Three Things You Need to Know - October 11, 2017

The Weinstein saga makes one thing crystal clear.

Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino.

All have come out as victims of Harvey Weinstein’s disgusting behavior.

The situation has gone from bad to worst-case scenario for Weinstein.

For almost a week, allegations have mounted that Weinstein sexually harassed an untold number of women over the last 30 years.

Sunday night Weinstein was fired from his own company. Yesterday, his wife, Georgina Chapman, announced she is leaving him. The couple have two children, ages 4 and 7.

Yesterday, The New Yorker published a story that dwarfed last week's original piece from The New York Times with even more appalling revelations. The story quotes two women who say they were raped by Weinstein, and four others describe being touched by Weinstein, without their consent. Four additional women say he exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

Sixteen former and current employees at Weinstein’s company say Weinstein had a system of preying on young actresses by inviting them for business meetings, then dismissing other employees from the meeting so he could be alone with the actress.

All of the victims told The New Yorker they were scared of Weinstein’s retaliation, fearing he would ruin their lives.

Weinstein released a statement denying the rape and retaliation accusations, ending it with: “Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.” Only in Hollywood.

Now that Weinstein’s ship is sinking fast, former President Obama and Hillary Clinton are feigning surprise that their fundraising pal is actually a creep. Obama, whose daughter Malia interned at Weinstein’s company last year, said, “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.” Hillary said she is “shocked and appalled.”

Yes, but were they disgusted, shocked or appalled when Weinstein was signing those Democratic fundraising checks? No.

All these after-the-fact denunciations from celebrities and politicians are meaningless. This Weinstein saga has made one thing crystal clear about the liberal elite --- respecting women and protecting them from predators like Weinstein is top priority, just not while the checks are still rolling in.

California's attempt to "destigmatize" HIV is senseless.

The phone rang.

“Hello?”

Silence.

“Hello? Who is this?”

The silence on the other line suddenly turned into hysterical, manically laughter.

“Burn, I got you!”

The man dropped the phone. He knew who the caller was.

It was the man who intentionally gave him HIV.

That man, Daryll Rowe, is on trial in England right now for maliciously infecting four men with the HIV virus without their knowledge.

This creep had a terrifying system. He would sabotage any protection, infect his victim, and then mercilessly mock them with abusive texts and phone calls that he had given them the disease.

If Daryll Rowe moved to California, he would not be behind bars awaiting a court date like he is now.

He would be a free man. Probably swiping right to meet his next victim.

Starting January 1, it will no longer be a felony in California to knowingly expose a sexual partner to HIV with the intent of transmitting the virus.

Why?

To destigmatize HIV.

Bill sponsor Senator Scott Wiener explained, “We are going to end new HIV infections, and we will do so not by threatening people with prison time, but rather by getting people to test and providing them access to care.”

So, let me get this straight. California is going to stop HIV infections by letting terrible human beings continue to spread HIV infections to unknowing victims.

That makes absolutely no sense at all.

California, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you cannot “destigmatize” HIV.

It’s a potentially fatal disease. No one wants it.

It will never be destigmatized.

HIV positive people shouldn’t be judged by their disease or discriminated against, but the disgusting people who intentionally infect others should be criminalized.

California, your efforts to normalize and condone this terrorism is beyond revolting and will have the opposite effect on HIV infections.

How long before something snaps in North Korea?

Strategic bombers were flying over South Korea again yesterday. Two B-1 Lancers flanked by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets buzzed North Korea in yet another show of force.

Perhaps the weirdest thing about all this is how routine it's beginning to feel. This wasn’t an elaborate air show or even a recon mission to take pictures, this was a mission to deter against nuclear war.

Tough talk and saber rattling between Kim Jong Un and President Trump has become so common, it’s easy to miss just how close to war we are literally every day.

Take yesterday for example. It was the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party. Kim Jong Un typically uses these holidays for nuclear or missile tests, and the last threat we heard was a possible hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific.

Trump set the stage last week when he said we were in the “calm before the storm.” Everyone began to wonder what that meant, and on Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed there were “world issues” and named North Korea specifically.

Over the weekend, Trump doubled down in an ominous tweet saying diplomacy hadn’t worked for 25 years and “only one thing will work!”

Early Tuesday morning, Trump called for a meeting with Defense Secretary Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford. They discussed “a range of options” to respond militarily to North Korean aggression. They’ve had these planning missions over a hundred times since this crisis began. Why did they pick Tuesday for another?

