hailstorms, and on and on, and it's high time we have a crash program of getting off carbon burning!

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  29.    3 Coastal California Communities Sue Oil Companies over Sea-Rise

    What took so long?

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  30.    California Wildfire Threatens 1,500 Homes

    How long are we going to put up with this? Sure, we'd be hard pressed to stop fires even in the best of times given current technology, etc., but I'm talking about AGW, which makes this far from the best of times for having purely natural fires.

    There's plenty more we'd have to do, but we simply must stop or sequester CO2 ASAP!

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  31.    Ohio Residents Forced to Evacuate from Sinking Homes

    Sinkhole collapse due to an artificial cause … ?

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


  32.    New York Capital City Fire Damages Homes, Residents Flee

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


  33.    MUGSHOTS: 9 arrested in Sarasota Co. unlicensed contractor sting | WFLA.com

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


  34.    Massive blow to criminal Dark Web activities after globally coordinated operation | Europol

    Excellent!

    Please note the use of Bitcoin, etc. I won't touch the stuff, never have. It was a terrible idea right from the start, which I said back then.

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


  35.    Minimum Wage and Job Loss: One Alarming Seattle Study Is Not the Last Word – The New York Times

    Between the second quarters of 2014 and 2016, earnings in Seattle grew by an incredible 21 percent, as opposed to 6 percent in parts of Washington outside the Seattle area. And the first quarter of 2016 was exactly when the very large gap in overall wage growth between Seattle and rest of the state (where the control group comes from) really opened up, coinciding with the timing of the job loss found by the University of Washington team. At this point we don't know enough, but clearly there are some missing pieces to this puzzle.

    It may be that some recent minimum-wage increases have resulted in job loss, and that Seattle's big increase — with plans to reach $15 for all employers by 2021 — may yet turn out to be too high. However, it's too soon to draw definite conclusions. Even more important, we should remember that the Washington analysis is a single study of a single minimum-wage increase. Fortunately, there is no need to rely on a single case study when we have many other cities as well as states (like Oregon, California and New York) that are in the process of raising the minimum wage substantially.

    Putting all of those together, along with our evidence from past increases, will give a much more complete picture of how high the minimum wage should go to improve the lives of people at the bottom of the wage scale without throwing lots of people out of work.

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  36.    More U.S. households are renting than at any point in 50 years | Pew Research Center

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  37.    Xi's Risk-Off Push Ripples Through China as Transition Nears – Bloomberg

    The drip, drip, drip crash:

    … Wanda clampdown ….

    China's overseas deals have fallen sharply in response to the official campaign — the value of Chinese outbound acquisitions in the first half of the year fell 54 percent to $66.4 billion from the same period in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    "Beijing is concerned about the build up of financial risks but they continue to take a 'shuffling the deck chairs' approach," said Christopher Balding, an associate professor at the HSBC School of Business at Peking University in Shenzhen. "Addressing financial risks will require slowing the growth target, writing down assets, and imposing investor losses, none of which they seem willing to do."

    One danger is that the campaign could get out of hand and trigger a larger problem in China's financial sector, as savers pull their money out of WMPs and an important source of bank funding shrivels, said Michael Every, head of financial markets research at Rabobank Group in Hong Kong.

    "It looks incredibly dangerous to me," Every said. "WMPs offer rates that are unsustainable, true. But by reducing those rates, if people don't choose to put cash into them, then the whole pyramid topples over."

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


  38.    Baton Rouge contractor faces more fraud charges in St. John Parish | NOLA.com

    Whom do you hire? What due diligence do you do before that?

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


  39.    Staten Islander allegedly used real estate scam to bilk elderly out of $1.8M | SILive.com

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


  40.    Capital accumulation, private property, and inequality in China, 1978-2015 | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

    China has ceased to be communist, but is not entirely capitalist; it should rather be viewed as a mixed economy with a strong public ownership component. In effect, the share of public property in China today (30%) is higher than in the West during the mixed economy regime of the post-WW2 decades (around 15%-25%), but not hugely so. …

    … the level of inequality in China in the late 1970s used to be less than the European average — closer to those observed in the most egalitarian Nordic countries — but it is now approaching a level that is almost comparable with the US. The bottom 50% in China earn approximately 15% of total national income versus 12% in the US and 22% in France; while the top 1% earns about 15% of national income, versus 20% in the US and 10% in France ….

