Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/8 - Google’s “Shadow Workforce” Has Demands, Why The Speed Of Rising Greenhouse Gases Matters

Saturday, December 8, 2018, 12:49 PM


American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned (Adam)

Fifteen years ago in California, a tall technology geek named Steve Mushero started writing a book that predicted the American dream might soon “be found only in China.” Before long, Mr. Mushero moved himself to Shanghai and launched a firm that Amazon.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. certified as a partner to serve the world’s biggest internet market.

Beige Book report shows economy still solid as workers gain greater power (Thomas R.)

Labor markets “tightened,” per the Fed, notably in the Chicago region, where “several” firms reported employees have simply quit with no notice nor means of contact. That is good for workers: wage growth tended to the higher side of a modest to moderate pace, the Fed said. Firms also were enhancing nonwage benefits, including health benefits, profit-sharing, bonuses, and paid vacation days.

Google’s “Shadow Workforce” Has Demands (Thomas R.)

These staffers are typically on their own for health care or use higher-cost plans through their staffing agencies, if they have health care at all. They usually have no retirement benefits and no long-term job security with Google. TVCs also appear to be a much more diverse group than Google’s full-time hires, Google workers told me, though the company said it could not confirm this and that it didn’t have the data. “Sometimes when I come into my office the only black women I see the entire day are doing service work, cleaning snack kitchens, serving food, and are security guards who stay on their feet all day,” said Meredith Whittaker, founder of Google’s Open Research Group and an organizer of the companywide worker walkout last month. “It’s so messed up. This is what structural racism looks like in practice.”

Wells Fargo reform plans fail to satisfy Fed after scandals: sources (Thomas R.)

In April, Wells Fargo submitted its plan, expecting the Fed to sign off on it over the summer, but the central bank instead told the country’s fourth-largest lender to go back to the drawing board, the people said.

The settlement requires Wells Fargo to toughen board oversight, repay customers hurt by past abuses, and make more than 20 other improvements to its governance, risk management and compliance controls.

Alphabet is coming for Uber (Thomas R.)

Waymo’s progress toward a driverless taxi service is even more striking compared to the roadblocks Uber hit this year. Uber grounded its self-driving fleets after one of its vehicles struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in March. The company is only now preparing to resume autonomous testing in Pittsburgh, the New York Times reported (paywall) Dec. 5, and with significantly lower expectations. Cars that drove up to 55 miles per hour before the Tempe accident will now be capped at 25 mph. They also won’t operate at night or in wet conditions.

Aphria: The Aftermath Of Short Seller Accusations (Thomas R.)

While I have no interest in a long-term investment on Aphria, I love the volatility that such reports create. I have and will continue play the long and short side of this stock through small positions in call and put options. I closed my put options on Wednesday and opened up a call option position. So, for now, I am "long", but that could very well change by the time you read this article.

Allegations of G.O.P. Election Fraud Shake North Carolina’s Ninth District (jdargis)

On Tuesday, the state’s Board of Elections—made up of four Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent—which tabulates and verifies every vote in the weeks after an election, shocked North Carolina’s political establishment by voting unanimously not to certify Harris’s win. “I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state,” Joshua Malcolm, the board’s vice-chairman and a Democratic resident of the Ninth District, said during the meeting. “I’m not going to turn a blind eye to what took place. To the best of my understanding, which has been ongoing for a number of years, that has been repeatedly referred to the United States Attorney and district attorneys to take action and clean it up.”

Amazon workers hospitalized after warehouse robot releases bear repellent (Thomas R.)

Amazon employs a mixture of Robo-Stow arms and vision-based robots, among other machines, at its facilities. The droids assist with everything from moving smaller goods around a warehouse to unloading stock from trailers. It also holds an annual robotics challenge designed to showcase automated solutions to the challenges it faces in its fulfilment centers.

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert submits $4.6 billion proposal to save Sears (Thomas R.)

Should the offer be approved, it would help about 50,000 of Sears' 68,000 employees retain their jobs, ESL said. The new company would reinstate the severance program it had in place prior to Sears' bankruptcy filing, ESL also said.

