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Living With The Severe Consequences Of Faking It Until They Made It

A weekend topic starting with Esquire. “What’s going on underneath the hood of the self-driving car industry? According to Joanne McNeil, the tech critic behind a thrilling new industry satire, the harsh reality is a whole lot of ‘bizarre and usually non-functional technologies that don’t deliver on their promises.’ The author makes her blistering fiction debut with Wrong Way, a closely observed novel about how individual lives are shattered by Big Tech’s hollow promises. Teresa’s life changes forever when she’s hired for a mysterious new role at AllOver, a tech behemoth billing itself as ‘an experience company.’ The sizable paycheck is seductive, as is the bombastic sales pitch from AllOver: ‘You are getting paid to learn a trade that, to the rest of the world, hasn’t been invented yet. You’re a VIP with a backstage pass to a new career.’ There’s just one problem. AllOver’s new rideshare service boasts driverless cars (called ‘CRs’), but the reality is more sinister—instead, contractors like Teresa operate the vehicles while hiding inside a secret compartment.”

“Q: One of my favorite things about Wrong Way are the moments where you slip into the absurd, bombastic rhetoric of Big Tech. I had to laugh when you had the CEO of AllOver saying, ‘I put forth to the public this, an omni-solution, the CR. A green car, a privacy machine, an end to misinformation, a pledge for justice, rights, and a world in which everyone is your neighbor, your friend, your brother.’ How did you find and inhabit that voice? A: Silicon Valley billionaires talk about a world beyond capitalism—that’s because if their politics is limited to slogans as opposed to actual actions, they can say anything. There’s a murkiness of their own intentions and their eagerness to please the public at any cost. I noticed that this could even include Silicon Valley billionaires who say things that could even sound like Democratic Socialists of America slogans.”

The Globe and Mail. “As a recovering startup founder who is engaged in healing and self-exploration since giving up on my business, I am fascinated by the long line of hotshot entrepreneurs falling from grace. WeWork, the co-working space, sought bankruptcy protection on Monday, after a rise and fall marred by founder Adam Neumann’s erratic behaviour and an investigation by the New York State Attorney-General. Then there’s Sam Bankman-Fried and his FTX cryptocurrency exchange: He was found guilty of fraud and other crimes last week.”

“Earlier this year, med-tech Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes began serving her 11-year sentence for fraud – appeal pending – and Charlie Javice, the founder of student-loan startup Frank, has been charged These cases are not simply a few bad apples who were once hailed as wunderkind. Rather, they are illustrative of systemic issues in startup culture taken to the extreme.”

“The motto, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it,’ was not for me, even though I continued to believe in the idea of my business. But perhaps you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the catchphrase is a common practice among founders. I met one who was proud to share that early in his business he sent empty machines to a client so he could both meet his delivery date and buy a few more days to finish the product. This is the trap that caught Ms. Javice and Ms. Holmes.”

“Whatever their intentions or awareness of the line between commitment to their mission and fraud, all are now living with the severe consequences of faking it until they made it. Commitment to mission sounds harmless, but it, combined with the commonly held view by startup founders that they are ‘making the world a better place,’ is dangerous. You may have noticed that many famous founders have messianic tendencies.”

From Skift. “Cabana, a startup platform for booking camper vans as vacation rentals, is seeking buyers to avoid shutting down. Cabana started by owning the vans — and still owns several dozen — but has been transitioning to a model where Cabana rents vans on behalf of owners. Cabana’s long-term goal has been to manage bookings marketing and offer the back-office software to van owners. Users can book trips in Seattle and Minneapolis – it has cut its three other locations, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin.”

“The first option was to look for another round of venture capital, but that did not work out. Cabana has previously raised a total of $16 million, including a $10 million series A round in 2021. ‘Without an acquirer, we’re not in a position where we can continue operations,’ said Cabana CEO Scott Kubly. ‘The venture markets are really, really tight right now, particularly for companies that are at our stage.'”

From KPNX TV. “Two Arizona residents have been indicted in federal court for allegedly scamming hundreds of people in a cryptocurrency scheme. Luis Ortega, 42, of Litchfield Park, and Jeremie Sowerby, 45, of Fountain Hills are accused tricking people to invest in ‘risk-free’ opportunities that promised to yield lavish gifts and profits, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Arizona. The fraudulent investment opportunities involved purported Bitcoin mining machines located abroad and in Arizona, as well as a real estate company where investors could buy custom-built container houses by using a ‘Millenium’ cryptocurrency. Prosecutors said the entire scheme was based on lies and millions of dollars was lost.”

The Providence Journal in Rhode Island. “Ernest P. Ricci, who lied and schemed and taunted federal investigators in obscenity-laced emails that they were too witless to catch on to his bankruptcy scam, on Wednesday changed his plea to guilty. Ricci, a self-employed contractor from North Kingstown who tried numerous criminal ways, the government contended, to hide property in his bankruptcy and illegally obtained money through pandemic relief funds, waffled at first. Ricci, who flipped houses with his wife, Brenda, faced charges of bankruptcy fraud, suborning perjury, obstruction of bankruptcy proceedings, wire fraud and money laundering.”

“Ricci admitted that in October 2017, prior to filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition in an attempt to protect a $1.5-million home in Florida used as a vacation home and rental property – and on which he had failed to make any mortgage payments for about five years – he transferred all his business assets in Premier Home Restoration LLC (Premier) to his wife. But on Wednesday, Ricci admitted that he in fact continued to control Premier and run its day-to-day operations, and that he made use of income from the company to maintain his lifestyle. He disclosed none of it to the bankruptcy court.”

