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Central Bankers Across The Developed World Have Painted Themselves Into A Corner

A report from CBC News in Canada. “According to the latest sales figures, the downward trend in Vancouver’s real estate market is firmly in place. The average price for a house on the west side is $2.9 million compared to over $4 million just a year ago. Values on the east side have dropped on average by $325,000  — from $1.7 million to $1.375 million. Condo prices are also down by approximately nine per cent.”

“While this is great for potential buyers, it is troubling for retirees who are counting on their homes’ equity to help fund their retirement. For many of the two million homeowners in B.C., their home is their largest financial asset, so a significant drop in value will impact their retirement plans.”

“Of course, the best time to sell is during a hot market, but unfortunately many do not list their home due to FOMO, the fear of missing out. Instead, they delay and only list after prices begin dropping, during a buyers’ market.”

From Bloomberg on Sweden. “The business model of selling apartments under construction and booking profits along the way before a project is finished is now grinding to halt. The troubles are also raising warning flags for the broader economy. The booming housing market has been a key component of the fast growth in recent years, but is now emerging as one of its greatest risk.”

“With many property developers struggling, buyers are even questioning if they are going to get anything at all. Bankruptcies are up 24 percent so far this year in Stockholm, of which a fifth are in companies linked to the housing market.”

“Michael Grahn, chief economist in Stockholm at Danske Bank A/S, predicts home prices have further to fall, which will kill more projects and may possible mean the end of some of the smaller developers. ‘Producers have been building too expensive homes during a number of years when people were willing to pay no matter what,’ he said. ‘That time is over, they will struggle to sell those expensive homes.'”

From Jeju Weekly on Korea. “Just a few years ago, the future of Jeju was rosy. However, since last year, people have stopped moving to Jeju and the number of tourists, which had continually been on a sharp rise, is downhill. Suddenly, Jeju can no longer live up to its thriving reputation.”

“The housing environment is also getting worse due to the real estate bubble. The number of unsold pre-sale houses in Jeju has reached a record high, and in particular, the number of fully constructed unsold pre-sale houses, considered a negative sign, is also at a record high.”

“An affiliate of a housing construction company said, ‘Once the Jeju migration fad took off, even small construction companies from the mainland came to Jeju to purchase land and build houses with bank loans. A lot of companies have already gone bankrupt because the houses weren’t sold in time to pay off the debt.'”

From on Australia. “First home buyers may be rejoicing at falling house price forecasts of up to 25 per cent in some cities, but for others it’s terrible news. People already repaying mortgages can face negative equity — when what they owe is more than the value of their property.”

“‘Negative equity is something fairly new. We saw it in Western Australia’s mining towns recently when some houses halved in value overnight,’ said Mozo property expert Steven Jovcevski.”

From ABC News in Australia. “When it comes to the dodgy art of forecasting, everyone seems to cluster around a central position, which kind of defeats the point of forecasting. What these two graphs show is how the Reserve Bank, effectively, snookered itself. Back in 2012, when debt and housing prices already were elevated, it fired up the east coast housing market, and construction, to take up the employment slack as the mining boom unwound.”

“But it created a monster. As housing went on a tear, the short-term sugar hit turned toxic. Employment took off. But housing became unaffordable to almost everyone under 35. And our household debt levels reached for the stars.”

“The end result? It couldn’t cut rates if it needed. That would add heat to a dangerously inflated housing bubble. And it could never raise rates, because that would kill household spending.”

“If it’s any consolation, our situation pales when compared with problems in the world’s biggest economies caused by easy cash and ultra-low interest rates. Central bankers across the developed world have painted themselves into a corner.”

“Decades of deregulation and trade shifts made the world a richer place. The riches, however, weren’t equally shared as heavy industry decamped to the developing world, leaving large communities underemployed and facing a bleak future.”

“Then came the global financial crisis. Vast amounts of cash was printed, conjured up from nowhere. It fired up debt levels among central banks, corporations and households. Rather than encourage investment or boost wages, however, it mostly helped the rich become even more wealthy.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Zero per cent interest rates and trillions of dollars of cash injections were supposed to be a temporary fix, a massive jolt to the heart of capitalism to revive the global economy. The problem is that no-one has figured out how to remove the medicine, how to unwind the stimulus without causing a major downturn and economic chaos.”

