August 27, 2017

Wake Up And Smell The Dirty Money

A report from the Real Deal. “When Treasury officials rolled out a plan last year to unmask anonymous buyers of luxury real estate, a key criticism was that it excluded deals involving wire transfers — a gaping loophole large enough to drive a truck through, some said. By closing that loophole this week, regulators hope to tighten the noose around bad actors trying to launder money through pricey property. But there’s more.”

“The Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit, FinCEN, also hinted at its eventual plan to apply LLC disclosure rules to deals nationwide by broadening the rule to Hawaii, an increasingly important market for Chinese and Russian buyers, sources said. And it signaled its intent to expand the net to commercial real estate deals in the near future, according to sources who cited the fine print of an eight-page advisory published by FinCEN on Aug. 22. Money laundering in commercial real estate has largely flown under the radar but may present an even greater threat than laundering in the residential market, as The Real Deal explored in an investigation last year.”

“In the meantime, FinCEN gave the LLC disclosure rule more teeth when it added wire transfers to a rule requiring title companies to disclose the buyers of luxury real estate who purchase using an LLC or corporate entity. ‘Most transactions, including ‘all-cash transactions,’ include a wire transfer somewhere in the process,’ said Aaron Shmulewitz of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman LLP. Closing off the loophole ‘will bring into the statute a very large number of the transactions that have been exempt for the last year-and-a-half.’”

From CNBC. “The Treasury Department said that 30 percent of high-end real estate deals that were subject under a new watchdog program involved people who had been targeted by the government for ’suspicious activity’ and potential money laundering. Treasury this week expanded and extended a program targeting luxury real estate deals in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and other big markets to prevent the use of real estate for money-laundering by overseas buyers. The program was designed to prevent buyers from using shell company’s or LLC’s to hide the identities of the real buyers.”

“Analysts say the biggest impact could be in Miami and southern Florida, which has been suffering from a glut of new high-end condos and has relied heavily on buyers from Latin America — some of whom have come under scrutiny for corruption or money laundering. ‘This could have a chilling affect,’ said Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin. ‘That very high end of the market is the most vulnerable to these issues. If a lot of foreign buyers were parking their money in high-end real estate and that much of it is tainted, this rule will have an impact.’”

The Miami Herald in Florida. “Wake up and smell the dirty money. That’s the message federal regulators are sending to the real estate industry in Miami and other high-priced housing markets. The rules, previously so limited in scope that they applied only to a few hundred deals, will now cover every big-ticket cash transaction by shell companies in seven major markets. They are the South Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach; all five boroughs of New York City; San Antonio, Texas; Honolulu (included in the order for the first time); and Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.”

“‘This is going to gather much more information,’ said Andrew Ittleman, a South Florida attorney who specializes in anti-money-laundering laws.”

“The federal decree comes at a bad time for Miami real estate. Overbuilding and a slump in foreign buyers are hurting sales. The average sales price for luxury condo units in Miami Beach fell 21 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, according to a report from brokerage Douglas Elliman. Two-thirds of those sales were cash.”

“The rules kick in at different price points depending on the market. In South Florida, they apply to shell companies buying homes for $1 million or more with cash. ‘This will help a market that has long neglected the amount of criminal activity taking place in the condo sector,’ said Jack McCabe, a South Florida real estate analyst.”

“The degree to which suspect money fuels Miami’s luxe real estate market is debated. But real estate crops up in case after case involving illicit funds. The flood of cash has helped raise home prices far beyond what most locals can afford. As part of FinCEN’s latest push, the agency has told real estate industry professionals they should be on the lookout for suspicious activity from their clients. Warning signs of bad behavior include clients willing to blindly overpay or lose money on a deal; the purchase of properties with ‘no regard’ for their condition or location; funding that far exceeds a client’s known wealth; and clients asking for unwarranted secrecy or for records to be altered.”

From NBC News. “The five-bedroom house in New York’s Long Island suburbs — listed for nearly $1.3 million — boasts a southern exposure and proximity to a country club. But here’s what’s more interesting: The seller, a Chinese national named Sun Sidong, has been linked by American security experts to a network of Chinese companies under Treasury sanctions for helping companies and individuals who support North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Sun’s Great Neck house is an example of how the alleged sanction-busting networks can stretch around the globe, even to the luxe suburbs of Long Island.”

“‘The fact that you have somebody who’s engaged in trade that is potentially not just sanctioned, but dangerous, and that individual then invests in real estate in the United States reflects that there are holes in the system,’ NBC News National Security Analyst Juan Zarate said.

“Sun, whose U.S. company operates out of a New York City address he does not own, bought the Great Neck property near the country club for $1.1 million in December 2016. The house is already on the market again. Sun’s U.S. real estate broker told NBC News that’s because Sun ‘doesn’t want to do business here.’”

From The Guardian on Nigeria. “A Nigerian court confiscated four large housing complexes worth $7 million from a former oil minister accused of corruption on Tuesday as fraud investigators continue to claw back her fortune. Lagos high court judge Abdulaziz Anka ordered former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke to hand over the developments located across Nigeria that were found to have been purchased with suspect cash.”

“Nigeria’s anti-graft Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) argued in court that Alison-Madueke, along with her cousin Donald Chidi Amamgbo, had made the purchases through front companies. During a search of Amamgbo’s property, investigators also found documents indicating that he owned some 18 companies and property in Britain and the USA — as well as Nigeria. He told officers that he had registered the corporations in order to hold property on Alison-Madueke’s behalf, the court heard. Amamgbo also revealed that Alison-Madueke had made mortgage payments worth more than $3.3 million (2.8 million euros) in cash.”

“The first female president of the global oil cartel OPEC — who was one of Africa’s most prominent female politicians — has always denied the allegations, which involve billions of dollars syphoned from oil deals and state accounts. The ruling followed an application by the EFCC which earlier this month successfully confiscated a $37-million luxury apartment complex from the former official. Alison-Madueke is currently on police bail in London after being arrested in connection with a British probe into international corruption and money laundering.”

From Netral News on Indonesia. “Deputy Eradication of National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Inspector General of Police Arman Depari confirmed in tracking the assets resulted from drug transactions it is not easy. The agency also encountered several obstacles. The obstacles in tracing the asset resulted from drug transactions, Arman explained, are changes of places, so the officers only find traces only. ‘For example in the form of property, then as if [dealers] have an import and export business and foreign money changers and in the form of deposits,’ said Arman.”

“A total of six non-bank foreign exchange business activities (KUPVA) or money changers are indicated to be an intermediary channeling of funds for drug abuse business with a value of nearly IDR4 trillion($280 million). Of those six KUPVA, four businesses do not have permission, while two other businesses misappropriate permission from BI. The dollar proceeds then are transferred to an overseas account through banking.”

“‘Another obstacle is that there is no response from foreign banks to the funds transferred abroad via those banks. There are 11 foreign countries indicated, while the one who responds is only one country, that is, Japan,’ he said. Some countries that do not respond, among them, are China, America and the Netherlands.”

