☕️ REGRESSION ☙ Wednesday, January 31, 2024 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
Baphomet basher's hate crimes charges; will Evergrande's bankruptcy kick off the final global meltdown?; why we always seem to be going backwards everywhere and what to do about it; more.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Wednesday! In today’s wide-ranging roundup: Baphomet basher charged with new hate crimes while cop-attackers freed; thoughts about Evergrande’s financial implosion and the potential worldwide effects; and why we are going backwards technologically, politically, and culturally, and what to do about it.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
👿 Local KCCI-Des Moines ran a story yesterday headlined, “Man who admitted damaging Satanic Temple display at Iowa Statehouse charged with hate crime.”
In case you missed it, the Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts, took advantage of Iowa law, followed the rules, and erected a demonic papier-mâché Baphomet ‘statue’ in Iowa’s Capitol Building for Christmas. Michael Cassidy, a man of action and combat veteran, went to the Capitol, knocked down the revolting display, and promptly surrendered to nearby police officers. The first-time nonviolent offender was properly charged with fourth-degree misdemeanor mischief and released.
On Friday, Michael’s lawyers’ nerveless fingers dropped the phone, stunned to discover that Iowa prosecutors opened an “investigation” and boosted Michael’s charges to much more serious third-degree felony mischief, under an Iowa hate crimes law allowing enhancement when there’s any “violation of individual rights.”
Hey. Come on now. We’re talking about a serious, out-of-control criminal element that threatens the very fabric of society: hate crimes conducted against Satanic statues. May Beelzebub bless those diligent Iowa prosecutors for holding the line! This wasn’t a victimless crime, as though he were here illegally and demonically attacked some cops in Times Square or anything:
I’m totally sure the fiendish undocumented migrants will show up for their court hearings. Sure, that will happen. I’d bet Nancy Pelosi’s stock portfolio on it.
What? You think Luciferian people who attack cops in mobs are more dangerous than a master-level criminal white guy with no record who deliberately pushed over a papier-mâché statue? Listen, we need to reserve the resources of our legal system for handling real criminals, people who represent a danger to the community, not cop-attacking migrants with criminal records but folks who protested vaccine mandates:
In case that lady isn’t sufficiently scary, what about the lawless criminals who prayed in a building containing an abortion clinic and refused to leave when the clinic staff asked them, and who are now getting what they deserve on federal hate crimes charges, which apparently is up to 11 years in federal prison and a $260,000 fine — each:
And don’t even get me started on the scurrilous January 6th Capitol protestors.
Thank goodness the Blue States are cracking down on this epidemic of quiet conservative protest! Who knows where this totally-peaceful protesting could lead? Probably to a civil war or something, which might be exactly what they get if they keep the two-tiered justice system running for much longer.
Oh, and FYI: Cassidy originally closed down his GiveSendGo, having raised $20K for defending a misdemeanor. Now that he’s facing a felony, he’s re-opened his fundraiser, in case you want to pitch in.
🔥 Pfizer held its annual investor call yesterday, and even though CEO Albert Bourla tried his best to spin things in a happy direction, the call was a stinker. Apparently, regular folks are clamoring for less Pfizer covid treatments, which is just what you don’t want in a business model. And that’s even with the terrifying ABC-123 variant making the rounds, or QWE.666, or whatever it’s called this week. Anyway, advanced business principles suggest it’s so much better when the customers want the product. From Bloomberg, yesterday:
🔥 Look out below! Social media has been lit this week with dire predictions of an imminent global financial collapse because the world’s most valuable real-estate investment firm, Evergrande, is bankrupt. But I think it might actually be a good sign. Anyway, you might be seeing social media hot-takes like this Exhibit A:
Before we talk about China, let’s first see what’s happening here in the States. Let me show you a few recent examples, although there are many. Our next exhibit is the Washington Business Journal’s unsurprising story yesterday headlined, “Rosslyn office building acquired for a fraction of its last sale price.”
