News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

Linking ≠ endorsement. News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Emergency proclamation issued for Kauai after widespread flooding

2) Chicago rents have dipped more than 15 percent since last year, report finds

3) More than 80 tenants launch multi-building rent strike in Westlake

4) A Tale Of Two Real Estate Markets

5) Massive Woodside residential development will create 561 apartments

6) Why Real Estate May Be A Big Winner In The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

7) Mississippi Investors Plead Guilty to Bid-Rigging

8) NYC landlords offer more concessions than ever as demand for affordable rentals grows

9) Subprime mortgages make a comeback—with a new name and soaring demand

10) Econ Majors Graduate With a Huge Knowledge Gap

11) As Malls Get Crushed, Commercial Real Estate Prices Fall to Lowest in Nearly Two Years

12) MDF vs Wood: Why MDF has Become So Popular for Cabinet Doors

13) No relief in sight: Housing affordability is weakening at the fastest pace in a quarter century

14) Labour would rip up definition of affordable housing, Corbyn says

15) A Small Fix for the Housing Crunch Is in Your Backyard

16) The Urban Housing Crisis Is a Test for Progressive Politics

17) Finance 202 Meets Economics 101

18) Multifamily Market Indicators Stay Positive

19) It's Not Just You: 5 Signs Rent Is Totally Out of Control

20) The real reason the Republican tax cut isn't going to work

21) A Guaranteed "Jobs for All" Program Is Gaining Traction Among 2020 Democratic Hopefuls

22) The Tax Experiment That Failed

23) How can we design communities to be healthy?

24) World Bank recommends fewer regulations protecting workers

25) Cory Booker's new big idea: guaranteeing jobs for everyone who wants one

26) A "new start" for Labour and the finance sector — McDonnell's full speech in the City

27) California's cost of living pushes people to Arizona

28) One reason tuition is going up? A new report finds much of the money is going to Wall Street.

29) Exceptional drought in parts of seven states in US Southwest

30) Faked cleanup at Hunters Point Shipyard much worse than Navy estimates

31) The net worth of college graduates with student debt is truly depressing

32) The Rising Speed of Technological Adoption

33) Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising

34) 20 Must-Have Team Members for Real Estate Investing Newbies

35) 10 Common EUO [Examination Under Oath] Questions Answered

36) Latest IBHS Report Finds Uneven Building Standards in Hurricane Prone States

37) Fill Used for Flood Resilience Scrutinized Post-Harvey

38) Michigan Senate Votes No Ban on Pit Bulls

39) Woman Sentenced for Insurance Fraud Involving Jones County Fire

40) French train hero's dad found guilty of wire and mail fraud in huge arson case

41) Oklahoma Orders More Cuts in Water Injection Amounts After Earthquakes

42) Houston-Area Officials Say They Didn't Know About Reservoir Flood Risks Pre-Harvey

43) South Carolina Apartment Fire Destroys 16 Homes, Injures 7

44) After Amazon Conquers Banking, Insurance Could be Next

45) Florida's Citizens Reopens More Than 25K Hurricane Irma Claims

46) Florida CFO Releases List of Top 10 Most Wanted Insurance Fraudsters

47) Quake Scenario: More than 1M Bay Area Homes Could Suffer Extensive Damage

48) Wave your false flags!

49) Researchers use power lines to exfiltrate data from air-gapped computers

50) Modern Money Theory (MMT) vs. Structural Keynesianism

51) Yellowstone Supervolcano Hotspot Found More Than 1,800 Feet Below Earth's Surface

52) Why Democrats [everyone] Should Embrace a Federal Jobs Guarantee

53) Net neutrality is all but officially dead. Now what?

54) Thomas Edison and Henry Ford explain Modern Monetary Theory in 1921

55) State of Emergency Declared for 2 North Carolina Counties Hit by Tornado

56) Louisiana Recovery Group Marshals Cash, Volunteers to Help Flood Victims

57) Tax bill will slash by half the number of homeowners using the mortgage deduction

58) After slew of WA property tax increases, Redmond woman wants relief

59) Plastic planet: How tiny plastic particles are polluting our soil [and everything else, even our insides]

60) The Trump administration has officially clipped the wings of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

61) EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's 'Days Are Numbered' for Ethics Violations

62) On tectonic plates, the economic system & the economics profession

63) EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: Delete Decades Of Science In The Name Of 'Transparency'

64) Report: Hannity gained HUD help on multimillion property deals

65) The Sean Hannity Controversy Exposes the Racist Hypocrisy of Wypipo Welfare

66) Seeds for new financial crisis 'being planted', warns economist Douglas Diamond

67) Congressional Budget Office: New Tax Law Helps Foreign Investors Even More than You Thought

68) Insider Q&A: The inherent limits of temporary tax cuts

69) Four more high-rise projects ready to break ground in Chicago's West Loop

70) Residents Critical of State Program to Repair Harvey-Damaged Homes

71) Towards a Broader Theory of Imperialism

72) China's Car Revolution Is Going Global

73) Fertile Soil: Understanding Fertility Levels and Inputs

74) Ben Carson proposes rent hikes on low-income families

75) What Mulvaney was really saying in the remarks about lobbyists that created a firestorm

76) Mick Mulvaney's full speech to bankers about "burning down" consumer protection

77) Ben Shapiro: Bernie Sanders' Jobs Plan 'Will Create Massive Unemployment'

78) Bitcoin is the greatest scam in history: It's a colossal pump-and-dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen.

79) Why High-Flying US Home Prices Seen Getting Another Jolt

80) Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry [while helping to save the planet]

81) Washington Wants to Weaken Bank Rules. Not Every Regulator Agrees

82) Why can't anyone build affordable housing in the Mission?

83) Another theory goes "poof" — labor doesn't limit growth like it used to

84) Insurers Fear US Economic Slowdown, Inflation: Goldman Sachs

85) Robots Used in Japan to Beat Construction Labor Shortage

86) Suspicious event hijacks Amazon traffic for 2 hours, steals cryptocurrency

87) Spain's Palma to ban holiday rentals after residents' complaints

88) Jeff Bezos v the world: why all companies fear 'death by Amazon'

89) Britain, headquarters of fraud

90) One in eight bird species threatened with extinction, global study finds

91) How Chinese gangs are laundering drug money through Vancouver real estate

92) 30 kg of plastic bags killed whale washed ashore on Santorini

93) World May Hit 2 Degrees of Warming in 10-15 Years Thanks to Fracking, Says Cornell Scientist

94) Decline in bees puts supply of raw materials for global business at risk, says report

95) Dangerous climate tipping point is 'about a century ahead of schedule' warns scientist

96) Climate change could trigger volcanic eruptions across the world, warn scientists

97) In 2020, German society will start collapsing

98) Why Bitcoin Behaves Like the Flu

99) EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides

100) Nelson, Scott, Buchanan rip plan to weaken oil drilling regs: The rules were established after the Deepwater Horizon disaster

101) Nomi Prins, The Return of the Great Meltdown?

102) Mick Mulvaney and the Trump Administration's Sellout to Wall Street

103) Downtown LA apartments fill up as construction stalls

104) Higher Interest Rates Mean More Renters for Apartment Sector

105) Amazon is now selling home security services, including installations and no monthly fees

106) An intellectual virus, a bubble, or both?

107) Worlds Apart: How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies

108) The Media Narrative Around Amazon Is Out of Control

109) Valero Refinery Fire in Texas Released Air Contaminants, Report Finds

110) Recovery Efforts Underway in North Carolina After Tornado Damages 1K Structures

111) Finland rejects 'false' claims its basic income trial has failed: 'Proceeding as planned'

112) UK businesses make world-first pact to ban single-use plastics

113) Teachers and Arizona governor at odds as deal announced

114) Paul Waldman: Democrats are swinging for the fences

115) Giving money creation back to government

116) Trump Plan to Raise Minimum Rents Would Put Nearly a Million Children at Risk of Homelessness

117) Hawaii Takes Historic First Step Toward Creating 'Utility of the Future' Now

118) Move Over Chernobyl, Fukushima is Now Officially the Worst Nuclear Power Disaster in History

119) The hills are alive with the signs of plastic: even Swiss mountains are polluted

  1.    Emergency proclamation issued for Kauai after widespread flooding News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

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


  2.    Chicago rents have dipped more than 15 percent since last year, report finds

    Increasing inventory doesn't necessarily mean rents will take a nosedive. In fact, while Zumper reported rent rate drops among one- and two-bedrooms, HotPad's rent report says that the median rent for a one-bedroom in Chicago is up 0.7 percent from last year.

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


  3.    More than 80 tenants launch multi-building rent strike in Westlake News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

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


  4.    A Tale Of Two Real Estate Markets

    ... real estate investing is about markets. But above all, it's really about neighborhoods and micromarkets.

    The direction the neighborhood or micromarket is heading is key too.

