Say what you will about Trump's impulsiveness, rudeness, lack of experience, shallowness of thought and all those things that the Left is hyperbolically referring to as obstruction (like ordering Mueller to be fired, assuming that even happened). Trump has always been a very flawed man (and is becoming more so as he sucks up to the neocons.) Russiagate was always about collusion (which is sort of a made up crime, but whatever).
Despite the hyperventilating over "muh impeachment," the Mueller probe was absolutely damning to the core claim of Russiagate and its most important document: The Steele Dossier. As The Washington Times notes,
The Democratic Party-financed dossier, once celebrated by liberal Washington politicians and journalists, is officially debunked, according to a review of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page investigative report.
As for the list:
1) Conspiracy between Trump and Kremlin: False
2) Trump set up and funded hacking operations: False
3) Hacking operation funded by Russian Embassy in Washington: False
4) Manafort and Page coordinated with Russian government on interference: False
5) Trump campaign received anti-Democratic intelligence from Russia: False
6) Trump had been exchanging information with Russia for eight years: False
7) Trump knew about WikiLeaks alliance with Russia: False
8) Russia had incriminating evidence on Trump but promised not to use it: False
9) Cohen met Russian officials in Prague [Just like Muhammed Atta "met" Iraqi officials in Prague in 2001): False
10) Carter Page met with Putin associates and took bribe to lift sanctions: False
11) The piss-tape: False
12) Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev hacked the DNC under pressure from Russian intelligence: False
And four more new ones not in the Steele Dossier:
13) There was a dedicated server between Trump Tower and Alfa Bank in Russia: False
14) Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress about the failed Moscow hotel deal: False
15) The RNC weakened language in its platform about giving aid to Ukraine because of a quid-pro-quo with Russia: False
16) Manafort met with Julian Assange three times in 2016: False
Well done media. You should definitely be giving yourself a pat on the back over this one...
Yes, yes, Trump is accused of obstructing justice into his non-crime of not colluding with the Russians. And while I don't think firing Mueller would have been OK, I don't think it would be obstruction given the President's odd power to fire the Special Counsel. (Assuming he made such an order in the first place, of course.)
And even more obviously, any attempt to oust Trump for things he's actually doing wrong, like supporting Saudi Arabi's war of terror against the Yemenese, is all but ignored.
Speaking of which, it's quite odd that since neocons generally hate Trump and are wrong about everything, that he would start to become one. He is, after all, giving them most of what they want. (Taking the US out of the Iran deal, capitulating and leaving troops in both Syria and Afghanistan, trying to overthrow the government of Venezuela, etc.)
Remember, the neocons such as Max Boot, Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin hate, hate, hate Donald Trump. And regarding the two biggest journalistic frauds of the last 20-years, they pushed both of them.
Bill Kristol in 2003: “We look forward to the liberation of our own country and others from the threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and to the liberation of the Iraqi people from a brutal and sadistic tyrant.”
Please remind me again why anyone takes these people seriously.
I must admit, I have the odd pass time of keeping a tab on the most bizarre, messed up and disgusting stories out there that filter up through local news and social media to some major news outlets. This last week brought out two that I feel are worth sharing (at least for others with such odd fascinations as myself).
Is is "fake news" or a parody perhaps? Nope, it's real.
Yep, it's real too.
The Internet has created a whole cottage industry of bizarre and faith-in-humanity destroying clickbait articles and listicles. But it can be quite entertaining to look at a trainwreck. And perhaps, before the Internet, we just weren't fully aware of how bizarre and demented our world actually is.
My latest article for BiggerPockets goes into a very important subject for any newbie investor because it discusses the ins and outs as well as the positives and negatives of the best way for newbie investors to get started in real estate; namely FHA loans.
FHA loans are a mortgage issued by a lender that’s approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is a U.S. government agency. These mortgages are insured by the FHA, and as mentioned above, require only 3.5 percent down. They are usually amortized over 30 years, and the interest rate is also quite low.
And these loans can (sort of) be used for investing,
What’s even better, you can finance up to a fourplex. So, why not buy a fourplex, live in one unit, and rent out the other three?
Of course, there are some qualifications you will need to meet and some downsides (for one, you have to live there for at least a year). But if you want to get into real estate investing and aren't sure where to start, this is definitely an article you should read!
My First KCSourceLink Article: Conquering the Climb: 5 Tips Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Overcome Setbacks
My first article for KCSourceLink is up that discusses the five things I would tell myself if I could start over as an entrepreneur. (OK, I'm more entrepreneurish since I started a new branch of my father's company, but it's still very entrepreneurial.)
KCSourcelink is the main local website for the Kansas City entrepreneurship scene. It's also affiliated with the ScaleUp program which I am currently in (Cohort 9) and teaches entrepreneurs how to scale their business past the early phases.
