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Daily Digest 11/27 - GM To Slash 14k Jobs From N. American Workforce, Could Oil Prices Fall To $40?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 9:01 AM

Economy

These 11 Companies Control Everything You Buy (Whitney V.)

Ceiling-high grocery store shelves may give the perception of endless options, but a closer look at the brands and the companies that own them reveal a complex interconnection. Check out our full visual above to get a better sense of just how intertwined some brands are, and read on to learn more about how well Americans understand this relationship.

GOLDMAN: 3 reasons why the US housing market is slowing down (Adam)

“There are three fundamental drivers of the slowdown in the housing market, none of which are likely to soon reverse,” the firm writes. “(1) mortgage rates have increased 100bp since 2017, putting pressure on affordability; (2) house prices have grown faster than rents and incomes since 2012, exacerbating the impact of rising rates; and (3) the 2017 tax law changes reduced the tax benefits of owner-occupied housing relative to renting.”

Chinese scientist claims world's first gene-edited babies, amid denial from hospital and international outcry (Sparky1)

The statement follows moves by the Chinese hospital named in He's ethical approval documents, Shenzhen Harmonicare Women's and Children's Hospital, to distance itself from involvement in the procedures.

"We can ensure that the research wasn't conducted in our hospital nor were the babies born here," a hospital representative told CNN. The hospital confirmed that two of the doctors named in He's documents work at the hospital and suggested that an internal investigation was underway.

More than 100 Chinese scientists have condemned the CRISPR baby experiment as “crazy” (tmn)

More than 100 Chinese scientists have co-signed a letter, released on China’s social media site Weibo, condemning the experiment for using gene-editing technology on humans. The signatories include scientists from some of China’s most prominent universities and from overseas institutes like MIT.

GM to slash over 14,000 jobs from North American workforce (Thomas R.)

About 5,600 jobs will be lost at the three assembly plants set to close by the end of 2019. That includes 1,500 at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility that currently produces the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, as well as the Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse sedan.

Union Leader: 'GM Won't Close Plants Without One Hell Of A Fight' (Sparky1)

Barra warned the administration over the summer that auto tariffs would lead to "a smaller GM." Now that's happening (though the administration is still mulling a decision on auto tariffs, though it has moved ahead with its protectionist agenda). Meanwhile, Jerry Dias, the head of Canadian autoworkers union Unifor, said that GM won't be closing its Oshawa plant without "a hell of a fight." He also requested a meeting with Barra, and is planning to meet with Prime Minister Trudeau.

GM Is Laying Off 14,000 Workers As it Looks to Cut Costs Amid Restructuring (Adam)

The restructuring reflects changing North American auto markets as manufacturers continue to shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks. In October, almost 65% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were trucks or SUVs. That figure was about 50% cars just five years ago.

It Might Be Worse To Take Social Security At 66, Here's Why (Thomas R.)

First, Social Security remains the third rail of politics and any politician advocating direct benefit cuts will likely be committing political suicide. With the Democrats controlling and likely keeping the House for the next decade, the prospect for direct benefit cuts is remote. I'd expect the Democrats will raise Social Security benefit taxation, either directly or indirectly, but not cut benefits.

Oh that it should come to this, Pt. 2 (Jesper A.)

Instead of fights over these niceties of science, we can if we want take a psycho-historical view of culture history. Such a view is fateful in that it follows in a Jewish trajectory of thought, which inscribes ‘meaning’ to history what would be an eventual impetous to nationalism. On the other the whole of our past is now written inside our world history very much despite the Bible. Common sense. Cursing aside history always contains nuggets of truth. My thoughts often go to Hellenism which created Christianity. Another example would be John K. Galbraith. Or the air-dryer…

FDA to overhaul more than 40-year-old process for approving medical devices that some say puts consumers at risk (Thomas R.)

"What we want to do is constantly push the market toward incorporating better technology and better capabilities by advancing the predicates and always looking forward so the ... predicates the device companies are using as the basis of their approvals are constantly incorporating newer and better technology to make the devices better and safer," Gottlieb said Monday in an interview with CNBC's Becky Quick.