“In April 2020, as investigators began their probe into his bankruptcy claim, he wrote an email to them that said ‘I’m sure you realize now I’ve been three steps ahead of you Bozos all the way and that’s because I’m smarter than all of you combined.’ Weeks later, when a federal bankruptcy trustee pressed Ricci to turn over financial records from the couple’s business, Premier Home Restoration, Ricci distinctly announced his non-cooperation: ‘Here’s my response. GO [expletive] YOURSELF Charlie. How’s that?’ ‘The party’s over [expletive],’ his email continued, court documents show. ‘Move on and admit you [expletive] with the wrong guy. ITS OVER!!! Lololol Ernie Ricci.’ FBI agents arrested the Ricci pair in March 2023.”

WREG in Tennessee. “Millennia, a real estate company that owns five properties in Memphis and 200 across the country, is being accused of knowingly letting residents live in ‘unsafe conditions.’ The company based in Cleveland, Ohio, is in the real estate, development, management and affordable housing business. In the fall of 2022, a judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order that prevented Millennia from moving tenants back into what lawyers called ‘uninhabitable’ units. Families had been temporarily evacuated and relocated after a gas leak caused a mother and child to die. A charred, gaping hole was left on the side of Shorter College Gardens Apartments in North Little Rock, Arkansas after a fire last October. Three people were killed.”

“Attorney Terris C. Harris filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of six Shorter College families, and other Millennia residents living in similar conditions. The WREG Investigators asked Harris, ‘You’re saying they absolutely knew that they could have done better and should have done better?’ He replied, “That’s exactly what I’m saying. When we talk to different residents who don’t know one another from completely different states, and they are saying the exact same thing, of course it’s a pattern.’ Harris says that isn’t acceptable for a company that boasts about its ability to rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing and is taking your money to do so. ‘They say they get low-income tax housing credits for, we know they get HUD payments every month for them, but it doesn’t appear that they are putting that money back into the properties in which they own and develop,’ said Harris.”

From ABC 10. “A man convicted of 100 felony counts earlier this year for defrauding homeowners in 11 California counties will spend the next 25 years in prison. Robert Sedlar was sentenced this week to 25 years and four months in prison after a five-week trial ended with his conviction in May. He was convicted of charges ranging from conspiracy to filing false documents, grand theft, elder abuse and prohibited acts by a foreclosure consultant. Every single person who sought their help lost their homes and the scheme resulted in a total loss of more than $7 million. The AG’s office says the victims were in San Diego, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Placer, Solano, Mendocino, San Francisco, El Dorado and Sacramento counties. Two other employees of Grand View pleaded guilty to their charges.”

The Nation. “Back in 1787, during the reign of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, a military commander by the name of Grigory Potemkin was looking for a way to impress the Empress during her tour of Crimea. He set up a series of follies: fake villages, cobbled together at speed, complete with fake residents—happy, healthy, politically enthusiastic peasants. The only problem was, they didn’t actually live in those fake villages, and indeed likely weren’t even from the region that Catherine was touring through. Those Potemkin Villages have, over the centuries, come to stand for myriad such disingenuous interventions in the public realm.”

“Clearly, in the run-up to the summit meeting in San Francisco this week both sides wanted to impress. America wanted to present the most spruced-up vision of San Francisco it could muster, to impress on China and the other APEC participants the glories of the American urban experience. In the days leading up to the summit, huge homeless encampments, open air drug markets, and trading grounds for stolen goods were swept away from the United Nations Plaza. In their place sprang up a skate park, dance performances, and other emblems of an affluent, calm, successful society. After all, it really wouldn’t do for the overseas leaders to see how degraded so much of the American urban infrastructure and social safety net has become in recent decades. It is hardly an endorsement of America’s claim to ongoing greatness to have a major international summit taking place surrounded by cardboard shacks, tents, needles in the gutters, and hundreds of destitute residents outside. If the rapid renovation of the United Nations Plaza isn’t a Potemkin Village, I don’t know what is.”

“Nearly one percent of San Francisco’s population is homeless on any given day, according to the city’s Controller’s Office, placing it just behind Los Angeles and Oakland in the cities with the worst homelessness rates in the nation. The epicenter of the Silicon Valley boom, it has one of the highest concentrations of wealthy elites of any city on earth. Yet over the past decade it has shamefully failed to address the overlapping crises of spiraling mental health problems, soaring drug addiction, and unaffordability-of-housing—oftentimes falling back on its reputation as a liberal haven not to carry out more effective interventions, but to do nothing.”

“Being pro-homeless has come to mean, in San Francisco at any rate, not really helping the poor, the addicted, and the mentally ill find better, more supportive, living situations, but instead simply turning a blind eye to the growing squalor. As a result, in many neighborhoods, people congregate in growing shantytowns that look more like images from cities in the poorest countries on earth rather than other major cities in other powerful, wealthy democracies.”

From “‘It was always my dream to live in paradise, in Bali or another gorgeous island,’ Victoria Holmes, a hypnotherapist told So a few months before the pandemic, I packed up my apartment and moved to Bali.’ But Holmes didn’t want to live alone as she had in London. She dreamt of joining a community of ‘like-minded’ people. Holmes thought her prayers had been answered when she came across a brochure for a property development called Golden City while at Clear Cafe in Ubud, the spiritual capital of Bali. ‘It just resonated with me. Everything I ever wanted was right in front of me,’ she recalls. ‘Knowing how high land prices are in Europe, I thought it was a bargain and invested.'”

“Golden City sounded like a dream for anyone looking for a change of pace from city life. ‘Imagine a world without borders,’ reads the brochure. ‘A place where everyone is part of an evolved common purpose. A bridge between the modern world and a community-based lifestyle rooted in the heart of a seaside sanctuary.’ More than an alternative to the rat race, the project also offered a remarkable return on investment. ‘Golden City stands out in its vision to provide world-class, state-of-the-art, luxurious experiences that are highly affordable and at the same time profitable,’ reads the latest brochure dated 2023.”