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


  5.    Massive Woodside residential development will create 561 apartments News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

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


  6.    Why Real Estate May Be A Big Winner In The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

    The bill doubles the Section 179 deduction for qualifying expenses, allowing business to annually deduct up to $1 million on certain types of property expenses.
    Land and property depreciation has been retained and the alternative depreciation system period for residential property has been shortened. This is a huge win for the industry because one of the key features to investing in real estate is depreciation because under U.S. accounting rules real estate loses value, even though it tends to rise in market value.

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


  7.    Mississippi Investors Plead Guilty to Bid-Rigging

    Bid rigging is defined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as any situation in which "business contracts are awarded by soliciting competitive bids...[and there exists] coordination among bidders that undermines the bidding process."

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  8.    NYC landlords offer more concessions than ever as demand for affordable rentals grows News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

    The title sounds contradictory, but it's really that there are two different stories in the one article.

    As long as the rental market is flooded with luxury apartments, you can count on rental concessions being the norm, Miller says. "If we see a shift, with more middle-of-the-road and entry pricing, that discussion changes. But there's no evidence of that in the near term."

    At the end of the day, however, there remains plenty of demand for housing. "With the vacancy rate falling to the lowest level in 10 months, there is increased demand for rental housing in New York," Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, says in the firm's March report.

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  9.    Subprime mortgages make a comeback—with a new name and soaring demand

    "We believe there is actually a market today in the secondary market for people who want to buy nonprime loans that have been properly underwritten," said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Holdings. "We're not going back to the bad old days of ninja lending, when people with no jobs, no income, and no assets were getting loans."

    However, relaxation is heading in that direction. Just how far in that direction will this all go?

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  10.    Econ Majors Graduate With a Huge Knowledge Gap

    I have often taken issue with Noah Smith's articles, but sometimes he really does share a worthy idea. This is one of those times.

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  11.    As Malls Get Crushed, Commercial Real Estate Prices Fall to Lowest in Nearly Two Years News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

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


  12.    MDF vs Wood: Why MDF has Become So Popular for Cabinet Doors

    Informative ...

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


  13.    No relief in sight: Housing affordability is weakening at the fastest pace in a quarter century

    Homebuilders are still producing well below historical norms ....

    The Trump plan is not going to perform as advertised by the libertarian types. Most "experts" are still misreading things or still too noncommittal that the plan is a folly masking ulterior motives of shortsighted, self-centered consolidators. If nothing happens to change the trajectory, we're looking squarely at another needless and damaging recession.

    Anyway, the article is right that what was overheated will see the downturn first and already is. Look well outside but don't expect simple geo-market appreciation to be the real source of wealth building. The fundamentals of improving the real value of a property via hard, smart work will still be the best bet.

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


  14.    Labour would rip up definition of affordable housing, Corbyn says

    We have to build more affordable homes to make homes more affordable.

    Well, that's a fact.

    It can be public housing, as we call it in the US, or it can be subsidized housing, which remains in private ownership. We can't do nothing and expect things to turn out well.

    People who overbuild for the rich don't turn around and take a loss while renting or selling to the poor. They just sit on the vacant property or lose it to someone else who will.

    There's not enough pure capitalist-profit margin in building truly affordable housing for the poor and working class, not at current land values and material, labor, and equipment costs.

    So, what are we going to do as a society, as an economy, to ward off ever-worsening dysfunction?

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  15.    A Small Fix for the Housing Crunch Is in Your Backyard News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

    People are experimenting with innovative approaches. That's a good thing.

    California's economy added 2.3 million jobs over the past five years. But the state issued permits for fewer than 480,000 new residential units over the same period, or about one home for every five additional workers.

    Building enough backyard units to narrow the gap between supply and demand in any noticeable way will be challenging.

    Density is a concern. It's not building up but closer together.

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  16.    The Urban Housing Crisis Is a Test for Progressive Politics

    Opponents of allowing more dense housing construction associate the solution with gentrification, but this gets the question backwards. Gentrification is the result of artificially constricted housing supply, which pushes the demand for new housing into poorer neighborhoods, where new entrants outbid existing renters. Rampant gentrification is what happens when yuppies win a zero-sum competition for housing. Expanding the supply of housing allows people to move in to cities without displacing existing residents.

    That's true, but construction displaces people regardless. That needs to be handled in a manner that doesn't force people to leave but only preps them for occupying the new construction. Furthermore, building more affordable housing in the upward direction rather than sprawling doesn't require deregulation or relaxing regulation but rather altering regulation to allow for new construction but of the right kind.

    New construction must allow for sunshine, literally. It must provide schools and parks and greenbelts and mass transit, etc. It must be well built and well maintained.

    Those are not insurmountable at all. The only real hurdle is stopping kowtowing to those who think only about how money they make and hoard for themselves.

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  17.    Finance 202 Meets Economics 101

    Just keep in mind when you read this, it's "the government has to borrow to fund stimulus in a recession" nonsense rather than simply creating the money for stimulus without borrowing. In other words, the article is obfuscating for the banking industry and particularly the Federal Reserve System. Otherwise, it's good, as far as an article written to mask the real solution can go.

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  18.    Multifamily Market Indicators Stay Positive

    ... apartment rents continue to rise across the country, attracting investors to bid for new properties."

    In addition, multifamily permitting shows no signs of slowing down.

    It also discusses the tax cuts being bad for home ownership.

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  19.    It's Not Just You: 5 Signs Rent Is Totally Out of Control News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

    When factoring in inflation, $100 in 1995 is worth the equivalent of $160 in 2017. If median rent increased at the same pace of inflation, that $425 in 1995 would translate to $680 today. In other words, the median asking rent is $184 higher today than it would be if rental rates had risen only as fast as inflation over the past two decades.

    Okay, so the tax cuts will force more to choose renting and those same tax cuts will end round 2025 unless renewed. That will keep renters stressed out, which makes for worse tenants. A better, fairer balance is needed, or the tenants will even vote landlords out of business.

    Think about it.

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  20.    The real reason the Republican tax cut isn't going to work

    ... Trump tax cuts. The entire rationale for them is that slashing corporate taxes will increase profitability enough that businesses will increase their investment, which, by making workers more productive, will eventually increase wages as well. But what if bigger profits won't make a company put any more money back into its business, because it's a monopoly that doesn't need or want to expand? Won't a corporate tax cut then just be shoveling money into the pockets of shareholders with no other economic benefits? Well, yes. ...
    ...
    They've all spent the past 38 years proclaiming that tax cuts for the rich work in theory, and ignoring all the evidence that they don't in practice. Things like the fact that the economy didn't implode like they said it would after Bill Clinton raised taxes, or take off like they predicted when George W. Bush cut them, or collapse like they once again insisted after Barack Obama hiked them, or set off a boom like they were sure it would when Kansas slashed them, or send California into its own private depression when it increased them, or . . . I think you get the idea.

    Actually, that's not the real reason. The real reason is that the cuts are designed to raise the deficit to give the deficit hawks a bigger megaphone to slash government spending so those who are making more money via the tax cuts will make even more money via the tax-cut-caused privatization of public projects.

    All of that will hurt the poor and working class, which is quickly becoming one and the same, and damage the overall economy.

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  21.    A Guaranteed "Jobs for All" Program Is Gaining Traction Among 2020 Democratic Hopefuls

    Kate Aronoff,

    Full employment via public jobs is a great thing; but, oh, it is so blatantly obvious that debt-free money creation by the government is absolutely censored on both the right and the so-called left to protect the commercial-banking cartel. We do not need a deficit or higher taxes to pay for anything. We do not have to issue bonds (debt) to issue money. We don't have to tax to keep inflation in check. We don't need interest rates to keep inflation in check. We only need the government to ramp up and dial back the money supply by taking away money from all accounts in perfect proportion and to do that solely based upon economic planning (democratic, direct, local) and resource availability. It's a formula: an equation. All transactions need to run through one bank: The US Treasury Department.

    The difference here is that democracy would be in charge, not capitalism, per se. The citizenry would decide all issues of public versus private economics. Transparency in economics and finance would change everything.

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  22.    The Tax Experiment That Failed

    If you're a libertarian, cover your eyes so you won't have to face the facts. If you love the truth over ideology, read on.

    In May 2012, all eyes were on Kansas as its former governor, Republican Sam Brownback, signed into law "the nation's most aggressive experiment in conservative economic policy," as Russell Berman wrote in The Atlantic. Kansas Senate Bill HB 2117 was one of the largest income tax cuts in the state's history, entirely eliminating income taxes for the owners of nearly 200,000 pass-through businesses and decreasing taxes by 25% for the highest income rates. Brownback compared his fiscal policies with Reaganomics and promised a "prosperous future" for Kansas. He argued the cuts would pay for themselves by creating jobs and boosting the state's economy.

    It didn't happen.

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  23.    How can we design communities to be healthy?

    Healthy real estate, healthy planning, equals healthier minds and bodies.

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


  24.    World Bank recommends fewer regulations protecting workers

    The World Bank is garbage. It is a front for failed libertarian-capitalism. I can hardly wait for it to be disbanded. Hopefully it won't be long.

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  25.    Cory Booker's new big idea: guaranteeing jobs for everyone who wants one

    Well, we all know it was not his idea. He did not come up with it. Why should he be credited with the idea rather than credit going to those who actually did come up with it: socialists?

