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June 20, 2024 45 mins

A real estate expert weighs in on the discussion of proprietary valuation/pricing software. A conversation about the failed Superconducting Super Collider in Texas. C shares a first-hand account of life in the Two by Two spiritual movement. The favorite poop joke of the week -- and more -- all in this week's listener mail segment.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
From UFOs to psychic powers and government conspiracies. History is
riddled with unexplained events. You can turn back now or
learn the stuff they don't want you to know. A
production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:24):
Hello, welcome back to the show. My name is Matt,
my name is Noela.

Speaker 3 (00:28):
They called me Ben. We're joined as always with our
super producer Alexis code named Doc Holliday Jackson. Most importantly,
you are you. You are here that makes this the
stuff they don't want you to know. If you're hearing
this the evening it comes out, then we wish you
a happy June twentieth, twenty twenty four. We have so
much to get to from our favorite part of the show, you,

specifically you. We're gonna hear about some strange science. We're
gonna get a couple of inside perspectives on organizations that
prefer not to be cults, as well as allegations of
price fixing. We might even get to some good pe
pew humor, some pew pew poop humer at the end.

But for now, I just want to check in with
you guys. How's your week?

Speaker 4 (01:18):

Speaker 5 (01:19):
Not bad, little hectic on the family front, but I
can't complain and finally feel a little bit caught.

Speaker 4 (01:25):
Up after my international trip.

Speaker 5 (01:26):
I was lagging there and had a little bit of
travel crowd and so I feel feeling okay.

Speaker 2 (01:31):
Yeah, I had a pet pass recently, so it's been
a little rocky when it comes to that kind of stuff.
I think everybody out there has either experienced that or
can relate in some way. But you know, hug your
animals this week.

Speaker 3 (01:48):
I agree, send us photographs.

Speaker 2 (01:50):
Ben Well, how was how was your week? Man?

Speaker 3 (01:52):
A lot of plot twist. We'll show it works out.

Speaker 4 (02:01):
All right, We're back for this evenings.

Speaker 5 (02:03):
First listener mail, we have a response from a listener
an insider perspective on the Courtland raid. The company that
we discussed in a previous listener mail a giant property
management or I guess I don't know, madam, is your story?
How would you classify this company now that they're not management?

Speaker 4 (02:23):
They actually own all of these properties and lease them out,
you know, to renters.

Speaker 2 (02:28):
Right, Yes, they are, and I'm going to use the
term landlords indeed. Yeah, and they own a craft own
of properties in Atlanta as well as many other cities
across the United States. But it wasn't really about Courtland, right,
it was about software.

Speaker 5 (02:42):
Yeah, exactly, thank you, and that is exactly what this
email is responding to from an insider perspective.

Speaker 4 (02:49):
This comes from Niko.

Speaker 5 (02:51):
By the way, gents, I love your show and I've
been a long time fan. I was listening to the
recent episode where you touched on rent pricing software and
I would love to give you, guys about a perspective
on what is actually going on behind the curtain and
how that software works.

Speaker 4 (03:04):

Speaker 5 (03:05):
This rental pricing software is ubiquitous throughout the industry and
has existed for at least the last fifteen years.

Speaker 4 (03:12):

Speaker 5 (03:13):
This software is imperfect, and it does actually recommend reducing
rents or offering a leasing incentive based on the current
occupancy of the property and recent trends, mostly at your
own property versus the broader market. It even goes completely
haywire at times and will tank your market rents by
twenty percent if you don't set.

Speaker 4 (03:32):
Proper ceilings and floors. Three.

Speaker 5 (03:35):
This type of increase in rents would happen even in
a world without this software. The reality is that it
just occurs faster. Similar to the hotel industry, prices change
daily me interjecting here probably similar to the way it
happens with plane tickets.

Speaker 4 (03:48):

Speaker 5 (03:49):
I would be absolutely shocked if anything came from this raid.
This type of software exists across almost every industry, and
I think at the time we were talking about it,
I did mention that reminded me of the type of
shipping and receiving logistical systems that are in place for
freight brokerage.

Speaker 4 (04:08):
Right back to Nico. Five.

Speaker 5 (04:11):
Cortland isn't even close to the company that anyone should
be worried about, compared to groups like Graystar, who manage
hundreds of thousands of apartments across the country, and they
even have their own proprietary software compared to real page
so that nobody could actually get their head under the hood.
If this isn't legal, how in the hell is it

legal for automated high frequency trading to occur where a
computer can buy a stock faster than I can and
then sell it to me at a fractional increase. It
is completely valid that we do not all invest in
public markets, but we all do need shelter and as
a fundamental need in Maslow's hierarchy. The reality is that
Atlanta has been an absolute boom town, both commercially and

for new residents over the last fifteen plus years, and
there has never truly been a time where vacancy is
a seeded more than seven or eight percent. You might
be surprised to learn that, despite the fact that Georgia
has a lower median home price than other large coastal
cities or growing cities like Denver or Austin, you would
need to make more than sixty percent than you do

