October 27, 2013

Bits Bucket for October 27, 2013

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

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:33:42

Is Housing Bubble hindsight 20-20?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:35:18

July 7, 2009, 7:01 am
In Housing, Even Hindsight Isn’t 20-20
Today’s Economist
Edward L. Glaeser is an economist at Harvard.

Last week’s dismal job figures understandably overshadowed the relatively bright news from the housing markets.

From March to April, the seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller housing index for 20 major markets had its best performance since August 2007, reporting a decline of only 0.89 percent. Four metropolitan areas — Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Washington — actually experienced price increases. Four other markets — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco — had price declines of less than one half of a percentage point.

Does this mean that the housing market is starting to hit bottom?

Next week, I’ll try to say something about the future. But I wanted first to acknowledge the limits of our knowledge before plunging into perilous prognostication.

One major point of economics is that predicting asset prices is extremely hard, and that goes for housing as well as stocks. Moreover, the last seven years should make everyone wary about predicting housing price changes.

At this point, not only is our foresight limited but our hindsight isn’t exactly 20-20 either. The housing price volatility of the last six years has been so extreme that it confounds conventional economic explanations. Over a four-year period — from February 2002 to February 2006 — the Case-Shiller index increased 68 percent in nominal terms or about 50 percent in constant dollars.

Certainly, those price increases cannot be explained by increases in average income. Income growth was quite modest from 2002 to 2006. Nor can the boom be explained by a dearth of new housing supply. Construction rose dramatically during the boom, and we built hundreds of thousands of additional homes. Our current low levels of construction will continue until we work through all of this extra housing stock.

A number of pundits place the blame for the bubble on the shoulders of the former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. They argue that loose monetary policy caused housing prices to rise.

While lower interest rates are correlated with higher prices, the relationship is far too weak to explain the price explosion that America experienced. A 100-basis point (1 percentage point) reduction in the inflation-adjusted rate of interest is typically associated with a price increase of less than 5 percent. To get a 50 percent real increase in housing prices, real interest rates would have had to decline by more than 1,000 basis points (10 percentage points), which is not what happened.

Mr. Greenspan’s loose monetary policy may have been a mistake, but low interest rates cannot readily explain what happened to housing prices. Real rates actually rose slightly between 2002 and 2006.

While low interest rates, on their own, cannot make sense of the bubble, perhaps the increased availability of credit to subprime borrowers has more explanatory power.

Certainly, there was more subprime lending in markets, like Las Vegas, that had the highest housing price appreciation. Yet the correlation between housing price growth and subprime lending across markets is as likely to indicate that lenders took more risks in booming markets as that those risks caused markets to boom. After all, subprime mortgages represented a modest share of national mortgages, and prices were also rising quickly for homes bought by low-risk borrowers.

The most plausible explanations of the bubble require levels of irrationality that are difficult for economists either to accept or explain.

For many years, the creators of the housing index, Chip Case and Robert Shiller, have argued that housing bubbles were fueled by irrationally optimistic beliefs about future housing price appreciation. More recently, Monika Piazzesi and Martin Schneider have documented the rise in optimistic beliefs about housing price appreciation over the recent boom. Using some elegant algebra, they suggest that overly optimistic beliefs could cause a boom even if those beliefs were held by only a small share of the population.

It is hard to argue with this view. The only way that anyone could justify spending bubble-level prices in Las Vegas was by having the incorrect belief that those prices would increase.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:50:29

What does this economist and many of his peers miss?

Current historically low interest rates are neither fundamental nor sustainable.

Our housing problems are worse than a bubble
Economic View
Ben Chu
Sunday 27 October 2013

Is there a housing bubble? This question is put endlessly to our policymakers and politicians. The trouble is it’s not a very useful way of talking or thinking about the state of the British property market.

A bubble occurs when people borrow money to buy assets (in this case houses) in the expectation that prices will rise indefinitely, and banks lend money liberally because they hold a similar optimistic view of the future. These twin forces push asset values into the stratosphere and create the danger of a sudden painful correction of prices (or bust).

Yet prices can rise very fast – even as rapidly as they are at the moment – without signifying a speculative bubble. It is true that UK house price-to-income ratios are above historic averages, which could, in theory, indicate that prices are out of line with fundamentals.

Yet other factors suggest that those fundamentals have shifted. Interest rates are also considerably lower than historic averages. That means people can service a higher level of debt with a given income.

Furthermore, the supply of new housing is more constricted than it was in the past. And aggregate demand is also higher, pushed up by more people choosing to live alone. As Martin Taylor of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) super regulator put it in a speech last week: “If you have an economic recovery, rising numbers of households and very tight supply…it would be surprising if [house prices] didn’t [rise].”

That pretty much sums up the thinking of the Bank of England on the economics of the housing market. It doesn’t see a housing bubble – at least not yet.

But none of that means the Chancellor’s policy of subsidising mortgages, known as Help to Buy, is a good idea.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 08:38:56

Given the dating of this article, perhaps Mr. Ben Chu never heard of the quantitative easing (aka interest rate suppression)?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:54:38

Up and Down Wall Street | SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2013
Regrets? The Maestro Has None
The former Federal Reserve chairman admits that he didn’t see the financial crisis coming.

Being Fed chairman apparently means never having to say you’re sorry.

In his media rounds plugging his new book, The Map and the Territory, former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan admitted last week that he didn’t see the crisis of 2007-08 coming, but he refused to apologize for that. “I missed certain forecasts,” he admitted on Bloomberg TV. “You don’t apologize for that,” he said, adding that he isn’t omniscient and is a mere human being.

“To apologize for not being Superman, I refuse to do that, because that never entered my mind,” said the erstwhile maestro, who was awarded an honorary knighthood in the United Kingdom for putatively being the greatest central banker of all time.

So why did things go so wrong, leading to the worst financial and economic meltdown since the Great Depression? Greenspan traces this to what he admits was a misplaced faith that banks and financial institutions would be better stewards of their own capital and act as self-regulators in a largely deregulated world.

But, in perhaps the most revelatory interview—with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s Daily Show—he confessed that, nonetheless, on Wall Street people sometimes “do screwy things.” “You just learned this?” Stewart replied in mock amazement to the ex-Fed boss, 87.

The bouts of screwiness would wash out over time, and rational self-interest would protect institutions over the long run, Greenspan explained. It wasn’t the fault of deregulation, which he championed, along with Lawrence Summers (which probably contributed to the opposition to the latter becoming the new Fed chairman).

The problem began, Greenspan asserted, when investment firms were allowed to become corporations in 1970, after always having been partnerships on Wall Street. In the old days, the partners’ entire personal fortunes were on the line if their firm went bust. In a corporation, their exposure was limited to their stake in the firm. And in boom times, they wanted to take their bonus money and run, rather than having it tied up with their employer’s fortunes.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 07:58:15

He’s 87? Should have kicked him out 12 years ago when he was 75, at the oldest. That would have been 2001. I’m tempted to say the world would have been different, but some other hack would have just done the same.

People over 75 in high positions of power in government, seriously? That’s some of the problem with the Supreme Court also. Frankly I’d make it 70′ then you’re out. Especially if you have a guaranteed pension.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 08:12:54


These people have nothing else to do…except work. even in radio look at the people 70 and over…Imus, savage… o’rielly rush prager in their 60’s….

These people cant or refuse to prepare for retirement. Its a lot easier for a strawberry picker, factory worker to retire and not be bored or wanting to kill themselves.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 08:37:49

Blue collar workers don’t identify with their jobs like White collar workers.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 08:48:15

Those aren’t white collar jobs, they are diamond collar jobs. Top .01percent stuff. Being a white collar drone for the man sucks also. See Office Space.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 09:02:11

ya know straw i dont think i ever worked in a cubicle in my life….I wonder if i could handle the confinement?

Comment by shendi
2013-10-27 09:21:57

An office is nothing but a cubicle with walls raised to the ceiling.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 11:51:36

Offices have doors. Huge difference.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-10-27 12:10:28

Offices have doors. Huge difference.

Yup. People wouldn’t hate cubes so much if they went to the ceiling and had a door. I’ve been fortunate to be in offices since the late 90s in an industry where most people at my level don’t. It would be nice to be at a higher level where I felt comfortable keeping musical instruments and a nice stereo in my office, but that may not happen any time soon :-).

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 08:55:19

To Greenspan’s credit, he remained engaged long after most of us will be driving Winnebagos off into the sunset. Some of his best political comments were made after leaving the Fed Chair post.

Post exclusive: Greenspan says bad big banks should be busted up
By Frank Ahrens | October 30, 2009; 3:25 PM ET

Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, created a bit of a stir when he suggested recently that big banks should be broken up. You could hear the jaws dropping across the economic blogosphere.

“If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big,” he said earlier this month. “In 1911 we broke up Standard Oil — so what happened? The individual parts became more valuable than the whole. Maybe that’s what we need to do.”

“A policy of too-big-to-fail cannot be allowed to stand, if we wish to have a growing economy and rising standards of living,” Greenspan said, in an interview Wednesday with Cho. Greenspan explained that when a large financial firm becomes insolvent it should be seized by the government, broken into pieces and sold off in the private market.

“Most broken up units, separated from toxic ones, will survive,” he said. “The toxic ones I presume will not. Once you mix toxic assets with good assets, the market value of the sum of the two is less than those assets separated.”

“There is a limited amount of national savings in a society,” he added. “If you are going to use some of the savings to prop up companies with marginal profitability, meaning for instance, GM and Chrysler, those savings cannot also be used to finance new cutting-edge technologies.”

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-10-27 12:48:14

Greenspan explained that when a large financial firm becomes insolvent it should be seized by the government, broken into pieces and sold off in the private market.

How about we instead just let the long-standing, time-tested bankruptcy laws apply?

In other words, with his proposed “seizure” by the government, who bears the loses? Bondholders? Shareholders? TBD?


I do agree, however, that transaction-processing must be preserved—but that also means any entity that processes transactions or acts as a market-maker should be heavily regulated and not allowed to take risks. They are essentially a public utility, and should be treated as such.

Comment by Neuromance
2013-10-27 13:03:22

Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, created a bit of a stir when he suggested recently that big banks should be broken up. You could hear the jaws dropping across the economic blogosphere.

If you don’t keep a leash on the financial sector, it will put a leash on society.

Banks store the currency, and lend. A pretty basic task. But when they engaging in “financial innovation”, obtain government guarantees for their activities, and suck in a lot of the population, it’s destructive. It adds nothing of value to society.

These logical constructs, this financial vaporware is a backhanded way of printing money. It adds nothing of value to society.

Adding value is the chaotic, intermittent process of improving people’s standard of living. Currency manipulation, direct or indirect is doing to do nothing but suck wealth out of society and into Wall Street.

If financial vaporware and currency manipulation could enrich society, Haiti could do it too.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 10:11:28

I disagree with you on this. People’s abilities vary at any age. It is collectivist to say otherwise.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 11:53:16

You can’t deny biology.

Even Einstein didn’t produce anything after age 30.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 12:09:27

You never heard of a Thomas Edison have you?

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 14:17:07

We can disagree. I don’t think it is collectivist, though, just playing the percentages. There are always outliers. Too often they are then used to justify rules that ignore the reality of the situation.

And private business can do whatever they want and think makes sense. I’m talking mostly about government work, but I would,include contractors also.

No worries though, I don’t think something like this is happening anytime soon. Probably,the exact opposite with the demographic time bomb we are facing.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 14:36:54

“And private business can do whatever they want and think makes sense. I’m talking mostly about government work, but I would,include contractors also.”

Okay then I agree with you, based on both sentences here. This then makes the point nothing to do with individualism versus collectivism.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 02:01:22

Personal Finance
10/22/2013 @ 1:44PM
The Legacy Of Ben Bernanke
By Investopedia Staff

Ben Shalom Bernanke has served as chairman of the Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) during a tumultuous period including the biggest financial challenges faced by the United States since the 1930s Depression. Bernanke’s decisive actions during the rapidly escalating 2007-09 global credit crisis are widely acknowledged to have averted an economic catastrophe, while his unconventional policy measures jump-started a U.S. recovery after the “Great Recession.” But will Bernanke go down in history as one of the greatest-ever chairpersons of the Fed, or is his legacy likely to be tarnished by events after his departure?

Bouquets and Brickbats

Bernanke was initially slow to recognize the dangers posed to the economy by the unprecedented surge in U.S. real estate speculation and subprime mortgage lending that peaked in 2007. In the spring of that year, he maintained that the growing problems that were becoming apparent in the U.S. housing market were largely contained to subprime mortgages. However, once the crisis began escalating, Bernanke took prompt and resolute action, using the sweeping powers of the Federal Reserve to put out one fire after another in the financial markets before they became an all-consuming conflagration.

From 2008 onward, Bernanke and the Fed embarked on a series of unparalleled – and often unconventional – rescue programs and stimulus measures. These included:

•ratcheting interest rates down to the lowest levels in American history;

•force-feeding the U.S. economy with trillions of dollars through successive rounds of “quantitative easing”;

•bailing out troubled Wall Street firms and institutions;

•orchestrating the rescue of other troubled financial institutions through shotgun weddings; and

•lending funds to diverse sectors of the U.S. economy to revive stalled credit markets.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the measures taken by Bernanke and the Fed, it does provide an idea of the scale and scope of the Fed’s operations, and the sheer magnitude of the tasks involved in kick-starting the floundering U.S. economy.

