August 25, 2013

Bits Bucket for August 25, 2013

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 05:21:24

It is time to print some more cash and buy more debt and get those yields back down < 2% so people can afford more of a house.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 05:56:17

Buy a house, save a bank.

Pump up the prices of houses and you also pump up the values of underwater mortgages.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 05:59:29

Fix it so money is tough to borrow for any reason other than for buying a house and - presto! - you will end up with a lot of money going into buying houses.

First you shear ‘em, then you skin ‘em.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 06:35:45

how many years will it take to liquidate all the hidden inventory at this rate?

Seems like high home prices are here to stay now that the banks have such a huge stake?

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 06:56:03

“how many years will it take to liquidate all the hidden inventory at this rate?”

Next up: Change the rate of liquidation.

If the liquiditation rate is low, meaning if the volume of sales is low, then this is because the prices are not rising fast enough. Get the prices rising fast enough and buyers will come out in force and do some buying.

Q. Why is that? Why would those who would not buy when prices are low become buyers when prices go up?

A. Because houses are not seen as items of consumption, they are seen as items of investment. People do not think of themselves as consuming houses, they think of themselves as investing in houses. And if they think they are investing in them then they are interested in seeing the value of their investment go up. And the value of their investment is represented by the price of their investment.

Get the trendline moving up and - presto! - you produce an active market.

Crazy, but there it is.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:02:47

Considering housing demand is at 14 year lows and falling as a result of grossly inflated prices, how’s that “increase price theory” working out? ;)

Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 07:13:59

It works quite well in areas that are targeted.

(Victorville comes to mind.)

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 07:17:30

thats a good asessment. so basically if prices start to fall you think they will pull back more inventory and trickle out fewer houses?

Its amazing how manipulated all the markets have become.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:19:38

Apparently not since housing demand collapsed in Victorville. But that’s what happens when prices are grossly inflated on rapidly depreciating assets like houses.

Look out below. Beware.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 07:42:41

“so basicaly if prices start to fall you think they will pull back more inventory and trickle out fewer houses.”

Sounds about right. IMHO its all about Supply and Demand. As long as you can get Demand to edge out Supply you should have rising prices. Increase demand or reduce supply, it makes little difference as to how it is done.

If you want to liquidate inventory then you need to stimulate demand so as to generate higher prices and greater volume. But if you cannot generate greater volume then you have to restrict the number of houses you put out onto the market.

If you are a lender and you hold a lot of underwater mortgages then your primary interest is keeping the prices of the houses up because keeping the prices of the houses up means keeping up the values of the underwater mortages that you hold. So if you are a lender you should be more interested in the price of the sales you make rather than the volume of the sales you make.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:47:15

Housing demand is non-existent at 14 year lows and falling. And it will remain there until prices fall back to long term trend at early 1990’s levels.

Look out below.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 07:56:36

buy a house today, support a banker bonus tomorrow?

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-08-25 08:48:06

‘ People do not think of themselves as consuming houses, they think of themselves as investing in houses. And if they think they are investing in them then they are interested in seeing the value of their investment go up’

House prices will go up. Draws in more buyers who want to not miss out. What happens when things hit steady-state -ie- sales and prices stay in a channel? Will .gov back off cramming house castor oil down our throats?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:06:18

“Get the trendline moving up and - presto! - you produce an active market.

Crazy, but there it is.”

In a normal real estate market where most buyers use mortgages to purchase homes to live in for a number of years, you are correct: Rising prices are the ticket to keep liquidity flowing.

However, the recent influx of unprecedented levels of all-cash investor purchases are a clear indication the current market is not normal. A crash can offer better encouragement for sales at this stage of the market. Once investors realize no further gains are forthcoming, a rush to the exits can drive prices down and sales up, as no investor likes to catch themselves a falling knife.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:08:09

“IMHO its all about Supply and Demand.”

Not when investors are snatching up houses in anticipation of future capital gains. In this case, the normal operation of Supply and Demand is supplanted by the cargo cult belief that Real Estate Always Goes Up, accompanied by the risk of price collapse at the point this false belief gives way to panic.

Comment by Dale
2013-08-25 11:37:59

“People do not think of themselves as consuming houses…”

I have seen some houses consuming people. (I see debt people)

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 13:28:53

“Pump up the prices of houses and you also pump up the values of underwater mortgages.”

Sounds like mortgage fracking.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 06:24:07

so people can afford more of a house.

But the irony is that with all the cheap and easy obamacash in the “obama housing bubble v2.0″ is that housing prices go up - so you get the SAME house for a lot more money.

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that debt, for lack of a better word, is good. Debt is right, debt works. Debt clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Debt, in all of its forms; Debt for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And debt, you mark my words, will not only save the obama administration, freedie/fannie mac, public unions, etc., but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 06:44:48

Sounds like you just paraphrased the Gordon Gekko speech.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 08:29:42

I did. It is called satire.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 08:46:05

I thought satire was supposed to be funny?

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:14:28

Or make you think.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:20:43

Suddenly I notice diehard real estate cheerleaders recasting themselves as Debbie Downers. I guess they figure if they trick the Fed into doubting the housing recovery is REAL, more money might drop out of helicopters into Realtors™’ hands?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:30:17

By U-T San Diego
12:01 a.m. Aug. 25, 2013 Updated
5:36 p.m.Aug. 23, 2013

Do you feel that hint of a chill starting to swirl through the housing market? The cooling is slight, but it’s for real.

Home prices are not rising as fast in most metropolitan areas as they did earlier this year and much of 2012. Multiple bid competitions — fierce in many places this spring and late last year — aren’t as intense. Inventories of homes for sale have increased this summer, reversing near droughts of listings that helped fuel higher prices.

Add in rising mortgage rates, and you’ve got a distinct, measurable momentum shift in the pace of the housing recovery. The recovery is still well underway — it’s just not as effervescent as it once was.

Consider some of the key numbers:

• Asking prices on homes listed for sale declined by one-third of a percent in July, the first drop on a monthly basis since last November, according to data compiled by Quarter-to-quarter data through July confirm the moderating trend line.

• Pending-home sales — under contract but not yet closed — dropped by four-tenths of a percent in June, according to the National Association of Realtors. Resales of houses in June dipped by 1.2 percent.

• Inventories of homes listed for sale rose in a number of the hottest markets recently, after hovering near record lows for a year or more. Low inventories stoke buyer competition and bidding wars that can send prices up sharply. More plentiful inventories give buyers more to choose from and tend to calm things down. Trulia estimates that nationwide inventories of homes for sale are up 6 percent since January.

• Not as many potential buyers are out shopping, and it’s not just because it’s summer and everybody is at the beach. Redfin, the online real estate brokerage, measured a 3.5 percent drop in home showings by agents last month. That compares with a 3.1 percent monthly gain a year earlier. Not surprisingly, signed contract offers were down by 11 percent in July compared with June. Plus the number of multiple bid competitions is dropping in major markets — down by 5.3 percentage points from June to July alone. In San Diego, the monthly decline exceeded 10 percent. Redfin says it’s detecting signs of “buyer fatigue.”

• Affordability is beginning to erode as the result of cumulative home price increases plus higher mortgage interest rates. The National Association of Home Builders’ housing opportunity index covering 225 metropolitan areas, released recently, found affordability down by 4.4 percent from the previous quarter. The index measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase the median-priced home with a 10 percent down payment.

None of this is surprising — or alarming — to housing and mortgage economists who track market moves. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, the big mortgage investor, believes the recovery is simply moving into a “second, more sustainable” phase. During the last 18 months, he says, “we saw eye-popping numbers (on prices and sales),” though the outsized increases were coming off the lows of a deep recession and housing bust.

Comment by scdave
2013-08-25 09:40:17

Nice informative post Pbear…

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Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 07:31:03

I find it quite amusing the markets seem to be dependent on printed money to stay afloat.

You would think that printing money would be seen as a negative and pulling the punchbowl away would be seen as positive. What we have is the exact opposite.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:39:03

Welcome to Reagan/Greenspan voodoo economics.

“Supply side” doncha know.

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Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-08-25 09:08:35

‘I guess they figure if they trick the Fed into doubting the housing recovery is REAL, more money might drop out of helicopters into Realtors™’ hands?

I keep seeing statistics thrown out for house sales and prices and inventory. Are they supposed to mean anything? How about a color scale, like the terrorist threat one, for housing instead?

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-08-25 05:52:06

Comment on the market for SFRs in Sacramento:

We own a SFR which we bought in Dec. 2009 and have rented to a great couple. The resident of 3.5 years gave notice on August 1. I posted the house on Craigslist immediately. Had a lease signed for September 1. He took the 2-year option for $100/mon less.

Vacancy factor since the purchase in Dec. 2009? Zero percent.

We refinanced in 2012 and lowered the mortgage payment $200/mon (though it cost us about $4,000). Mortgage payment now provides $298/mon principal reduction. New rent is a $100/mon increase. Cash flow now about $500/mon, and with the principal reduction, it brings the monthly benefit to about $800/mon.

So in the fourth year of ownership, on $80,000 invested, we obtain $9,600/year in tangible benefits each month (excluding tax benefits). That is 12% annual return today.

It also doesn’t offend me that we paid $285,000 for the house and after dropping to about $250,000 in 2010, the comps show a value today of $395,000 (yes, that is a 58% increase in 3-years after 2010). After selling costs of 8%, we would clear about $78,000 on the investment over the original purchase price. That is almost a 100% return.

Buying multiple properties in 2008, 09, & 10 are the best investments I have ever made.

Housing Analyst, please save your words. You don’t need to call me a liar or tell me I could never sell the asset for what I have into it. I posted an actual sale for you last month with the address and Zillow links. You know I provided you the confirmation. We paid $295,000 for that one in 2010 and sold it for $420,000 last month. In fact the contract price was $430,000, but we had to lower the sale price because the appraisal came in at $420,000.

The house I am talking about above is on the same block.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:07:24

You realized a loss. Everyone here knows housing is a loss.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 07:24:28

what exactly would you describe as a gain?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:58:13

$hitHouse Poet,

If you don’t know the difference between a gain and loss is, there is no help for you.

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Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 08:52:16

excuse me player, it appears you have no idea what your talking about as usual.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 09:00:38

You don’t know the difference.

And housing is a loss, ALWAYS. Why? Because houses are depreciating assets.

Comment by mikeinbend
2013-08-25 21:04:41

So seems to me your arguments are about semantics. You can’t really be asserting that nobody made $$ on the housing bubble; those who sold at an opportune time.

Because eventually every house will fall into the ground it’s gonna be a huge loss. Like when you take your 20 year old car to the junkyard; worth so much new and nada after 20 years in most cases.

However it is not financial loss when the amount of equity gains exceed the amount that depreciation(and real estate sales people) has claimed.

And the “loss” will be booked by the ultimate buyer, whoever razes the place; not by the seller when the seller sells after gaining equity.

People made money on bubbles one and two.0. And lost money on crash one and soon to be crash two (assuming it crashes as I think it will).

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-26 04:59:26

There is no “equity” in a depreciating asset. Its a loss.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:22:08

“Vacancy factor since the purchase in Dec. 2009? Zero percent.”

Do you plan to reduce rents as needed going forward to keep it that way?

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2013-08-25 07:41:44

One benefit of acquiring an asset at a low basis is the ability to reduce rents, if necessary, to keep it occupied while maintaining a positive cash flow.

If one buys an asset at the top of the market and leverages it to the max, then that investor usually has no margin of error if the market softens. In that case, a rental reduction usually results in a negative cash flow.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:45:36

And the basis cost on housing has been inflated 250%+ for over a decade.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:00:03


I guess time will tell whether the recent dip in real estate was a real bottom, and a good time to buy, or a false one, and a great time to catch a falling knife.