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


  26.    A "new start" for Labour and the finance sector — McDonnell's full speech in the City

    If you think this is socialism, you don't know socialism. This is purely a mixed-economy plan:

    Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party because thousands were inspired by his vision.

    It's a vision I share: a vision of a society that is radically transformed, radically fairer, more equal and more democratic.

    A vision of a society based upon a prosperous economy, but an economy that's economically and environmentally sustainable, and where that prosperity is shared by all. I know many of you share our vision of a better society.

    But some may question whether a fairer, more equal society is compatible with the growth and prosperity which is needed to underpin it. I say that those two things aren't just compatible: they are essentially complementary.

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  27.    California's cost of living pushes people to Arizona

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  28.    One reason tuition is going up? A new report finds much of the money is going to Wall Street.

    Not smart:

    In a case study focusing on Michigan State University, the paper's authors estimate that for every $1 the school spent on scholarships in the 2016-2017 school year, it spent 32 cents paying hedge fund fees, and 74 cents on interest payments related to its debts.

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  29.    Exceptional drought in parts of seven states in U.S. Southwest

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  30.    Faked cleanup at Hunters Point Shipyard much worse than Navy estimates

    It's more than highly suspicious nobody has been held to much account concerning all of this. It seems to be par for the course in our overly deregulated environment and Austrian School of Economics system. I'm glad things are changing and that we might finally be turning the corner on that sorry chapter in our nation's history. I only hope we'll go far enough in fixing things and making proper rules permanent. Something tells me we'll have to go through another wave of bad ideology, though, before we finally all get the message.

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  31.    The net worth of college graduates with student debt is truly depressing

    It's gotten worse.

    This is why they'll rent. They won't have a choice.

    It won't make for a healthy economy that so many people who would otherwise be solidly middle- or upper-middle-financial class are saddled with student debts so some can get richer off holding all those debtors down.

    It is not how to make America great but make it fall and fall and fall to the bottom. We've slipped so much due to the rollback of the New Deal. When will enough of us wake up?

    It seems the young people are catching on the hard way.

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  32.    The Rising Speed of Technological Adoption

    Interesting article and graphs, though far from surprising ...

    I still have a landline.

    I recently saw a stat that desktop computers are making a tiny comeback. How long will that last?

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  33.    Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising

    I wrote years ago that raising rates in the face of the data is all about giving the banks higher profits. Finally, Paul Krugman came around to realizing it but stopped talking about it immediately. Maybe he was read the riot act by the bankers.

    As much as I like Ellen Brown, and I do like her a great deal for a whole host of reasons, I disagree with her prescription. She's okay with interest, loans (of course), and the commercial-banking industry. I, on the other hand, have been arguing for the decade that we need to fully democratize the economy, which means democratizing the banking and monetary system, which means one public bank and one public currency.

    You can read more about it here: "Monetary-and-Banking-Reform Platform for The United States of America": https://propertypak.com/monetary-and-ban king-reform-platform-for-the-united-stat es/

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  34.    20 Must-Have Team Members for Real Estate Investing Newbies

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  35.    10 Common EUO [Examination Under Oath] Questions Answered

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


  36.    Latest IBHS Report Finds Uneven Building Standards in Hurricane Prone States

    Why PropertyPak is for strong building-codes and enforcement:

    States with strong, updated codes saw stunning proof this year in Florida that updated, well-enforced building codes have led to the construction of homes and buildings that can stand up to fierce hurricane winds.

    That debris fills landfills is not an unimportant side issue. I'm glad they brought it up.

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  37.    Fill Used for Flood Resilience Scrutinized Post-Harvey

    Interesting:

    Harris County requires developers to offset fill by creating an equivalent amount of water storage.

    It makes sense.

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  38.    Michigan Senate Votes No Ban on Pit Bulls

    The AVMA study found when adjusted per capita, pit bulls were not disproportionately dangerous.

    There must be something wrong with their methodology, as insurance actuaries have a solid handle on which breeds cause the most problems (and that includes breeds that were not poorly trained but simply suddenly turned on owners and children for no apparent reason). Certain dogs were bred to be aggressive by nature and fighters by nature. You'd think all that breeding had no results. I have been around more dog breeds than I can remember, and when I've met dogs of similar breeds raised by completely different owners in different surroundings, the breed's characteristics and temperament showed. Of course, there's a range of temperaments in each breed. Some pit bulls never do anything aggressive.

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  39.    Woman Sentenced for Insurance Fraud Involving Jones County Fire

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  40.    French train hero's dad found guilty of wire and mail fraud in huge arson case

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


  41.    Oklahoma Orders More Cuts in Water Injection Amounts After Earthquakes

    Many of the thousands of earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years have been linked to wastewater injection by oil and natural gas producers.

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  42.    Houston-Area Officials Say They Didn't Know About Reservoir Flood Risks Pre-Harvey

    This issue goes way back to the design stage, predictions of urban growth, warnings back then, improper zoning, lax enforcement, and on and on.

    The libertarian mentality has a great deal to do across-the-board with why the damage was so great. We can't forget that there was a huge political movement insisting that government is the enemy. Well, here we are with people on the right wondering where the government was in an area that was a bastion of that anti-government/libertarian mentality.

    Many of those same people still don't believe that human carbon-burning is increasing global warming and, thereby, causing more damage, costing them more money, and lives.

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  43.    South Carolina Apartment Fire Destroys 16 Homes, Injures 7

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  44.    After Amazon Conquers Banking, Insurance Could be Next

    This article ignores the elephant in the room: monopoly. Left without any anti-trust enforcement, what's to stop an Amazon from taking over everything? Do we want Amazon to be the government? Would that make Amazon's CEO the de facto King of the nation?Wouldn't that be a step backwards? Isn't that what we left behind in history that we were sure we didn't want to repeat? Who'd be able to tell such a CEO what he could or couldn't do?

    This is what laissez-faire capitalism leads to. That's why anti-trust legislation was put in place.

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  45.    Florida's Citizens Reopens More Than 25K Hurricane Irma Claims

    Good lesson:

    ... about 37 percent, have been reopened for supplemental payment and to allow policyholders or their representatives to provide additional information related to their claim.

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  46.    Florida CFO Releases List of Top 10 Most Wanted Insurance Fraudsters

    Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and it's important we, as a community, protect each other from those who engage in fraudulent behavior.

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  47.    Quake Scenario: More than 1M Bay Area Homes Could Suffer Extensive Damage

    Houses built before 1979 when California adopted improved building codes are particularly vulnerable to a Hayward-fault rupture ....

    Building codes, per se, are not the enemy.

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  48.    Wave your false flags!

    We see a great deal of finger pointing in the cyber sphere. It works because the vast, vast majority of people have no idea how difficult it is to know who's doing what, as everything can be misleading and done in a way to point to someone else.

    ... no institution has complete or perfect visibility into the activities of any threat actor.

    That is an absolutely true statement. In addition, all documentation used to point the finger can have been doctored to do just that: point at someone, frame him or her or them.

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  49.    Researchers use power lines to exfiltrate data from air-gapped computers

    Special malware present on the target computer ....

    If it's air-gapped, how does that get there. It would depend upon how secure that air-gap is and is maintained.

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  50.    Modern Money Theory (MMT) vs. Structural Keynesianism

    This is a very worthy critique of MMT in general from a mixed-economy view, albeit an oversimplification of MMT. Just to be clear, MMT is also mixed-economy based. It is not democratic-socialist.

    MMT does acknowledge overheating can occur causing too much price inflation. Increased taxes can cool that, but at what cost in terms of full employment? Full employment is an MMT goal.

    Well, I'm for full employment too and for a guaranteed living-income. I too am for control via the fiscal rather than the monetary (interest rates) approach.

    The most important aspect is productivity matching the money supply and it's velocity moving in the economy. If matched properly, if properly regulated, there'd be no inflation/deflation problem while the dual mandate of maximum employment with a stable economy is achieved.

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  51.    Yellowstone Supervolcano Hotspot Found More Than 1,800 Feet Below Earth's Surface

    Other than concerning WMD global-war and AGW, this is risk-management analysis at its most critical consensus-levels.

    The article links to important background for the news story.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-0 18-0075-y

    https://scienceandtechnology.jpl.nasa.go v/sites/default/files/documents/Defendin gCivilizationFromSupervolcanos20151015.p df

    I searched for and found this image helpful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_ of_the_Earth#/media/File:Earth_poster.sv g

    The PDF is from NASA. Here's the Abstract and Introduction from it:

    ABSTRACT
    Large volcanic eruptions greater or equal to a magnitude 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (i.e., supervolcanic eruptions) eject >1015kg of ash and sulfate aerosols, sufficient to blanket sizeable fractions of continents and create a regional or global "volcanic winter." Such events could seriously reduce worldwide agricultural production for multiple years, causing mass famine. Supervolcanic eruptions occur more frequently than large asteroid or comet impacts that would have a similarly catastrophic effect to human civilization, especially now that many asteroid orbits have been mapped. We assess whether future supervolcanic eruptions could be dampened, delayed, or prevented by engineering solutions.

