Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Targets a Bank Next

   In an exclusive interview earlier this month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011. Assange wouldn't say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation's bad behavior. "It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume," he told me. 

   I'm going to assume that the financial firm Julian Assange is about to spill the beans on is Goldman Sachs. If not Goldman, then it's probably JP Morgan. However, the revelation of all these documents won't mean a thing and they won't change anything. Time heals all wounds and the masses are forgetful. Within a month or two after the documents are released, it will be business as usual.

   Don't believe me? Look at what happened to the "Global Warming Conspiracy" where over 1,000 emails were released to the public which exposed scientists using "tricks" and subterfuge to bolster the global warming farce. Despite the evidence of a coverup, nothing has come of it and the conspiracy marches onwards.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Return of Rampant Consumerism?

What recession? Shoppers eat up Black Friday deals
   For one day at least, you could almost imagine the recession never happened. Millions of the nation's shoppers braved rain and cold to crowd stores while others grabbed online bargains on what could be the busiest Black Friday ever.
   Early signs pointed to bigger crowds at many stores including Best Buy, Sears, Macy's and Toys R Us, some of which had earlier openings than past years or even round-the-clock hours. Minnesota's Mall of America and mall operators Taubman Centers Inc. and Macerich Co. also reported more customers than last year.

   This year's Black Friday news stories are reading a lot like last year's Black Friday stories - namely, a big initial boost only to be followed by apathy, lackluster follow-through, and eventual disappointment. Will it turn out the same this year? I think so. I think there's pent-up demand out in the American landscape but Black Friday deals always draw in the crowds. However, after the "doorbuster" sales are over, demand will slump and the cash registers won't be ringing too heartily in the next few years. This is just my guesstimate. Of course, the sales boom could continue but I don't think so.

  There are blue skies ahead and boom times are brewing. Just not so soon. There were no stampedes at Walmart yesterday but there was one at a Target store in North Buffalo. I abhor rampant consumerism but I work for a company that owns retail properties. However, the difference between our company and the others is we don't do any sales. I don't think they even care if they sell anything on Black Friday but I guess if they sell one toolbox on Black Friday at full price, that's cool. Shrug.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New home sales unexpectedly fall in October- Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales fell unexpectedly in October and prices dropped to a seven-year low, a government report showed on Wednesday, pointing sustained weakness in the housing market following the end of a home-buyer tax credit. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to a 310,000 unit pace in October. Compared to October last year, sales were down 28.5 percent.
The clowns continue to get it wrong. You could have walked on the sidewalk on any street in America and asked 10 random people if they thought houses were going to be selling in October. None of them would have said yea. Analysts are useless. Get rid of them. Smoke 'em out if they won't leave because none of them are going to walk away from a bullshit job on their own volition. Alas, that will never happen because the system is broken and a broke-ass system needs its army of touters, patzers, and imbeciles to continue marching.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The New Face of Foreclosure

A local news story from Minnesota regarding the foreclosure mess.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Economists see 'sub-par' growth ahead - CNN

   The economy will remain sluggish early next year as the lingering effects of the recession continue to drag on growth and the benefit of government stimulus fades, a panel of professional forecasters said Monday. In its November outlook, the National Association for Business Economics predicts that the U.S. economy will grow 2.7% this year. That's a slight improvement from the October survey, but is a far cry from the 3.2% rate the survey had projected in May.

   You know what a "professional forecaster" is? A dumbass. Imagine your job title is "professional forecaster" and your job is to attempt to look into the future by using past and current data/trends to divine what's going to happen. Now imagine that you're wrong most of the time and yet you still have a job? You're not only a dumbass but a lucky dumbass. Despite all the folly associated with forecasters, they serve a necessary purpose in society - they provide headlines and crunch data which is meaningless.

   Now, you're probably thinking, how does crunching meaningless data serve a purpose in society? Meaningless data holds meaning for the uneducated, the headline glancers, and the masses. You ever hear on the radio that a study somewhere recommended drinking at least one cup of coffee a day? Most people listen to that and think coffee is good and drink it. They never follow up on the study, research the study themselves, or look into it further. The masses receive their information in snippets and headlines and data points. Meaningless data serves to bend opinion and color perspective - so, even if the data is completely wrong and irrational, it has served its purpose if it reaches enough people and affects their thinking.

   My forecast? Economy's going to be booming. Growth is going to be blazing. Good times are ahead but the "professional forecasters" could never see what I see because they're unable to break free from the dogma and reams of useless data that have leashed them to the hydrant marked "Dumbass."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ireland holds out its hand for bail-out

Ireland readies budget plan as massive bailout looms
   DUBLIN — Ireland moved Saturday towards finalising its four-year crisis plan for cutting its budget deficit which could pave the way for a multi-billion euro bailout.
The four-year plan is aimed at sorting out Ireland's budget deficit. The government has pumped some 50 billion euros into its stricken banks, pushing its public deficit to 32 percent of output -- more than 10 times the EU limit. The new austerity drive is looking to save 15 billion euros between now and 2014.

