There are a lot of free tools out there and well, most of them suck. But some of them are quite useful. And this is particularly true for real estate investment. In my latest article for BiggerPockets I discuss some of the best free tools for:
- Evaluating a Deal's Numbers
- Estimating Rehabs
- Estimating the ARV (After Repair Value)
- Estimating the Rent
- Analyzing Demographics
And of course, a shout to BiggerPockets as the place to learn about real estate investment,
"...As far as general advise on real estate investing, well, there’s this website you may have heard of. It’s called Bigger-somethingorother. I can’t remember. Anyways, it’s got a lot of helpful tips, so you should it check out."
So the Left likes calling everyone to the right of Joe Lieberman as a fascist. OK, nevermind, he's a fascist too.
Brexit is fascist, Donald Trump is "literally Hitler" and of course, Marine Le Pen is a super Nazi or something.
Fascist, fascist, fascist, Nazi, Nazi, Nazi, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler ad nauseum, ad infinitum, ad absurdum.
These last two years have seen Godwin's Law invoked so many times that we need to get a handle on this. So I am proposing a simple new rule:
Rule: If a policy being proposed was that policy held by the United States or Britain at the time they defeated Nazi Germany and literally Hitler, it cannot be referred to, in and of itself, as fascist.
(And yes, I know, the Soviets did most of the fighting on the Eastern front, but we don't need to emulate literally Stalin.)
So, if someone wants to restrict immigration radically, like the United States did in 1924 and kept in place until 1965, it is not "literally Hitler" but instead "literally Coolidge."
I mean, just look at this chart, the United States took in more immigrants in real numbers, not per capita, for each decade between 1870 and 1920 than it did in total between 1924 and 1965!
And what was the percentage of the population that was foreign born in England and Wales in 1931? Just shy of 2 percent.
And of course, back in the late 1930's and 1940's, businesses in the United States could legally choose not to serve someone of another race and states could even enact Jim Crow laws. And Britain had a Goddamn Empire for crying out loud!
Of course, just because Jim Crow and the British Empire weren't fascist doesn't mean they were good. No, they were bad. But not everything bad is fascist. Unfortunately, as George Orwell noted in 1946, at least for the Left, that "something bad" has basically become the definition of fascist, Nazi and of course, "literally Hitler."
Just in the last week, I've seen three glaring examples of fake news (probably amongst many) coming from what are supposedly the most prestigious outlets in the world. In this case, Politico, The New York Times and one from the BBC. All of them are over somewhat trivial matters, but these mistakes are so egregious that some random blogger should be ashamed to make them. It almost makes one ask the question; What is the difference between these supposedly prestigious news outlets and those alternative sources they keep telling me are #fakenews.
Example 1: Hatgate
So the White House had an Easter Egg Roll and a kid asked for Trump to sign his hat. This is how Politico reported it:
And yes, it looks like Trump throws it off into the crowd, a wider view shows he just threw it right back to him as the unedited wide angle makes easy to see:
Yet Politico as well as The Young Turks, BuzzFeed and many others reported he just threw it back into the crowd. I mean honestly, what kind of fact checking do they guys even do? OK, with The Young Turks and BuzzFeed, the question needn't even be asked.
2. Super Bowl Picturegate
So the New England Patriots showed up at the White House to celebrate winning the Super Bowl again and The New York Times decided to compare it to the photo from when they won in 2014 and Obama was president:
Then they got owned by the New England Patriots:
Ahh, to be fact checked by a football team... Yes, these guys should really be able to tell us what is and what is not fake news.
3. Mixing Up two Protestsgate
So there was a big street fight in Berkeley the other week when Antifa attacked a free speech rally. There was also some liberal protests on tax day for Donald Trump to release his tax returns. They were very different.
So the BBC blurred the two together and made it sound like the Trump supporters attacked the tax day protest when they didn't even take place anywhere near each other. Then the BBC try to cover its tracks. It's hard to believe this wasn't done on purpose
All of this is rather trivial. It doesn't compare with, say, covering up a genocide for Stalin. But these are pathetic mistakes and it certainly makes it seem that the mainstream press has a much better record than the alternative media when it comes to printing nonsense. And furthermore, the mainstream press is beholden to major corporations and the very politicians they rely on for access. These are bad incentives.
The situation is bad and probably going to get worse. For a better understanding of why so much news is fake as well as hyper-partisan (from both mainstream and alternative sources), I recommend watching this video by independent journalist Tim Poole:
Nature has a very interesting new paper out titled "Why People Prefer Unequal Societies," which, of course, runs counter to everything we hear.
