housing

NY Times plunges new lows – if that was possible

What a disgrace. NY Times journalist Murray Carpenter and photographer Tristan Spinsky want to run a story which publicizes Fox presenter Tucker Carlson’s home address to get him off the air. Imagine if Tucker Carlson reported where NY Times editors and journalists lived? We would never hear the end of it.

No matter how abhorrent NYT might find Carlson’s politics to be, his family should be totally off-limits. We thought that Bari Weiss’ resignation letter was the peak of the disgraceful antics at the NYT.

This is criminal, sinister and a perfect example of how reprehensible the one reputable paper has become. Instead of crushing Carlson’s arguments with facts and logic, they want to cancel him. Tells us all we need to know.

When NYC residents took the law into their own hands in 1979

We’ve written quite a bit lately on the utterly hopeless NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his weakness in tackling crime.

We’ve written in the past about vigilantism in NYC several years ago and we see that inevitably, NY citizens will start to take the law into their own hands. They will have little choice.

The truth is the Guardian Angels have already returned, since deBlasio took office in 2014.

If we go back to the 1970s, when crime was surging, NYC’s population fell from 7,894,862 to 7,071,639 over the next decade.

What caused this? In the 1970s, NYC faced problems with the budget and by 1975 was teetering on bankruptcy. This led to shedding of public service jobs including the fire department and the NYPD. The fall in foot patrols in NYC saw crime soar. Homicide rates climbed as follows:

1960: 6.19 per 100,000 residents

1970: 14.14

1980: 25.60

1990: 30.66

2000: 8.44

2010: 6.53

2019: 3.75

2020: 4.26 (6 month run rate)

At this stage homicide in NYC is well off long term rates despite the sharp % increases seen since the death of George Floyd). One wonders whether the history of the 1980s will return as de Blasio cuts funding to the NYPD when the number of cops on the beat fell substantially. Will residents start moving to other parts of the country and hollow out the tax base?

We found this document interesting, especially the following statement:

While the NYPD has made approximately 40,000 fewer overall arrests so far this year compared with last year, gun arrests year-to-date as of July 5 are 1,679 vs. 1,683. We have also seen the impacts of legislative mandates sending offenders no longer eligible for bail back to the streets where they are being regularly rearrested and contributing to overall crime in the city.

Who knew? Now that NYPD cops are quitting in record numbers and new recruits aren’t being hired to replace them, what could possibly go wrong?

Expect to see more stories about the Guardian Angels in NYC as residents fill the hole that the virtue signaling segregationist mayor has opened.

To think how the mayor was so willing to use the NYPD as a Gestapo to fine residents for disobeying stay-at-home orders. Recall deBlasio even encouraged NYers to dob in their neighbors.

Keeping up with the Obamas

Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd once said that climate change was “the great moral challenge of our generation.” He also wrote in an essay in 2019 that “neighbouring island states are facing the future disappearance of their countries altogether through coastal inundation.”

The Rudds have just bought a $17m beachfront house in Noosa.

They must have taken notes from the Obamas who bought a $15m waterfront property in Martha’s Vineyard.

Why is Mother Nature so generous to left-wing former heads of state?

Thanks SF for the flag.

83 tons of counterfeit gold bars discovered in…Wuhan, China

A dozen Chinese financial institutions, mainly shadow banks loaned 20 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) over the past five years to a company named Wuhan Kingold Jewelry which used pure gold as collateral. The “gold” turned out to be gold-plated copper. Lenders are now left with 16 billion yuan vacuum in collateral because of the fake bars.

Dongguan Trust set out to sell the fake bars to cover defaulted Kingold debts but soon discovered that it had been hoodwinked.

Turns out the scam went even deeper – all the way to real estate…the full story here.

“Master bedroom” cancelled

The Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) has announced it will stop using the word “master bedroom” when referring to features of a house because it could be perceived a harking back to slavery. It will be replaced by “primary bedroom.”

What’s next?

Will university Masters degrees be changed?

MasterChef?

Master Builders Association?

Oprah’s Master Class?

The Masters golf tournament?

Master Locks?

Master Specs?

Master Projects?

Master Cleaning Services?

Master Shipwrights?

Rainbow Master Painters?

When will this cancel culture stop?

Open Letter from doctors on BLM during COVID19

RacDoc

An ‘Open letter advocating for an anti-racist public health response to demonstrations against systemic injustice occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic  has been published with 1,288 cosignatories.

It is nothing more than the standard sanctimonious drivel sacrificed on the altar of political correctness served up by liberals desperate to appear chic in a cancel culture using their supposed intellectual superiority over everyone else.