in twenty twenty in order to afford the same median
price home. This increase is one of the highest in
the nation, more than other states like Colorado fifty percent,
New York thirty three percent, Florida fifty seven percent, in
California forty eight percent. And then they link out to
an article on costar dot com nearly half of US
states require six figure salary for typical home. Some good

information and some infographics there. Anyways, I absolutely love what
you guys are producing. This is the one time that
I actually had some insight on any podcast. Really be
well and godspeed regards Niko, And then you know, and
these kinds of converse that these kinds of points did
come up with the whole shipping situation as well, you know,

the freight brokerage and stuff like, you know, is it
about fine tuning a system for you know, like I
guess what's sort of looking for most efficient you know
routes and maximizing you know, yield and all of that
good stuff. I really like this listener's point of comparing
it to automated stock brokerage you know, software and platforms

and things like that. So I do think we were
not heavy handed and saying that this was entirely some
sort of across the industry fraudulent activity or the very
nature of this software is inherently bad. But it does
show that we rely quite heavily on these sorts of
systems and that there can be room in really complex arrangements.

And especially I love the point that they made about
the proprietary software for malfeasance to kind of take place,
as they mentioned, under the hood or behind the curtain.
So I don't know, Matt, I'd love to throw to
you first, since this was, you know, the story that
you brought. Is there anything in this that spoke to
you or that kind of pinged a bell for you?

Speaker 2 (07:03):
Yeah, a lot of it did, just knowing that there
are multiple types of this software or versions of this
type of software, let's say, out there, that are being
used by a bunch of different people, a bunch of
different groups, that some of it's proprietary in a way
that Real Page is not. I didn't know this when

we first were talking about it, but Real Page has
been talked about for quite a while, for many years
as a kind of a weird thing that isn't working
out so great for everybody. It was working out great
for the companies that own the land, right, but you know,
for the rest of us, it's like, I don't know, bullys.

I just reading an article from pro Publica from twenty
twenty two in October, and the title is rent going
up One company's algorithm could be why, and it has
a lot to do. It just talks about real Page,
and some of this reporting and some of the worries
back then are why there is this major anti trust
thing going on right now, why Cortland was rated, why

we're even talking about it. But maybe this isn't really
the thing we need to be focused on. Maybe it's
a much smaller player. Real Page is a much smaller
player in an ecosystem of terrifying software.

Speaker 3 (08:21):
Yeah, and Nico, thank you so much for taking the
time for this beautifully written correspondence and for being our
boots on the ground, as it were. Would be really
interested to hear your thoughts about someone we mentioned in
that conversation, Aj Stegmann, the chess prodigy who single handedly

changed the face of several real estate markets through his
software price optimization. That is similar to this, And I
think you make I love a fact dense report here,
and I think you do such a wonderful job kicking
the statistics, talking about the ways in which each city

may be unique but similar enough to have comparisons. And
I especially appreciate the high frequency trading aspect there too,
or high speed trading whatever they call it on Wall Street.
There is this there is this inevitability to it. And
this one stayed with me for a while, even back
when we were talking about the chess prodigy a few

years ago. I would argue, this kind of stuff because
of the technology and legislative relationship, it is inevitable. It
answers a question that the land owning class once answered well.

Speaker 5 (09:40):
And it also speaks to the notion that just because
something's sketchy doesn't mean it's illegal. Just because something's in
bad taste doesn't mean it's against the law. And it's
because it affects, you know, regular people negatively.

Speaker 4 (09:53):
Does not mean that there are laws against.

Speaker 3 (09:55):
It, like making and selling Honda odyssees exactly.

Speaker 2 (09:58):
That's exactly that my sister drives one. And it's actually
kind of I wish are.

Speaker 3 (10:03):
The best cup holders.

Speaker 2 (10:06):
They have so many coup holders for their cup holders.
I think it's also a moral thing, and like you're
talking about old. This Pro Publica article has a quote
from a real page executive named Andrew Bowen, and this, this,
I think speaks to what the software does and why
it's scary. Uh. He says, as a property manager, very

few of us would be willing to actually raise rents
double digits within a single month by doing it manually
the computer. Yes, it's not me, guys, it's not us.
It's this.

Speaker 4 (10:41):
We have this. It's the software.

Speaker 3 (10:43):
Similar to the ticket like, what is ticketmaster's real job?

Speaker 4 (10:47):
He has to be the bad guy?

Speaker 3 (10:48):
And I remember that Pro Publica article. Maybe even I'm
not sure, but just taking a second here just to
quickly interject and say, Pro Publica is the business pro
Pa is so very good. And if you are looking
for reporting and you feel like you're getting smoke and
mirrors or hyperbolic, not well researched stuff, go to pro

Publica and see if they have some work on the
topic you're attempting to learn more about. They when they swing,
they do not miss.

Speaker 5 (11:16):
They and a documentary series for a while, I want
to say, in association with.