TIAA paid $145 million for the 300,000-square-foot, 19-story Washington D.C. Xerox Building in 2011. It just sold on January 5th for $25 million. That’s quite a discount.
It’s not only happening in D.C. The commercial real estate fire sale is ongoing in New York, as well. Just one example from Forbes, in December:
It’s on sale coast to coast on commercial! On the Left Coast, last August the Daily Mail ran a story reporting that downtown San Fransisco commercial real estate has been marked down to a striking 70% discount:
The “going out for business” sale is even happening, to a somewhat lesser degree, in bright-red states like Florida, where other types of real estate remain sky-high:
I hope it is clear this is nothing unique to China. But now let’s look at the infamous Chinese super-mega investment firm, the MechaGodzilla of Chinese commercial real estate investment. The New York Times ran a story on the Firm’s bankruptcy yesterday:
First of all, this story is nothing new. Evergrande has been languishing in the slough of default for two years now, and last August filed for bankruptcy in the United States. On Monday, a Hong Kong court ordered Evergrande to wind up operations and liquidate the company.
The company’s debt exceeds its assets by over $300 billion in U.S. dollars. At those figures it looks like the second-biggest bankruptcy in history (after Lehman Brothers imploded in 2008 leaving over $600B in unpaid debt). Evergrande still could be the biggest bankruptcy in world history, depending how things shake out.
It was a poorly-kept secret that Evergrande was essentially a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party, which has been enthusiastically dabbling in quasi-fascist capitalism the last few decades. The company’s bankruptcy is spreading not just amongst its investors and banks but to odd political contacts, like Harvard, which lost a $115M grant that Evergrande had pledged for Harvard’s help covering up Covid’s lab origins.
One suspects its those political losses troubling corporate media the most.
It’s the pandemic, stupid. Evergrande defaulted a year into the pandemic. The now-cratering commercial real estate market in the United States followed closely behind. Both can be blamed on our germaphobic experts, who legalized lockdowns and required remote offices and leveraged the laptop class because, while isolating humans might be terrible for a whole lot of reasons, it sure cuts down on transmissible disease.
The idea was you can’t transmit any disease if you don’t contact anybody. No contact, no trace. Simple in concept. Impossible to execute.
Once they prioritized reducing transmissible infections above everything else, the death of the commercial real estate market was a foregone conclusion. It’s one more thing we have to thank the CDC and the other covid “experts” for.
Always look on the bright side. Here’s the thing. One of my commercial litigation practice’s specialties is chapter 11 commercial bankruptcy. It is a complex and high-stakes world of its own. But it is also a miraculous part of our incredibly resilient economic system. Here’s how it works.
Take for example the Xerox building in Washington, DC. In times of major financial disruption, an asset like the Xerox building can get temporarily “stuck.” At the time of sale this month, the Xerox building was at least 40% unoccupied. It was not even earning enough to pay its bank loan. Worse, they couldn’t get any replacement tenants because the rent was too high, which it needed to be to pay the bank loans.
The building couldn’t attract new tenants with lower rates, because then its existing tenants would demand lower rents too, and it would be a financial death spiral.
But a bankruptcy, or a fire-sale liquidation, resets the whole price matrix. A new owner comes in and buys the building for a fraction of the previous price. The new owner can then charge tenants a fraction of the previous rent. This creates opportunities for smaller businesses to move up to locations that used to be financially inaccessible.
Or lower rents could resuscitate the big firms from their work-from-home comas, since the cost of maintaining a commercial office might fall dramatically. Even if not, even if the work-from-home revolution is permanent, we’re seeing a new trend to convert commercial office buildings into residential condos and apartments.
Through the fire-sale process, a “stuck” asset can be converted into a useful, profitable one.
So the Evergrande meltdown, which is not unique, is not new, and is happening in nearly every commercial market, will ultimately spur a good economic result. I’m not saying it will be painless, but I don’t see a global collapse. It could even lead to an improved recovery.