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. “A quarter of Chinese buying property overseas leave their apartments vacant and the majority pay for their purchase with cash, a survey of mainland Chinese customers by investment bank UBS shows. Another 25 per cent of overseas property owners use their home on a temporary basis, suggesting about half of the overseas properties owned by mainland Chinese were not fully utilised, the bi-annual survey suggests.”

“The rush of offshore buyers - who are limited to purchasing newly built property - has also sparked an apartment boom in east coast cities. Up to 25,500 apartments will be completed in Sydney this year, with a further 16,700 in Melbourne and 10,600 in Brisbane, analysts Charter Keck Cramer estimate. Under pressure to show foreign-ownership rules are working, the Australian government has also cracked down on the established housing market.”

“The survey, conducted with Chinese consumers bi-annually, includes questions about buying intentions and purchasing habits overseas. The top five international preferred investment destinations were Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Canada and Sydney. The survey follows news this week of China officially putting the brakes on businesses speculating in overseas property development, as they were ‘not the real economy’ and could harm China’s financial interests by increasing capital outflows.”

The Vancouver Sun in Canada. “The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office is attempting to seize a $5 million, 13,000 square-foot mansion in rural Richmond that was allegedly used for illegal gambling, money laundering, kidnapping and blood-soaked assaults. The sprawling eight bedroom and 11-bathroom property — built on two-acres of Richmond agricultural land reserve — is also at the centre of an anti-gang investigation. ‘This is a large and complex investigation,’ said Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, of B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. ‘We anticipate charges and arrests.’”

“A civil forfeiture action filed June 29 in B.C. Supreme Court alleges that defendant Wen Feng, a woman whose listed address is an expensive property in Aurora, a suburb north of Toronto, bought the Richmond property at 8880 Sidaway Road in October 2015. According to B.C. Assessment Authority records the sale price was $4.4 million. But she wasn’t the real owner, and ‘acted as a nominee or ‘owner of convenience,’ the claim states. The other named defendant, Lap San Peter Pang, is Wen Feng’s brother and ‘the beneficial or ‘true’ owner of the property,’ the claim alleges.”

“The claim also alleges the property ‘is an instrument and proceeds of unlawful activity,’ and ‘has been used to engage in crimes,’ including ‘laundering the proceeds of unlawful activity.’”

“It was in December 2015 that the B.C. Lottery Corporation was informed the mansion was operating as an illegal casino, the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office claim alleges. In April 2016, Richmond RCMP entered the mansion in response to an anonymous call, the claim states, ‘that someone was being held hostage at gunpoint inside the residence.’ Police found gaming tables and 15 people involved in gambling, a large amount of casino chips, playing cards, a money counter, and ‘an elaborate video surveillance system,’ mounted above the gambling tables, the claim alleges.”

“Next, in May 2017, police responded to reports of a person admitted to Richmond General Hospital who had been stabbed at the property, the claim alleges. Inside the mansion police found ‘25 individuals, dancing and drinking’ and ‘blood soaked paper towels in a kitchen garbage can.’”

“The claim states that the defendant Pang told police he was the resident and caretaker of the mansion, which contained hundreds of liquor bottles but no personal items that one would expect to find in a home. Pang was living in only one room equipped with a small hotplate, according to police. Next, on June 13, 2017, a person was admitted to Richmond hospital ‘with a broken arm, broken nose, and other injuries after being kidnapped, forcibly confined and assaulted with a metal bar or pipe,’ at the property on the previous day ‘by Mr. Pang and others,’ the claim states.”

“In a response filed Aug. 10, Wen Feng says she bought the ‘recently built, luxurious mansion of over 13,000 square feet’ as an investment, and ’sourced the down payment’ using a line of credit secured against her personal home, the sale proceeds of a Toronto condo, a loan from a friend, and a mortgage from the Bank of Nova Scotia. The property is now listed for sale at just under $6 million ($1 million over its assessed value).”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 09:55:49

‘This could have a chilling affect,’ said Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin. ‘That very high end of the market is the most vulnerable to these issues. If a lot of foreign buyers were parking their money in high-end real estate and that much of it is tainted, this rule will have an impact.’

If? We only saw thousands of articles gleefully celebrating that this city or that had been discovered by secretive super rich buying multiple “safe deposit boxes in the sky.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:02:21

From the last link:

‘As Postmedia reported earlier this year, Richmond is facing increasing concerns over speculative or illicit property uses on agricultural land reserved parcels. Because of controversial zoning rules, buyers can build much larger mansions on farmland than they can on residential lots, and also avoid B.C.’s new foreign buyer residential tax.’

‘Because of controversial zoning rules’

This is a corrupt bunch up in BC.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 10:11:06

Irving, TX Housing Prices CRATER 6% YOY

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-08-27 10:27:26

Dirty Money—- (definition)money obtained unlawfully or immorally


Comment by Ol'Bubba
2017-08-27 13:14:07

Is that supposed to be Miami Pi?

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-08-27 14:53:11


Comment by oxide
2017-08-28 06:48:47

And improper (or it is irrational?).

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:30:33

‘China is cracking down on money laundering, as it aims to ensure compliance with international standards. Recent measures greatly increase the level of reporting on overseas transactions by Chinese bank customers in order to collect data for analysis.’

‘Starting August 21 and according to rules originally announced in June, banks are now required to report overseas spending via domestic Chinese bank accounts of over 1,000 RMB (about $150 USD).’

‘Domestic bank card withdrawals over that amount are also to be monitored. Unionpay card users are permitted to withdraw up to 10,000 RMB (about $1,500 USD) per day, per card. The reporting measures do not change withdrawal and transaction limits, but may flag transactions that are deemed suspicious.’

‘Money laundering presents a challenge to Chinese regulators, as they try to combat criminal activity. Laundering through Chinese banks may occur when funds are used to pay for fake transactions or deposited in banks, to be withdrawn elsewhere. This can be used by criminals laundering proceeds from smuggling or exploitative labor practices; non-criminals who simply wish to make a large overseas purchases, such as real estate, may be flagged for money laundering investigation.’

‘Surprisingly, even the largest four Chinese banks have been embroiled in accusations of money laundering. More recently this month, China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange found nine banks violated foreign exchange transactions laws, as a result of fraud or insufficient internal controls, and penalized them. Seven of these banks helped companies falsify trade documents to purchase foreign currency or failed to carry out due diligence, while the other two had been negligent or in violation of foreign exchange laws with regard to individuals.’

‘Not only are formal banks involved, but shadow banks are as well. In 2016 alone, over 380 underground banks were uncovered, involving transactions of over 900 billion RMB (about $135 billion USD). Underground banks provide another avenue for money laundering as they are unregulated, allowing criminals to easily transfer money across borders though bank accounts established on both ends.’

‘In 2016 alone, over 380 underground banks were uncovered, involving transactions of over 900 billion RMB (about $135 billion USD).’

Is that a lot?

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-08-27 12:04:22

More than a few years back, an article appeared stating that there were 10,000 “factories” in China printing illegal music CDS.

There are probably 3800 underground banks in China.
In the USA, between WFC, JPM and BAC, there are 20,000 branches.

