Iraq is like the housing market - but not like you think

User Forum Topic
Submitted by bgates on August 18, 2006 - 12:25am

Everyone who reads this forum has gone from amused to outraged reading housing stories in the press. Prices never go down...never a better time to buy...get in before it's too late. The LA Times, NY Times, CNN, broadcast news, all have presented a pretty uniform view of the housing market for- well, really, forever, but just in the past couple of years we've had access to other data to know that they're wrong.

At the same time, many bubbleheads are convinced that Iraq is a catastrophe. It has to be - that's what you hear in the LA Times, the NY Times, CNN, broadcast news...how could they all present such a uniform picture and be wrong? Many people on this forum can go from deriding the obvious incompetence of housing news coverage to accepting any other news coverage as gospel truth. Why is that?

Submitted by PerryChase on August 18, 2006 - 1:05am.

We beleive that the Middle East is the finest city anywhere. The climate is pleasant and the sea shore is beautiful. The Holy Land is located there so everyone wants to live there also.

In 2003, we bought a house on Iraq street. The place was a dump and the price was sky-high but we knew for sure that prices will keep on going up and the neighborhood would gentrify once we moved in and started to make improvements. Everyone in the neighborhood will copy us and beautify their houses, thus creating even more appreciation. It's a slam dunk!

People who don't follow us and invest in the appreciating Middle East market will be forever priced out. We certainly won't share our newfound wealth with the loosers who didn't listen to us. However, people in the coalition of the willing investors will be amply rewarded.

It's now 2006 and we think that the improvements that we've made to the Iraq house positions it well in this stable market and improving market. After we borrow some more money and make additional improvements, we think that we can sell in it to investors. They are already standing by ready to buy the house -- well they still need to qualify for a loan. They are credit counseling right now trying to improve their FICO scores.

The holding cost and negative cash flows have been killing us for the last 3 years but we're confident that we can make it all up in appreciation.

Oh, btw, it looks like the houses on Lebanon Court, Syria Circle and Iran Way are great investments also. Unfortunately, we sunk all of our money in the Iraq house already so we need to borrow some more from the Bank of the People of America. But don't worry, once all those houses sell, we'll be so rich that we'll be the masters of the universe.

That investment is for real, man. Don't miss the boat!

Submitted by bgates on August 18, 2006 - 1:30am.

You're unable to refute an argument of mine or make one of your own, so you make little jokes. Tell me why you believe everything the papers tell you about Iraq when you know they've been wrong about housing for the past 3 years. Can't do it, can you.

Submitted by socalarm on August 18, 2006 - 7:51am.

so you're convinced that all the media are lying? this is interesting because the big media you criticize were precisely the ones who empowered this war three years ago. were you challenging their ideas then? if you were, in all seriousness i'm impressed. but if like a lot of buyers in RE, you are convinced the facts are wrong, not you, then there's not much to say. i thought perry was hilarious btw.
i'm all for independent research too. try a blog search at technorati. use google news. if you see a single definitive news sources that paints a pleasant picture, i'd love to read it

Submitted by lendingbubbleco... on August 18, 2006 - 8:24am.

The main difference is there are plenty of WMDs to be found here(Warlocks of Marketing Doublespeak)that have been effectively terrorizing our citizenry with proclamations of "buy now or be priced out forever".

No..I look forward to the day CNN shows footage of Marines pulling a filthy, scruffy David Lereah out of an abandoned condo conversion while shining a flashlight into his mouth and holding an article in front of him that quotes him as saying "soft landing".

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on August 18, 2006 - 8:45am.

"Home Prices in Deep Freeze" -CNN,
LA Times, NY Times, SD U-T all claiming that sales are off and prices are coming down.

It's being spread everywhere as if it were true. Major media outlets are now saying that the bubble is losing steam. Should we believe these mainstream media rumour-mongers ?

Perhaps, sometimes we should.

