News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Oct. 30, 2017

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) In Defense of the Conventional Wisdom | Tim Duy's Fed Watch

2) 8,400 Buildings Destroyed by Deadly California Wildfires

3) Massive Fire Ravages Neighborhood in Maine, Destroys Six Buildings

4) 9.0 quake simulations show which location is best for Seattle | KING5[.]com

5) EU on brink of historic decision on pervasive glyphosate weedkiller | Environment | The Guardian

6) Notorious Human Rights Abuser Saudi Arabia Is Pitching Investors on a $500 Billion Pivot to Techno-Utopia

7) Tracking Down 'Most Wanted' Insurance Fraud Suspects

8) NASA Just Released A Satellite Image Of A Charred Northern California

9) Man dies of flesh-eating bacteria after Harvey cleanup – CNN

10) 13 Principles for Being an Incredible Landlord

11) Hoverboard Suspected in Pennsylvania Fire that Damaged Six Townhomes

12) Fire Officials Estimate $1M in Damage from Maryland Apartment Building Fire

13) The Wondrous German Public Sector Banks Aren't All They Are Cracked Up To Be

14) A Peek at Future Jobs Shows Growing Economic Divides – The New York Times

15) Province to close loophole that circumvents rent controls | Real Estate | Business in Vancouver

16) Wall Street Wins as Senate Blocks Consumer Protection Rule – YouTube

17) Hurricane relief rocky for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands | McClatchy Washington Bureau

18) Sydney apartment market has cracked

19) "Shocking ignorance" from MPs who don't know where money actually comes from | City AM

20) Swap 'Til You Drop: Multifamily Tax Avoidance Tips from Closing Table to Inheritance

21) California begins 'historic cleanup' from fires but faces serious hurdles in rebuilding

22) Disaster Fraud | FEMA[.]gov

23) Study Links Colorado, New Mexico Quakes to Oil and Gas Fluid Injections

24) Florida man convicted in Richmond in federal arson-for-profit scheme | Crime | richmond[.]com

25) Bad Rabbit ransomware: everything you need to know | WIRED UK

26) Technology That Sucks CO2 From Ambient Air is Already Used Commercially in Switzerland and Iceland | Big Think

27) Top 10 Markets For Real Estate Investing

28) Secondary US Cities Continue to Show Strong Investment Potential – Mansion Global

29) Carmen Yulin Cruz: Whitefish Energy contract is 'alarming'

30) Xi's consolidation of power will ultimately be China's undoing | Irish Examiner

31) Santa Rosa police arrest Monterey County pair in looting of burned apartment | The Press Democrat

32) Here's our first look at Elon Musk's Boring Co. LA tunnel | TechCrunch

33) Boil water advisory lifted for most Oakland County communities | MLive[.]com

34) Walmart is deploying in-store autonomous robots in over 50 locations — BGR

35) Hurricane Sandy anniversary: New York infrastructure improvements since the storm – Curbed NY

36) Climate change and rising sea levels threaten real estate – Investment Property Forum

  1.    In Defense of the Conventional Wisdom | Tim Duy's Fed Watch

    The Phillips Curve is dead when it is beaten to death before it has a chance to resurrect. What do I mean by that? The Fed keeps tightening before pressure is there.

    The reason the pressure doesn't build in the face of small, gradual tightening is due to huge wage-inflation constraints. The Fed simply hasn't been realistic in weighting those constraints.

    Let me state it as simply and frankly as possible. The use of models to predict to get out ahead of and to stay out ahead of wage and price inflation is bad policy (and I'm being polite). The only proper course is reactive rather than predictive. The fear of falling behind is ridiculous in the face of such painfully obvious constraints.

    There. You heard it from an non-academic economist but rather a practical one.

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  2.    8,400 Buildings Destroyed by Deadly California Wildfires

    … the number will likely climb ….

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  3.    Massive Fire Ravages Neighborhood in Maine, Destroys Six Buildings

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


  4.    9.0 quake simulations show which location is best for Seattle | KING5.com

    "The average duration of strong shaking in Seattle is about 100 seconds, about four times as long as from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake."

    That would feel like an eternity. I wonder how the new tunnel would do. Also, if there's heavy rain that's saturated the ground, greater land slides could be a doubly major issue.