If it turns out whatsoever similarly this time to the way the last California housing crash turned out, then we haven’t seen prices bottom out yet, and won’t for at least a couple more years.

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Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 08:06:21

the crash is over thanks to the losses being eaten by the taxpayer and rates being kept low.

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-08-25 08:14:24

Yes, I generally keep rents a bit below market to keep the property occupied and the residents happy. However, rents are going up. I started at $2150 in 2009 and market today is $2250. I gave the new resident a $100/mon discount for a 2 year lease.

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-08-25 08:16:31

oops….market is $2350 and I gave the resident $100/mon discount for a 2-year lease so his rent is $2250.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 09:04:26

Your losses are far greater than $100/month. And the longer you hold onto that melting ice cube, the greater your losses.

Comment by scdave
2013-08-25 09:59:53

After selling costs of 8%, we would clear about $78,000 on the investment over the original purchase price. That is almost a 100% return ???

Ahhhh……Not quite….Say hello to the “tax man”…Capital gains @ 20%…Don’t know your income situation but lets call the state 10%…So you end up with 56k AT…$18,666. per year plus your principal reduction and cash flow on a $80,000. investment…Pretty darn good…

Now, with that said, it is universally said that good timing can make someone look very smart…Taking the risk & buying when you did ended up being a good bet…But, anybody who bought at that time in many markets and held to today likely did just as well…See Las Vegas & Phoenix…

Question is, could you make that purchase today and achieve the same results that you achieved ?? I suspect not….

Comment by localandlord
2013-08-25 17:40:27

JM, you are realizing a return of 3.3%. In a few years you may be able to get better that that at a FDIC bank. You can get better than that with some dividend stocks now.

The $40,000 question is: does your expense figure include a fund for long term repairs - roof, furnace etc? What if you encounter a professional deadbeat - they are very good actors you know. Sometimes they trash the place but even in libertarian Localand it’s 2 months minimum to get them out. I imagine it’s more in CA.

3.3% is not much of a cushion.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 18:08:19

Expenses? 3% of sale price per year every year you own the millstone.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 06:12:17

This is the Democrats’ economy. It’s everything they asked for.

Name ONE obama program that has made it less expensive or easier to HIRE someone…


Employment Doom Rattling Media | August 24, 2013 | John Ransom

Unemployment is not getting better, it’s getting worse.

Even the establishment media is taking notice.

“Widely followed pollster Gallup puts the nation’s unemployment rate at an ugly 8.6 percent in August,” reports CNBC, “a startling jump from the 7.8 percent the organization recorded for July. When counting the underemployed, the rate zooms to 17.7 percent, off its 2013 high of 18.2 percent.”

If you count in those who have dropped out of the work force, you get closer to 24 percent unemployment.

Gee, and all this time I thought that the job situation was getting better.

In the U.S. the number of employed has only grown by 922,000 people since July of last year. And as many have noticed, over 70 percent of those jobs are part time.

Since 2008, growth in GDP has posted about a 0.6 percent average annual rate or 3 percent over five years.

That compares with the historical average long-term rate of 3.28 percent.

In a way the GDP numbers epitomizes Obama’s economic philosophy: He’s managed to squeeze a whole year’s worth of economic activity into five years and counting.

There are over million Californians who today remain unemployed, many of whom are still jobless after using up 99 weeks of unemployment benefits made available by the state and federal government according to an article by the San Diego Union Tribune.

There are another million Californians who are receiving benefits because they can’t find jobs.

This is the Democrats’ economy. It’s everything they asked for.

They got nationalized healthcare, they got the auto bailout, they got the pork barrel spending we call stimulus. They also got the opportunity to put a million electric vehicles on the road.

They invested in solar, in unions, in government. And still, they’ve produced the worst recovery ever.

Strike that.

It’s because they got nationalized healthcare, and they got the auto bailout, and they got the pork barrel spending we call stimulus; plus they got the opportunity to put a million electric vehicles on the road; AND because they invested in solar, in unions and in government that we have the worst recovery ever.

From 1932 to 1937, during the “Great Depression” the GDP of the United States grew 25 percent or at an annual average rate or 5 percent per annum. Yet the average government spending was about 15 percent of GDP during that period. Today, government spending is nearly 40 percent of GDP and we are getting about 1/10th of the return that our grandfathers enjoyed.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:24:09

“Widely followed pollster Gallup puts the nation’s unemployment rate at an ugly 8.6 percent in August,”

The Gallup poll produces the unemployment rate statistic now? I always had thought that was the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job.

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 08:00:12

That changed when they took the “L” out of BLS.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 14:33:23

The Gallup poll produces the unemployment rate statistic now?

Weren’t they picking Romney to win too?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:46:34

No, that was Rasmussen. (You must not have read enough of Albaquirky Dan’s posts before the election!)

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 08:48:42

Hmmm…it’s almost like none of that happened under Bush’s presidency.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:42:11

I answered this the other day.

Oh wait, the GOP killed it.

“(Reuters) - Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill on Tuesday to end tax deductions enjoyed by companies that close their U.S. plants and move overseas.

With a largely party-line vote of 53-45, Democrats failed to muster the 60 votes needed to clear a Republican procedural hurdle against the measure, which would also give employers a tax break to hire new U.S. workers.”

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:58:08

Really - an article from THREE years ago?

Is this best you have to defend obama?

Did you even read your own article?

Five members of the Senate Democratic caucus broke party ranks and opposed the bill, including Max Baucus, chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee.

Meanwhile - America still have the HIGHEST corporate taxes in the industrialized world. No wonder businesses do not want to come to obama America.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:41:52

Back peddle much? Makes it no less true, does it?

Ad for taxes, why do you continue to lie?

Now fetch me an umbrella, cabana boy.

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Comment by Anon In DC
2013-08-25 12:46:46

You just don’t understand business and econ like Ecofeco whose posts I have read for years. For every hardworking honest American there is his evil billionaire counterpart. All we need to do is tax tax tax the billionaire and everyone will be rich. Besides it’s only “fair.”

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 16:42:34

J6P pays an avg of 25% income tax.

Mitt “$100 millionaire” Romney pays 15%.

I dare you to say this is fair. I double dare you.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-08-26 00:50:59

eco, how do you get 25% for J6P?

First $8,700 = 10%
From then until $35,350 = 15%
From then until $85,650 = 25%
From then until $178,650 = 28%
From then until $388,350 = 33%
From then on = 35%

To get a rate on your AGI of 25%, you need to have AGI of about $195k…as a single filer. This is not J6P.

I’m not saying it’s fair, but that’s what happens when you make all your money with capital gains, and capital gains rates are 15%.

If Simpson Bowles were followed, this would go away.

Comment by Jeff from upstate SC
2013-08-25 06:15:41

A local municipality is offering a plot of land almost free, the kicker being there is an ancient Radio tower smack in the middle of used long ago for County communications .It has been De-listed from FCC ,unlighted , about 160 feet tall , held by 9 little garage -door type cables, that have corrosion all over them. It has stood there like that for over 10 years,in derelict state. There are a half dozen prominent old Buildings within striking distance.
It is surprising what government entities get by with,where a private owner would be in jail for owning something like that,clearly a danger to the public.
If it was out in a secluded area ,a bolt cutter to a cable might work….it might not…
We’ll pass on it .

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 07:26:14

How bad is the corrosion? Is it complete? Is there any metal at all on the property that could be sold for scrap? Or just offer it free to a person or company that would remove it for themselves.

I dunno all the facts here, but it does sound like an opportunity if handled properly.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 08:33:51

Do you really think government abides by the rules it expects you to follow?

Why do you think congress exempts itself from all the laws they pass? To include fraud laws, accounting laws, insider trading laws, secual harassment laws, etc.

Why do you think everyone in the obama administration wants an exemption from obamacare?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:44:10

I know exactly what to with this. Where is it?

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-08-25 06:47:35

Ben, I just noticed your link to Kachingle in the upper right of the blog. Is that a viable site for you? Does it help support the blog in a meaningful way? Do you encourage your readers to join it?

Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 07:11:55

“This is the reality that the Obama economy has produced. In America we now have “trickle-down” economics in its purest form ever. The rich have gotten richer and the gap between the rich and the poor has grown — and continues to grow — because of Obama’s policies. Since Obama was first elected in 2008, income inequality has widened and household incomes have dropped. Read Peter Ferrara’s piece in the American Spectator, “Obama’s Rising Inequality,” for a detailed, powerful look at how the Obama economy has made that happen. Obama couldn’t have designed a better way to boost the balance sheet of the 1 percent if he had tried.

Actually, the Obama campaign machine warned us throughout 2012 that this was what the world would look like if Mitt Romney were elected. Obama said that if Romney was president, we would be faced with an economy that served the interests of only Wall Street paper traders, big investors and whoever could borrow the most money. Well, Romney wasn’t elected, but we do find ourselves in the world that candidate Obama described. We arrived at this point not because he wanted us to but because along the way, neither he nor his economic advisers have understood the consequences of their actions. As a result of his lack of sound economic planning, his policies have enhanced the wealth of the 1 percent while developments such as increased gasoline prices, higher taxes, anti-business regulation and the harsh realities of his jobless recovery have stifled middle-class opportunity across America.”

Comment by shendi
2013-08-25 07:57:28

So much political capital… wasted on a unpopular healthcare bill. Obama could have waited. And instead taken on wall street crime syndicate. Yes the unemployment would have sky-rocketed but then it would have been a fresh start with sanity. IMHO health care bill would have been a easier passage with the public option built in.

What a waste of opportunity!

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 08:57:39

No one can take on the banksters. Obama never would, never will.

Even McCain wanted to put the ‘08 presidential election on hold until the bankers were taken care of.

They will continue thier reign of power until they completely destroy each other taking a lot of countries with them.

And to be fair, Obamacare is just a popular Republican idea re-packaged. All the business execs I have talked to would prefer to get out of the healthcare benefits business all together. Just pay thier employees a straight salary and let them choose what they do with the money. As a single person, I some times wonder on the fairness of the guy sitting across from me with the wife& 6 kids gets paid more in benefits than I do. I think UPS’ decision to attempt to stop providing healthcare to spouses is just the first step.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:00:26

And to be fair, Obamacare is just a popular Republican idea re-packaged.

Yep - Got it - I read them memo too.

When Republicans are in power (in the White House or congress): They are truly evil. All the bad, evil and rot in the world can be traced to the administration. They must be voted out of office immediately. Everything is their fault. They are solely responsible. In fact, they caused so much damage that we can blame them for the last five years for all the issues that never got fixed or were made even worse.

When Democrats are in power (in the White House or confress): Well, gosh, this all started 30 years ago anyways. You really can’t blame them. There is not much difference between the parties anyways so we might as well keep what we got. There would have been no difference no matter who won the election. Big corporations and the banks control everything so what difference does it make who sits in the Oval Office or controls congress anyways.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-08-25 12:30:54

No one can take on the banksters.

Laugh if you must, but I think the person in recent elections most likely to have taken them on Andrew Jackson-style would have been Sarah Palin, despite her weaknesses. And you can see what the media did to her. Romney was a bit more of a wildcard…with Mormon businessmen you never know what might happen if they suddenly realize something is actually evil and can’t be explained away as a gray area. It’s possibly he might have pulled an FDR “traitor to his class” maneuver…or likely not.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:51:45

“This is the reality that the Obama economy has produced. In America we now have “trickle-down” economics in its purest form ever.”


