What’s REALLY behind the war on home ownership?Becoming a “Nation of Renters” is clearly a big part of the New Normal.

 Jul 31, 2021  33

Kit Knightly

The incipient “Great Reset” is a multi-faceted beast. We talk a lot about vaccine passports and lockdowns and the Covid-realated aspects – and we should – but there’s more to it than that.

Remember, they want you to “own nothing and be happy”. And right at the top of the list of things you definitely shouldn’t own, is your own home.

The headlines about this have been steady for the last few years, but it has picked up pace in the wake of the “pandemic” (as has so much else). An agenda hidden on back pages, behind by Covid’s meaningless big red numbers, but perhaps no less sinister.

You can find articles all over the net talking up renting over owning.

Last month, for example, Bloomberg ran an article headlined:

America Should Become a Nation of Renters”

Which praises what they call “the liquefaction of the housing market” and gleefully expounds on the idea that “The very features that made home buying an affordable and stable investment are coming to an end.”

The Atlantic published “Why Its Better To Rent Than Own” in March.

Financial pages from Business Insider to Forbes to Yahoo and Bloomberg again are filled with lists titled “9 Ways Renting is Better Than Buying”or similar.

Other publications go more personal with it, with anecdotal columns about ignoring financial advice and refusing to buy your home. Vox, never one to sell their agenda with any kind of subtlety, have a piece titled:

Homeownership can bring out the worst in you

Which literally argues that buying a house can make you a bad person:

It’s the biggest thing you might ever buy. And it could be turning you into a bad person.

So what exactly is the narrative here? What’s the story behind the story?

The short answer is fairly simple: It’s about greed, and it’s about control.

It almost always is, in the end.

The longer answer is rather more complicated. Major investment firms such as Vanguard and Blackrock, along with rental companies such as American Homes 4 Rent, are buying up single-family homes in record numbers – sometimes entire neighbourhoods at a time.

They pay well over market value, pricing families who want to own those homes out of the market, which forces the housing market up whilst the Lockdown-created recession is lowering wages and creating millions of newly unemployed.

Of course, this is motivating people to sell the houses they already own.

People all across America have been saddled with houses worth less than they bought them for since the 2008 economic crash, and are eager to take the cash from private investment firms paying 10-20% over market value. Combine an economic recession with a created housing boom and you have a huge population of motivated sellers.

Of course, many of these sellers don’t realise, until it’s too late, that even if they attempt to downsize or move to a cheaper area, they may be priced out of the market completely, and forced to rent.

As such, in the last year, the private investment share of single-family home purchases is estimated to have increased ten-fold, going from 2% in 2018 to over 20% this year.

As more and more people are forced to rent, of course, rental properties will be in higher and higher demand. This in turn will drive the cost of renting up.

Market Watch has already reported that, in the last year, rent has increased over 3x faster than the government predicted.

This problem is likely to get worse in the near future.

Last night, Congress “accidentally failed” to extend the Covid-related eviction ban.

Which means, this weekend, while Senators adjourn to the summer homes they probably don’t rent, the ban will officially end and a lot of people are likely to have their houses foreclosed or their landlords kick them out.

The newly empty buildings will be a feeding frenzy for the massive corporate landlords. Who will descend on the banks like starving hyenas to snap up the foreclosed properties for pennies on the dollar. Just like they did in 2008.

None of this is any secret, it’s been covered in the mainstream. Tucker Carlson even did a segment on it in early June.

The Wall Street Journal headlined, back in April, “If You Sell a House These Days, the Buyer Might Be a Pension Fund”, and reported:

Yield-chasing investors are snapping up single-family homes, competing with ordinary Americans and driving up prices

However, since then, something has clearly changed. The propaganda machine has kicked into gear to defend Wall Street from any backlash.

No better example of this shift can be found than The Atlantic, which ran this story in 2019:

With help from the federal government, institutional investors became major players in the rental market. They promised to return profits to their investors and convenience to their tenants. Investors are happy. Tenants are not.

…and this story last month:

The real villain isn’t a faceless Wall Street Goliath; it’s your neighbors and local governments stopping the construction of new units.

Going back to the Vox well we have:

Wall Street isn’t to blame for the chaotic housing market

Which ran just a few days after the Atlantic article, and is practically identical.