Old news :)

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-27 12:09:26

“More than a few years back, an article appeared stating that there were 10,000 ‘factories’ in China printing illegal music CDS.”

Sounds like an arrangement where lots of pukes do all the work and other enlightened ones do all the reaping. Sorta like banking.

I like it, of course.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-08-27 12:43:58

So why is China and the US concerned about laundered money, now?
Laundered money in the 1980s in Miami from Colombia Inc. went into Coconut Grove development and banks. Now…alas…it’s bypassing banks and going into cypto BTC and NEO. It’s quietly impacting traditional banks.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:39:53

So why does this matter?

August 24, 2017

“A Miami real-estate analyst sheds light on the wonderfully stupid way South Florida operates: For the past handful of years, condo prices in the area have been criminally high, so condo developers have laid waste to any undeveloped piece of land they could find, stacking buildings into the sky regardless of whether anyone would buy them. Now they’ve finally built so many they can’t possibly sell all the multimillion-dollar condos.”

“‘It is worth noting this report only tracks those Sunny Isles Beach condos formally listed for sale,’ Peter Zalewski’s Condo Vultures realty firm wrote. ‘The report does not factor in the nearly 47,550 new condo units currently in the development pipeline east of Interstate 95 in the tri-county South Florida region.’ By 2020, Miami-Dade will have a truly remarkable glut of properties to sell, and Zalewski’s report suggests we really didn’t need many of them in the first place.”

“Expensive property markets, soaring levels of household debt and predatory lending practices have come under fire with experts warning thousands of households are on the verge of mortgage stress. Australia now has the second highest housing debt in the world, after Switzerland, and almost twice that of the US. Another expert who expressed concerns about household debt was Jonathan Tepper – founder of London-based research house Variant Perception, known for his bearish views on the housing market. ‘The dream run is about to end. Price to income ratios are very high,’ Mr Tepper said. ‘Anyone with a pulse could essentially get a mortgage.’”

“‘In some small ways, the madness continues.’ That’s the view from Durham Region, where real estate agent Shawn Lackie sees sellers who are deluded about the current real estate mood in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding towns. They’re pushing for lofty sale prices that are no longer realistic. In most cases, he’s setting an asking price around the estimated market value with no deadline for reviewing offers. Other agents in the area are still trying to generate bidding wars with asking prices as low as $1, but he thinks such tactics aren’t luring buyers at the moment.”

“At the same time, lawyers are still sorting through the wreckage the madness in the spring caused, he says. Many buyers need an extension to the closing date, while some deals are not closing at all. Some sellers are being pressed to agree to a discount to the sale price that was originally agreed upon. ‘Abatement seems to be the word of the day.’”

“Economic experts are raising concerns over the province’s financial reliance on B.C.’s booming real estate market and the new government’s promise to try and cool the market down. Tsur Somerville, a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia is concerned that during the most recent provincial election campaign the B.C. NDP promised to cool the hot housing market.”

“‘If you slow down the real estate industry, because it’s an overly large part of our economy, you’re going to have some repercussions,’ said Somerville. ‘It’s not a healthy situation to be that dependant on real estate, so the adjustment is going to be a little bit painful no matter what happens.’”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:47:11

Also, from above:

‘The rush of offshore buyers - who are limited to purchasing newly built property - has also sparked an apartment boom in east coast cities. Up to 25,500 apartments will be completed in Sydney this year, with a further 16,700 in Melbourne and 10,600 in Brisbane’

It’s all over the world. Look at London or Hong Kong. Remember the Chinese guy in New Zealand scolding locals that they just need to “work harder” to buy a shack?

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-08-27 15:00:35

I’m not sure why China’s yuan is even worth anything these days. Their printing is off the charts.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:50:36

August 18, 2017

“A Lake Tahoe housing shortage is leaving more residents in dire straits. Ironically, though, Tahoe has plenty of houses. They just sit vacant most of the year. More than half of Tahoe homes are vacation residences owned by people who live elsewhere. ‘We don’t need to build more, we just need to re-purpose the ones we have better,’ said Heidi Hill-Drum of the Tahoe Prosperity Center, a coalition working on the housing issue.”

“A $1.15 million townhouse has gone up for sale in North Vancouver, a property that has never been lived in since it was built in 2007. The listing is a stark reminder of Vancouver’s growing issue with vacant housing and housing affordability. According to analysis of Statistics Canada census data from 2016, there were 25,502 unoccupied or empty housing units in the City of Vancouver in 2016, representing a 15 per cent increase since 2011. Further, the number of ‘unoccupied’ units or properties, ‘occupied solely by foreign residents and/or temporary present residents on Census Day’ has risen to 8.2 per cent in 2016 from four per cent in 1986.”

“An overwhelming 26 percent of homes are empty in the French capital’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements, a new report shows. The report by The Paris Urbanism Agency shows that a quarter of housing in these four central Paris arrondissements is vacant - amounting to 20,300 homes. This compares to an average of 15 percent empty homes across the rest of the capital. While the problem certainly isn’t new, it is getting worse, according to the report, with the number of vacant homes in these four areas experiencing a sharp increase.”

“NSW and Victoria are sitting on a glut of 100,000 underused houses, with more than 2000 six-bedroom homes across Sydney and Melbourne occupied by just one person, a Fairfax Media analysis has revealed. In NSW, Canterbury-Bankstown, Northern Beaches and Blacktown local government areas each have between 1400 to 2000 four-bedroom homes with just one person living in them, while in Victoria, there are more than 1000 in Monash, Whitehorse and Frankston, census figures show.”

“The apartments at Hannam The Hill in Hannam and the Signiel Residence in Jamsil are famously pricey and located in two of the most coveted neighborhoods in the country. But because of their sky-high prices, most of the rooms are vacant. According to a registry office at the Supreme Court, only 24 percent of apartments bigger than 240 square meters (2,600 square feet) at Hannam The Hill have been sold so far.”

“The situation is worse at the Signiel Residence, a set of luxury apartments located on the 42nd to 71st floors of the Lotte World Tower. Only seven out of 223 apartments have been sold. While Korea’s real estate market is facing an unprecedented boom these days, sales of luxury apartments are unexpectedly slow. ‘The two areas [Hannam and Jamsil] have been seen an excessive amount of homes being built in a similar time period,’ said Park Won-gab, a senior adviser for real estate at KB Kookmin Bank.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:51:38

August 22, 2017

“In the midtown Toronto areas of Leaside and Davisville, the real estate market has been bouncing between optimism and despair like a yo-yo. Patrick Rocca, a real estate agent with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., has concentrated much of his business on the tree-lined streets radiating out from Bayview and Eglinton Avenues. But even in those stalwart family neighbourhoods, real estate deals can be hard to put together these days, says Mr. Rocca, who has been shocked by the market’s swings. ‘You knew something was going to happen. It was mind-boggling. It was scary,’ he says of the market’s unfettered rise in the spring and the Ontario government’s moves to tame it. ‘I knew something was going to happen – I just didn’t know how quickly it was going to stop.’”

“A house that might have sold for $1.5-million in the fall of 2016 could have fetched $1.8-million in February. Now, it’s back to $1.5-million. ‘The sellers are still thinking March prices; the buyers are still thinking there’s downside.’”