“Early in his presidency, Reagan chose as his economic advisers a group that espoused a radical economic theory called “supply-side.” The supply-siders told Reagan that if he gave tax cuts to the top brackets (the wealthiest individuals) the positive effects would “trickle down” to everyone else. Tax cuts, they argued, would produce so much growth in the economy that America could simply outgrow its deficits. Reagan bought into supply-side theory, which is why in 1981 he predicted that there would be a “drastic reduction in the deficit.

However, Reagan soon discovered that his supply-side advisers were wrong. Tax cuts, instead of reducing the deficit, caused the deficit to balloon. After 1981, Reagan made no more rosy predictions regarding the deficit.

At this point, Reagan would change strategy. He would blame the U.S. Congress for the record deficits that accrued during his years in office. Reagan would say that Congress was responsible, because Congress did not slash spending enough–meaning social spending, since Reagan always championed increased military spending.

Reagan chose to ignore the fact that his own Republican Party was in control of the Senate from January 1981 to January 1987, and that Congress actually spent less than what he originally had asked for. (for details click here) ”

Wait. This sounds awfully (Bush) familiar.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 07:26:30

The Redskins RG1 is looking pretty good in the preseason.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 07:32:16

so is joe montana.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 10:56:45

Don’t be silly Joe Montana isn’t playing in the preseason, neither is Robert Griffin. But the Redskins RG1 is looking pretty good this preseason.

Comment by prayer walker
2013-08-25 07:38:42

Football is so phony.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 10:51:28

Jay Carney would call this a phony collision. :)

NFL Hit Of The Week Rookie Jonathan Bostic Lays Out … - YouTube - 184k - Cached - Similar pages
Aug 16, 2013 …

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:31:50

“Do you really think it’s a good idea to pay a 40% premium over the price of a new house for a 20+year old house?”


Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 09:04:32

Location location location.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 09:09:11


“Location” is a realtor marketing technique to get the target to pay far more than the property is worth.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:32:46

Before anyone gets all gaga about the prospect of a female in the WH and votes for Hillary, don’t forget that her husband Bill almost was impeached from the WH for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Do you want another four years to relive the memories of the Clinton years in the WH?

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 07:35:27

clinton / lewinsky on the ticket?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:38:18

How about a threesome?

Bill / Hillary / Monica

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:37:11

Bravo to Bob Filner’s staff members, the San Diego City Council and attorney Gloria Allred for rooting out the scumbag and sending him packing. I hope to see more of this in the coming years!

How not to elect another Filner
Scoundrels, jerks, even criminals manage to win a fair share of elections. How do we avoid that?
By Steven Greenhut
6 a.m.Aug. 25, 2013

Can we prevent another Bob Filner?

San Diego’s weeks-long ordeal to rid itself of its lecherous mayor seemed like an eternity given the “if it’s Tuesday, there must be another victim” quality of the scandal, but the settlement deal reflects a remarkably swift cleansing of the body politic.

While there may never be another scandal quite like this one, the political system is filled with cads and rogues, who engage in everything from graft and bribery to more unusual behaviors such as texting pictures of their genitals. Once caught, the jerks and criminals cry crocodile tears, head to therapy and then shore up their supporters with demagoguery.

“Now is not the time to go backwards — back to the time when middle-class jobs and neighborhood infrastructure were sacrificed to downtown special interests,” Mayor Bob Filner said in his response to the recall petition, as if there were no other politician who can champion liberal causes. “We need to continue to move forward!”

While there’s no curing the human condition, there are steps the public can take to minimize the chances of electing such narcissistic, power-abusing louts. Maybe we can move forward with fewer of them.


It’s hard not to agree with those who say that Filner is a sick man. A mayor who views virtually any professional encounter with a woman as an opportunity for groping, slobbering and buttocks-touching must have a psychological problem. But there’s something about the profession of politics itself that enables these predators to behave this way, according to experts on corruption.

I think the really outrageous sex scandals we’ve seen — Clinton, Weiner, Schwarzenegger, Edwards, Sanford, Spitzer — suggests the excessive awe they are exposed to and the sense of entitlement that results,” said Fred Smoller, a political science professor at Chapman University in Orange. “The staff usually ‘enables’ this behavior. … People who don’t kowtow aren’t seen as loyal and are usually shown the door.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 09:05:42

No wars, no housing bubble, booming economy, yeah who wants to relieve that time period?

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 14:43:48

“who wants to relieve that time period?”

Just like the entire post-WW2 boom, it doesn’t count. It was luck.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-08-25 14:45:20

Continous bombing of Iraq
War in Kosovo (we blew up bridges & a chinese embasy for god sakes)
Blowing up Pharmaceuticals in Sudan?

booming economy? You must be kidding, right? Another Greenspan blown bubble which we are still paying for.

I hate people with selective amnesia.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 16:24:27

I’ve already forgotten you.

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Comment by tresho
2013-08-25 09:09:33

Do you want another four years to relive the memories of the Clinton years in the WH?
I prefer Anthony Weiner for pres & Eric Holder for VP in 2016. That pair would be good for laughs if nothing else.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 14:47:00

The Weiner-Holder ticket? Squaring off against Bush-Boehner?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:44:49

Would the Boehner-Bush ticket be more appropos?

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 18:58:23

Bush has seniority over Boehner. According to my wife.

Comment by ahansen
2013-08-25 23:37:14


Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 09:22:20

don’t forget that her husband Bill almost was impeached from the WH for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.lying under oath.


Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:34:57

But I guess he wouldn’t have had the need to lie under oath if he hadn’t had that close encounter with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office, would he? Or if he knew what the definition of “is” is?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:36:14

What, Exactly, Is the Cigar Story?
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 2, 1998, at 9:49 PM

The story is that Monica Lewinsky m@sturbat3d with a cigar while President Clinton watched and m@sturbat3d as well. Yassir Arafat was supposedly kept waiting in the Rose Garden while this was going on in a room next to the Oval Office. The story has been widely talked about, moderately referred to in the mainstream press, and narrowly (i.e., in the Drudge Report, the New York Post, and various British papers) reported as fact.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 15:52:01

“Yassir Arafat was supposedly kept waiting in the Rose Garden while this was going on in a room next to the Oval Office.”

I can imagine the dialogue in the next room over from the Oval Office at the time:

‘Is the President almost ready to meet with me?’




‘Could you please answer me? When will the President be ready for my visit?’

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-08-25 18:20:07

Yassir Arafat - Now, that’s a name that stirs up bad memories. With a mechanical engineering degree, he could have a least worn a clean dish towel on his head.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 18:23:44

Just WTF are you saying Coffee Fetcher?

Comment by mikeinbend
2013-08-25 21:19:23

Clean YOUR towel?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 10:20:29

When Is Sex Not “Sexual Relations”?
By Richard Lacayo

When Bill Clinton gave his deposition in the Paula Jones case, he said he had never had “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky. But Lewinsky has reportedly testified to a number of acts that most people think of as sex. Can both statements somehow be true? Is it possible that the two of them had intimate contact, yet Clinton still did not perjure himself? In the intricate world of the law, a world of hairsplitting distinctions where the President is famously at home, it just may be so. Here’s why.

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Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:02:59

Bill Clinton was not “almost” impeached.

He WAS impeached. He joined the impeachment club of President Nixon.

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice, on December 19, 1998. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power, failed in the House. He was acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:55:47

Hillary? President?

Don’t make me laugh.

You realize this is nothing but a very successfully MSM meaningless meme for suckers, right?

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 14:57:31

I want to see Hillary run and win, just to watch Whac-A’s head explode.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 15:49:25

Let’s hope America comes to their senses by 2016 and remembers why the economy did so well during the last Clinton presidency:

1. CRA used to weaken mortgage lending standards set off the early stage of a subprime lending boom.

2. $500K capital gains exclusion for home owners kicked the housing bubble into overdrive.

3. Abolishing of Glass-Steagall banking regulations that kept the U.S. banking system stable since the 1930s helped kick the tech stock bubble into overdrive.

Monica Lewinsky isn’t the only thing that Bubbles Bill stimulated, and since I never yet heard a single Democrat acknowledge the destructive effects of the above-listed economic policies, I can only assume we should expect more of the same if Hillary gets elected.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 16:39:13

3. Abolishing of Glass-Steagall banking regulations that kept the U.S. banking system stable since the 1930s helped kick the tech stock bubble into overdrive.

Actually, Glass-Steagal was repealed in 1999. By that time, the dot com boom had just peaked.

It would seem to me, and I was there, that if anything, the repeal hastened the crash. The dot com bomb. By 2001, it was all over but the shouting. THAT lasted for another 2 years.

FYI, I built my first website in 1996 and it wasn’t GeoCities. It was from scratch. I used Navigator Composer. (BTW just looked this up on Wiki and Wiki is wrong. It says Composer it wasn’t released until 1997. Uh, no)

Comment by Anon In DC
2013-08-25 15:12:40

I would vote for Hitler before Hillary. She and Bill must be the biggest grifters in history.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 16:25:50

Another victory for Republican talking points!

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:33:39

Latest Mike Whitney piece:

From the article;

“According to Census data released last week, the number of homes that are currently vacant and being held off market is LARGER NOW than 2009″.

We concur with this as it is the result of moratoriums expiring and banks resuming foreclosure proceedings.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:35:08

San Francisco Bay Area Rental Rates Crumble 5%

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 09:24:40

404 No pic here

Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 07:35:37

“Citing secret U.S. files that the magazine has seen stemming from fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel said the revelations proved how systematically the United States spied on other states and institutions.

Der Spiegel said the documents showed that U.S. intelligence agents bugged both other states and institutions including the European Union and the U.N.’s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In the summer of 2012, NSA experts succeeded in getting into the U.N. video conferencing system and cracking its coding system, according one of the documents cited by Der Spiegel.

“The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” Der Spiegel quoted one document as saying, adding that within three weeks the number of decoded communications rose to 458 from 12.

Internal files also show the NSA spied on the EU legation in New York after it moved to new rooms in autumn 2012. Among the documents copied by Snowden from NSA computers are plans of the EU mission, its IT infrastructure and servers.

According to the documents, the NSA runs a bugging program in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide called “Special Collection Service”. “The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists,” wrote Der Spiegel.”

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 08:05:01

How about the goobermint paying the tech firms like goog, fb and microsoft for their users’ data? Sick.

Completely sick. Has it struck anyone yet how completely sick, twisted and depraved the guvmint has become? Has it? Yah, I know, it’s a lot to confront.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 08:45:08

Which is why I don’t use G-Mail or have a facebook account. I’m sure big brother still knows more about me than I like, but I won’t make it easy for him.

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 08:52:28

I’ve never had a fb account. Ever. It was never my ambition to become one of Zuckerberg’s unpaid assets. I’ve actually lost a gig because I don’t “do” fb.

As to gmail, I have an account there that I only use rarely for a very specific purpose, and if goog wants to pass along that info, they’re more than welcome. But I have to say, using g-mail is enough to make one want to stick the barrel of a rifle in one’s mouth and pull the trigger.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:32:54

“I’ve never had a fb account.”

Have you considered the possibility that you could be a person of interest to the NSA as a result?

Comment by prayer walker
2013-08-25 11:15:09

Have you considered the possibility that you could be a person of interest to the NSA as a result?

I think either way you are fooked. You are on FB, they know too much about you and they will label you as problematic.

Same if you don’t have FB.

You won’t win as long as they are running the casino. Head they win, tail you lose.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 09:07:09

Unless your email server is overseas, the NSA already has your emails.

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Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-08-25 09:34:28

‘the NSA runs a bugging program in more than 80 embassies’

Starting to think that ‘Get Smart’ ain’t so funny after all.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:58:59

“Well agent 99, if they had only used their powers for good, instead of evil, none of this would have happened.”