“Plots are listed at $US8000 to $US30,000 per 100 square metres on a leasehold agreement. Golden City literature suggests investors can expect annual rental yields of 20 per cent to 25 per cent and asset appreciation of 300 per cent in as little as four years. Around 130 investors have already joined Golden City. But ground has not yet been broken because, as lawyers have discovered, the developers don’t own the land. Now, 62 angry investors have joined a $US5 million ($7.8 million AUD) class-action lawsuit against the founders of Golden City: Yansen Barry, the Indonesian director of Bumi Kristal Sumbawa, a company formed to sell property in Sumbawa; and Brett Sorenson, the face of the project, an expat American who goes by the name Brett Black and co-owns Clear Cafe Ubud.”

“Many of Golden City’s investors were experienced investors. Some had already lived in Indonesia for years while others had already invested in property abroad. A small number were even Indonesian citizens. And they invested up to $US500,000. ‘Why didn’t I get a notary?’ Holmes says. ‘Because I was mesmerised with the community. The whole picture was just so hypnotising, living in a utopia with people who are into the same things – nature, health and beautiful human relations … It was built on trust. I thought of them as my second family.'”

“Stories of small-time investors losing their pants in the Orient are as old as … well, as stories about the Orient. Some ended up living the dream. But scores get shafted every year as a result of a loose regulatory environment and a ‘gone tropo’ mentality where foreigners don’t read the fine print or trust the wrong people. Facebook pages for expats in Bali are riddled with such hard luck stories. The director of a large architectural firm in Bali, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says ’60 or 70 per cent’ of foreigners who invest in property in Bali lose their money to builders, landlords or business partners. Sometimes they’re even blackmailed by neighbours who place pigs or roosters on their side of the fence and demanding a King’s ransom to remove them.”

“In Ubud, some locals have made small fortunes by pointing powerful mirrors to blind and startle guests at luxury hotels. Then they demand money from the hotel for them to be removed. ‘The police say people have the right to do what they want on their land,’ said the general manager of an internationally branded hotel, who wanted to remain anonymous. ‘Nine times out of 10, the blackmail works. It did with us.'”

“Today, Bali and its surrounding islands are in the throes of a construction boom of the likes never seen before. Fuelled by the return of mass tourism after the pandemic, $US450 million in foreign direct investment flooded into Bali alone in 2022, according to research firm Statista. But buyer beware. In the case of Golden City, the warning signs were there from the start. Even before turning the first page, any notary worth their salt would have noted the contracts were written in English instead of Bahasa Indonesia and therefore null and void, says Ni Luh Arie Ratna Sukasari, a partner with Malekat Hukum, the Balinese law firm leading the class action.”

“The biggest loser at Golden City is American software engineer Christopher Smith, founder of several tech companies and Chief Financial Officer at Airchat, a voice-first social networking app. He invested $US500,000 in the Golden City project. ‘Brett said all the right things,’ he recalls of the day he first spoke to Sorenson. ‘His criticism of America was accurate and insightful and we shared the belief we had to get out. So why not buy land on a tropical island and do our own thing? He’s a skilful communicator. He spoke with tremendous confidence but just the right amount of self-reflection built in so as not to come across as arrogant … I thought this guy is a doer.’ Smith is sanguine. ‘Emotionally I’ve let it go and I don’t expect to get my money back even if our lawyers win,’ he says. ‘My primary motivation is stopping more people getting ripped off by Brett.'”

“A former investment banker who lives in San Francisco, Mimi Aye is also at a loss to explain why she did not hire a notary before investing in the project. Aye, whose health is rapidly failing, doesn’t care about the money either. She just wants justice – or revenge – it’s impossible to tell. ‘One of the friends who introduced me to Brett, she invested $US46,000, all the money she had at the time,’ she says. ‘She’s the real reason I joined the class action. Because Brett targets idealistic spiritual people like us.'”

This Post Has 54 Comments
  1. ‘I put forth to the public this, an omni-solution, the CR. A green car, a privacy machine, an end to misinformation, a pledge for justice, rights, and a world in which everyone is your neighbor, your friend, your brother.’

    Step right up, step right up, step right up
    Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore
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    How about perfume? We got perfume
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  2. ‘You’re saying they absolutely knew that they could have done better and should have done better?’ He replied, “That’s exactly what I’m saying. When we talk to different residents who don’t know one another from completely different states, and they are saying the exact same thing, of course it’s a pattern.’ Harris says that isn’t acceptable for a company that boasts about its ability to rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing and is taking your money to do so. ‘They say they get low-income tax housing credits for, we know they get HUD payments every month for them, but it doesn’t appear that they are putting that money back into the properties in which they own and develop,’ said Harris.’

    You know who feeds on low income tax credits? Rich people. Look at the photos of what these people are doing.

    1. You’re absolutely correct. As a CPA, this is one of the hot industries, buy or build slums to get the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Most of the investors are very wealthy.

  3. ‘Silicon Valley billionaires talk about a world beyond capitalism—that’s because if their politics is limited to slogans as opposed to actual actions, they can say anything. There’s a murkiness of their own intentions and their eagerness to please the public at any cost. I noticed that this could even include Silicon Valley billionaires who say things that could even sound like Democratic Socialists of America slogans’

    Yeah, the whole ‘libertarian’ label was a crock from the get go. These scumbags are grifting little commies who jump at the chance to sell yer private information to any number of bad corporate actors. Oh and they’ll censor people they don’t like, steal elections, get involved in perverted sex deals, shovel drugs up their noses every day and pretend to save the planet.

    1. Silicon Valley used to be libertarian back through the 90’s. That all changed when Wall street got involved. They’re still capitalists, but talk like socialists. Their real goal is feudalism.

  4. $1,642 a square foot in Flyover:

    “In a market where real estate prices seem to defy logic, a 731-square-foot property with a staggering $1.2 million price tag is a hot commodity in Denver.

    This modest three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling built in 1941 is nestled within a newer neighborhood enclave, surrounded by sprawling residences that dwarf its petite stature.

    Commanding a staggering $1,642 per square foot, the sellers are banking on the allure of its prime locale to justify the price tag.