“John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty Inc., says sales in the first half of August in the Greater Toronto Area fell 42 per cent from the same period last year. Again, the drop in freehold properties was more severe, with a 46-per-cent fall compared with a 34-per-cent decline for condos. Mr. Rocca is coaching sellers to be more clear-eyed by showing them the figures from recent sales. ‘They missed the boat. It’s been difficult. They should have sold in March, but they didn’t.’”

“Prices were escalating at an annual pace above 30 per cent before the Ontario government introduced policies designed to cool the market. One of those moves, a non-resident speculation tax, adds a 15-per-cent levy on real estate purchases by foreign buyers. ‘I think the foreign tax really hit our area,’ Mr. Rocca says. Mr. Rocca sold one house in February that had 11 competing buyers show up at the table. ‘Everyone was foreign,’ he says.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 10:55:26

August 17, 2017

“Broker Gurinder Sandhu says he is cautiously optimistic that the psychological pause homebuyers have exercised since the provincial housing announcement, which included a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax and expanded rent controls, will end in the fall and the market will return to normal. ‘We haven’t had a normal market in a long time,’ said the executive officer/owner of Re/MAX Realty Services.”

“The return to equilibrium is better for buyers and sellers, but those listing their homes need help recalibrating their expectations, he said. ‘We are not in the market we had in the first four months of the year. That was a fantasyland. That was short-lived but now we’re back to a market where houses are not going to sell in a matter of hours,’ said Sandhu.”

“Toronto’s detached real estate is having another rough month. Numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) show that buyer indecision provided substantial downward pressure to the detached segment in July. One of the city’s most affluent neighbourhoods, Bayview Village/Hillcrest Village, saw the greatest declines. The benchmark price for a detached in that neighbourhood fell to $1,532,100, a $205,200 decline from the month before. Sales showed large declines, posting the worst number for July in at least 5 years. TREB saw 2,434 sales, a 47.4% decline from the same time last year.”

“As the Hamilton housing market’s fever continues to break, ‘reduced price’ and ‘new price’ listings are popping up from realtors around Hamilton. A listing for a house a block from Locke Street South in the Kirkendall neighbourhood screams, ‘JUST REDUCED!!’”

“Realtors tend to be an always-sunny lot, and not all who’ve dropped asking prices were willing to talk to a reporter about it. But the ones who did all agree that the era is gone of blind bidding, paying more than $100,000 over asking price and forgoing all conditions in Hamilton’s housing market. There’s less competition by buyers in general, but especially for fixer-uppers that might have still attracted a fistful of generous offers back in the frenzy days.”

“‘The market has changed; the landscape has changed,’ Doug Tunis, the broker and manager of more than 300 realtors at of Royal LePage State Realty. Tunis said the learning curve a couple of years ago was for buyers – agents would take them through a couple of unsuccessful bidding wars and they would realize how competitive it was. Now, he said, the learning curve is for sellers, who think their realtor’s price is way off-base – on the low side.”

“‘They’re saying, ‘My friends, my neighbour, he had 17 offers and he was listed at $899,000 and now you want to list mine at $799,000 and test the market?!’ Tunis said. But if that friend listed six or even three months ago, things have changed since then, he said.”

“‘We have a bit of a adjustment to make coming off of this frothy market,’ said Donna Bacher, past president of the local realtors association. ‘There’s less competition for the fixer-uppers,’ she said. ‘People are less willing to go crazy and pay anything for that. (Buyers) are able to put in conditions, and sellers aren’t being rewarded for deferred maintenance – which we were seeing a lot of.’”

Comment by scdave
2017-08-27 10:59:48

So is the massive new apartment and office construction that has been going on now for several years throughout the world and the revelations regarding money laundering just a coincidence ??

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 11:07:24

Every closing is a crime scene.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-27 12:05:17

“Every closing is a crime scene.”

Damn, I really like this … this bit of truth; Well worth stealing.

Also, words to live by. It would make a fitting Proverb.

Comment by Mike
2017-08-27 12:17:13

very clever!

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 13:23:07

“Every closing is a crime scene.”

Oh, jeebus, that’s just too funny right there, I don’t care who y’are.

Comment by butters
2017-08-27 20:31:44

Bravo! Bravo!

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-08-28 10:32:02

Every closing is a crime scene.

Is that a corollary to “behind every great fortune lies a great crime”?

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-28 12:49:54

Bernie Madoff and guys like him agree with you. Those that get ripped off? Not so much.

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Comment by RealityBased
2017-08-30 21:44:50

Awesome!!! This will be a fin de 2017 quote

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 11:11:28

Downtown LA is now dominated by Chinese developers throwing up condo towers with big percentages held exclusively for - Chinese buyers who don’t live in them!

Comment by scdave
2017-08-27 11:24:28

developers throwing up ??

I have a good friend who is a superintendent for a large Northern California developer…He told me the other day that they can’t man all the jobs and the work keeps coming…Said that they are booked through 2020…Barring some event that stalls it (See Sept. 2008) it appears this is going to continue…Look at Goggles development in downtown San Jose…There is 5 million square feet + - currently in downtown San Jose…Google’s development by itself is 8 million square feet…

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 12:02:18

This guy will be the last to know when it’s over. That’s how these things always go.

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 12:09:16

Supers always are. It’s deliberate.

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 13:21:22

“Look at Goggles development” (that’d be Google, unless you’re talking about Bezos’ magic eclipse glasses)

Now you see it, now you don’t!

Heckuva job, Sundar!

Something tells me Sundar’s being set up to be Google’s fall guy. Kinda like what happened to Raj Rajaratnam and Rajat Gupta. There’s nothing a white liberal in upper management enjoys more than screwing things up and fingering some brown person to take the rap. It’s a sport with them.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-08-27 15:02:48

And behind every Chinese deal, fake yuan.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 15:45:57

‘Mergers and acquisitions have sapped some strength from Silicon Valley’s office market, which is confronting increased subleases and vacancy levels, according to a new report.’

‘Despite the trend, developers have stuffed the pipeline with a considerable amount of proposed new office projects in Santa Clara County and nearby areas, according to the report released by the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies and JLL, a commercial realty brokerage that also is known as Jones Lange LaSalle.’

‘About 11 million square feet of commercial real estate space was under construction during the April-through-June period of this year.’

‘Of that amount, 85 percent, or 9.4 million square feet, was office space, the report stated. Another 2 percent was research and development space and 13 percent was industrial space.’

“With rising vacancy rates, average asking rents for office and research-and-development space have declined over the past year,” stated the report from the JLL brokerage and the regional institute, which is affiliated with San Jose-based Joint Venture Silicon Valley. The geographic areas surveyed consisted of Santa Clara County, Fremont and San Mateo County.’

‘Over the last 12 months, asking rents for office space declined 8 percent, while asking rents for R&D spaces dropped 14 percent, the report stated.’

Comment by junior_kai
2017-08-27 17:09:16

“And behind every Chinese deal, fake yuan.”

