Interesting & Important News & Analysis, July 16, 2019

Environmental and Public Interest Groups Demand EPA Revoke Monsanto’s License to Pollute

Monsanto (now owned by Bayer (BAYRY), made $4.8 billion in revenue from glyphosate sales in 2015. The EPA claims that glyphosate does not cause cancer, ignoring the United Nations and California’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment, both of which have classified the herbicide as linked to cancer. However, EPA’s Office of Research and Development determined that the Office of Pesticide Programs did not follow proper protocol in its evaluation of glyphosate. EPA included Monsanto-funded studies in its evaluation of the chemical and has a history of collusion with industry.

“EPA is getting the science wrong on glyphosate, and needs to listen to international agencies and peer-reviewed literature on the dangers posed by widespread use of this herbicide,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides.

Cryptocurrencies Pose National Security Threat, Mnuchin Says

Mr. Mnuchin said that cryptocurrencies must comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. They must also meet the same anti-money laundering and counterfeiting standards as traditional financial firms.

Mr. Powell, the Fed chair, expressed similar concerns about Libra last week, telling lawmakers it could not go forward “without their being broad satisfaction with the way the company has addressed money laundering, all those things.” He also raised data privacy and consumer protection concerns, saying, “All of those things will need to be addressed very thoroughly, and carefully, in a deliberate process that will not be a sprint to implementation.”

In the Bronx, 328 low-income rentals open in city housing lottery

The available units range from studios renting for $331/month for individuals making 30 percent of the Area Median Income (between $13,303 and $22,410 annually) and three-bedrooms renting for $1,910 for families making 100 percent of the Area Median Income (between $68,126 and $123,800 annually, depending on household size.)

National service for the environment – what an army of young conservationists could achieve

The school climate strikes show that young people want to fight climate change, but their enthusiasm for collective action is largely untapped. A volunteer conservation army could mobilise their talent and passion by channelling it into work to restore ecosystems.

The Green New Deal – endorsed by US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and numerous presidential candidates – is a plan to eliminate carbon emissions in ten years, provide full employment in building clean energy infrastructure and redistribute wealth to tackle inequality.

The Green New Deal has encouraged people to embrace radical solutions to climate change by sharing its name and ethos with the New Deal of the 1930s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was a transformation of America’s economy which put thousands to work in manufacturing and redistributed wealth to help the country recover from the Depression.

One of the first and most popular programmes of the New Deal was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – a public work relief programme that enlisted millions of young men in conservation work throughout the natural environment of the US. Reviving the scheme could prove a popular and effective way for countries to mobilise the climate strike generation in environmentally beneficial work.

Historic success

Trump and Dems agree America’s infrastructure needs a $2 trillion fix. These 5 states are in the best shape in 2019

López Obrador’s cost-cutting spree is transforming Mexico — and drawing blowback from bureaucrats

Viridiana Rios, a Mexican political scientist, said the fundamental problem isn’t that the government is wasteful, but that it lacks resources. Mexico’s rate of tax collection is among the lowest in Latin America — and López Obrador has promised not to raise taxes.

“We are a country that has always benefited the wealthy. The result is a tiny, skinny state,” said Rios, a visiting professor at Harvard.

Bitcoin Tumbles as Trump Critique Tests Stellar Run for 2019

Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he is “not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” adding that “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

That’s an understatement.

Interesting & Important News & Analysis, July 15, 2019

Gulf Coast Prepares for Tropical Storm Barry: Evacuations Ordered in Louisiana

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for parts of Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes in Louisiana.
Evacuations were also ordered for Grand Isle, a vulnerable barrier island south of New Orleans.
The Louisiana National Guard is on standby for rescues and assistance.
The Texas and Mississippi coasts were also preparing for the tropical storm.

Trump official resigns after climate change warning is blocked

A State Department intelligence official who was blocked by the White House from submitting written congressional testimony on climate change last month is resigning from his post.

Rod Schoonover – who worked in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues’ Bureau of Intelligence and Research – spoke about the security risks the US faces due to climate change before the House Intelligence Committee on 5 June.

But White House officials would not let him submit the bureau’s written statement that climate impacts could be “possibly catastrophic” after the State Department refused to cut references to federal scientific findings on climate change.


Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned the scientific consensus that human activity is driving recent climate change, and that the planet’s warming poses a major security risk to the United States.

Honduras Now Ruled By A “Criminal Gang” – With Western Government Support

Honduran Congressman Ramón Soto Bonilla says it is now more dangerous in Honduras to be a land defender than a narco-trafficker

He’s says a great deal more than that, and it’s all well worth listening to.

The US should not be orchestrating coups against duly elected governments. The US should not be supporting corruption and dictatorships over democracy. Each time the US acts in an evil way, it makes things worse everywhere, including in the US. It makes the entire world worse. It all always comes back to haunt us one way or another. It’s beyond mere risk.