“Low wages, job insecurity and a sense the game is rigged tends to quickly follow through to the political arena. Voters across the developed world increasingly are shifting away from the centre and toward the extremes. Brexit, unrest within the European Union, the rise of Donald Trump and our own revolving door of prime ministers all bear witness to that.”

“That’s likely to persist and worsen for as long as the debt mountain grows and continues to prop up asset prices, as central bankers ponder just how to escape the mess.”

This Post Has 74 Comments
  1. ‘‘Negative equity is something fairly new. We saw it in Western Australia’s mining towns recently when some houses halved in value overnight’

    And that mining boom/bust was created by Chinese QE which resulted in 100 years of concrete being poured in three. BTW, that halving was on ordinary shacks in BF Australia that were fetching 700k-900k Australian pesos. It was doomed. Just how much havoc do we need to see from these idiots at the central banks before we tar and feather the lot?

    1. “Just how much havoc do we need to see from these idiots at the central banks before we tar and feather the lot?”

      Apparently a lot more, because Powell was just invited to do a 60 Minutes interview as if he’s some sort of hero.

      1. The Fed is ready and willing….at a time and place of their choosing to crank up the printing presses. QT was a head-fake.

        We’re not done with this nonsense by a long shot

        1. The end is going to come from the bottom up, not the top down. These people will be rode out of town on a rail.

    2. They’re not idiots. They know exactly what they’re doing, which is even more reason to tar and feather them.

  2. From Jeju Weekly on Korea. “Just a few years ago, the future of Jeju was rosy. However, since last year, people have stopped moving to Jeju and the number of tourists, which had continually been on a sharp rise, is downhill. Suddenly, Jeju can no longer live up to its thriving reputation.”

    Jeju island had some weird deal going where it was really easy for Chinese people to buy property and move there. And it’s very close to China. So it was seen as this perfect place for a second home for Chinese people. And then…well…you know.

    1. Screwed up the environment too. Remember when posters would say here, “they are just money laundering in Vancouver, they don’t care if the lose a little money.” Now the shacks are down a third.

    2. Check out the housing bubble and zombie apartments in Cambodia, driven entirely by Chinese money.

  3. After what happened ten years ago, we *still* have idiots who think a mortgage is a retirement plan?

        1. Nickname. One of our regulars who is hauling a donkey cart on the long road. Poster child of it’s cheaper than renting.

        2. Yea, I am the “Donk.” I joined HBB in ~2004 as a renter. I was roundly criticized as a debt donkey when I purchased a home in early 2012, after obtaining a stable Fed job. Mafi and I have been HBB online lovebugs since I bought.

          But to clarify, yes, a mortgage IS a retirement plan, or at least a good chunk of it. I did some calculations and concluded that I likely won’t be able to afford rent on a retirement income. But I can easily live in a paid-off property on a retirement income. My calculations said that renting *IS* cheaper… IF you hole up in a one-bedroom apartment, and then only for the first 12-14 years. After that, you give back back all those savings to maintain rent on your one-bed palace. For me, it was better to put the rent money toward the house. And then when I retire, I can sell and use about 1/3 to buy a small home, and add the rest to my nest egg.

          That said, mortgages only work well if you can stay in the house for 10+ years. If you need to be mobile, that changes the equation.

    1. “After what happened ten years ago, we *still* have idiots who think a mortgage is a retirement plan?”

      A mortgage IS INDEED a retirement plan for those who are positioned properly.

      Personally I LOVE mortgages. My dream is everybody in the country mortgages themselves to the max.

      1. I get the sarcasm, but it just boggles my mind where people think that property should generate an annual return anywhere near a good quality investment strategy.

        And if the house did somehow end up appreciating that much, what will the one you end up having to move to after you sell it cost you? You’re sitting on a gold mine, but everything else on the market is dirt cheap, because the rising tide only lifts the boat you’re in?

        I blame HGTV for all of this.

        1. The advantage of owning a primary residence manifests a little more each year as time goes one; as the monthly payment doesn’t increase but your salary (presumably) does. The real advantage is when you retire. You can sell that gold mine and move to a totally different, cheaper market. It’s typical to pay off the mortgage at nearly the same time as retirement — that’s what 30 years means.

          That’s been the norm for the past 50+ years, but it’s being turned on its head. Retirees in California aren’t selling their homes because of taxes. Retirees in the Rust Belt aren’t selling their homes because their area now IS a low-cost depressed area. College loans are preventing Millenials from buying houses the way their parents did. W@H and gig economy is redefining where we live, etc.

