Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Yves here. This post by Steven Horn about that shows the typical terms of an oil and gas rights lease for American Energy Partners buries the lead, in that Steve needs to give the context of how the lease came to be public before he turns to explaining how the lease rips off the party who signs it. Among other things, it requires the homeowner to have any mortgage made subordinate to the royalty agreement, something no lender will agree to. If the homeowner can’t get the subordination (a given), no royalties will be paid! As you’ll see, there are other “heads I win, tails you lose” terms in these agreement.
Yves here. This post presents some of the CIA’s less-than-proud moments, curiously omitted in a recently-published history of the CIA’s meddling in the Middle East, juxtaposed with some of its more recent miscues.
Today’s Water Cooler: Yellen on income inequality, ebola gets a czar, Hong Kong, Ferguson, and how not to catch a cold.
I’ve gone through only the first day of testimony from the AIG bailout trial, and we are already up to our third bombshell.
Yves here. The main way that those of the left-leaning persuasion see Amazon as a bad guy is for its treatment of warehouse workers, who work in physically-taxing conditions and are paid what is barely a living wage for a single person.
As Matt Stoller describes in this piece, Amazon’s ambitions are monopolistic, and they’ve already gone a long way towards achieving that ambition in a large number of markets. They regularly engage in predatory pricing to crush competitors and gain market share. Their dominant position then allows them to chose how to extract more profit, which is usually a combination of squeezing suppliers and raising prices.
Antitrust has become close to a dead letter in the US. Amazon makes for a worthy object for reviving it.
Yves here. This post describes, in a general way, some outcomes of our current Middle East adventurism, with the Islamic State as its current nemesis. However, at least one of Van Buren’s “worst-case outcomes” strikes me as not bad, which would be a thawing of hostilities with Iran. But I don’t see how Israel tolerates that.
But the looming issue behind all of these scenarios is that the game is being played to justify continued large budget allocations to the military-surveillance complex. The cost of defending the American is more guns in the guns versus butter tradeoff.
Yves here. As much as readers may already have an intuitive grasp of the story told in this post, data can help define its contours better. Here we see that the rising tide of global growth has not lifted all boats. The gains of the once-poor in China and India have come at the expense of the what used to be the middle class in more developed countries. Reducing poverty has not been a zero sum game. This post also omits another key piece: the rise and rise of an uber-wealthy class.
Today’s Water Cooler: Ebola, Hong Kong, St. Louis cop calls protester’s workplace, no panic on Wall Street, and how to erase memory in mice.
Topics: Guest Post
Posted by Lambert Strether at 1:58 pm |
Yves here. This discussion from the BBC gives a damning picture of the performance of the supposedly “best of all possible worlds” US health care system has been in dealing with Ebola:
Topics: Guest Post
Posted by Yves Smith at 9:55 am |
Readers may recall that we’ve been writing regularly about the single family home land grab by private equity firms. Blackstone has been far and away the biggest, though its Invitation Homes business. Readers and many institutional investors have been skeptical of PE landlords’ claims that they can manage single family homes cost effectively; it’s hard enough for mom and pop landlords, who often have some relevant maintenance skills, like plumbing or construction, to make a go of it.
But as reports come in from abused tenants, Blackstone looks not only venal in its efforts to shift costs on to tenants, but positively incompetent.
Yves here. In our ongoing efforts to thrash Andrew Ross Sorkin when he shills shamelessly for banks (admittedly a Sisyphean task), we are turning the mike over to Bill Black, who also sees Sorkin as a pet project. We trust you’ll enjoy his shredding of another defense of financial firm misconduct in the New York Times’ DealBook.
WalMart just announced that it will at some unspecified point down the road end minimum wage-level pay for its workers. As we’ll demonstrate, there is way less here than meets the eye. In fact, all in pay levels, including benefits, are falling for WalMart workers, not rising.