    Despite its diminutive dimensions and hefty price, this petite property has purportedly sold within a mere 10 days of hitting the market to an eager buyer.

    Yet, in a curious turn, the listing continues to accept backup offers, hinting at a market fervor that refuses to wane.”

  5. Elizibeth Holmes , quickly went to popping out babies ,to try and stay out of the pen…..She’s a quick thinker, but in the long run, if you’re a crook , It’ll end badly….

  6. [This article is wild …]

    How many more secret warehouses of viruses are there in all our countries?

    Time the CDC was razed

    Thanks to an odd garden hose sticking out of a warehouse wall, the illegal, clandestine, Reedly Biolab was discovered. Chinese citizens wandered around inside with lab coats on. And the “lab” contained samples marked with names like SARS-CoV-2, Chlamydia, HIV, E. coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Hepatitis B and C, Dengue virus, the Rubella virus and Malaria.

    So Reedly city officials in California stumbled on this warehouse almost by chance, and wanted some answers, but the FBI didn’t want to investigate and the CDC refused to test the pathogens. Most of the samples were destroyed and some 104 tons of material was “eradicated”.

    Afterwards City Officials found a freezer the CDC missed. It was labeled Ebola — that most fun infectious agent with fatality rates between 25 and 90%. (Fortunately is not anywhere near as transmissible as Covid).

    The man running the lab was Jiabei “Jesse” Zhu, a citizen of China, who formed dozens of companies in Canada in order to steal intellectual property. After he was caught and hit with a $330 million dollar fine, he escaped to the USA, set up the Reedly lab and acquired the pathogens. He also imported Chinese made medical tests and rebadged them, fraudulently, as “Made in the USA”. During this time he received some $2 million in mysterious payments from the People’s Republic of China.

    We wonder why someone would keep dangerous pathogens in their workshop freezer for years, and at great cost? It’s hard to imagine any benevolent excuse for keeping bags of things marked HIV and Ebola in a fridge. Zhu doesn’t appear to be thinking of benefits for his US customer base. On WeChat he apparently claimed “his fraudulent activity would help ‘defeat the American aggressor and wild ambitious wolf!’” — The NY Post has a full write up.

    Watch the documentary:

    [You will need to click on the link for this …]

    Where did he get Ebola in the first place, and why doesn’t the CDC have measures in place to stop this?

    The US Congressional Select Committee on the CCP issued a report on this laboratory:

    The Committee found:

    The illegal biolab was run by a PRC citizen who is a wanted fugitive from Canada with a $330 million Canadian dollar judgment against him for stealing American intellectual property.
    This PRC citizen was a top official at a PRC-state-controlled company and had links to military-civil fusion entities.
    The illegal biolab received millions of dollars in unexplained payments from PRC banks while running the illegal biolab.
    The illegal biolab contained thousands of samples of labeled, unlabeled, and encoded potential pathogens, including HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and Covid.
    The illegal biolab also contained a freezer labeled “Ebola,” which contained unlabeled, sealed silver bags consistent with how the lab stored high risk biological materials. Ebola is a Select Agent with a lethality rate between 25-90%.
    The biolab contained nearly a thousand transgenic mice, genetically engineered to mimic the human immune system. Lab workers said that the mice were designed “to catch and carry the COVID-19 virus.”
    After local officials who discovered the lab sought help from the CDC and others, the CDC refused to test any of the samples.
    Even if most of these viruses don’t make ideal bioweapons as is, with genetic modification, who knows? In any case, the simultaneous release of minor disabling outbreaks would still play havoc with any nation. Biological warfare can take many options, and as we saw with Covid, sometimes the less deadly viruses are more effective.

    I note months before the facts were known an AP news report on this lab said it just “fueled conspiracy theories“, “Officials said it posed no danger.”

    [As I said, wild.]

    1. [Here is another version of the above article …]

      CDC Responds to Claims About Chinese Biolab in California

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said it “strongly disputes” criticism of the federal agency contained in a major new report, produced by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), concerning an alleged secret biolab in Reedley, California.

      According to the report, thousands of vials containing potentially dangerous or unknown substances, including some labeled “Ebola” and “HIV,” were uncovered during an inspection of what was initially thought to be a vacant warehouse. The facility was uncovered in December 2022 by Jesalyn Harper, a Reedley code enforcement official who spotted a green hose sticking out of the building, and then went in to investigate. Inside, Harper found an array of laboratory equipment, medical-grade freezers, mice for experiments and vials containing writing in English, Mandarin and an unknown code. Several individuals wearing lab coats were also discovered who claimed to be Chinese nationals.

      In response to Harper’s discovery, the city launched an investigation which eventually involved the California Department of Public Health, the federal Food and Drug Administration, the CDC and the FBI.

      It comes amidst heightened tensions between the United States and China, with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over trade, human rights and the sovereignty of both Taiwan and the South China Sea. On Wednesday, Chinese premier Xi Jinping held talks with President Joe Biden near San Francisco, on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

      CDC experts identified a number of potentially infectious agents at the Reedley site, including chlamydia, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, malaria, SARS-CoV-2, Dengue virus and the rubella virus. However, according to the report, they refused to test a number of unlabeled vials, along with a fridge labeled “Ebola,” which were destroyed before their exact content could be ascertained.

      The House committee report branded the CDC’s response “inadequate,” claiming the agency initially refused to take a phone call from city and county officials.

      It continued: “The CDC’s refusal to test any samples is likewise baffling. The CDC observed in its own reporting that ‘[t]housands of vials had unclear labeling, coded labeling, or no identifications,’ that biohazard signs were around many of these unlabeled vials, and that the labeled vials included Risk Group 2 and 3 pathogens.

      “Despite the probability that the unlabeled or coded vials contained additional unknown and dangerous pathogens, CDC officials refused to take any further investigative steps.”

      “The CDC’s continued refusal to test pathogens despite reasonable requests and the offer to pay from local officials facing a concerned populace simply does not make sense,” it continued.