    1. INTRODUCTION
    There has been a significant effort over the last two decades to determine what threats exist to humanity on Earth and how to mitigate them under the umbrella term planetary defense.1Notable among these are the threats of asteroid and comet impacts and supervolcanic eruptions. For reference, a 2 km impactor would cause worldwide disruption similar to that of geologically mapped supervolcanic eruptions that have produced volcanic winters.2The efforts of astronomers worldwide have resulted in identification and successful orbit mapping of more than 98.3% of near-earth asteroids(NEAs) with diameter greater than 2 km,3,4(e.g. large enough to cause globa l climatic effects)5while considerable attention was given by other scientists, engineers, and hazard management coordinators to the study of major asteroid collisions. This effort concluded:

    1) >2 km asteroid impacts occur half as often assupervolcaniceruptions,6,7and
    2) no known asteroids will threaten Earth for at least a century.8

    Since over 1.3% of these98.3% of threatening NEAs were discovered in the latest two years,9it is reasonable to believe that all will be discovered in the relatively near future. Long-period comets are estimated to be <1% of the total threat,10and so do not add appreciably to the number. Given ~100 years warning for a NEA impact, and the considerable attention now focused on asteroid deflection techniques, it is also reasonable to expect that such collisions can be prevented in the future.11We propose that corresponding efforts be considered towards supervolcanic eruptions.

    In this paper, we attempt to assess whether engineering solutions may dampen, delay, or prevent the negative effects of future supervolcanic eruptions on human civilization. We open-mindedly postulate the controversial hypothesis: A system can be engineered to efficiently mitigate a supervolcanic, eruption-induced volcanic winter (regional or global) that would otherwise lead to mass starvation and a major population decline.

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  52.    Why Democrats [everyone] Should Embrace a Federal Jobs Guarantee

    The laissez-faire (anarchist, anti-democratic) capitalists are now officially running scared:

    Bernie Sanders Has a Jobs Plan. It's Called 'Socialism.'
    Reason (blog)

    Bernie Sanders spreads his socialist propaganda, using your money
    American Thinker (blog)

    Democrats' Universal Job Plan Would Be A Socialist Disaster
    The Federalist

    A Jobs Guaranteed Economic Disaster
    Cato Institute (blog)

    The above is only a partial list.

    They are afraid because so many center-left politicians are moving toward MMT's (New Deal) job guarantee.

    Well, Sanders isn't planning the US to end its mixed-economy model but simply do away with systemic unemployment. In case you don't understand what systemic unemployment is and why the laissez-faire crowd loves it, it's a policy of the US government to keep a certain level of unemployment to keep workers from having enough bargaining power to demand and get their fair share of the capitalistic profits. The ruse it the Phillips Curve with an unchanging unemployment target, as if there's some magical equilibrium that the Fed has discerned and as if the "target" isn't really a moving one due to all the constant churning of old and new variables.

    Also, the "your money" label when used by the laissez-faire crowd means "governmental tax revenue," but taxes definitely come after money creation and not before. It is, in fact, all of our money because we live in a state with a government that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people as a whole and the money is supposed to be the government's, the people's collectively to decide about democratically (there's that swear word in the anarchist-capitalist's -- is there any other kind -- dictionary).

    "The corporate establishment hates full employment and has fought very hard to ensure the economy never reaches full employment—even though it's the most successful means of improving human welfare we've ever enacted," said Economist Mar shall Steinbaum.

    During the New Deal's early days, we had the WPA and the CCC. They weren't good enough but were in the right direction. We should have strengthened and expanded CCC-type programs to include high-skills training and high-skills jobs, but the plutocrats were up in arms against it, as it would have meant more profits to the workers rather than to those plutocrats. It's that simple. The WPA and CCC did not do anything to harm the US economy in the ways all the naysayer anarchist capitalists are claiming today about the current plans being rolled out for jobs for all.

    Of course, as my readers know, I believe automation will change everything and obviate the need for this new plan. Meanwhile, until the People catch on, public jobs for the unemployed is a good and necessary steppingstone.

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  53.    Net neutrality is all but officially dead. Now what?

    This is a very good overview.

    The people paying the fee for quicker access aren't consumers but companies delivering services on the internet. And if they can't afford the fees, their services are likely to be relegated to slow lanes and never resonate with consumers. The result will be fewer innovative services for customers.

    It's all about consolidation: monopoly.

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  54.    Thomas Edison and Henry Ford explain Modern Monetary Theory in 1921

    Ignore the MMT "IOU" and "debt-free money is a non-sequitur" nonsense. It is just semantics. Double-entry bookkeeping is only arbitrarily superimposed. It's only conceptual and not necessary for your understanding or to doing away with Federal Reserve Notes and replacing them with United States Notes (not bonds). When the government creates money, it does not create a debt. It owes nothing and nobody owes anyone else anything at that point. It's not different from anything else the government might create. Money is only money because we use it to transact. That's all. We don't even have to tax to make it so. We don't even have to literally print or literally mint/coin a thing. We just need a record, just like magnetic bits currently in our computers and likely to change soon to some other form(s) of record keeping. The government does not have to enter the created money as a liability. It only does that because of convention.

    Anyway, here's Thomas Edison truth-telling what has been censored ever since until very recently.

    Just to be clear, I came to all of the same conclusions Thomas Edison did but without ever reading a word of the following. I had to piece it all together for myself, as absolutely nobody explained any of it to me. It's one of the reasons I know the MMT narrative above and in the article is not necessary.

    "Make it perfectly clear that I'm not advocating any changes in banks and banking. Banks are a mighty good thing. They are essential to the commerce of the country. It's the money broker, the money profiteer, the private banker, that I oppose. They gain their power through a [unclear] and false value given to gold. Gold is a relic of Julius Caesar and interest is an invention of Satan."
    ...
    "But here is the point. If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money b rokers collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20 percent, whereas the currency pays nobody but those who directly contribute to Muscle Shoals in some useful way."

    "If the Government issues bonds, it simply induces the money brokers to draw 30 million dollars out of the other channels of trade and turn it into Muscle Shoals; if the Government issues currency, it provides itself with enough money to increase the national wealth at the Muscle Shoals without disturbing the business of the rest of the country. And in doing this it increases its income without adding a penny to its debt."

    "It is absurd to say that our country can issue 30 million dollars in bonds and not 30 million dollars in currency. Both are promises to pay; but the one (promise) fattens the usurer, and the other helps the people. If the currency issued by the Government were no good, then the bonds issued would be no good either. It is a terrible situation when the Government, to increase the national wealth, must go into debt and submit to ruinous interest charges at the hands of men who control the fictitious values of gold."

    So here we are nearly 100 years later and still stuck with bankers and banksters ruling our economy rather than our own democratic choices made after completely transparent information about money and productivity.

    You need to realize that money interests (interest/usury interests) have deliberately kept you in total darkness about all of this. It's only seeing the light of day due to the hammering of monetary and banking reformers, such as yours truly.

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  55.    State of Emergency Declared for 2 North Carolina Counties Hit by Tornado

    One person died in Sunday's storm, and Guilford County officials say 1,000 structures suffered some kind of damage.

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  56.    Louisiana Recovery Group Marshals Cash, Volunteers to Help Flood Victims

    Why doesn't our government handle everything?

    I think it's great that private and religious charities and non-profits step up, but they shouldn't have to.

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


  57.    Tax bill will slash by half the number of homeowners using the mortgage deduction

    Why there will be more renters longer ...

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  58.    After slew of WA property tax increases, Redmond woman wants relief

    Tax cuts for some equals tax increases for others.

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  59.    Plastic planet: How tiny plastic particles are polluting our soil [and everything else, even our insides]

    Plastics are a huge, huge problem for the entire planet.

    Do your best to stop depending upon plastics. When you have a choice, choose something other than plastics. Reuse the hard plastics you have. Find out as much about recycling plastics as possible. Single-use plastics are the biggest issue right now, but even single-use plastics can be reused. Of course, always take health into consideration when reusing any plastics.

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  60.    The Trump administration has officially clipped the wings of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

    Why are we allowing people to destroy the entire planet so they can make more money? Is there any area we are improving now in terms of the overall global environment? It seems the little improvement we made is all being rolled back in the US. It's definitely going to come back to haunt us.

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  61.    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's 'Days Are Numbered' for Ethics Violations

    It is awful for property values and insurance costs when oil leaks all over the place. That's not to mention global warming and all the horrendous results of that. Then there's all the other pollution aspects associated with burning and chemical leaks and on and on.

    The sooner we phase out carbon fuels, all of them, the better.

    The ethics violations of Scott Pruitt keep mounting and now he has become too toxic for even the White House, says Todd Paglia, executive director of Stand Earth.