Submitted by powayseller on August 18, 2006 - 8:49am.

bgates, I've wondered the same thing. If the media can be so wrong on housing, so wrong on stock market reporting (linking 2 unrelated events and implying causality), then how can I trust them on political reporting?

My brother says the media is hopelessly biased due to the views held by the owner of that media. Most media owners, and most Americans support Israel and Israel's view.

Did anyone notice the german magazine Spiegel interviewed Iran's president? Did a US media ever do this? If not, how can we expect to know anything about Iran? Second hand reporting about Iran is less accurate, as we all know. Bush telling us that Iran wants nuclear weapons could be self serving, to rally us behind his next war (which he desperately wants), and is like David Lereah telling us that now is a good time to buy houses.

Do you think NPR is any better? They seem to be independent and do their own coverage.

Submitted by smfj on August 18, 2006 - 8:50am.

PerryChase: Fantastic!

bgates: Iraq is a catastrophe. Why do I believe this? Just because the media told me so? No, because I've heard it first hand from people I know who've been there, who are there, and who will be there again. Even the ones who most staunchly stand by our decision to be there will admit that it's not a pretty picture.

Submitted by MANmom on August 18, 2006 - 8:51am.

Now this, by the way, is good political satire related to the housing bubble! This is a perfect way to post political views on a housing blog...at least the two are related (kind of). It was a refreshing diversion from the norm, while still relevant. Very funny!

Submitted by North County Jim on August 18, 2006 - 12:39pm.

Did anyone notice the german magazine Spiegel interviewed Iran's president? Did a US media ever do this?

You must have missed his interview with Mike Wallace on 60 minutes last weekend.

BTW, the German magazine is der Spiegel.

Submitted by speedingpullet on August 18, 2006 - 2:53pm.

Sadly, this week all other news is subsumed by the most important story in the Whole Wide World...the capture of the (possible) killer of JonBenet Ramsey. Two days of wall-to-wall 'coverage' (ie specualation) on some guy in Thailand.

I mean no disrespect to the Ramsey family, and its not as if they haven't had enough tragedy in thier lives recently. I'm glad for them if they manage some kind of closure over this.

But:
War in Afghanistan
War in Iraq
Shaky ceasefire in Lebanon
Worst oil spill since the Exon Valdiz in the Mediterranean
Syria and Iraq rattling sabres
North Korea possibly testing a nuclear bomb
The UN getting tough
Racial slurs caught on tape from both sides of the aisle
The White House battling with the Feds about US phone tapping
House prices tanking

...these are the things I'm interested in.

CNN has spent two days rehashing old 1996 stories, talking to Joe Schmoe on the telephone, making #hit up and generally going to @ucking town on the JBR case, while the rest of the world goes to Hell in a Handcart.

All media is biased. Its best to get your news from as many different scources as you can, and make up your own mind.

Submitted by rocketman on August 18, 2006 - 3:51pm.

Now that 98 percent of the media is controlled by two major share holding corporations and one foreign investor I've noticed that there is more sensationalism and less focus on domestic and foreign news. Over the past five years I've seen more and more network news stations dropping off the air.

Don't get me wrong, I don't watch a lot of television, but I do consider myself somewhat of a "news hound" and just want to have a wide variety of news (print, radio, TV and internet) with as much unbiased facts as possible. Editorials and opposing views are welcomed as well.

It seems the Internet is turning out to be the most desirable place to google news stories - however, Google has shareholders too, as well as friends in Government (shhhh..).

The only national news on cable here in SF are CNN, Fox (if you consider Fox news) and BBC. MSNBC is not much different than CNN. I thought Larry King was into interviewing celebs - now he's practically on the front lines. What's up with that? Maybe Jerry Springer will be hosting "Suni's vs Shites tonight at 6:00pm". How about Oprah interviewing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Now there's an interview I'd want to watch :-). Next: Mike Wallace OUT - Katie Kouric IN.