16:20 is where this video makes the mistake that all of the EU countries couldn’t make it economically via a fully integrated EU. The poorer nations would not, repeat, would not be a drag on the core countries. The video cites the US as an example but doesn’t seem to understand the difference between New York and Mississippi in terms of economic power but with the ability to share the wealth through the federal government. It also doesn’t seem to comprehend the power of MMT, which could be, and should be, employed in the EU rather than Germany’s ordoliberalism (neoliberal, Austerian economics with German characteristics).

EU at the Crossroads: Integration or Disintegration

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim Gets Twisted

The insured’s position was consistent with well-settled principles of insurance law, which require courts to read insurance policies—including deductible provisions—liberally in favor of coverage and in accordance with the insured’s reasonable expectations. The Texas Supreme Court has held that where the insured and the insurer offer competing plausible interpretations of an exclusionary provision, the court must adopt the construction urged by the insured as long as that construction is not unreasonable, even if the construction urged by the insurer appears to be more reasonable or a more accurate reflection of the parties’ intent. Utica Nat. Ins. Co. of Texas v. Am. Indem. Co., 141 S.W.3d 198, 202 (Tex. 2004).

Notwithstanding this well-settled principle, the federal court rejected the insured’s interpretation of the policy’s deductible provisions ….

In this instance, the federal court appears to have deviated from ordinary principles of insurance policy interpretation by rejecting the insured’s seemingly plausible interpretation of the policy’s deductible language in favor of a strained interpretation that favors the insurer. Although this decision may be considered an outlier (which may be rectified on appeal), insureds should be aware of the Pan Am Equities decision.

Do you think this level of increase gives landlords a bad reputation?

Mobile Home Residents Hit With Soaring Rent After Hurricanes

For eight years, James Lesane paid what he could for his mobile home lot rental every month _ $150. But in February, five months after Hurricane Florence flooded the Lumberton region and shortly after Florida-based company Time Out Communities bought the park, his monthly lot rent more than tripled to $465.

Georgia Makes 49 Insurance Fraud Arrests in First Half of 2019

It No Longer Takes a Big Storm to Produce High Tide Flooding in Coastal Communities

NOAA has identified more than 40 locations where annual rates of high tide flooding are rapidly increasing. Annual rates at 25 other locations are also trending upwards but more gradually. These increases suggest a much wetter future for many coastal areas.

Over 600 Buildings Damaged by Tornado That Hit Missouri Capital

It’s about time they started realizing labor slack is still significant. If they had done it my way, they wouldn’t have started dialing down the economy until after price inflation reached 5%. They prolonged the Great Recession. They stymied the recovery. However, the Phillips Curve isn’t dead, as some seem to think. It’s only that there are other factors, new factors, that have suppressed it. “Free trade” globalization is the main factor.

The Fed’s New Message: The Economy Can Get a Lot Better for Workers

Larry Kudlow Praises AOC, Wants to Meet With Her on Fed Policy

The Federal Reserve Makes a Case for Lowering Rates Back to Zero

Yes, flip-flopping: White House’s Kudlow: $22.5 trillion debt is not ‘a huge problem’

Chicago landlords should know:

9 Chicago renters’ rights your landlord doesn’t want you to know

How to Prepare for the Next Recession: Automate the Rescue Plan

Claudia Sahm, an economist at the Fed’s board of governors, details how the government might automate a strategy of making direct payments to families during an economic downturn, as Congress did on a discretionary basis in 2001, 2008 and 2009. Besides helping the recipients, this injects cash into the economy at a time businesses face a shortage of demand.

“If you’re going to make a big, sweeping change to fiscal policy, it should be debated on its own terms, not as fiscal stimulus,” said Jay Shambaugh, director of the Hamilton Project. “If something is properly countercyclical, it should kick in when the economy slows and go away when the economy recovers.”

An unchecked desire for instant gratification with investing is a sign of mental deficiency or confusion.

These Companies Wanted Tariffs. How Are They Faring Now?

Not quite as bad as Hong Kong, but …

How to afford LA? Get 24 roommates

They pay $580 per month in rent for a bunk, a wardrobe, and a kitchen cubby for dry food. Their utilities and WiFi are included, and they get maid service twice a week. But that also means the property manager is making nearly $14,000 every month from that rent.

South Beach residents sue to stop Embarcadero homeless center

“Homelessness centers in the city and county of San Francisco have become magnets for additional homeless persons, open drug and alcohol use, crime, daily emergency calls, public urination and defecation, and other nuisances.”