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  62.    On tectonic plates, the economic system & the economics profession

    Ann Pettifor:

    It is my view that the greatest weakness of economics is the habit of drawing, or encouraging politicians to draw, macroeconomic conclusions from microeconomic reasoning ("the government budget, like a household budget, must balance"). This weakness is endemic within the profession. It is caused by the deliberate neglect of macroeconomics, including shameful neglect of Keynes's monetary theory and policies; and by the dominance of microeconomics. Such skewed dominance is not accidental. After all, and this is something that economists must finally and honestly acknowledge: economic theorising is driven by class interests. As the liberal John Hobson (1858-1940) once wrote:

    "The selection and rejection of ideas, hypotheses and formulae, the moulding of them into schools or tendencies of thought, and the propagation of them in the intellectual world, have been plainly directed by the pressure of class interests. In political economy, as we might well suspect, from its close bearing upon business and politics, we find the most incontestable example."

    The public instinctively knows this to be the case — that economics and the design of the economic system is driven by the class interests of the few, the 'elite'. Which is why the profession is now held in low regard, and why so many have turned to populists and populism - for protection from the fragility of an unequal, polarising and unstable economy — whose underlying forces economists still do not seem to understand; are not inclined to explore, and are unwilling to explain.

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  63.    EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: Delete Decades Of Science In The Name Of 'Transparency'

    A qualified scientist can obtain access to the anonymized data from the EPA, meaning the studies can and have been investigated, peer-reviewed, and scrutinized.

    The new rule is not an attempt to make environmental regulations more transparent, it is a rule to limit research on the impacts of deadly pollution and give free reign to Scott Pruitt to deregulate industries in the direct contradiction of science.

    Transparency is great. "The new rule proposed today would require any data used by the EPA to set regulatory requirements to be publicly available." Okay, but the US Security State regularly declassifies documents and data but redacts what it calls sensitive data. Is the EPA incapable of doing that? Why couldn't the old data be grandfathered in, remaining confidential?

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  64.    Report: Hannity gained HUD help on multimillion property deals

    I don't see many landlords or people who want to become landlords seeing anything unusual here to criticize. We'd have to do away with whole programs and change plenty of laws to turn this into something where Hannity could be rightly singled out.

    I suppose that in the interest of disclosure, one might volunteer arrangements when a TV host, but is that required by law or ethics in the industry? I honestly don't know.

    I know he's a political hot button. That's not why I'm bringing it up. I'm also not a "fan" of his, though I have watched some segments of some of his shows (not many). I've agreed with some and disagreed with others.

    What really interested me is that so many investors are doing exactly what he's doing and not being heavily criticized for it.

    I personally don't advocate shell-company arrangements and wouldn't use one myself, though I do sympathize with some of the reasons some people give for using them, primarily personal safety of their children.

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  65.    The Sean Hannity Controversy Exposes the Racist Hypocrisy of Wypipo Welfare

    Is this post "Equal time for opposing views" on this blog?

    Ordinarily, I'd shy away from linking to this because it's so "charged." I have no doubt the author, Michael Harriot, is incensed with righteous indignation over the history of our nation and the remnants Michael still sees of very dark chapters still playing themselves out. I just can't completely read Sean Hannity's heart or mind enough to fully agree with the article.

    I do agree that welfare is welfare and subsidies are subsidies and that those are the same things: all welfare comes under the heading of subsidies and all subsidies are a form of welfare. I have zero problem with that. So, Michael's point on that concerning Sean is quite valid, though I know Hannity would still differentiate himself and the programs involved.

    Why post it though? Well, landlords should not take HUD assistance while turning up their noses at those who are on other forms of welfare, other subsidies. It's not good business. It doesn't help the economy or the people on welfare, people who need it and deserve it and regardless of skin color. It's not sympathetic, empathic, compassionate, or the like. It's not conducive to making America great.

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  66.    Seeds for new financial crisis 'being planted', warns economist Douglas Diamond

    "We've certainly had lots of liquidity injected recently. One thing you see is this huge increase in what's called leveraged loans — high-yield, syndicated loans. And very few covenants in those loans," he said. "That's an indicator to us that we could be planting the seeds of the next crisis."

    Everything is pointing to a recession. It could be avoided, but I don't hear or read anyone in a decision-making position (that could avert it) saying or writing the right thing, not one.

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  67.    Congressional Budget Office: New Tax Law Helps Foreign Investors Even More than You Thought

    We already know that a portion of the tax cuts will go to foreign investors who own stocks in American corporations and therefore benefit from TCJA's cut in the U.S. corporate income tax. This year alone, ITEP estimates that foreign investors will receive $47 billion in benefits from TCJA, which is more than the bottom three-fifths of Americans will receive this year.

    But the even more important element that CBO hints at is foreign holders of U.S. debt. The new tax law increased the deficit by $1.9 trillion over the coming decade, which means it is financed with Treasury bonds that pay interest. A lot of those bonds are held by foreigners. So even Americans who benefit from the tax cuts should think about how, one way or the other, they may eventually foot the bill for interest payments that will go to foreign investors.

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  68.    Insider Q&A: The inherent limits of temporary tax cuts

    ... nearly all the tax cuts for individuals are set to expire in 2026. What does that mean for the ordinary taxpayer?

    It's a problem because taxpayers want to have some certainty when they're doing their taxes. So each year you want to know that your taxes are going to be roughly the same as they were last year, or if they've changed, you know why.

    But with this new law, many taxpayers won't know if a given provision they depend on is there from one year to the next.

    Worse than that, many will spend at a level that will come back to haunt them when their taxes go up because the tax fades out unless renewed.

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  69.    Four more high-rise projects ready to break ground in Chicago's West Loop

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  70.    Residents Critical of State Program to Repair Harvey-Damaged Homes

    Valid point:

    Howard Higdon, whose home was repaired, said contractors hired by the program ignored his pleas to remove mold that had begun to grow in walls and cabinets in his home. Mold ended up growing on new insulation and drywall that later had to be thrown away, he said.

    "Why do they even want to come if they're not going to do it right? They're wasting government money because all that stuff has to be thrown out,"Higdon said ....

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  71.    Towards a Broader Theory of Imperialism

    I am not a Marxist, but you need to understand Marxist critiques of capitalism in order to engage fully in macro-economic analysis. I do agree with nearly every aspect of Patrick Bond's analysis here, though from a non-Marxist position.

    Bond is clearly intelligent and very well-educated, as his studies have taken him far beyond the mainstream into "alternative" knowledge, very valuable alternative knowledge.

    You may not see the connection with risk management and insurance and such. You may instantly be turned off by the capitalist v. Marxist analysis. Well, the environmental damage being done to maximize profits is causing gigantic risks that increase insurance costs and even eliminate insurance offerings.

    I do think the definition of capitalism should have been made in the article, as there are so many definitions out there. My view is that corporatism and state as corporation is the way to interpret the use of capitalism in Bond's piece. To be clear, the term globalized fascism holds, as the corporations seek to replace sovereign nation-states and seek to control the masses by putting them and then keeping them in the dark.

    We hear Putin talk up national sovereignty, but for how long? He is forming alliances that are supranational. He did move in the direction of joining the US-EU led G-7 as the "Plus 1." It wasn't until he didn't conform enough quickly enough that things soured. Was that due to firm anti-globalization by corporations, or was it due to Russia being too weak to ward off a complete takeover were he to have reopened doors too much too soon?

    We'll have to wait to find out. We'll have to see how the BRICS v. the rest plays out.

    "... capitalist accumulation is founded on the d estruction of the bases of all wealth: human beings and their natural environment. It took a wait lasting a century and a half until our environmentalists rediscovered that reality, now become blindingly clear."
    ...
    Vivek Chibber also sees BRICS elites as assimilationist, in a recent South African interview: "the world is moving toward a more multi-centred political set of alignments. Economically, right now what we are seeing happening is the convergence of ruling classes in the global south and the global north into a common committee of global capitalist interests. That, it seems to me, is a new phenomenon."

    "by more clearly naming the BRICS threat as an amplifier of imperialism, not an alternative bloc, a critique of the subimperial location will pave the way for a better understanding by the world's anti-capitalist forces, so that no further confusion need be spread about the potentials for allying with BRICS

    ... Most importantly, by more clearly naming the BRICS threat as an amplifier of imperialism, not an alternative bloc, a critique of the subimperial location will pave the way for a better understanding by the world's anti-capitalist forces, so that no further confusion need be spread about the potentials for allying with BRICS elites (or for that matter, for world elites agreeing to a Kautsky-style global new deal). Although in many cases there is an 'anti-corruption' veneer, the democratic space for progressive politics is closing in most of the BRICS, alongside intensified economic exploitation and worsening environmental conditions.

    The first weeks of 2018 witnessed the arrest of Brazil's popular former President Lula da Silva as he appeared likely to win the October election; the failure of Putin to allow credible electoral competition; growing state-sponsored fascism within India; the ending of term limits in China at the same time as worsening surveillance and repression; and a popular regime change in South Africa that was immediately followed by intense budgetary austerity and an attack on workers' right to strike.

    In the last week of July 2018, when the BRICS bloc heads of state meet in Johannesburg's Sandton business district, the counter-summit of radical activists and intellectuals gathering under the banner of 'brics-from-below' will take forward critiques of both local/regional super-exploitation, ecological threats, democratic deficits and the global process which creates BRICS subimperialism. Marxist theorists should consider how recognition of these processes can be done in both practice and through a broader theory of imperialism.