In the article, I go into detail into the five most important points I wish I had known (or known better) as a young entrepreneur,
1. You Will Make Plenty of Mistakes
And of course I go into much more detail on each point. So if you are an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, check it out! I think you'll get something out of it.
I work in the real estate industry and it’s not a well-kept secret that due diligence is rather tedious and boing. I don’t know a single investor who relishes it, yet every good one knows it’s absolutely essential.
On one of our first deals, the property looked all well and good after we got it under contract. What I took for “thorough” due diligence at the time was painfully inadequate, however. And I learned this the hard way as a week after the tenant had moved in, raw sewage started backing up into their bathroom.
And let me tell you, there’s no way to endear a landlord to a tenant’s heart better than raw sewage spewing out into their home!
Unbenownst to me, the sewer line had collapsed when long before we bought the property. Not only did we have to dig it up and replace it (at the cost of about $5000), we also had to put the tenants up in a motel for a few days and offer them a rental discount.
An expensive lesson, but sometimes such lessons are necessary.
Later on, we came across a similar situation with a fourplex which I wrote about in more detail here. This time we had the sewer line scoped (at the cost of about $250) and found it had collapsed. We went back to the seller and got the price reduced $10,000! Not too shabby.
And this is by no means isolated to investors who specialize in single family houses and small multifamily properties. Missing essential items and going wildly over budget is a national pastime in real estate from big to small. For example, the amazing Sydney Opera House was supposed to be built in four years for $7 million. 14 years later and over $100 million down the tubes, it was finally finished. As beautiful as that building is, it represents what is perhaps the all-time biggest failure in budgeting and due diligence.
Due diligence is, of course, not something that only applies to real estate. As I’ve put it elsewhere,
“…The purpose of performing due diligence in real estate is to confirm what you believed to be true about a property when you got it under contract.
This applies just as well to stocks, bonds and acquiring businesses, brands or technologies as well as a myriad of other investments just as well as it applies to real estate.
Indeed, it’s not just important for new investors, as there is a tendency amongst seasoned investors to become more and more complacent as they start to believe they “know everything.” They get cocky and then they start making mistakes. We’ve seen this at the highest levels of the corporate world over and over again. Indeed, it doesn’t take long to realize Time Warner failed spectacularly when performing sufficient due diligence before its ill-fated merger with AOL.
Regarding due diligence on stocks, there’s no better place to turn than Benjamin Graham’s classic book The Intelligent Investor. For investing in startups, Rayyan Islam puts it well, noting that it involves interviews, web research and talking to “friends and enemies” alike.
Throughout his article, Islam’s most important point is that “most meetings you should be going into prepared to say ‘no.’” While lots of ideas sound good on paper, in the real world, most of them don’t work out; especially regarding startups. Good ideas can often be ruined by poor leadership (remember, you’re evaluating not just the business, but the team). Strong underlying fundamentals might be doomed because of competition (say an online sales platform with the specter of Amazon hovering above it). And on and on it goes. Jumping at every new shiny object is bound to lead to failure.
Islam notes the four key areas to investigate for investing in startups as follows,
It’s interesting to note that when performing due diligence on a piece of property, the vast majority of your time should be spent on evaluating that property itself and its financials. With regards to a startup, it comes down to the product, financials and most importantly the people running the company. Due diligence differs widely based on the type of investment you are investigating. But the one consistent theme is that it must be done thoroughly and objectively.
For this reason, I highly recommend putting together a checklist of all the key steps you will take when evaluating whatever type of investment you are looking into. Those doubting this would be well served to read Atul Gawande’s classic book The Checklist Manifesto and the numerous examples he cites of the improved performance a checklist brings about. We all have the tendency to skip things, especially boring and routine things we feel like we have down by the back of our hands. This can spell certain doom when buying a stock, property or investing in a startup.
Due diligence may be tedious and even boring. It’s the unsexy side of business big shots don’t like to talk about. Nevertheless, due diligence is absolutely essential.
And here is my brother Phillip's presentation for MAREI on property management. It's another critically important albeit not particularly sexy side of real estate.
And here is my second presentation for MAREI on due diligence (the first being on the BRRRR method of real estate investment). Due diligence may not be particularly sexy, but it's extremely important. Many an investor have met their doom by ignoring or shortchanging it.
So my brother and I recently gave two presentations for MAREI (the Midwestern Association of Real Estate Investors). This is the my first presentation on BRRRR investing (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat):
The weekend afterwards, we gave a longer presentation; me on due diligence and my brother Phillip on property management. I will post those presentations next.
You can also read more about BRRRR on my flagship article on the topic for BiggerPockets.com here. And the other two presentations are as follows:
Due Diligence (me)
Property Management (Phillip)
As a fan of architecture and history, the Notre Dame Cathedral fire is truly heartbreaking.
Hopefully they won't rebuild it as some Godforsaken modern glass cube or something.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM