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Living Through The Worst-Case-Scenario Of Homeownership

A report from Vail Daily in Colorado. “If Eagle County’s 2023 real estate dollar volume had immediately followed 2019, it would have been a new record. Instead, it represents a significant drop from the pandemic years. Meanwhile, the number of transactions has been declining even more. The days are over for cash offers with no appraisals or inspections. ‘Buyers are much more critical,’ said. ‘They’re not willing to settle for just anything.’ That’s more in line with the market in 2019, he noted.”

The New York Post. “For home hunters dead set on targeting pecunious Palm Beach, there is some relief in sight. ‘We’ve had this frenzy of prices more than doubling over the last four years,’ said Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The good news? ‘Now we’re seeing pricing stabilize.’ The onslaught of northeasterners, who swarmed South Florida during the pandemic in search of suntans and tax breaks, has slowed. Why are we seeing price relief in the first place? The answer, according to Douglas Elliman broker Cara Coniglio McClure, boils down to sentiment. The ’emotional component’ that drove the market throughout the peak of the pandemic ‘has been taken out,’ she said. ‘Now, it’s shifted to just a normal, healthy market where the buyers have a little bit more power.'”

Action News Jax in Florida. “Downtown neighbors are frustrated by another roadblock for the longtime troubled site of the Berkman Plaza II. The developer behind the property filed for bankruptcy Friday, which puts a planned public auction on hold. Park Beeler, the owner of PB Riverfront Revitalization, had a plan that included a 42-floor skyscraper with hundreds of apartments, townhouses, and mixed-use on the first floor. Now Beeler is one of several that owes the property owner, Choate Construction, more than $5 million. Action News Jax Robert Grant dug through court records and found a history of evictions, foreclosures, and contract disputes listing Beeler as the defendant. Previously Action News Jax reported on Beeler’s prison time.”

The East Valley Tribune in Arizona. “Work has stopped again at The GRID in downtown Mesa, a ballyhooed apartment and commercial complex next to Benedictine University on Main Street. Developer Palladium Enterprises, a partnership between Tony Wall, Karrin Taylor Robson and Trevor Barger, entered into an agreement with Mesa to build the project on city-owned land in 2017. It’s at least the second time The GRID has had a work stoppage and the third time the developers have faced financial issues. Two subcontractors who worked on The GRID in the past year said they stopped receiving payments in October before work stopped in January. Both companies, small Valley businesses, are each owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cassandra Olivarez, a project manager for Joe Lopez LLC, said in an email that Palladium’s failure to pay has been ‘nothing short of distressing, placing our business in an extremely precarious position.'”

The Real Deal. “CA Ventures’ problems have migrated to the Texas Triangle. The company defaulted on a $72.1 million loan on one of its senior living facilities, Anthology of Tanglewood, at 504 Bering Drive in Houston. The property was auctioned at foreclosure earlier this month, according to Roddy’s Foreclosure Listing Service. An entity of the lender, Acore Capital, won control. CA Ventures has no shortage of other headaches. CEO Tom Scott said in December that the Chicago-based developer is in ‘deleverage mode.’ It is selling off multifamily assets and facing lawsuits from a lender, a group of investors and even a former executive. The company has attributed many of its problems to market-wide conditions. ‘It’s been a tumultuous two years,’ Scott said in the same interview. ‘It’s tough on everybody in the real estate world, everybody.'”

From Bisnow. “As landlords struggle to navigate New York regulations and as loans backed by multifamily become increasingly at risk, some owners are attempting to make a dash from the asset class before their day of reckoning comes. To most, acquiring apartments or building new no longer makes sense since the expiration of the 421-a tax abatement. Values for rent-stabilized apartments have substantially fallen from 2015 peak pricing, down an average of 18% across the five boroughs and as much as 51% in northern Manhattan, according to the report. That is attributed to the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, which eliminated landlords’ ability to raise rents by 20% when stabilized units become vacant and reduced the renovation costs that owners can recover to just $15K over 15 years, causing many apartments to sit empty after tenants move out. The panel of real estate executives described sellers as ‘capitulators,’ ‘losers’ and ‘taking a hit’ in this environment.”

From Bloomberg. “California’s newest state Senate president is only 44 but an old-school throwback: Mike McGuire climbed the political ladder by winning elections to the school board, mayor and county government and with a granular focus on bread-and-butter constituent issues. His profile grew after the Tubbs wildfire in 2017 devastated property owners and renters in his Northern California district. McGuire led the push to make insurers more responsive. Caught in the middle are people like McGuire’s constituents—shop owners and homebuyers scouring for a policy to satisfy their mortgage holder, and forced to flock in spiraling numbers to the state’s costly insurance program of last resort. ‘I can’t walk down the street without people telling me they got non-renewed or they lost their home,’ McGuire, a Democrat, said in an interview.”

“Kimberly Lilley, who works with an organization that represents condo associations around the country, said she sold her own condo in Los Angeles just in time to avoid staggering insurance rate increases there. The increases hitting condo associations are being passed to residents, she said, a trend that’s not sustainable. ‘This is the next housing crisis,’ Lilley said.”