A few hours later that day, B1 bombers and Japanese and South Korean fighter jets flew over the Korean Peninsula. Was it just a show of force or were they waiting for an attack order?

The threat of war with North Korea is greater than it’s been in over 50 years. Kim Jong Un apparently got the message yesterday and backed down. Will he the next time?

MORE 3 THINGS

Trouble ahead for the housing market

CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Our good friend John Rubino over at DollarCollapse.com just released an analysis titled US Housing Bubble Enters Stage Two: Suddenly Motivated Sellers.

He reminds us that housing bubbles follow a predictable progression:

  • Stage One: Mania -- Prices rise at an accelerating rate as factors like excess central bank liquidity/loose credit/hot foreign money drive a virtuous bidding cycle well above sustainably afforable levels.
  • Stage Two: Peak -- Increasingly jittery owners attempt to sell out before the party ends. Supply jumps as prices stagnate.
  • Stage Three: Bust -- As inventory builds, sellers start having to lower prices. This begins a vicious cycle: buyers go on strike not wanting to catch a falling knife, causing sellers to drop prices further.

Rubino cites recent statistics that may indicate the US national housing market is finally entering Stage Two after a rip-roaring decade of recovery since the bursting of the 2007 housing bubble:

  • the supply of homes for sale during the "all important" spring market rose at 3x last year's rate
  • 30 of America's 100 largest cities now have more inventory than they did a year ago, and
  • mortage applications for new homes dropped 9% YoY

Taken together, these suggest that residential housing supply is increasing as sales slow, exactly what you'd expect to see in the transition from Stage One to Stage Two.

If that's indeed what's happening, Rubino warns the following comes next:

Stage Two’s deluge of supply sets the table for US housing bubble Stage Three by soaking up the remaining demand and changing the tenor of the market. Deals get done at the asking price instead of way above, then at a little below, then a lot below. Instead of being snapped up the day they’re listed, houses begin to languish on the market for weeks, then months. Would-be sellers, who have already mentally cashed their monster peak-bubble-price checks, start to panic. They cut their asking prices preemptively, trying to get ahead of the decline, which causes “comps” to plunge, forcing subsequent sellers to cut even further.
Sales volumes contract, mortgage bankers and realtors get laid off. Then the last year’s (in retrospect) really crappy mortgages start defaulting, the mortgage-backed bonds that contain their paper plunge in price, et voila, we’re back in 2008.

Rubino's article is timely, as we've lately been seeing a proliferation of signs that the global boom in housing is suddenly cooling. I've also recently encountered similar evidence that the housing market in my own pocket of northern California is weakening, and I'm curious to learn if other PeakProsperity.com are seeing the same in their hometowns.

The Global Housing Bubble

Housing, as they accurately say, is local. Conditions differ from region to region, making generalizations of the overall market difficult.

That said, the tsunami of $trillions printed by the world's central banking cartel since 2008 clearly found its way into the housing market.

The world real estate market is HUGE, over $200 trillion. That dwarfs the global debt and equity markets. So it's no surprise the central authorities did all they could to reverse the losses the GFC created for property owners.

As a result, many of the most popular locations to live are now clearly in bubble territory when it comes to home prices:

UBS map of global housing bubbles

The chart above displays the most bubblicious major cities around the world in red. But it's important to note that the merely 'overvalued' markets denoted in yellow, and even some of the green 'fair-valued' ones, are still wildly-unaffordable for the average resident.

For example, in "yellow" San Francisco, where the median home now costs $1.6 million, prices are well-above the excesses seen during the previous housing bubble:

And in 'fair-valued' New York City, the median household must spend 65% of its annual income on housing alone.

Is it any wonder that 70% of millennials who don't yet own a home fear they'll never be able to afford one?

Signs Galore Of Topping Markets

At the end of a speculative bubble, it's the assets that are most overvalued that correct first and correct hardest.

So we would expect that as the highest-priced real estate markets fare from here, the general real estate market will follow.

When we take a closer look at what's currently going on with the red-hot real estate markets noted in the chart above, we indeed see evidence supportive of Rubino's claim that the decade-long Stage One mania may now be ending.

Here's a spate of recent headlines about these cities:

Sure looks like Rubino's predicted Stage Two symptoms of rising supply and stagnating prices.

Local Signs, Too

As mentioned, I live in northern California, quite close to Santa Rosa.

Things here aren't as nuts as they are in San Franscico; but it's still a moderately-affluent region with lots of second homes. It's one of the semi-frothy areas I'd expect to see cooling off in first should there be a downwards turn in macroeconomic conditions.