      Speaking to Newsweek, a CDC official with knowledge of the investigation fervently disputed these findings.

      Referencing the committee report, they said: “CDC strongly disputes the report’s conclusions critical of the agency. The report includes numerous inaccuracies, including both the charge that CDC did not respond to local requests for aid and the false implication that CDC had the authority to unilaterally investigate or seize samples from PBI’s Reedley building.

      “Indeed, CDC has, and continues to be been actively engaged, within its regulatory authorities, in the intergovernmental efforts to address issues surrounding the facility.”

      Newsweek has contacted the House Select Committee on the CCP for comment by online contact form and Rep. Mike Gallagher, its chair, by telephone and voicemail message.

      According to the report, the committee biolab was owned by Jia Bei Zhu, a Chinese national with links to his country’s governing Communist Party, who operated through a number of companies including Prestige Biotech Incorporated (PBI). In October, Zhu was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing and distributing misbranded medical devices in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and making false statements to the FDA. If convicted he faces a maximum three years in prison.

  7. [FWIW I am a big fan of Gary Shilling and have (sometimes painfully) learned to pay close attention to whatever he has to say.]

    Prepare for stocks to plummet 30% and a recession to strike any day now, legendary market prophet says

    Stocks could plummet by as much as 30%, a legendary Wall Street forecaster has said.

    Gary Shilling said he was expecting a recession to hit imminently if one wasn’t underway already.

    He said he was betting on Treasury bonds and the US dollar and against stocks and commodities.

    Prepare for stocks to plunge by a third and a recession to strike imminently, a legendary market forecaster has said.

    “I’ve been of the opinion that stocks — and I came out with this forecast early last year — would decline about 30% to 40% peak to trough,” Gary Shilling, the president of A. Gary Shilling & Co., told “The Julia La Roche Show” in an interview aired this week.

    “You’d have a further decline of about 30% from here to get that 40% overall decline, peak to trough,” he said.

    Shilling’s forecast suggests the S&P 500, which hit a record high of nearly 4,800 points in January last year, could nosedive to about 2,900 points, its lowest level since May 2020. The benchmark stock index fell by 18%, including dividends, last year but has rallied 17% this year.

    The veteran economist, known for correctly calling several major market trends over the past 50 years, said he expected stocks to fall because the US economy was faltering.

    “We probably do have a recession coming shortly if we’re not already in it,” Shilling said, pointing to the inverted yield curve, weakness in leading economic indicators, and the Fed’s commitment to crushing inflation.

    “When you look at that combination of things, it’s pretty hard to escape a recession,” he said.

    Shilling served as Merrill Lynch’s first chief economist before launching his own economic-consulting and investment-advisory firm in 1978. He said the overall economy tended to soften only a little during recessions, but slash corporate profits would typically plunge by 20% to 30%, and stocks would suffer a similar drop.

    He forecast lower inflation in the years ahead as the long-term trend of globalization pushes down prices. He suggested the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates only deep into next year, once the economy has weakened significantly and it’s clear that inflation is no longer a threat.

    The market prophet — who predicted and profited from the collapse of the mid-2000s housing boom — said he was betting on Treasury bonds and the US dollar. On the other hand, he’s placed wagers against stocks via exchange-traded funds and against commodities by shorting copper.

    Shilling also disclosed the “biggest bubble” on his radar today was commercial real estate — specifically office buildings, hotels, and shopping malls — and he said he believed it was starting to burst.

    1. Timing is everything. He’s been wrong all year. The markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

      It’s like buying or selling the same house in 2002 vs 2007 vs 2012 vs 2021.

      The same house might go for $150K to $225K to $160K to $525K. That’s what happened with my house.

  8. [People are stupid and this article may help to explain why this is so.]

    A New Type Of Dementia Plagues America

    In the United States, it’s estimated that at least 7 million people over the age of 65 have dementia. If current trends continue, by the end of the decade, more than 9 million Americans are expected to suffer from this loss of cognitive functioning—that’s equivalent to the population of New York City.

    Memory impairment isn’t just affecting the elderly. By 2050, the number of U.S. adults over the age of 40 living with dementia is expected to more than double, from 5.2 million to 10.5 million. To compound matters, there’s a new type of dementia plaguing Americans, one that’s affecting people much younger than 40. It’s called digital dementia, and millions of unsuspecting, young Americans are at risk.

    A major health epidemic, digital dementia occurs when one part of the brain is overstimulated and another part of the brain is understimulated. When we mindlessly use digital devices, the frontal lobe, which is responsible for higher-level executive functions, gets little, if any, use. Meanwhile, the occipital lobe, the visual processor located at the back of the brain, gets bombarded with sensory input. Slouched over and spaced out, people, both young and old, are abusing their brains, day in and day out. Preteens and teens are particularly at risk for two reasons:

    An American 8 to 12-year-old spends an average of 4.7 hours a day scrolling their lives away. That’s around 70 days in a given year.
    The prefrontal cortex (PFC), the brain region responsible for planning and decision-making, doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25.
    Digital dementia impedes both short-term and long-term memory. Moreover, as research shows, excessive screen time during brain development increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, in adulthood. Not surprisingly, excessive screen time is intimately associated with digital addiction. This, in turn, fuels digital dementia, which results in the shrinking of the brain’s gray matter. White matter facilitates communication between gray matter areas. But without gray matter, which plays a critical role in emotions, memories, and movements, there’s really nothing to communicate. White matter helps the traffic get from A to B. Grey matter, on the other hand, is the traffic.

    It gets worse. As Gurwinder Bhogal, an excellent British-Indian writer, recently noted, not only is “gray matter shrinkage in smartphone-addicted individuals” a growing problem, the Western average IQ is declining—rapidly, he added.

    This has been the case for decades. The decline of brain power has been particularly notable in America. Lead exposure, and, more recently, the effects of draconian lockdowns, have had deleterious effects on Americans’ IQs. As technology continues to rise, IQ continues to decline. Is there an association? The answer appears to be yes.