The Kitsap Sun. “For two decades, Franklin County — an agricultural community of about 100,000 in south-central Washington — has been the fastest-growing county in the state. But lately, county leaders have been scrambling to pay their bills. And this year? They’ll need to cut another 15% from the general fund. ‘We’re out of cash. We don’t have any money left,’ said Franklin County Administrator Mike Gonzalez. ‘That part is a part that keeps me up at night. You’re like, ‘Holy cow, if we really got into a pickle, how are we going to pay for all this?’ Counties across Washington, of all sizes, are on the same kind of financial precipice. Many county officials blame the handcuffs that the Legislature has put on property taxes, their most crucial revenue source.”

“‘They’ve been holding things together with chewing gum and baling wire for the last few decades,’ state Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, said of local county governments. ‘The ways that they learned to do that just stopped working in a high-inflation environment.’ Yet the state, county leaders say, not only hasn’t been able to pass legislation to fix the problem, it’s made things worse by heaping on new responsibilities with little extra aid. ‘The financial system is collapsing, and we in the counties have been left to hold the bag,’ Gonzalez said. ‘We’re collapsing and the state is not doing anything about it but waiting and watching the system implode.'”

CBC News in Canada. “An investigation report by the City of Edmonton has found that the construction of a condo building evacuated due to structural problems in September did not align with design drawings, confirming what engineers determined last year. The city investigated the safety code permitting process for the design and construction phases between 1999 and 2000 for Castledowns Pointe, an 83-unit condo building at 12618 152nd Ave. Residents were ordered out of the building in September after engineers from Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. (RJC) investigating damage from a March 2023 fire discovered portions of the structure were significantly overstressed.”

“Lisa Brown, who owns a condo at Castledowns Pointe, has read the investigation report and city council memo. She said she continues to have more questions than answers — especially about who was responsible for making sure the building was structurally sound. ‘Nothing makes sense to me with this,’ she said. Brown, who has owned a unit in the building since 2008, says she and other owners are living through the ‘worst-case-scenario’ of homeownership. Brown said she and other residents are living through the worst-case-scenario of home ownership, facing extra housing costs, thousands of dollars in fees, and even foreclosures. ‘Not a single one of the 83 unit owners is not suffering significantly right now,’ she said.”

ABC News in Australia. “When Tracey Kokden paid the deposit on a one-bedroom apartment in a new development in Wollongong she was thrilled to think about the day she and her teenage daughter would move in. Ms Kokden is one of scores of buyers in Oxford Crown Group’s Crownview apartment development left in limbo as the NSW Building Commissioner seeks to rectify numerous issues. The buyers are unable to move in and unable to get their deposits back while the remediation works are carried out. In early 2022, Ms Kokden paid a 5 per cent deposit on a $560,000 one-bedroom/study apartment on the fourth floor of the 149-unit complex on Crown Street where she planned to live with her teenage daughter.”

“She was originally set to move into the unit in July 2022, but was told due to COVID, the timeline had blown out to December 2022. More changes to the sunset dates – or the date stipulated in the contract for completion of the building – followed as a result of the intervention of the NSW Building Commissioner who identified significant issues, including structural defects. In addition to her deposit, Ms Kokden has paid $21,000 in stamp duty and continues to pay $500 a month for a storage unit. ‘It has been a nightmare. I have had many a night where I have just cried myself to sleep,’ she said.”

South China Morning Post. “Hong Kong home prices in February fell for the 10th month to the lowest level in seven and a half years, after a sharper than expected month-on-month slump. With interest rates in the city at a more than 22-year-high, developers have been aggressively pricing flats in new projects at multi-year lows, making them more attractive to potential buyers. Home prices have lost a cumulative 13.7 per cent since April 2023.”

This Post Has 55 Comments
  1. ‘The panel of real estate executives described sellers as ‘capitulators,’ ‘losers’ and ‘taking a hit’ in this environment’

    That’s the spirit!

  2. ‘It has been a nightmare. I have had many a night where I have just cried myself to sleep’

    Yer still a winnah! in my book Tracey.

  3. On March 19, 2023, life changed forever for Catherine Wallner and Jeff Sentle. Around midday, an officer and a detective from the Ashland Police Department pulled up in front of their house to deliver impossible news: their son Josh, 27, was dead, the victim of a fentanyl overdose. The only witness, an acquaintance who had texted Josh after midnight and asked for a ride to the Ashland, Oregon, home where she was renting a room, had ended up in the hospital. Doctors found cocaine, cannabis and fentanyl in her system.

    The loss of their son left both parents numb with shock. Wallner tried focusing her grief and anger, gathering and sending information to the Ashland detective assigned to the case. Sentle took just one week off from his work as a custom homebuilder.

    Locally, fentanyl has largely replaced heroin, says Josh Reimer, Sergeant at MADGE, the Medford area’s special narcotics and gang task force. “Fentanyl is just completely overwhelming our communities. We have a significant rise every year.” From 2022 to 2023, MADGE saw a 700% increase in seizures of counterfeit fentanyl pills and a 93% increase in seizures of fentanyl powder.

    Nearly all of the drug is coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically the city’s Tenderloin District, says Reimer. Small-time dealers can hop on the I-5 highway, drive to the city, and score fentanyl without having any established relationships with sources.