In recognition of his efforts, “TIME” magazine named Bernanke its “Person of the Year 2009.” “TIME” said that as “the most important player guiding the world’s most important economy,” Bernanke’s creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak growth rather than catastrophic depression.

That’s not to say that Bernanke or his policies have not had any detractors. Many experts believe that one blot on Bernanke’s copybook is the Federal Reserve’s decision to allow Lehman Brothers to fail in September 2008. Lehman’s bankruptcy, the biggest in U.S. history at the time, set off a worldwide chain reaction that intensified the credit crunch and took the global economy to the brink of collapse in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Another criticism about Bernanke relates to the bond-buying sprees that the Federal Reserve has embarked on since November 2008, which had quadrupled its balance sheet to $3.7 trillion as of October 2013. At some point, the Fed will have to not only stop its bond-buying program, but will have to “unwind” its trillion-dollar bond position, which could send interest rates higher and have an adverse effect on the economy. In fact, the mere mention by Bernanke in May 2013 that the Fed would seek to “taper” (i.e. reduce) its bond purchases at the opportune time was enough to send global equities and emerging market currencies into a temporary swoon.

But five years after the economic nadir characterized by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, evidence about the success of Bernanke’s measures was unequivocal. At that point, the U.S. housing market was in a sustained recovery, the unemployment rate had declined from a peak of 10% in October 2009 to 7.3% in August 2013, and U.S. equity indices had reached new records as American companies reported blockbuster profits.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 02:08:39

A Code Red World
By: John Mauldin, Millennium Wave Advisors
– Posted Sunday, 27 October 2013

Central Bankers Gone Wild
An Introduction: Code Red
Keeping Up with Tech
New York, Florida, Geneva, Saudi Arabia, and Canada

I wasn’t the only person coming out with a book this week (much more on that at the end of the letter). Alan Greenspan hit the street with The Map and the Territory. Greenspan left Bernanke and Yellen a map, all right, but in many ways the Fed (along with central banks worldwide) proceeded to throw the map away and march off into totally unexplored territory. Under pressure since the Great Recession hit in 2007, they abandoned traditional monetary policy principles in favor of a new direction: print, buy, and hope that growth will follow. If aggressive asset purchases fail to promote growth, Chairman Bernanke and his disciples (soon to be Janet Yellen and the boys) respond by upping the pace. That was appropriate in 2008 and 2009 and maybe even in 2010, but not today.

Consider the Taylor Rule, for example – a key metric used to project the appropriate federal funds rate based on changes in growth, inflation, other economic activity, and expectations around those variables. At the worst point of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, with the target federal funds rate already set at the 0.00% – 0.25% range, the Taylor Rule suggested that the appropriate target rate was about -6%. To achieve a negative rate was the whole point of QE; and while a central bank cannot achieve a negative interest-rate target through traditional open-market operations, it can print and buy large amounts of assets on the open market – and the Fed proceeded to do so. By contrast, the Taylor Rule is now projecting an appropriate target interest rate around 2%, but the Fed goes on pursuing a QE-adjusted rate of around -5%.

Also, growth in NYSE margin debt is showing the kind of rapid acceleration that often signals a drawdown in the S&P 500. Are we there yet? Maybe not, as the level of investor complacency is just so (insert your favorite expletive) high.

The potential for bubbles building atop the monetary largesse being poured into our collective glasses is growing. As an example, the “high-yield” bond market is now huge. A study by Russell, a consultancy, estimated its total size at $1.7 trillion. These are supposed to be bonds, the sort of thing that produces safe income for retirees, yet almost half of all the corporate bonds rated by Standard & Poor’s are once again classed as speculative, a polite term for junk.

Central Bankers Gone Wild

But there is a resounding call for even more rounds of monetary spirits coming from emerging-market central banks and from local participants, as well. And the new bartender promises to be even more liberal with her libations. This week my friend David Zervos sent out a love letter to Janet Yellen, professing an undying love for the prospect of a Yellen-led Fed and quoting a song from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” whose refrain was “Dammit, Janet, I love you.” In his unrequited passion I find an unsettling analysis, if he is even close to the mark. Let’s drop in on his enthusiastic note:

I am truly looking forward to 4 years of “salty” Janet Yellen at the helm of the Fed. And it’s not just the prolonged stream of Jello shots that’s on tap. The most exciting part about having Janet in the seat is her inherent mistrust of market prices and her belief in irrational behaviour processes. There is nothing more valuable to the investment community than a central banker who discounts the value of market expectations. In many ways the extra-dovish surprise in September was a prelude of so much more of what’s to come.

I can imagine a day in 2016 when the unemployment rate is still well above Janet’s NAIRU estimate and the headline inflation rate is above 4 percent. Of course the Fed “models” will still show a big output gap and lots of slack, so Janet will be talking down inflation risks. Markets will be getting nervous about Fed credibility, but her two-year-ahead projection of inflation will have a 2 handle, or who knows, maybe even a 1 handle. Hence, even with house prices up another 10 percent and spoos well above 2100, the “model” will call for continued accommodation!! Bond markets may crack, but Janet will stay the course. BEAUTIFUL!!

Janet will not be bogged down by pesky worries about bubbles or misplaced expectations about inflation. She has a job to do – FILL THE OUTPUT GAP! And if a few asset price jumps or some temporary increases in inflation expectations arise, so be it. For her, these are natural occurrences in “irrational” markets, and they are simply not relevant for “rational” monetary policy makers equipped with the latest saltwater optimal control models.

The antidote to such a boundless love of stimulus is of course Joan McCullough, with her own salty prose:

And the more I see of the destruction of our growth potential … the more convinced I am that it’s gonna’ backfire in spades. Do I still think that we remain good-to-go into year end? At the moment, sporadic envelope testing notwithstanding, the answer is yes. But I have to repeat myself: The data has stunk for a long time and continues to worsen. And the anecdotes confirming this are yours for the askin’. The only question remaining is for how long we can continue to bet the ranch on wildly incontinent monetary policy while deliberately opting to ignore the ongoing disintegration of our economic fabric?”

And thus we come to the heart of this week’s letter, which is the introduction of my just-released new book, Code Red. It is my own take (along with co-author Jonathan Tepper) on the problems that have grown out of an unrelenting assault on monetary norms by central banks around the world.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 11:55:26

Not only did Maudlin miss the housing bubble, he is now buying a million dollar condo in Dallas.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 02:15:47

“…beginning what is likely to be a painful (but necessary) process of withdrawing from the mortgage market…”

I get the point about ‘painful,’ but why ‘necessary’? Why can’t QE3 MBS purchase policy continue indefinitely, or even ramp up from here, given the financial engineering success exhibited thus far in making housing prices increase relative to other assets?

Ben Bernanke’s House of Cards
BY Michael Gayed | 10/22/13 - 01:18 PM EDT

“One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.” — Oscar Wilde

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The S&P 500 hit another all-time closing high Monday, widespread euphoria is building and the belief in the power of quantitative easing over markets has likely never been higher.

For good reason: It has been almost a year and a half since the S&P 500 experienced a 10% correction and the S&P 500 has not tested its 200-day moving average the entire year. This is the furthest the S&P 500 has gone into a year without a test of its 200-day moving average since 1995.

However, a nagging disconnect has developed amid this strength. If you recall, the twin pillars of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s wealth effect thesis were stock prices and the housing market. While there is no question the stock pillar remains strong, the housing pillar is starting to show some cracks:

Homebuilder equities, as seen by the SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB) exchange-traded fund, peaked back in May and in yesterday’s session hit a new one-year low relative to the S&P 500.

The NAHB Housing Market Index (homebuilder confidence) peaked in August and has been down in each of the last two months. This index typically leads the housing market.

MBA Purchase applications, a leading indicator for housing activity, are down sharply since May as higher rates continue to hurt affordability and therefore demand.

Now, to be sure, these are just cracks for the time being and the housing market could very well continue in its recovery if mortgage rates can stabilize here. But it begs the question: If the Fed’s $40 billion in MBS purchases per month and cumulative MBS purchases of over $1.2 trillion are not enough to keep mortgage rates low and demand up, is QE still working here?

Our ATAC models used for managing our mutual fund and separate accounts are currently favoring long duration bonds — not because of Fed effectiveness on forcing reflation, but on bets that stimulus is not actually working.

Realistically, there are two ways to improve the housing market. The first is the traditional, healthy path: With improved job and income growth, demand for housing will rise over time. The second is the artificial path: By driving interest rates lower than market levels or reducing credit standards, affordability and demand for housing will rise.

Now, Bernanke will tell you that QE has helped with both paths but the data suggest otherwise. Job and income growth remain anemic and well below prior recoveries. Thus, we are left with artificially suppressing interest rates and the current conundrum. If a 0% Fed Funds rate for almost five years and record mortgage-backed securities (MBS) purchases are not enough to keep rates down, has the Fed lost some control over mortgage rates?

If so, the Fed has three options today: (1) cease all taper talk and continue with QE much longer than the market is anticipating, (2) increase MBS purchases (if current levels are no longer working, we must do more) or (3) acknowledge that the benefits from QE are waning and the risks of further increasing the Fed’s balance are rising exponentially, beginning what is likely to be a painful (but necessary) process of withdrawing from the mortgage market.

Given the ideology of the Bernanke Fed, you tell me which option is most likely here.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 08:53:11

I agree, number 2. If I’ve learned anything watching this play out it is that they will do everything they can to try to prop up prices.

I’m thinking some form of new economic stimulus needs to be announced in the next 6 months. Things are already slowing back down to stall speed. What will be the crisis that allows it?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 08:57:57

“What will be the crisis that allows it?”

Once I mention it this will seem too obvious to mention: The next leg down in housing price collapse will be the crisis that justifies QE3.2.0.

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Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 09:07:02

They are reducing Food stamps 5-6% starting next week….the stimulus which boosted the monthly amount ends.

Maybe they will try my stimulus idea give people some money.

The top down approach has failed. what can they lose?? its all debt and its all good.

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Comment by azdude02
2013-10-27 05:41:44

Instead of saving dollars in a bank account people now use their house as a savings account.

Asset inflation is the goal of the FED because they cant really create jobs otherwise.

Quit your job and buy a house and some stocks. Ride the wave as long as you can.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-10-27 06:06:45

The wave propels you toward a jagged rocky landing. Ditch the Serf board and survive.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:38:06

Is the Red Sox curse back?

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 10:45:00

It must be a new curse. They were done with the Curse of the Bambino, this must be the Curse of James Taylor.

Not to worry Red Sox fans, these curses only last 85 years or so.

James Taylor Forget He’s Singing the National Anthem (EPIC FAIL …
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4WOCSs8Skg - 137k - Cached - Similar pages
2 days ago … Boston …

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:39:57

When did the NSA start bugging Merkel’s phone?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 01:45:33

Given the secrecy of the NSA’s operations, what are protestors hoping to accomplish? For instance, do they want the President to offer his promise that NSA spying on private, law-abiding U.S. citizens will end soon?

How would the protestors ever know whether such a promise was fulfilled? And what if their act of protest made them a target for heightened NSA scrutiny?

26 October 2013 Last updated at 17:35 ET

US bugged Merkel’s phone from 2002 until 2013, report claims

The US has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone since 2002, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine.

The German publication claims to have seen secret documents from the National Security Agency which show Mrs Merkel’s number on a list dating from 2002 - before she became chancellor.

Her number was still on a surveillance list in 2013.

Meanwhile Washington has seen a protest against the NSA’s spying programme.

Several thousand protesters marched to the US Capitol to demand a limit to the surveillance. Some of them held banners in support of the fugitive former contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed the extent of the NSA’s activities.

‘No-spy deal’

The nature of the monitoring of Mrs Merkel’s mobile phone is not clear from the files, Der Spiegel says.

For example, it is possible that the chancellor’s conversations were recorded, or that her contacts were simply assessed.

Germany is sending its top intelligence chiefs to Washington in the coming week to “push forward” an investigation into the spying allegations, which have caused outrage in Germany.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 09:01:18

“The US has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone since 2002, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine.”

Who could have guessed Obama had that much influence so early on in George W. Bush’s presidency?

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 11:56:42

It’s Obama’s time machine at work again.

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:32:29

It’s Obama’s time machine at work again.

Bush’s legacy is Obama’s fault.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 02:17:11

Perhaps the right question to ask was, “When did the NSA stop bugging Merkel’s phone?”

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 06:28:38

“When did the NSA start bugging Merker’s phone.”

Bugging her phone or listening in on her phone calls? There is a difference.

To listen in on a land line one needs to bug a phone. To listen in on a cell phone one merlely needs to pick up what is being broadcasted via the airways.

Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2013-10-27 07:12:41

What The Wizard of Obomba needs to tell Merkel- and everyone else in the world- is that he has determined that they HAVE NO reasonable expectation of privacy for electronically broadcast data. He needs to also make clear that he has determined that indefinite detention of “terrorists” and those who render them aid or assistance is also within his authority and that if she has nothing to hide, then she has nothing to fear. He should just tell her that under the “See something, Say something” guidelines, it became his sworn duty to monitor her suspicious, potentially ‘un-American’ activity which was reported. If she asks what was reported or who reported it, he will tell her that is ‘classified information’. She needs to understand that he has to destroy freedom in order to save freedom- just like those villages in Vietnam. He should then tell her to STFU or he might have her sent to GITMO or place her on his secret ‘kill list’. Then he needs to deliver that same message to Vlad Putin. Then Vlad Putin will put his foot up the President’s ass and ride him around the White House lawn like a skateboard.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 08:31:36

“What the Wizard of Obomba needs to tell Merkel - and everyone else in the world - is that he has determined that they HAVE NO resonable expectation of privacy for electronically broadcast data.”