Both these (oddly similar) articles argue that Wall Street and private equity firms can’t be blamed for buying up houses, and that the real problem is the lack of supply to meet demand.

You see, all the “selfish” people who already own homes (they did say it makes you a bad person) are blocking the construction of new houses, and thus driving up the cost of property through scarcity.

This has been a logically flawed argument around the housing market for decades.

That there aren’t enough houses for people to buy is patently absurd when the US census data says that there are over 15 million houses currently standing empty. That’s enough to house all of America’s roughly 500,000 homeless people 30x over.

There’s plenty of houses, there’s just not enough money to buy them.

The reason for that is the same reason the California has massive “homeless camps” in its major cities, and that so many people are having to become renters instead of owners: wage stagnation.

For decades now, wage increases have lagged behind increases in the cost of living. In the 1960s one full-time job could afford a decent standard of living for a family of four or more. These days both parents work, sometimes multiple jobs each.

It was huge amounts of financial de-regulation which created this situation. So, whether you believe Vox’s BlackRock apologia or not, one way or another Wall Street very definitely is to blame.

But this isn’t just about money. It never is. Just as the war on cash isn’t just about efficiency, and the environmental push isn’t just about climate change. Ditto veganism. It’s about control. Just like vaccines, lockdowns and masks.

It always comes down to control.

It’s an oft-used cliche, but no less true for that, that homeowning “gives people a stake in society”. A family-owned house is a source of security for the future and something to leave your children. It is also sovereignty and privacy. Your own space that no one else can control or take away.

In short: A homeowner is independent. A renter is not. A renter can be controlled. A homeowner can not.

It’s the same reasoning behind the way working people were encouraged to take out loans and become debt slaves. If you limit people’s options, if you make them rely on you for a roof over their heads, you have control over them.

There’s a great article about this situation called “Your New Feudal Overlords”.

Under Feudalism, land wasn’t owned by the working class, but provided to them by landed barons, hence the term “Land Lord”. If you disrespected your Lord, or broke his rules, or he perceived another peasant/farm animal/crop would be a better use of the land, he could take it back.

Essentially, the behaviour of serfs was kept in check by their reliance on the nobility for a place to live. That’s very much the dynamic they’re going for here.

Rental agreements can be full of any terms and conditions the landlord wants, and the more desperate people get the more of their consumer rights they will sign over.

Maybe you’ll agree to smart meters which monitor your internet or power-usage habits, and then sell the data to behavioural modellers and viral marketers.

Maybe you’ll have to agree to certain power limitations or water shortages in order to “fight climate change”.

Maybe it will get worse than that.

Maybe they’ll go full Black Mirror style corporate dystopia. Maybe, through affiliation programs, the mega-equity firm which owns your rental house has ties to McDonald’s, and as such will require you to not eat at any competing fast-food franchises, or demand you observe at least ninety seconds of Disney advertisements per day.

Maybe it will be as simple as including vaccine status in the tenancy agreement, making it impossible for the unvaxxed to find a home.

Maybe they just want to make poor people miserable.

After all, the super-wealthy have got all the money they could ever need, and all the luxury they could ever use. Their living standards are as high as physically possible. So maybe the only way they can keep “winning”, is to start driving the living standards of us proles down.

No air travel. No vacations. No going out at all. Live in a tiny house, or a pod. Eat bugs. Get rid of your car. Rent your clothes. Or your furniture. Pay taxes on sugar. And alcohol. And red meat.

They’ve been very clear about this. They’ve told you about the Great Reset and the Internet of Things. That’s the plan.

You won’t own a house. And you’ll be happy…or else the mega-corporation you’re forced to rent from will kick you out.

What’s REALLY behind the war on home ownership? – OffGuardian (off-guardian.org)


New Normal Newspeak #3: “Progressive”

 Jul 30, 2021  45

“New Normal Newspeak” is a series of short articles highlighting how our language has come under assault in the past eighteen months.

We have a backlog for these NNNS posts, but I saw this today on Twitter, and it made me laugh so it gets to jump the queue.

A few days ago, Saudi Arabia announced they would be introducing vaccine passes for, essentially, anyone that wanted to do anything.