Fake food, fake materials, fake everything. Whole country is just a joke - plenty of videos on (((youtube))) of people showing the farcical construction standards in that country. Why anyone accepts their currency for something of value is beyond me.

I dont eat anything from that country. Japan yes - they are a stickler for quality, but China? Aw hell no!

Comment by butters
2017-08-27 20:35:45

Heckuva job, Sundar!

This guy is a toke CEO and eventual fall guy. The whites always find a colored fall guy, don’t they?

At least 50% of Goolags revenue is based on fraudulent clicks. This will be interesting when the scam runs out.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-08-27 15:06:15

Yeah, and there’s endless work to do on all of Tesla’s gigafactories…What could possibly go wrong for a company deep in debt which isn’t profitable and builds things most people cannot afford?

I see the future, and it ain’t looking pretty…

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Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 15:12:31

Not to mention being run by a cuck who mixes Ambien and wine and then has hallucinations about AI.


Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 11:57:15

February 8, 2017

“New York City is still the No. 1 destination for foreign capital in the world, according to this year’s AFIRE rankings, but it is no longer an environment in which foreign money — particularly from China — will buy anything in the market at any price. This year, China has clamped down on outbound foreign investment, and firms caught flouting the new laws will be punished harshly, China First Capital CEO Peter Fuhrman said. While most New Yorkers in commercial real estate are aware of the capital slowdown, Fuhrman said they are probably not taking it seriously enough.”

“‘I have the perception that the full weight and severity of these capital controls hadn’t been fully felt here,’ Fuhrman said. ‘It’d be fair to say that the Chinese central government dropped a financial bomb on its businesses.’”

“One of the Chinese government’s chief concerns when instituting the investment restrictions, Fuhrman said, is over outbound investors getting fleeced while paying record-breaking prices. ‘A concern of Chinese regulators is their investors have been really bad buyers,’ Fuhrman said. ‘This can sadly be seen more and more in the larger real estate deals they have done. What they are extremely concerned about is just about every acquisition the Chinese have made, is they have overpaid severely and foolishly, and that has spurred a loss of a lot of Chinese sovereign wealth.’”

Comment by scdave
2017-08-27 12:09:02

is over outbound investors getting fleeced while paying record-breaking prices ??

The question for some of them; does it matter ??…If I had a billion dollars of dirty money and I paid a billion dollars for some overpriced real estate and when I later sold it I only got 500 million back in clean money would I really care ??

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-27 12:17:45

Good point. Explains that what drives the insanity for many isn’t necessarily insanity for all.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 12:21:54

Does it matter. This always comes up. As I’ve showed here especially of high end junk. Does it matter that Miami has a skyline that will take 20 years to sell? Then there’s the loans, to those developers who are already walking away, and to people like this:

‘Wen Feng says she bought the ‘recently built, luxurious mansion of over 13,000 square feet’ as an investment, and ’sourced the down payment’ using a line of credit secured against her personal home, the sale proceeds of a Toronto condo, a loan from a friend, and a mortgage from the Bank of Nova Scotia. The property is now listed for sale at just under $6 million ($1 million over its assessed value).’

I wouldn’t even be interested if this was simply dumb foreign money going down the drain. As we’ve seen before, rampant speculation can have all sorts of nasty outcomes. And recall, I was calling this money laundering when the REIC was crying racism for doing so. You’ll notice no one is calling it racism now that so many of these governments are cracking down. Now it’s serious! A crime wave. It’s serious alright.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-27 12:27:24

Does it matter that Miami has a skyline that will take 20 years to sell?”

If one is positioned correctly during this … this miracle … then, no, it doesn’t matter.

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Comment by butters
2017-08-27 20:39:43

That’s a faulty thinking. Sure there are handful of billionaires and millionaires who may not care about losing money. The thing is normal Chinese (kinda rich but not really rich mom & pops) were the main driver behind the western realestate boom. Many have done it so in massive leverage.

Comment by Jingle Male
2017-08-28 03:19:22

San Diego marina condos now show 248 listings…..up.from 225 in June.

92101 may be peaking. I’ll consider buying one in 2020.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 12:11:56


IOWA 0.9 ESE 2.03

DAYTON 0.2 E 27.45
SANTA FE 0.7 S 27.42
LA MARQUE 1.8 E 24.53
LA GRANGE 10.2 NW 18.89
SUGAR LAND 1.0 W 17.97
MAGNOLIA 2.8 S 17.80
WALLER 3.0 WSW 17.57
HOUSTON 1.4 NE 17.22
CLEVELAND 3.6 S 16.43
NEW ULM 5.1 S 16.14
ALVIN 3 SW 15.16

No doubt that’s a lot of rain, but notice it’s over more than two days. And not a 30 inch total there, much less 40. The gulf plain is really flat. Much of Thursdays rain would run off before Friday, etc.

The biggest destruction in a hurricane is wind and storm surge, not rain.

‘Rescuers battling heavy downpours plucked hundreds of people from rising floodwaters left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, answering desperate calls for help all along the ravaged Texas coastline where at least two people were killed and up to 14 injured.’

Two dead is probably less than the auto fatalities that would normally occur in Houston this weekend.

Comment by scdave
2017-08-27 12:16:14

Water damage to property is likely the biggest loss…

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 13:32:21

Realtors are out cheering for more devastation and physical damage

Comment by MacBeth
2017-08-27 14:17:56

I have a television that is pre-installed with Roku and the like.

I am watching a Houston television station, live (KPRC) via app NewsOn, which allows you to dial into local news stations nationwide.

State officials were on a few hours earlier, stating they may need to up their estimate of the houses underwater from 200,000 to 300,000.

That’s a huge number.

And that’s just the Houston metro area - it doesn’t include areas toward Austin and northeast of Houston. Many of those places have had 15+ inches of rain during the past 36 hours.


Comment by Karen
2017-08-27 17:41:30

State officials were on a few hours earlier, stating they may need to up their estimate of the houses underwater from 200,000 to 300,000.

“Estimate” by state officials = totally made up number designed to inspire FUD and get the federal money pouring in.

Comment by MacBeth
2017-08-27 18:53:02

Possibly. Though the number of acres covered is quite impressive.

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Comment by Karen
2017-08-27 14:38:22

FEMA administrator: We’re ‘going to be there for years’

It’s the storm of the century!

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 14:57:05

I’d fire that cuck SOB on the spot. If he has to be there for years, he’s a total incompetent talking his book.

Comment by jeff
2017-08-27 15:35:09

“Two dead is probably less than the auto fatalities that would normally occur in Houston this weekend.”

No doubt, impaired or distracted drivers would have killed many more if the floodwaters did not keep them off the roads.

Comment by rms
2017-08-27 17:16:42

“FORT POLK 2.28…”

Oh… 11 bravo memories.

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-08-28 11:02:22

:-). I wasn’t 11B. But Ft. Polk filled the important function if being a place that could be pointed to as an example of how things could always be worse…you could be stationed there. At Ft. Campbell that example was desperately needed at times.