Submitted by bgates on August 18, 2006 - 6:07pm.

Each in turn:
Socalalarm, it's as foolish to assume the media are always wrong as it is to assume they're always right (as FormerSanDiegan points out, they're not always wrong even on housing). As for being convinced 'the facts' are wrong, you're begging the question - our information comes from sources we know to be fallible. In the housing bubble, the 'Rathergate' fake memo story, the recent Photoshopped photos from a Reuters stringer, the media has screwed up or deliberately lied. Again, doesn't mean they all do it all the time, but it means we should try to find independent sources of information.

Powayseller, I've noticed you tend to not believe anything Bush says. He claims Arabs were behind the 9/11 attacks. Do you believe him? Do you think maybe it was the Jews?
As far as Iranian nukes, France, Germany and the UK put out a united statement earlier this year that began:
Iran‘s nuclear activities have been of great concern to the international community since 2003, when Iran was forced to admit to the International Atomic Agency Authority that it was building a secret installation to enrich uranium, which could be used to produce material for nuclear
weapons. The IAEA Director General at the time found Iran’s policy of concealment had resulted in many breaches of its obligation to comply with the provisions of its Safeguards Agreement. Under the IAEA‘s rules, this should have been reported to theSecurity Council then.

Do you think Israel forced them to make that statement?

I remarked on the Spiegel's coverage of Ahmadinejad in another thread when I noted he claimed that "a green aura was coming out of his head during his speech to the United Nations." The same article referred to his "hate mongering" in discussing the destruction of Israel. What do you think, ps, do the Jews run the German media as well?

smfj, I've been talking to guys who were there too, and they won't call it a pretty picture either. But they won't call it a lost cause or a catastrophe, and I have yet to hear from someone over there, "Yep, it's pretty much the same as what the tv news says."

Speedingpullet, agreed.

Submitted by smfj on August 18, 2006 - 7:41pm.

bgates, my point was that my opinion is not based on what I have heard in the media, as was implied in your initial post.

Submitted by rankandfile on August 18, 2006 - 11:31pm.

Powayseller, you are dripping with Iranian bias. Learning about Iran from Ahmadinejad is like learning about California from Charles Manson. You also downplayed his comments that Israel should be wiped off the map by saying there is no such phrase in his language. Should I also point out that he stated publicly that the Holocaust was a myth? http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/12/1...

I know you are of Iranian descent, but comon. Do you believe the Holocaust was a myth?

Submitted by powayseller on August 19, 2006 - 7:21am.

bgates, thanks for that answer. I was looking for something to help me figure out what was really going on, and that did it.

rankandfile, I don't like Iranians (shhhh). That's why I haven't gone to Iran. Although I have met some nice Iranians, so I am coming around. I get my political info from my brother, who is biased against the US foreign policy. He spends hours every day researching politics (media only, no feet on the ground experience at all). At the risk of being politically incorrect, I have little interest in politics and history, and abhor the Middle East news stories, because it's all about a bunch of people fighting about God and who is right, and can't get along. A bunch of spoiled brats! No wonder my husband is turned off to religion. More deaths are caused by adherence to religion than anything else. Maybe if they stopped believing in Allah, they'd find some other reason to quarrel. Who wants to keep track of all their quarrels. Boring..... I know, this is close minded, but I'm being honest. And I represent the average American in this view, I am sure.

The media is full of sensationlist stories, so I know there is scant interest in foreign policy. 20/20 used to be a serious news show a decade ago.

North County Jim, thanks for the correction on the newspaper, and I did miss the Mike Wallace interview. What did you think about the interview?

Submitted by rankandfile on August 19, 2006 - 11:43am.

powayseller- thanks for the clarification. But you didn't answer my other question - do you think the Holocaust was/is a myth?

PS: How is the website development research going?

Submitted by bgates on August 20, 2006 - 3:05am.