Obama shouldn’t have to tell the world this, that laws of physics already does so.

If you are using a cell phone you are broadcasting everything you say in all directions. Same goes with the cell tower you are using - it broadcasts whatever everything that is said in all directions.

Anyone with the right equipment can pick up and listen to calls that are made over the air. If a head of state and her security forces do not know this then they are idiots.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2013-10-27 08:34:35

‘Anyone with the right equipment can pick up and listen to calls that are made over the air.’

So I can go down to radio shack, buy this equipment and listen to your phone calls? Oh, but that would be illegal. Which is the entire point.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 08:38:30

The point was that one should have the expectation that their phone calls can be listened to, not that it was illegal to do so.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 09:00:59

My guess is all this outrage that is being expressed is strictly for public consumption.

Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 09:41:27

My guess is all this outrage that is being expressed is strictly for public consumption.

I think it’s real because the scope has changed with cellphones and emails, etc. Everyone expected some level of snooping in official business, but when they are reading your personal emails or personal conversations, the game is changed.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 10:06:51

But this snooping has always beens so; The only thing that is different is now it is much easier.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 10:08:23

For a related and interesting, read, wiki-up Christopher Boyce.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 11:03:57

If you wiki-up “NSA” you will learn that:

“The NSA is tasked with the global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, including survailence of targeted individuals on U.S. soil.”

Which means they get to legally monitor everybody on the planet if they choose to do so.

Furthur: “The agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through clandestine means, among which is bugging electronic systems and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.”

And: “As part of the growing practice of mass survailence in the United States, the NSA collects and stores all phone records of all American citizens.”

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:35:37

Then Vlad Putin will put his foot up the President’s ass and ride him around the White House lawn like a skateboard.

Someone has to be really F Up to root for Putin over our president.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-10-28 12:02:23

Who gave Snowden asylum? Snowden is a damn hero and the Obama administration wants to try and jail him for treason.

Putin is like a Russian Chuck Norris…

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 07:24:08

UK Guardian - Obama left increasingly isolated as anger builds among key US allies:

“International anger over US government surveillance has combined with a backlash against its current Middle East policy to leave President Obama increasingly isolated from many of his key foreign allies, according to diplomats in Washington.

The furious call that German chancellor Angela Merkel made to the White House on Wednesday to ask if her phone had been tapped was the latest in a string of diplomatic rebukes by allies including France, Brazil and Mexico, all of which have distanced themselves from the US following revelations of spying by the National Security Agency.

But the collapse in trust of the US among its European and South American partners has been matched by an equally rapid deterioration in its relationships with key allies in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia this week joined Israel, Jordan and United Arab Emirates in signalling a shift in its relations with the US over its unhappiness at a perceived policy of rapprochement toward Iran and Syria.

Though the issues are largely unrelated, they have led to a flurry of diplomatic activity from Washington, which is anxious to avoid a more permanent rift in the network of alliances that has been central to its foreign policy since the second world war.

Comment by MacBeth
2013-10-27 08:12:24

And I thought it was only Republicans that could destroy our standing on the world stage.

Again, mine is not a Republican vs Democrat argument. Both have been proven more than capable of making us look like a**es.

Many countries used to respect the United States decades ago - in part because of our military might - but more so because our vision of the human condition and our belief in freedom and liberty for individuals. We didn’t always get it right, but over time we expanded that idea to include increasing numbers of people.

Countries overseas respect us less because we aren’t holding ourselves accountable to our own stated belief system.

Individual liberty is anathema to the NeoCon-Progressive Party.

It isn’t military might that the NeoCon-Progressive Party disagrees with. Rather, they disagree with placing power (i.e. freedom) in the hands of individuals.

Nothing I can think of hints otherwise. If I am wrong, please do let me know. I want to make sure my thinking is correct.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 09:04:44

“And I thought it was only Republicans that could destroy our standing on the world stage.”

Apparently you are correct. Case in point: George Walker Bush, a Republican, was in office in 2002, when Angela Merkel’s phone was initially bugged. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

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Comment by Michael Viking
2013-10-27 10:39:09

But your buddy can walk on water. He’s hope, change and transparency - this is the time when oceans stop rising and everything changes and rainbow unicorns crap candy. Why didn’t he transparently point out what Bush was doing and change it? Why did he instead put the pedal to the metal on the policies? I guess the answer is either a) he’s too incompetent/ignorant to do’know anything about it or b) he supports the policies.

Take the plank out of your eye.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:53:56

The Realtor® has entered the building.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:40:27

Why didn’t he transparently point out what Bush was doing and change it?

Change spying? ?

I guess you don’t know the meaning of the word.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 11:58:13

I see they still have you fooled into thinking there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats.

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:38:56

And I thought it was only Republicans that could destroy our standing on the world stage.

NSA and CIA are not partisan enterprises. They are American enterprises.

Spying? I’m shocked, shocked. I tell the rest of the world to grow up and face reality.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 07:46:05

Glenn Greenwald in the UK Guardian - As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media:

“The most under-discussed aspect of the NSA story has long been its international scope. That all changed this week as both Germany and France exploded with anger over new revelations about pervasive NSA surveillance on their population and democratically elected leaders.

As was true for Brazil previously, reports about surveillance aimed at leaders are receiving most of the media attention, but what really originally drove the story there were revelations that the NSA is bulk-spying on millions and millions of innocent citizens in all of those nations. The favorite cry of US government apologists -–everyone spies! – falls impotent in the face of this sort of ubiquitous, suspicionless spying that is the sole province of the US and its four English-speaking surveillance allies (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).


Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 11:59:23

It’s time the FISA Court put an end to the 1st Amendment.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:31:24

When did the NSA start bugging Merkel’s phone?

Brazilians are pissed. I tell them it’s not new. One told me that’s true but when one hears that it’s true one has to be pissed.

Comment by Dudgeon Bludgeon
2013-10-27 03:38:40

No. The right question is, “Has the NSA really stopped bugging Merkel’s phone?”

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 09:06:03

As I already tried to point out, that question is moot. Since the NSA operates under cloak of secrecy, there is no way to confirm or refute the answer.

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 04:34:59

Linked from Drudge - Jpost dot com: “During a panel at Yeshiva University on Tuesday evening, Sheldon Adelson, noted businessman and owner of the newspaper Israel Hayom, suggested that the US should use nuclear weapons on Iran to impose its demands from a position of strength.

Asked by moderator Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whether the US should negotiate with Iran if it were to cease its uranium enrichment program, Adelson retorted, “What are we going to negotiate about?”

Adelson then imagined what might happen if an American official were to call up an Iranian official, say “watch this,” and subsequently drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert.

“Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes’,” Adelson said.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 12:00:24

Nuclear bombs are cheap.

Now a 10 year occupation, that drives defense contractor profit margins thru the roof.

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 04:38:54

More Drudge - Daily Caller dot com: “First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 05:12:25

What are you suggesting?

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 06:47:04

Making fun of OBaMarx care website is racis.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-10-27 06:57:04


Great name for a MM dispensary.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 07:11:19
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Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-10-27 13:38:45

I’ll try better next time.

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 04:49:50

Asia Times Online - US drone strikes may amount to war crimes: “The US government has been engaged in unlawful drone strikes in Pakistan that are in violation of international law, and may amount to war crimes, according to a new report released here by Amnesty International on Tuesday. The report’s release comes at a critical time, as newly-elect Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returns to Washington for his first official visit as the country’s leader since 1999.

In the report, “Will I Be Next? US Drone Strikes in Pakistan,” the human rights organization provides evidence that US drones have killed innocent civilians that posed no apparent threat to the United States.

Amnesty’s report notes that in nine strikes carried out between May 2012 and July 2013, at least 29 unarmed civilians lost their lives, including a 68-year-old woman who was killed instantly by two US Hellfire missiles as she was picking vegetables.

The study was released jointly with a report by Human Rights Watch, another human rights organization, highlighting the illegality of US drone strikes in Yemen. The report “Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda,” estimates that in Yemen, where the US is currently engaged fighting Yemen’s al-Qaeda wing (AQAP), dozens of civilians have been killed between 2009 and 2013 by US drone strikes.

“President [Barack] Obama needs to come clean about these killings,” Naureen Shah, an advocacy adviser at Amnesty International USA, told IPS. “What really matters is that the US government and Congress recognize that these killings are occurring, that civilians have been killed and that the narrative of precision and of no civilian casualties is a false one.”

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 06:50:08

Democrat-led American regimes would never kill innocents…oh, wait!

Comment by MacBeth
2013-10-27 07:44:17

Democrats are every bit the war mongers that Republicans are tagged to be.

Think Vietnam. Think Bosnia. Think WWII. Think Korea. We entered none of those under a Republican president.

That said, my goal is not to say anything other than all are to blame.

Instead, it is to say that it is time for us to fix it.

To do so, we must push for ethics and morality to once again become the basis of law and act accordingly.

It won’t be easy as progressives and neocons will fight the ethical and law-abiding every step of the way.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 07:53:57

I think it’s fair to say that Dems are far more brutal warmongers historically speaking. The problem is that the other party was co-opted by the dixiecrats making the parties a distinction without a difference.

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:54:57

I think it’s fair to say that Dems are far more brutal warmongers historically speaking.

It’s not fair to say and it’s wrong. Look at the Civil War. Started by Dems by name only. Those Dems who started the Civil war are now the Repubs and were Repub minded then. Look at the politics and philosophy and not the changing labels.

WWII? Give me a break. That war needed to be fought. That a Dem was in office in USA was chance and Repubs would have done the same.

Vietnam? It crept slowly, it was a slo mo “war” and Repubs supported it as much or more than the Dems.

Iraq, Afghanistan?

So it’s not “fair to say that Dems are far more brutal warmongers historically speaking” if one has knowledge of history

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 08:15:20

Democrats are every bit the war mongers that Republicans are tagged to be.

Agreed, we as a nation have gone past the point of no return. Foreigners who hoped that we would change our warmongering ways when Obama was elected are disappointed, to say the least.

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Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 09:00:42

The war machine rolls on, yet we’ve lost Egypt, Syria, where else? It’s the worst of both worlds!

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 09:22:16

It’s the worst of both worlds!

Not for the military-industrial complex.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 10:19:08

Somehow I doubt Norway will demand Obamarx return the Nobel peace prize, motivated by weak-kneed white guilt Norwegians.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 10:47:26

Somehow I doubt Norway will demand Obamarx return the Nobel peace prize

They’ve given it to worse people. The Peace Prize is a joke.

As for him being “Obamarx”, I’m sure the Euros would find that to be risible. As far they are concerned, he’s just another right wing American. More like he’s Benito Obamulini.

Comment by MacBeth
2013-10-27 10:56:38

In Colorado -

Our government’s goal is make us submit. Call ‘em government, elitists, neocons, progressives, corporatists…the goal is the same.

Our lack of commonly agreed-to societal ethics and morals enables them to break laws meant to protect us from them.

We’re left with a government clearly interested in imperialistic endeavors. This time, that interest has been turned inwardly. In other words, domestic imperialism.

For example, note the media’s attempt to tag those who believe in the notion of individual rights as being “radicals”. That means both you and I now are “radicals”. Not because we disagree with each other, but because we disagree with THEM.

Also note similar efforts being made in public schools…to teach little kids that individual rights are wrong (see phony scandal’s HBB posts from a week ago today).

The question for all of us becomes one of whether it’s more important to continue the Red vs Blue culture war arguments, or focus upon that which is stripping us of our liberties. The answer is obvious…and you can see it playing out in microcosm-scale on HBB.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 14:29:14

Our government’s goal is make us submit. Call ‘em government, elitists, neocons, progressives, corporatists…the goal is the same.

I’m not disagreeing with you. Just pointing out that calling a guy who wants to force people to buy insurance from private companies a “Marxist” is silly. Call him what he is: a Fascist.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 15:19:17

Yes, the ACA is fascism, by definition. But I remember a black candidate in the year 2008 campaigning and telling Joe the Plumber that he wants to spread the wealth around - Marxist.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 15:45:10

Fascism…which is equally dreadful to Marxism. Carried out to their logical conclusion means mass murder.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 15:55:14

The definitions don’t matter. He made life more difficult for alot of people and continues to do so.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:01:44

spread the wealth around

A major goal of the Red, Marxist US Constitution.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Promote the General Welfare? Commie bs.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-10-27 18:45:18

“Foreigners who hoped that we would change our warmongering ways when Obama was elected are disappointed, to say the least.”

Guess you missed that whole troop withdrawl thing, eh?

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 18:53:00

Hey retardrio, “promote” does not mean “provide.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 18:58:57


Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:59:19

“promote” does not mean “provide.”

Do you speak English? English? Think about this and learn something.

Explain how “promoting” anything does not involve “providing” something. Do it. You can’t. You are foolish.