"There is immense concern about economic inequality, both among the scholarly community and in the general public, and many insist that equality is an important social goal. However, when people are asked about the ideal distribution of wealth in their country, they actually prefer unequal societies. We suggest that these two phenomena can be reconciled by noticing that, despite appearances to the contrary, there is no evidence that people are bothered by economic inequality itself. Rather, they are bothered by something that is often confounded with inequality: economic unfairness. Drawing upon laboratory studies, cross-cultural research, and experiments with babies and young children, we argue that humans naturally favour fair distributions, not equal ones, and that when fairness and equality clash, people prefer fair inequality over unfair equality. Both psychological research and decisions by policymakers would benefit from more clearly distinguishing inequality from unfairness."
The authors then conclude that,
"We argue here that these two sets of findings can be reconciled through a surprising empirical claim: when the data are examined closely, it turns out that there is no evidence that people are actually concerned with economic inequality at all. Rather, they are bothered by something that is often confounded with inequality: economic unfairness."
Indeed, unfairness can often lead to inequality. Crony capitalism often causes people to become undeservedly rich. In fact, Pew found that 65 percent of Americans believe our economic system "unfairly favors powerful interests." But notice, it didn't say just that Americans are upset that people are rich, just upset that it's unfair. Which is likely why people get just as upset as a welfare queen living off the system than a corporate fat cat who's skimming off the top.
If John puts in 75 percent of the effort and Eric puts in 25 percent, the average person does not want a 50/50 split. This is what economists, pundits and politicians are missing in the inequality debate. Indeed, as I've pointed out elsewhere, just looking at raw numbers is absurd as it doesn't even control for age! Yes, a 20 year old and 45 year old will likely have different incomes.
To return to the article though, it notes the Frans de Waal quote, "“Robin Hood had it right. Humanity's deepest wish is to spread the wealth.” But we should remember, Robin Hood stole from tax collectors.
That comes right from Google's own dictionary. Well here was an Antifa poster prior to the Weimaresque street fight in Berkeley last weekend:
"Come punch you favorite nazi..." oh and by the way, everyone I disagree with is a Nazi or something or whatever. Violence is OK as long as you disagree with my opinion. I'm so progressive!
As stated above, the "unlawful use of violence... for political aims" is literally the definition of terrorism. And no, not literally in the way the Donald Trump is "literally Hitler." Literally as in actually literally.
And the violence they started at Berkeley is just one of many, many examples. When Milo Yiannopoulos spoke last in Berkeley there was an Antifa riot where a woman was maced and a man knocked unconscious. They planned to set off a smoke bomb of some sort at a pro-Trump inauguration party. They attacked all sorts of people at the inauguration, including sucker punching the white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Which got The New York Times to ask the hard question "Is It OK to Punch a Nazi?"
Oh yeah, and we'll decide who is and who is not a Nazi.
By the way, is it OK to punch a Commie?
And I will decide who is and who is not a commie.
Now many on the left are complaining about a woman who was punched the so-called "Battle of Berkeley." They seem to have ignored that she was a participant in what is literally a domestic terrorist organization and was fighting like everyone else. She was even caught throwing M-80's and rocks prior to the street fight. I guess the Left forgets about gender equality and goes back to chivalry when it suits them.
And of course, they're all but silent on this:
Honestly, in the age when everyone is asked to disavow some dingbat supporter, why can't the Left just disavow Antifa completely and totally? Really how can anyone support an organization that believes speech is violence and violence is self-defense against speech?
But then again, these are many of the same people that believe we should topple a secular dictatorship in the Middle East to hand it over to Al Qaeda and ISIS on a silver platter. Pro-terrorism at home and abroad...
I think it's safe to say that the memes and half-joking criticism's of the push to war against Asad and Syria as acting as "Al Qaeda's air force" and engaging in "a war for ISIS" need to simply be considered a factual representation of the war proponent's position. Enter New York Times writer Thomas Friedman to clear that up for us,
"Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State in Syria? Of course, ISIS is detestable and needs to be eradicated. But is it really in our interest to be focusing solely on defeating ISIS in Syria right now?"
Yes, why defeat ISIS when we can topple a secular dictator just like we did in Iraq and Libya. That turned out wonderful! I hear the futures market for chattel slaves in Libya is booming!