The seeds of destruction of the European Union and the currency have been sown. The Union rewards wastrels with wealth from the workers. How can such a system last for much longer? When the next financial doomsday is upon us, can the Union withstand another assault that's even more brutal than the one we witnessed in the past 2 years? My guess is no because systemic risk will be a daily event at that point and wealthy EU members cannot keep the entire membership roll afloat.

   Whatever austerity measures that are adopted by the wastrels in these next 1-2 years will be forgotten when the good times return. They are coming soon and when the world is basking in the loving warmth of the golden sun once more, the next disaster will be lurking around the corner. Memories are short and the wastrels rule the world.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Noise Continues - Part II

   More headlines and clownishness from the "established" media. When's the revolution?

Market's confidence in Fed has rarely been higher
   This is an ironic statement. Whenever the FED sneezes, the market dips by a hundred points and goes on a rollicking romper room ride. That's confidence? What's disbelief then? Why does Bernanke have to defend the FED's bond buying if the market is confident?

Ireland aid plan due next week as spread fears persist
   Fearing fear is no way to live. As I've mentioned yesterday, Ireland will be bailed out and they'll get everything they need. They're on the dole and on the hook with the IMF and the ECB but this is a "good" thing. Ignore the noise.

China Policy Tightening Weighs on World Markets
   Ever get the feeling that something's really wrong with the world? That good news is bad and bad news is good? Read that headline again and realize that good news is rendered bad news.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Noise Continues

   Some headlines that blipped on my screen this morning are in bold below and my commentary follows:

* Expectations of Aid for Ireland Lift Global Markets
   The bailout was never in doubt. The only people who thought that Ireland's "debt crisis" would be allowed to create another contagion were the amateurs. The patzers. The ones who haven't a clue as to how the game is played.

* Foreclosure class actions pile up against banks
   Noise. Someone turn it off already. Stop feeding the lawyers, stop borrowing against your home equity, stop the greed, stop the handouts, stop the bailouts, and definitely stop the blame. All this is noise though. Just another distraction to keep the money in play.

* GM is back: Good news for taxpayers, investors
   Whomever wrote this headline shouldn't be in the news business. I'm talking about the real news business and not the business of misdirection, thought control, and utter stupidity ('ello, Huffington Post). GM isn't good for taxpayers - GM swallowed up $50 billion in aid and the IPO is going to net about half that. The government gets the proceeds of those shares they're selling and none of it is going to taxpayers. So, how is this "good news" for taxpayers or is the headline writer just blowing smoke? As for investors, okay sure GM provides another mindless trading stock to play but it's not an investment. It's all noise though. Just another distraction to keep the money in play. See the theme here?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is the Rally Over?

^^^ That's the headline from a WSJ article this morning. I'll quote some of it below for reference:

   For those investors wondering whether the months-long stock-market rally, after retreating a few steps, has more room left to run, Mark Rylance has some words of advice.
   "There's absolutely no way that anyone knows what's going to happen," says the Newport Beach, Calif., financial adviser. Many investors are wondering whether they should cash out or stay invested.
   The DOW dropped about 200 points yesterday. Guess that's why headlines like, "Is the Rally Over?" are being printed. The rally is just getting started. We are at the early innings of a multi-year rally that will take all of the indices way past their former highs. People are down on the stock market because it's a cruel and unforgiving monster. Make a bad trade and you're eaten alive. Fat-finger a trade and half of your capital disappears into the monster's gaping maw.

   Trading ain't easy and it was never meant to be a game played by children. However, the market's going higher. No doubt. There'll be dips and blips on the road to DOW 18K but only children expect the market to move in one direction. That is all. 

Never underestimate the stupidity of investors

GM confirms expanding IPO by 31 percent
GM to expand number of shares by 31 percent in offering; deal could become largest US IPO http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GM-confirms-expanding-IPO-by-apf-3081307171.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=5&asset=&ccode=
DETROIT (AP) -- Just a day before its historic return to the New York Stock Exchange, General Motors announced Wednesday that it would expand its initial public offering of common shares by 31 percent.
The Detroit company, responding to higher-than-expected demand for its shares, said it will raise the size of its IPO to 478 million common shares from the previously announced 365 million shares. Most of the common stock will be sold by the U.S. government, which is trying to unload what is now a 61 percent stake in the country's largest automaker.

   I'm not disparaging individual investors. They're largely out of the market. I'm disparaging crooked fund managers who buy on behalf of individual investors (IRAs, pensions, etc) and they're the "dumbasses" who are pouring money into the GM IPO. In any case, GM's a dinosaur that should've died and stayed dead. Taxpayers were tapped to give it a lifeline and now GM is coming back - a lumbering dinosaur that's facing extinction in another 10 years. Til then, enjoy the IPO, trade the shares, and watch the roller coaster commence. 