What language do you speak? Whatever one it is, you should learn the damn one because you are not doing a good job as it is.

English. Learn it.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 19:47:59

What an idiot. they used “provide” in nearly the same context, but for defense. If they said to “provide” welfare, they would use “provide,” not promote.

I get this commonly from retarded leftists (redundant term) on the difference between “promote” and “provide.”

to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further: to promote world peace.

to make available; furnish: to provide employees with various benefits.

To help to exist. To encourage to exist. To help to flourish, to encourage to flourish. “help” does not necessarily mean to rob taxpayers at gunpoint and steal from them to give to others. It defeats the purpose of “help” by hurting others. “Help” does not “hinder” at the same time.

You are Orwellian.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 20:56:42

He was obviously socially promoted out of high school.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-28 19:23:24

He was obviously socially promoted out of high school… by a leftist “teacher.”

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:47:59

Democrats are every bit the war mongers that Republicans are tagged to be…….Think WWII.


You’ve gotta be s#!^^en me.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-10-27 18:46:53

Yeah, never mind that Hitler guy. What did he ever do?

Comment by Northeastener
2013-10-28 12:11:57

Before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and forced our entering WWII, who was President of the US while the US provided material aid and supplies to Great Britain in their fight against the Axis powers?

A Democrat…

Did Hitler need to be stopped? No more than Stalin, and as history showed a few years later, Mao.

Comment by Timmothy McVeigh
2013-10-27 07:10:18

“What really matters is that the U.S. government and Congress recognize that these killings are occuring, that civilians have been killed …”

Collateral damage.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:44:14

unlawful drone strikes in Pakistan that are in violation of international law, and may amount to war crimes,

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 17:46:18

The US government has been engaged in unlawful drone strikes in Pakistan that are in violation of international law

We don’t care. Pakistan? The country that harbors terrorists that want to kill us?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-10-27 17:49:43

‘We don’t care’

I know, and the world knows. I’ll challenge you again to watch Dirty Wars and report back on how great “our” president is. And BTW, we’re creating more enemies every day with these illegal killings.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:06:49

I’ll challenge you again to watch Dirty Wars

I live in Brazil. Brazilian Netflix is lame. I can’t find it.

I know, and the world knows.

The Muslim world is morally bankrupt on containing terrorism and ideas that are 300 years behind the times. Most Americans don’t care if they get their clock cleaned every once and awhile by a few drones.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 04:55:12

Infowars dot com - FEMA Preparing Military Police For Gun Confiscations and Martial Law: “Infowars has confirmed the identity and authenticity of the source of the video below as a member of the U.S. Army military police in Arizona.

The video, shot in September 2013, shows an army commander briefing the MPs on their new command structure under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for domestic operations with the National Guard.

The MP began recording the exchange after being shocked to hear that they were now under FEMA control.

In this video you can clearly hear the commander discuss the suspension of the Constitution for martial law and gun confiscations in America.

In essence, the military police is to provide security for FEMA while the agency confiscates our guns during a government-declared domestic crisis.

“They did that in Katrina, right,” the commander said. “They just go on and take away people’s guns.”

This is yet another piece of the larger pattern of demonization of gun owners, libertarians, conservatives, Christians and anyone who will not bow down to enslavement by a hijacked government occupied by ruthless tyrants who desire only total control.

The hijacked federal government has been meticulously preparing for martial law at a breakneck speed.

Last year, a leaked U.S. Army manual entitled FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations outlined the responsibilities of army “PSYOP” officers to indoctrinate “political activists” into having an “appreciation of U.S. policies” while they are detained at detention camps within America.

Another training manual demonized Americans who embrace individual liberties as potential “extremists” and even referred to the Founding Fathers as examples of “extremists” in history.

The U.S. Army Civil Disturbance Operations manual from 2006 broke down how military assets on U.S. soil will be used to confiscate firearms, put down riots and even kill Americans.

This manual listed weapons to be used against American “dissidents,” including “anti-riot” grenades, and emphasized that “warning shots will not be fired.”

Earlier this year, Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., a provider of shooting targets to DHS and other federal agencies, sold a line of realistic-looking “non-traditional” targets of pregnant women, children and the elderly.

One target in particular depicted a pregnant woman standing inside a nursery.

These targets are designed to condition law enforcement into shooting these American “threats” without hesitation.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 08:10:38

That is some wonderfully paranoid stuff there. A+

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 08:19:47

I remember when Clinton’s second term was in its final year and there were similar rumors flying around. That martial law would be declared, guns confiscated, that bubba would be inaugurated for an unelected and unconstitutional 3rd term, etc.

IIRC, the only thing that happened was that outgoing staffers vandalized White House computer keyboards, removing the ‘W’ from them.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 09:03:49

Pre Department of Homeland Security? PreDrone? PreNSA spying programs?

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Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 09:17:12

The ATF were the goons-du-jour when Bubba was in office.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-10-27 10:41:46

I can remember even farther back than that. I remember reading something from Lyndon LaRouche’s operation about how FEMA had plans to impose martial law and do various unconstitutional things. This was sometime in 1980 or 1981. It’s too bad that I probably can’t track down exactly when that was. I have a feeling that these concerns tend to decline when a Republican is in the White House.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 10:49:55

This was sometime in 1980 or 1981

Well, Jimmy Carter was the president then, and we all know that he was a dictator waiting to come out.

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 11:22:49

“Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was an alleged classified “scenario and drill” developed by the United States federal government to suspend the United States Constitution, declare martial law, place military commanders in charge of state and local governments, and detain large numbers of American citizens who are deemed to be “national security threats”, in the event that the President declares a “State of National Emergency”. The plan states, events causing such a declaration would be widespread U.S. opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad, such as if the United States were to directly invade Central America. To combat what the government perceived as “subversive activities”, the plan also authorized the military to direct ordered movements of civilian populations at state and regional levels.”


Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 12:03:27

This is all earmarked to start during Obama’s 3rd term as President.

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 08:25:48

They didn’t hesitate to shoot Vickie Weaver’s face off while she was holding a baby.

Or to gas and burn alive dozens of women and children in Waco.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 08:27:38

I don’t know what’s worse….. getting your face blasted off or getting it chewed off by a BathSalt Snorting Realturd.

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Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 10:22:22

The early 1990s was a game changer. The evilness of American government was revealed as no better than Staln’s brutality.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 12:05:30

Yeah, I think we have quite a ways to go before we reach parity with Stalin.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:09:46

The evilness of American government was revealed as no better than Staln’s brutality.

Let’s read that again. Twice.

You are so ignorant of actual history.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 11:15:24

They followed the script but It didn’t work here. Yet.

Do you want me to read the card?

Dunblane: How UK school massacre led to tighter gun control

By Peter Wilkinson, CNN
updated 5:57 PM EST, Wed January 30, 2013

London (CNN) — The deaths of 16 children aged five and six together with their teacher in the Scottish town of Dunblane in 1996 was one of Britain’s worst incidents of gun-related violence. The massacre stunned the country, but what did the UK do to try to prevent such a tragedy happening again?

What happened next?

In the wake of the 1987 Hungerford massacre, in which one lone gunman killed 16 people, Britain introduced new legislation — the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 — making registration mandatory for owning shotguns and banning semi-automatic and pump-action weapons.

Within a year and a half of the Dunblane massacre, UK lawmakers had passed a ban on the private ownership of all handguns in mainland Britain, giving the country some of the toughest anti-gun legislation in the world. After both shootings there were firearm amnesties across the UK, resulting in the surrender of thousands of firearms and rounds of ammunition.

Britain has never had a “gun culture” like that of the United States, but there were about 200,000 legally-registered handguns in Britain before the ban, most owned by sports shooters. All small-bore pistols, including the .22 caliber, were included in the ban, along with rifles used by target shooters. Penalties for anyone found in possession of illegal firearms range from heavy fines to prison terms of up to 10 years.

“It was one of the most shocking things that has ever happened in this country and it united the country in a feeling that we had to do something,” Gill Marshall Andrews, of the Gun Control Network, told CNN. “And I don’t think that it would have been possible to make the kind of progress that we have made without that tragedy.”

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/world/europe/dunblane-lessons/ - -

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 11:31:50

FAU prof stirs controversy by disputing Newtown massacre

January 7, 2013|By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel

A communication professor known for conspiracy theories has stirred controversy at Florida Atlantic University with claims that last month’s Newtown, Conn., school shootings did not happen as reported — or may not have happened at all.

Moreover, James Tracy asserts in radio interviews and on his memoryholeblog.com. that trained “crisis actors” may have been employed by the Obama administration in an effort to shape public opinion in favor of the event’s true purpose: gun control.

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-01-07/news/fl-fau-prof-newtown-20130107_1_sandy-hook-school-massacre-fau-prof-lisa-metcalf - 43k

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Comment by MightyMike
2013-10-27 12:19:44

This is at least the third time that you’re posted this Dunblane story.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 16:57:39

Realtors are Liars

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:23:29

Day 4 of Rio frantically backpedalling.

To Our Blog Liar “Rio”:

Post up a phone pic of your “ocean” or a simple scene in “brazil”. Make sure you got your middle finger in the picture so we understand clearly that it’s you.

Show us “Rio”

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 08:04:11

Two Weeks Ago, HA said:
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-10 09:11:20
Lol. You guys yammering about “quality”.
Its another failed excuse for inflated prices. But if youre paying attention, that’s precisely the point of today’s ruse by Jingle Balls. And he’s no more in FL than I’m in Bangladesh.

Here is the photo HA. This is the sign showing the 4 lots for sale in LeHigh Acres. Clearly, I was in Florida.


HA, hahahahaha, you lose…..again. Give it up…..

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 08:15:22

So you’ve established 1 ounce of credibility. That’s a start.

Hint: It’s about you. Not me. ;)

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 09:54:30

…of course it’s about me. It is always about me. If you don’t believe it, just ask me! HA! Hahahaha…ha..hardly…..

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 10:21:22

Oh you better believe it’s all about you and your internet frauding like $90k building permits.

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 11:41:03

HA, The water meter for that house was $45,000. That is the FEE, not the cost to install it. You are incorrect again. Water meters in the City of Lincoln are $18,000. It is 2.5 X’x for a house with 4,000 SF.

You lose again. Your credibility is shot….HA, hahahahaha…laugh a minute with you…

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 12:45:43

Now we’re down to $45k for a Neptune meter eh?

Only another $40k to go. Get backpedalling Fraudster.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:21:16

Hint: It’s about you. Not me. ;)

Fake “smile”.

I don’t think you smile anymore HA.

I smile a lot. I live in Rio. You don’t want to know about last night :)

Rio Baby! Rio de Janeiro. Yea

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 18:51:40

Prove it coward.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:27:14

“Prove it coward”
HA’s gym teacher 1977

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 19:35:16

What are you so afraid of?

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-10-27 08:54:11

Little truths do not cancel big lies.

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 10:03:04

There are no big lies to cancel.

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Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 14:47:31

Where is the picture? I think Jinglemaile agreed to donate the 500 bucks yesterday just to see if HA would be showed up. Still no picture.

Maybe it has something to do with this:

Comment by ahansen
2013-10-26 13:55:33
Rio, please contact me off site about your bet. Username at wild blue net.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:41:48

There are no big lies to cancel.

Jingle bought at the right time and makes money renting his houses?

Why all the anger towards him? That’s lame and just being jealous.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 20:27:39

He’s no more believable than you.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 21:01:54

Jingle said yesterday that he pay the 500, so where’s the picture

Comment by JingleMale
2013-10-26 16:34:31
HA……hahahaha….HA is a laugh a minute!

Rio, I posted up $1000 to Ben in August when I sold a house (1% of the gain…….HA said I would lose lose money). I’ll post another $500. Just let me know when you prove him wrong.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:22:16

Little truths do not cancel big lies.

Little men do not cancel big truths.

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Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 08:18:17

He’s too busy this morning. He had to drive his limousine by the slums to make sure they were still there. Then he’s going to do a private webcam show for the rest of the blog lieberals from the deck of the house he inherited from his mama wearing a cowboy hat.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 08:19:48

…. and chaps.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 09:08:17

It’s about 2 pm in Rio right now, why no posts? In church all morning? Sleeping it off?

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:28:11

Sleeping it off?

I live in Rio de Janeiro. Rio. Brazil Yea.

Think about it.

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 09:51:59

“…..from the deck of the house he inherited from his mama wearing a cowboy hat….”

Hey Strawberry, my mother is still alive and she doesn’t wear a cowboy hat!


Comment by Blue Skye
2013-10-27 13:25:57

Are you pretending to be Rio now?

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:30:57

Are you pretending to be Rio now?

He pretend like you Blue Skye.

But however you think it is living in Rio and being me……it’s even better. :)

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:43:06

Are you pretending to be Rio now?

He pretend like you Blue Skye.


He’s not pretending like you Blue Skye.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:29:11

my mother is still alive

Mine too. In America. I miss her. She rocks.

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Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 10:01:39

“….He had to drive his limousine by the slums…”

Hey Strawberry, I don’t own any slums and my car is just getting broken in with 103,000 miles.

You are O for 2 this morning….

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 10:04:59

“……Then he’s going to do a private webcam show for the rest of the blog lieberals…”

Hey Strawberry, I am a registered Republican.

You are 0 for 3. Out.