Speaker 4 (11:22):
PBS or something like that.

Speaker 5 (11:23):
They've done a lot of investigative video series as well,
so they have a really great YouTube channel you can follow.

Speaker 4 (11:30):
I couldn't agree more.

Speaker 5 (11:31):
It does seem like nine times out of ten when
there's some serious breaking news, some like bombshell type stuff,
Republica's names in the conversation.

Speaker 4 (11:39):
But no, Matt, I really love, don't love.

Speaker 5 (11:42):
I just think it's very valid the point you made
in the quote you gave from the ProPublica pieces about
how this is a way of passing the buck to
an entity, to an algorithm, and it's happening across the
board in all kinds of industries. Like why you know, well,
I'm sorry, it's just this is just what the algorithm
is saying. It's it's like what the computer's telling me.
There was a great sketch on Little Britain, which a

lot of didn't age well. But there's one character who
is like, computer says now, and.

Speaker 4 (12:09):
It's just like, sorry, I can't do it. I can't
help you. The computer says no, computer says triple your rates,
like I can't. They can't do anything for you.

Speaker 2 (12:18):
Yeah. Well, Nico points out Graystar as another company we
should all be thinking about and looking into, because it
appears that they are a massive player in this game,
and they are using what's referred to here as and
I didn't read this before. I didn't know it was
called this yield Star, which I don't understand is potentially

a type of software offered by Real Page or another
you know, proprietary software that they offer, but it appears
to have. Again, there's just quotes here from from executives
at Graystar saying, oh yeah, even in one of our downturns,
this software helped us outperform other markets by four point
eight percent. It cool.

Speaker 5 (13:03):
Last last little thing for me in terms of like
parallels in other industries. You guys remember Connor Ratliffe, who
is a really great improv comedian. He was in Ment
fabulous Missus Masls or Marvelous Missus Masls. And he has
this excellent YouTube show called The George Lucas Talk Show
where he plays George Lucas and does all kinds of

hilarious interviews and he's really really talented to to Upright
Citizens Brigade alum and had a fabulous podcast series called
Dead Eyes talking about how he got fired by Tom
Hanks from Band of Brothers before he even you know,
actually showed up on set because he supposedly had dead Eyes.
And the podcast is his attempt to kind of track
down Tom Hanks and ask, you know, what happened, why,

why he fired him? But he it's really really good.
But anyway, he has another thing that he does. It's
an acting kind of like jokey acting masterclass thing that's
like a basically a one man improv show. And there's
a piece of it that he published on his YouTube
recently where he's talking about the Nielsen rating system back
in the day, like no one knew what how many

people were actually watching TV because it was all based
on this sort of black box, you know, Nielsen ratings
where a family would get a box and a Nielsen
diary or whatever and then because of that, they would
like use that sample size and say, okay, well then
there must be x number of other families watching, and
they would extrapolate these viewing numbers.

Speaker 4 (14:28):
Right. Well, come along to the streaming era.

Speaker 5 (14:31):
You've got Netflix, who know exactly how many people are watching.
They know when you're stopping it, when you're starting it,
how long you're watching, et cetera. And they and their
infinite wisdom have decided not to tell that to anybody,
including creators, and to be completely you.

Speaker 4 (14:49):
Know, opaque about that rather than transparent.

Speaker 5 (14:52):
So it's just interesting the idea of computerized algorithms being
another just black box in a way of hiding things
from people.

Speaker 4 (15:01):
I think it's very very interesting across industries.

Speaker 2 (15:04):
I know we all every once in a while listen
to comedy Bang Bang, But if you guys haven't heard
this actor Connor Ratliffe portray James Cameron, you need to
go and listen to an episode where he plays James Cameron.
It's amazing.

Speaker 5 (15:20):
Agreed, Well, we'll take a quick break here for a
word from our sponsor and then be right back.

Speaker 6 (15:27):

Speaker 5 (15:27):
By the way, Nico, I said, Nico is an Ikko.
I think Nick Nico works too, either one. But thank
you for this insider scoop on rent pricing software. We'll
be back with more listener mail after this.

Speaker 2 (15:46):
And we're back boys, and we're getting on the road.
We're gonna hear a message from Gravy a truck driver.
Guess what his truck's.

Speaker 4 (15:55):
Name is, the Gravy Train biscuits.

Speaker 6 (15:58):
Dang it.

Speaker 2 (16:00):
All right, so here we go. This is the message
from Grady.

Speaker 7 (16:04):
Hey, Ben, No, Matt, and Max. I go by Brady
the truck driver, and it's g R. A. D Y
the truck driver.

Speaker 6 (16:12):
I'm pretty much in Texas in the five state area.
Been listening to the offer quite a while now I'm
call caught up on all your backstuff and Josh and
Chucks and ridiculous crime, ridiculous history, savor all that kind
of stuff.

Speaker 7 (16:26):
Anyway, back in the nineties here in.