          1. Oh, and to add to the disruption, retirees aren’t selling because they want to stay “near grandchildren.”” Or, people aren’t paying off the home at the same time as they retire. They either bought too late, got trapped in the Great Recession and had to start over, or hocked the house for HGTV home repairs or kiddie’s college. Or they or sold a cheaper house and moved to a fancy retirement palace in some development in FL or AZ.

            (Really, how aren’t these retirees not bled dry by sky-high HOA fees? Those fairways don’t mow themselves.)

          2. sell that gold mine

            Overpaying for a house that is much bigger than you need, ignoring depreciation, using money you didn’t have so that you pay just as much to the bank in interest as the price of the house, then selling in a depressed market after the bubble pops may not be the ideal gold mine. It may make you rich like you hoped though. Good luck.

            I took a different approach. In about 10 years I saved enough to buy that modest retirement house cash plus enough extra cash to retire. Just by living modestly with no mortgage. It helped that my stable job didn’t require to live in Insanity Central.

          3. You can sell that gold mine and move to a totally different, cheaper market.

            That assumes that there should/will be expensive markets and cheap markets. And if that’s true then EVERYONE should move to the expensive market at the beginning of their career and then retire to the cheap market. Obviously it’s not possible for everyone to do that. So the people who do it get a nice comfortable retirement and everyone else gets screwed.

            Do you want Trump? Because that’s how you get Trump :-).

          4. Yes Blue, I know your angle. Single woman has no business buying a 3/2 house, partially because she doesn’t need it, and partially because she’s “robbing” a house from some other family with kids.

            Using money I don’t have… well, what if a landlord told a renter: please pay the next 10 years of rent tomorrow, all at once. What is that renter going to do?

            ” It helped that my stable job didn’t require to live in Insanity Central.”

            I’ve been checking comps in my little corner of Insanity Central. The scoop is: I could sell my house TOMORROW, pay off the mortgage, pay the realtors, and STILL buy a house like this:


            outright, for cash. That’s less than 7 years of appreciation and equity. Add in a little savings and I could do much better.

          5. she’s “robbing” a house from some other family

            You’re making that up. I never even thought that.

            Insanity Central

            I moved out to the country from where the big city was too close and prices were too high. Fortunate for me.

            And yes Oxy, I still think a 3/2 for a single person on a 25 year loan is not living frugally. You think paying off a debt is the path to riches, I don’t. You’ll be lucky to come out of it with 25c on the dollar spent if the bubble pops.

  4. “But it created a monster. As housing went on a tear, the short-term sugar hit turned toxic. Employment took off. But housing became unaffordable to almost everyone under 35. And our household debt levels reached for the stars.”

    Heckova job, central bankers.

    1. “But housing became unaffordable to almost everyone under 35”

      Remind me again where in the constitution it says a 27 year old is guaranteed to own a home…..

  5. “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” – Mayer Amschel Rothschild, International Banker

    “I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the Bank. … You are a den of vipers and thieves.” – Andrew Jackson, 7th president of the U.S., attempted assassination. Quoted in 1834, on closing the Second Bank (Central Bank) of the United States; (unabridged form, extended citation).

    “Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of all industry and commerce…when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate.” – James A. Garfield, 20th president of the U.S., assassinated.

    John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the U.S., assassinated.
    Executive Order 11110: (a presidential decree enacted June, 4th 1963) that strips the Federal Reserve of it’s authority to charge interest on money loaned to the US government (money that is created out of thin air).
    “(j) The authority vested in the President by paragraph (b) of section 43 of the Act of May 12, 1933, as amended (31 U.S.C. 821 (b)), to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury not then held for redemption of any outstanding silver certificates, to prescribe the denominations of such silver certificates, and to coin standard silver dollars and subsidiary silver currency for their redemption,”…

    “The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth.” – Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, 1994 on the PBS Nightly Business Report

    “Market analysis has now become central bank analysis. All the old methods of analyzing markets have given way to deciphering what the Fed or ECB will do next.”
– Richard Russell in one of his last Dow Theory Letters, October 2015

    ‘Asset prices may have become distorted relative to the economic fundamentals and the very slow pace of our balance sheet normalization may still be contributing to a buildup of various financial imbalances.’ -Kansas City Fed President, Esther George
    — Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) March 9, 2018