    “I personally went to the Tenderloin just to see it for myself,” says Reimer, adding that he could have purchased as much fentanyl as he could have afforded. “There’s no relationship required.”

    This means MADGE is chasing many leads, often for smaller quantities of drugs. Following each requires the same resources as a large bust, leaving the task force spread thin.

      1. In related news, AMLO has admitted the fentanyl is being made in Mexico by the cartels, and smuggled into the US.

  4. Used EV prices in D.C. have dropped, and Tesla’s price swings may be to blame, according to new data analysis.

    “It is really Elon Musk’s aggressive price cuts of Teslas over the past 14 months to meet sales goals that have caused the price of Teslas to drop dramatically,” said iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer. “With prices dropping on his new vehicles, his used vehicles and all the competing used (EV prices) all drop.”

    In the D.C. market, the average price of a used Chevy Bolt EV has dropped 36% in the past year, a used Tesla Model 3 is down 26.4% and the average price of a used Nissan Leaf has dropped 25.7%.

  5. Tuberculosis cases are rising again in California, and health officials are urging those at higher risk, as well as doctors, to be alert for the disease, which can lurk in people’s bodies for years before becoming potentially deadly.

    The number of tuberculosis cases in 2023 rose by 15% in California compared to the previous year, the state Department of Public Health said. That’s the highest year-over-year increase since 1989, when it was tied to people co-infected with HIV.

    There were 2,113 cases across California last year; that’s about the same amount reported in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Seniors 65 and older had the highest percentage increase in cases between 2022 and 2023.

    Those at major risk for tuberculosis are people who have lived outside the U.S. where the TB rate is high, including most nations in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

  6. “Misinformation Experts” are almost all left wing and they want to censure you.

    The “Misinformation Industry” has been caught with its pants down — accidentally finding, then burying, the information that nearly everyone in their own industry “leans left”.

    This is a field that generated headlines about how conservatives are more susceptible to believing misinformation, and conservatives consume more Facebook disinformation. It would be awkward then if the whole field turned out to be leftist academics, and they tried to hide that, which is exactly what just happened.

    The leading “journal” on misinformation surveyed 150 of its own academic experts, then forgot to mention that one of the most striking and significant results from their own survey was that being a “Misinformation Expert” was a left wing phenomena.

    Misinformation Review Bjorn Lomborg noticed the statistics on their self-admitted political leanings buried in an appendix, and graphed it himself. He writes: “Misinformation experts are perhaps not quite unbiased”.

    There was barely a conservative among them:

    [A chart appears here …]

    Speaking of misinformation, it’s a little misleading, don’t you think, to pretend this doesn’t matter in a field “devoted” to researching political misinformation?

    It seems The Misinformation Review has been misinforming its readers.

    The Misinformation Industry looks, acts and smells like a leftist invention to censor the right
    Looking at their own statistics, the “misinformation” experts are a self-confessed group of leftist soft-scientists with little understanding of math, physics, mining, chemistry and real life.

    Experts leaned strongly toward the left of the political spectrum: very right-wing (0), fairly right-wing (0), slightly right-of-center (7), center (15), slightly left-of-center (43), fairly left-wing (62), very left-wing (21).

    And they specialize in media-science and political-science and think that’s a “broad range”:

    The misinformation experts represent a broad range of scientific fields. Experts specialized in psychology (39), communication and media science (32), political science (22), computational social sciences (17), computer science (9), sociology (8), journalism (8), philosophy (5), other (4), medicine/other (2), linguistics (2), history (1), physics (1).

    Experts of what exactly?

    As a theoretical field of science, the experts of misinformation could not even agree on a definition of misinformation itself. Only one in ten thought misinformation was “false information” alone. The rest felt that “misleading people” intentionally, or even unintentionally could qualify, which means the misinformation label can apply to anyone discussing a fact which they thought was true, and is actually true, but (as defined by the left-voting-experts) was “misleading” in the wrong context.

    They just want to shut you up.

    When asked what we should do about misinformation, the correct answer, of course, is “explain why it’s wrong”. But the experts didn’t even think of that — instead they suggest nine ways to hide information and the vast majority of the pool of “experts” were happy with nearly all of them — deplatform, silence, moderate and censor away!

    [Another chart appears here …]

    When asked “why do people believe misinformation?” the politically biased experts didn’t even blink — it was the human failures of confirmation bias, social identity and partisanship they declared — while buried six feet deep in confirmation bias, social identity and partisanship.

    1. Did you know?

      The 2020 election was stolen.
      There are only two genders.
      Covid vaccines are poison.
      Climate change is a communist hoax.
      And yes, realtors are liars.

  7. Los Angeles squatters sent packing as home inspectors enter, change locks, video shows

    Video shows a team of Los Angeles home inspectors giving a group of a dozen squatters a reality check before they entered the home, changed the locks and boarded up the windows.

    “The police are gonna come,” one of the squatters tells the inspectors in the front yard in cellphone video recorded earlier this month in the frontyard of a San Fernando Valley home.

    “That’s fine,” the inspector replies. “We’re coming in.”

    A group known as the Squatter Squad took the video and says it has been legally removing squatters from private property since 2018.