Comment by scdave
2013-08-25 10:08:48

They are following you o matter what you are using Colorado…

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 12:36:29

They are following you o matter what you are using Colorado…

I know, but I see no compelling reason to make everything available.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:04:22

This is the obama hope and change.

Maybe they won’t be so fast to give a Nobel Peace Prize next time…

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:02:52

2 Patriot Acts from Bush. Both neither patriotic.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 11:57:26

Don’t forget the back doors in Win 8.

The German gov has banned its use by any gov dept.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:37:51

“Why buy now what you can rent for half the monthly cost?”

Good point. Then buyer later when prices roll back to early 1990’s levels.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:37:45

FPSS (bless his heart) used to regularly predict that prices would eventually revert to early-1980s levels.

Don’t know if his prediction stands in light of recent developments…I frankly cannot even imagine our policy makers allowing this, so it gets down to the question of whether market forces could strengthen to the point where ongoing interventions fail completely.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 08:49:50

“Allow it”? They can only delay it temporarily.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 15:06:40

used to regularly predict that prices would eventually revert to early-1980s levels.

Inflation adjusted?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 15:42:54


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Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 16:26:35

Good. I’ll snap up a few.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-26 04:53:30

Why bother?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:40:04

“Housing is never an investment. Housing is a depreciating asset and a loss, always.”

Exactly. Houses depreciating just like automobiles. The difference is that losses on housing are crushing and last a lifetime.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:42:10

“Todays housing sale at an inflated price is tomorrows default and massive loss.”

You are correct.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:43:31

Real estate investors aren’t the only creatures snatching things up these days.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:46:00

If you don’t want to get snatched up, don’t swim with crocodiles.

25 August 2013 Last updated at 10:28 ET
Australia man snatched in crocodile attack feared dead

File picture of an estuarine crocodile, better known as the saltwater or saltie, in the Adelaide river near Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory Australia’s Northern Territory is known for being infested with saltwater crocodiles which, despite their name, also swim in rivers

Related Stories
The crocodiles wandering in back yards
Man escapes ‘head-seizing’ crocodile
Australia crocodile death feared

A man is believed to have been killed by a crocodile in Australia’s Northern Territory while swimming in a river during a birthday party.

Police say he ignored signs to stay out of the water at a popular camping ground at Mary River, 65 miles (100km) from Darwin, the state’s capital.

The river has one of the highest crocodile populations in the area.

Onlookers watched in horror as the victim was suddenly attacked.

He was last seen in the crocodile’s powerful jaws, reports the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney. Police are searching for him.

The victim and another man had gone swimming across the river, and were swimming back when the crocodile attacked, police say.

“Several of the group in the party witnessed the male being taken in the jaws of the croc for a period of time, and then he was out of sight,” Senior Sergeant Geoff Bahnert is quoted as saying by the AP news agency.

“The Mary River is known worldwide to have the greatest saturation of adult saltwater crocodiles in the world. You don’t swim in the Mary River,” he added.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:04:37

Darwin Award winner.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 16:24:44

Perhaps the Darwin Award should be shared with the environmental whackos who pushed for a hunting ban on deadly crocs.

2 June 2013 Last updated at 20:26 ET
The crocodiles wandering in back yards
By Phil Mercer BBC News, Darwin
A saltwater crocodile

The crocodile population of tropical Australia has exploded in recent decades. How are people learning to live with the creatures in their back gardens?

From behind a steel fence, a fully-grown adult crocodile - Harold, a heavyweight at 4.6m (15ft) long - peers at me suspiciously.

Despite the security, it is unnerving to be so close to such a fearsome predator, especially one that won’t take his eyes off me.

But in Australia’s Northern Territory, armour-plated saltwater crocodiles like Harold are thriving in creeks, rivers and swamps.

The species is back to levels not seen since hunting was banned in 1971. As the reptile population has increased, so has the threat to residents and tourists.

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Comment by Dale
2013-08-25 12:29:30

Darwin-ian selection.

Comment by bink
2013-08-25 16:21:45

We’re seeing regular shark attacks here in Hawaii. No idea what’s causing all this but it’s starting to remind me of the shark panic before 9/11.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-08-25 16:28:45

Do you think it’s predictive of a terrorist attack?

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:44:13

If you take on mortgage debt at current massively inflated housing prices, you’ll enslave yourself for the rest of your life.

“Debt is bondage.”~ Suze Orman, May 11, 2013

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:47:00

Does Trump University offer degrees in real estate scam artistry?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:48:50

N.Y. AG sues Trump, ‘Trump University,’ claims fraud
Michael Gormley, Associated Press
12:39 a.m. EDT August 25, 2013
AP Trump Chicago Lawsuit
(Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)
Story Highlights
New York’s attorney general is suing Donald Trump for $40 million
Attorney general says the real estate mogul helped run a phony “Trump University”
Attorney general: “Trump University engaged in deception at every stage”

ALBANY, New York (AP) — New York’s attorney general sued Donald Trump for $40 million Saturday, saying the real estate mogul helped run a phony “Trump University” that promised to make students rich but instead steered them into expensive and mostly useless seminars, and even failed to deliver promised apprenticeships.

Trump shot back that the Democrat’s lawsuit is false and politically motivated.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of “The Apprentice” TV star.

“Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers’ advancement through costly programs and caused real financial harm,” Schneiderman said. “Trump University, with Donald Trump’s knowledge and participation, relied on Trump’s name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand.”

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 08:33:25

I love this story. I especially like the part where the Trump attorney accuses the AG of shaking Trump down for campaign donations. I’m no fan of Trump, but he really knows how to lob zingers at politicians. I recall when he said that what a politician fears the most is having to get a regular 9-5 job.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-08-25 12:38:51

It seems to be what almost everyone who doesn’t have to perform such a job fears the most.

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 08:53:44

“Trump University, with Donald Trump’s knowledge and participation, relied on Trump’s name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand.”

IMHO Donald Trump is a marketing genius, a marketing genius who belongs in the same catagory as the artist who canned his own excrement and sold it as art.

Shear ‘em and shear ‘em and shear ‘em, and when you reach the point when you can no longer shear ‘em then that’s the point when you skin ‘em.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:26:09

“…a marketing genius who belongs in the same catagory as the artist who canned his own excrement and sold it as art.”

The stroke of genius was to combine a widely popular religion with the guy’s own excrement. I think he may have actually surpassed Trump in this regard.

Controversial ‘Piss Christ’ art back in NY
Last Updated: 2:52 PM, September 21, 2012
Posted: 12:17 AM, September 21, 2012

The controversial “Piss Christ” artwork Sen. Alfonse D’Amato once branded as a “deplorable, despicable display of vulgarity,” is coming to New York, and security is being heavily ramped- up at the gallery that will show the piece.

Andres Serrano’s work — a “photograph of the crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine” — first ignited controversy in 1989 when D’Amato complained to the US Senate that it was an “outrage,” an “indignity” and a “piece of trash” that had been funded by taxpayers. Serrano had won a $15,000 prize for his work, backed in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:31:29

“…that’s the point when you skin ‘em.”

You forgot the parts where you boil ‘em alive, eat them for dinner, and dispose of the leftovers through the bottom end of the alimentary canal.

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Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-08-25 09:41:35

‘many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump ‘

Why can’t Trump just auction a lunch off with him every now and then ala Buffett style, but pocket the cash instead? Why oh why?

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:07:51

I have a few rules in life.

Some of them:

NEVER pay to see a movie with Madonna in it
NEVER invest in ANYTHING with the Trump name on it
NEVER volunteer for anything (back in the army days)

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:05:52

“Does Trump University offer degrees in real estate scam artistry?”

Would be ALL they offer? :lol:

Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 07:50:18

“Federal employment has fallen by about 170,000 in the past two years. But official figures do not include the large number of federal contractors who do government work but get a private company paycheck.

Today, the government workforce includes 2.7 million civilian employees, including postal workers — a number that is roughly equal to the population of Nevada. It also includes 1.4 million active-duty members of the military. That’s roughly the population of Hawaii.

But those numbers are still incomplete. They do not count a vast number of other people who also do the government’s work: private contractors who do federal work full-time. It’s hard to judge the actual size of the government — or the actual scope of its work — without knowing how many of these people exist.

The Obama administration doesn’t. It was supposed to have started counting these contractors: Congress ordered it in 2009. But the formal regulations haven’t been finalized. So there is still no full count. There are only educated guesses.

The trade association for federal contractors, for instance, guesses the number may be about 1.7 million full-time contractors. That would make the actual size of the federal workforce 5.8 million people.”

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 08:28:20

An acquaintance works in IT for the USDA in Ft. Collins. She once accidentally let it slip that all the real work in that office is done by contractors.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 09:09:52

What does “real work” mean?

Comment by prayer walker
2013-08-25 11:21:26

real work = attending to meetings & replying to emails and phone calls

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 12:38:17

What does “real work” mean?

All of the programmers and IT people who keep things up and running are contractors. The people who attend meetings and such are USDA employees.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 09:50:48

In my department the ratio of Feds to contractors is about 2 to 3. The Branch Chief and Contracting Officers are obviously Feds, but among the analyst staff the ratio of Feds to contractors is about 1 to 2.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:10:02

How many of the cuts are from the military?

Probably nearly all.

Just like Bill “I cut the government” Clinton - when all the cuts were in the military.

As government steadily got bigger and bigger…

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 12:40:39

Has it ever not gotten bigger? I know you don’t like Obama and the Dems (I’m not to thrilled about them either). But be honest with yourself. Government also grew when the GOP was running the show.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:37:01

You like the Gallup Poll, right?

August 7, 2013
U.S. Job Creation Stable Overall, but Federal Jobs Dwindle

Federal employees’ job index is the lowest since sequester took effect in March
by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index was steady in July, at +21, similar to +22 in June. While non-government workers, as well as state and local government workers, reported little change in net hiring at their workplaces, federal workers reported a significant decline.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:08:17

Federal contractors outnumber federal employees and cost more.

So much for “privatization” and “free markets”.

But damn those federal employees for making a decent wage!

Oh wait…

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:40:47

“Federal contractors outnumber federal employees and cost more.”

Nothing compares to paying HS grads $120K+ a year to handle sensitive military data, only to see one leak it out to the media, then seek asylum overseas.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:51:08

A closely-watched pot never boils over.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:52:21

Canada Real Estate Continues to Rise Fears of Bubble Bursting Increase
Posted by Alfonso Esparza at 11:12 am EDT, 08/16/2013

Canada’s overheated housing market continues to defy a U.S. style real estate crash, but even the most optimistic of investors are now bracing for pain ahead as prices continuing to rise and demand showing signs of tailing off.

National home sales were little changed on a month-over-month basis in July, according to statistics released on Thursday by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Inventory figures – another key measure of the balance between supply and demand – were also unchanged after standing above a ten-year average in July for about 70 percent of all local markets.

Whilst the CREA stated that the housing market has tightened but remains in “balanced territory”, others aren’t convinced.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:55:28

No more tightening needed after measures averted housing bubble: Flaherty
Greg Quinn and Theophilos Argitis, Bloomberg News | 13/08/21 | Last Updated: 13/08/21 3:15 PM ET
More from Bloomberg News
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Canadians shouldn’t expect any new direction from him in the upcoming throne speech in October.
Geoff Robins/The Canadian PressFinance Minister

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he isn’t planning new measures to restrain the country’s housing market because his past four rounds of action have already worked to avoid a bubble.

It certainly didn’t happen that way in the early 1990s. When the real estate market crashed in Toronto, the entire housing sector saw prices plunge. Even commercial real estate tanked in the high-interest rate environment.