    “Earnings don’t move the overall market; it’s the Federal Reserve Board… focus on the central banks and focus on the movement of liquidity… most people in the market are looking for earnings and conventional measures. It’s liquidity that moves markets.” – Stan Druckenmiller, Jan., 2015

    My comment: We’ve now reached “debt saturation”, where no one can take on significantly more debt. This is poison to a fractional reserve banking system, where debt=growth. The Fed and other central banks have indeed painted themselves into a corner. This is the expected result/end game for any centrally planned, command economy or economic system. Fiat currency (i.e. monopoly money) and the electronic printing press (i.e. counterfeiting) allowed this to happen, along with Congress abdicating their responsibility to keep the U.S. dollar backed by precious metals. What’s next? Got gold?

    “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning,” – Henry Ford

    1. “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

      1. Great quote……….but Jefferson never said it.

        However, he did write this to a friend “And I sincerely believe with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; & that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

        And this:
        “Bank-paper must be suppressed, and the circulating medium must be restored to the nation to whom it belongs.”

    2. “’The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth.’ – Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve”

      Alan Blinder. From Wikipedia …

      “Many have argued that Blinder’s stint at the Fed was cut short because of his tendency to challenge chairman Alan Greenspan:

      “[Economist] Rob Johnson, who watched the Blinder ordeal, says Blinder made the mistake of behaving as if the Fed was a place where competing ideas and assumptions were debated. ‘Sociologically, what was happening was the Fed staff was really afraid of Blinder. At some level, as an applied empirical economist, Alan Blinder is really brilliant,’ says Johnson.

      “In closed-door meetings, Blinder did what so few do: challenged assumptions. The Fed staff would come out and their ritual is: Greenspan has kind of told them what to conclude and they produce studies in which they conclude this. And Blinder treated it more like an open academic debate when he first got there and he’d come out and say, ‘Well, that’s not true. If you change this assumption and change this assumption and use this kind of assumption you get a completely different result.’ And it just created a stir inside – it was sort of like the whole pipeline of Greenspan-arriving-at-decisions was disrupted.

      “This put him in conflict with Greenspan and his staff. ‘A lot of senior staff … were pissed off about Blinder – how should we say? – not playing by the customs that they were accustomed to,’ Johnson says.”

      1. “Blinder made the mistake of behaving as if the Fed was a place where competing ideas and assumptions were debated.”

        They do play it that way for public viewing, but it seems that Blinder took the appearance too seriously.

        1. You’re welome, RPR.

          Did you catch Powell on 60 Minutes last night? The fear was palpable. I thought Old Yellen would be the one to drive the car into the ditch, leaving critics to wonder who let Grandma take the wheel, but instead it looks like Powell is going to be the fall guy.

          1. Did you catch Powell on 60 Minutes last night? The fear was palpable.

            I did not. I may have to now.

  6. People are smart.

    A conversation I once had with a guy about playing roulette went something like this:

    Him: Bet on black and you will win (he had just returned from Vegas and apparantly he won some money playing roulette).

    Me: Let’s see: There are 38 slots on a roulette wheel, 18 red, 18 black, a zero, and a double zero, is that correct?

    Him: Hmmmm … yes, that is correct.

    Me: This means that there are 18 chances for the ball to land in a black slot and twenty chances for the ball to land in a slot that is not black, is that correct?

    Him: Hmmmm … yes, that is correct.

    Me: This means the ball is most likely to land in a slot that is not black, is that correct?

    Him: Bet on black and you will win.

    1. Wouldn’t that mean that you should always place 3 red bets always including the two off the boards.0 and 00?

  7. “While this is great for potential buyers, it is troubling for retirees who are counting on their homes’ equity to help fund their retirement. For many of the two million homeowners in B.C., their home is their largest financial asset, so a significant drop in value will impact their retirement plans.”

    Home equity gains as a retirement plan in a period of extreme asset price volatility seems unwise.

    1. Dissipating your prime working years paying interest to the bank, property taxes to the state and throwing money at relentless maintenance and upgrade expenses is not what I’d call a retirement savings plan.

      1. Paying depreciation at a rate of $3-$4 per sq ft year after wallet draining year isn’t much of an investment. Stack on losses to taxes and you’ve got yourself a bonafide lemon.

        Meanwhile rental rates continue to fall.