    They use various legal techniques, applicable on a case by case basis, to remove people who invade homes and refuse to leave.

    “This was a very tricky and complex job,” said Lando Fehrenbach, a Squatter Squad member.

    The intruders were under the impression that any entry into the house required a three-day notice obtained through court. However, they were wrong. A building inspection only requires a 24-hour notice and does not have to go through the court, he said.

    “They were just babbling nonsense,” he added.

    However, the squatters were seen taking their own video, repeatedly insisting the inspectors had to go through court before entering, and warning that they had called the police.

    “We’re gonna press charges,” says one squatter, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and holding a can of soda.

    “That’s fine,” the inspector replies. “Take me to court.”

    The owner sent a team of workers who showed up with their own port-a-potty and tools.

    Video shows that when officers did arrive, they stood in the street and let the inspectors do their work. The squatters wound up packing their belongings and leaving before the Squatter Squad installed no-trespassing signs, put a new lock on the gate and boarded up the windows.

    Earlier this month, police in New York City arrested a woman who said a group of squatters moved into her $1 million house and refused to leave.

    She had inherited the property from her parents when they died, then found squatters living inside.

    She called the police, who escorted two strange men off of the property, according to the local ABC affiliate.

    However, when she changed the locks, one of the squatters came back with another police officer and accused her of breaking into the house. She was escorted out in handcuffs, but police declined to press charges on the burglary allegation.

    An NYPD spokesperson told Fox News Digital she had been released with a summons for unlawful eviction and was not arrested.

  8. [OMG this is a long post but it is well worth a read.]

    Behavioural Scientists Aren’t Just Wrong About How to Win Over Electorates to Crackpot Progressive Policies; Their Evident Contempt for the Masses Has Contributed to the Global Populist Revolt

    Nothing strikes as much fear through the establishment’s fact-checkers and hate-vanquishers as the rise of ‘populism’. Democratic backlashes against dominant ideologies and policy agendas are the natural and inevitable reaction to the intransigence of those who advance them. These reactions, which look likely to sweep many populist parties to power in elections this year, are seen by incumbents as the re-emergence of ‘dark historical forces’, but our leaders have no other words for the challenges to their authority than ‘far-Right’. The reason they cannot grasp what’s really going on – indeed, one of the causes of their unpopularity – is that they’ve placed too much faith in what has turned out to be really bad science.

    According to the narrative of anointed pundits, tractors on their way to Europe’s capital cities and the EU Parliament are like so many Nazi tanks rolling across the continent. The EU Parliamentary election is at risk of a ‘far-Right takeover’ as polling shows voters beginning to reject the liberal consensus. This paranoid fantasy is not wholly without a basis in fact – the benighted really are changing the political landscape. Following Giorgia Meloni’s 2022 victory in Italy, Geert Wilders’s PVV became the largest party in the Netherlands last year but has been unable to form a Government. Since 2020, AfD has doubled its polling to around 20%, pushing Germany’s SPD and Greens into third and fourth places. The German Government is now contemplating banning the party, so bereft of ideas is it about how to counter its criticisms in the public square. France’s longstanding spectre haunting global blobists, Marine Le Pen’s party, would, according to recent polling, win a majority of seats in the National Assembly if an election were held tomorrow.

    According to the establishment view, science is at loggerheads with the populism now sweeping across Europe. But to pit science against ideology in this way is false. Science has been used to legitimise numerous contemporary political agendas, invoked in the same way that God used to be to legitimise a particular political platform. Most notably, ‘climate science’, which is invoked by increasingly remote elites struggling to overcome yawning democratic deficits claim that ‘saving the planet’ is in the best interests of their electorates. Yet, to those being forced to pay the price for these economically ruinous policies, it’s obvious that the Net Zero agenda is, at root, an ideological crusade designed to advance the interests of wealthy elites. And many are now wondering if the ‘climate change’ we’re constantly being warned about will be as devastating as the policies designed to mitigate its effect, which seem to require the suspension of democracy, the transformation of society and the draconian regulation of lifestyles insofar as they require energy.

    As politicians and others have met resistance to their agendas based on ‘unimpeachable science’, they have sought an explanation. The answer they found is epitomised by a 2011 article by liberal science warrior Chris Mooney, who helpfully set out ‘The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science’. Neuroscientists and social psychologists, explained Mooney, had identified differences in the structure of brains owned by liberals and conservatives, which made the latter more prone to ‘motivated reasoning’ and therefore to ideology, whereas liberals were biased only towards truth. This explained why Republicans were more sceptical of climate change then their Democrat counterparts who obediently recognised the authority of ‘the scientific consensus’. Mooney’s essay, which followed his 2005 book, The Republican War on Science, was itself worked into a book in 2012, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality.

    Mooney’s work, born in the pre-Obama era of ‘muscular atheism’ and a regrouping of Left-of-centre ideas around scientism, though largely inconsequential, marked the completion of cognitive and behavioural scientists’ entry into the political sphere. Only somebody with insufficiently developed neural circuits – a.k.a. Republicans – could disagree with climate propaganda, or they were funded by Big Oil, or both. It didn’t really matter, because Science had spoken.