The open letter lends its support to BLM during the novel coronavirus pandemic, stating that “white supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19.

Naturally, we wanted to test the depth of the bench of the consignatories telling us that we “Listen, and prioritize the needs of Black people as expressed by Black voices.

Should we view an art therapist who signed as a leading light? The group of Seattle 500 Women Scientists? The transgender entry? The lawyers? The veterinary surgeons? The housing company? The Twitter follower? How about Antonia Beachem, Human? The former probation officer? The postdoctoral researcher at the Barcelona Lab for Environmental Justice and Sustainability? Meditating for Black Lives? The Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility & Radical Public Health? The priest? The pastor?

Apart from the predictable content of the virtue signaling hyperbole, what a shame only 19% of the cosignatories are actual doctors. 37% that co-signed are academics (excluding MDs that lecture), 10% are students and 28% are individuals who don’t list their profession. The rest are a hodgepodge of activist groups.

What these puritans overlook is that most can see this letter is just an expression of their chic political views, wrapped in medical opinion. When so many sign the document from other fields, it dilutes what little credibility there was to begin with.

We’ve seen this sort of thing before.

Remember 11,000 cosignatories to a non-peer reviewed paper on climate change that included Mickey Mouse and Albus Dumbledore?

Or the Feb 2020 Safe Climate Declaration which hosted 100 speakers of which less than 5% were climate scientists. Most were from academia, media and high schools.

Or the 268 cosignatories of an open letter in support of Extinction Rebellion (XR). Perhaps the most hilarious signatory to the letter was Matthew Flinders. Our esteemed explorer seemed to have navigated his way back to life after 200 years.

Or the the sanctimonious video made by the World Mental Health Coalition (WMHC) where all members co-signed the case for Trump’s lack of mental capacity. Sounds impressive using “world”, doesn’t it? Given the World Psychiatric Association represents 200,000 members worldwide, WHMC’s 37 members seems rather pathetic by comparison. Be sure to read how they were prepared to ditch their Hippocratic oath to smear Trump.

Back to this open letter. Let’s not forget the poor ethics displayed by many in the medical community – such as publishing a rushed paper and retracting it in The Lancet on hydroxychloroquine. Or the farcical behaviour of WHO and its kowtowing to China.

Perhaps we might reflect on the alarmist medical experts who lusted power with ridiculously exaggerated forecasts which have likely tanked the global economy and created a far worse outcome for all, especially the minorities they claim to defend.

We can’t wait for them to sound alarms when people attend Trump rallies and accuse them of being grossly negligent.

So in conclusion, certain members of the medical community should stay in their lane. They are entitled to free speech but using fancy letters after their name to lecture the rest of us to check our white privilege discredits them.

A closing thought. Have these MDs considered offering their medical services to the black community gratis to help them overcome centuries of institutionalized racism? Of course not.

Who Knew? 18.6% of Minneapolis real estate listings up for sale in last 7 days

Minnyap@

Do Americans really want Democrat policies at a national level? As the Minneapolis City Council voted to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with community-led public safety groups, reports are that 18.6% of Minneapolis’ total real estate listings have come up for sale in just 7 days. Real estate website Zillow has tested at 15%. As a rule, 5-6% of total properties is a general average for properties for sale at any one time. Minneapolis at 3x that. Who knew?

What did these politicians think when they were debating to disband the police? None of this cross their minds?

What is worse, the tax base will shrink with it further compounding the problems these political hacks think they will solve for with kumbaya hand-holding. Watch crime soar. Well done liberals. Just when we think new levels of stupidity are hit, you guys manage to lower the bar time after time.

Once again, how can sane Americans honestly see Democrats as a credible alternative to Trump, for all of his foibles?

We pray the Gov’t makes more $60bn mistakes!

Can the media and shadow politicians get a grip? Since when should taxpayers complain when the government makes a huge error in our favour? We can pretty much stake our lives on the fact that 99% of government programs end up way more expensive than initially budgeted for. French Submarines anyone? NBN? We should be looking at the JobKeeper revision as a massive positive.

The federal government estimated that the JobKeeper program would initially cost $130 billion. Now it appears they overestimated it by $60 billion. That was driven by the idiosyncrasies of who would be eligible at the employer end – from the self-employed to big business and everything in between.

Given the limited time window, forgive the Treasury and Tax Office for not landing estimates on target. It is ridiculous to expect they could estimate such a fluid piece of legislation.

The unwelcome arrival of COVID19 and the sudden stay-at-home orders that ensued hardly gave a generous window of opportunity to apply Japanese level precision engineering to the process.

