The Numbers Do Not Lie And They Are Bad

Riots, COVID Risks, And Trump's Praetorian Guard Fill The Headlines

President Trump’s Praetorian Guard arrived the other day at Andrews Air Force Base. 700 soldiers in riot gear and bayonets from the 82nd Airborne stationed out of Ft Bragg were staged along with others from Ft Drum and yet another 1,400 ready to deploy. As opposed to the National Guard currently deployed and whose number, at over 64,000 is above that of all US Armed Forces in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined, these troops were elite, combat active duty forces. It is the first time since the Nixon Administration that I remember having active duty military in the DC area mobilized to quell citizen protests. Adding fuel to the fire, the Emperor wasted no time in unleashing his Praetorian Guard tactics as he gassed and shot at citizens whom had peacefully assembled. Moreover, though, the use of combat helicopters applying downwash from the helicopter blades to scatter terrified citizens and only to make was for the Emperor Whom Wears No Clothes as he inched along for a photo op. The interesting thing here is that as we have the George Floyd Protests raging throughout the US — and around the world — one has to ask the obvious question: Did COVID take a vacation? Honestly, it is not looking good. Florida COVID hit its highest one day tally since mid April. California’s numbers are off the charts. But sidestep COVID for just a moment. CMBS loans that were 30+ days delinquent rose from 2.29% in April to 7.15% in May, according to Trepp. An additional 7.6% of loans missed payments in May but were less than 30 days delinquent, says Nareit economist Calvin Schnure, foreshadowing a further rise in June. Data from Datex Property Solutions shows that 58.6% of retail rents were paid last month, and the substantial amount of missed payments could put landlords at financial risk. R. Christopher Whalen, head of Whalen Global Advisors, predicts that defaults could be more severe than the losses in the early 1990s “by a wide margin.”And the spurious, at best, claims that the housing market is doing well are actually full of shit.

Pending sales of existing homes of all types in April — contracts on houses, condos, etc., that were signed in April but that haven’t closed yet — collapsed by 33.8% from April last year, after having plunged 16.3% year-over-year in March, with the index plunging to 69, according to the National Association of Realtors today. An index value of 100 represents the pending sales level of January 2001.

 

  • Northeast: -52.6% year-over-year to an index level 42.6.
  • Midwest: -26.0% year-over-year to an index level of 72.0.
  • South: -29.6% year-over-year to an index level of 87.6.
  • West: -37.2% year-over-year to an index level of 57.1.

When you combine this with the startling figures of unemployment — 40 Million at its peak — and the unfathomable uptick in bankruptcies and layoffs, the outlook is very grim. And a newer figure, never before seen as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available to sole proprietors — is taking the spotlight. In a single day, American Airlines stated they slash their management staff by 30%; Chevron is shedding nearly 15%, and Boeing is canning 7,000 workers. A recent Becker Friedman Institute of the University of Chicago report found that “42 percent of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss.”

The total number of gig workers still receiving unemployment benefits under PUA, and who’d filed during or before the week ended May 16, surged to 10.7 million. In other words, gig workers are now over one-third of the 30 million total insured unemployed.

No matter how many soothsayers there are out there pushing the Trump agenda that the world is fine, it is anything other than that. A simple look at BlackRock, one of the most leveraged firms on Wall Street and whom, in turn, were appointed to supervise the trillions going out the door by the Fed, is operating. Peter Ewart, a writer based in Prince George, British Columbia, wrote the following in the Prince George Daily News about BlackRock’s role in herding central bank actions:

The situation also shows how the economic system in both Canada and the U.S. is not classical capitalism but rather state monopoly capitalism, where giant enterprises are regularly backstopped with public funds and the boundaries between the state and the financial oligarchy are virtually non-existent.

All the while, the Wall Street jesters — er, pundits — are gathered round making music for the Emperor. The only problem is that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be able to put Emperor Trump back together again. More than 38 million people have filed jobless claims since March, including a high proportion of people living in households making less than $40,000 a year. In a survey released this month by the Census Bureau, nearly a quarter of respondents said they missed their last rent or mortgage payment or had little to no confidence that they would be able to pay on time next month according to an article in the New York Times. The article continues,

But there is a looming question about what happens next. “People may be paying their rents, but at what cost?” said Tara Raghuveer, the director of KC Tenants, an advocacy group in Kansas City, Mo. “I know several people who are taking out title loans. They are paying their rent on their credit card.”

The trillions upon trillions of dollars which have flowed since September, 2019, a date which was pre-pandemic, still has not stemmed the tide of yet another decade of Wall Street – Washington malfeasance. Between September, 2019, and January, 2020, over SIX TRILLION DOLLARS were flooded into Wall Street to simply keep it afloat. To date, that number is pegged at between FOURTEEN AND SIXTEEN TRILLION DOLLARS depending which side of the table you listen to. Compare that to the paltry, at most, $3,400 per family with two children — and then only if they had a bank account and made less than roughly $100K per year. To put that into perspective, the 1% of America received NINETY NINE POINT FOUR PERCENT OF ALL MONEY while honest, hard working Americans received POINT ZERO ZERO FIVE PERCENT (0.0057). And an irony which should not be missed here is that the 1% will never pay that back. That debt will fall upon the shoulders of — AT LEAST — two generations of honest, hard working Americans.