Comment by Neuromance
2017-08-28 04:33:13

Modern economic theory at work:

* Destroy someone’s property.
* They need to go into debt to get it fixed (or insurance will pay, driving up premiums).
* Economy booms (whatever that means) while the misery index booms as well.

I think that last line is what has puzzled economists. By most measures, the economy is booming. But they have no measure for a quality of life misery index.

“What’s bad for the individual is good for the society and economy!” How does that pass the smell test? Going into debt, spending more than you have, relying on the expert redistribution and largesse of central bankers and politicians - this is what they recommend.

I think what they really mean to say is, “What’s bad for the average American is good for executives in the financial sector.”

Comment by Curious Lurker
2017-08-27 13:18:46

I’ve been reading this site for years and it has helped me to have a completely different understanding of the economy.
My question is what effect with the flooding from hurricane Harvey have on the Houston,TX housing market?
I’m sure there will be much clean-up work and remediation of drywall damage, etc. But will some buildings be damaged enough to be a write-off and torn down? If so, what percentage, and how much extra housing do they have to absorb any people needing a new place to live?
How much will insurance pay for repairs? And how much of that money will be sloshing around and spent on foolish things rather than actually on a well-built structure.
(I am older, but still foolish enough to think people want solid construction.)

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-08-27 15:02:54

No effect whatever.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-08-27 15:39:19

“I am older, but still foolish enough to think people want solid construction.”

That assumes that people know what solid construction is. Builders became creative four decades ago and simple stated that the construction of old would NOT be affordable again. You ended up with roof trusses that were 12″ off-center going to 36″ off-center going to vaulted ceilings.
I don’t understand the California construction I am looking at. I’m living in Florida and I wouldn’t live in a house that does not have a hip roof. Period. I also want screened soffits to let the air run through the roof during hurricanes.
So what happens in Texas ? Well, we will discover that people didn’t know they needed FEMA flood insurance and Trump is gonna tell everyone that they’re blessed and will be helped. Ain’t gonna happen. Then Home Depot will raise prices even though you’ll read they’re prohibited from doing so. How ’bout $750 billion before it’s all done. Did I mention mildew and mold? Did I mention all those Chevy trucks going to auction with electrical problems?

Comment by Karen
2017-08-27 17:47:34

I don’t know what construction is like in the more southerly areas of Texas where there’s flooding, but here in N Tex the construction quality is crap and has been for a long time.

I don’t know anything about the roofing issues you mentioned, but here they don’t even bother to do the foundation correctly. Apparently it depends on soil type, and we have loamy soils that expand and contract with rising and falling levels of moisture. But, since buyers are mostly know-nothings, they build them in a cheaper way that is destined to crack. And that causes all kinds of problems.

Every time you turn on the radio here you hear ads for the repair of cracked foundations.

Comment by rms
2017-08-28 12:01:06

“Apparently it depends on soil type, and we have loamy soils that expand and contract with rising and falling levels of moisture.”

The loamy soils are usually associated with adequate drainage due to sand particles whereas clay and caliche are understood to be expansive soils when they become saturated.

Our spec house has a slab resting on caliche, and every winter the same doors bind, the tile entry cracks separate, etc., so if it’s ever up for sale it’ll be in summer.

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Comment by rms
2017-08-28 12:02:50

Good info here:

Unified Soil Classification System

Comment by somedewd
2017-08-27 19:15:31

Never come across trusses 36″ on center. 24″ on center is great if house is done using value based framing with trusses resting on lumber all the way down to joists/foundation. Just because someone frame’s 16″ oc doesn’t mean it’s a quality job.

The key to quality construction is good super and subs. In the absence of good subs, which occurs everywhere, the key is substituting good techno advances (engineeres floor and ceiling trusses with appropriate calcs to reduce deflection, etc), lvl or framers series studs that prevent idiot framers from crating bowed walls

Comment by somedewd
2017-08-27 19:19:24

Advantech subfloor glued and screwed, Bibs vs blown cellulose insulation (bats are crap and never installed correctly), good air sealing (almost impossible to find outside a few areas). If you can’t be at the job site a few hours every day while your house is built, don’t do it.

My favorite is pvc 40 drain pipe between floors in million dollar homes. Cast iron is just too expensive. Such a joke

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 20:26:40

Advantech is heavily marketed OSB at 2x the cost of ply. Sheet waterproofing over Densglass with a hollow cavity(No insulation) performs better than any insulation out there. No-hub Charlotte pipe in a house? For what? Expecting a nuke soon?

There is no “quality construction”. Either the materials are correctly specified or they aren’t. Every material has it’s place and to substitute materials that are 3 or 4 times the cost of a material that performs the same function is another scam.

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 13:50:19

Speaking of ChyNAH:

“China could take three countermeasures against the recent “Section 301” investigation initiated by the U.S. government, experts told

With growing trade friction between the two largest economies, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce made a strong response on Monday, saying China strongly opposes unilateral and trade protectionism acts conducted by the U.S., and will take all appropriate measures to safeguard its legitimate interests.

According to the report, limiting imports from the U.S., reducing exports to the U.S., and unloading dollar assets would be the most effective countermeasures.”

Oh, please, PLEASE do it. All at once would be even better.

Comment by butters
2017-08-27 20:44:23

The vampire will NOT be happy. The orange one will change his tune soon.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-08-27 15:03:56

“Wake up and smell the dirty money. That’s the message federal regulators are sending to the real estate industry in Miami and other high-priced housing markets. The rules, previously so limited in scope that they applied only to a few hundred deals, will now cover every big-ticket cash transaction by shell companies in seven major markets. They are the South Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach; all five boroughs of New York City; San Antonio, Texas; Honolulu (included in the order for the first time); and Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.”

How will the San Diego luxury housing market possibly hold up without dirty money to be laundered into high-priced deals?

Comment by scdave
2017-08-27 15:25:40

Answer is it won’t…

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 15:33:27

February 24, 2017

“The mansion on Fallen Leaf Road in the secluded Upper Rancho neighborhood of Arcadia has all the trappings a wealthy buyer from China could want. Yet two months after it was placed on the market, the house remains unsold. Not long ago, real estate like this would have been snapped up almost immediately. ‘It would have been gone in two weeks with multiple offers,’ said Dee Chou, the property’s listing agent.”

“Median home prices have dropped in Arcadia to $930,000 at the end of last year from about $1.1 million at the start of 2015. In San Marino, the median price for a home was $2.5 million as recently as the second quarter of last year before tapering to $2.2 million by the fourth quarter. Agents say the city is left with a surplus of luxury properties whose sellers could face pressure to reduce prices. One agent said her client had to drop his asking price for a property in Arcadia last summer to $8.3 million from $10 million because it drew no interest for three months. ‘All agents are crying that the money isn’t coming,’ said Sanne Lee, an agent for A + Realty & Mortgage in Rowland Heights.”

Comment by scdave
2017-08-27 15:38:29

because it drew no interest for three months ??

LOL. 3 months. So you thought selling a house in several weeks was normal ?? Welcome to reality dude. The pendulum swings both ways.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 16:05:44

‘An Israeli legal NGO is calling on New York City to remove statues honoring Peter Stuyvesant, the 17th century Dutch ruler of the colony of New Amsterdam. The head of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, told the New York Post that Stuyvesant was an “extreme racist” who targeted Jews.’