    2. Home equity is not the retirement plan. The lack of a monthly housing payment is the retirement plan. (yes, I know about taxes…)

      1. Paying a mortgage is basically forced savings. The savings part is what you get after you pay interest and maintenance. I do think that some people do better having a mortgage because they would not save otherwise. I’ve never wanted to have a mortgage though because I do save and in my lifetime I’ve never seen housing prices at a level that I would consider rational.

  8. “That’s likely to persist and worsen for as long as the debt mountain grows and continues to prop up asset prices, as central bankers ponder just how to escape the mess.”

    They got stucco. (They really are stucco…)

  9. Global Economy Hits Its Weakest Spell Since Financial Crisis

    “The global economy’s sharp loss of speed through 2018 has left the pace of expansion the weakest since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to Bloomberg Economics.

    “Its new GDP tracker puts world growth at 2.1 percent on a quarter-on-quarter annualized basis, down from about 4 percent in the middle of last year. While there’s a chance that the economy may find a foothold and arrest the slowdown, ‘the risk is that downward momentum will be self-sustaining,’ say economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik.”

    OMG! Whatever can be done?

    “The reasons for hope? The Federal Reserve’s decision to pause its interest-rate hikes …”

    Bankers to the rescue! 😁

    “… a U.S.-China trade truce and the fading of the shocks that battered Europe in 2018 could mean stabilization is around the corner. Other central banks have also stepped up, with the European Central Bank last week announcing new measures to help the economy through the current weakness.”

    Central banks = The real heros of today.

    “But the global economy is not out of the woods. The OECD’s latest composite leading indicator — published Monday — indicates easing momentum in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and the euro area as a whole, including Germany and Italy. There are, however, signs of stabilization in China.”

    Stabilization in China: Stay tuned for further developments in that area. (Should it be mentioned that Xi seeks to be Emperor of China for life?)

    “Despite the gloom, ECB policy makers have been keen to put a brave face …”

    “… a brave face …” I like that term. Sounds rather heroic.

    “… on the deterioration, pushing the view the euro zone is experiencing a slowdown, not a recession.

    “’We are still seeing robust economic growth, although it’s less strong than before,’ Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published Monday. ‘It will take longer for inflation to reach our objective …”

    Inflation reaching our objective is defined as higher inflation not lower. Now just how wierd is that?

    “… but it will get there. We are reacting to the developments we have seen so far.”

    Building on previous successes, no doubt.

    For more, go here …

  10. 1. Dumb ’em down.

    2. Profit.

    “Loss of local news hinders ability to watchdog government”


    “Newspapers are closing or being consolidated at an astounding rate, often leaving behind what researchers label as news deserts — towns and even entire counties that have no consistent local media coverage.

    “According to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by the University of North Carolina, more than 1,400 towns and cities in the U.S. have lost a newspaper over the past 15 years. Many of those are in rural and lower-income areas, often with an aging population.

    “The loss of a reliable local news source has many consequences for the community. One of them is the inability to watchdog the actions of government agencies and elected officials.

    “Newspapers typically have played the lead role in their communities in holding local officials accountable. That includes filing requests to get public records that shine a light on government action — or inaction — or even filing lawsuits to promote transparency.

    “’Strong newspapers have been good for democracy, and both educators and informers of a citizenry and its governing officials. They have been problem-solvers,’ said Penelope Muse Abernathy, a University of North Carolina professor who studies news industry trends and oversaw the ‘news desert’ report released last fall.

    “’That is what you are missing when you don’t have someone covering you and bringing transparency or sunlight onto government decisions and giving people a say in how those government decisions are made.”

  11. A weekend (two whole days) came and went thus …

    “Tesla walks back its plan to close most showrooms”.

    “Tesla is walking back plans to close most of its showrooms worldwide and announced price hikes for most of its electric vehicles.

    “Tesla announced last month that it would shutter most of its stores to cut costs so it could sell its lower-priced Model 3 for $35,000. The company continues its shift to toward online-only sales, but now says it won’t close as many stores as originally thought.

    “The $35,000 base Model 3 will still be available, but the company is raising prices by 3 percent on all other models.

    “In a Monday filing with government regulators, Tesla now says it closed 10 percent of its stores, but a few of those will now remain open. Another 20 percent are being evaluated and some could remain open.

    “The company gave no numbers, but said it would close only about half the stores that it had intended to. It has 378 stores and service centers worldwide and about 100 stores in the U.S.