The more people say NIMBY, the longer and more people will suffer because of that NIMBY. It’s a vicious circle. The whole of society has to step up to lift the poor, the abused, the ill, etc. Once that happens, there will be less homelessness, less drug and alcohol abuse, less crime, fewer emergency calls, less public urination and defecation, and other nuisances.

Why natural cycles only play small role in rate of global warming

While the climate system continues to be influenced by short-term natural variability from El Niño and La Niña events, the idea that oceans have been driving the climate into colder or warmer periods for multiple decades in the past – and that they may do so in the future – is unlikely to be correct.

Most of the complex global climate models strongly support the hypothesis that oceans have only limited ability to alter global temperatures on multidecadal timescales. This study provides a support for those model results.

This means that we can expect future warming to be primarily driven by external forcing factors – such as human-caused greenhouse gas emissions – along with the variability associated with ENSO.


How the Super Rich Avoid Paying Taxes … And What We Can Do About It

Business owners who take money out of their companies should be required to rely on a trustee whose legal duty is to withhold taxes and report the income, risking prison or failure to do so. That is how the system operates for workers, pensioners and investors.

The more the super rich pay, the less we’ll have to.

Renters will look for this too.

How to decide if you should rent or buy in Seattle

Deal-seekers are looking to neighborhoods and cities outside of the center of Seattle or even in surrounding cities where new Link Light Rail stations and routes will be installed over the next decade. For example, a light rail station is under construction in Northgate, a neighborhood in north Seattle. It’s set to open in 2021, and home prices in the area are still fairly reasonable. The median home value in the neighborhood is just under $400,000, according to Zillow.

“When you have light rail then you can be farther out because you know how long your commute is going to be,” said Gardner. “A lot of people are now being thoughtful about that, about moving out to somewhere that is in the path of mass transit areas.”

EPA expands use of pesticide considered ‘very highly toxic’ to bees


Each year, 200 million pounds (90.7 million kg) of clothing ends up in New York City’s landfill sites – the equivalent of filling the Statue of Liberty with garments 440 times.

New York City has a plan to fight fast fashion waste. Here’s how it works

Phoenix could feel more like Baghdad by 2050, a new climate study says

Human activities, from burning fossil fuels to deforestation, are already heating up the planet, causing warmer summers and winters. In the not-so-distant future, cities in the northern hemisphere will have climates more like cities 620 miles to their south today, the study’s senior author, Tom Crowther, told National Geographic.

How far off from Baghdad is Phoenix right now? Average highs from May to September in Baghdad range from 98 to 112 degrees, peaking in July, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Baghdad receives virtually no rainfall in the summer.

Average highs in the same period in Phoenix range from 94 to 106 degrees.

The movement against putting carbon-fuel industries above the welfare of the people and planet is not going away but growing and getting stronger by the day.

As Cost Of Climate Crisis Grows, Climate Movement Escalates

“Where the American Dream Goes to Die”: Changes in House Prices, Rents, and Incomes since 1960 by Region & Metro

And some people have the nerve to say that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would break the economy. We’d have to raise it to around $25 an hour just to get it where it was in purchasing power a few decades ago. The economy was far from broken back then. In fact the middle and working classes were doing very much better than now.

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

And it’s the stupid greedy driving it.

The dose of toxic chemicals required to harm a developing brain is much lower than that which would damage an adult. As well as particulates, high levels of magnetite particles, a pollutant associated with neuro-degenerative diseases, have been found in the brains of people living in urban areas.

What it’s like to raise children in the world’s most polluted capital

… rich countries continue to outsource some of their pollution to poor countries. …

Experts say what’s needed in Mongolia is a fundamental change in the city’s infrastructure and in the country’s reliance on dirty sources of energy. That means connecting all ger district houses to a central heating system; improving the city’s electric capacity; subsidizing electricity so it’s cheap enough that people can transition from coal; insulating and upgrading buildings to make them more sustainable; and moving all the coal power plants out of the city.

But the government can’t afford that kind of massive investment, and Gabymbyme Haldai, head of the city mayor’s office air quality monitoring division, is irritated when I ask him about it.

When the USA was debating opening China to capitalism, it was being said that opening China would lead to democracy in China. That’s not all that was said. One of the main points put forward in the debate was that it would move industrial pollution out of the US to China, which is exactly what happened.

You might be tempted to say that was a good thing for the US. However, what the US should have done instead was work extremely hard on creating pollution-free factories right here in the US and only outsource to those who would abide by our higher standards. If we had done it that way, which was the way I was advocating, we wouldn’t be facing even half the problems we are.

What it’s really like to live in NYC’s first micro-unit building

Curbed always makes all landlords sound sort of villainous with these “doesn’t want you to know” titles they use concerning everywhere. I think good landlords don’t feel that way but just do their best to do things according to the law.

10 Seattle renters’ rights your landlord doesn’t want you to know

There’s lots to love about living outside Seattle