You're ok, PS. If your earlier comments were based on simple lack of interest in politics, then I came down too hard on you, and I apologize.

At the same time, I would urge you to learn more about politics. Talking to you about this feels like talking to my dad about real estate; his mortgage is paid off, and he lives in a sleepy PA town that's fairly non-bubbly, so he thinks housing is someone else's problem. But if housing plays out the way you and I are afraid it might, it will be everybody's problem. Same with the politics of the middle east. There's a quote attributed to Trotsky: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."

I know you don't like Bush, and there are things about him that bother me (my list is different than yours :) ), but I am pretty sure he's not interested in starting a nuclear war. The evidence is he's been in control of the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world for 6 years, and hasn't touched it. The figurehead of Iran's govt, on the other hand, may be nuts. Did you read the stuff about the green aura he said came out of his head when he spoke to the UN? That's worrisome. Iran is supposed to respond to the West regarding their nuclear program by Aug 22. Germany, England, and France had asked for a reply on June 29, but Iran wanted the extra time. That's a little worrisome. What's more worrisome is that the night of Aug 21 matches an important date on the Shia calendar. It's when "Prophet Mohammed (saas) ascended to heaven from the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on a Bourak (Half animal, half man), while a great light lit-up the night sky". The linkage between that phrase and the Iranian nuclear program is what's been making me post at 3am the past few days.

Hopefully this is coincidence and nothing much will happen on the 22nd. Otherwise, we're going to have to make some very big decisions as a country this week.

Submitted by powayseller on August 20, 2006 - 10:52am.

The Holocaust happened. My mother was a child in Germany in WW II, and her family had a bunker behind the house. I played in it as a child. She remembers eating dandelion soup and hunkering down in the bunker while planes bombed overhead. For a few years, American soldiers took over their house and trashed it. My grandfather hated Hitler, but what could he do?

Submitted by bgates on August 20, 2006 - 3:18pm.

Did I speak too soon?
Answering a question about the Holocaust with "Yes it happened, Americans bombed my mother's neighborhood and trashed her house" is an exceptionally poor way to allay suspicions of anti-Semitism.

Submitted by North County Jim on August 20, 2006 - 9:34pm.

PS,

To be honest, I couldn't get through the interview. Up to the point where I'd had enough, there were no tough questions IMO. I've seen the 60 Minutes crew a lot tougher on miscreants who may have hosed someone's Aunt Mabel for a few thousand bucks.

Submitted by rankandfile on August 20, 2006 - 11:06pm.

Slow-pitch softball, minimum 6' arc. Watered down beer in the parking lot for the winners.

Submitted by SD Realtor on August 21, 2006 - 12:00am.

bgates you stated it well... you may not be interested in war but it is interested in you.

I to do not think our president is that bright, and I certainly do not agree with many of his policies. I also fear for the well being of our country as I believe the illegal immigration issue has seriously and will continue to seriously erode our infrastructure.

I really do believe that there are many people who want to see our country in ruins, and who do want to see Isreal wiped off the map of this planet. These are the same people who cheered when our nation was attacked on September 11th.

I agree with PS that more people die in the name of religion then for any other reason, however in my opinion it is our country AND ONLY OUR COUNTRY that will continue to stand up for the religous freedom that not only we enjoy, but others enjoy all over the world.

Again, I do not agree with people killed in Lebanon, or in Gaza, I have been to Isreal and visited both places. Yet I can not or will never ever sympathize with groups of people who celebrate our pain from September 11th, or deny the Holocaust, or want to wipe a race off of the map.

Even if it does mean I have to support an idiot (and yes I did vote for him) like Bush.

I also turned off the 60 minutes interview.

Why interview someone if you are going to kiss thier *ss.

Submitted by SD Realtor on August 21, 2006 - 1:00am.

bgates you stated it well... you may not be interested in war but it is interested in you.