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  5.    EU on brink of historic decision on pervasive glyphosate weedkiller | Environment | The Guardian

    Ordinarily, I wouldn't include this topic on this blog. However, glyphosate is literally everywhere. (Landlords use it on their properties to kill weeds.) How risky and damaging is it?

    "There is a huge amount of scaremongering which says that viable alternatives are not available and it is simply not true."

    That's a fact. I know there are organic farmers getting higher yields with resulting better soil, just the opposite of what Monsanto is claiming will happen.

    The genetic alterations of the plants for animal and human food is also an issue. What I've been given to understand is that the Monsanto studies were too short and that the FDA used those studies when approving the system. Perhaps newer, longer studies have since been done.

    I'm interested in these issues and will try to bring you new stories as they unfold.

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  6.    Notorious Human Rights Abuser Saudi Arabia Is Pitching Investors on a $500 Billion Pivot to Techno-Utopia

    The crown prince has been talking about reform throughout the kingdom; at the conference, he also launched barbs at other members of the notoriously conservative monarchy, promising Saudi Arabia would once again become a "country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world." According to CNBC, the zone "will have its own tax and labour laws and an autonomous judicial system." As Quartz noted, the promotional campaign for Neom hints at increased freedom for women and a more open culture.

    When he starts promoting democracy, I'll be favorably impressed, not that greater freedom of religion and greater rights for women aren't important. I'm simply wondering if he's feeling desperate for the monarchy and is doing and saying things to placate people.

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  7.    Tracking Down 'Most Wanted' Insurance Fraud Suspects

    "It's not simply an innocent white-collar crime without victims," said James Quiggle, spokesman for the group. "It drives up premiums for policyholders around the country. People are maimed and killed from insurance schemes. And if they're scammed, they can lose their life savings."

    While health care-related scams represent the biggest chunk of insurance fraud, those involving property and casualty insurance, which include auto, homeowners and workers compensation, amount to about $34 billion a year in bogus claims paid, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an insurance industry trade group. Most Wanted lists are used for both types of fraud.

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  8.    NASA Just Released A Satellite Image Of A Charred Northern California

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


  9.    Man dies of flesh-eating bacteria after Harvey cleanup – CNN

    Unfortunately, this is not surprising.

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  10.    13 Principles for Being an Incredible Landlord

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


  11.    Hoverboard Suspected in Pennsylvania Fire that Damaged Six Townhomes

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


  12.    Fire Officials Estimate $1M in Damage from Maryland Apartment Building Fire

    Authorities said the fire involved the power feed to the apartment complex.

    I'd like to know more about exactly what they found.

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  13.    The Wondrous German Public Sector Banks Aren't All They Are Cracked Up To Be

    I too read Owen Jones's article and found it too glowing. Unlike Frances Coppola, however, I favor public banking in general and as a rule. She doesn't say she's opposed in this article of hers, but I read her on the subject before. She has not been a public-banking person.

    That said, we can have public banking and do vastly better at it than has Germany.

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  14.    A Peek at Future Jobs Shows Growing Economic Divides – The New York Times

    As far as I'm concerned, it's obvious we're headed in this direction; however, when will we change the underlying economic system to deal with it? We certainly can't simply let the "markets" decide. The markets will crash if we do and take the entire economy with them, as there won't be enough consumer money to keep it going. Change is required.

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


  15.    Province to close loophole that circumvents rent controls | Real Estate | Business in Vancouver

    Keeping an eye on Canada, as they do influence the US and vice versa …

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  16.    Wall Street Wins as Senate Blocks Consumer Protection Rule – YouTube

    Bill Black is right that this move represents gigantic moral hazard for the entire US and even global economy. He's right that it hurts consumers and also honest bankers, plus hurts the real economy (contrary to the claim that good regulation and good law reduces growth).

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


  17.    Hurricane relief rocky for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands | McClatchy Washington Bureau

    I have many thoughts on this whole subject area but will refrain (for now anyway). This is an informative article, especially for novices, regardless of one's ideology.

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  18.    Sydney apartment market has cracked

    We'll have to watch this. China is still propped up while clamping down on foreign investments by its average citizens but without complete success so far.

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


  19.    "Shocking ignorance" from MPs who don't know where money actually comes from | City A.M.

    Finally, after years and years, word is getting out (even though this article didn't state that the "magic money tree" was PM May not understanding that governments create money. Also, the article failed to state the very most important aspects. That government money created can be used for anything, and the amount of money created and where it goes could be decided by the general public via real democracy (fully informed, fully transparent).