    But Mooney’s confidence was misplaced. Whereas the scientific consensus on climate change had been broadly (and falsely) reported as being as indubitable as ‘basic physics’, the new lab-coated recruits of this political, and increasingly cultural war, could not claim anything so tangible. First, studies confirmed that academic psychology was experiencing a ‘replication crisis’ – barely a third of published science in the field could be reproduced experimentally. Second, psychological science was revealed to be dominated by Left-wing scientists, with measurable impacts on peer-review. Conservative scientists were less likely to be published. A soft science – and perhaps the softest science – was now being used to supposedly explain why more people didn’t believe in hard science, although, to complicate things, the hard science wasn’t that hard after all.

    In Britain, where politics was less polarised under a suffocating Blairism, this naked scientism had a much easier ride into the establishment. A consensus on climate change – and pretty much everything else – had formed in Westminster, excluding any inconvenient influences from politics. In a 2010 report, jointly produced by the Cabinet Office and the Institute for Government, Cabinet Secretary, then Sir, now Lord Gus O’Donnell, who had commissioned it, wrote in the foreword:

    Many of the biggest policy challenges we are now facing… will only be resolved if we are successful in persuading people to change their behaviour, their lifestyles or their existing habits.

    The report, citing “major advances in understanding the influences on our behaviours” argued that “influencing behaviour is central to public policy”, and that in tackling “crime, obesity or environmental sustainability, behavioural approaches offer a potentially powerful new set of tools”.

    But there had been no development in the behavioural sciences – they remained mired in the depths of the replication crises and obvious ideological bias. The only change that occurred was a dim view of individuals’ competences had developed and become fashionable within policy circles, displacing a view that had hitherto constrained technocratic paternalism. Barely a year following its publication, Cass Sunstein’s 2008 book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness had become the British Establishment’s operating manual. The Nudge Unit, properly known as the Behavioural Insights Team, was born.

    After all, something had been lacking in public life since before even Blair’s triumphant arrival at Downing Street and politicians struggled to put their finger on it. In the early days of New Labour, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott declared that the state’s performance would now be measured by a ‘quality of life barometer’. Even the amount of birdsong – a metric of ecological sustainability and subjective wellbeing – would be measured. Sadly for Prescott, the plans for happiness were shelved in favour of a ‘War on Terror’, and so it was a touchy-feely David ‘hug-a-husky’ Cameron who finally seized the therapeutic initiative. He had convened a Quality of Life policy group in 2007 to investigate the policies required to make us adjust our behaviour to make life better for everyone, e.g. use less fossil fuels. And having taken office in 2010, the nudgers were the very group to help him make the ‘difficult’ choices required to save the planet.

    The coalition ‘greenest Government ever’ brought together the two opposition parties that had convinced themselves they were planet savers. But the strongest constituency in Britain (ever) had a very different idea about what was lacking in politics. Worse, the Leave vote having won, no less an earthquake in the form of Donald Trump sent a second panic through the anointed classes. How could the nudgers, either side of the Atlantic, have got it so wrong? In the wake of these catastrophes, psychologists set to work developing new hypotheses to explain the public’s lack of gratitude.

    Then, the most curious intervention from psychologists in the years between the Referendum and the Covid pandemic came from the green quarters. In 2018, an obscure 2016 paper by clinical psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon came to the attention of climate protesters. The paper called for the creation of a “climate emergency movement”, which would “lead the public into emergency mode”. This “mode is the mode of human psychological functioning that occurs when individuals or groups respond optimally to existential or moral emergencies”, claimed the psychologist. Thus, having had the ‘truth’ of the ‘climate emergency’ explained to them, the public would rise up and force governments to act to save the planet. Klein-Salamon’s hypothesis spawned Extinction Rebellion and its franchises, and Greta Thunberg’s Schools Strike movement. But the public, in their millions, stayed at home. Rather than rising up, they became impatient with the failure to clear the mere dozens of protesters from the streets.

    A more successful intervention by social psychologists was the infamous survey which claimed that 97% of academic papers on climate change supported the consensus position. Cook et al.’s 2013 study was routinely cited by Obama as representing the “overwhelming judgement of science”. It’s authors believed, like Klein-Salamon, that the public would be more receptive to the ‘climate emergency’ scaremongering if they knew it had the backing of most climate scientists – a contentious hypothesis of science communication known as the Gateway Belief Model. “An accurate perception of the degree of scientific consensus is an essential element to public support for climate policy,” explains the paper’s introduction. The paper was not accurate, but it created an article of faith around which its adherents could organise their arguments. It was political communication, not science communication.

    But how effective has this psychological ‘science’ been?

    Across the Atlantic, polls suggest that voters will return Donald Trump to the Whitehouse and terminate Justin Trudeau’s hyper-woke regime. Further to the south, the chainsaw-wielding libertarian Javier Milei won 56% of the popular vote in last year’s presidential election in Argentina. One in three Europeans now vote for anti-establishment parties, bleats the Guardian. Its sister paper nervously awaits the results of 40 elections around the planet that threaten to undermine the global order and all life on Earth. The Guardian, again, uncritically reported the words of John Kerry: “The populist backlash against Net Zero around the world is imperilling the fight against climate breakdown and must be countered urgently or we face planetary destruction ‘beyond comprehension’.”