Located less than an hour north of San Francisco, residential housing prices here have roughly increased 2x over the past six years as the Bay Area has boomed. Supply has been in chronic shortage, exacerbated by the loss of thousands of structures burned during last October's destructive Tubbs fire.

But recently, for the first time in many years, realtors here are beginning to talk of a softening they're seeing in the local housing market.

Median sale prices dropped from May to June, which is counter to previous years. And several towns are seeing year-over-year declines in median price -- something unheard of over the past 7 years.

Meanwhile, the days-on-market ratio for properties is beginning to creep up.

Of the greatest concern to the realtors in my area: bidding wars are no longer happening. Houses are selling either at or below asking prices now. That's a *big* development in a market where houses have routinely sold for $50-100K+ above the listing price.

In a similar vein, I'm hearing evidence of the softening rents down in San Franscico and the East Bay (Oakland/Berkeley). Wolf Richter has done a good job chronicalling the substantial volume of newly-constructed units that have recently hit the market threatening to depress rents, and I've heard from a multi-family unit owner down there how landlords in the area are now finding their rents ~$500 too high for the market to bear.

This is all early and anecdotal data. It's too little at this point to claim definitively that my local housing market has entered Stage Two.

But I'm curious to hear from other PeakProsperity.com readers. What are you observing in your local markets? Are you seeing similar signs of concern?

Please share any insights you have in the Comments section below. Collectively, we may be able to add clarity, in one direction or another, to Rubino's hypothesis.

Prepping For Stage Two

Whatever the timing, Stage Two is an inevitability for today's ridiculously-overpriced real estate markets. It's not a matter of if it (as well as Stage Three) arrives, but when.

Given the data above, I think Rubino is correct in his assessment. Or at least, correct enough that prudent action is warranted today.

This makes even greater sense when considered along with the current trends of rising interest rates and quantitative tightening. Remember, home prices and interest rates have a mathematically inverse relationship: as rates go up, home prices must go down (all else being equal). And as central banks start withdrawing in earnest the excess liquidity that inflated property values to their current nose-bleed heights, expect further downward pressure on prices.

To drive the urgeny home even harder, we haven't even yet talked about the damage an economic recession and/or a painful correction in the financial markets would wreak on the real estate market. With the current expansion cycle the second-longest on record and our all-time-high markets looking increasingly vulnerable, it seems very unlikely we'll avoid at least one of those crises in the near to mid-future.

Here are worthwhile steps we recommend at this point:

  • Consider selling: If you're a homeowner and are not committed to remaining in your property for the next decade+, do some scenario planning. If prices fell 20%, how much of a financial and emotional impact would that have on you? If you have substantial equity gains in your home, Stage Two is the time to protect them. If you have little equity right now, make sure you're fully aware of the repercussions you'll face should you find yourself underwater on your properity. What will your options be should you lose your job in the next recession? Whether to hold, or sell now and rent, is a weighty decision; and the rationale differs for each household -- so we strongly recommend making it with the guidance of your professional financial advisor.
  • Raise cash: The vicious cycle that begins as Stage Two transitions into Stage Three is deflationary. Lower prices beget lower prices. During this period, cash is king. By sitting on it, your purchasing power increases the farther home prices drop. And when the dust settles, you'll be positioned to take advantage of the resulting values in the real estate market. We've written at length about the wisdom of this strategy given current market conditions, as well as how, while waiting for lower prices, you can get 30x the return on your cash savings than your bank is willing to pay you, with lower risk. Our recent report on the topic is a must-read.
  • Educate yourself: Yes, real estate is overpriced in a number of markets. But it has been and will remain one of the best ways available to the non-elites to amass income and tangible wealth. And as mentioned, when the next Stage 3 brings prices down, there will be value to be had -- potentially extreme value. If you aren't already an experienced real estate investor, now is the time to educate yourself; so that you'll be positioned to take informed action when the time to buy arises. Our recent podcast interview on Real Estate Investing 101 is a good place to start.

In Part 2: The Case For Starting To Build A (Small) Short Position, we conduct a similar analysis into the overvaluation and growing vulnerability of the financial markets (which are highly likely to correct much faster, sooner and more violently than the housing market), including the details on a recent short position we've started building.

The tranquil "free ride" the financial and housing markets have had for nearly a decade are ending. The string of easy gains with little effort are over now that the central bank money spigots are turning off at the same time the "greater fools" pocketbooks are tapping out.