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Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 10:16:25

I am a registered Republican.

Wrong then, wrong now. Sucks to be you….

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 10:18:06

You’re 3-0 on the fraud side.

Good job.

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-10-27 11:43:35

Back it up HA.

Put your $500 on the line for Ben. The Rio challenge. Stand up and be counted……or sit down and behave like a gentleman.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 12:44:00

it’s not about me Fraudster. It’s all about you.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:37:46

it’s not about me Fraudster. It’s all about you.

It’s all about you now “HA”. I got you dude. I proved you are liar, fraud and a coward.

I did it. You were a fool. An overreaching fool. Don’t mess with Rio.

Put your $500 on the line for Ben. The Rio challenge. Stand up and be counted……

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 19:22:03

You’re afraid. Why?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:55:25

You’re afraid. Why?

I know why you are afraid. Because of $500 you cheap-skate fraud. Cold up there?

Rio de Janeiro baby! google it.

Yea, I live it. :)

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 20:00:59

Why are you so afraid?

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 14:28:42

Whaaaat? I’m talking about you? Go pull a 90k building permit and the. Tell me what the score is 1/2 way through the 4th inning.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 14:36:04

LIEberals, Housing Fraudsters and GovLovers….. what a team of flunkies.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:17:16

Day 4 of Rio frantically backpedalling. To Our Blog Liar “Rio”:

You have to be a dick on Sunday too? Did you ever have a mother? She’d think you have become a pathetic angry old, fat white dude.

Show us “Rio”

I’ll show you Rio de Janeiro. For $2,000 a day. I don’t work for your “construction” wages.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 18:50:09

What are you so afraid of Rio? Why hide behind a keyboard?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:32:53

What are you so afraid of Rio? Why hide behind a keyboard?

“Hiding”? I’m golden. I said I’d go on a live Rio street cam if you”d only only give $500 to this blog. Your are chicken, or broke or a coward.

That’s not hiding dude. That’s just business with someone who I don’t respect at all. You.

Buck up. Be a man. You won’t.
Beaches, tropics, the fit……..I live it. You dream of it.
Rio de Janeiro baby! :)

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 21:58:24

Prove it.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:36:35

The Blog Knitting Club(those who pay 2x retail for everything), the blog LIEberals and the Housing Crime Syndicate sympathizers are like dazed war refugees.

Hows that dominating the blog working out for you all?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:40:10

“Houses depreciate no less rapidly than an automobile.”

True but the total losses are much greater on a house. And those losses are doubled when you finance.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:47:38

Remember….. a period of price discovery has to occur before a market exhibits price recovery. This hasn’t happened yet and if it did, prices would be 65%-75% lower.

Remember this readers……… A “housing recovery” is falling prices to dramatically lower and more affordable levels by definition. The losses are large at current prices. Do not be a buyer right now. And if you made the mistake of buying a house in the past 12 years, it’s like a holding a melting ice cube. The longer you hang on, the smaller it gets. Find a buyer for it quickly and get what you can get for it.

Caveat Emptor

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:50:44

“Now why did you pay a massively inflated price for a house…. and then double down on the losses and finance it for decades?”

Good question.

Which begets the question;

Do you really believe wages are going to triple to meet massively inflated housing prices? Especially with the millions of excess empty houses lenders are holding and hoping won’t impact prices? Of course not. Housing prices will continue to fall by two-thirds to meet wages that are still in the 1990’s range.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:51:47

“People have learned that a highly leveraged, illiquid, high-transaction cost “asset” requiring regular annual maintenance of thousands of dollars is not worth the risk”

You better believe it.

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 13:15:38

The wisdom of an unknown Wall Street Journal commenter, so so true.

Comment by azdude02
2013-10-27 05:56:35

over at cnbc they are saying inflation is not rising fast enough. They have a lot different excuses to justify the printing press.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:58:13

“Borrowing to pay for a rapidly depreciating asset at a massively inflated price puts you in a hole that you’ll never escape from.”


Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 05:59:52

With 25 million excess, empty and defaulted houses in the US, 4 million of which are in California, there is plenty of “housing supply”.

Ask yourself this question and be prepared to respond as you will be asked by us;

Are you an agent of price fixing and housing crime or are you an agent of truth?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:52:19

Ask yourself this question and be prepared to respond as you will be asked by us;

Are you an agent of price fixing and housing crime or are you an agent of truth?

For lack of insurance, do you have serious problems with finding the right balance of meds?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 19:25:10

You’re afraid.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:37:21

“You’re afraid”
HA’s first “love” 2008

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 19:52:43

I’m Afraid~Rio, 2013

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 06:03:54

2013 Quote Of The Year

“If you have to borrow for 15 or 30 years, it’s not affordable nor can you afford it.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 06:10:13

“There are horrible price distortions in all areas of the bubble economy.”


Comment by Taxpayers
2013-10-27 06:35:40

inventory dropped in 22151 last 2 weeks- new lower 10yr and away we go

Comment by azdude02
2013-10-27 07:08:03

print some cash and buy a boatload of treasuries and that should get yields down some more.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 07:11:20

America best and brightest in Action:

High school cheerleader car wash violates environmental laws


Comment by MightyMike
2013-10-27 07:12:32

Immigration Poses Threat of Another Republican Rift

WASHINGTON — A push to bring immigration legislation to the House floor, led by an unusual coalition of business executives, prominent conservatives and evangelical leaders, threatens to create another schism in the Republican Party and could have a noticeable effect on campaign contributions before the midterm elections.

Several Republican executives and donors who are part of a lobbying blitz coming to Capitol Hill next week said they were considering withholding, or had already decided to withhold, future financial support to Republican lawmakers they believe are obstructing progress on immigration.

“I respect people’s views and concerns about the fact that we have a situation in the United States where we have millions of undocumented immigrants,” said Justin Sayfie, a lawyer from Florida who said he helped Mitt Romney raise more than $100,000 for his presidential campaign last year, in addition to helping other Republican candidates. “But we have what we have. This is October 2013. And the country will be better off if we fix it.”


Pushing back against the pressure to act from within their own party, a core group of conservatives said in interviews this week that they would not be intimidated by corporate America or other outside parties, even though in this case that includes farmers, evangelical leaders and some prominent conservatives.

“I care about the sovereignty of the United States of America and what it stands for, and not an open-door policy,” said Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, who is one of several conservatives opposing all of the bills the House is currently considering.


Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 11:42:32

Representative Ted Yoho

I wonder if “Yo Ho” led a pirate’s life before entering politics?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 18:54:18

I wonder if “Yo Ho” led a pirate’s life


Wow Bill. 4 years and one good joke. Congratulations!

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 07:17:54

Here’s What Happens When Wall Street Builds A Rental Empire

Posted: 10/25/2013 8:23 am EDT

There’s no escaping the stench of raw sewage in Mindy Culpepper’s Atlanta-area rental home. The odor greets her before she turns into her driveway each evening as she returns from work. It’s there when she prepares dinner, and only diminishes when she and her husband hunker down in their bedroom, where they now eat their meals.

For the $1,225 a month she pays for the three-bedroom house in the quiet suburb of Lilburn, Culpepper thinks it isn’t too much to expect that her landlord, Colony American Homes, make the necessary plumbing repairs to eliminate the smell. But her complaints have gone unanswered, she said. Short of buying a plane ticket to visit the company’s office in Scottsdale, Ariz., she is out of ideas.

“You can not get in touch with them, you can’t get them on the phone, you can’t get them to respond to an email,” said Culpepper, whose family has lived with the problem since the day they moved in five months ago. “My certified letters, they don’t get answered.”

Most rental houses in the U.S. are owned by individuals, or small, local businesses. Culpepper’s landlord is part of a new breed: a Wall Street-backed investment company with billions of dollars at its disposal. Over the past two years, Colony American and its two biggest competitors, Invitation Homes and American Homes 4 Rent, have spent more than $12 billion buying and renovating at least 75,000 homes in order to rent them out.

This new incursion by hedge funds and private equity groups into the American single-family home rental market is unprecedented, and is proving disastrous for many of the tens of thousands of families who are moving into these newly converted rental homes. In recent weeks, HuffPost spoke with more than a dozen current tenants, along with former employees who recently left the real estate companies. Though it’s not uncommon for tenants to complain about their landlords, many who had rented before described their current experience as the worst they’ve ever had.

“I’ve been renting homes for 15 years and I’ve never had a landlord be this ridiculous about getting stuff repaired,” said Henry Cecil, who moved into a four-bedroom house in Winter Haven, Fla., owned by Invitation Homes in March. Invitation Homes is an arm of Blackstone, the largest private equity firm in the world. The firm booked more than $4 billion in revenue in 2012.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/25/wall-street-landlords_n_4151345.html - 301k -

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 07:55:59

“You can not get in touch with them, you can’t get them on the phone, you can’t get them to respond to an email,” said Culpepper, whose family has lived with the problem since the day they moved in five months ago. “My certified letters, they don’t get answered.”

Hold a couple months rental payment. You’ll hear from them.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 08:00:14

Think rent strike. If this happened in Compton then a rent strike is what you should expect to occur.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 08:10:03

In the end the renters have the edge. If the landlords decide to take the time and expense to evict then they would still have to spend money to fix the problems in order to get the place rented again.

But if the thinking is done quarter-by-quarter - meaning focusing on the current quarter’s numbers at the expense of the following quarters’ numbers - then this is what you will get.

Get the numbers up by any means necessary and maybe you’ll be able to unload some stock. Let the numbers fall apart and you will be hosed.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 08:07:48

“It’s just a slumlord,” Culpepper said of Colony American. “A huge, billion-dollar slumlord.”

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 08:22:56

and they will sell the company to the Chinese and then they will forcefully evict you if you are 3 days late on the rent….screw American laws.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 08:25:08

When unpacking their belongings, Cecil and his wife said they found rat feces in the dishwasher. The sliding-glass door that opened onto the back yard was unusable. They tried to take showers, but the hot water heater was broken, they said.

Invitation Homes sent a repairman to fix the water heater, but other repairs — including to an air conditioner that broke down three times — were slow, leaving the couple to swelter in the Florida heat, they claim. “If we had known the problems that we were going to have we would have never rented from these people,” Cecil said. “I really don’t think they care.”

Some tenants have grown frustrated enough to sue. James Atwood alleges in a lawsuit filed last month in a Georgia state court that WRI Property Management, the local agent of Colony American, failed to respond to dozens of phone calls, even as problems mounted in his $2,000-a-month home.

Among his allegations: the air conditioner did not work when he moved in, forcing the family to stay in hotels and with friends; tubs and sinks sprouted huge leaks. Lights would flicker on and off, and the home was infested with fleas, roaches and even a family of racoons, which lived in the attic, the lawsuit claims.

Many tenants complain that the problems with their homes are so severe they’ve all but consumed their lives.

Several weeks after Rosemary moved into the Raleigh, N.C., house she’s renting from American Homes 4 Rent, her hot water tank exploded. Rosemary, who declined to use her last name for fear of losing her security deposit, said she couldn’t shower for days. It took constant calls and emails to the rental company before they sent someone to replace the tank.

“It was quite a fiasco, very stressful,” Rosemary said of the incident. She’s paying $1,550 per month for her four-bedroom house.

Former employees of the companies, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they worry about jeopardizing their careers, said their former colleagues can’t keep up with the volume of complaints. The rush to buy up as many homes as possible has stretched resources to the point of breaking, these people said.

“Complaints were coming at us like out of a fire hose,” said a former Invitation Homes employee, who worked in the property management division and routinely fielded maintenance requests.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-10-27 08:38:30

‘The rush to buy up as many homes as possible has stretched resources to the point of breaking, these people said’

This is funny. I’ve mentioned in the past how dubious it is for these guys with their hand-made Italian shoes to think they can be landlords. It’s hard work. If you have to pay someone to do every little thing, I don’t see how you can make money. If you are “outbidding” everyone in sight, I don’t see how you can make money.

Guess what; they aren’t making money!

Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 09:02:32

I think the goal was all along to securitize and transfer the losses to taxpayers. As long as Bernanke and Yellen are there, it will happen.

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 09:58:46

“… transfer the losses to taxpayers.”

This may be ultimate end, but before we get to the end we gotta go through the middle.

Take a look at the finances of American Homes 4 Rent (AMH) and then take a look at just who it is that owns 45,171,894 shares of AMH: It’s Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

So just who or what is Alaska Permanent Fund Corp? Wiki it up and you will learn that it is a HUGE pile of OPM that has been funded by Alaskan oil pipeline money and, just as with other huge piles of OPM, it is looking for a return.

A pile of OPM will be treated a bit differently than if the pile was owned by an individual - especially if whoever controls the pile of OPM makes his money by managing the stuff as opposed to owning the stuff. Same goes with the receipants of the OPM, in this case the guys who run AMH.

Stay tuned.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:55:42

So long as they are able to dump their holdings before the next crash, why does it matter if they are currently making money?

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 15:47:29

“Guess what; they aren’t making money!”


“There’s nothing more addictive than printing money.”

What about
1) Nicotine?
2) Alcohol?
3) Oxycontin?
4) Vicodine?
5) Heroin?
6) Purple drank?

