The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Quick Takes 7: RICO abuse against activists; Regulating AirBnB & Early Climate Change Flooding

RICO is a shit law, which criminalizes association and free speech. When it was passed, to take down the mob, far-sighted commenters noted it would be abused. Now it is being used to take down “Stop Cop City”.

It doesn’t seem a coincidence that this sprawling indictment is appearing when the Stop Cop City movement has reached its zenith of public support. Activists campaigning to put Cop City on the ballot have gathered over 100,000 signatures, well north of the number of votes Andre Dickens secured in his race for the Atlanta mayorship. Mainstream civil and human rights organizations, including the King Center, have come out in favor of the ballot initiative. Stop Cop City solidarity groups have popped up in at least twenty-one states, and progressive groups nationwide have leaned into support. The Stop Cop City movement stands a fighting chance, and so the state has exacted retribution.


As part of the negotiation of normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a formal alliance is being suggested. This seems misjudged: the Saudi regime isn’t just a terrible one, it’s a bad ally to the US; almost certainly part of the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, as Foreign Policy notes, normalizing with Israel may cost the Sauds their peace with Iran, and that could lead to war with Iran.


Thomas Neuberger, summarizing Hansen, notes that sea level rises are likely to happen much faster than standard models, and that means disaster for Asia (but not just Asia.) All of these won’t happen this century, I suspect, but plenty will.

This map (from NASA) is must viewing:

As is this one, where the dark green is low lying areas that will be flooded early.

Neuberger notes that:

Beijing is now a coastal city. Notice also that the North China Plain, the Chinese “breadbasket” and engine of Chinese growth, is now under water. In the image below, the green area south of Beijing is the North China Plain. Green shows how close it is to sea level today. It will flood early in the process. (my emphasis)

You’ll also notice that Bangladesh is on the “floods early” slate. Imagine how that will effect India, and notice that there’s plenty of early Indian flooding too.


So, New York has a partial AirBnB ban which has finally gone into effect.

New Yorkers are forbidden from renting out their residence. If they wish to rent, they must be present in the home, as a host. And they must prove that they’re not effectively running an illegal hotel by turning over all kinds of information to the city, which will then list them in a registry

What seems to have happened is a lot of short term rentals being moved to long term, with some drop outs.

The drop, recorded between August 4 and September 5, the day New York City began enforcing the new law, represents the disappearance of some 15,000 short-term listings from Airbnb. The figures are based on data provided by Inside Airbnb, a housing advocacy group that tracks listings on the platform.

In August, there were some 22,000 short-term listings on Airbnb in New York City. As of September 5, there were 6,841. But it seems some short-term listings have been switched to long-term listings, which can only be booked for 30 days or more. The number of long-term rentals jumped by about 11,000 to a total of 32,612 from August 4 to September 5. These listings do not need to be registered under the new law.

Additionally, Inside Airbnb estimates that around 4,000 rentals in total have disappeared from Airbnb since the law took effect.

So, all of a 4K difference. I suspect this law is not going to be enough, but if the long term rentals drop in price so that they are viable for true renting; if they can become homes, then fine, AirBnB has just become a central site for long term rentals.

We’ll see.

A lot will also depend on enforcement. Many, perhaps most of the remaining short term AirBnB rentals are likely illegal, and if New York doesn’t go after then and punish both the landlords and AirBnB itself, the law will not matter. An unenforced book is only a political stick to be used against citizens who cross the wrong person.

I also agree with NYDaily News that allowing people to rent their own homes, without being there, for say a month a year, would be ideal. If someone is on vacation and wants to rent their house for the duration of their vacation, that’s reasonable and not a threat to the housing market.

Chalk this one down as “good potential first step, but we’ll see.”






US Chip Sanctions On China Appear To Be Failing Hard


Open Thread


  1. differrent clue

    One wonders whether the targeted victims of the RICO prosecution against Stop Cop City could themselves file a reverse RICO suit of their own against their legal persecutors. If they had enough money and outside support and creative lawyers, maybe they could and maybe they can.

    The pro-active aggressive left was exterminated in waves in this country decades ago. All that is left is a pathetic sad defensive left taking shelter in ” peace, love and please don’t hit me.” I wonder if such a left is psychologically capable of reverse RICO lawfaring against its RICO-abusing enemies.

  2. Daniel Lynch

    re Rico: conspiracy is difficult to prove in court, and that alone makes it a problematic law.

    re Flooding: yep, but as with all climate change problems, most people don’t care until it affects them. My friends and acquaintances are responding to warming by upgrading their air conditioning. That’s it. I’m talking about people who acknowledge climate change is real, who care, who might support a few wind turbines here and there or a few solar panels here and there, but have no intention of changing their lifestyle. Ride a bicycle to the store to buy milk? Forget about it. Forego flying to Europe for vacation? Forget about it. Consume less stuff? Forget about it. And any politician who tries to force people to change their lifestyle will be committing political suicide. So we are doomed on the climate front. Humans have not yet evolved enough to deal with complex social problems like climate change or covid.

  3. Mary Bennet

    What, exactly, is wrong with a “threat to the housing market”? Need one remind you that rent seeking is not productive. It adds no useful product to our society and does nothing to increase our wellbeing. Housing prices all across our country need to come down. Period. A full time employed working, as in wage, not salary earning, should be able to afford adequate housing for him or her self and family.

  4. StewartM

    On housing:

    I’m in favor of something more draconian–I’d limit the number of houses/condos/apartments one could own regulation-free to just ONE.

    More than one, and any unit hat stays unoccupied for more than some time period (say 60 days, or 90 days) is seized by the government and re-sold, with the original owner not being compensated at all–and moreover, if the property is in arrears (i.e., it has been neglected or stripped), then the owner is charged with the cost of repairs. You could even make this rule apply to banks owning foreclosed properties.

    Do this, and I predict the cost of housing, being either for sale or for rent, will plummet as landlords, banks, and private equity firms rent or sell properties on the pronto for whatever they can get for them. (The sold properties too would have to pass a thorough inspection for being maintained). I would especially delight in seeing private equity firms eat losses.

  5. StewartM

    PS. I meant “ONE” additional not lived in.

    Also, fast-track Section 8 applications, so it would be easy for low-income tenants to move into freed-up housing. I would also delight to see $700,000 homes in gated communities being occupied by Section 8 tenants, which would be one of the consequences of my proposals.

  6. different clue

    @Dan Lynch,

    Non-Western humans were/are evolved enough to not even have caused a problem like climate change. And those who want to blame “China” for the initial takeoff of covid should remember that the “China” we see today is deeply WesterModernized and is ruled by an elite committed to the EuroWestern brain-imperial ideology known as Marxist-Leninism.

    It is Modern Western humans in particular who devolved backwards and downwards so far that they have actually managed to cause climate change. So yes, if the solution to climate change is in the strong hands of WesterModernized Industrial humans, then the only “solution” is to hope that civilization crashes so fast and hard that civilization dies too fast to kill the ecosystem around it on its way down, including with global warming.

    But if you want human solutions, hundreds of not-exterminated-yet Eco-Indigenous tribes and nations still retain the knowledge and outlook needed to solve climate change if the WesterModern elites who rule the kind of people who read blogs like this were either mass-converted to that knowledge or else mass-exterminated to get them out of the way of applying that knowledge.

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