And then Max Boot, the neo-liberal warmonger who’s paid to squat over his keyboard and squeeze out columns for the Washington Post, called it “progressive”:

There it is in black and white – an absolute monarchy that still practices public beheadings, has no religious freedom, democracy or equal rights, has decided to add to their delightful resume by introducing digital surveillance, enforced experimental vaccination and medical apartheid. Doesn’t that sound so progressive?

The Council of Foreign Relations fellow has since deleted the tweet. And it’s not hard to see why.

Maybe no other word has had its meaning as brutally violated as “progressive” in the last decade. It is used to stifle freedom of speech, to camouflage corruption of “liberal” candidates, as a casus belli for regime change and to bang the drum for new cold wars with both Russia and China.

But applying it to Saudi Arabia is a whole new level of stretched meaning.

It’s also a little preview of how the billionaire-owned MSM will be selling medical apartheid to their hypnotized “liberal” readers in coming weeks.

New Normal Newspeak #3: “Progressive” – OffGuardian (off-guardian.org)

What the Spanish Flu can tell us about ‘Freedom Day’

Mass partying after the First World War didn’t lead to a viral explosion, either.


29th July 2021

What the Spanish Flu can tell us about ‘Freedom Day’

Over the past couple of weeks, the press has been full of modellers’ predictions that ‘Freedom Day’ on 19 July would trigger a Covid-19 tsunami. Experts warned of 100,000 or even 200,000 cases per day stemming from nightclubs, unmasked travel and those who are deaf to the pinging of the Test and Trace app. Earlier this month, around 1,200 doctors and scientists signed a letter saying that the upcoming reopening was a ‘dangerous and unethical experiment’.

The wave hasn’t hit. We are over a week on from ‘Freedom Day’. The wave should have broken by now, assuming an incubation period of five to six days, or maybe a day less for cases of the now-dominant Delta variant. Yet recorded cases, at 27,734 on 28 July, are around half the recent peak of 54,205 from 11 days ago. Modellers are rowing back on their forecasts, with Neil Ferguson saying that ‘the equation has changed’.

Anyone with a feel for pandemic history, rather than for computer models, would not have been surprised.

Consider 1918. In Europe and the US, the second wave of the Spanish Flu raged in October. England had more than 1,800 deaths from the virus in the week up to 24 October. Berlin recorded 1,700 deaths on 18 October alone. And the US recorded an astonishing 195,000 flu deaths that month. Some US cities demanded mask-wearing and a kind of proto social distancing. Europe didn’t. With doctors and nurses away on the Western Front, hospitals were stretched thin, even before their own staff fell sick.

Then came 11 November. We now think of Armistice Day as a solemn recollection of a tragic generation – characterised by the two minutes silence, ‘The Last Post’ and a wreath laid by the queen. But 11 November, 1918 wasn’t like that at all. It was the party to end all parties.

Grainy black and white prints tell the story, as do the memoirs of those who were there. Marthe Lemestre, madame of the infamous Sphinx bordello in Paris, was convalescing from the flu, which had nearly killed her. She had lost 30 pounds and spent two months asleep. Her skin was pale, her eyes discoloured, and her bones stuck out, or so she said. Long flu, anyone? Still, she made it to the window:

‘Rue Fontaine was black with people as far as the eye could see… There were flags, a band, soldiers carried in triumph, dishevelled, screaming women, an indescribable mass of people… All the bells of Paris were ringing. I called Louisette [the maid]. “What? Mam’selle didn’t know? Why, it’s the Armistice.”’ (1)

Pacifist Bertrand Russell, newly released from prison for good conduct, heard the 11am announcement on London’s Tottenham Court Road and observed the throng sniffily:

‘Within two minutes, everybody… had come into the street. They commandeered the buses and made them go where they liked. I saw a man and woman, complete strangers to each other, meet in the middle of the road and kiss as they passed.’

Berlin, tasting unexpected defeat, drew a different crowd. People were out on the streets, demanding radical political change: ‘At about two o’clock, a perfect avalanche of humanity began to stream by our windows, walking quietly enough, many of them carrying red flags.’ (2)

Night and intoxicants raised the tempo. The revelling began immediately in San Francisco, where it was 2am. The mask mandate was forgotten.