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  41.    Freddie Mac is following Fannie Mae to rental market for affordability

    Freddie Mac wants to provide tens of millions of dollars in financing to midsize landlords, not to giants like Invitation Homes, which operates nearly 50,000 rental homes in 13 markets.

    In all, Freddie Mac could provide up to $1 billion in financing or loan guarantees to smaller firms that buy single-family homes and operate them as what it considers affordable-housing rentals, a company official said in an interview. Some nonprofit housing groups might also be eligible for financing.

    "It is, first and foremost, affordable," said the official, David D. Leopold, a Freddie Mac vice president for targeted affordable sales and investments. "The size of the sponsor is less important than affordability."

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


  42.    Connecticut Homeowners Dispute With Insurers Hinges on Definition of Collapse

    This is why good insurance brokers always tell clients to read the policy. Do not simply assume things are covered.

    That doesn't mean the insurance companies will prevail in the legal system on this particular issue.

    Don't forget that as a policy holder, if others are able to force through extreme interpretations, insurance companies are in it for the profits. They'll have to try to raise premiums or cut back on coverages if premium-increase requests are not successful with insurance commissioners.

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


  43.    Detroit-based educators to get housing breaks

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  44.    Can a grassroots movement fix urban housing shortages? – Curbed

    Regardless of where you come down on the issue, it's a conversation that has to be had.

    For one, building more housing can raise housing costs and can lower housing costs depending upon the type of housing built and where.

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  45.    Remembering The Confession of Alan Greenspan | The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance

    Yes, laissez-faire is fatally flawed. That fact is constantly having to fight to avoid being flushed down the memory hole.

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


  46.    The 2 most popular critiques of basic income are both wrong – Vox

    Well, we don't really have a choice. Technology is going to replace all (and I mean all) required work to provide the basic necessities of life.

    Secondly, as I written more times than I can remember, "Basic" is absolutely arbitrary. There is zero reason to peg the income at "basic." For me, the minimum amount should be at least three times the current poverty level and should be pegged to real price-inflation.

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  47.    Here's why deeply flawed Western economic models are undermining the worst global recovery in history

    "This is a world that is more indebted than it was before the global financial crisis in 2007, there's no productivity growth, asset prices are very elevated, a lot of debt that corporates have built up has gone to share buy backs (and) the number of 'zombie companies' has doubled since 2007," Longview Economics' CEO explained.

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  48.    Greed is no longer good — bond boom comes to an end | Business | The Guardian

    "I don't think the long term trend is about to reverse, mainly because I don't believe inflation is about to return," he says.

    Well, the real issue is whether the Fed is willing to fall on its sword for bankers' profits. It sure wants bankers to profit hugely, but how much will it risk to get those bankers those profits?

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  49.    As Pruitt Guts Water Rules, EPA Will Allow Fracking Waste Dumping in the Gulf of Mexico

    We have billions of tons of plastics going into the seas. We have dead zones from agricultural runoff. We have Fukushima radiation pouring into the Pacific constantly. We have acidification, which is killing the coral reefs. We have sea-level rise due to global warming caused by carbon burning. Here we have fracking chemicals being openly discharged into the same water where seafood is taken in to sell to our families and friends.

    What are we doing and why are we doing it versus being good stewards of the planet? Who benefits and for how long?

    I make zero apologies for being extremely concerned about our environment. Anything less is bad risk management.

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  50.    All hell breaks loose as the tundra thaws | Environment | The Guardian

    Again, what are we doing?

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  51.    Wildfire leaves "complete devastation" in rural community | The Sacramento Bee

    The aggressive wildfire sweeping through the Sierra Nevada foothills covered with dense brush and dead trees destroyed 61 homes and 63 other buildings.

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  52.    Scientists just learned how to lock away carbon a whole lot faster – ScienceAlert

    We hear promising news right along side all the bad news. It's a race. Who will win?

    Should carbon-fuel companies be taxed and the proceeds earmarked expressly for research and development of sequestration?

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  53.    U.S. Mega Banks Are This Close to Breaking Their Profit Record – Bloomberg

    Mega-bankers are laughing all the way to the bank while moaning that their haul isn't enough to suit them. When would they ever be satiated?