    It’s beginning to look like the advice of behavioural ‘scientists’ about how to engage the public on Net Zero and other policies is a bit duff. Big promises are made by these academics about their ability to influence the public. But what are they really capable of achieving?

    Extremely limited evidence underpins behavioural scientists’ claims. The classic example of ‘nudge’, for example, is the discovery that the image of a fly painted onto a urinal helps men to take better aim, thereby leaving conveniences in better condition. Away from the toilet, psychologists discoveries are difficult to quantify in wider society. Some psychologists, observe their critics, have used exotic and inappropriate statistical methods to report greater effects than can realistically be detected and expressed in conventional terms. Even in the lab, an attempt to quantify the Gateway Belief Model found that consensus messaging yielded just a +1.7% change in support for climate policies. This result was later disputed by other researchers in the field, who conversely found ‘reactance’ in studies of consensus messaging – an awareness of being manipulated, which increased rather than overcame polarisation.

    It is a peculiar debate between academics on the green-Left about how best to manipulate climate-sceptic conservatives, rather than have it out with their enemy in the democratic open. And this cod-science’s hostility to democracy and the hoi polloi, which is conceived of as an unthinking, malleable mass, is reproduced in countless governments’ policies and communications. Perhaps then, they have not merely failed to manufacture consent but have actually helped to turn electorates against their would-be masters.

    It would be too much to say that the global ‘populist backlash’ is wholly caused by green blob head-shrinking. But behaviourists’ work seems more intended to legitimise intransigence and to justify draconian policy to politicians than to win over the public, whose reaction to it does not require a PhD to understand. Many millions are poured by governments into research which hasn’t merely produced some ‘reactance’ but ultimately looks set to be near-terminal for the green cause, if progressive governments and politicians suffer the catastrophic defeats at the ballot box that many predict. If the intention was to win over the public, then the psychologists are even more out of touch than their clients. Academic psychology epitomises, rather than rescues, elite intransigence.

    People can be hectored and punished into lockdowns and forced by high prices to reduce their energy usage, and democracy can be slowly eroded. But academic psychologists have been unable to turn insight about men peeing on flies into preventing a pissed off public reciprocating official sentiments.

    When presented with actual choice, rather than one dictated by ‘choice architects’, the public do not choose either heat pumps or EVs, nor green technocratic globalists. Britain, for the moment, looks set to buck the trend sweeping the rest of the planet. But that’s partly because successive Conservative governments have placed far too much faith in propaganda informed by behavioural science, just like their progressive counterparts abroad. There’s a lesson here for Keir Starmer – but you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll ignore it.

  9. Free sh*tters gonna free sh*t.

    CNBC (3/26/2024):

    “Almost half of all voters, or 48%, say canceling student loan debt is an important issue to them in the 2024 presidential and congressional elections, a new survey finds.

    Among younger people, 70% of Gen Z respondents said the action was “very” or “somewhat” important in the election, and 72% of Black voters and 68% of Hispanic voters believe the same.

    Around 7 in 10 voters, 73%, believe the government should take some action on student loan debt, with 50% supporting partial or complete loan cancellation, the survey found.

    Among Gen Z and millennial Democrats, 81% of voters surveyed favored loan forgiveness.”

    If you borrowed $80,000 to get a masters degree in Obama Studies, you deserve to suffer the consequences of your decision.


    1. “If you borrowed $80,000 to get a masters degree in Obama Studies, you deserve to suffer the consequences of your decision.”

      Then you also have the high earning doctors and lawyers who could pay back their student loans but are more than happy to let the truck drivers and plumbers pay it for them.

      1. The Student Loan Forgiveness Loophole For High-Income Earners

        Oct 13, 2022

        The White House’s new student loan forgiveness program offers $10,000 in forgiveness to nearly all borrowers (and $20,000 to those with Pell Grants), unless you are a high-income earner (earning over $125,000 individually or $250,000 as a family). As the White House put it in their August fact sheet announcing the program: “No high-income individual or high-income household – in the top 5% of incomes – will benefit from this action.” The typically imagined high-income student debtor probably earned a graduate degree, like a law degree or MBA, and may have graduated with a starting salary well into the six figures.

        But, many of those high-income debtors will still be eligible for student loan forgiveness under the White House’s new application form preview released on October 11th. In it, the definition of “high-income” leaves open a wide loophole so that many high-income recent graduates may qualify.

    2. ** ” If you borrowed $80,000 to get a masters degree in Obama Studies, you deserve to suffer the consequences of your decision.

      Loosers. ”

      err, ahem . . .

      1. Here is what i think is a Fair solution. cancel your debt and cancel your degrees………and anyone who does not have a valid college degree that is required for the position, will be fired. and cannot sue for their job back.

        You can always take a lesser job. NO JD be a paralegal, no DDS be a highly trained dental assistant….etc. no Phd well be a teachers assistant not a college professor. Or start an only fans page side hustle.