Virtual Real Estate Mania

I thought this was ironic. And dumb. Don't forget dumb.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Panama City Beach Luxury Home Foreclosure of the Day

   Youtube has become the spamming ground of choice for businesses seeking to gain exposure for the products that they sell. I look at the daily foreclosure offerings from time to time and this one caught my eye. As an added bonus, a midi version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" kicks the video off. From the video's sparse description:

"2,700 square foot home in The Preserve coming on the market in Panama City Beach, Florida."

   The guy in the video mentions that the house was built in 2005. That was the height of the boom when cheap construction materials were used to build homes as soon as possible to fill demand. Were substandard materials used to build this house? Who knows. I know I wouldn't buy a house that was built in the past 10 years. The house looks okay from the outside but the dining room that they show isn't a selling point with its green walls and droopy hanging light from Home Depot.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting back into the groove

   Coming back to work after a vacation isn't easy. There's too much on my mind right now and a there are a lot of new projects that we're working on. The trading has also been ripe for the pickings both yesterday and today. So yeah, things are busy and I'm weighing my options. I enjoy writing and all that but trading's more... lucrative.

   Then again, it's not just about the money, man. Life should be about learning new things, exploring the world, and gaining new experiences in endeavors that aren't the same old shit day in and day out. I'm experiencing internal conflict concerning direction and it sucks to be me at the moment. 

   Anyway, when I was in Vegas, I took a few hours to look at some real estate out there but the situation's as dismal as I've been ranting about on Realestatr. My projection for recovery remains 2018-2019. Things should be returning to normal for me soon but I've got a lot on my mind. Cya.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Housing and Financial Stability Forum 2010

I'm back in New York but I've been catching up on everything. I was in Vegas for a multi-day wedding. Yep, a multi-day wedding. Ever go to one of those? Oh, it's ostentatious and... sinful. Everything that happened in Vegas will unfortunately, stay in Vegas. Maybe I'll include the stories in my memoirs when I'm 100 years old and somewhat famous. -J-Sonoma

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real Estate Downfall

J-Sonoma's back in New York but he didn't make it to work today. He should be back tomorrow. Anyway, in the following video, a real estate speculator comes to terms with reality.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Property Billionaire Sam Zell Interview

J-Sonoma returns from vacation tomorrow. Here's a blurry Bloomberg interview with Sam Zell talking about Freddie and Fannie:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Driscoll Middle School Trick Play

J-Sonoma will return from vacation on Wednesday of this week. Til' then, here's a video that serves as a tribute to how the bankers looted American taxpayers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mortgage Modification Video LOL

J-Sonoma is on vacation. Until he returns, us temps are going to be half-assing it on his pages. Sorry J but we don't have your payscale. This lady in the video talks about something related to real estate.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

US Federal Reserve announces $600b stimulus

The economy's naturally and organically growing by itself. It'll be a roaring river in another couple of years because it's going to recover by itself. Why does the FED feel the need to inject another $600B stimulus into the banking system? It's can't for the purpose that they've stated. I know but I'm not telling. Boo.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Estate Listings on Youtube

   Did you know that real estate brokers use Youtube to showcase homes that they're selling? Well, it's true. The videos are usually between 1-2 minutes and allows viewers to look at the outside of the home as well as the inside. None of the videos get much traffic but they're a great way to hook a potential client if he/she needs more than a photograph in a brochure. One example from a few hours ago:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Citigroup's Toxic Mortgage Pipeline Could Mean Mammoth Put-Back Risks

From a CNBC article today:
   Investors have largely given Citigroup a pass when it comes to put-backs-an action where investors force banks to repurchase mortgages and the securities related to them. While Citi's rivals saw their share prices fall last month on put-back concerns, Citi's shares rose.

   Citi may be "the best in class" when it comes to mortgage put-back exposure. But it is hardly immune to put-backs. Keep in mind that put-back exposure does not arise from mortgages Citi itself owns. Instead, the put-back issue arises from mortgages Citi sold to others, either directly or as part of a pool of mortgages underlying a mortgage-backed security.

   Citi executives say there are $504 billion of these mortgages that it services but does not hold. (We call these the Serviced But Not Held Portfolio, or SBNH Portfolio for short.) These mortgages do not appear on Citi's balance-sheet.

   None of this matters. None of it. Citi will be allowed to survive and even thrive in the next upswing in the economy. All of the stories that you'll read about in the next few years about the mortgage market is noise. No one will care about any of the "toxic mortages," "robo-signers," "foreclosure mess," in a few years. All of the follies of the banks will be papered up, paid for by tax payers, and allowed to simmer down. This is how it's going to be, how it has been, and how it always will be. Welcome to the Republic.

Monday, November 1, 2010


   I don't advocate what she says but her voice helped me sleep while I was at the office.