    What we’re witnessing is the Flynn effect in reverse. Named after James R. Flynn, the renowned intelligence researcher who passed away in 2020, the Flynn effect refers to a steady upward shift in IQ test scores across generations. In recent times, however, that steady upward shift has transformed into a spiraling nosedive. This isn’t surprising. In fact, as our lives become more intertwined with technology, and as we outsource more of our thinking and doing to search engines and ChatGPT-like systems, we should expect this nosedive to increase in velocity.

    As Mr. Bhogal noted, common sense suggests that the decline in IQ is “at least partly the result of technology making the attainment of satisfaction increasingly effortless, so that we spend ever more of our time in a passive, vegetative state.”

    “If you don’t use it,” he added, “you lose it.” Indeed. By “it,” of course, he means your brain. But brain function isn’t the only thing being lost.

    The rise of digital dementia, digital addiction, and lower IQ scores is a reflection of a much broader problem. The United States isn’t just struggling with demographic decline; it’s also wrestling with the unholy trinity of spiritual, psychological, and intellectual decline. The country is becoming fatter, sicker, older, and dumber. The movie “Idiocracy” wasn’t a parody; it was a prophecy.

    As intelligence levels continue to plummet and test scores continue to fall in the likes of math and reading, the United States risks becoming a society of brainless, aimless individuals, a nation consisting of millions of obese zombies. Contrary to popular belief, societal collapse doesn’t occur overnight; it occurs in increments, a death by a thousand cuts. The biggest threat to the United States isn’t necessarily external; it’s posed by the numerous digital devices in our hands and homes. Technology has consumed both our minds and our souls; are we going to get either of them back?

  9. “I am fascinated by the long line of hotshot entrepreneurs falling from grace. WeWork, the co-working space, sought bankruptcy protection on Monday, after a rise and fall marred by founder Adam Neumann’s erratic behaviour and an investigation by the New York State Attorney-General. Then there’s Sam Bankman-Fried and his FTX cryptocurrency exchange: He was found guilty of fraud and other crimes last week.”

    These types come out of the woodwork during central bank money printing binges. Then when the liquidity dries up, they become naked swimmers on a dry beach.

  10. Did the foreign investors who thought they could sink the highly liquid US Treasury bond market by going on a buyers’ strike bark up the wrong tree?

    They certainly created a tremendous dip buying opportunity.

    1. MarketWatch
      Market Extra
      Foreign investors may have bailed out of Treasurys at exactly the wrong time
      Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 12:52 p.m. ET
      By Joseph Adinolfi
      Foreign buyers are key players in the market for U.S. government debt but they sold Treasury bonds on a net basis in September.
      Getty Images/iStock

      Foreign investors dumped U.S. Treasury debt in September for the first time since May 2021, but it’s possible these sellers are already regretting it, according to one prominent Wall Street economist.

      The latest installment of the Treasury Department’s monthly reports on buying and selling of U.S. securities by foreign investors — by both central banks and other official parties and private institutions and individuals — showed they sold $1.7 billion in Treasurys on a net basis. That marked the first time foreign investors…

  11. Why So Many Countries Followed China’s Lockdown Example

    A novel coronavirus that was 10 times deadlier than the flu had gripped the world in 2019. Without a compass to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, all lessons learned from previous viral pandemics were thrown out the window. The World Health Organization was adamant, “This is not the flu.” Tony Fauci terrified the US House of Representatives with forecasts of disaster. Global populations were defenseless without a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that no one had ever seen before. The only viable defense at the time was to shut down the world.

    China took the lead in lockdowns. Media exported from China showed people dropping dead in the streets. Caskets were piling up. Doors to buildings were sealed to lock in tenants. Throughout the panic, all reasonable alternative assessments of risks from the viral outbreak were ignored, censored, or rejected.

    Nevertheless, I wondered whether a video of a person falling down in the street was really representative of the entire population. Were caskets piling up largely due to families fearing to claim them because of contamination with the virus? I noticed that the front doors to my local mall in Ontario, Canada had also been sealed, just like in China apartment buildings, but this was only to control access through a single entrance to the building, not to seal in customers.

    My first clue that the emergency response to the outbreak of the coronavirus didn’t seem to make sense was when I heard Fauci tell television audiences that if our response seems to be overreacting, then we are probably doing the right thing. What? Since when is overreacting ever the right thing to do? Do generals win wars by overreacting?

    I looked at the numbers that Fauci had presented to the US House of Representatives concerning case and infection fatalities of the coronavirus. They were backwards! His 10-times deadlier prediction was simply a made-up number! This was in March 2020. By May 2020 it was obvious that people were NOT dying at the inflated rate Fauci had predicted.

    I published a paper on Fauci’s coronavirus mortality overestimations: Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation. But when I mentioned all this to my friends, they responded that the lower than predicted deaths just proved the lockdowns were working. Fauci was off the hook. Back to China.

    The answer to why countries followed China’s lockdowns is simple. They were told to do so by the World Health Organization (WHO). Why did the WHO tell them to do that? You might want to ask Dr. Bruce Aylward, the Director of the WHO/China Joint Mission on Covid-19 investigating the coronavirus outbreak.

    Aylward noticed a precipitous drop in novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) in China during February 2020. This was before China adopted WHO’s name of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Upon seeing China’s surveillance data, Aylward announced the spectacular findings to the world and told the world to do what China has done and lock down. But he appeared to make a fundamental epidemiological error by wrongly assuming that the association of China’s lockdowns with lower deaths proved the lockdowns were working (just like my friends had told me).

    Soon after in March 2020, China published its latest case definitions for NCP (Covid-19). In a nutshell, the definitions showed that no one could be declared to have died of the disease unless they had viral pneumonia (a severe acute respiratory illness), and only if no other virus normally associated with viral pneumonia was present, except SARS-CoV-2.