  10. They sure as sh#t haven’t lost any paperwork on the J6 defendants causing their cases to be tossed.

    Biden administration fails to file paperwork, causes 200K migrant deportation cases to be tossed: ‘Serious concerns’

    By Victor Nava
    Published March 20, 2024, 8:06 p.m.

    Immigration judges dismissed deportation cases against some 200,000 migrants under President Biden because the Department of Homeland Security failed to file the required paperwork before their court dates, according to a new report.

    The DHS’s failure to file thousands of notices to appear before scheduled hearing dates left courts without jurisdiction to handle deportation cases and rule on asylum claims, according to a report released Wednesday by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

    “These large numbers of dismissals and what then happens raise serious concerns,” the TRAC report, which includes data through February 2024, states.

    The nonpartisan research organization called it “troubling” that there was an “almost total lack of transparency on where and why these DHS failures occurred.”

  11. The Meltdown of Commercial Real Estate

    BY Peter St OngePETER ST ONGE
    MARCH 25, 2024 ECONOMICS,

    In case you’ve still got money in a bank, Bloomberg is warning that defaults in commercial real estate loans could “topple” hundreds of US banks.

    Leaving taxpayers on the hook for trillions in losses.

    The note, by Senior Editor James Crombie, walks us through the festering hellscape that is commercial real estate.

    1. The WSJ comes clean on the wierd management thinking. There really is some absurd group thinking amongst MBAs.

      U.S. office markets are suffering from soaring vacancy rates, a record amount of available sublease space, and rising defaults. But curiously, office rents are holding steady or even climbing.

      Average U.S. asking office rents are $35.24 a square foot, compared with $34.92 in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data firm CoStar Group.

      Higher asking prices are a reflection of the seemingly oddball way the commercial real-estate market works. Rents are a critical metric used by lenders and others to determine the value of a property. Owners will do everything they can to avoid cutting them, even if it means keeping space vacant because the rental prices deter prospective tenants.

      Landlords who cut rents significantly to fill empty space “would significantly reduce the appraised values of their buildings,” said David Bitner, the head of global research for Newmark Group, a commercial real estate services firm. “This in turn could lead to a covenant default on their loans or at minimum would make it harder for them to refinance.”

      Office rents are expected eventually to tumble, probably after owners and lenders are forced to restructure mortgages or sell distressed properties.

      1. So basically they want wait until they have to default and then turn the building back to the bank.

        From the article link by Jeff the Denier

        And that brings us to Crombie, who notes that there’s $929 billion of commercial real estate debt coming due in the next 9 and a half months.

        That’s up 28% from last year, and it’s getting bigger every day as banks pretend loans are still healthy by effectively adding missed payments.

      2. ‘This in turn could lead to a covenant default on their loans or at minimum would make it harder for them to refinance’

        Same thing happens with big apartment complexes.

        1. So to satisfy other metrics, they are willing to loose out on additional rent and cash flow …

          And risk loosing the property – Awesome!

      3. “The WSJ comes clean on the wierd management thinking. There really is some absurd group thinking amongst MBAs.”

        Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. —Wharton

  12. Monopoly Corporations buying up residential real estate , while squatters are invading homes .

    The end goal of One World Order is you will own nothing and like it.
    Bill Gates and other entities buying up farmland.
    No matter how ridiculous you thought the statement was that ” You will own nothing and be happy,” the One World Order wants to turn humanity into slaves who own nothing.

    The end game of One World Order is that they will control all earth’s resources and consumption by human inhabitants of globe.
    Tyson Chicken is hiring 42 thousand illegals to apparently process bug food.
    The pre-planned take over of Globe by Entities using the monopoly model to destroy their competition is in final operational stages.
    Nothing else explains what they openly say their end game agenda is. They think its in the bag and nothing can stop them.

  13. ‘Buyers are much more critical,’ said. ‘They’re not willing to settle for just anything.’ That’s more in line with the market in 2019’

    The market was headed down big time at the end of 2019. In Arizona foreclosure auction prices started making sense for the first time in years.

  14. ‘The ’emotional component’ that drove the market throughout the peak of the pandemic ‘has been taken out,’ she said. ‘Now, it’s shifted to just a normal, healthy market where the buyers have a little bit more power’

    Gosh Cara, I hope no one overpaid in such an environment!

  15. ‘It’s been a tumultuous two years…It’s tough on everybody in the real estate world, everybody’

    I’m earning more on my monies than I have in years Scott. I like it!

  16. Kimberly Lilley, who works with an organization that represents condo associations around the country, said she sold her own condo in Los Angeles just in time to avoid staggering insurance rate increases there’

    That’s the spirit Kim, inside knowledge, screw the bum next door!

    ‘The increases hitting condo associations are being passed to residents, she said, a trend that’s not sustainable. ‘This is the next housing crisis’

    The trend, it seems to me, is it’s the multi-unit insurance the issuers don’t want to do anymore. So they are pricing to run you off. We read about it in Colorado recently. It wasn’t a condo, it was a regular collection of new-ish shacks, presumably some kind of collective insurance. Surrounded by forest. And the insurance lady said we can’t make money with these multi-unit insurance policies.

  17. ‘Palladium’s failure to pay has been ‘nothing short of distressing, placing our business in an extremely precarious position’

    There’s a lag between interest rate increases and the pain Cassandra.