"ESL Investments continues to believe in Sears Holdings' immense potential to evolve and operate profitably as a going concern with a new capitalization and organizational structure," ESL wrote in the letter.

2nd deadliest Ebola outbreak in history spreads to major city, raising new challenges for containment (Sparky1)

Since the outbreak was declared on Aug. 1, a total of 471 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the country's eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, which share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. Among those cases, 423 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-deadly type of hemorrhagic fever, according to the health ministry.

Ebola spreads to major Congo city as vaccines a concern (thc0655)

This is by far the largest deployment of the promising but still experimental Ebola vaccine , which is owned by Merck. The company keeps a stockpile of 300,000 doses, and preparing them takes months.

“We are extremely concerned about the size of the vaccine stockpile,” WHO’s emergencies director, Dr. Peter Salama, told the STAT media outlet in an interview this week, saying 300,000 doses is not sufficient as urban Ebola outbreaks become more common.

Selco on the Riots in France, False News, and Manipulated Rage: “Every riot can be the start of SHTF” (thc0655)

We are all more or less there, feeling anger or concern, otherwise, we would not probably be in this whole prepper movement. But the point here is that being a prepper should be quite opposite of joining a whole bunch of people outside in a loose alliance of demanding something. Because the majority of those people are outside either for fun (destruction) or acquiring items like (again) big screen TVs, hurting other people for fun, and similar.

World's biggest oil traders paid bribes in Brazil scandal -prosecutors (Thomas R.)

The bribes moved through bank accounts in the United States, Britain, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay, among others, raising questions of whether those countries would open investigations.

Brazilian police alerted Interpol, seeking the arrest of a Petrobras employee in Houston, whom the company said it has now fired. The employee, Rodrigo Garcia Berkowitz, worked as an oil trader, and prosecutors say he used the nickname Batman.

Volkswagen Phasing Out Conventional Vehicles, May Build Cars At Ford Factories In US (Thomas R.)

Don’t go thinking the folks in Wolfsburg have decided to make all their cars battery electrics. “CO2 neutral” is probably code for a mix of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fully electric cars. There may even be room in there for fuel cell cars. What Jost is saying is that all future Volkswagens will feature an electric motor as part of the drivetrain. They really have no choice if they hope to meet emissions standards that are getting more stringent in every country around the world (except the US, of course.)

As US coal use drops to 1979 levels, EPA may ease rules on new coal plants (Thomas R.)

However, if coal is dying in the US, boosters are hoping to revive it around the world. In Poland, where a global conference on climate change is currently taking place, coal advocates and Trump associates are trying to play up coal's role as a viable energy option for the future. Additionally, the International Energy Agency reported that, even with the decline of coal, carbon emissions from advanced economies are set to rise in 2018 after years of decline.

OPEC and allies agree to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (Thomas R.)

The meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC members comes at a time when the oil market is near the bottom of its worst price plunge since the 2008 financial crisis. Oil prices have crashed around 30 percent over the last two months, ratcheting up the pressure on budgets in oil-exporting countries.

OPEC members say production cut coming, specifics TBD; U.S. crude oil -4% (Thomas R.)

A potential 1M bbl/day cut "may disappoint many but should the cut be from a September or October baseline, rather than November, the net impact would be sufficient to limit storage builds," says Pimco's Greg Sharenow. "It is unlikely to spark a meaningful price rally but also will not be so dire either. In many respects it is the middle road, which may be the optimal solution."

California Gives Final OK To Require Solar Panels On New Houses (Thomas R.)

Starting in 2020, California homebuyers will have the option of either paying for solar panels outright, leasing them, or entering a power purchase agreement with developers. Another option is for communities to "pool resources instead of installing solar on individual homes," Bohan said.

California's record wildfire season is set to deliver a new, devastating disaster (Sparky1)

Lauren Young filled up sacks on a dirt hill in Agoura Hills, one of the communities charred by the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed 1,500 structures and charred almost 97,000 acres.

"We are surrounded by mountains and it's beautiful, but this is something we have to get ready for," Young said as she took a break.

Mass extinctions and climate change: why the speed of rising greenhouse gases matters (John J.)