‘In an op-ed in the Forward yesterday, leading Jewish studies scholar Jonathan Sarna noted that while Stuyvesant did attempt to exclude Jews from New Amsterdam, he was also the city’s most successful early leader. Stuyvesant eventually did allow Jews to join the colony, and lived alongside them even after he fell from power.’

‘Questions have also been raised about whether Grant’s Tomb should be torn down over Ulysses S. Grant’s effort expel Jews from portions of the South during the Civil War.’

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 17:05:18

I am reading the book Cold Mountain, a novel by Charles Frazier. The guy writes some awesome prose. Never did see the movie and have no interest in doing so.

For those who are interested, I highly recommend the passage in the book where Inman, the Confederate deserter, spends some time with an old mountain hermit woman who is a herbalist and raises goats. It pretty much sums up what the Civil War was all about for the elites of the day, and what it was all about for the grunts on the ground. Two totally different purposes.

“I reckon many of us fought to drive off invaders. One man I know had been north to the big cities, and he said it was every feature of such places that we were fighting to prevent. All I know is anyone thinking the Federals are willing to die to set loose slaves has got an overly merciful view of mankind”.

That’s just one quote. The earlier parts of the passage made me realize that the so-called Civil War never, ever ended and continues to this day in different forms.

Take the wrecking ball to Grant’s tomb, by all means.

Comment by rms
2017-08-27 18:15:43

“It pretty much sums up what the Civil War was all about for the elites of the day, and what it was all about for the grunts on the ground. Two totally different purposes.”

The deserters hid up in the hardwoods where soldiers on horseback couldn’t ride; dismounting meant it was man against man again.

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 18:59:02

Yep. It seems the deserters had to hide from both the Confederate Guard and the Federals, though. Both of these groups looted and burned farms and homesteads along the way.

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Comment by rms
2017-08-27 23:25:27

“Both of these groups looted and burned farms and homesteads along the way.”

Human cruelty… so near the surface.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 19:50:21

Wait til someone does some digging around and figures out honest Abe was a big fat racist.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-08-27 20:04:54

Did Abraham Lincoln Express Opposition to Racial Equality?

An authentic quote from Lincoln has attracted renewed attention, along with some commentary that oversimplifies his views on race.

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Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-27 20:18:15

I move that we tear down the Lincoln Memorial.

Also, I move that all five dollar bills on the planet be sent to me for destruction.

Comment by tj
2017-08-27 20:50:01

snopes is run by a couple composed of a left-wing plump pajama boy and his alt-waif. they’ve been proven wrong many times. politifact and factcheck are just as left biased. none of them can be trusted.

it’s true that douglas probably began to change lincoln’s opinion on race just a couple weeks before he was assassinated. but no one knows to what degree. and the truth is he was a racist most of his life, if not all.

lincoln did hate slavery, but for the wrong reasons. he thought it gave the rich an advantage over the poor who couldn’t afford slaves. but if slaves produced so much wealth, why not take out loans and buy them? it’s because slavery in truth is barely economic, if at all. the upkeep on slaves is high, and like all humans would, they took every opportunity to slack off and escape work. hired labor is much more efficient at producing wealth.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-27 21:07:47

“hired labor is much more efficient at producing wealth.”

And debt slavery is much more efficient in extracting that wealth.

Comment by tj
2017-08-27 21:40:00

it can be argued that slavery was an evolution of morality. there was a time when slaves didn’t exist.

anyone that was conquered was summarily killed. but then the idea that capturing and enslaving was more humane and efficient began to take hold. and slavery was born, in the eyes of many, as superior morality than outright killing.

only later, with further moral evolution, did slavery begin to seem immoral. quite a sorid path, eh?

Comment by Digger
2017-08-27 20:06:25

I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

– Abraham Lincoln

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Comment by jeff
2017-08-27 20:16:19

“Wait til someone does some digging around and figures out honest Abe was a big fat racist.”

I remember you telling Rio that and I also remember being quite shocked after I did “some digging around” and found out you were right.

5 Things You May Not Know About Lincoln, Slavery and Emancipation



Lincoln didn’t believe blacks should have the same rights as whites.


Lincoln thought colonization could resolve the issue of slavery.

For much of his career, Lincoln believed that colonization—or the idea that a majority of the African-American population should leave the United States and settle in Africa or Central America—was the best way to confront the problem of slavery.

Beep beep beep

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 20:59:03

^Best stuff ever discussed on this blog.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 21:04:05

‘The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time. For example, the Zeitgeist of modernism motivated the creation of new forms in the fields of architecture, art, and fashion during much of the 20th century. Zeitgeist is a powerful force embedded in the individuals of a society.[1] The German word Zeitgeist, translated literally as “time mind” or “time spirit”, is often attributed to the philosopher Georg Hegel, but he never actually used the word. In his works such as Lectures on the Philosophy of History, he uses the phrase der Geist seiner Zeit (the spirit of his time)—for example, “no man can surpass his own time, for the spirit of his time is also his own spirit.”

‘Charles Darwin’s proposition that evolution occurs by natural selection has been cited as a case of the zeitgeist, since his contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace, was outlining similar models to Darwin during the same period (ideas that were jointly presented to the public).[5] This view is disputed, however, by accounts that emphasize the relative simplicity of Wallace’s model, and which highlight a supposed novelty within Darwin’s likewise simplistic contribution.[6]‘

‘Was Charles Darwin a racist?’

‘It will come as a surprise to historians of science if it’s shown that he was, since the great naturalist has recently been lauded as an abolitionist whose detestation of slavery is an under-acknowledged motivation for his scientific work. According to Henry McDonald’s piece in yesterday’s Guardian, an MLA has suggested that Darwin was a “racist”.

‘Mervyn Storey argues that Darwin’s language in The Descent of Man would earn disapproval today. This is undoubtedly the case. Darwin certainly referred to Aboriginal people as “savages”. There is also the language of “favoured race” in Origin of Species. But that language would not have raised an eyebrow in the nineteenth century; as always with historically placed language, we must be careful about extending our contemporary sensitivites to the past. Some of the language of the Bible would appear deeply objectionable by our contemporary lights.’

‘The more serious question we should ask is whether Darwin, judged by the standards of his day, would have been considered a racist — or, quite the opposite, as a campaigner, in his own way, for the abolition of slavery based on the conviction that all human beings have a common biological parentage.’

‘That said, even if it were to be demonstrated that Darwin was — even by the conventions of his day — a racist, this conclusion may have consequences for our moral evaluation of Darwin as a man; it would contibute nothing to our evaluation of his work as science.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 21:52:58

“no man can surpass his own time, for the spirit of his time is also his own spirit.”

Putting aside the obvious sexism of using man and his, let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine a future where veganism takes hold, for many decades, becomes almost universal. Meat eaters are looked back upon as barbaric, cruel, practically sub-human.

How would you explain yourself to that future populace? What chance are you given to justify the fact that it wasn’t considered the universal evil the future views it as?