Speaker 6 (16:29):
Texas, they were going to build a super collider, and
the government brought up thousands of acres and basically was
using an eminent domain to make people sell give them
a fair price.

Speaker 7 (16:41):
But then after a couple three years of digging tunnels
and stuff, all of a sudden they stopped and decided
that they weren't going to do it. So did they
turn that into a bunker or are they doing the
various things or whatever. A friend of mine's grandmother's still
trying to buy back her back twenty acres. It's got
her fishing bond on it.

Speaker 6 (17:01):
They got eight foot fence around it with bob war
you know, that runs around their property, so she can't
get over there and even go fish for perch and
stuff anymore. It hasn't been able to for coming up
on thirty years anyway, you know, check.

Speaker 7 (17:16):
It out and see what you think.

Speaker 6 (17:17):
Maybe it's conspiracy, maybe it's not.

Speaker 7 (17:20):
Beast Brothers.

Speaker 4 (17:21):
Thanks Gravy.

Speaker 3 (17:22):
This is we love. We love hearing from truckers. And
I got very excited when this like pinged a little
bit of a memory palace. And Matt, I believe you.

Speaker 4 (17:33):
You spoke with Gravy.

Speaker 2 (17:34):
Right, Oh yeah, I talked with Gravy for way too long.
Sorry about that. Man took way too much of his time.
But we we talked about all kinds of different things,
especially the super conducting super collider that was the one
they were building in Texas. Doesn't that just sound Texas?

Speaker 5 (17:49):
Sounds intense? They love the big stuff over there in Texas.

Speaker 2 (17:53):
Now this is it was, uh, it was gonna be
a big deal, guys, a really really big deal. Was
just looking at some reporting about it from the time,
and uh man, it was, uh so Ronald Reagan is
the president in place that secured this project as a thing, right,

And then it went on to George H. W. Bush,
George George Bush Senior. And there's an incidence that Gravy
and I were talking about that I totally forgot, but
I remembered as soon as I read it. Back in
the day, you guys were probably paying attention to presidents
a little bit. We weren't really like watching the news
all the time. I wasn't certainly. But there's an incident

when George HW. Bush was in Japan and he was
eating at a dinner and he vomited all over the place,
including on I think high members of Parliament.

Speaker 3 (18:46):
And Kow High Japanese high members of Japanese governance. And accidental.

Speaker 2 (18:55):
It was accidental, but it was not a power move.

Speaker 3 (19:00):
The mas genis or something.

Speaker 2 (19:02):
Wait what but but yeah, I just that occurred. And
the reason one of the primary reasons the president was
in Japan was to secure more funding for this super
conducting super collider in Texas because the cost overruns it
was projected. They need they've got like three billion dollars
for it. Then it was going to cost like ten
million dollars. It was going over and over and over,

and which is the primary reason why it's shut down.

Speaker 3 (19:27):
I mean, yeah, because it's like a monkey pause situation
at that point, I want this to be a big deal.
Finger curls down. It will be just not the way
you wish.

Speaker 4 (19:37):

Speaker 2 (19:38):
And ps also in Texas style, guys, it was going
to be roughly three times the size of CERN's super collider.
That'll teach them the large hadron.

Speaker 3 (19:48):
We were talking a little bit off air. This is
what ping the the memory for me, Matt was the
was realizing our episode, should we be concerned, we're looking
at the rabbit hole of tangential research led us to
other unsuccessful attempts to emulate or to improve upon the

mission of or the infrastructure of CERN, and turns out
it's really kind of tricky, you know.

Speaker 2 (20:15):
Yeah, tricky and expensive, like the type of equipment that
is so precise that has to go into every inch
of this giant you know, miles long whatever shape it's
probably like a circle.

Speaker 3 (20:30):
Yeah, it's like fifty fifty four circumference. I mean that's
that's also the thing, like I believe in you. If
you're listening to this, we believe in you. I don't
know if all of us on the show working together
could build a super collider. So I don't you know,
like when you see the magnificent ambition of something like this,

I think it still is. I mean, it's a boondoggle
and they definitely I'm with Gravy. It definitely sounds like
they screwed some people on imminent domain. But this is
how science works. You have to you have to build
in the fact that some of these things just aren't
gonna get to completion.

Speaker 2 (21:11):
Yeah yeah, but it was a big deal. It was
gonna go into a town called I'm gonna see if
I can say this right, wak Sahachie. This is a
town in Texas. It's spelled w a x A c
h A c h i E, which is it's fun
to spell.

Speaker 3 (21:26):
You know.

Speaker 5 (21:27):
There's a there's a very talented singer songwriter artist that
goes by that name Waxahachi, who's I believe from Texas.

Speaker 4 (21:33):
They pronounced it waxahachi is how I've heard it said it.

Speaker 3 (21:36):
Oh, it sounds like Vinyl and their music.

Speaker 2 (21:39):
It is whack sa w A A K. That's the pronunciation.