"Trump should want to defeat ISIS in Iraq. But in Syria? Not for free, not now. In Syria, Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujahedeen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan."
What Friedman meant to say, of course, was "the same way we funded Osama Bin Laden to fight a decrepit empire with an insane economic system that was circling the drain and was no real threat to the United States barring a nuclear confrontation they wanted to avoid at all costs, because after all there were no unintended consequences from that whatsoever." But hey, newspaper editorials have space limitations so you have to be concise.
As bad as Asad is, we have to remember that he's no worse than Saddam. There really aren't any moderates fighting Asad and the large majority of the rebels are foreigners so it's probably not even accurate to call it a civil war. A war against him is by default a war for Al Qaeda, ISIS, The Muslim Brotherhood and every other group Wahhabis and Salafist extremists, as many in our armed forces already realize:
...And How to Deal With Their Shenanigans.
As I note,
"Anyone who has been in property management long enough will have a few tenant horror stories. Indeed, my dad recommends anyone getting into the business watch Pacific Heights just to scare you straight and remove any illusions you might have."
Indeed, if you're in property management, you will have to at one time or another deal with a Godawful tenant. I break down the four problem tenants (many who overlap) as follows,
And then I offer my advise on how to deal with each one, and preferably how to avoid dealing having to deal with each on. Check it out.
With all the faux outrage these days, I guess this shouldn't be surprising. White House press correspondent Sean Spicer is being called a Holocaust denier because he said "Even Hitler Didn't use chemical weapons." This bumbling comment was, of course, stupid. But everyone knows what he meant was Hitler didn't use chemical weapons as a method of war on the battlefield. Which he didn't.
But, if that's not an excuse, where is the outcry to fire MSNBC's Chris Matthews? Huh Nancy Pelosi?
Diversity training has become the butt of many jokes as well as the go to "cure all" for corporate managers who want to avoid lawsuits. But, as virtually everyone already knew, it doesn't work.
And now we have a massive study to prove it. As the Harvard Business Review sums up,
"A study of 829 companies over 31 years showed that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” Millions of dollars a year were spent on the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes — and the diversity of the organizations — remained the same."
But actually, it's worse than that,
"The researchers — Frank Dobbin of Harvard, Alexandra Kalev of Berkeley, and Erin Kelly of the University of Minnesota — concluded that 'In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity.'"
Indeed, I think most people realize many companies just use diversity training to cover their backsides. And it usually comes off as condescending and sometimes ridiculous. Neither perception will help create a more "inclusive workplace."
Of course, that doesn't mean we should tolerate harassment or racism or things such as that in the office. But diversity training is obviously not the right answer.
Diversity training is, however, quite a profitable business in and of itself.
The thing I liked most about Donald Trump was his promise to not get us involved in anymore foreign wars. He claimed Hillary Clinton would get us into World War III with a war in Syria. He wonderfully mocked the sack-of-human-fecal-matter Bill Kristol as just "wanting to start wars and kill people."
But now this.
How very disappointing.
There are numerous questions regarding this chemical weapons attack. As Ron Paul points out, "why would Assad do this?" He's winning the war. The only likely way he could lose is to get the United States back in on ISIS', err, the rebels side. And the Russian argument that an airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons stockpile is at least plausible. After all, in January, Susan Rice assured us that the Obama administration had removed all the chemical weapons from Syria.
And the last time this happened in 2013, it appears we got it backwards and the rebels used the chemical weapons, not Assad.
And remember, there really aren't moderate rebels in Syria, just a bunch of name-changing groups that are really ISIS and some mercenaries.
Trump's most loyal supports are now abandoning him while neocon hawks such as Bill Kristol are celebrating. Fareed Zakaria thinks Trump "became President of the United States" with the strike, Brian Williams is in awe of the "beautiful" cruise missiles that were fired and even Hillary Clinton herself is sponsoring this attack (and more).
And let's not forget Judith Miller, the journalist who probably did more than any other journalist to lie us into the Iraq fiasco, is of course, pushing for military action against Assad.
Strange how war brings all the establishment hacks together for one big, perverted kumbaya. As Sam Sacks put it, "Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far. And all he had to do was start a war."
Is betraying your base for one 24-hour news cycle of positive reactions from people that hate you really worth it Donald?
And if our foreign policy must be based on dead baby pictures, well then here are some from the latest strike.
Very disappointing, indeed. I just hope this doesn't blow up into another Iraq fiasco. Or even worse, after all, it did happen on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
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