Our only criticism lies with the drip feed approach to restarting the hibernating economy. As we mentioned yesterday with respect to the 50 US states, so many appear to be copying each other rather than making bold data driven decisions based on facts not consensus.

The reality is that the Treasury will need to make many more multi billion dollar mistakes in the spirit of JobKeeper to help mitigate the damage caused by the looking trillion dollar deficits.

Perhaps the $60 billion saving can be redeployed to building a bullet train from Sydney to Melbourne. A 20-yr project that is just the type of infrastructure spending which ticks so many boxes – relieving pressure on the state capitol cities, housing, assist a growing population and provide lots of jobs.

The Fed firemen are also the arsonists

Jim Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer has a great article pointing out the irresponsibility of the US Fed. It criticises the very conditions that made the outcomes of coronavirus way worse than had they administered sensible monetary policies decades ago. FNF Media has been saying this for years. Now we are facing long overdue nemesis. It is true of the overwhelming majority of unimaginative MMT ‘me too’ central banks.

Grant wrote,

It took a viral invasion to unmask the weakness of American finance. Distortion in the cost of credit is the not-so-remote cause of the raging fires at which the Federal Reserve continues to train its gushing liquidity hoses…But the firemen are also the arsonists. It was the Fed’s suppression of borrowing costs, and its predictable willingness to cut short Wall Street’s occasional selling squalls, that compromised the U.S. economy’s financial integrity.

FNF Media keeps on hearing tales about the failure of evil capitalism. When the actions of central banks stifle the free market from achieving price discovery, distorted capitalism will inevitably backfire.

From hereon, sharp pain will be the only effective – and quickest – way to resolve this mess. Governments need to ensure bad companies go bankrupt by rejecting bailout money to zombie companies that will just be a drag on the economy.

Instead of doling out tax dollars, the government should take equity in any business that receives money. Taxpayers deserve a return and by this methodology, it will enforce a mindset that always rejects propping up companies with failed business models. Instead of the government calling the shots, the expertise of commercial lenders should be tapped, a valid point made by Jonathan Rochford.

Unfortunately, this will cause huge short-term disruption and impact large swathes of the community but it will allow markets to clear and provide a platform for risk to be priced appropriately. It is like yanking off a Band-Aid. It stings at first but the recovery becomes far more sound, based on rational economics. Failure to do so will just lead to a protracted Frankenstein economy which will frustrate the majority.

The sad reality will be that Western governments will try to emulate Japan’s lost two decades by crawling on our belly making marginal inches forward. This is somehow seen as superior to hitting the giant “reset” button.

The only major difference being that the Japanese monoculture is experienced and better suited than any other nation to share grief. Western cultures are not remotely close to being able to tolerate such conformity. Japan is not capitalism with warts. It is socialism with beauty spots. It will pay to remember this. In the West, we will demand that others atone for our mistakes. Moral hazard will be the order of the day. This mentality must be stopped dead in its tracks.

Grant reinforced our long-held view on distorting capital markets with this,

The Fed commandeered investment values into the government’s service. It seeded bull markets in the public interest…But investment valuations don’t exist to serve a public-policy agenda. Their purpose is to allocate capital. Distort those values and you waste not only money but also timeLike a shark, credit must keep moving. Loans fall due and must be repaid or rolled over (or, in extremis, defaulted on). When the economy stops, as the world has effectively done, lenders are likely to demand the cash that not every borrower can produce.

We must not forget that post-GFC authorities have been asleep at the wheel even after the introduction of poorly thought out red tape designed to protect us.

Right before the regulators’ eyes, so many blue-chip corporations (e.g. Boeing, GE) binged on ultra-cheap debt to buy back their own shares just to chase short term performance incentives. In recent years, companies like Boeing and GE spent around $45 billion each aggressively buying back their own stock despite being in the midst of severe balance sheet deterioration. Both are trading in a state of negative equity today.

Ford Motor has a junk credit rating. GE & Boeing won’t be far behind them. Over 50% of US corporates are trading one-two notches above junk.

IMG_0523.PNG

The financial community has merely taken advantage of all of this short-termism. Where were the financial analysts doing forensic work on companies? All of this balance sheet deterioration was plain to see.  Why couldn’t they see the obvious long term deterioration in cash conversion cycles? How could they miss that aggregate corporate after-tax profitability has been trending sideways since 2012? Where were the biopsies? We will be witness to plenty of autopsies that were preventable.