Speaker 4 (21:43):
I've got w a X. Sorry you're doing the pronunciation, guy,
got it? Got it?

Speaker 2 (21:48):
Yeah? Well, I don't know, guys. But the whole reason
we're talking about it is because Gravey called in and
has a family member whose property was you know, so
I guess purchased by the government there for the purposes
of this giant construction project. And what happens to that

land the thing that we were talking about, and I
want to ask you guys about I think that because
there was some drilling that was going on. There was
work being done on this project for quite a while
before it was canned. There were projected there were a
projected eight thousand jobs that were going to be created
for this project. It was a huge deal for that

small town and all this land that was being purchased.
It was actually a huge deal for land a lot
of landowners because they're getting quite a bit of money
for land, like large swaths of land that they owned,
not in the middle of nowhere, but far out enough
to where, you know, you're probably not imagining a big
city's going to come through and buy your land. It
was a huge deal. What happens to the land afterwards?

Can you sell it back to those landowners now that
you've drilled giant holes into it? And in some case
this has built huge tunnels that are made of metal
and cylindrical because those things, at least according to the
official story, they filled all of those tunnels up with
water and they capped all the shafts the entrances to

get down into them. So basically they're just sitting there dead.
Could you sell that back to somebody? Is it like
selling land that has a missile silo on it?

Speaker 3 (23:24):
You know, it's a value add I could say, you
know what I mean, because also it's a bunker, right,
you could, That's what I'm saying, retrofit that and I guess,
you know, to answer the question, honestly, it would depend
on what the what the ideal use of the land
would be at that point, right, Like, are you still

able to use it the way that you would want
to use it? What is a fair price to sell
it back? You know, how do you handle things that
the private market would handle it? Adjusting for inflation, et cetera,
et cetera. And I don't know exactly how this would work,
but if it was taken for a through imminent domain

for this specific project, and that project is definitely not
happening anymore, right.

Speaker 2 (24:10):
Bet no no? I mean again, the all of the
tunnels are flooded with water, shafts are capped. There is
a building or several buildings on the property, on this
huge swath of land that has according to WFAA, it's
a I think it's an ABC News affiliate. They said
that there's a chemical manufacturer that functions on the property somewhere.

But my question is, guys, this is what Gravy and
I were talking about. What if you did this entire
thing as cover to acquire all of that land and
start building something underneath it. But it's not a particle accelerator,
it's not a super collider, it's something else, and it's
still there.

Speaker 3 (24:55):
Does Gravy have a guess?

Speaker 2 (24:56):
The theory is like kind of bunker style stuff seek
create weapons that could be under there, the way some
land was purchased covertly to put you know, missiles underneath
them in silos.

Speaker 4 (25:09):
Or Disney World, yeah, or Disney World.

Speaker 2 (25:13):
But in this case, the land is all still there,
some own some previous landowners want it back. So it's
just it is a little weird. It feels like the
government could use the money, even if it's you know,
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars here, one point five
million dollars there, could probably use it. Why not sell
that stuff back unless there's you know, something wrong with

the soil, right.

Speaker 3 (25:36):
There's the there are I mean, I think the troubling
thing about that gravy is that it is plausible. I
wouldn't even say, I wouldn't even dismiss it down to
the level of possible. It is plausible because precedent for
that sort of thing does exist, you know what I mean.
We know that there are often controversies surrounding any great work,

any work of this magnitude, like the Hoover Dam, you know,
the three gorgeous dam, a third thing that is not
a dam. I'm just doing rule of threes. The idea
of using it as a cover story doesn't necessarily mean
that the people building the thing always meant that to
be the case, right, It could be was the investment

group that purchased this maybe they just said, Hey, this
is kind of infrastructure for the thing we need.

Speaker 2 (26:32):
Right right, What was that Project ice Worm we talked about.
There was like a secret construction project under the ice.

Speaker 3 (26:39):
Yeah, yeah, Project ice Worm.

Speaker 5 (26:42):
That's like some true Detective Season four type stuff, right,
We're not necessary.

Speaker 3 (26:47):
Yeah, we did that because they wanted to build missile
launch sites under Greenland or under an ice sheet around Greenland.
And they thought, look, if we do this and we
don't tell any body what we're doing out here in
the middle of nowhere, no offense Greenland, then we will
have a secret sucker punch in the Great Nuclear Arms Race.

You know, it's the equivalent of like in Goonies where
the smart kid has the invention, like the boxing glove
that comes out it's on a spring. Yeah, that's definitely
not a dated reference I just did. But the ice
Worm was building something like that. And we know that
there are a lot of active sites in the United States.
Security is tight by necessity, so it's possible. I mean,

I don't know, Matt, what's our over and under on
getting boots in the ground. Love to join you, Gravy,
and let's see how far how far past the fence
we can get.

Speaker 2 (27:45):
How deep can we go? How deep can we get
them boots into the ground. I let's do it. I
don't know, but I'd love to take a trip out
there and check out the land. But it is still
government property, so you know, there's an eight foot fence
as the gravy's point. You gotta be careful. I'm down.
I want to learn more. It feels cool to me.

It feels like such a missed opportunity. There there's some quotes. Actually,
let me give people this articles you can find it.
You can search for the super conducting super Collider colon
how Texas got the world's most ambitious scientific project, and
why it failed. This thing really was a big deal.
It was gonna it was before cern. It was gonna

be active for ten years prior to the large Hadron
collider coming on. There's quotes in there about all of that, like, man,
we really missed out. This was so amazing and we failed.
But it's because in order to make something like this,
you gotta get the will of the people, or enough
of the people that have enough of the money to
say okay.

Speaker 3 (28:50):
And at every step of the way, you have to
defend the project against an army of lawmakers who want
to get real acted based on being tough spending yo,
And the first thing, often, the first thing that will
go is going to be a social program or a
scientific endeavor.

Speaker 2 (29:11):
You know what, We could have done it. But George W. Bush.
You know what he famously said, Guys.

Speaker 3 (29:16):
What'd you say?

Speaker 2 (29:18):
No? No taxes?

Speaker 1 (29:23):

Speaker 3 (29:26):
I think a lot of people give them a hard
time because really, you gotta there's no such thing as former.
What I got to say is, like he you know,
maybe we need to read the printed transcript because his
original speech was probably no period new taxes.

Speaker 2 (29:43):
Read my lips, new taxes, No new taxes.

Speaker 3 (29:49):
Exactly because a plot twist he was given me credit
as a writer he deserves. But uh man, yeah, where
do where does this leave us?

Speaker 2 (29:57):
Doesn't leave us anywhere? Besides thank you Gravy for calling
in when you did with this story. Thank you also,
And I'm going to tell this to you guys off air,
or maybe we can all just call Gravy back together.
He promises he's going to call back. Numerous times. He
told a little Myrtle Beach, South Carolina UFO story from
like nineteen eighty eight. Hell yeah, I want to tell

you guys about it. But how about this gravy call
back in tell us that story, then we can all
talk about it. That'll be the best way to do it.

Speaker 4 (30:25):
All right.

Speaker 2 (30:26):
Well, that's it for now, Thank you Gravy, Thank you biscuits.
We'll be right back with more messages from you.

Speaker 3 (30:38):
And we have returned one thing a mental note just
while I have it in my head for another show,
we do ridiculous history top failed US massive US projects.
You know what I mean, what didn't become the Hoover Dam.
That's going to be a great episode. All right, We've
got that. Sorry, folks, you're seeing the homework live. Let's

start with a little bit of background. We had a
fantastic response from people with firsthand experience with a group
called locally two by two, sometimes referring to themselves as
the friends within the organization. And with this out of
all the correspondents, we got so much but really appreciated

this one from a conspiracy realist we will call see
see you said the following, Hello, I've been in a
stuff they don't want you to know, listener for years now.
I've always enjoyed your show. I usually skipped the listener
mail program, so I missed the one referring to the
two by twos as a cult until today. I wanted
to reach out right away because I grew up following

that religion. My sister was a worker or missionary for decades,
my parents had Sunday meetings church in their living room
every week, and many other people I deeply respect. There's
still part of that faith personally, says See, I stopped
attending meetings about thirteen year years ago when I was
deeply depressed and felt that not following any religion was
the best choice for my mental health. I still feel

that way for myself, but I know many people whose
mental health is helped by their faith, and I also
think that is valid, and I really appreciate that point.

Speaker 4 (32:14):
See on the same.

Speaker 3 (32:15):
Page There, he continues, all that is to say that
I did not leave the group on bad terms. I
didn't leave it because I think the doctrine is wrong.
But I did leave it and have not sought out
any other faith since. And this is where we get
some really even handed, even handed information from s who continues,

this group is not a cult. There is no central leader,
and the people who are in positions of authority, aren't
considered deities or anything like that, just a bit better
listening to and obeying God than the average believer. Maybe
the convention gatherings are not what you would expect if
you were picturing an evangelical megachurch service or something similar.

They're very quiet. The entire congregate sings hymns together. Anyone
who feels moved to has the opportunity to make a
short audible prayer. Several of the workers or ministers share
a message from the Bible. Members of the congregation also
have the opportunity to share brief messages from their own
Bible reading or just something that touched them. We'll get

back to this line that has already been shared at
the convention, and here we get a really humanizing thing.

Speaker 4 (33:26):

Speaker 3 (33:27):
I will defend the beliefs and way of life of
these people or what these people have, with all my heart.
But of course, the vice articles are about CSA, which
is child sexual abuse, which is indefensible. Unfortunately, because there
is no central leader, no formal training of any kind
for the workers the ministers, each instance where abuse took

place was handled or not handled, more likely by a
person who had no business handling I can't defend not
reporting alleged CSA to authorities, but I can say that
was definitely not a policy. Vaguely aware of one instance
where a male worker was accused of inappropriate behavior with miners,
and while I don't remember the circumstances of something that

happened half my life ago, I do remember that he
killed himself rather than face the consequences. More than anything else,
I want to impress upon you that abuse of any
kind is not taught or generally accepted in this faith.
The fact that men in positions of authority use that
power and authority to rape is horrifying, but it's by

no means unique to this group. The fact that reports
of abuse were mishandled or ignored is awful, but I
believe it is a product of people with no training
relying on decades old traditions, rather than a product of
malicious intent. I can't say the friends are universally good people,
but that's just it says. See, the group is made

up of people. Some are good, some are mediocre, and
a few have turned out to be truly awful, just
like people all over the world, in or out of
any religion or way of life. We'll stop it there,
But I think those are pretty solid points.

Speaker 2 (35:07):
What do you don't think, no doubt? Yeah, well it's
super solid. And it's great to hear from somebody who
has real experience inside and understands how it works and
understands the way it feels to be a member of
the group, which is I think something that anybody who
hasn't actually experienced that, you know, been in the worship
sessions of whatever religion, whatever belief system it is, been

in the moments where there's prayer, the moments where a
pastor or a leader of a group is actually speaking
to you, and what those words sound like coming out
of them rather than just being written down, because it
really can change things. I think about the way transcripts
look of podcasts right when we've gone over those. It's
very different when it's being I hate hesitate to say performed,

but it's when it's being emitted by a human voice
rather than just words that anybody could read in their
own voice and give it their own thing.

Speaker 3 (36:03):
Intonation, cadence, right, and frequency implication. Most human communication is
not the words people are actually saying to you, especially
in an in person situation. And I would say that
there are people of tremendous faith who are also just
super awesome people, you know what I mean. Like, I

love hanging out with monks from pretty much any religion.
They're super chill, right, And we also see this point
about a group being made of people. It's something that
we have talked about at length on this show, and
it's something that you know, I think it's something a

lot of people struggle with, is the idea that we
should not dismiss other people's beliefs, especially if they're not
forcing anything on you. It's easy for us to poo
poo things. You know, a lot of us used to
be those hot headed internet athiest on Reddit. But if
it's working for them, and further indeed, if it's helping
them make the world a better place, that I say,

go team I've got say that.

Speaker 4 (37:10):
Yeah, one hundred percent say it.

Speaker 5 (37:12):
I'll literally say it out loud often when having conversations
about Religi.

Speaker 4 (37:15):
There's even a part of me that is a little envious.

Speaker 5 (37:18):
Of the good ones, the folks that have faith and
have religion and use it as a positive force in
their lives. There's some part of me that wishes that
I have that.

Speaker 4 (37:30):
In my life.

Speaker 3 (37:30):
I'm not gonna lie now. To be clear, this is
there's a very even handed thing, as you were saying,
it's from somebody who's in the organization or was in
the organization and seem to have, you know, by and large,
a good or at least not terrible and traumatizing experience.
This is not the only piece of correspondence. We had
a lot of other people right in who have views

or opinions or experiences that make differ. And I think
that difference, that description and see just goes to further
proof ceas point like, not all nodes of these communities,
right were uh, were monolithic?

Speaker 4 (38:09):

Speaker 3 (38:09):
They weren't all doing the same thing, you know.

Speaker 4 (38:12):

Speaker 3 (38:12):
And the point about organizations is also really powerful because
bad faith actors can be in pretty much any organization
outside of maybe municipal governments in Singapore, because those guys
are pretty sweaky clean. It's a weird way to walk,
but they are have they are very up to snuff.

Speaker 2 (38:32):
Yeah I did. I've been rewatching the Righteous Gemstones again.
I think I keep mentioning this.

Speaker 3 (38:38):
I watch Oh gosh, can I tell you my favorite
I've got issues? Things get stuck in my head. I
have watched a troubling amount of times in a row
the song misbehaving, and we all know misbehaving.

Speaker 8 (38:54):
Yeah, the weirdest line in the This is what captures me,
the weirdest line because it's an example of like good
old timey cracker barrel type kid hijinks misbehavior, you know.
But there's a dark side to it, and they come
from Baby Billy's parts. In one part, he's just saying,

run around the house with a pickle in my mouth speed.

Speaker 5 (39:20):
I don't know, he's just being man. I really like,
what is it? Oh lord, there's a payday.

Speaker 2 (39:31):
That's when Baby Billy is singing at the resort. I
just watched that episode and I cannot stop that thing
from playing.

Speaker 4 (39:41):
You're wearing the giant like shell or whatever.

Speaker 3 (39:45):
The misbehaving line though, the sinister part that mentioning go
back and listen to this he he begs his daddy
not to disappear.

Speaker 4 (39:56):
So very baby Billy.

Speaker 3 (39:57):
It's just like one line and then levels to that song.
But yeah, I'm sorry, I derailed us.