Money aside — and the eminent eviction of millions of renters and the defaults upon millions more by homeowners — has anyone been watching the weather lately? Well, Colorado State University (CSU) released their report which concurs with both the IBM Model as well as The Weather Channel. And while Cristobal, now targeting New Orleans, sets the record for the most named storms this early in the season, yet another 16 named storms are anticipated to be named. Nine of those storms are predicted to become hurricanes. And out of those nine, four of those hurricanes are anticipated to be Category 3 intensity or above.

What, though, is the real, underlying meaning of the demonstrations we are seeing today? Is it racism? I don’t believe so, although, it is a contributor. I quantify that statement by saying racism is nothing new. Is it income inequality? I chock that up with racism and also a contributor. Is it angst with the political elite? Ditto, again, and a contributor. Is it COVID and the being cooped up for months, on end, in many homes which do not have air conditioning or even basic television? That final piece, I believe, is the spark that lit the woodpile of Americana. That final piece is best represented by the Nazi looking, corn fed and bred asshole on the right side of the screen, Lt Bob Kroll.

Never in the history of our Country have elected officials outright lied, day in and day out, to the American Public — other than maybe during the Nixon Administration. The problem, overall, is that everyone has bought into the System; everyone silently agreed that so long as Whitey and Company were willing to through crumbs to the masses, it was all good. Several generations of this acquiescence supported the belief on both sides of the aisle. Almost overnight, though, a new Crew rolled in at 1600 Penn Avenue. That new Ship of Fools sailed under the Banner of Don’t Give A Fuck. What I mean is that for over a century, American politics have always represented both sides of the neck speaking. To that point, though, those in office have always managed to maintain a certain level of couth. No matter how ugly we all knew things were, we all agreed if you keep the money spigot turned on, at a trickle to the masses, we would all turn a blind eye.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. — Adolph Hitler, 1925

When we declare that the Emperor Wears No Clothes, Trump merely laughs and states that everyone already knows so what does it matter. That is not satire. That is the embodiment of American Politics today. And anyone whom believes that Joe Biden is going to change anything is sadly mistaken. Look, we have a highly militarized police force in America today. And it should come as no surprise. Even the FBI acknowledges it,

Appearances can matter, and when SWAT officers dress in battle or camouflage uniforms or use armored vehicles, they demonstrate a military mind-set.

Between 1997 to 2014, the Department of Defense transferred $4.3 billion in military equipment to local law agencies, according to PBS. We are not talking about your grandfather’s MREs or water purification tablets. Want to get deeper? It is not simply that the equipment is deployed to do the extrajudicial executions of US citizens like George Floyd. It is the underlying mentality of that same deployment. PBS continued to give us insight in Maryland, for example,

Maryland provided a rare exception. In 2008, a SWAT team raided the home of Cheye Calvo, the mayor of a small Maryland town whose address was being used in a drug trafficking scheme. Rather than intercept a 32-pound shipment on its way to the Calvo residence, police allowed the package to be delivered and then invaded the mayor’s home, killed his two dogs and interrogated him and his wife on the floor.

It turned out the mayor and his wife were completely innocent, and the event led Maryland to issue a new statute calling on all state agencies to record their SWAT activity from 2010 to 2014.

Ninety two percent of all SWAT activity during that four year period were dedicated to search warrants and arrests whereas, eight percent were for those whom actually posed an immanent threat such as barricaded suspects or mass shootings. Curious how the National Institutes Of Health (NIH), whom ironically are attempting to save lives during COVID while Emperor Trump fiddles away, put it? They published a report entitled, Militarization fails to enhance police safety or reduce crime but may harm police reputation. The federal government is at war with not only its own citizens, but with its municipal, county, and state governments. That is something that I do not believe people are grasping in the Beltway — yet.

In closing, this basic primer is an informational primer for those in the Mortgage Field Services Industry. During the last crisis in 2008, people were pissed off with the banks, but hey, we all agreed to keep our mouths shut and Occupy Wall Street was easily infiltrated. Today, the Field Service Technician is no longer performing the services which they were contracted to do. Today, they are being required to enter veritable war zones and risk arrest — an International Association of Field Service Technicians (IAFST) member was arrested and beaten by law enforcement recently in Puerto Rico. They are now required to enter into biological contaminated areas without instruction, guidance, nor compensation during the COVID Pandemic. And finally, they are being required to perform the interdepartmental tasks formerly associated with skilled professionals in an office. The ironic thing is that these Essential Workers are being paid less — if paid at all as is the case many times — and on the front lines day in and day out.

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