    Coinfections with the coronavirus were not acceptable criteria, and what should have been a broad surveillance case definition with high sensitivity to monitor the spread of the virus within the population narrowed down considerably into an overly specific diagnostic case definition. That pretty much sealed the deal to declare Covid-19 deaths in only single digits for many months during the pandemic throughout China. This super-low outcome impressed Dr. Bruce Aylward enough in February 2020 to implore the world to lock down. Did we ever!

    In the meantime, other countries used case and death definitions that went to the opposite extreme of China’s narrow diagnostic definitions, disseminating overinflated surveillance numbers without adjusting the numbers to remove bias. Even Fauci eventually admitted that reported cases and deaths counted WITH the coronavirus are much higher than cases and deaths counted FROM the coronavirus. Ironically, the WHO had previously published material on the correct use and interpretation of surveillance and diagnostic definitions in infectious disease outbreaks. Aylward didn’t appear to get the memo.

    There is more to the story. Was this even really a novel coronavirus, or just a novel genetic sequence of the coronavirus showing greater detail than previously available? China supposedly received updated genetic sequencing technology in late 2019. They had abandoned surveillance of SARS in 2003 for lack of technology.

    Now they were back in business again by the end of 2019. The team of virologists that reported the genetic sequence of the virus in Wuhan noted that it would be necessary to investigate the epidemiological evidence to guide infection control responses. Who has time for that? Shut it down!

    If the novel coronavirus isn’t really so novel, this would explain why the lockdowns didn’t work. We had already known that lockdowns don’t work in other viral pandemics. Even China eventually gave up its Zero Covid Policy after it was obvious that lockdowns weren’t working. My friends owe me some explanations to justify their lockdown views. Maybe Fauci isn’t off the hook after all.

    1. New Email Shows Fauci Adviser Suggesting He Destroyed Records

      Dr. David Morens sent the email to a group including a scientist who funneled money to a laboratory in China.

      A top deputy to Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated in a newly uncovered email that he purposefully did not keep records that he knew would be sought by the public and congressional investigators.

      “I have retained very few emails or documents on these matters, and continue to request that correspondence on sensitive issues be sent to me at my gmail address,” Dr. David Morens, the deputy, wrote in the June 17, 2021, missive.

      Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) obtained the email and included it in a letter to Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.

      Dr. Morens wrote to colleagues after senators, including Mr. Johnson, wrote to then-National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins asking for documents on how the NIH handled the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in a city that features a laboratory that ran risky tests with funds from the NIH.

      “Based on this email, it appears that Dr. Morens may have intentionally deleted or destroyed records relating to the origins of COVID-19 given his admission that he has ‘retained very few emails or documents on these matters,” Mr. Johnson told Mr. Becerra. “Further, Dr. Morens’ stated preference to receive correspondence on ‘sensitive issues’ through Gmail shows an apparent evasion of federal record keeping requirements and a complete disregard for transparency.”

      The Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the NIH, has repeatedly failed to hand over records that Mr. Johnson has requested, the senator noted. Dr. Morens’ apparent actions “may have directly obstructed my oversight efforts,” he wrote.

      Dr. Morens is the senior adviser to the director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an NIH institute that was headed until late 2022 by Dr. Fauci. Dr. Morens has worked for the agency for more than two decades.

      Dr. Morens was writing to others who were part of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (AJTMH), including Dr. Peter Daszak, whose EcoHealth Alliance group helped funnel money from the NIH to the Wuhan laboratory.

      Dr. Morens said he had retained correspondence relating to papers he wrote that were published online but had otherwise “retained no documents that might lead other members of AJTMH to be approached for similar document production.”

      The title of the email was “CONFIDENTIAL WITHOUT OUR SMALL GROUP, PLEASE,” according to Mr. Johnson.

      In a missive obtained previously by the U.S. House of Representatives panel investigating the pandemic, Dr. Morens wrote to a group of scientists that “I try to always communicate on gmail because my NIH email is FOIA’d constantly.”

      Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), members of the public can request information like emails from the federal government.

      Dr. Morens disclosed in the July 9, 2021, email that his Gmail had been hacked and “until IT can get it fixed I may have to occasionally email from my NIH account.”

      “Don’t worry, just send to any of my addresses and I will delete anything I don’t want to see in the New York Times,” he also wrote.

      Michael Chamberlain, director of the watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust, told The Epoch Times in an email that the missive showed “a pretty brazen effort to avoid public records requirements.”

    2. I was just at the grocery store and saw somebody in a mask walk out of the store, get in the car, and drive off alone while still wearing a mask.


    1. I watched some of that earlier. One cop is throwing flash bang grenades at the crowd like he had a bushel of them.

    2. There were multiple insurrections in 2020, resulting in dozens of deaths and $2+ billion in property damage.

      And multiple more since January 2021 involving insurrectionary riots inside of state capitols.

      And many more in just the past six weeks since the Hamas attacks, but none of those vermin are going to jail.

      January 6th is a joke. A big fat f*ing joke. And Attorney General Merrick Garland is an anti-white, anti-Christian, anti-American treasonous sack of sh*t.

  12. [Here is a fun non-housing related article …]

    First US state to decriminalise hard drugs may be set for swift U-turn

    [And the name of that state is … (drum roll) … Oregon …]

    Oregon, the first US state to decriminalise hard drugs, is set for a U-turn after addicts took over the streets of major cities.

    Police chiefs, district attorneys and city officials are leading demands for Oregon to recriminalise heroin and fentanyl, reversing key provisions of the liberal experiment, which was introduced in 2021.

    Underpinning the original initiative, known as Measure 110, was the belief that decriminalising hard drugs would make it easier to get addicts into treatment.

    There is a growing feeling that the experiment has backfired and support is increasing for a measure – which could go on the ballot next year – to prosecute drug users again.

    Measure 110 was backed by 58 per cent of voters in a referendum in November 2020.

    Now, three years later, an Emerson poll showed how public opinion has swung dramatically, with 56 per cent of voters backing a repeal.