I to do not think our president is that bright, and I certainly do not agree with many of his policies. I also fear for the well being of our country as I believe the illegal immigration issue has seriously and will continue to seriously erode our infrastructure.

I really do believe that there are many people who want to see our country in ruins, and who do want to see Isreal wiped off the map of this planet. These are the same people who cheered when our nation was attacked on September 11th.

I agree with PS that more people die in the name of religion then for any other reason, however in my opinion it is our country AND ONLY OUR COUNTRY that will continue to stand up for the religous freedom that not only we enjoy, but others enjoy all over the world.

Again, I do not agree with people killed in Lebanon, or in Gaza, I have been to Isreal and visited both places. Yet I can not or will never ever sympathize with groups of people who celebrate our pain from September 11th, or deny the Holocaust, or want to wipe a race off of the map.

Even if it does mean I have to support an idiot (and yes I did vote for him) like Bush.

I also turned off the 60 minutes interview.

Why interview someone if you are going to kiss thier *ss.

Submitted by PerryChase on August 21, 2006 - 12:48pm.

A good journalist asks tough questions but doesn't trap his guest. Otherwise, he won't be making many interviews in the future.

Why do you think that Cheney and Bush only go on Fox?

Submitted by North County Jim on August 22, 2006 - 9:12am.

PC,

If I recall, the President did a one-on-one with Russert on Meet the Press for the entire hour.

It's not uncommon for politicians of both parties to seek out "friendlies" in the press. While Cheney would seek out Brit Hume to defuse his hunting incident, Democrats would be more likely to seek out CNN, the NYT or CBS.

BTW, does Mike Wallace need to worry about future interview prospects?

Submitted by smfj on August 22, 2006 - 9:30am.

bgates, you're right. My argument was flawed. Let's try this:

I believe that Iraq is a catastrophe, not because the media told me so, but because of first hand stories I've heard from people I know who've been there, who are there, and who will be there again. This does disprove your argument that everyone on this board thinks Iraq is a catastrophe because of media coverage. For the record, I do believe that media coverage of the war is biased, whether it be towards the pro- or anti-war side (depending on the source).

That being said, your original argument assumed that there was a cause and effect relationship between trust of the media and anti-war sentiment. I respect your opinion, but your argument is flawed.

Submitted by PerryChase on June 19, 2007 - 2:51pm.

Slate.com article. I'm glad the MSM is beginning to see the light.

moneybox: Commentary about business and finance.
http://www.slate.com/id/2168417/nav/tap3/
The Twin DebaclesHow the housing collapse is like the Iraq war.
By Daniel Gross
Posted Friday, June 15, 2007, at 5:48 PM ET

What do Iraq and the U.S. housing market have in common? At first blush, not much. Iraq, which has taken the lives of thousands and ruined America's reputation abroad, is far more disastrous than the housing collapse, which has been merely financially devastating.

Nonetheless, the twin debacles, which are defining the foreign policy and domestic economy of the second Bush term, have significant similarities, especially in the way that their public- and private-sector architects and promoters have behaved.

Submitted by 4runner on June 19, 2007 - 3:32pm.

How could Iraq be anything other than a catastrophe? Americans agreed to spill American blood to stop someone in the "Axis of Evil" from developing weapons of mass destruction. It threatened our safety.

Whether the weapons of mass destruction line was outright fraud or just plain incompetent, two thirds of the Axis of Evil has taken the opportunity presented by our invasion of Iraq to develop nuclear weapons.

Even if you think that nation building in Iraq is all well and good, it has cost us our security, not to mention our blood.

Submitted by Ash Housewares on June 19, 2007 - 6:49pm.

Powayseller, you asked if NPR was any better than the mainstream media. The answer is a resounding yes. Fox News viewers, btw, were the least well informed.

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/arc...

Submitted by drunkle on June 19, 2007 - 7:43pm.

npr is currently run by a bushtian. npr has gone down hill. far down hill.

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