Nathan Lewis, Contributor
I write about monetary and tax policy for the 21st century.
9/29/2013 @ 9:00AM |14,262 views
The Federal Reserve Is Now Badly Hooked On Its Quantitative Easing

The Federal Reserve surprised most by not changing its present policy of buying $85 billion of government debt a month with the printing press. I suspect that Ben Bernanke himself is not too unhappy with this; nor is his Princeton Keynesian counterpart Paul Krugman.

It looks to me like the Fed is hooked badly now. There’s nothing more addictive than printing money.

I suspect that nothing will be done before the introduction of a new Fed Chairman at the beginning of February 2014 — likely to be Janet Yellen, and likely to be even more dovish, on balance, than Ben Bernanke.

In part this is politics; the Democratic Party has woken up to the idea that the Fed’s money printing is not necessarily just a giveaway to the big bad bankers. It sucks up the deluge of Treasury bonds still being issued by the Federal government. Without that support, and with interest rates likely jumping higher as a result, debt ceiling talks would be a lot more serious.

Wall Street is happy. Large corporations, now enjoying some of the largest profit margins in history, are happy. Middle America is supposedly happy; in any case, the economic advisors say that they would be more unhappy if the Fed wasn’t printing money to keep mortgage rates low and, supposedly, unemployment better than it would otherwise be.

This is what usually happens. In mid-1919, the German government had been printing money for five years to help fund war expenditures. It had gone pretty well. The German base money supply had expanded by six times, but it seemed there were no major ill effects. Yes, the value of the mark had fallen to half of its prewar value by that point, but this was spread over five years, and people were distracted by other issues.

They kept doing it.

We will likely keep doing it too. It may even ramp up further. Some people think the Fed could be printing money at double the present pace by the end of 2014. Why not?

The U.S. has been down this road before, in a way. In 1971, Richard Nixon’s advisors told him that they could solve the minor recession of the time with the magic of the printing press. They actually adopted a Monetarist nominal-GDP-targeting framework.

They decided that they needed 9% nominal GDP growth to get the economic results they wanted. The task of figuring out how much money needed to be printed to achieve this fell, oddly enough, to Arthur Laffer. In early 1970, Nixon installed his friend Arthur Burns at the Fed, and gave Burns his marching orders. Burns marched.

By August 1971, the conflict between the money-printing strategy and the Bretton Woods policy of keeping the value of the dollar at 1/35th of an ounce of gold became too great. Nixon abandoned the gold parity policy, and the dollar became a floating currency.

Thus began the “Nixon Shocks.” All currencies delinked from the dollar, and floated. This turned out to be unacceptable. Only a few months later, in December 1971, Nixon put together the Smithsonian Agreement, which re-fixed exchange rates. It looked like Humpty Dumpty had been put back together again.

In August of 1971, Nixon also introduced price controls. In an effort to enjoy the advantages of money-printing, without the unpleasant consequences, the government began to control all sorts of market prices. Between the price controls and foreign exchange rate lockdown, everything looked great.

The stock market loved it. In 1972, official “real” GDP rose a whopping 5.3%! Nominal GDP rose 9.8% — and the 9%-nominal-GDP-targeters gave themselves a pat on the back. Nixon was re-elected.

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Comment by ibbots
2013-10-27 08:27:49

Most states have a repair and deduct doctrine. Depends what the cost of repair is.

Comment by tresho
2013-10-27 08:34:42

Most states have a repair and deduct doctrine.
Do these really protect renters dealing with these kinds of problems?

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 08:59:13

What I find that’s amazing is how few people today of all ages know how to use the Internet…….no kidding

In a few minutes they can search and find housing laws for their state and city. Where housing court is and how easy it is to file a complaint.

Or get an inspector over and condemn the place, your lease ends when it becomes inhabitable and the landlord must still return your deposit in full. and you could sue for damages like moving expenses.

But then i am running into the same problem finding people to host their own radio show No one knows how to use the internet because everyone is on their iphones using Apps when people are so clueless about Search.

were working the bugs out of the centova auto dj program but hopefully we will have it all running smoothly soon. http://nytalkradio.net/

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 12:15:03

Housing courts do not exist outside of NYC.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 09:16:50

“Most rental houses in the U.S. are owned by individuals, or small, local businesses. Culpepper’s landlord is part of a new breed: a Wall Street-backed investment company with billions of dollars at its disposal. Over the past two years, Colony American and its two biggest competitors, Invitation Homes and American Homes 4 Rent, have spent more than $12 billion buying and renovating at least 75,000 homes in order to rent them out.”

Wall Street rental investors = Slumlord Millionaires. Like any good slumlord knows, these newfangled Wall Street slumlords realize the way to maximize profits off your rental empire is to never spend money on repairs, but keep collecting the rent until the day your properties are dilapidated and vacant.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 07:19:28

My 401k in the last 57 months garnered an average annual 17.8% gain. I got a wild hair this morning and converted 10% of my 401k to a very conservative fund, equivalent to 2 year notes. I can see the chart at the beginning of the 401k to now. It started january 1 2009. It is 400% higher now than in January 2009

I think the market will continue to go to new highs, especially with Yellen taking over and President Warren or Clinton in 2017. But the 10% is really about 2% or 3% of my total assets moved from stocks to cash. Boom! Now I am happy to wait for another year to start selling again some shares of my former company stock, which three different firms last week predict will go up another 15% to 20% for their price targets!

My new 401k starts in January 2014 and I hear it does not allow Roths. So I will just contribute enough to get full company match. All aggressive growth funds. It will leave me a bit of money to invest in cash and gold.

Comment by azdude02
2013-10-27 07:26:34

stocks are overvalued badly. the sheep never learn. The economy does not justify these stock prices. It is a bubble and a crash is imminent.

The economy has not grown at all in the past 5 years. It is all based on a debt binge and artificial asset prices via a printing press.

Printing money is not wealth.

Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 07:29:40

Are you saying Bill is a sheep?

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine
2013-10-27 07:49:40

It is 2.8 percent of my assets. The exact amount I needed for rebalance out of the stocks/stock mutual fund asset class. Hate to do it in a tax deferred plan but better than not taking money off the table.

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Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 11:34:05

By the way, I did not touch my international fund in the 401k. The US stock market is more bubbly than international.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:04:57

It is 2.8 percent of my assets.

What does your wife say about all that?

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 19:42:24

Why should you care

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:44:40

“Why should you care”

That’s what you say to yourself every night you go to sleep. No Mr. “libertarian”?

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 07:36:59


In this part of the country things are doing pretty good i see some new construction, but mostly renovating buildings sitting idle the last 4-5 years, new businesses seem to open up quickly after the old one closes, only problem is you can’t get hired if you speak only English.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 09:18:48

only problem is you can’t get hired if you speak only English.

Which jobs are these? Menial jobs or real ones? I’ve never had a job where a second language was required. In my current job I work on a “geographically diverse team”, with coworkers in the USA, Germany, Czech Republic and China. Guess what language we all speak in when we have phone conferences?

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 09:21:11

“Guess what language we all speak in when we have phone conferences?”


Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 10:25:03

Lots of immigrants Albanian Greek Romanian new Vietnamese place opened …a couple of streets are getting very international…..even the C$$$bank has a big want ad on the door..they are always looking for foreign speakers to be tellers and CSR. and of course the crime is still pretty low…

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 10:43:42

they are always looking for foreign speakers to be tellers and CSR

In other words, menial jobs.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 10:51:22


That would be cool … but no … we all talk in English.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 15:58:29

Menial maybe to start…but ill never get hired….i know quite a few of the employees walk home.

You get to see the same one there for years so you ask if they live close by. Employers really discount the fact people will take less pay for this. No monthly metrocard no standing in jam packed subway cars….and if there is a problem with the kids chances are the school is very close by too.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 09:18:27

“stocks are overvalued badly. the sheep never learn.”

Are you suggesting Bill would be wiser to snap up 10 houses on leverage and let those houses earn his living for him?

Comment by azdude02
2013-10-27 09:50:05

look around dude. Has the economy really had any growth in the past 5 years? I’m just not seeing it.

Asset prices have grown for sure because of artificial stimulus but real jobs have not.

Printing money does not create wealth.

I would certainly rather own a house than stock in a company that I cannot trust.

Don’t forget that common shareholders are the first to be wiped out in bankruptcy.

Its getting pretty easy for companies to borrow a lot of money, create a business, issues shares, run the business on capital raised from selling stock, then after the money runs out declare bankruptcy.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:11:10

Why the long post to answer a simple question about whether now would be a good time to load up on investment properties?

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 11:32:04

Over the long term, stocks do far better than cash, bonds, gold, real estate, wine, baseball cards and pet rocks.

But if you cannot stand the swings, and you see significant percentage over your comfortable asset allocation and you notice the stock boom is a bigger boom than 2003-2007, you should rebalance, take money off the table. Rebalancing within in my 401k at least does not cost me any capital gain tax. I did not think of that advantage as I did the on-line deal.

In the end, the neo-conservative “progressives” will grab it back electronically. But not my physical precious metals.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 12:07:38

How can you say stocks do better over the long run?

Manhattan was purchased with $20 worth of beads.

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Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 12:10:55

Okay Skroodle. Then I advise you to invest in beads.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:03:57

My 401k in the last 57 months garnered an average annual 17.8% gain.


My social life and fun factor in the last 57 months has only garnered an average annual 5% gain.

But I don’t think I’ll trade.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 07:42:51

I am sure this is for the common good, of the New World Order.

Google presumed builder of floating data center

Locals refer to it as the secret project

October 27, 2013

San Francisco: An enormous floating barge has emerged in the San Francisco Bay, which tech-savvy sleuths suspect is a massive data centre being constructed by Google, the CNET blog reported.

The huge floating structure “stands about four stories high and was made with a series of modern cargo containers… Locals refer to it as the secret project,” CNET wrote, adding that Google did not respond to requests for comment.

“It’s all but certain that Google is the entity that is building the massive structure that’s in plain sight, but behind tight security,” the online tech site wrote.

CNET noted that Google “has a history of putting data centres in places with cheap cooling, as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.”

The barge is located off Treasure Island, an artificial island between San Francisco and Oakland in the San Francisco Bay.

CNET said the barge is 76 metres long, 21 metres wide and 4.8 metres deep.

“Although Google has not confirmed any projects on Treasure Island, which is owned by the US Navy and subleased by the city of San Francisco, ample evidence suggests that the company is behind whatever is going on… on the barge,” as well as inside a huge hangar on the island, CNET wrote.

http://m.gulfnews.com/business/technology/google-presumed-builder-of-floating-data-center-1.1247702 -

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 10:42:23

How will these floating data centers be powered?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-10-27 08:00:39

‘When close to two thousand people marched to the Capitol Reflecting Pool Saturday afternoon to protest the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, it was if the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street had clasped hands.’


Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 08:06:38

“Sensenbrenner, along with Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee, will be introducing legislation to end the bulk collection program. The legislation is called the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection, and Online Monitoring Act, or USA Freedom Act. (He may have switched sides in the fight over government surveillance, but Sensenbrenner still has a thing for acronyms.)”

This is positive news but what compelled him to flip? This guy has been a security apparatus operative in the same way congressional realtor Johnny Isaakson has championed massively inflated housing prices.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 08:22:23

“… will be introducing legislation to end the bulk collection program.”

So how can one be sure the program will be ended? In the name of national security whatever it is that goes on in the NSA is considered a secret.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 09:20:38

How many more peaceful NSA protests will be tolerated before ‘crowd control tactics,’ such as planting pretend lawbreakers and bringing in the police to crack down on them, are employed to end them?

Comment by tresho
2013-10-27 08:12:02

Another portion of John Mauldin’s recent letter, mentioned earlier on this Bits Bucket, follows, a humorous paraphrase of a famous speech from the movie “A Few Good Men”, where Ben Bernanke addresses the court of public opinion to defend his actions as a central banker:

You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has unfathomably intricate economies, and those economies and the banks that are at their center have to be guarded by men with complex models and printing presses. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Mauldin? Can you even begin to grasp the resources we have to use in order to maintain balance in a system on the brink?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom! You weep for Savers and creditors, and you curse the central bankers and quantitative easing. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the destruction of savers with inflation and low rates, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves jobs and banks and businesses and whole economies!

You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that central bank! You need me on that Committee! Without our willingness to silently serve, deflation would come storming over our economic walls and wreak far worse havoc on an entire nation and the world. I will not let the 1930s and that devastating unemployment and loss of lives repeat themselves on my watch.

We use words like “full employment,” “inflation,” “stability.” We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline!

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very prosperity that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just say “Thank you,” and go on your way.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-10-27 12:34:56

That’s…really good.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 14:35:13

Wasn’t this Bernanke’s deal all along, that they needed to pump more in and that not doing so was the mistake that made the Great Depression so bad?

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 17:09:55

Bernanke’s idea is that the government needs to somehow put money into people hands so they can spend it on things that are manufactured (he uses shoes as an example of things that are manufactured) because if people buy things that are manufactured then the people who manufacture these things will have employment and if they have employment then they will be earning money and then they can take some of this earned money and buy things - buy things that other people manufacture - and so with everybody manufacturing and buying the economy will once again roll along.

Which works well on paper but falls apart in the real world because those things that people want to buy (such as shoes) are mostly made somewhere else.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 17:18:36

One of the few things that aren’t manufactured somewhere else are houses, which gives new meaning to the phrase “all real estate is local”.