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  20.    Swap 'Til You Drop: Multifamily Tax Avoidance Tips from Closing Table to Inheritance

    The most important thing about all of this is research, organization, and timeliness. If you're not the organized type, you'll be unlikely to do things correctly.

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  21.    California begins 'historic cleanup' from fires but faces serious hurdles in rebuilding

    California begins 'historic cleanup' from fires but faces serious hurdles in rebuilding from CNBC.

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  22.    Disaster Fraud | FEMA.gov

    After a disaster, scam artists, identity thieves, and other criminals often attempt to take advantage of vulnerable survivors.

    We recently became aware of some potentially suspicious activity in disaster case files including fraudulent registrations. Extensive review of FEMA system security logs found no indications of compromise to the system, however, we are working with our partners and taking necessary steps to determine the impacts and long-term solutions. We encourage disaster survivors from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and the California Wildfires to watch for and report any suspicious activity.

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  23.    Study Links Colorado, New Mexico Quakes to Oil and Gas Fluid Injections

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


  24.    Florida man convicted in Richmond in federal arson-for-profit scheme | Crime | richmond.com

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


  25.    Bad Rabbit ransomware: everything you need to know | WIRED UK

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


  26.    Technology That Sucks CO2 From Ambient Air is Already Used Commercially in Switzerland and Iceland | Big Think

    This sort of thing will definitely mitigate the wrongdoing of the carbon-fuel industrial cycle. It will not, however, correct all the ills caused by the greed at the heart of that industry. There's more to fight than just too much CO2.

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  27.    Top 10 Markets For Real Estate Investing

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  28.    Secondary U.S. Cities Continue to Show Strong Investment Potential – Mansion Global

    Secondary cities can be broken into several categories, but are typically just smaller cities with populations from about 500,000 to 3 million. …

    Not all secondary cities are created equal

    If you're looking for a good city to invest in, not any secondary city will do, experts say. The places with real potential must have a confluence of positive economic factors, including local industry and job creation; quality-of-life features, including a walkable downtown core; access to higher education and an educated workforce; and established infrastructure, with access to quality healthcare and ideally, public transit.

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  29.    Carmen Yulin Cruz: Whitefish Energy contract is 'alarming'

    I can't read Carmen Yulin Cruz's mind, but I can say without hesitation that she shouldn't really have much to complain about. It's not her fault that she does.

    We don't hear, see, or read such reports coming from Texans or Floridians about how the problems there were handled. Yes, Puerto Rico is on an island, which does present a different set of challenges relative to Texas and Florida and the like, but the effort doesn't seem to have been sustained at a high enough rate considering the hit Puerto Rico took. To top it off, Puerto Rico was offered loans, which it doesn't need but rather loan forgiveness: a clean slate.

    I don't understand President Trump's political calculations here. It would have cost him zero political capital to have pulled out all the stops to aid and rebuild Puerto Rico. In fact, he would have gained such capital.

    Who would have been brazen enough to say that fixing Puerto Rico shouldn't be done but that only superrich people on the mainland and their cronies should primarily benefit? Oh, there would have been such people, but the vast majority of Americans would have cheered a huge nonpartisan effort to help Puerto Rico without rewarding catastrophe-profiteers. Sure, under our mixed economy, there's a need to make a living (to earn and be paid) even when doing government work to aid people in desperate straits; but getting rich off misery is not sound economics but the exact opposite.

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  30.    Xi's consolidation of power will ultimately be China's undoing | Irish Examiner

    John Lloyd appears to see many of the same problems I do concerning the totalitarian dictator, Xi.

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  31.    Santa Rosa police arrest Monterey County pair in looting of burned apartment | The Press Democrat

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


  32.    Here's our first look at Elon Musk's Boring Co. LA tunnel | TechCrunch

    The future is interesting.

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


  33.    Boil water advisory lifted for most Oakland County communities | MLive.com

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


  34.    Walmart is deploying in-store autonomous robots in over 50 locations — BGR

    One person's boring is another person's food on the table. That said, we can't and shouldn't stop replacing humans with tech. We should replace having to work to get money or goods and services though.

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  35.    Hurricane Sandy anniversary: New York infrastructure improvements since the storm – Curbed NY

    These may help, but they're not the solution.

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


  36.    Climate change and rising sea levels threaten real estate – Investment Property Forum

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

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