Ohio Becomes First US State to Allow Taxes to Be Paid in Bitcoin (Thomas R.)

However, Arizona’s lawmakers scrapped the plan two months later due to insufficient votes for the proposal. Similarly, Georgia’s proposal also stalled in April, due to a “lack of understanding” about cryptocurrency, said Senator Mike Williams at the time.

CVS is set to complete its $69 billion deal with Aetna almost a year after it was announced, creating a new kind of healthcare company (Thomas R.)

In CVS and Aetna's case, the deal creates a new type of company consisting of a health insurer, a retail pharmacy, and a company that negotiates prescription-drug prices with drugmakers. As part of the agreement with the DOJ, CVS and Aetna have to divest Aetna's Medicare Part D prescription-drug-plan business.

Watch: Six Years Ago Obama Promised to Buy a Chevy Volt. Now It Is Dead (thc0655)

The failure of both the Volt and the Cruze is instructive. The Volt was a very high-priced car that was heavily subsidized by government policies, both federal and state, favoring electric vehicles. Many thought its high-price tag doomed it, especially since the gas-powered Cruze was a very similar car at a lower price point. But neither achieved the expected sales. These were cars Americans did not want.

Could Oil Prices Fall To $40? (Thomas R.)

There have been very few signs from either Beijing or Washington that the trade war will come to an end any time soon. There is, however, a flicker of hope. Trump and Xi are set to meet at the G20 summit at the end of November, with Trump having planned a dinner after the summit where both leaders will try to find a way to end the trade war. If these two superpowers were able to come to an agreement then oil prices would get a significant boost.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 11/26/18

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

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sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2035
The Onion: 1/3 of the population must die to be sustainable

Talk about humor that bites, here is a piece from The Onion.

WASHINGTON—Saying there's no way around it at this point, a coalition of scientists announced Thursday that one-third of the world population must die to prevent wide-scale depletion of the planet's resources—and that humankind needs to figure out immediately how it wants to go about killing off more than 2 billion members of its species.

Representing multiple fields of study, including ecology, agriculture, biology, and economics, the researchers told reporters that facts are facts: Humanity has far exceeded its sustainable population size, so either one in three humans can choose how they want to die themselves, or there can be some sort of government-mandated liquidation program—but either way, people have to start dying.

"I'm just going to level with you—the earth's carrying capacity will no longer be able to keep up with population growth, and civilization will end unless large swaths of human beings are killed, so the question is: How do we want to do this?" Cambridge University ecologist Dr. Edwin Peters said. "Do we want to give everyone a number and implement a death lottery system? Incinerate the nation's children? Kill off an entire race of people? Give everyone a shotgun and let them sort it out themselves?"

"Unfortunately, we are well past the point of controlling overpopulation through education, birth control, and the empowerment of women. In fact, we should probably kill 300 million women right off the bat."

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2035
Nafez Ahmed: Surviving the Collapse

Quoting from Nafez Ahmed's website:

So I did this exclusive interview for a feature article inspired by Ubisoft's new console game, Tom Clancy's The Division, with The Guardian. My interviewer, Guardian games and tech editor Keith Stuart, did a fantastic job of covering serious risks with funny, yet probing, questions.

It's a tongue-in-cheek conversation, but it does cover some real issues.

HOW TO SURVIVE A GLOBAL DISASTER: A HANDY GUIDE

On 22 June, 2001, Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, organised a war game like no other. The two researchers, working with an array of bodies such as the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security, set out to simulate the effects of a biological attack on the US. The project was called Operation Dark Winter.

What they discovered was that the country was ill prepared to cope. Within two weeks there would be enormous civilian casualties, a catastrophic breakdown in essential institutions, and mass civil unrest. Food supplies, electricity and transport infrastructures would all collapse.

In short, the world would get medieval on America’s ass. And the same thing would happen all over the globe.