Ice sheets, for example, are reliable book-keepers of ancient climate and can give us an insight into climate conditions long before the thermometer was invented. By drilling holes into ice sheets we can retrieve ice cores and analyse the accumulation of ancient snow, layer upon layer.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/6/18

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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Debt Rattle for December 9th
• Incoming House Judiciary Chair Planning To End Probe Into FBI, DOJ (ZH)
• France Is The New Tax Hell In Europe And Beyond (RT)
• Paris Under Siege As Gilets Jaunes Open ‘Act IV’ – 4th Weekend Of Protest (O.)
• No Hope Of Success And No Plan B – But Theresa May Won’t Blink (O.)
• UK Cabinet Splits Over Second Referendum On Brexit Deal (G.)
• Majority Of UK Now Wants To Remain In The EU – Poll (Ind.)
• Theresa May Warns Of ‘Uncharted Waters’ Ahead Of Key Vote (BBC)
• EU Will Negotiate If May Loses Commons Brexit Vote – Prodi (G.)
• China Threatens Canada With ‘Grave Consequences’ If Huawei CFO Not Freed (R.)
• Putin Doesn’t Rule Out Extending Turkish Stream Pipeline Into Greece (RT)
• COP24 Fails To Adopt Key Climated Change Report (BBC)
Edouard Manet Berthe Morisot with a bouquet of violets 1872


Time2help's picture
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Trust is Failing on Both Sides of the Pond
Trust is Failing on Both Sides of the Pond (Strategic Culture Foundation)
"In Europe, the EU leadership and Theresa May are so desperate to stop Brexit they can’t stop lying about everything. In one day we have May’s government found in contempt of Parliament for not releasing the full legal advice of her Brexit deal and the European Court of Justice pronounce that the U.K. can unilaterally cancel Brexit if they want to.
They are this desperate because there is a real probability of May’s horrific deal not getting the thumbs up from parliament. That said, the arm-twisting behind the scenes is likely epic as one by one May’s remaining cabinet members come out in favor of the deal because they see they have no other option.
At the same time France is literally on fire thanks to a good ol’ fashioned tax revolt, which reviled, unprepared and arrogant President Emmanuel Macron cannot fathom. Macron’s handling of these protests has been abysmal, displaying a level of contempt for the French people so profound he may wind up more hated in the end than Theresa May.
Both of these odious people make no bones about their real loyalties and the more they talk, the more they try to sell their latest betrayal of national interests for Brussels’ the more the intensity of the hatred of them increases."
"But, if you think I’ve been harsh to this point I’ve saved the best for my own so-called President, Donald Trump. For a while I gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was doing his best beset by a U.S. political establishment which is the worst kind of cruel.
But, after the fiasco of the mid-terms and his systematic capitulation to all things neoconservative, Trump has become a parody of himself on foreign policy. By allowing the paranoid John Bolton to convince Trump that everything neocon is in the interest of America First Trump has now embraced every foreign policy lie he campaigned against."


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robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Stuck in Dallas

It appears I will get back to Bluestemfarms tues. eve. Thanks to all the snow

sand_puppy's picture
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Stuck in Richmond

9" of snow over a layer of ice on the streets of Richmond, Virginia, below freezing and very little plowing activity in evidence.

20 mph is the top speed.  I'm spending the night in a 2 star hotel waiting for sunrise.....

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Quick question...

...if the Sears chairman is orchestrating the transfer of Sears Holdings to his own hedge fund, does that not imply direlection of his duties to his shareholders at one level or another?

Should there not be outrage, and shouldn't the investors be hiring investigators and short investigators especially, to bring him down and recover from him everything they can?

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Greetings from central Nc

Our rural area of the piedmont lost power at 7 pm Sunday . Ironically this is the weekend we scheduled to move out (close date midweek). I'm essentially camping out with my children until we can get the last of our livestock to our rental property. I always welcome these opportunities to learn how my supplies and skills fair but this is one time I hoped not to be put to the test as we are down to the bare necessities. Regardless we are  fairing well thanks to the woodstove I insisted was critical to emergency preparedness.  The ability to heat and cook off grid is lovely...though I realize cooking on it is a skill after burnt biscuits and rubbery eggs. After this experience I'm adding a small inverter to my supplies.

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