    Patrick Bond is professor of political economy at the University of the Witwatersrand Wits School of Governance. He was formerly associated with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he directed the Centre for Civil Society from 2004-2016.

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  72.    China's Car Revolution Is Going Global

    Why does Bloomberg write such an extensive article without so much as mentioning the total lack of democracy in China? Why in the world did we open China so that a totalitarian dictatorship (a one-party dictatorship by law, now under a cult of personality centered in the "all but king in name" Xi) could become dominant and filthy rich? Who thought the Western plutocrats would be able to control it all?

    I was, and remain, opposed. You should be opposed too.

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  73.    Fertile Soil: Understanding Fertility Levels and Inputs

    For landlords and managers who are into more than lawn care and decoratives:

    The only sure way to know how much manure is enough on any soil is to take an accurate soil test, and, if the soil tests relatively high in fertility, a fertilizer analysis of the manure you are using. This should be an analysis which shows the saturation each soil contains in terms of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Phosphate content should be measured. Combined with an analysis which shows the content of major and secondary elements in the manure or compost to be used, it is then possible to know what conditions are present in the soil and what can be expected to happen if the material is applied.

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  74.    Ben Carson proposes rent hikes on low-income families

    Requiring tenants to pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent is symbolic, as paying more than 30 percent is how HUD defines a family that is "rent burdened."

    "symbolic"? That's not the term I'd use. I'd say it's more like revealing or telling. Of course, the libertarian narrative is that people receiving help lose their dignity and motivation, etc., none of which is shown by actual statistical facts, quite the contrary.

    Most people believe that pushes like this are really designed to drive down wages by increasing competition to obtain the few available jobs. That drives up profits for CEO's because they don't have to pay as much in wages while they gain more hard work and obedient, fearful employees. Meanwhile, landlords with tenants who receive assistance should be concerned about tenants becoming more rent burdened, which causes all sorts of problems for investors in the sector.

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  75.    What Mulvaney was really saying in the remarks about lobbyists that created a firestorm

    Government regulator for sale, is that what he's labeling himself?

    It goes beyond the fox guarding the chicken coop. It's more like the fox burning down the farm for money.

    As my readers know, I don't even believe he's in the position legally in the first place. However, statement such as what he said certainly should see him removed. It's a clear ethics violation. It can't be interpreted any other way.

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  76.    Mick Mulvaney's full speech to bankers about "burning down" consumer protection

    I've only got a few minutes left so I won't talk too much about regulation by enforcement, but the short version is we're not doing it anymore. I don't think it's fair.

    So, you have a bunch of tenants who are depending upon a banking and financial system to be fair to them, which system is regulated by a person who doesn't think that's fair. It's like the queen in Alice in Wonderland. It's Orwellian double-speak. How will we ever have a truly decent economy if we have regulators who refuse to keep terrible things from happening because keeping terrible things from happening will mean less money for the regulator now or in future when it comes time to enter the revolving door?

    This is what regulatory capture means.

    A good risk manager can't help but call it out for what it is.

    The first rule of proper risk management is to be honest.

    If standards are lax, investors not on the inside (not running in the highest circles of the banking industry) will be hit and hit hard.

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  77.    Ben Shapiro: Bernie Sanders' Jobs Plan 'Will Create Massive Unemployment'

    Ben Shapiro is a shill at best. The New Deal stimulus was going great gangbusters when the hawks, like Shapiro claims is his ideology, talked down the stimulus. FDR listened and went along. The result was a downturn that was so bad, FDR reversed course and went back to his original anti-austerity plan. What happened? The economy started growing again and unemployment started falling again rather than going up under the "Shapiro" plan.

    Comparisons to the USSR are rather ridiculous and sad. The USSR's economic system was nothing like what we had before the Great Depression or during the New Deal or now or what Bernie Sanders and others are calling for. When did the citizens of the USSR actually vote for the system? They didn't. What they had was forced upon them by violence and further threats of violence. Their only experiment with social democracy was stormed by Bolshevik militants armed and ready to kill any legislators who objected.

    "You know, dig a hole, fill the hole back in, like FDR." Which WPA or CCC project of the New Deal was that? All I remember are all the sidewalks and roads and dams and libraries and reforestation and conservation projects. Those were hardly make-work projects. The TVA was hardly make-work.

    Then came WWII and military Keynesianism that completely ended the Great Depression (caused by libertarian economics) and ushered in massive economic gains and projects, such as our interstate freeway system, which Shapiro's type would rather all be privatized so you know who could take his cut, jack up prices, and provide worse services.

    As for who will pay, well, that's still up for debate, as there's a huge movement building to end issuing bonds (borrowing) to issue the nation's currency.

    "The logic here, apparently, is that the government will offer you a job that you get paid more than you would in the private sector, so the private sector has to give you more to compete. That will drive up wages. It will also create massive unemployment." If the government is the employer of last resort, there will be no unemployment. Any first grader should be able to figure that one out.

    Anyway, providing jobs via the WPA and the CCC did not, repeat, did not increase unemployment. Unemployment steadily fell.

    Lastly, had the Obama stimulus been sufficient, we wouldn't have even had a Great Recession we just all lived through. The one and only reason it dragged out was due to the hawks foolishly blocking further needed public stimulus (public stimulus, which has been absolutely proven to work when applied during a deflationary recession and when private debt is too high already, which was the case when the little and only stimulus was applied).

    Well, I do want to point to Kansas. Kansas tried it Shapiro's way. It failed miserably. Kansas rolled it all back and is now doing much better.

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  78.    Bitcoin is the greatest scam in history: It's a colossal pump-and-dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen.

    Where have you heard all of this before? On this blog, of course.

    I was the very first person out there that I saw who completely and thoroughly denounced Bitcoin as a Ponzi scheme, etc., etc. I'm very glad people such as William H. Harris, Jr. caught on.

    I never went through the "it's speculative" or "it's gambling" fazes. Well, it was, and is, gambling if the plan is to get out high (time the crash). I did say it's a bubble but only after saying it's a scam.

    Do you think Jamie Dimon is regretting retracting his statement that it's a Ponzi scheme? Why in the world did he do that? I think underlings convinced him JPMorgan Chase could make money off Bitcoin: big mistake if so.

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  79.    Why High-Flying U.S. Home Prices Seen Getting Another Jolt

    This is another reason people will continue renting, especially older, value-add apartments.

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  80.    Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry [while helping to save the planet]

    One advantage to being a totalitarian dictatorship: the dictator can change the policy instantly and nobody can bribe politicians to stop the dictator from doing the right thing environmentally.

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  81.    Washington Wants to Weaken Bank Rules. Not Every Regulator Agrees

    ... over time, if the financial industry keeps pressing for looser regulations, and Washington obliges, there is concern that the absence of a strong leverage ratio could reduce confidence in the financial system, particularly in periods of stress.

    The leverage ratio's importance is revealed in how large banks finance themselves. They get most of the money they need for lending and trading from two main sources — they borrow it in markets or they raise it from depositors. But an overreliance on those two sources can leave a bank vulnerable to runs, because many of the creditors and depositors can demand the bank return their money at short notice. That is why banks must get some of their funding from equity capital, which consists of retained profits and funds from shareholders, who cannot demand immediate repayment of their money.

    Some capital rules allow banks to hold less capital against an asset that is perceived by regulators to be less risky. The weakness of this approach was revealed in 2008 and during the European debt crisis when supposedly safe assets turned out to be dangerously risky. [emphasis added] The leverage ratio, by contrast, requires banks to have a set amount of capital, regardless of the type of assets it holds.

    Acknowledging the importance of the leverage ratio, regulators increased it for the largest banks four years ago. At the higher ratio, the big banks had to have capital equivalent to 5 percent of their assets and certain off-balance sheet holdings. Under the new rule, it would decline significantly.

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  82.    Why can't anyone build affordable housing in the Mission?

    "There is a raging crisis of families and individuals dying on our streets, having to leave the city, take their kids out of school," added Ronen. "It's the issue of our time. It's ruining our city. I'm not seeing that urgency."

    People over developer and owner profits and values is refreshing, don't you think. We can have great cities while also having enough affordable housing. It can be a win-win for everyone.

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  83.    Another theory goes "poof" — labor doesn't limit growth like it used to

    Bottom line

    Data show labor hours can fall as output grows. Improved management and automation enables production with fewer people
    Falling need for labor inputs means that labor force and labor productivity growth are not the constraints on production growth they once were.

    Let me add that the trend will not simply continue but accelerate to the point of no human labor required for infinite productivity.

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  84.    Insurers Fear U.S. Economic Slowdown, Inflation: Goldman Sachs

    These people really don't believe the Fed will clamp down on the economy and prevent inflation. Meanwhile, many of us are looking at an imminent deflationary recession.

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  85.    Robots Used in Japan to Beat Construction Labor Shortage

    This is barely scratching the surface of what will happen at an ever-accelerating rate.

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  86.    Suspicious event hijacks Amazon traffic for 2 hours, steals cryptocurrency

    We can't say it was Russian. Anyone could be routing to Russian servers just to throw off the scent or just to drum up more anti-Russian sentiment with those who don't understand much about hacking.