Sell to the masses the idea that everyone should jump on board and buy a house and maybe you’ll get a lot on new houses built (pretend there is not already a glut) and since U.S. built houses are one of the few things than cannot be made in China or India or Malaysia or wherever employees will be employed over here rather than over there.

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 17:28:22

A problem is, even though employees make money by building houses over here, they still take this money that is earned over here and end up spending it on things made over there.

More money earned here means more money ends up over there. Same with borrowed money; More money borrowed here means more money ends up over there.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 17:31:26

Which means more money ends up here. They buy treasuries with the money we send over there for their cheap plastic sh*t.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 18:18:34

I thought that was Henry Ford’s idea.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 08:53:30

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media

Glenn Greenwald
London Guardian
October 26, 2013

In what might be the most explicit hostility to such freedoms yet – as well as the most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic – the NSA’s director, General Keith Alexander, actually demanded Thursday that the reporting being done by newspapers around the world on this secret surveillance system be halted.

The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of “selling” his agency’s documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.

“I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these – you know it just doesn’t make sense,” Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog.

“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policy-makers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” the NSA director declared. [My italics]

There are 25,000 employees of the NSA (and many tens of thousands more who work for private contracts assigned to the agency). Maybe one of them can tell The General about this thing called “the first amendment”.

I’d love to know what ways, specifically, General Alexander has in mind for empowering the US government to “come up with a way of stopping” the journalism on this story. Whatever ways those might be, they are deeply hostile to the US constitution – obviously. What kind of person wants the government to forcibly shut down reporting by the press?

Full article here

This article was posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 5:31 am

Tags: big brother, domestic spying

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 09:21:21

Greenwald is resigning from the Guardian on 10/31 after months of excellent reporting on Snowden, the NSA, and other phony scandals.

Will be interesting to see what his upcoming media project is…

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 09:58:35

“Will be interesting to see what his upcoming media project is…”

I hope he doesn’t buy one of those exploding Mercedes.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-10-27 10:13:10

If I were an enemy of the U.S. and I wanted to make the U.S. look bad I would have this guy killed and blame the killing on the U.S.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-10-27 12:19:49

Al Quada has no ability to launch a mission such as that in Brazil.

Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 15:53:33

Why would al quaida do it? They are our friends now.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-10-27 12:36:13

I hope he doesn’t buy one of those exploding Mercedes.

Relax, they almost never do that.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 17:11:24

“Relax, they almost never do that.”

Maybe they only blow up when you are trying to drive them off the radar.

Michael Hastings sent panicked email about FBI probe hours before death: report

The journalist’s fiery 4 a.m. single-car crash in Los Angeles came 15 hours after he sent friends an email warning them the FBI was on his tail. ‘Hey — the feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates,”‘ the message said. ‘Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the [radar] for a bit.’
Comments (132)

By Sasha Goldstein / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, June 23, 2013, 7:43 PM

He had a big story and wanted to get off the radar until things cooled down.

Hours later, Michael Hastings was dead.

“Hey [redacted] — the feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates,’” reads the email, acquired Friday by KTLA-TV. “Perhaps if the authorities arrive ‘BuzzFeed GQ’, er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

“Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat (sic) for a bit.

“All the best, and hope to see you all soon,” Hastings signed off. The email was sent at around 1 p.m. Monday.

Few probably saw him alive after that, and the story was never written. Instead, Hastings slammed his new Mercedes at high speed into a tree on Hollywood’s Highland Avenue.

Hastings, who wrote for BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone, famously brought down U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal in a 2010 Rolling Stone cover story. He was most recently covering Edward Snowden’s leak of the NSA’s classified domestic monitoring program.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hastings-panicked-email-fbi-death-article-1.1380539 -

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:12:48

Silver lining of government shutdown for the Real Estate Industrial Complex: The present form of the mortgage interest deduction will survive for at least another year!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:18:51

Did the Tea Partiers anticipate their Congressional ranting and raving would have this side effect?

Originally published Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 8:05 PM
Housing write-off is safe for now
Because of the government shutdown threat, fundamental tax changes curtailing housing breaks won’t happen this year and a fundamental tax overhaul looks unlikely next year as well.

Nation’s Housing

WASHINGTON — Here’s a side effect of the 16-day federal shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis that could prove popular among tax-sensitive homeowners: The stalemate removed even the remotest possibility that Congress could undertake fundamental tax reforms curtailing housing breaks this year and renders it unlikely next year as well.

This means that the mortgage-interest deduction, local property-tax write-offs, second-home deductions and capital-gains exclusions are safe for the time being — despite a far-reaching tax-overhaul package taking final shape in the House, which may be outlined by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. in the coming weeks and could target these write-offs directly.

A parallel reform effort is under way in the Senate but reportedly is not as far advanced as Camp’s.

Even if the bipartisan special committee appointed last week to resolve differences between House and Senate budgets by Dec. 13 proposes a tax-reform schedule, the prospects for any serious action appear slim.

As a general matter, Democrats insist that any major changes produce net new revenues — taxes — to help lower the federal deficit.

Republicans counter that by streamlining the labyrinthine tax code and lowering the top marginal brackets for corporations and individuals, the economy will be stimulated and generate more earnings.

Those additional earnings, in turn, will yield greater tax revenues for the government and lead to lower deficits and debts.

Through an extraordinary effort, Camp has managed to keep details of his plans secret by excluding Democrats from the bill-drafting process, strictly limiting access by staff members to meetings and imposing a gag order on participants.

But given his publicly announced goals of sharply lower top tax brackets — 25 percent for corporations and individuals — housing analysts can’t see how he can make up the lost revenue without deep cuts in current individual tax deductions.

J.P. Delmore, federal legislative director for the National Association of Home Builders, said that “we expect to see changes” to existing real-estate and mortgage-related write-offs in the Camp tax-reform package.

The overall plan, according to Delmore and other key tax experts, is likely to touch virtually every industry and taxpayer in some way. Whatever pain a given taxpayer experiences from the loss of deductions or credits theoretically would be balanced out by lower taxes elsewhere.

Cutting total write-offs for mortgage interest, for example — whether by eliminating the deduction altogether or capping it — would be counterbalanced by an individual paying taxes at a lower marginal rate.

At the bottom line, so the theory goes, the country would get a much simpler system with lower tax rates on incomes but far fewer tax preferences that favor one group of citizens over another — one of the main critiques of current housing tax breaks.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-10-27 14:38:41

The stalemate removed even the remotest possibility that Congress could undertake fundamental tax reforms curtailing housing breaks this year and renders it unlikely next year as well.

That is simply ridiculous. Speculation that some speculative reform now won’t occur. There was and is no chance of them removing such housing breaks. When was all this tax reform that the government shutdown stopped supposed to happen? I know the exact date. The first of never.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:19:51

Once the U.S. home ownership rate drops below 50% in a few years, the political support for massive tax breaks for home ownership will disappear.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-10-27 10:27:12


We have to pass it to see what’s in it. You can keep your plan and your doctor, if you are Bill Gates or a U.S. Senator.

Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out –

13 hours ago

Los Angeles Times

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see. These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates …

http://finance.allinoneinternetsearch.com/2013/10/27/some-health-insurance-gets-pricier-as-obamacare-rolls-out-los-angeles-times-3/ - -

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 10:55:35

From the article:

“Jennifer Harris, a self-employed lawyer in Orange County, has been paying $98 a month for an individual health insurance plan that provides less coverage than the Affordable Care Act requires”

Given how skimpy the “bronze plans” are, I can’t even imagine how you could have “less” coverage, or how such a plan could be useful. Heck, from what I’ve read about the bronze plans, they are useless with their huge deductibles.

Comment by MacBeth
2013-10-27 11:13:56

The Bronze plans are useless. However, they’re still a better deal than Silver plans. (Yes, that’s a correct statement for you oldsters on Medicare out there who aren’t being forced into this monstrosity called ObamaCare).

My sister-in-law joined a Bronze plan through her employer (the cheapest she could find), not because she plans on ever using it (she doesn’t) but because joining it enables her to self-fund a tax-free HSA.

Not a bad idea.

She’s funding her own deductible at reduced tax liability. And it’s a portable deductible that carries over year-to-year.

Now, if she goes up to a Silver plan, her cheapest monthly nut (covering herself only) is about $450 a month. Far more than what she paid for coverage in 2013.

$5400 a year for medical coverage. $1250 deductible first. So with a Silver plan, she’ll pay out $6650 annually before anything is covered.

Of course, that’s insane. Being sane, my sister-in-law opted to pay her Bronze-level insurance company $700 annually.

Paying $700 annually for nothing except catastrophic is better than paying $5400 annually for nothing except catastrophic.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-10-27 13:50:24

‘Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.’

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,’” Kehaly said.’

‘many are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.’

“All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it,” said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. “I’m infuriated because I was lied to.”

‘Cavallaro received her cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross this month. The company said a comparable Bronze plan would cost her 65% more, or $484 a month. She doubts she’ll qualify for much in premium subsidies, if any. Regardless, she resents losing the ability to pick and choose the benefits she wants to pay for.’

“I just won’t have health insurance because I can’t pay this increase,” she said.’

And some of you think the tea party is in trouble?

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Comment by azdude02
2013-10-27 14:11:35

the whole thing is the biggest disaster I have ever seen.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-10-27 14:33:08

And some of you think the tea party is in trouble?

I have yet to hear their proposal to solve the healthcare crisis.

Oh … wait … they don’t have one … never mind.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-10-27 15:01:04

‘to solve the healthcare crisis’

Making things more expensive solves nothing.

Comment by cruz bustamante
2013-10-27 16:11:58

If it’s expensive, it must be a high quality product or service.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-10-27 16:49:07

“to solve the healthcare crisis…”

I really can’t see that anyone is thinking about a care crisis. I can see that there is a revenue crisis, which has been building for some decades. Health insurance is a Wall Street concern, and those gathering private revenue are insatiable. So now more tax dollars go to the pigs. Will there be more care? We’ll see, that is not part of the program as far as I can tell. Clinics are shutting down, is that any indication?

I think that it is laughable that debt slaves can deduct all of their mortgage interest, but sick people have a huge deductible on care costs. We don’t care about people’s care.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 18:37:53

“And some of you think the tea party is in trouble?”

It’s telling when they take a no-miss issue for themselves like the ACA rollout and turn it into a loss.

Winners and Losers of the Government Shutdown Showdown
As the government reopens, we look at the damage for John Boehner, Ted Cruz and more
By Robin Marty
October 17, 2013 12:22 PM ET

After two weeks of madness, with only hours to go before the U.S. government potentially defaulted on its loans, Congress finally passed a new budget and raised the debt ceiling last night. Thanks to the last-minute deal, we have at least three months before we have to worry about another impasse and impending global economic catastrophe – and sadly, these days, that’s what we call progress.

While Tea Party Republicans succeeded in shutting down a wide range of key government services and nearly destroying the country’s credit rating, they were unable to change virtually anything about the newly opened health care exchanges they hate so much. (They did manage one small tweak: Now a person must have his or her income verified prior to receiving a subsidy for an insurance premium.)

But even as the Affordable Care Act remains unscathed, the political landscape has shifted drastically since the standoff. Here are the biggest winners and losers from the government shutdown.

LOSER: Speaker of the House John Boehner.
When Boehner stated, “We fought the good fight, we just didn’t win,” the “we” he was referencing was mostly himself. The Ohio Republican spent a large portion of the shutdown refusing to allow a clean continuing resolution to go before the full House – even though he knew one could very likely pass – simply to appease his Tea Party caucus. When he finally did attempt to negotiate a House bill to reopen the government and end the shutoff, he still couldn’t get a simple majority, despite his party having 32 more seats than the Democrats. If the outrage on Boehner’s Facebook page is any indication, this may be the end of the road for his time as Speaker.

LOSER: The Tea Party.
Unsurprisingly, after weeks of futile grandstanding, no one seems to like these folks anymore – not even their own party. A new Pew Research poll has a Tea Party approval rating of just 30 percent. Among self-described moderate Republicans, the approval rating drops to 27 percent. For comparison’s sake, the number of conservatives who still believe President Obama is a Muslim is also around 30 percent.

See Who Made Our List of Eight Tea Party Morons Destroying America

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:15:54

“I really can’t see that anyone is thinking about a care crisis.” Clueless dude with health insurance, 2013

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 20:44:04

“If it’s expensive, it must be a high quality product or service.”

Could be price fixing, forced cross-subsidization of those who can’t afford to buy health insurance by those who can afford it, or a systematic wealth transfer from federal taxpayers to medical insurers.

When the Affordable Care Act Becomes Unaffordable

By Josh Barro Mar 26, 2013 7:22 AM PT

The New York Times reports that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is encouraging Republican-led states to follow Arkansas’s lead and use Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private insurance for people with low incomes. This is going to make a lot of people happy. But it’s not good for taxpayers or for the project of making medical costs sustainable.

Many Republicans are drawn to the Arkansas plan because, though it is an expansion of government-funded health care, it works through private channels. Doctors and hospitals, who already liked the Medicaid expansion because it was going to give them more customers and diminish the problem of uncompensated care, like this plan even better because it will pay them more. Low-income patients will probably be better off, too, because private insurance is more widely accepted than Medicaid, though some could be hurt by the need to make higher co-payments. And the Obama administration will be happy because more states will participate in the Medicaid expansion.