“So far, I’m satisfied that we have a balance in the real estate sector,” Flaherty told reporters in Wakefield, Quebec, at the start of a policy retreat with business leaders. “There are some bumps along the road in Toronto and Vancouver, in particular in the condo markets, but overall, I’m satisfied,”

Flaherty has warned consumers to avoid mortgages that could become unaffordable when borrowing costs rise, after Canadians took on record household debts relative to disposable income.

Flaherty said that “we have been watching the condo market and the housing market very closely for at least five years.” He also said that he does have “contingency plans” he can use if the need arises.

The Bank of Canada has identified household finances as the biggest risk to the domestic economy, while Governor Stephen Poloz has said there are recent signs of a “constructive evolution” in that area.

Flaherty today also reiterated his own commitment to pare the federal budget deficit and spoke out against the extraordinary monetary stimulus seen in the U.S. and Europe.

“We are going to balance the budget without doubt in 2015,” Flaherty said, adding that this will “put Canada in a position of strength” to react to any future global weakness.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 07:51:47

“The U.S. homeownership rate, which soared to a record high 69.2 percent in 2004, is back where it was two decades ago.

And so is housing demand. And prices will follow.

Comment by mikeinbend
2013-08-25 08:47:04

I saw a homeless guy muttering to himself yesterday
I thought of you

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 08:58:28

Another poet. You were looking in the mirror.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 09:12:57

he posts from mcdonalds I think.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 10:12:43

Yet the losses on a depreciating asset Like a house at current grossly inflated prices rages on.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:09:48

“I saw a homeless guy muttering to himself yesterday
I thought of you”

:lol: :lol:

Now THAT’S funny!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 07:56:27

Did the China economic bubble scare blow over without incident?

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 08:03:26

they are raising cash and selling treasuries.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:58:05

I’m thinking with China dumping its Treasury bond holdings, some great buying opportunities might lie in store for those with free cash to invest.

Buy when everyone else is selling and hold until everyone else is buying. That’s not just a catchy slogan. It’s the very essence of successful investing.

– J. Paul Getty

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:59:31

China’s Treasury Holdings Fall Amid Fed Talk on Taper
By Daniel Kruger - Aug 15, 2013 2:12 PM PT

Holdings of Treasuries in China, the largest foreign lender to the U.S., fell in June for the first time in five months amid discussion by Federal Reserve officials about slowing the pace their bond purchases.

China’s stake dropped by $21.5 billion in June, or 1.7 percent, to $1.276 trillion, according to Treasury Department data released yesterday. Yields climbed after June 19 when Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said policy makers might reduce the size of their $85 billion a month in purchases of Treasuries and mortgage securities in coming months.
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The pullback by China comes as overseas holdings of Treasuries have grown $26.8 billion, or 0.5 percent this year, the slowest pace since a 2.8 percent decline in the first six months of 2006. Treasuries have lost 3.1 percent this year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes, headed for the worst performance since 2009.

“What you saw was a knee-jerk reaction” from China, said Adrian Miller, director of fixed-income strategies at GMP Securities LLC in New York. The drop wasn’t “any kind of a message as to a concerted effort to wind down excess exposure because of some duration risk given the Fed’s tapering goals,” he said.

Treasury Selloff

China’s holdings in May were $1.297 trillion, less than the $1.316 trillion reported by the Treasury last month. The Treasury revises the data on a monthly basis based on the nationality of the beneficial holder of the debt, while the initial figure is derived from the location of the purchase.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose 36 basis points or 0.36 percentage point, to 2.49 percent in June. It touched 2.82 percent yesterday, the highest since Aug. 1, 2011.

The decline in China’s stake “does help explain why the Treasury market sold off in June,” said Michael Pond, head of global inflation-linked research at Barclays Plc, one of 21 primary dealers that trade with the Fed.

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 10:15:32

China’s holdings in May were $1.297 trillion, less than the $1.316 trillion reported by the Treasury last month. The

It just occurred to me that the Chinese government has the capability of making a Fed-scale impact on the Treasuries market; that is roughly the same size as the Fed is pumping every 1.25 quarters.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 09:14:13

amen to that one. Thats the only time i’ve ever made any money.

You have to be on the right side of the trade.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:07:45

China bears will be proven wrong again
Global Times | 2013-8-15 17:53:01
By Xu Gang
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

As China moves aside from the fast lane of economic development with a slower GDP growth of 7.5 percent in the second quarter of this year, almost everyone claims that they have found many dangerously exposed elements of the economy: local debts and the shadow banking system, the bubble of real estate in urbanization, overcapacity and the shrinking foreign trade.

These problems are truly disconcerting. As the world economy steps in a period of deep change, and the international market roils dramatically, China’s economy, mainly driven by investment and export, is showing its limitations, and the unwanted side effects of the massive economic stimulus package, introduced at the start of this economic crisis in 2008, are now more obvious.

Economic restructuring and paradigm changing have already become China’s only option. But still, for Chinese, who have been getting used to a relatively smooth journey to economic prosperity, facing a helter-skelter economic situation is disturbing.

Such worries seem to be exacerbated by external voices that short China. From rating agencies and investment banks to some renowned economists, there is global skepticism against China’s economic outlook.

Nonetheless, such skepticism was never lacking in the last decade. Everything about the country, from its methods of rule to its model of development, has been criticized. This year, the world argues that a Chinese recession is coming on the same grounds that have been heard for years.

When observing China’s economy, the West always ignores its particularity and complexity. A mechanical analysis based on certain economic theories or international experiences always leads to dysfunctional predictions.

The advocates of Chinese decline have chosen a clever time. China is transforming its economic structure, and global economy is also seeing a new trend - an economic changeover between developed countries and emerging economies.

Last year, the IMF lowered its prediction of world economic growth, mainly because emerging markets are slowing down their economic development, especially the BRICS members which some believe are losing their advantage in economic growth.

Meanwhile, the developed countries are gaining strength in the recovery of their sluggish economies. Now, since the US, Japan and Europe are not in dire need of the stimulus and support from emerging economies, they are expecting a reflow of capital to drive up domestic investment and employment.

The decreasing dependence on emerging economies makes them more determined to “kick down the ladder.” The US has implemented an exit strategy from its quantitative easing policy, and the G8 is cracking down on international tax avoidance. The rhetoric about “shorting China” is just part of their plan - what they want is more “bear” markets in emerging economies.

Nonetheless, rational observation finds that the Chinese government has made productive efforts in stabilizing economic growth, adjusting economic structures and eliminating financial risks.

Chinese economy is heading to a stable growth trend. Consumption is enlarging its role in economic growth, employment is stabilized due to the economic slowdown, financial fluctuation caused by de-leveraging is appeased, and the risk of a hard landing has been enormously reduced.

Comment by oxide
2013-08-25 08:49:55

Chinese economy is heading to a stable growth trend. Consumption is enlarging its role in economic growth, employment is stabilized due to the economic slowdown, financial fluctuation caused by de-leveraging is appeased, and the risk of a hard landing has been enormously reduced.

Yeah, and there aren’t any Americans at the Baghdad airport either. :roll: Hey there Mr. Xu Gang, care to tell us where the Chinese populace is going to get its fresh water after the coal industry takes its share?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:29:08

In another sign of China’s growing prowess as a global economic superpower, they have financial market fluffers just like those who work for Wall Street.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:13:07

Yes they do. And they are learning quickly.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:11:43

China has over 6% growth but that’s not considered good enough, but we can barely make 3% and that’s considered great.

And people believe this.

You really can’t fix our kind of stupid.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:09:37

The economy
A bubble in pessimism

China’s economy is inefficient, but it is not unstable
Aug 17th 2013 | HONG KONG |From the print edition

“JUST the other day we were afraid of the Chinese,” Paul Krugman recently wrote in the New York Times. “Now we’re afraid for them.” He is among a number of prominent commentators contemplating calamity in the world’s second-biggest economy. Three measures seem to encapsulate their fears. Economic growth has slowed to 7.5%, from its earlier double-digit pace. The investment rate remains unsustainably high, at over 48% of GDP. Meanwhile, the debt ratio—ie, what China’s firms, households and government owe—has risen alarmingly, to 200% of GDP, by some estimates.

Concerns about the first number were assuaged a little this month, when China reported strong figures for trade and industrial production (which rose by 9.7% in the year to July; see chart). Yet beneath the cyclical ups and downs, China has undoubtedly seen its momentum slowing.

It is the combined productive capacity of China’s workers, capital and know-how that sets a maximum speed for the economy, determining how fast it can grow without inflation. It also decides how fast it must grow to avoid spare capacity and a rise in the numbers without work. The latest figures suggest that the sustainable rate of growth is closer to China’s current pace of 7.5% than to the 10% rate the economy was sizzling along at.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:13:24

Caixin Online
July 29, 2013, 11:49 p.m. EDT
Preparing for China bubbles to burst: Andy Xie
Commentary: China’s per capita income could reach $20,000 by 2030
By Andy Xie

BEIJING (Caixin Online) — Some financial accidents, e.g., trust products defaulting, may occur in the coming months. Their impact on the real economy will be limited. As the land bubble deflates, the resulting reductions in production costs and consumer prices should support the real economy by boosting exports and consumption.

When a few financial incidents occur simultaneously, the sense of panic may spread. The impact, however, should be short-lived. China’s land bubble has become almost entirely a financial phenomenon. Its problems should be contained within a small though vocal community.

To minimize the panic from a deflating land bubble, the central government should prepare contingency plans for unwinding trust products, property developers and local government financing vehicles.

The biggest mistake that the government can make is to, in a moment of panic, use taxpayer money to bail out all failing financial products or institutions. The resulting financial burden would limit the government’s ability to pay for the forthcoming reforms to rebalance the economy and launch a new growth cycle.

If China leaves the bubble economy behind and embarks on another wave of reform and opening up, its per capita income could top $20,000, excluding inflation, by 2030, making China the largest economy in the world.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:16:38

Aug. 12, 2013, 10:32 p.m. EDT
Revisiting China’s property bubble
By Andy Xie

BEIJING (Caixin Online) — The market is speculating that the central government is about to loosen up financing for the property sector. What this really means is that the banks may increase lending to developers for land purchases.

Property developers are beholden to local governments. If they get loans, they will buy land to boost local government revenues. Essentially, bank loans would turn into local government revenue. When the local governments spend the money, it becomes a form of fiscal stimulus.

When the economy was growing rapidly, the property bubble was justified on reflecting high future income through extrapolation. As the economy slows, the justification is that the property bubble is needed to support the economy. Neither is meaningful unless monetary and/or credit policies are affected.

The latter argument was undoubtedly a force in influencing the 2008 policy to massively boost credit growth. Even though this policy is the reason for most economic difficulties today, the same argument is being used again.

If China tries the same policy, it will not produce the same results and may trigger a financial crisis quickly.

In 2008, the Federal Reserve was just beginning its unprecedented quantitative easing policy. The bearish sentiment towards the U.S. dollar allowed emerging economies to boost money supplies without worrying about devaluation. Further, China’s credit policy then was looked upon positively by the international community as contributing to stabilizing the global economy.

If China were to pursue the same policy now, the opposite would be true on both fronts.

The Fed is about to begin its tightening policy. And the U.S. has a strong stock market and recovering property market to attract global capital.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:21:33

August 11, 2013 7:18 PM
China’s real estate bubble

China’s economy has become the second largest in the world, but its rapid growth may have created the largest housing bubble in history. Lesley Stahl reports.

The following script is from “China’s Real Estate Bubble” which aired on March 3, 2013, and was rebroadcast on Aug. 11, 2013. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Shachar Bar-On, producer.
60 Minutes Web Extra

If trouble comes in threes, then what’ll be the next global market to melt down after the U.S. and Europe? Some are looking nervously at China.