    Nevertheless, Amazon hosts some extremely sensitive domains.

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  87.    Spain's Palma to ban holiday rentals after residents' complaints

    There has to be reasonable balance, regulation, and enforcement; otherwise, a place really goes down hill quickly.

    I am not a fan of the libertarian version of "sharing economy," which I believe is a misnomer when used in the libertarian sense and detracts from the original meaning, which was non-profit.

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  88.    Jeff Bezos v the world: why all companies fear 'death by Amazon'

    Khan believes that Amazon needs to face antitrust regulation, but current law is not equipped to deal with it. "I think a rule that prohibited it from competing with the businesses that use its platforms would eliminate a lot of the core conflicts I mentioned," she said.

    It's only a matter of time, not whether. Left unchecked, Jeff Bezos might become the literal monarch of the world. I don't believe the People will stand for it, nor should they.

    We simply made a huge mistake listening to Robert H. Bork. He was completely wrong. I'm afraid John Kenneth Galbraith fell for it too. I was totally opposed and remained so.

    What's forgotten is that Standard Oil was actually worth more broken up. Maybe Jeff should study history and learn about the value of spinning things off rather than creating a vertical and horizontal monopoly and ending up being reviled.

    He's a smart person and obviously a talented manager, but he needs to put the interests of society above simply making more money for himself. It has always been so.

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  89.    Britain, headquarters of fraud

    Who are the people who hate good regulations, and why do they hate them?

    The UK is at the centre of global corruption: shell companies that launder dirty money can be set up with ease. But when a whistleblower showed just how easy it is, he faced the full force of the law.
    ...
    The 4m corporate vehicles in the British registry are the building blocks of our economy, crucial to our prosperity. Hidden among them, however, like pickpockets in a crowd, are thousands of fake companies used by fraudsters to commit their crimes. Companies let criminals look legitimate and make their frauds, tax evasion or kleptocracy resemble normal business activity.

    There can be such a thing as regulatory overkill, but that's not what we're talking about here, not even close. Nevertheless, the UK talks a good game but looks the other way. Britain is far from the only offender. The US is rife with shell corporations and money laundering. Why is it allowed?

    It's allowed because that's how many people in power make money, cut deals, hide money, hide deals, dodge taxes, reward bad behavior that helps them "get ahead."

    That's why so many people use the term kleptocracy: government of, by, and for thieves.

    Following the rules, making and keeping good rules, is for the suckers is what the sociopaths think. That's why we don't have good government. We wrongly and foolishly allow the sociopaths to rule in many instances.

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  90.    One in eight bird species threatened with extinction, global study finds

    This puts a new light on the expression "canary in the coalmine."

    As the birds go, so goes the planet.

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  91.    How Chinese gangs are laundering drug money through Vancouver real estate

    "Know your customer" applies in real estate too. Be careful who you're dealing with. Do your due diligence.

    This is a really deep dive, very informative:

    In the 1980s, a new Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, ushered in economic liberalization, with a strong focus on factories and global exports in Guangdong.

    Deng's model of reform tolerated corruption between state officials and business tycoons for the sake of rapid job growth.

    According to Clement, famous sayings credited to Deng — such as "it doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice," and "not all Triads are bad" — explain how crime syndicates gained control in Guangdong.

    What a mess.

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  92.    30 kg of plastic bags killed whale washed ashore on Santorini

    Not good!

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  93.    World May Hit 2 Degrees of Warming in 10-15 Years Thanks to Fracking, Says Cornell Scientist

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  94.    Decline in bees puts supply of raw materials for global business at risk, says report

    Approximately three quarters of crops around the world depend on pollination, all of which could soon be threatened as more than a third of wild bee and butterfly species face extinction ....

    Right now, many people are scrambling to get rich before everything hits the fan, so to speak. However, without huge breakthroughs to correct humanity's errors, just how long will the window even remain to "get it while the getting is good"?

    I'm sure breakthroughs will occur, but they won't be uniform. Some will not come "in time," won't come before untold damage.

    Why are we still so reckless with our environment? Why is it taking so long for the message to get through? What is it about so many people that they put short-term supposed gain above even quickly approaching damage they know they're bringing on? How do we address and alter the mentality so we don't destroy, destroy, destroy but rather improve?

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  95.    Dangerous climate tipping point is 'about a century ahead of schedule' warns scientist

    The key question has always been what fraction of the recent rise in eastern seaboard SSTs (and sea level rise) can be attributed to global warming. Increasingly, it seems that a very large fraction can.

    I wrote well over a decade ago that the "models" will continually understate. It was just my view based upon the pattern I had already witnessed concerning such things. Yes, there are models that overstate, but they are a small minority of models that receive wide coverage.

    My hope and belief is that AI and machine learning will reduce the gap. However, I don't expect the combination to ever be able to predict the future with 100% certainty. There will always remain "unknown unknowns" in that realm. I believe that's in the nature of existence from humanity's vantage point concerning our artificially created technology.

    We'd have to transcend it to reach 100% certainty.

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  96.    Climate change could trigger volcanic eruptions across the world, warn scientists

    This is very logical speculation.

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  97.    In 2020, German society will start collapsing

    Academic economists are still blind to what demographers can easily see: after 200 years of continuous growth, the population in the industrial world is decreasing. To put it simply: you cannot have your economy twice as big while at the same time having your population twice as small. Even if productivity quadrupled, there would still be too few consumers of goods and services.

    "...you cannot have your economy twice as big while at the same time having your population twice as small...." That's incorrect. It depends upon what goods and services are being supplied and how. Vastly more "expensive" things could be produced via automation and consumed by a vastly smaller population resulting in an economy twice the size (or more). It all depends upon the yardstick. We use Federal Reserve Notes right now in the US. The Germans use the euro.

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  98.    Why Bitcoin Behaves Like the Flu

    "We believe the speculative froth phase of cryptocurrency investment -- and perhaps peak prices -- may have passed," the analysts wrote.

    You think? Ha!

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  99.    EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides

    Smart move! It should be total, though, not just outdoors.

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  100.    Nelson, Scott, Buchanan rip plan to weaken oil drilling regs: The rules were established after the Deepwater Horizon disaster News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

    Frankly, we should have zero ocean drilling.

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  101.    Nomi Prins, The Return of the Great Meltdown?

    Nomi Prins:

    Since the financial crisis, the Fed has kept the cost of borrowing money for banks at near zero percent interest. That allowed those banks to borrow money to buy their own stock (as did many corporations) to inflate their value but not, of course, the value of their service to Main Street.

    When money is cheap because interest rates are low or near zero, the beneficiaries are those with the most direct access to it. That means, of course, that the biggest banks, members of the Fed since its inception, get the largest chunks of fabricated money and pay the least amount of interest for it.
    ...
    The zero-interest-rate and bond-buying central bank policies prevailing in the U.S., Europe, and Japan have been part of a coordinated effort that has plastered over potential financial instability in the largest countries and in private banks. It has, in turn, created asset bubbles that could explode into an even greater crisis the next time around.

    So, today, we stand near -- how near we don't yet know -- the edge of a dangerous financial precipice. The risks posed by the largest of the private banks still exist, only now they're even bigger than they were in 2007-2008 and operating in an arena of even more debt. In Donald Trump's America, what this means is that the same dangerous policies are still being promoted today. The difference now is that the president is appointing members to the Fed who will only increase the danger of those risks for years to come.

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  102.    Mick Mulvaney and the Trump Administration's Sellout to Wall Street

    At a moment when the Republicans are talking about entitlement reform, and Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is proposing to triple the rents of some of the poorest people in the country, the sight of big banks reporting surges in profits that were fuelled by tax cuts raises alarming moral questions.

    It only ever seems to raise them for those who don't support dog-eat-dog. For the others, those who take by whatever means, deserve. Pretending to care is part of the plan to lull the compassionate to sleep.

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  103.    Downtown LA apartments fill up as construction stalls

    Some activists suspicious of new development argue that high vacancy rates like those recorded in Downtown last year are evidence that new luxury apartments are being offered at unaffordable rents and won't bring down costs for renters, as advocates of new housing suggest.

    Some developers/owners would rather see a property rot than rent it out at a loss to lower-income folks. That's why the government needs to step in to subsidize rents. That's why landlords should support such subsidies. It's good business for a mixed economy.

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  104.    Higher Interest Rates Mean More Renters for Apartment Sector

    Recent research from CoStar posits that for every rise in home mortgage interest rates, thousands of renters who may be looking to buy homes are priced out of qualifying for a mortgage - thereby remaining in the pool of renters.

    On the other hand, this group of renters is more likely focused on affordable and mid-priced rentals rather than the most expensive luxury units that most developers are building.

    Okay, I'm going to put this out there. Then you'll see it pop up elsewhere?

    Say you're a developer. Land, material, labor, equipment, fuel, and other costs are high. You've been building for the upscale renter/buyer because your profit margin requires it.

    What if all your renters were subsidized to rent the exact same development at the exact same market rate, would you go for it?