    Only a fraction of addicts given “tickets” for drugs offences, instead of jail time, progress into rehabilitation, preferring instead to be slapped with a $100 fine.

    “It has been pretty awful,” Matt Siegmund, the owner of Gardner Floor Covering in Eugene, told The Telegraph.

    The homeless have sheltered underneath the awning at the front of the store for some time. However, the decriminalisation of hard drugs has brought a marked change.

    “In the past, we were dealing with older drunks, but since Measure 110 was passed the people are younger and more belligerent.

    “They have been defecating and urinating. For the last three weeks, police have been sweeping the homeless people away so I and my staff can come to work.”

    “It is not helping our business. Measure 110 was supposed to get people into treatment, but there isn’t the infrastructure to support it.”

    “I have friends who work in social security and they say that only 30 per cent of the IDs they see are from Oregon.”

    Far from solving the problem, there is evidence that the liberal experiment is attracting addicts from elsewhere and the state, lacking the capacity to offer treatment to thousands of addicts, has been overwhelmed.

    The biggest criticism centres on the policy of citing offenders – equivalent to ticketing in the UK.

    Under Measure 110, those cited would be fined $100. But the penalty would be lifted if the addict rang a self-help line and sought treatment.

    In Oregon, according to Eugene’s police chief, Chris Skinner, around 6,000 people were cited, but fewer than 125 rang the self-help line.

    “We don’t have even really one successful example of somebody that went from a citation issued on the street to self-assessment to addiction services to a place of wellness,” he told Eugene City Council.

    He warned that the state was “on pace to shatter the record for overdose calls for service and shatter the record for overdose deaths. Police officers and firefighters are administering Narcan, life-saving Narcan at an alarming rate.”

    While the police are not calling for the complete reversal of the measure, they are backing making drug possession an offence again so addicts can be compelled to have treatment.

    Businesses are also calling for sweeping changes.

    “When measure 110 was passed, we in our community started to see a significant rise in crime and in particular, open-air drug use,” said Tiffany Edwards, vice president of policy and community development at Eugene Chamber of Commerce.

    “There were a lot of complaints from the business community. It is having a severe impact on our businesses, economic development and the wellness of our community.

    “We recognised while Measure 110 coincided with the explosion of fentanyl in the US in general, I think what we learned was that there were a lot of flaws in how the measure was implemented,” she told The Telegraph.

    But there are voices opposed to turning back the clock.

    The Drug Policy Alliance, which supports decriminalisation, said prosecuting users would “go back to a harmful system where people are arrested and put in jail for drug possession.”

    It added: “Jailing people is a waste of resources that results in a revolving door of arrest and incarceration that never addresses the root causes of drug use.”

    1. They can’t allow possession but make it illegal to use/be under the influence in public? Like they do with alcohol?

    2. “It has been pretty awful,” Matt Siegmund, the owner of Gardner Floor Covering in Eugene, told The Telegraph.

      I was in Eugene, OR just 6-wks ago. Indeed, it’s a sh!thole of homeless addicts roaming the streets looking to steal anything not fastened to the ground.

  13. Ford Mustang 2024 , It’s A Great Car, But….
    Greg’s Airplanes and Automobiles
    Oct 20, 2023
    Ford’s 2024 Ecoboost Mustang with the Performance Package is awesome. However it’s watching your every move and could turn you in.

    13 minutes. The title on the thumbnail was Mr. Orwell, your car has arrived.

    1. Cough up at least 35 grand to have your car spy on you? I think I’ll keep my old cars, thank you very much.

    2. I have OnStar om my 2020 Silverado and they used to send me reports cards on my driving, hard breaking, hard acceleration etc. not only that but my phone is hooked up to Bluetooth in the truck so they also have access to all the same sh#t this guy mentioned.

      That’s why I still enjoy driving my old 2003 F-2 Fiddy. The only one who knows where it’s going and where it’s been is me. Not to mention driving that truck is like holding up a crucifix up to a vampire when it comes to the virtue signaling woke Tesla drivers who feel that being better than everyone else they can cut you off or pull out in front of you. No sir, when they see the 2-Fiddy coming they back off and stay away because they know they’re dealing with a truck and a Trump voting driver who just doesn’t GAF and might actually enjoy a new Tesla colored paint sample on a bumper or fender.

      1. not only that but my phone is hooked up to Bluetooth in the truck

        I turn my phone off when I go out, or just leave it at home.

      2. “The only one who knows where it’s going and where it’s been is me.”

        There are special cameras sprinkled around our cities, roads and freeways that take images of your vehicle, crop the license plates, OCR them, and store the data in a repository. Homeland Security.

  14. New Documentary called “Cutting Off The Head of The Snake in Geneva” Rumble, and it is free.
    Its short but powerful and outlines who the culprits are in the mass denocide just delivered to the Globe, and a call for their arrest.

  15. ‘Ricci distinctly announced his non-cooperation: ‘Here’s my response. GO [expletive] YOURSELF Charlie. How’s that?’ ‘The party’s over [expletive)’

    If I had to pick what part of this made me laugh the most I would say this.

  16. ‘It just resonated with me. Everything I ever wanted was right in front of me,’ she recalls. ‘Knowing how high land prices are in Europe, I thought it was a bargain and invested’

    Vicky, when you were walking down the beach they all said sucker incoming.

  17. ‘locals have made small fortunes by pointing powerful mirrors to blind and startle guests at luxury hotels. Then they demand money from the hotel for them to be removed. ‘The police say people have the right to do what they want on their land,’ said the general manager of an internationally branded hotel, who wanted to remain anonymous. ‘Nine times out of 10, the blackmail works. It did with us’

    ‘Today, Bali and its surrounding islands are in the throes of a construction boom of the likes never seen before. Fuelled by the return of mass tourism after the pandemic, $US450 million in foreign direct investment flooded into Bali alone in 2022’

    Another example of alanyellenjerryben bucks looking for money heaven.

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