    “’As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3 percent on average worldwide,’ a company’s statement said. ‘We will only close about half as many stores, but the cost savings are therefore only about half.’

    “Remaining stores could have fewer workers, but will have vehicles available for test drives and a small inventory in case people want to buy immediately, the statement said.

    Okay, so what else is going on with Tesla? With this company there’s gotta be something else.

    Oh …

    “The company also announced Monday that it has purchased car-hauling trucks and trailers from a California company in a stock deal worth about $14.2 million. Tesla paid for the purchase with about 50,000 previously authorized shares. Tesla wants to increase its vehicle transportation capacity and cut delivery times.

    “The reversal shows that Tesla had second thoughts about shuttering the stores and whether buyers would make such a large purchase without a test drive. The company says it still plans to offer buyers the ability to return purchased vehicles at no cost after a seven-day or 1,000 mile test drive.

    “Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey called the move ‘startling’ and said it undermines the credibility of Musk and Tesla’s management.

    “’How else can you view it except to see it as a remarkable example of lack of foresight or planning?’ Ramsey asked. ‘It’s almost as if the decision was announced and made without any analysis of what the outcome would be.’

    “Musk probably realized that he was locked into long-term leases on the stores that he would have to pay regardless of whether they were closed, Ramsey said.

    “The move made no sense to begin with because Tesla had spent millions fighting in courts and state legislatures trying to change laws that prevented companies from selling vehicles at their own stores, Ramsey said.”

    There’s more …

    1. My favorite part of this article …

      “Tesla paid for the purchase with about 50,000 previously authorized shares.”

      Beats using real money. Investors (stupid ones at that) push up the price of Tesla’s stock and then Tesla goes out and buys whatever and pays for this whatever with this pricy stock.

      Take to the extreme Tesla could eventually buy up the entire world without spending one dime of real money.

      1. Take to the extreme Tesla could eventually buy up the entire world without spending one dime of real money.

        They learned that one from you, I think.

      2. Tesla’s about face on the retail strategy is good. The sloppy and amateurish announcement of last week was a poor look on the company, especially the sales staff that had the rug pulled from under them.

        Having said that, I do think the future of car buying is mostly online or more of a “showcase” model. But the hasty roll-out of an “online-only” strategy was ill-advised. I purchased my Tesla without a test drive, but very few people will do that. You can’t erase the chaos of the past week, but I am happy that Tesla has come to it’s senses.

        1. By the way, the poster “in” is actually OAM. I don’t know why browser kept saving “in” to that field.

        1. Saw the “accusation of drug sales” in there. It would be pretty hilarious if Tesla/Musk turned into another DeLorean.

    2. Filed under Yellen bucks going to money heaven:

      Does China’s sagging rent-a-bike market signal an end of road for bike-sharing firms?

      ‘Despite being flushed with cash, Ofo which was fully operational in Pune and Coimbatore and was running pilot projects in seven other cities announced that it is pulling out of India. This was just afterseven months in the market.’

      ‘Mobike with over 9 million orange bicycles operating in over 200 cities across 16 countries was taken over by online food and retail delivery platform Meituan-Dianping, for USD 2.7 billion in April 2018. Before this, it had raised more than USD 900 million from investors such as Tencent, Foxconn, Hillhouse Capital and Warburg Pincus. Between 2017 to 2018, Mobike expanded operations to Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Israel, Australia, UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France, Albania, Mexico, Chile and the US. It has since pulled out of some locations.’

      ‘In theory, these rental bicycles could be parked anywhere because they have GPS-locators. However, this did not take into account that many users would park the bicycles wherever they wanted at their convenience. They were blocking pedestrian walkways, pavements, public and handicap access areas causing clutter and obstruction. This became so unsightly and so inconvenienced the general public that many complaints eventuated. As a result, municipal authorities put in place regulations which added to the costs of bike-sharing companies. In Melbourne and Sydney, authorities had to hire disposal crews to cart away and destroy many of these bicycles which were in the way of public facilities or piled up in car parking lots. There were also situations where bicycles were abused and abandoned. In Singapore, there were reports of people throwing bicycles down high-rise flats, into canals and rivers.’

      ‘As of February last year, the Chinese Ministry of Transport reported that over 20 out of 77 bike-sharing start- ups have shut down; five bike-sharing companies have gone bankrupt. Up to USD 150 million in deposits could not be refunded to users. In Singapore, Singapore-based player oBike ceased operations last June and is now at the centre of a police investigation around alleged misuses of users’ deposits.’