🔥 I’m picking on two of the smartest guys in the conservative-sphere who both missed the boat recently. “What is a Woman”-star Matt Walsh recklessly waded into the Moon Landing controversy yesterday in a 20-minute ‘debunk’ of the popular conspiracy hypothesis:
To be fair, Matt didn’t really engage with the conspiracy theory’s details, like the Van Allen Belts, the lost telemetry data, or the most difficult problems with the video. His basic argument was that a massive Moon-sized hoax takes more effort to pull off than actually going to the Moon, so in his view, the theory fails by Occam’s Razor.
It was fun watching the passionate Moon Landing conspiracy theorists in the tweet’s comments pile on Matt until you couldn’t see him anymore. (Let’s not do that in today’s comments here.)
But what most caught my interest was Matt’s intriguing and accurate concession that we’re going backwards, technologically. Matt cited as examples the facts that (a) we still haven’t returned to the Moon (“we’ve lost the will”, Matt claims), and (b) we discontinued super-sonic jet travel technology and just “settled” for longer travel times because we are now too scared of taking risks.
He wasn’t wrong that we’re going backwards in a lot of ways.
Matt’s Moon argument reminded me of anti-DEI intellectual James Lindsay, who posted a completely unrelated argument last week, but it featured remarkably similar logic to Matts’ Moon thoughts. James was reacting to all the well-justified criticism of United Airlines for its goofy DEI focus at the risk of killing everybody.
In summary, like Matt, James also argued we are going backwards. His high-diction argument focused on “misallocated human capital,” meaning the abandonment of trade schools in favor of everybody going to college to become journalists and database managers and other kinds of paper-pushers, resulting in a lack of anybody who can actually fix stuff.
In other words, nobody at the airline knows how to put the bolts back on the planes.
Matt and James both correctly observed we are, socially, scientifically, and culturally going backwards. They were both wrong in their diagnosis.
Their theories are disproven by the obvious exceptions, the areas where are aren’t going backwards. In some areas we have made terrific progress. The Internet. Computing power. Artificial intelligence. Private space travel. Robotics. Nanotechnology. mRNA treatments. (Okay, scratch that last one.)
It seems more true that we are advancing in some areas and going backwards in others. We’re definitely going backwards with household appliances, which all suck now:
So what’s the difference between areas reverting to the Stone Age at warp speed, and areas where obvious progress is occurring? Two words explain it all: government regulation.
The industries making any progress are the least regulated industries. It’s that simple.
Transportation, which includes airlines, is one of the most heavily-regulated industries in the country. It’s impossible to build better supersonic jets because it’s impossible to for them to comply with the thousands and thousands of government requirements. You can point to regressive social ‘developments’, too, thanks to socially-directed regulations like Title VII and Title IX.
DEI is a manifestation of EEOC regulations and related ways the federal government is using regulatory pressure to achieve social goals.
The appliance industry is so regulated we need a new word, a word like micromanagement. Appliances have become micro-regulated and now they don’t work.
Government regulation also ossifies big corporations into de-facto fascism. Big corporations adjust to swelling regulation and evolve to earn a profit anyway. The regulations keep out competitors, to survive, big corporations capture the regulatory agencies that are supposed to supervise them.
It’s a parasymbiotic relationship, as evidenced by the well-documented turnstile of FDA officials and board members between big pharma and the regulatory health agencies.
You might think the situation is beyond redemption, but it’s not. Not at all. We have an effective example of how easily it could be fixed. That example manifest when President Trump required every agency to remove two regulations for every new regulation imposed. The rule was simple, elegant, and brilliant. It was self-enforcing. And it worked. During Trump’s term in office, the agencies removed more than two regulations for each new one they passed.
On his first day in office, Joe Biden revoked President Trump’s regulation-pruning order.
So the regulatory problem, which is under attack in many ways, is susceptible to a solution. All it requires is the political will to change. I’m not saying you should vote for President Trump. I’m saying you should vote for someone who’ll implement the Trump rule. So, you know.
I’m out of time! But let me encourage you that there’s lots of terrific developments in the various Trump cases. I’ll round it all up for you tomorrow. Meet up back here for that and more.
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