  18. ‘We’re out of cash. We don’t have any money left…That part is a part that keeps me up at night. You’re like, ‘Holy cow, if we really got into a pickle, how are we going to pay for all this?…They’ve been holding things together with chewing gum and baling wire for the last few decades…The ways that they learned to do that just stopped working in a high-inflation environment’

    Sam, Jamie, Jerry broke it off in yer a$$ too.

    1. They will have to deal with it the way the private sector does: by cutting back on spending. This means laying people off. And don’t tell me the county’s payroll isn’t chock full of people who perform non essential functions. Chewing gum and baling wire my azz. I’ll bet all those county employees have pensions.

  19. ‘Nothing makes sense to me with this,’ she said. Brown, who has owned a unit in the building since 2008, says she and other owners are living through the ‘worst-case-scenario’ of homeownership. Brown said she and other residents are living through the worst-case-scenario of home ownership, facing extra housing costs, thousands of dollars in fees, and even foreclosures. ‘Not a single one of the 83 unit owners is not suffering significantly right now’

    2008 Lisa. Yer a millionaire!

  20. ‘Hong Kong home prices in February fell for the 10th month to the lowest level in seven and a half years, after a sharper than expected month-on-month slump. With interest rates in the city at a more than 22-year-high, developers have been aggressively pricing flats in new projects at multi-year lows, making them more attractive to potential buyers. Home prices have lost a cumulative 13.7 per cent since April 2023’

    Last week same paper said lowest prices in 5 years. I guess when new airboxes cost less than new, it’s crater time!

  21. [This is another version of a previous post.]

    2,500 football fields of new solar panels destroyed by hail in Texas this week.

    Imagine the outcry if a coal plant was obliterated by hail?
    A few days ago, a 3,300 acre solar power plant in Texas suffered major hail damage. This was a plant so new it was still under construction. The Fighting Jays solar project started generating in 2022, but was not expected to be fully complete until the end of 2024. In theory it was supposed to last for 35 years.

    It is so large they boasted that it covers 2,499 football fields (like that is a good thing). Despite the vast footprint, it was rated at only 350 MW. At noon at peak production it could generate about half of what one forty year old coal fired turbine makes all day every day, and every night too.

    Collecting low density energy is more expensive than the wish-fairies might think.

    At an average construction price of $1 million per megawatt the project likely cost about $350 million dollars. In order to rebuild it, they will need to remove and dispose of the broken panels, so it may cost even more.

    The Fighting Jays solar farm was insured against hail damage. Presumably insurance premiums will be rising.

    Locals are worried about the possibility of contamination with heavy metals, plastics and other chemicals in the local water supply. Hopefully they won’t leave it all there to rot.

    On the plus side, the hailstorm reduced some pollution of the Texas energy market.

  22. Joe Biden: Government Will Pay ‘Entire Cost’ of Rebuilding Baltimore Bridge

    26 Mar 2024

    President Joe Biden said the government would pay the “entire cost” of rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, after a cargo ship hit the bridge after losing power early Tuesday morning.

    “It’s my intention that we will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge. I expect the Congress to support my effort,” Biden said in a White House press conference. “It’s gonna take some time. And the people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with that every step of the way until the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt. We’re not leaving until this job is done.”


    GadsdenFlyer ! amagi
    5 hours ago
    Not defending Baltimore but we already payed for this bridge and two tunnels with the promise that once they were payed off, the toll facilities would go away. We ended up getting a 300% increase in the price of tolls instead. Now I know that’s a problem of this state/city continuing to vote for increased taxes year after year, but the tax payers didn’t destroy this bridge. The shipping company did and they should be the ONLY ones having to pay out. But leave it to Biden to happily dip into our pockets once again instead of doing the right thing. I mean it’s free money, right?

    4 hours ago edited
    Sorry Joe, the government’s not going to pay for it.. we the people who have deductions out of our paychecks every week are going to pay for it.
    And hopefully that cargo vessel was very well insured. They should be liable for a big chunk of the cost. And that liability should work its way down to whoever worked on that ship last, and whatever parts that failed and or maintenance failures.

  23. Arizona State University Offers Students College Credit in Exchange For Helping Charity Facilitate Illegal Immigration

    by Jamie White
    March 26th 2024, 5:54 pm

    Arizona State University (ASU) is offering college credit to students who help a Catholic charity activist group facilitate illegal immigration.

    Yes, really.

    University of Arizona health services provide support for migrants

    Mar 25, 2024


    2 hours ago
    So, actively engaging university students into committing felony offenses ? Inoovative !

    3 hours ago

    1 day ago
    You people are funding your own demise

  24. Personal Finance
    As a financial planner, I always say you don’t have to buy real estate to build wealth — a better strategy is much easier
    Written by Eric Roberge; edited by Stephanie Hallett
    Mar 18, 2024, 4:46 AM PDT
    Beyond Your Hammock

    – Buying a home may be the “American Dream,” but it’s certainly not a prerequisite for building wealth.

    – Owning a home is expensive, even if you rent it out, and you’re never guaranteed a profit.

    – Consider REITs instead, and maximize your investments in the market to build long-term wealth.

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