For a brief time, prices will waiver, as investors remain in denial and refuse to sell at lower prices. But soon that denial will turn to panic, and prices will plummet.

Make sure you're positioned prudently before then.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

It's a bad day when you've stepped in dog poop.

But it's an even worse day when you're stepping in human poop — especially when underneath the poop is a dirty needle. That's the glory that is San Francisco today.

The city doesn't know what to do. There's more human feces in the street than ever before. This is starting to look like human evolution in reverse. And I want to be a helper in this situation.

RELATED: What the 💩 is going on in San Francisco?

And so, as a helper, I've got an idea for San Francisco. And I'm going to share it with you — free — at absolutely no cost to you. This is a public service.

We made a little sign — "No Human Pooping" — because I think that's clear enough, even for those who may be high on heroin, to understand.

Feel free to download and print as many copies as you'd like, and post them on your property. Or click the buttons below to share on social media.

Something has got to be done about this 💩.

Click here to download your printable copy of the sign.

What the 💩 is going on in San Francisco?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Finally, a beautiful Sunday in your picturesque bayside city. You paid good money to move here. Not cheap. The $150,000 range leaves you just about middle class. In Ohio, that'd buy you a small town. But this is better than Ohio, you tell yourself. Sure, the city isn't as scenic as the postcards, but here you are, at the YMCA fields. You're coaching your kid's soccer team. And today is the co-ed Under-8 soccer final. Really, it's their World Cup. You bought the good oranges and Capri-Sun—the special edition kind with cold-sensitive images on the front. You worked hard for this moment.

RELATED: Illegal Immigrant Hits Jackpot and Is Awarded $190K From San Francisco for Deporting Him

Your job is demanding. Sometimes, you're there 60, 70 hours a week. But somebody needs to coach this soccer team so here you are. And, what. What is that. Your son, he's dribbling past the kid shoving dandelions into the ant hill, and, is he going to score a goal? Yes. Yes, he is, but all of a sudden, right as your son's leg angled back to kick the ball, you hear an animalistic scream behind you. You turn around, and see a man shrieking as he squats over the sidewalk. What is he doing, you ask yourself quickly. Oh, God. You know what he's doing.

Following the death of Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Mayor London Breed inherited quite a mess. San Francisco is in shambles. Despite topping nearly every list of the nation's highest cost-of-living prices, San Francisco has been plagued by homelessness, often with unbelievable negative consequences.

I'd like to add that, the segment begins with footage of Mayor Breed walking around San Francisco, and as she passes a group of homeless people, at least one person is openly injecting themselves with a needle.

I shouldn't even have to say this, but helping disadvantaged people is a good thing. The Bible is very clear on the subject.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." - Proverbs 31:8-9

San Francisco's approach to dealing with the poor is in fact detrimental to the poor.

"Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." - Proverbs 14:31

"Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." - Luke 6:20-21

San Francisco's approach to dealing with the poor is in fact detrimental to the poor. Walk around the city and you'll see a lot of thousand-dollar tents that function as homes, gifts from good-natured but ultimately misguided people, who function more as enablers than rescuers. The city has set up injection sites, where homeless heroin addicts are provided with clean syringes and allowed to shoot up without punishment. May God bless them. And may we help them in a better way.

Revolutions are started by youth. And the left is desperate for young blood, or, worse, for fresh blood. They're turning on their own.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is more often considered too radical. In a show of force, California Democrats have chosen Feinstein's opponent, Kevin de León, over her.

RELATED: 'I remember thinking liberals were the good guys': Dave Rubin on why he really left the left

Lynne Standard-Nightengale, a member of the Amador County Democratic Central Committee, said she wanted to "send a message."

I just think we need a younger, progressive person there. The Democratic Party in California has moved to the left, and he personifies those values.

Feinstein and de Leon will face each other again in November because California has an open primary system in which the top two finishers face each other, regardless of party.

The left is going hard left. When Dianne Feinstein is not left enough for you—where are the press reports of the extremists taking over? The trend is spreading. A growing number of Trump's base are former Democrats, who voted for Obama.

When Dianne Feinstein is not left enough for you—where are the press reports of the extremists taking over?

So, in response, Democrats are prowling after a new base, a new young base, who's never voted before.

Thankfully, many have predicted that the next generation of voters will be the most conservative generation since pre-WW2. I guess they've watched as their older siblings (or parents) have returned from college with pink hair, atheism, exorbitant debt, and infinite genders, only to decide that personal responsibility, a moral compass, and belief in God are preferable.