Funny money at the F5 Tower?
Funny money at the F5 Tower? Charles Mudede

A Large Section of the Brand-New F5 Tower Is Already Up For Sale: Something very unusual just happened at the most impressive addition to Seattle's skyline since the completion of what is now called the Seattle Municipal Tower—the F5 Tower, which is on Fifth Avenue and Columbia Street. The fancy 189-room hotel which was supposed to open "around now," according to Puget Sound Business Journal's real estate reporter, Marc Stiles, is already up for sale. Both the tower's developer and the hotel in question, SLS, declined to offer answers to this "stunning turn of events." But Stiles' post suggests that there is more money to be made selling the hotel than running it. That is the kind of market we have right now: one where market values are more and more disconnected from reality.

Terry Fancher, the executive managing director at Stockbridge Capital Group, "the majority partner in the project," did tell Stiles this:

Given the significant strength of the Seattle hotel market coupled with the strong investment market nationally for high-quality hotel assets, we have decided to pursue a sale of the hotel...
Has Seattle entered the most dangerous moment of financing, the Ponzi moment, in Hyman Minky's "financial-instability hypothesis"? Minsky, who did much of his work in the 1960s, was an ignored economist until 2008, when it was found that his hypothesis of the stages of financing fit perfectly with what was observed in the housing market's rise and crash between 2003 and 2008. According to this hypothesis: There is hedge financing (investors make money from the revenue of actual businesses or entrepreneurs); then there is speculative financing (money is made from the value of buildings and other financial assets—Seattle has been in this stage since 2014); and, finally, there is Ponzi financing (this is when all sorts of "stunning turn of events" began to occur with stunning frequency).

Speaking of the Housing Crash of 2008: It is still very much with us, still sucking life out of the economy. The Week reports that JP Morgan, which was at the center of this episode, which devastated millions of working- and middle-class Americans and sharply increased the wealth of those at the very top, "gamed the system" to mitigate punishment "over a 'robosigning' fraud scheme." Ryan Cooper writes:

In a sane world, many top executives and dozens if not hundreds of lower-level employees would have gone to prison for the systematic document fraud. Yet, as Jesse Eisinger details in his excellent book The Chickenshit Club, President Obama's Department of Justice and his U.S. attorneys were generally too lazy or too scared to prosecute big white-collar crimes...
Jenny Durkan, who is running for mayor, was, by the way, a member of this elite club of public servants. (Full disclosure: I contributed money to the campaign of Cary Moon, Durkan's opponent.) As the LA Times reported on August 8, 2011, her office found nothing funny in the "biggest bank failure in U.S. history." For her, Washington Mutual's world-historical collapse in 2008 basically came down to just some good old boys, never meaning no harm.

Here is a sample of Jenny Durkan chicken-shitting hard:

Investigators [at Durkan's office] have conducted an extensive investigation that included hundreds of interviews and the review of millions of documents relating to the operations, and the subsequent failure, of Washington Mutual Bank... Based upon its investigation, the Department of Justice has concluded that the evidence does not meet the exacting standards for criminal charges in connection with the bank’s failure.
It's not that Durkan did anything wrong. The problem is she did everything right. She was a very functional cog in a legal machine that's built to protect the ruling class. Her office found nothing, but as James K. Galbraith points out in his book The End of Normal, a 2007 Fitch Fraud Report ("The Impact of Poor Underwriting Practices and Fraud in Subprime RMBS Performance") found "fraud and misrepresentation" in almost 100 percent of sampled subprime loan documents primarily from 2005 and 2006. Washington Mutual was in the thick of this subprime bonanza. Durkan found nothing.

All of this is worth thinking about because our city's top politicians and business leaders are acting like our real estate market is behaving normally, when it is not. What's happening at F3 Tower should alarm people, but it won't. First shit must hit the fan, and then, and only then, does Durkan's Chickenshit Club arrive to make sure everything is done legally, extensively, exactly, thoroughly, as correctly as correct can be. The law does its work, the poor suffer as they must, and the stolen billions are transferred to tax havens.

Former Seattle Couple Living in Shipping Container Near the Base of Our Volcano Have a Fight Over the Quality of Their Lives: This story is in Tacoma News Tribune. It concerns two men who live in a repurposed shipping container. They moved into it a month ago. It's on Mount Tahoma Canyon Road, which is right next to Mount Rainier National Park. The couple used to live in Seattle, which has become one of the most expensive cities in the US. The couple had a fight about "the quality of living at the property." The police found broken glass at the entrance of the shipping container. It's what remained of a jar that had been thrown on the wall of the shipping container next to the volcano. The police arrested the boyfriend who destroyed the jar.

Officers of the SPD Shoot Car Multiple Times For Moving: That's about as much as Steven Hsieh could gather from the incident, which happened last night in Eastlake. A suspicious-looking car "backed toward the officers" and bullets began to fly.

A Week After the Deadliest Mass Shooting in US's Modern History: And investigators are stumped by Stephen Paddock. What was his motive? They don't know. They just can't figure it out. Maybe he was just plain nuts. If such is the case, then there's nothing that can be done about the situation. Being hit by crazy is the same as being hit by a bolt of lightning. Case closed.

By The Way: Paddock was not a registered Democrat, as so many on the right claimed last week. He had, as his brother said, no political affiliation. But he was pro-gun, a fact that many Americans painfully discovered last Sunday.

Pence Tried a Thing Yesterday: And bombed...

Dove Wants To Make America Really, Really White Again: The Dove advertisement fiasco says only one thing: this corporation does not hire any people of color in its top decision-making positions.