These days we’re spoiled for choice in terms of potential catastrophes. Natural and ecological disasters, nuclear weapons, terrorism, experimental technological accidents (“Oops, we’ve accidentally created Skynet”) – they’re all in the game. In 2008 a group of experts met at an Oxford University conference and suggested that there was a 19% chance of a global catastrophic event before 2100 (with super intelligent AI and molecular nanotechnology weapons at the top of the threat list).

 

1. DON’T HOLE UP ALONE WITH HUNDREDS OF TINS OF BAKED BEANS

Sharing and networks of cooperation will be needed to rebuild a complex society.  Share your stored food and build relationships with those who can help.

2. YOU NEED TO GO RURAL … BUT NOT TOO RURAL

... Cities are wonderful when everything is functioning but, as The Walking Dead made clear, they’re lethal when there’s no order, electricity or infrastructure. ...  cities are found to be extremely vulnerable simply because there are so many supply chains that are interdependent, and so many people there with you who are also dependent on these supply chains. People will be competing with each other for these scarce resources, which creates violence.”

However, the other extreme – total isolation – may also not be a good idea, for the reason given above. You need a group of differently skilled people who can work cooperatively in order to build your own supply chains and flourish. So, we’re talking ... small market town? “Yes,” says Ahmed, not altogether seriously. “Ideally you’d want to be somewhere in Kent.”

3. YOU NEED ACCESS TO RUNNING WATER AND AGRICULTURAL LAND

Ya' all got this one.

4. ESTABLISH COMMUNICATIONS

“If you wanted to forge a community and be resilient, you may not necessarily have to communicate with the wider world,” says Ahmed. “However, you may need to know what’s going on. The thing is, in a catastrophic scenario, you don’t know what communications are going to be up and running.”

He recommends solar powered radios and local groups build a local computer (internet) networks from salvaged Radio Shack parts.

 

5. DON’T NECESSARILY TRUST THE GOVERNMENT OR LAW ENFORCEMENT

All major governments have contingency plans in place to ensure their survival after a global disaster. In 2007, for example, George Bush signed into place the National Security Presidential Directive, which claims the power to execute certain orders in the event of a catastrophic emergency – President Obama also signed a National Preparedness executive order in 2012. The thing is, most of those preparations are classified – we won’t know what they are until it happens. What we can be fairly certain of, however, is that it will involve the suspension of constitutional government and the instalment of martial law. To some degree.

But here’s a slightly paranoid question: what if it has been decided by contingency planners that civilians are somewhat surplus to requirements? What if the security personnel aren’t actually on our side?

“Never 100% always trust the military – especially when they’re in your own territory,” says Ahmed.

Instead, we should be using our fledgling communication networks to gather public support and ask questions. “The fact is, we have democracy for a reason – there are checks and balances.”

6. YOU MAY HAVE TO BE SELF-SUFFICIENT FOR A LONG TIME

So you have your agricultural land, your solar powered generators and Raspberry Pi communications network, but the big question is: how long before civilised modern industrial society is rebuilt? Or in other words, how long before Netflix is working again?

“In a global pandemic scenario, you’re looking at a long time before everything is safe,” says Ahmed. “With influenza, for example, we’re talking about a lead time of several years before society can get to grips with it all. If you really wanted to stay safe, I think you’ll need to survive for a decade before civilisation sorts itself out.”

 

skipr's picture
skipr
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 9 2016
Posts: 168
The South Park Onion

First of all I must admit to being a retiree who enjoys the cartoon comedy show South Park.  That funny Onion article reminded me of a SP episode where people from the future traveled back through a time portal to present day SP to take away the jobs of the local rednecks by working at very low wages.  They would then put the money into the bank and in a few hundred years compound interest would increase it to billions of dollars.  I guess negative interest rates were not a big thing when the program first aired.

The really funny part was when the only solution the rednecks could think of is for all the men to become gay.  Then the people in the future would not exist to take the jobs away.  I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at one of the "action" scenes.

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