China has been nothing short of a financial miracle. In just 30 years, this state-controlled economy became the world’s second largest, deftly managed by government policies and decrees.

One sector the authorities concentrated on was real estate and construction. But, as we first reported in March, that may have created the largest housing bubble in human history. If you go to China, it’s easy to see why there’s all the talk of a bubble. We discovered that the most populated nation on Earth is building houses, districts and cities with no one in them.

Lesley Stahl: So this is Zhengzhou. And we are on the major highway, or the major road. And it’s rush hour.

Gillem Tulloch: Yeah -

Lesley Stahl: And it’s almost empty.

Gillem Tulloch is a Hong Kong based financial analyst who was one of the first to draw attention to the housing bubble in China. He’s showing us around the new eastern district of Zhengzhou, in one of the most populated provinces in China - not that you’d know it. We found what they call a “ghost city” of new towers with no residents, desolate condos and vacant subdivisions uninhabited for miles, and miles, and miles, and miles of empty apartments.

Lesley Stahl: Why are they empty? I’ve heard that they have actually been sold.

Gillem Tulloch: They’ve all been sold. They’ve all been sold.

Lesley Stahl: They’ve all been sold? They’re owned.

Gillem Tulloch: Absolutely.

Owned by people in China’s emerging middle class, who now have enough money to invest but few ways to do it. They’re not allowed to invest abroad, banks offer paltry returns, and the stock market is a rollercoaster. But 15 years ago, the government changed its policy and allowed people to buy their own homes and the flood gates opened.

Gillem Tulloch: So what they do is they invest in property because property prices have always gone up by more than inflation.

Lesley Stahl: And they believe it will always go up?

Gillem Tulloch: Yeah, just like they believed in the U.S.

Actually, property values have doubled and tripled and more — so people in the middle class have sunk every last penny into buying five, even 10 apartments, fueling a building bonanza unprecedented in human history. No nation has ever built so much so fast.

Web Extras
China’s real estate quandary
“Doomsday” scenario for China

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 08:33:49

Owned by people in China’s emerging middle class, who now have enough money to invest but few ways to do it. They’re not allowed to invest abroad,

Whoa! I thought that the countries that were kicking our economic butts were supposed to be free market champions. Now I know that the Chinese force automakers to set up shop in China if they want access to the markets. But their middle class isn’t allowed to invest abroad?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:47:13

“They’re not allowed to invest abroad,…”

Then where do the hordes of all-cash Chinese investors in U.S. residential RE come from?

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 09:11:57

The political class.

Comment by prayer walker
2013-08-25 11:19:04

Money laundering is legal in USA as long as the money goes into housing. That makes me think the south american drug cartels were really stupid not have recognized the obvious.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:14:46

“That makes me think the south american drug cartels were really stupid not have recognized the obvious.”

What do think really drives Florida’s RE market? Yes, you can google that.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 12:42:49

The political class.

Exactly … the well connected.

We’re the only ‘free market” and we’re getting our collective heads handed to us on a platter.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-08-25 09:52:32

’so people in the middle class have sunk every last penny into buying five, even 10 apartments, fueling a building bonanza unprecedented in human history. ‘

Sum ting wong.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:15:48

“I gots mine”

- Fu Kim

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:34:26

China’s bloated economy needs a dose of reality
Hans Black and Olivia Gong urge leaders to deflate its asset bubble
Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 3:32am
Hans Black and Olivia Gong

Most Popular
Why are Chinese tourists so rude? A few insights

Unsustainable surges in real estate prices and local debts in China suggest there is trouble ahead. Photo: Reuters

While China’s higher-than-expected July exports may fuel recovery hopes, it may be false optimism for a country that is finding itself in deep economic and social distress. To that, the Margaret Thatcher portrayed in the biopic The Iron Lady has something to say to the Chinese leadership: “Yes, the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live.”

China’s bubbles may provoke a crisis in the near term, and Beijing may treat the patient with hard-to-swallow medicine in two ways. First, it could allow the bubbles to pop. Second, it could find a way to let the air out carefully, for a soft landing. Either option would be painful, but necessary.

Unsustainable surges in real estate prices and local debts, along with growing concerns over the shadow banking system and worrisome declines in both export and import figures, suggest there is trouble ahead.

Financial markets, and all those with vested interests in the economy, fear that there are worrying similarities to the bubble economy that triggered the US crisis in 2008.

Recent data shows evidence of a growing bubble, although expansion rates are slowing. As the economy slows, and other industries weaken, investors seek out property investments for reasonable returns. Average home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 6.8 per cent in June from a year earlier. Sixty-three of the 70 cities saw month-on-month increases in home prices, versus 65 cities in May.

Moreover, the true extent to the housing bubble remains unclear; China began withholding nationwide home price data in 2011.

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 08:41:41

“Why are Chinese tourists so rude?”

Because the Ugly Chinaman has supplanted the Ugly American abroad? That would be interesting if true. So I guess “Yankee Go Home” would be replaced with some other motto?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 08:51:44

August 13, 2013, 12:55 p.m. ET
China Turns to Gold
Greater risk of instability can only increase the precious metal’s luster.

Concerns are rising that the Chinese economy is headed for a hard landing. That would have implications for many markets, not least for gold. Conventional wisdom holds that a slowdown in China will reduce demand for the metal. The Chinese will have less disposable income, the thinking goes, so they’ll cut spending on luxury items like jewelry.

But the conventional wisdom is probably wrong. Gold buyers in China are different from gold buyers in the West. In the West, individuals buy gold jewelry for adornment and invest in gold bullion for appreciation and as a store of value. In China, India and much of the rest of the world, gold jewelry is purchased for all three purposes: for adornment, as a store of value and for appreciation.

In the West gold jewelry is purchased at a large premium over gold prices. As a result, consumers view it as a luxury item and sales can be expected to decline in a recession. But in China, gold jewelry is sold at a small premium above gold and can therefore serve as a store of value. If the Chinese see their economy headed for a hard landing, they are likely to increase gold purchases as a way of preserving wealth in the face of a depreciating yuan.

Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 08:06:17

“Call it what you will, but Silicon Valley is no country for middle-aged - let alone old - men and women.

That’s the opinion of Chronicle and SFGate readers responding to last week’s column on hiring practices in the valley.

it’s happening in spades in high-tech, including in left-liberal San Francisco. An experienced iPhone app developer said he spent a year interviewing at various startups in the city, where he “encountered a homogenous culture of mostly white, recent graduates under 30 years old.”

“Sometimes, interviewers wouldn’t even shake my hand and tried their best to get rid of me as soon as possible,” the developer wrote.

Comment by jose canusi
2013-08-25 08:37:48

“no country for middle-aged - let alone old - men and women.”

Send in Javier Bardem! (BTW, I don’t know if he got an Academy Award for his role as the uber-villain in No Country for Old Men, but he should have)

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 08:41:52

And now you know how big employers like HP and others can get away with not giving their staff pay raises, year after year. The oldsters know they have nowhere else to go, so they grin and bear it.

And in many cases, it’s better to be underpaid. When the grim layoffer makes his appearance, he usually culls those who are overpaid for their performance rankings.

Welcome to the new normal.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 09:09:17

“encountered a homogenous culture of mostly white, recent graduates under 30 years old.”

And these recent graduates:

1. Are hungry for work because they have a lot of bills to pay, due to costs of their education and otherwise.

2. Are large in numbers because the got their education in an era whereby it was thought that higher education was THE PATH that led to future prosperity.

Combine the two together - the large numbers that are hungry for work and the degree that they are hungry for work - and you will end up with a job market that heavily favors employers.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-08-25 09:11:40

Churn ‘em and burn ‘em.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-08-25 09:13:32

But there is a shortage of hi-tech workers!

Comment by prayer walker
2013-08-25 10:46:22

Yes there is. Experienced people willing to work on a reasonable salary. Have you seen salary demands from some of the experienced developers? I don’t begrudge them for wanting more…I suppose supply and demand. At the same time they have to remember that they are not performing rocket surgery.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:21:51

You think writing good code is simple? In what world would this be?

It IS in fact, rocket surgery.

Just because there are a lot of hacks in the business, doesn’t make it less demanding and hard.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 12:51:05

Experienced people willing to work on a reasonable salary.

And what would that be? $15/hr?

Have you seen salary demands from some of the experienced developers?

Would you care to share what these exorbitant demands are? Because when I look at places like glassdoor, most senior software engineers in my neck of the woods are paid about 80-90K. A Sheriff’s sergeant is paid a lot more than that out here (they get 125K in Larimer County)

Comment by In Colorado
2013-08-25 12:44:18

1. Are hungry for work because they have a lot of bills to pay, due to costs of their education and otherwise.

If they went to Cal State or UC they probably don’t have that much debt.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 09:03:12

“If you buy a house right now in the current environment, you will be scammed out of hundereds of thousands of dollars.”

You better believe it mister.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:24:22

I saw a homeless man on the street corner talking to himself. He said his name was Housing Analyst.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 12:38:11

How cowardly.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 15:57:59

You really are talking to yourself, you know?

You really shine when you post facts and links. You make some great finds.

Let’s see that H. A.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 16:30:31

Follow along coward.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:13:06

Did quantitative easing “work”?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:14:50

Economists in Jackson Hole Say QE Less Potent Than Fed Believes
By Joshua Zumbrun - Aug 23, 2013 8:00 AM PT

The U.S. central bank’s bond buying is a less potent tool for stimulating growth than policy makers believe, two economists said in a paper released today at a Federal Reserve conference.

The paper scrutinizes the stance of some Fed officials that so-called quantitative easing works through a “portfolio-balance channel” in which Fed asset purchases induce investors to rebalance their investments to boost a wide range of financial assets. The research was presented at an annual Kansas City Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The portfolio balance channel of QE works largely through narrow channels that affect the prices of purchased assets, with spillovers depending on particulars of the assets and economic conditions,” Northwestern University finance professor Arvind Krishnamurthy and University of California-Berkeley professor Annette Vissing-Jorgensen wrote in the paper. “It does not, as the Fed proposes, work through broad channels such as affecting the term premium on all long-term bonds.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 09:17:37

it worked as far as reflating asset prices, stocks and homes. what else do we really need? Can the economy continue to grow based on asset appreciation?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 09:21:45

But I can ask $40k for my 10 year old Honda Civic but where are the buyers?

Same as housing. That’s why housing demand is at 14 year lows and falling. Nobody is interested at current massively inflated asking prices of resale housing.

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-08-25 17:45:05

I wish buyers were that analytical. My area is very active and prices have hit $275/ sq ft for a one-story in our nice neighborhood, and deals are closing. (So Ca - Ventura County east)

People with kids love our neighborhood. No HOA and 4 walkable parks, one with a great duck pond. Feeding them Cheerios (bread is bad for them) is a hoot. We do it 3X’s a week. Lifestyle sells, always has.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 18:00:17

“Deals are closing” huh? You’re lying. Housing demand is down 17% in Ventura County CA.

And if you hadn’t gotten ripped off on that depreciating shack of yours, you wouldn’t have to fetch coffee for the boss at 65 years old.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 09:18:16

U.S. 10-Year Yields to Rise Above 3%, BlackRock’s Rieder Says
By Liz Capo McCormick - Aug 19, 2013 5:50 AM PT

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes will rise above 3 percent as the Federal Reserve scales back its debt purchases, according to Rick Rieder, chief investment officer for fundamental fixed-income at BlackRock Inc. (BLK)

The Fed’s quantitative easing “is too big,” Rieder said in an interview with Tom Keene and Sara Eisen on Bloomberg Television. “You have got to taper down QE. It has created this tremendous distortion in interest rates. We think fair value on the 10-year is close to 3-to-3.25 percent. You are getting very close to there.”