Comment by tj
2017-08-27 22:06:42

that’s a beautiful thought experiment.

Comment by junior_kai
2017-08-27 17:20:32

LOL, the ultimate white supremacists upset about being upstaged all these years?

What sort of a melting pot do they have over in Israel? Dont they have a big beautiful WALL? Last I checked so do Zuckerpig, bloomberg, soros and the rest of the slime funding this whole movement to erase history.

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 17:33:03

If they want to decimate New York, no sweat off my nose. It’s pretty much decimated anyway. Give ‘em what they want. Finish it off.

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 18:08:11

junior, I know it looks bad right now, but a little bit of ju-jitsu can be quite effective. In other words, using the strength of the opponent against them.

Let ‘em go to it.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 16:12:16

How to buy a home in Seattle — from China

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-08-27 17:01:44

Mountain View, CA Rental Rates CRATER 9% YOY

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 17:56:06

“Axios, who confirm this account by sources with knowledge of the meeting and undisputed by the White House, explain in great detail, that Gary Cohn, a globalist who opposes tariffs and the protectionist trade measures pushed by the nationalist Bannonites, had his shoulders slumped and was clearly appalled by the situation.”

Oh, dear, globalist Gary Cohnhead is clearly appalled. He should write another letter.

“However, it is Axios’ quoted conclusion of the meeting that raises the most eyebrows about just where the power and influence really remains in The White house…

“John, let me tell you why they didn’t bring me any tariffs,” he said.

“I know there are some people in the room right now that are upset. I know there are some globalists in the room right now. And they don’t want them, John, they don’t want the tariffs. But I’m telling you, I want tariffs.”
Finally, here’s the non-denial that the White House gave to Axios:

“The president has been very clear about his agenda as it relates to trade. Discussions pertaining to specific tariffs and trade deals are ongoing and have already resulted in many positive developments.”

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 19:43:13

BTW, has anyone noticed that the leaks have slowed to a mere trickle, and what leaks there are, seem to be deliberate on the part of the administration, like the one above.

I guess Priebus was the one leaking like an 80 year old guy with BPH.

(just adding to my post, not replying)

Comment by palmetto
2017-08-27 18:14:57

Sunday night and the headlines are flying thick and fast.

Comment by SW
Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 21:17:57

‘A Bay Area startup that promised to give music lovers state-of-the-art wireless earphones is instead closing its doors, becoming the latest in a string of crowd-funded companies to take customers’ money and shut down without shipping a product.’

‘San Francisco-based Kanoa ran out of capital and shut down this week, leaving in the lurch scores of customers who paid $150 or more to pre-order high-tech earphones they never received. The company emailed customers on Wednesday to break the bad news.’

“This is not the outcome we had foreseen, and with the quick turn of events, we are emotionally overwhelmed,” the company’s website stated. “We know you are disappointed, and can only ask that you understand that we genuinely tried.”

‘Cival Van Der Lubbe, Kanoa’s founder and CEO, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday. An email sent to the company’s main help center was not returned.’

‘Kanoa is just the latest local crowdfunded company to disappoint customers. Last summer San Francisco-based startup Skully imploded, to the dismay of 3,000 customers who paid $1,500 each for high-tech motorcycle helmets they never received. In February, Lily Robotics, another San Francisco-based startup, filed for bankruptcy. Unlike Skully and Kanoa, Lily promised to reimburse the more than 60,000 customers who paid for but never received its camera drones.’

‘“We are in negotiations with investors for funding, and also large tech companies on an acquisition, while prioritizing our commitment via KANOA to you,” the company wrote. “Unfortunately, without that investment, we do not have enough capital to stay operational while we find a solution.”

That means Kanoa won’t fill any more pre-orders, it said. Kanoa also let go of its employees, and let its customer support and social media channels go dark.

‘A Facebook group for Kanoa customers has nearly 1,900 members, many of whom were posting angry comments about the company this week. Lisa Marie Grillos, a freelance designer from Santa Cruz, first heard about Kanoa’s earphones while working on a project at Facebook in September 2016. She and some of her fellow designers got excited about the product because it looked so cool, she said, and they each ordered a pair for about $200.’

‘Because she bought the earphones through the Kanoa website, and not on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter, Grillos didn’t think there would be risk involved with her purchase. After waiting almost a year, Grillos asked for her money back in July. A company representative emailed her, asking if she was sure. She thought about it for a few days and replied yes. Grillos says she never heard back from the company and still hasn’t received a refund. Neither have several other customers contacted by this news organization.’

“I definitely felt swindled.” Grillos said. “It’s definitely soured my desire to buy things online from small companies.”

‘I definitely felt swindled’

Imagine how the VC guys feel.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-08-27 21:31:54

Cival Van Der Lubbe

Sounds made up. - Kramer

Comment by MacBeth
2017-08-28 04:30:23

“This is not the outcome we had foreseen, and with the quick turn of events, we are emotionally overwhelmed,” the company’s website stated. “We know you are disappointed, and can only ask that you understand that we genuinely tried.”

That’s hilarious!! I LOVE this.

Comment by jeff
2017-08-27 21:45:10

Den Carp?

Man goes fishing in flooded house after Hurricane Harvey

By David K. Li August 27, 2017 | 12:25pm | Updated

The video was first posted in four separate tweets by Houston resident Viviana Saldana showing the fish swimming through a kitchen and living room.

The shirtless man can be see diving head first into the indoor waters trying to grab the fish.

Comment by julie
2017-08-28 05:43:41

So many companies that are actually loosing money. Why exactly are they called “companies”? Maybe we should instead label them “charities”. Or “charlatan fronts”. A way to basically piss your money away and probably get nothing in return. Or do these jokers really believe they somehow deserve to have their “lifestyle funded” because they have “a cool idea”. It seems like the VC have lost their minds, and are unable to do even basic analysis. The hope and prayer that another company like Amazon will come along is probably just that. It’s all looking very frayed around the edges to me.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-28 07:47:37

“So many companies that are actually loosing money. Why exactly are they called “companies”? Maybe we should instead label them “charities”. Or “charlatan fronts”.

I think of them as profit centers and cash-redistribution-centers.

I think it was Livermore who said that money was much easier to make than it was to keep. Whatever.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-08-28 06:05:32

I ran across this Bit Of Truth on the net and (because I am such a wonderful person) I decided to share …

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” – Leo Tolstoy, 1894

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-08-28 08:32:27

The home equity ATM machine is back. The smart money will exploit this to the limit, having learned in the last episode that tax-free debt forgiveness and bailouts await them when it all blows up again in a few more years.

Tapping Your Home Equity for Cash Is Big Again
Banks insist the increased borrowing doesn’t herald a return to housing-bubble days
By Christina Rexrode
Aug. 27, 2017 9:00 a.m. ET

Rising home prices are getting borrowers comfortable again with the idea of tapping their homes for cash.

Home-equity lines of credit and cash-out mortgage refinances, two products that let consumers spend the windfall of home ownership, are back in vogue with consumers. That reflects growing confidence and is a potential benefit to the U.S. economy as homeowners have more money to spend.

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