      ‘In spite of these setbacks, bike-sharing companies have been making optimistic comments in public.’

      1. A little fun from 2017 — Chinese State Media praised bike-sharing as one of China’s “four great new inventions” for a modern era. Some quotes:

        “Presently, there are over 30 bike-sharing companies in China that operate around 10 million bicycles for shared use to individuals in dozens of Chinese cities.

        Although the service of shared bikes originated from Western countries, China surprised the world with a business model of station-less shared bikes that spearheads the sharing economy.”

        “China’s two leading bike-sharing operators, Mobike and Ofo, have been gearing up for global expansion.”

        1. I read a study awhile back which concluded that micromobility (e.g. eBikes, and eScooters) were did indeed reduce pollution and traffic congestion, but it seemed like their conclusion was that it would be better for people to just own the device outright rather than rent from a platform. This was true from a finance perspective and a user perspective. Unless these devices get a lot more robust and can withstand the abuse hurled at them, they are not ready to have random strangers using them. Ebikes should have belt drives, not chain derailleurs.

        2. “… the sharing economy.”

          I like the sound of that. Sort of what I have going for me in that others work hard and then they get to share with me huge chunks of the money they earned.


  12. Att Redpilled Redhead. I thought you might appreciate what this writer at VICE has to say about one being red-pilled. Enjoy …


    “‘Redpill,’ for the blissfully unaware, is a slang term in certain alt-right-adjacent internet communities like the men’s rights crew. It refers to that famous Matrix scene where Neo takes the red pill and sees things as they really are. When alt-right dudes use it, they generally mean ‘convince other white people that we’re better than others,’ and many of them are not shy about trying to redpill their friends and families.”

    (previous to this snip was another snip)

    “As you’re no doubt aware, literal Nazis who call themselves the ‘alt-right’ (but to be clear: they are Nazis) have carved out a niche for themselves in the political discussion this year. Richard Spencer, the white supremacist who essentially founded the alt-right, praised the election of Donald Trump in a convention speech on Saturday. But hew also said Trump is not the Aryan messiah who will bring about the white supremacist fantasy he calls the ‘new normal,’ but merely ‘
    ‘a step towards this new normal.’

    “So anyone spoiling for a fight with their proverbial racist uncle on this unusually tense Thanksgiving could be in for some unusually heavy artillery on the opposing side. American racism just received an injection of young blood, and your racist uncle might suddenly have an ally in that cousin of yours who always posts Breitbart articles on Facebook.

    “And things will really take a turn if that guy decides he wants to redpill you after you pass him the gravy.”

    Just thought you would like to know. 😁

    How to Tell if Your Alt-Right Relative Is Trying to Redpill You at Thanksgiving – VICE

    1. TPTB (globalists) are attempting to weaponize the term “redpilled,” much like they weaponized the phrase “conspiracy theory” after the JFK assassination, to shut down independent research and thought. Mr. Banker has provided an excellent example. Deign to question the MSM narrative lest you be judged alt-right, a Nazi, a white supremacist or a racist.

      Contrast with the definition in The Free Dictionary:
      red pill
      1. slang The choice to become aware of and engage with true reality, despite the pain or hardships that it may entail. The term contrasts with “blue pill,” the choice to remain willfully ignorant of and disengaged from the real world. The imagery is a reference to the 1999 film The Matrix, in which the main character is literally given a choice between a red pill, which will allow him to experience true reality for the first time, and a blue pill, which will result in him to continuing to live as a prisoner in a simulated world.
      Taking that philosophy course was like choosing the red pill—I feel like my eyes have really been opened.

        1. Agreed.

          “I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.” – Adlai Stevenson II

          “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

          “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” – George Orwell, 1984

          “WAR IS PEACE
          IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” – George Orwell, 1984 – Ingsoc party slogan, Part 1, Chapter 1.

          “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999

          Neo: The Matrix.

          Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

          Neo: Yes.

          Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

          Neo: What truth?

          Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

  13. In closing: The left would rather deal with emotions than facts, because “shut up!” This is the essence of socialist dogma. Agree with me, or else… That’s the definition of fascism, is it not?

    “Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.” – Henry Adams

    “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

    “People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.” ~ George Orwell

    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” – Winston Churchill

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