The only losers will be everyone else. Pleasing all those constituencies will cost money. Medicaid expansion through private insurance, if spread to many states, will sharply drive up the cost of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe admits to the Times that his plan will likely cost more than a regular expansion of Medicaid, with federal taxpayers picking up nearly the whole tab.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 10:57:06

Is it somehow surprising that the 47% make poor investment decisions?

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-10-27 11:10:52

Perhaps I can be of some assistance.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 11:22:13

Welcome back! Please do share some of your helpful investment advice so the 47% can prosper as you do.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-10-27 11:47:02

I’d be happy to share some investment advice with you, all in the form of lessons.

Lesson Number 1: Send me some of your money.

As soon as I receive your money I will disclose to you Lesson Number 2.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 14:40:07

Thanks so much for the free lesson offer.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.

– Benjamin Franklin

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 11:19:58

Five Simple Ways to Make a Poor Investment Decision
By Andrea Coombes

Investors have shoveled almost $14 trillion into U.S. mutual funds, but a good chunk of that money is riding on mistaken assumptions.

Example: Buying a fund based primarily on past performance, the most frequently cited factor in choosing funds (by 47% of investors), according to a report from research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates.

You can’t really blame investors. Historical returns are trumpeted in advertising and fund disclosures, and past results are a reasonable guide in our own day-to-day experiences.

Indeed, when choosing a fund “one of the few things you’re given is past performance,” says Shlomo Benartzi, a UCLA professor and chief behavioral economist at Allianz. “And, after you experienced so many things in your life where past performance will tell you a lot about what will happen, we’re now asking you to take the most salient available information you and and ignore that.”

The good news is that investors appear to be cost conscious. “The cost of the fund” was the second most commonly cited factor in choosing a fund (42% of investors), says the Cerulli report. “The message is getting out there that we cannot control performance, but we can certainly control costs,” says George Papadopoulos, a financial planner in Novi, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

But that leaves plenty of room for misguided approaches to investing. Here are five:

1 Focusing on past returns

2 Not looking under the hood

3 False diversification

4 Chasing headlines

5 Buying on ratings alone

Comment by Bluestar
2013-10-27 12:20:26

Last week the Texas Public Utility Commission ruled to dismantle the decade long experiment of a deregulated electrical grid.
Texas will now have a mandatory reserve margin that is viewed by market watchers as a likely first step toward creation of a so-called “capacity market” where generators and others are paid to be available in the future. This would be a major change from the existing “energy-only” market that only pays generators when they produce power.

Generating companies generally favor a capacity market. Shares of power producers NRG Energy and Calpine Corp rose 7 percent after Friday’s PUC meeting. Loans related to companies that own Luminant, the state’s largest generator, also traded higher on the PUC news.

Large industrial power consumers and other groups oppose the additional cost that a capacity market may create.



The deciding vote was made by Rick Perry’s former aide Brandy Marty who he just appointed to the PUC earlier this year. Ms. Marty has no previous experience in the energy or utility markets but since she did serve as policy director for the governor’s 2010 primary campaign she obviously over qualified to manage one of the nations largest electricity grids.

It seems this PUC vote comes at a critical time for the pending bankruptcy of Energy Futures Holdings. I can see this as a multi-billion dollar lifeline to their subsidiary Luminant. The bankruptcy will still happen so EFH can dump their strip mining reclamations obligations while collecting a bonus rate hike under the guise of a prepaid capacity market scheme.

This is the beginning of the end of the Texas deregulated electricity market. We can expect the average electricity customer to see a 10%-15% increase in their bills starting in 2014.

Bluestar AKA Jack Smith

PS: My solar array has locked in my electricity costs for the next 20+ years so my bill won’t be going up and my pay back period just got shorter.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-10-27 16:29:33

At least you’ve got yours Bluestar, with assumptions. It required pulling forward 30 years of fossil fuel consumption to build it, and lots of rare element mining overseas somewhere, but now it’s yours.

It’s a shame the politicians are intent on using you and your neighbors, so good for you being on the sidelines. My personal strategy has been to starve them by simply using a lot less.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-10-27 19:05:02

Don’t be shy Blue Skye, use your real name.

This calculation was made using a 12% efficient panel. New 2013 panels are close to 20% efficient. My entire system was 100% made in USA.


Energy balance is the amount of time it takes for the solar panel to generate energy to make up for the manufacturing process. To calculate the energy balance divide the total energy used to manufacture the product by the amount of energy the solar panel produces per year.

577.5 kWh/162 kWh/year = 3.2 years

The energy balance for one solar panel is 3.2 years.

Energy Return on Investment (EROI):
Energy Return on Investment = Quantity of energy supplied / Quantity of energy used in supply process.

Energy Return on Investment = 3240 kWh :578 kWh

Energy Return on Investment = 1620:289


I saw this TXU takeover as doomed years ago. The entire thing was leveraged on $7 nat. gas when anybody who could read a Chesapeake Energy annual report knew it was BS. Once EFH goes BK what do you think will happen to all those forward nat. gas futures contracts? poof!

As to my assumptions, I assume there are enough people out there with your attitude that the “crabs in a bucket” theory will keep holding the rest of us back.

Bluestar AKA Jack Smith

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-10-28 05:07:42

OK Jack, your positive mental attitude thing with the crabs in the bucket is compelling. Your math looks great too. If those numbers were real it would be great. Unfortunately it does not pass the litmus test.

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Comment by Bluestar
2013-10-28 06:00:12

I’ll admit that intermittent renewable energy is not the answer to achieving energy independence, either at a personal or grid level without cheap energy storage. Solar or wind can’t replace our need for fossil fueled base load generation until there is some kind of breakthrough in battery technology. But I think this is just another example of the ‘what technology wants’ syndrome and it would be a mistake to think that a breakthrough won’t radically change the equation in the next few years. I have been part of the ‘World Community Grid’ project for about 6 months where my desktop PC, laptop and android tablet are helping to solve mathematical problems related to renewable energy. http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/about_us/viewNewsArticle.do?articleId=307

I was also selected to be part of the Pecan St. Project where circuit level sensors collect an array of electrical and environmental data that will help build the next generation of the smart grid.

Bluestar AKA Jack Smith

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 13:27:29

My boss, the owner of the small company is gushing again about ObamarxCare on the social media site where he is a connection. I am just glad I have built up enough net worth to tolerate the leftist politics of my buddy. 13 years ago and another two months I became a consultant and did not have to worry about what people at work thought of my opinions. I stopped defending the 2A on the social media site this spring after another colleague labeled me a fascist.

I can quit anytime and return to Arizona where I can go to ranges with friends and do target practice. The $2million net worth figure would be a good figure to quit California and return home to some software job in Phoenix.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:17:56

I can quit anytime and return to Arizona where I can go to ranges with friends and do target practice.

Dude, that sounds like such the life.

From, Rio in

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 19:41:00

I only saw the screen name. Did not read your post.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-27 19:45:46

I only saw the screen name. Did not read your post.

That’s the funniest post I’ve read all night! :)

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Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 20:42:12

Party on Wayne.

Bill is eating steamed vegetables and swimming for exercise while you’re out partying at age 60. I bet you look really, really old :)

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-28 07:51:50

Bill is eating steamed vegetables and swimming for exercise while you’re out partying at age 60. I bet you look really, really old :)

I’m fit and I look about 5-10 years younger than I am.

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Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-28 19:15:51

You don’t look a day over 80 Rio Tin Tin

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-10-29 09:54:08

You don’t look a day over 80 Rio Tin Tin

I’ve always looked a lot younger than I am. It wasn’t cool when I was a teen but really cool now. I got carded in Hawaii when I was 34. True. That was cool. I bet I look way younger for my age than you. I hear it all the time.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-29 19:31:37

I’m not going to take the bet Rio. Maybe you do look younger than me. I was out in the sun as a teenager and had the perfect tan. My last wife was a great cook and before I knew it I put on 30 lbs of extra weight. The last straw was when the lead software engineer kidded me about joining the 200 lb club - the test team. All were above 200 lbs, even the women. So I dropped the weight too fast and I noticed the wrinkles. But I prefer looking old in the face than being fat.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-27 15:35:53

Bruce Japsen, Contributor
I write about health care and policies from the president’s hometown
Follow (210)
Pharma & Healthcare
10/26/2013 @ 9:59AM |31,450 views
Despite Glitches, Obamacare Profit Windfall To Insurers Well Underway
85 comments, 11 called-out

Health plan CEOs like Wellpoint’s Joe Swedish project robust revenue growth and profits from a boom in business from newly insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act.

While politicians and pundits alike inside the beltway beat up the White House over computer system glitches, health insurance companies still project robust revenue growth and profits from a boom in business from newly insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act.

Take this week’s third-quarter earnings report and financial projections of Wellpoint (WLP), one of the nation’s largest health insurers, which earlier this week raised its earnings guidance for the third time this year. Amid a flurry of stories about the troubled launch of the federal health insurance marketplace web site known as healthcare.gov, Wellpointsaid its improved outlook is due in part to gains from the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, the Obama administration named a contractor to fix the site, saying it should be fixed by the end of November.

Wellpoint is the parent of a number of Anthem and Blue Cross and Blue Shield branded plans and a key player in offering benefits to the growing population of consumers that are purchasing private coverage on exchanges as well as those covered by Medicaid insurance for the poor, which is also expanding under the Affordable Care Act.

“We are raising our 2013 membership and earnings per share guidance, reflecting our strong year-to-date performance and our continued expectation for higher investment spending in the fourth quarter as we begin our implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Wellpoint chief executive officer Joseph Swedish told Wall Street analysts and investors earlier this week on the company’s third-quarter earnings call. “In the fully insured marketplace, the rollout of public insurance exchanges began October 1, and there has been a lot of activity around this area. We remain optimistic about the long-term membership growth opportunity through exchanges.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-10-27 15:47:09

“The Deadly Secrets of Plum Island”


Counterpunch investigates the truth once again.

Plum Island is freakish. There’s 6 foot chickens and chit running around out there.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-10-27 16:00:59

Very underrated Lou Reed song……..


Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 17:50:45


Need to listen to all 17 minutes of “Sister Ray” to mourn.

Comment by Bill, just south of Irvine, CA
2013-10-27 18:56:13

“Take a walk on the wild side.” Lou Reed was the epitome of “cool.”

Comment by goon squad
2013-10-27 21:23:11
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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-10-28 00:24:43

As long as they are snapped up quickly, there is no need to fear zombie or vampire foreclosures will harm the market.

Posted October 11, 2013 - 9:37am Updated October 14, 2013 - 11:51am
RealtyTrac finds ‘zombie’ and ‘vampire’ homes have potential to harm recovery

It’s Halloween season — the perfect time for housing-market bogeymen to spook Southern Nevada’s real estate sector.

California research firm RealtyTrac has quantified just how many local foreclosures are empty, and the company uses monster themes to distinguish default-resident status.

“Zombie foreclosures” are homes in the default process that have been abandoned. “Vampire REOs” are repossessed properties in which the foreclosed owner continues to live in the home.

The point of the analysis, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said, is to pin down just how much of a threat shadow inventory poses to the city’s housing recovery.

Here’s what the numbers show: Twenty-nine percent of local homes, or 2,395 units, in foreclosure are empty, or “zombie” homes. That’s well above a national rate of 20 percent. And 40 percent of local homes, or 3,315 properties, are “vampire” properties, taken back by the bank yet with the former owner still living inside. That compares with a national rate of 47 percent.

Those rates are important because shadow inventory can be sneaky, Blomquist said. Take zombie foreclosures: They’re the obvious face of the city’s default crisis, the homes with the browned-out lawns and peeling paint. But RealtyTrac’s numbers show that for every one of those homes you see, there are four others in foreclosure that look healthy, but are actually in trouble. It’s the same story with former owners clinging to bank-owned homes, often as squatters.

Either way, RealtyTrac’s figures show Las Vegans are quicker than average to abandon their home once they have loan trouble. That’s partly because prices skyrocketed so much in the bubble that homeowners can’t see a way out of their debt hole, Blomquist said.

But continual tweaks to the foreclosure process haven’t helped, confusing homeowners about just how long they can stay, Blomquist said. They may have more time to hang around than they think; the average time to complete a foreclosure in Nevada has jumped from 280 days in 2010 to 420 days now, RealtyTrac’s data show.

Even if it takes longer, that distressed inventory will eventually take a bite out of the market, Blomquist said. And that’s where there’s danger for the recovery.

“Foreclosure activity in Las Vegas has been going down on its surface, but beneath the numbers, there’s still some distress that needs to be dealt with,” Blomquist said. “The market has been gliding along over the past year and a half, not dealing with distressed homes. It’s been able to disengage a bit from reality because these properties have been held back from being sold. It’s helped prices accelerate very quickly.”

That’s not to say prices will plummet once shadow inventory reaches the market, Blomquist said. He said he believes the market is “pretty well-equipped” to handle any new inventory given strong demand. Look for vampire homes to hit the market in the next six to 12 months. Zombie homes could take longer, because they’re still in a complicated foreclosure process, he said.

“This additional inventory will potentially be snapped up very quickly by buyers who still see the Las Vegas market as a great value,” he said. “The flip-side is that this could be a good opportunity for people who may have felt like they missed out on the bottom of the market.”

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