Corp Profits After Tax

For Australia’s part, 28 years of unfettered economic growth has bred untold complacency. Only now will we realise the conceited arrogance of government and industry alike. One day we will realise that all of the onerous regulations dripping in ideology (e.g. climate/environment) to confound foreign investment will blow up in our faces. They will not have forgotten that Australia is an unfriendly place to conduct business.

Australia has behaved like a bloated drunk bishop looking down upon his destitute disciples climbing the stairs on hands and knees putting what is left of their pitiful savings into the collection tin. From now, the roles will be reversed at prices that will be highly unfavourable such will be our desperation. Not to mention our currency could well depreciate to a degree which makes us even more vulnerable to foreign predators. Setting our FIRB at $0 will be irrelevant if we fold to the whims of the first suitor that shows interest. The show will be on the other foot.

In press conference after press conference, we continue to be told that hibernating companies will spring back to life and it will all be a case of ‘keep calm and carry on!’We hate to sound negative here.

However, we believe that we are merely being realistic about what is to unfold. The coming depression will force us to become truly appreciative about just how well we have had it while governments have distorted our markets. Had we truly reflected on decades of prosperity instead of wailing about how life has never been worse, things might have turned out differently. We are about to get a true taste of the latter.

On reflection, some positives will come out of this tragedy because we will focus on things that matter rather than getting enmeshed in the theatre of the absurd – identity politics and the cancel culture.

Coronavirus might be a black swan event to the global economy but we have been complicit by allowing our lawmakers and regulators to play slalom with the icebergs. We all knew our overloaded ship was in danger of listing before we left the safe harbour but it was simpler to be suckered into the weather forecasts that predicted endless sunshine and eternal millponds. The engines have now stalled because the tanks are empty. We find ourselves in the middle of a pitch-black, stormy night with howling gale-force winds and a 40-foot swell. Some continue to cling on to the blind hope that the incumbent crew can bail fast enough to avoid the economy capsizing.

It will be all in vain because the ship’s crew left a tape recorder playing on a loop over the tannoy promising passengers to stay in their cabins while they secretly slipped away in the early hours on the only lifeboats available.

Central banks had one mission – create confidence. They have been complicit in the failure. They doubled down on all of the same policies that got them in trouble in the lead up to GFC. They had a simple task of telling governments to embark on structural and tax reform. Instead, they appeased their masters by endlessly cutting rates.

Never again must central banks be allowed to use QE to rescue the economy in a downturn. Central bank balance sheets should be forced to unwind all QE assets. Interest rates must be allowed to set at normalised rates which allow positive returns but avoid reckless borrowing.

While a lot of this piece might sound pessimistic we simply view it as being a realist with experience.

NYC’s know-it-all medical experts focused on social justice before social distancing

Corona

NY now leads the coronavirus tally in the US. Nationwide, more than 190,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. 47,439 in NY City and 83,712 in NY State. It seems that NYC’s health professionals felt ignoring Trump was the right thing to do because of the need to stop stigmatising certain community members.

NYC’s Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot was out there 10 days after Trump’s China travel ban telling NYers to get out there and mingle because of the misinformation about coronavirus. She said on Feb 2 that there was “no reason not to take the subway, not to take the bus or go to your favourite restaurant and certainly not to miss the parade.

On Feb 10, Barbot tweeted her expertise as a doctor with this. It seems that NY cab drivers, usually the last people to know, didn’t trust the advice.

Cabbies

She had also retweeted there was nothing to worry about as no coronavirus infections were recorded.

No danger

Not to worry though, as infections soared, Barbot was still able to retweet more important self-congratulation on her “expertise, commitment and incredible strength during COVID-19” and being the first Latina to head NYC Health. In hindsight, most New Yorkers would have preferred not to risk contagion over prioritising identity politics.

SJWOxir

Are our attention spans so short as to ignore the advice of Barbot 5 weeks prior? Get out and mingle to “stay home!

Barbot tweeted her concern in a video address urging people to self-isolate.

stayhome

Chair of New York City Council health committee, Mark D. Levine had jumped on the social justice bandwagon around the time of Barbot’s let’s mingle comments tweeting how people staying away were missing out on the festivities.

Lebine

How quickly his tune changed.

sidewalks

At least Levine didn’t resist the temptation to bring in wealth inequality into the debate. Apparently, the virus is classist. Probably racist too.

WOke

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had been back to San Francisco on Feb 25th telling people to get together in Chinatown and “unify with our community” then slam Trump’s early denial as being “deadly. Which is it?

Pelosi

So for all of Trump’s bluster on COVID19, will the media concede that the other supposed “brains” who claim to know better have shown gross misjudgment? Not a chance. How long will it be before Pelosi and the media demands Trump be impeached over his handling of the crisis?