‘After 2am, the throng left [the] Civic Center and headed down Market [Street]… Mayor James Rolph, with a soldier on one arm and a sailor on the other, was supposed to be at the head of the procession, but was swept up into the centre.’

Even deep in the Cotswolds, the party flowed.

‘A man came up and kissed the girls and jumped in the road and twisted on one toe. Then, he fell down in the mud and lay there working his legs like a frog and croaking. I wanted to stop. I had never seen a man like this… We got to the pub and stared through the windows… Rose-coloured men seemed to bulge and break into flame. They breathed out smoke, drank fire from golden jars, and I heard the great din with awe. Now anything could happen, and it did.’ (3)

If you doubt young Laurie Lee’s memory – he was three or four at the time – hard records show what was happening all over Britain: ‘At Kirkintilloch in Dunbartonshire, after magistrates asked for pubs to be closed, a mob threatened to break in.’ (4)

Any epidemiologist would tell you that this partying spree was guaranteed to trigger a flood of infection. All the factors were there: crowds, shouting, drinking, indoor venues, snogging strangers. It was also November, a time of year when viruses usually spread widely. Fatalities should have risen from 19 November, assuming a gap of eight days between infection and death, or longer for those with secondary bacterial infections, as were common at the time. Yet there wasn’t a major rise in excess mortality, which peaked in or before the first week of November. San Francisco rescinded its mask mandate on 21 November, 10 days after the Armistice party, ringing church bells to celebrate ‘victory’ over the virus.

What the Spanish Flu can tell us about ‘Freedom Day’

Maybe the lack of a major, sustained rise in excess mortality is a result of herd immunity being reached. This cannot have been the whole story, though, as a further wave of the virus came early in 1919, proving that there were still susceptible people in the population. But the simple reality is that something that ‘should’ have driven a dramatic rise in infections and deaths largely failed to do so.

The point, then, is not to say that there will be no further spikes of Covid. We do not know if there will be or not. The fact that over 90 per cent of UK adults now have antibodies should be a drag on the virus, even if – as Piers Morgan and Sajid Javid have both shown – vaccination doesn’t guarantee full protection against infection. Most likely, there will be a few more bumps along the road. After that, we will achieve the same dynamic balance between immunity and occasional, mild reinfection that we experience with the four long-circulating ‘common cold’ coronaviruses. But I wouldn’t care to guess the timelines, nor the size of the bumps.

We must acknowledge the unpredictability of pandemics and the limits on our ability to extrapolate into the future. Turning points are especially hard to predict, like peaks and lows on the stock market. People always find an explanation in retrospect, but they often don’t see it coming beforehand. Today, I have heard school holidays, the end of the Euros and warmer weather all given as reasons why the surge hasn’t come. But nobody said last week that these things would lead cases to fall after ‘Freedom Day’.

Throughout the Covid crisis, far too much weight has been put on models and far too little on experience from previous pandemics. Spanish Flu infections, like the Russian flu in 1889-1894, rose and fell with little rhyme or reason. The lack of a post-Armistice spike is just the most obvious example. The Covid pandemic, too, has been full of events that models would never have predicted. Think about infections peaking in the UK before each of the three lockdowns. Or 2020 infection rates declining at a similar speed in Sweden (no lockdown), the UK (moderate lockdown), and France and Spain (strict lockdowns). Or the fact that there were fewer than 6,000 deaths in Sweden in the first three months rather than 96,000, as predicted by scientists applying a version of the Imperial College model. Or the swift decline of the Delta variant spike in India, despite limited restrictions.

To garble the Bard, both the Spanish Flu and the Covid pandemic show that ‘there are more things to viral rise and fall, than are dreamt of in our philosophy’.

Professor David Livermore is a professor of medical microbiology at UEA and a member of HART, the Health Advisory and Recovery Team.

(1) Madame Sphinx, by M Lemestre, Random House, 1975.

(2) Princess Blucher: An English Wife in Berlin, by Evelyn, Princess Blucher, Dutton & Co., 1920.

(3) Cider with Rosie, by L Lee, Hogarth Press, 1959.

(4) Peace at Last: A Portrait of Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, by G Cuthbertson, Yale, 2018.

What the Spanish Flu can tell us about ‘Freedom Day’ – spiked (spiked-online.com)

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