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 09:49:13

Did quantitative easing “work”?

That is all a matter of perspective—e.g. what the beholder believed that it was supposed to accomplish.

Did it:

- reinflate assets? Yes.
- provide an investment environment that was excellent for the wealthy? Yes.
- Reduce unemployment? No.
- Save banksters from having to reveal the true extent of their losses? Yes.

Suggestions for other things one could believe it was intended to accomplish?

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 10:15:04

buy some more time?

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:12:49

Who got re-elected for the trillion spent?

Yes - it worked.

Comment by Pete
2013-08-25 17:03:02

“Who got re-elected for the trillion spent?
Yes - it worked.”

I see your point, Obama probably benefited. But I highly doubt that the Fed’s actions took the president’s popularity into consideration.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:32:53


Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 11:37:21

“- reinflate assets? Yes.”

That was the purpose?!

Fed’s Bullard: No sign of major asset bubble
Published: Thursday, 15 Aug 2013 | 10:33 AM ET
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve St. Louis.

Financial stability is an important issue for the Federal Reserve, but the United States does not face destructive asset bubbles on the scale of the 1990s technology stock shock or the more recent housing boom, a top Fed official said Thursday.

“I don’t see a bubble of that magnitude right now for the U.S. economy,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in response to an audience question after remarks at a breakfast.

He also said the Fed should wait for more evidence that economic growth is picking up and annual inflation heading back toward its 2 percent goal before deciding to scale back bond purchases.

—By Reuters

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-08-26 01:03:09

Ensure the return of liquidity to capital markets? Yes.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:26:15

“Did quantitative easing “work”?

Is this a trick question?

Oh, you mean for the rest of us?

Again, is this a trick question?

Comment by ann gogh
2013-08-25 09:22:00

so in june I posted a house for sale across the street going for 550k. Fire Mt. Oceanside, ca.
Its still for sale and the family moved back to the mid west in a huge trailor. this house is in a nice area but I guess 550.000 is too much.

on another note, my mom’s friend died two days ago and has lived in a greene and greene in Pasadena since I was a baby. anyway, they are going to sell it but then the kids will have to live somewhere else!
hi everybody.

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 09:49:58

what state is the trailer for 550 in?

how long has the shantie in oceanside been on the market? Is it nice house?

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-08-25 17:56:20

Pasadena. If it’s So Pasadena, I’m green with envy. Great town. We would have had to entertain a mortgage ($1.2M home I feel in love with there - nothing incredible, but a nice one-story. Mission District North) so we stayed in Ventura County.

For those of you in my area, Chinatown downtown LA, is having a moon party Sept. 21st. We take the subway and go stress free.

Gondola Getaway in Long Beach is equivalent to a Venice Italy experience. We’ve done both. The BlueLine subway is the way to go. The owner’s USC marketing business plan turned into his life business.

Comment by ann gogh
2013-08-25 09:23:50

Oceanside home:

Comment by azdude02
2013-08-25 10:12:59

no view? looks like a house from the 80’s

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 10:40:42

The structure itself is worth right around $100k. What could the lot possibly be worth?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 09:38:22

Coastal Oregon Housing Prices Crumble 20% In a Year

Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2013-08-25 09:47:45

“…Although only a few observers have noted the vested interest in error that accompanies speculative euphoria, it is, nonetheless, an extremely plausible phenomenon. Those involved with the speculation are experiencing an increase in wealth–getting rich or being further enriched. No one wishes to believe that this is fortuitous or undeserved; all wish to think that it is the result of their own superior insight or intuition. The very increase in values thus captures the thoughts and minds of those being rewarded. Speculation buys up, in a very practical way, the intelligence of those involved.

This is particularly true of the first group noted above–those who are convinced that values are going up permanently and indefinitely. But the errors of vanity of those who think they will beat the speculative game are also thus reinforced. As long as they are in, they have a strong pecuniary commitment to belief in the unique personal intelligence that tells them there will be yet more. ..Strongly reinforcing the vested interest in euphoria is the condemnation that the reputable public and financial opinion directs at those who express doubt or dissent. It is said that they are unable, because of defective imagination or other mental inadequacy, to grasp the new and rewarding circumstances that sustain and secure the increase in values…”

-John Kenneth Galbraith

A Short History of Financial Euphoria

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 10:22:20

It’s amazing how little has changed in the two decades since Galbraith published this classic!

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 10:33:48

It’s amazing how little has changed in the two decades since Galbraith published this classic!

Human nature changes on a much longer timeframe, if at all…

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:29:27

We have a winner.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 15:17:30

YOU are the winner.

Comment by Anon In DC
2013-08-25 15:32:10

Wow! Eco we agree on something at long last.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 15:54:54

I’m not a bad person raining on people’s parades for the heck of it, but you really HAVE to stick to the facts with me.

You see, it was the spin and hype, song and dance, dog and pony show that got us into this mess in the first place and it didn’t happen overnight.

Comment by 2banana
2013-08-25 11:18:18

But Al Gore told us that global warming would increase the amount and severity of hurricanes…

Slowest Start To A Hurricane Season On Record
Real Science | 8/24/2013 | Staff

As we approach the end of August, there have been no Atlantic hurricanes. By this date in the year 1886, there had already been seven hurricanes – including three major hurricanes, one of which wiped the city of Indianola, Texas off the map.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 12:39:10

Then you should buy a beach house, cabana boy.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 13:14:22

“Then you should buy a beach house”

Why not, Al Gore did.

Al Gore’s New Beach House

April 30th, 2010 at 12:50 pm
Brad Schaeffer

From the April 28 Los Angeles Times:

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

I guess those rising sea levels of which Gore cries havoc is not so inconvenient a truth to dissuade him from buying oceanfront - 69k -

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 15:39:54

“Al Gore’s New Beach House”

Thanks to global warming scare tactics convincing other potential buyers the home would soon be (literally) underwater, he probably got it at a discount.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 15:50:03

Have you the pictures of it? That house sits almost 100′ above the sea.

That is NOT a beach house. :lol:

Nice spin though.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 16:34:31

“Have you the pictures of it? That house sits almost 100′ above the sea.”

The dude sells a book with an image that has Cuba completely submerged. Take a look at pic #8 on the huffingtonpost link. I hope Al has a big enough raft for him and Tipper.

PHOTOS: Al Gore’s New $8.875 Million Montecito Villa - 201k - Cached - Similar pages
May 17, 2010

November 20, 2009

Former vice president Al Gore has always been one of the more divisive figures in the debate about manmade climate change. As one of the most visible people sounding the alarm on climate change, he is quick to come under fire. His new book “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” provides plenty of ammunition for global warming skeptics without them having to read even the first page.

His new book “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” provides plenty of ammunition for global warming skeptics without them having to read even the first page.

Sea level rises are something which is of great concern in a warming climate. The cover of “Our Choice” depicts the effects of rising oceans but does so in a manner that is impossible.

In the modified image, Cuba appears to be completely submerged. That would require a sea level rise of more than 6580 feet as that is the height of Pico Turquino on the island. Much of Florida as well is now under water as is a great deal of Central America.

The problem is that if there were indeed a rise of that level, Florida would be entirely gone as its highest point only reaches an altitude of 345 feet. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia and virtually every single other state that borders an ocean (and many landlocked states) would be submerged. Even Denver, the Mile High City, would be under water although presumably its residents could escape to the Rocky Mountains. - 120k

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 15:57:38

I guess those rising sea levels of which Gore cries havoc is not so inconvenient a truth to dissuade him from buying oceanfront

Didn’t you hear? They stopped rising when Obama was elected—I remember that from his acceptance speech.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 11:20:53

The Beatles lyrics


( J. Lennon, P. McCartney )

The Bubble lyrics


( B. Bernanke, B. Obama )

HARP! I need somebody.
HARP! Not just anybody.
HARP! You know, I need someone, help!

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I bought three houses but I think I overpaid.
I thought I’d flip them and the Realtor assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind, the price went through th floor.

HARP me if you can, I’m upside down
And I do appreciate you being ’round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground.
Won’t you please, please, HARP me?

And now my life has changed in, oh, so many ways,
My line of equity has vanished in the haze.
And sice I lost my Benz I feel so insecure.
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.

HARP me if you can, I’m upside down
And I do appreciate you being ’round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground.
Won’t you please, please, HARP me?

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-08-25 12:57:54

Bravo…I’d have had to rhyme “assured” with “turd”, though.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 16:03:30

Awesome. :-)

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 13:24:38

Even at the local level, line your pockets, pay your friends, sprinkle with water and……

Local tax revenue to grow

Post analysis of proposed property taxes shows 3.5% jump in revenue.

Posted: 4:12 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013

By Jennifer Sorentrue and Fedor Zarkhin
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Palm Beach County property owners would pay a maximum of $98 million more in property taxes and special assessments next year under proposed tax notices mailed last week, a Palm Beach Post analysis shows.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 14:00:10

Well I did something wrong.

But I am going to investigate myself.

It is my promise to you that I will to get to the bottom of it, punish anyone responsible and make sure it never happens again.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 14:13:01

OK, I have done nothing wrong but I am taking the Fifth and putting myself on paid administrative leave for the rest of the summer and possibly the Fall.

After that I will probably make myself the Ambassador to the United Nations.

What? Oh, I can’t talk about that the President claimed dubious legal refuge under ‘executive privilege’ regarding any documents relating to that.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-08-25 14:28:45

Check this out:

‘The recently released secret FISA court opinion is supposed to promote the idea that the administration elected on a promise of “transparency” is now making good on that pledge. There’s just one problem: a good 20 percent of the 83-page document is redacted, including some key paragraphs. It is to a large extent unreadable…Yet that’s just the beginning of the White House’s weirdly inverted response to the public outcry against its massive domestic surveillance program.’

‘At his press conference promising to “reform” the spying machinery, President Obama announced a “review board” to be appointed that would supposedly reassure his critics there really is no domestic spying program: the goal, as he put it, would be to strike a “balance” between civil liberties and the safety of all Americans. A week or so later he made some appointments to this panel: former Counter-Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, former special assistant for economic policy Peter Swire, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell – and Cass Sunstein, a very close friend and confidant of the President.’

‘Sunstein formerly headed up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: now a Harvard law professor, he has made something of a name for himself as an outspoken advocate of government spying. Being one of those really highbrow types, he calls it “cognitive infiltration.” Sunstein wants paid government agents to penetrate ostensibly subversive “conspiracy minded” social networks: in other words, he wants to set up a police state system of government spies and provocateurs.’

‘Sunstein is a singular figure: no one else in government (or academia, as far as I know) has pushed for measures so openly totalitarian in their implications. Here is part of the summary of an academic paper Sunstein published in 2008: “Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event.”

‘Isn’t that what the Snowden revelations have proved beyond what any “conspiracy theorist” I know of ever asserted? Thanks to the Snowden “leaks” we now know that is precisely what’s been happening. According to Professor Sunstein, if you believe that, you’re creating “serious risks” for society at large, “including risks of violence.” The mere existence of such people “raises significant challenges for policy and law.”

‘James Clapper didn’t lie to Congress and the American people – you’re just imagining that, you conspiracy theorist wacko! Moreover, you’re a danger to society, and have to be combated by law enforcement agencies operating online and undercover.’

‘Sunstein proposes sending government spies into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” to provide a bit of Attitude Correction. These agents would be paid to infiltrate and counteract any “conspiracy theories” the Harvard Professor and his co-thinkers deem “dangerous.” Sunstein stresses the importance of the covert aspect of this program: these Attitude Correctors must at least appear to be independent, all the while taking their marching orders (and their checks) from Washington.’