    Don't forget that if all the deregulation hadn't happened neither would the Great Recession have happened.

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  54.    Michael Mann Responds to 'Uninhabitable Earth' – YouTube

    If you've never listened to Michael Mann or if you've only heard negative stuff about him, hears your opportunity to listen directly.

    Disclaimer: I like Michael Mann's approach to the issue of climate change (aka AGW).

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  55.    Is Productivity Growth Becoming Irrelevant?

    Exactly:

    Imagine in 2100 a world in which solar-powered robots, manufactured by robots and controlled by artificial intelligence systems, deliver most of the goods and services that support human welfare. All that activity would account for a trivial proportion of measured GDP, simply because it would be so cheap.

    Conversely, almost all measured GDP would reflect zero-sum and/or impossible-to-automate activities — housing rents, sports prizes, artistic performance fees, brand royalties, and administrative, legal, and political system costs. Measured productivity growth would be close to nil, but also irrelevant to improvement in human welfare.

    We are far from there yet. But the trend in that direction may well help explain the recent productivity slowdown. The computers are not in the productivity statistics precisely because they are so powerful.

    Adair Turner is one of the most underappreciated intellectual economists out there. That's because he doesn't toe any line but tells it as he sees it.

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  56.    The Ideologues Who Want to Destroy Democracy to Save Capitalism

    There is no doubt whatsoever that there is a huge struggle between democracy and capitalism. We see here more exposure of the anarcho-capitalists who want to destroy the state to become the state. It's why unbridled capitalism leads invariably to feudalism and serfdom, not freedom, but slavery (wage slavery at best). It actually can't work because the pay at the bottom will be too low to sustain those at the capitalist top.

    Can we really have even a mixed economy in any sustainable way? Frankly, even if we can, I don't see the point in it. A truly transparent democracy is my choice. For me, the only question concerns how long it will take humanity to get there.

    The first hurdle is the same one that's been there all along: winning hearts and minds via real debate, not false propaganda that tells only one side's position. Fortunately, we've been seeing more open debate even while we've seen corporate media try to suppress it.

    That's why we stand for Net Neutrality.

    We aren't against people being rich. We're against leaving people behind for no good reason but simply because some others are too selfish and greedy to give a damn.

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  57.    Senators Urged to Join Bernie Sanders in Opposing Dirty Energy Bill

    So, we're repeatedly told/reminded that Bernie Sanders is, as of the date of this post, polling as America's most favorite national politician. How interesting it is with that, that we find him reportedly standing alone (so far) in the federal legislature concerning this issue. The disconnect between the citizenry and federal legislators seems to be immense. What are we going to do about it?

    Perhaps there are quite a few people who like Sanders best but still don't agree on this issue with him. Somehow, I think that number would be rather low (certainly too low to explain Sanders still standing alone).

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  58.    The Bleak Left: On Endnotes | Issue 28 | n+1

    The displacement of human labor from industrial production has not been ignored in recent left-wing thought. In fact, technological change has generated widespread enthusiasm for "postwork" or "antiwork" strains of Marxism, a tendency captured in slogans like "accelerationism" and "fully automated luxury communism." For these thinkers, the crisis of industrial employment can be solved by letting robots do work while the former working class, now sustained by a guaranteed minimum income, devotes itself to noneconomic pursuits. It is an attractive idea, both because of the elegance of the solution (No jobs? Abolish work!) and because it is more pleasant to imagine a future in which upper-middle-class fecklessness, rather than favela desperation, is the future for the entire planet.

    "fecklessness"? That's a highly cynical Hobbesian view of the end of the beginning. Fully automated luxury communism isn't going to happen short of fully transparent, fully consensus democracy. That's not where fecklessness takes over. It's where the currently unimaginable becomes imaginable, doable, then done.

    Don't get me wrong. Tim Barker's article is definitely worth reading.

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  59.    NBER. Mitchell to Burns about Friedman. 1945 – Economics in the Rear-View Mirror

    To my way of thinking, Milton Friedman was the most overrated economist of my lifetime. I never considered him to be particularly bright.

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  60.    Tennessee Apartment Fire Displaces 19 Residents

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