    Let's add in that you're worried that when the economy changes, renters leave to buy. Maybe you convert to condos. That's not always easy.

    Think about this though. Subsidized renters living in units they couldn't afford to buy regardless aren't going to move out but rather continue being subsidized.

    Now, do the math. If you don't come out realizing that lobbying the government to subsidize renters on a massive scale and then building quality housing for those potential renters after your lobbying prevails isn't a solid business plan, I'll eat my hat.

    Okay, so those who build single-family to sell will lobby to subsidize ownership. However, your plan is better because of maintenance issues, urban sprawl, infrastructure requirements (sidewalks, roads, and on and on). Besides, you don't always have to build multi-family in the core. Land is cheaper further out and you can more easily throw in schools and parks and such.

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  105.    Amazon is now selling home security services, including installations and no monthly fees

    Would you allow tenants to have such equipment installed? What are the health hazards with increasing wireless usage? What are the security and liability issues?

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  106.    An intellectual virus, a bubble, or both?

    This applies nicely to real estate too.

    ... volatility is not risk. Certainly, measuring volatility using daily prices and three month trailing sample periods — which underpins the famous Vix index — should be no one's measure of risk, other than a leveraged Vix trader. Investors are not supposed to have daily time horizons, and three months is a spurious sample period for anyone with a three to five-year investment horizon. Most investors should be thinking at least in terms of five year horizons, if not decades.

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  107.    Worlds Apart: How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies

    Although it is frequently said that neoliberals want a weak state, in which the market can be left to do most of the work, that is not quite correct. Against the enemies of the market—economic nationalism and democratic demands—the state has to play a role, mostly by creating a system of laws that protects property and by representing enough force to deter challenges.

    The neoliberals sought, Slobodian writes, to "encase" markets, not to liberate them. Their project was not anarchy: It was a global system that sufficiently ordered the world so that capitalism would be safe from certain forms of political interference. Friedrich Hayek, who had worked under Mises, imagined an organization independent of any one country that would set the rules of the market. Hayek envisioned separate cultural and economic governments: The former would satisfy the demand for mass participation, while the latter would make sure that democratic enthusiasms did not interfere with the functioning of markets across the world. The neoliberal world, Slobodian writes, "is not a borderless market without states but a doubled world kept safe from mass demands for social justice and redistributive equality by the guardians of the economic constitution." Neoliberalism places property, in other words, beyond the reach of democracy.

    That's true, but there are anarcho-capitalists by name who see the state as only something that adjudicates between property owners and only protects those owners. Everything else is private. There is no public property except as needed for the functions of the state those anarchists define. The anarcho-capitalists don't want to follow the detailed non-anarchy-leaning aspects of the Mont Pelerin Society. They want the logical conclusion of the purest capitalism they can imagine and the rest be damn, even though what they want simply can't ever work. Let's not forget that Mises thought Hayek and Friedman were socialists relative to Mises.

    I like how the article rescues the term neoliberal from those who claim it's meaningless. I use it all the time to mean the global system pushing the rights of capital to oppress and exploit for the sake of wealth accumulation by those who control the capital.

    Since controlling capital is an insiders' game, democratic economics where the People create the money and allocate it is completely blocked. That's why the system is a scam: rigged.

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  108.    The Media Narrative Around Amazon Is Out of Control

    ... it's trading at a price-earnings ratio somewhere north of 200. Compare that to a ratio of about 24 for the stock market as a whole. If Amazon traded on the same multiple of earnings as everybody else, its stock would fall by roughly 90 percent.

    Wow!

    I still think the article is understating Amazon's positioning in the retail market. If allowed to continue, it will only get better at delivering products. The question is a matter of taxes and anti-trust enforcement.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    Frankly, I think the wave of the future is the replicator, even though that's a misnomer.

    Have you heard of luxury communism? Ha!

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  109.    Valero Refinery Fire in Texas Released Air Contaminants, Report Finds

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  110.    Recovery Efforts Underway in North Carolina After Tornado Damages 1K Structures News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29, 2018

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  111.    Finland rejects 'false' claims its basic income trial has failed: 'Proceeding as planned'

    Notice the use of "Basic" rather than "Living." "Basic" was coined by the right to keep from having "Living." That (Basic), they hope, will slow down people getting out from under wage-slave masters.

    The left should drop "Basic" like a lead balloon and stop being so easily misguided, misdirected.

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  112.    UK businesses make world-first pact to ban single-use plastics

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  113.    Teachers and Arizona governor at odds as deal announced

    Teachers like Grant who have organized a grassroots movement never seen before in the state are not bending. They want not only the 20 percent raise, but better pay for support staff, yearly teacher raises, a restoration of school funding to 2008 levels and no new tax cuts until the state per-pupil funding reaches the national average.

    Naturally, the quality of public education impacts investment-property values both up and down. Better schools attract. High property taxes repel. Which way should one lean? Statistically, better public schools raises the economy and values much more than high taxes detract. The question really comes down to instant, shortsighted, personal "wealth" versus longer-term, collective "wealth."

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  114.    Paul Waldman: Democrats are swinging for the fences

    Hey, not bad:

    Policy development goes through stages, and right now the idea of a federal job guarantee (or at least a federal jobs program) is at a transition point. At first, ideas like this are discussed and debated by policy wonks talking mostly to each other. Then at some point -- where we're at now -- politicians get into the act, with a few proposing some version of what the wonks have been working on. That then leads to a greater degree of attention, as journalists begin to examine the ideas, which puts them in front of a wider public. Before long, more and more officeholders have to state a position on the idea, which can sometimes push them to take bolder stances than they otherwise would have.
    ...
    It isn't a giveaway, it's the promise of a job, which means it can have an appeal that crosses party lines. If we get a serious debate about this topic, Republicans will find themselves arguing against jobs, and saying it's important that private-sector employers don't feel pressure to increase wages. That may not be such a great place to be.

    It was FDR who told the People to make him do it. By that, he meant to drum up support and a groundswell so he, FDR, could get it done politically.

    We had the WPA and the CCC to get us out of the Great Depression, to put people to work doing absolutely great work, much of it surviving to this very day.

    The only problem with the CCC was that it wasn't allowed to provide high-skills training and the government wasn't allowed to provide jobs that truly competed with the private sector. Also, the CCC was finally ended, when it could have been continued and, in my mind, should have been.

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  115.    Giving money creation back to government

    I was glad when Martin got on board. Interestingly, he wasn't fired.

    Financial Times' chief economics commentator Martin Wolf explains why banking is not an ordinary business and why we should nationalize money creation.

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  116.    Trump Plan to Raise Minimum Rents Would Put Nearly a Million Children at Risk of Homelessness

    I think we should put the children, the aged, and the infirmed first, before wealthy taxpayers and corporations.

    More importantly, there is no such thing as not being able to find the money to pay for promoting the general welfare (per the US Constitution).

    We can create the money without borrowing.

    There is a need, and there would be real-economy productivity to match so that there would be no issue with inflation.

    It is not dignifying nor does it promote self-respect to be tossed into homelessness. It causes problems for the individuals and families thrown aside and for the whole of society that suffers all the negative consequences with a larger homeless population. It is not motivating. It is degrading. It does not provide opportunities. It does not free people up to find a job, reach a job location, be trained for a job, go back to school, etc.

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  117.    Hawaii Takes Historic First Step Toward Creating 'Utility of the Future' Now

    If Hawaii can figure out a way to transform its utilities into customer-serving entities that are rewarded for performance, it could have a global impact.

    "At the end of the day the utility of the future has to be one that is performing all of these different metrics. That is the one that is going to survive," he said. "Otherwise the death spiral thing is a real thing."

    Chang said that he is receiving positive feedback from colleagues all over the world, including China where even though all utilities are state-owned "it's still hard for them to adopt performance-based rate-making or other innovations like we have," he explained.

    "I think this is the wave of the future, and I think we will see a lot more of this around this country and around the world," he said.

    The article should be clearer on the issue of going off the grid, which I believe should never be blocked. That includes water and sewer, etc. It should be regulated in that owners should meet certain requirements so society can be reasonably sure people (children, the aged, and the infirmed) won't needlessly suffer if weather doesn't cooperate.

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  118.    Move Over Chernobyl, Fukushima is Now Officially the Worst Nuclear Power Disaster in History

    Personally, I don't think it has been acceptable that the Japanese government has attempted to manage this global disaster alone. It should be managed at the UN level by the most nuclear capable nations on the planet fully cooperating to clean up and secure the site. If another earthquake causes another tsunami, all the stored radioactive water could be released into the ocean and the containment buildings could be left in even much worse shape than they were after the first hit.

    Plus, the Japanese severely underbuilt the underground ice wall I advocated in public before seeing the suggestion anywhere else.

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  119.    The hills are alive with the signs of plastic: even Swiss mountains are polluted

    This issue isn't going to go away any time soon. These plastics result from humanity not leaving crude oil in the ground, where I believe it was meant to stay as a type of Pandora's box.

    It's escaped, and continues to escape, due to some people placing making money above all else.

    It's such a shame we don't have the kind of leadership that does the exact opposite.

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