‘you see, there are good dissenters and bad dissenters, and as long as the Good Guys are in charge of the government, it’s cool to deploy government resources against those who believe in the wrong “conspiracy theories.” As he puts it in his paper, imaginatively titled “Conspiracy Theories”: “Throughout, we assume a well-motivated government that aims to eliminate conspiracy theories, or draw their poison, if and only if social welfare is improved by doing so.”

‘Well, then, “What can government do about conspiracy theories?” he asks:

“Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).”

‘And it isn’t just the Fourth Amendment the new authoritarians are after: Sunstein opposes the First Amendment as presently constituted. Instead, he says, we need a “New Deal for speech,” one that would recognize that technological changes have made the old marketplace-of-ideas conception of free speech outdated. What we need, says Sunstein, is a reformulated First Amendment because the current version isn’t “adequately serving democratic goals.”

‘Sunstein’s extremism is on full display in an article published by Bloomberg News just the other day, which the editors gave the rather skeptical-sounding title of “Could Bowling Leagues and the PTA Breed Nazis?” In it, Sunstein tells us “social capital” – the links that bind us together socially – is not necessarily a good thing. There is a “dark side” to it. Citing a recent study by one of his fellow nutty professors, he avers that a “high level of social capital” led directly to the rise of …. wait for it! … Hitler and Nazism!’

‘Sunstein posits that “dense social networks” in the US are a problem for our democracy: “For the current period, there is a straightforward lesson. Individuals and nations generally benefit from large numbers of private associations, including sports clubs, religious groups and parent-teacher associations. But in some nations, dense social networks also increase people’s vulnerability to extremism. A great deal of work suggests that terrorism itself can arise not because people are isolated, poor or badly educated, but because they are part of tightly knit networks in which hateful ideas travel quickly.”

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 15:24:37

I think this is from 2009

‘Sunstein proposes sending government spies into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” to provide a bit of Attitude Correction. These agents would be paid to infiltrate and counteract any “conspiracy theories” the Harvard Professor and his co-thinkers deem “dangerous.” Sunstein stresses the importance of the covert aspect of this program: these Attitude Correctors must at least appear to be independent, all the while taking their marching orders (and their checks) from Washington.’

And who is the “Nazi” here anyway? Isn’t that what the Nazis did “infiltrate and counteract any “conspiracy theories” or dissenters and stick em’ in FEMA camps I mean concentration camps.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 15:35:26

“(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing.”


Since when is conspiracy theorizing not protected under the First Amendment? Is the only form of free speech allowed these days in the form of cash flows? (Shakin’ my head…)

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 15:36:40

‘Sunstein posits that “dense social networks” in the US are a problem for our democracy: …’

the best thing ever for Democracy…

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Comment by goon squad
2013-08-25 15:52:14

Awesome post Mr. Jones.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 15:58:37

Obama Was Wrong: NSA Employees Have Deliberately “Abused” Their Power
By Ryan Gallagher
Posted Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, at 5:29 PM
Share on Facebook

Gen. Keith Alexander, c director of the National Security Agency, speaks at the International Cyber Symposium in Baltimore, Md.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

In recent weeks, government officials have insisted that Americans need not worry about NSA surveillance because there are no cases of the system being wilfully abused. But new details have emerged showing these assurances to be blatantly false—in yet another twist that is sure to undermine trust in the NSA oversight regime.

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that NSA analysts have “deliberately ignored restrictions on their authority to spy on Americans multiple times in the past decade.” According to Bloomberg, an average of one case of intentional abuse per year has been documented in internal reports. Given that the NSA intercepts billions of communications weekly, the number of reported deliberate abuses is small. However, that there are any documented cases at all is highly significant because of how this contradicts statements made by both current and former senior officials in the aftermath of a series of stories about vast NSA spy programs based on leaked secret documents.

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Comment by Al Jazeera
2013-08-25 16:12:40

Cass Sunstein is correct - tightly knit networks of individuals believe that powerful people in the Federal government have worked together in order to withhold the truth about important practice and terrible events and these networks must be systematically controlled by the government. One needs to look no further than the paranoid Native Americans in the 19th century. They had this paranoid delusion that the federal government was working against them. It was proper that the government therefore breakup their social networks by forcing them to speak only English so they couldn’t converse between themselves in their native language which government observers couldn’t easily monitor and to force them off their own lands so they could be integrated into the greater economy and to strip them of their dangerous extremist religious beliefs and tribal traditions. If the government hadn’t done so these extremist fanatics would have been incited to violence. I must commend Dr Cass Sunstein on steering America leadership back to its proud traditions of drawing poisonous ideas away from tightly knit networks of paranoid subgroups and bring them in line with our collective needs.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 16:19:00

I’m starting to suspect this whole 1st Amendment business is a giant hoax.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-08-25 16:45:27

Well we know for sure the 4th Amendment is.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-08-25 18:54:12

That’s why they want to get rid of the 2nd so nobody can bit#h about it.

Comment by rms
2013-08-25 20:35:21

If Henry Morgenthau, Jr. had a bastard son he would be Cass Sunstein.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 16:01:05

I’m wondering how well contrarian indicators, such as the percentage of U.S. stock market investors who have “thrown in the towel,” really work. Does anyone have such data for periods such as August 2008 or August 1987, just before the U.S. headline indexes took major dives?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 16:05:01

The recent lull in stock market gains is clearly a pause which is destined to soon give way to new record highs. So long as investors collectively have not reached the “throwing in the towl” stage, it’s a great time to buy!

Aug. 25, 2013, 8:02 a.m. EDT
Stock investor sentiment sinks, teeing up rebound
By William L. Watts, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Bulls have turned tail and are on the run, according to investment-sentiment surveys, leaving traders to gauge whether the usually contrarian indicator means stocks could be poised to test all-time highs set earlier this month.

The latest weekly survey from the American Association of Individual Investors, probably the most closely watched gauge of investor sentiment, found 42.9% of respondents were bearish on the outlook for stocks, versus 29% bullish and 28.2% neutral.

That marked a more than 14 percentage point rise in bearishness from the previous week, marking the highest level of pessimism since mid-April. Bull sentiment minus bear sentiment, as illustrated in the above chart, has now fallen to negative 14%.

Yet another way to slice the sentiment data, the bull ratio, dropped to less than 40% from more than 73% less than two months earlier, said Jason Goepfert of The bull ratio is bullish sentiment versus total bullish and bearish sentiment.

Such a rapid deterioration in sentiment from such a high level has occurred 11 other times in the last 26 years, Goepfert said. Nine out of those eleven times, the S&P 500 index was positive a month later, averaging a gain of 1.7%, he said. The outcome less than a month or more than three months later was much more mixed, Goepfert noted, adding that while sentiment has fallen sharply, it’s not yet at a level showing “extreme pessimism.”

That would require a bull ratio of less than 35%, with a reading closer to 25% usually required to signal that investors are entering the “throwing-in-the-towel” phase.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 16:26:07

25 August 2013 Last updated at 13:41 ET
Greece ‘may need 10bn euros more’ in aid - Stournaras

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Joerg Asmussen of the ECB, Athens (21 August) Mr Stournaras, seen here with Joerg Asmussen of the European Central Bank last week, says Greece will not accept more austerity

Greece may need a third bailout but would not accept new austerity measures, the Greek finance minister has said.

Yannis Stournaras said: “If there is need for further support to Greece, it will be in the order of about 10bn euros (£8.6bn; $13.4bn), or much smaller than the previous programmes.”

Greece has already received two bailouts totalling about 240bn euros.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has warned about writing down any more Greek debt.

Germany’s chancellor said a so-called haircut of Greek debt would be bad for the stability of the eurozone, which has seen a return in investor confidence after years of worrying about the future of the single currency following bailouts of several nations - most recently, Cyprus.

“I am expressly warning against a haircut,” Mrs Merkel said. “It could trigger a domino effect of uncertainty with the result that the readiness of private investors to invest in the eurozone again falls to nothing.”

Her comments come after Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said - for the first time - earlier this month that Greece will need another bailout to plug a forthcoming funding gap.

The issue of bailouts is a sensitive one in Germany, where Mrs Merkel faces elections for a third term on 22 September.

Many Germans feel they have already contributed enough to European bailouts.

Comment by rms
2013-08-25 20:39:57

“Greece may need a third bailout…”

Didn’t we already give Greece 15-minutes?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:48:50

Be afrayed — very afrayed!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:52:34

What is the DB G10 Currency Harvest Index, and why does it normally track the S&P500 with near-perfect correlation (except for the recent striking divergence)?

Aug. 23, 2013, 9:14 a.m. EDT
Carry-trade unwind could spell trouble for stocks
By William L. Watts, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The carry trade — a short/long trading strategy favored by hedge funds and a contributor to some of the most abrupt global markets reversals in the past 10 years — is looking frayed.

U.S. stock investors should take note.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:54:24

Fed must use ‘great caution’ in exit: OECD chief economist
August 24, 2013, 11:19 AM

The Federal Reserve must exercise “great caution” in exiting its highly stimulative monetary policy, in order to protect the domestic recovery and avoid market volatility around the globe, said Pier Carlo Padoan, the chief economist for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or OECD, on Saturday.

“It is important that the growth we see in the U.S. is allowed to consolidate; we’ve seen disappointments in the past,” Padoan said in an interview on the sidelines of the Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole.

How the exit can be managed is “a puzzle,” he said. Gone are the days when the U.S. central bank could simply “just go into reverse” and raise the benchmark short-term federal funds interest rate.

Now, Fed officials face a spectrum of policy choices involving asset purchases and forward guidance, he said.

At the Jackson Hole conference, experts have been mulling the first step of the exit, how the Fed to stop buying $85 billion-a-month in Treasurys and mortgage-related assets without upsetting financial markets.

One team of economists presented a paper suggesting that the Fed first stop buying Treasurys and continue to buy mortgage-related assets until it was ready to completely end all asset purchases.

“We don’t know for sure how markets will react” to such a plan, Padoan said.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:56:08

Do American citizens get to vote this time?

Jackson Hole chatter: Summers has inside track on Fed job
August 24, 2013, 8:02 PM
Larry Summers

The prevailing view among attendees at the Federal Reserve’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole s that Larry Summers has the inside track to replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when he steps down early next year.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, said informal discussions with attendees at the meeting led him to conclude that a majority believe President Barack Obama wants to pick Summers, passing over Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen.

Yellen remains the clear favorite of the Fed community because of her longstanding ties to the central bank, other participants noted.

Yellen first joined the Fed Board of Governors in 1994 and has been a part of the U.S. central bank, with a few breaks, ever since.

Summers served as Obama’s top economic adviser in the early days of the administration.

– Greg Robb

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-08-25 18:57:40

August 23, 2013
See how mortgage rates jumped on Fed taper talk
Week in Charts: More data shows risky occupations

Mortgage rates have been trending up since early May, and this week they raced higher again on expectations that the Federal Reserve could soon start tapering its massive bond-buying program, according to data released Thursday. In fact, rates for fixed-rate mortgages hit their highest levels in two years, federally controlled mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported. This week the average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.58%, reaching the highest level since July 2011. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also hit the highest rate since July 2011, rising to 3.60%.

However, mortgage rates remain relatively low and there’s plenty of pent-up housing demand. So economists don’t expect the recent gains in rates to derail the housing market’s recovery, but they could slow down growth.

—Charts and text by Ruth Mantell

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-25 19:01:28

“Make it a matter of personal policy; Don’t Borrow Money.”

You got that right!

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-08-25 22:20:37

Who were you quoting?

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-08-26 01:07:01


Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-08-26 04:50:41

That’s a Rental Watch quote as I recall-

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