Speaker 5 (40:03):
Why always worth a righteous Gemstones derailment?

Speaker 2 (40:07):
I did real because I wanted to mention. I wanted
to shout out again, Tony, I think it's Cavallero. Yeah,
he plays Keith just he. I watched the scene again
where he slaps one of the muscle men's pecks, and
it is just one of the funniest, like small comedic
physical things I've seen a lot.

Speaker 4 (40:28):
He's a big fan of Disgrace Land.

Speaker 5 (40:30):
It's a podcast we used to have on the network,
and I worked with those guys and through them.

Speaker 4 (40:35):
I actually had a zoom call with.

Speaker 5 (40:37):
Him one time, and it was funny because it was
before I was a super fan of the show, so
I didn't really think that much of it.

Speaker 4 (40:44):
It was just like like I was like hearing a
podcast picture or something. But now that I'm a huge fan,
I'm like thinking back on that, I'm like, dang, I
wish I wish it would have happened just a little
bit later.

Speaker 3 (40:53):
We're going to keep this one relatively short. Again, we
have missions to embark upon. However, before we do, I'd
like to give you one Letter from Home again, our
sort of conspiratorial Prairie Home Companion without the Garrison Keeler creepiness,
hopefully because he got in trouble. I don't know if
you guys heard about that yeah, yeah, bad stories. Yeah.

Uh so this comes to us from Son of a Mitch. No,
Son of the Mitch says, uh again, letters from home,
it's just our How you doing, How are you folks?
You know, tell us about your part of the world.
Son of the Mitch says, Hey, guys, I wanted to
reach out and say thanks for crafting such a great show.
You threw your part of my daily commute, and it's
a huge benefit to be able to spend that time

learning while also being entertained a difficult balancing act. Thank you, sir.
Like Mark Twain said, you can live for a long
time off one compliment.

Speaker 4 (41:45):
I listened to.

Speaker 3 (41:46):
Your strange news program covering the North Korean balloons filled
with feces and trash, and my first thought was, ah,
those darn ninety nine loot balloons. Going back to the
note about transcript versus speech, and so, the Son of
a Mitch says, I know a joke of this variety

is tricky to deliver through a medium that's primarily audio,
but it seemed to be something Ben could pull off.

Speaker 4 (42:15):
Hope we did.

Speaker 3 (42:16):
Your proud Son of a Mitch, thank you so much
for writing to us. Hashtag no pun left behind, not
even humorous. Harry has he emailed us recently?

Speaker 4 (42:25):
God, I hope not. I'm just getting humorous there and
we love you. And the very last thing.

Speaker 3 (42:31):
You may have seen this somewhere on social media, but
we just figured out, or I just figured out, you
can get Illumination Global Unlimited hats. I thought they were
just T shirts. So it turns out that we still
have swag.

Speaker 5 (42:44):
You guys, Wow, have swag for days. Bro swagger that's
what you call it. No swaggers is different. Yeah, merged,
that's right, you totally can. Ben's rocking the hat right now,
Illumination Global Unlimit.

Speaker 4 (42:56):
It looks great on you. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (42:57):
We are proudly sponsored by Illumination Global Unlimited. And thank
you for saying so. No, I am required to state
quote Illumination Global Unlimited has in no way threatened our families, friends,
or current nation states.

Speaker 4 (43:10):
And I think I.

Speaker 3 (43:12):
Think we got it there. We're going to call it
an evening venture out into the darkness, and if you
would like to walk off the edges of the map,
you can join us there too. Thanks to see thanks
to Son of a Mitch, Gravy, Nico and everybody else
who took the time to join us on our continuing mission.
I'm not going to do the full Star Trek reference,

but we want to be easy to find online, correct.

Speaker 5 (43:35):
We do want that and we hope that we achieve
that with our handle Conspiracy Stuff, which is the way
you can locate us on your Internet platform of choice,
including Facebook, where we have our Facebook group. Here's where
it gets crazy, xfka Twitter as well as you too,
with fresh video content rolling your way every single week.

Speaker 4 (43:54):
On Instagram and TikTok. You can find this at the
handle conspiracy Stuff show.

Speaker 2 (43:59):
These are the voyages of the starships stuff. They don't
want you to know you can access it. You can
access it by dialing one eight three three std WYTK.
Put it in your phone as a contact so you
know if the void calls you back, cause it might

when you call in, give yourself a cool nickname. Then
you've got three minutes say whatever you'd like do include
in that message, whether or not we have permission to
use your voice and message on the air. If you
got more to say they can fit in that three
minute voicemail. Why not instead send us a good old
fashioned email.

Speaker 3 (44:34):
We are the entities that read every single message we receive.

Speaker 4 (44:38):
Be well aware.

Speaker 3 (44:39):
Sometimes the void writes back. And I've been saying that
a lot lately, because it is true. Twenty four hours
in the evening, seven nights a week, all you gotta
do is reach out and touch Faith can't wait to
hear from you. Conspiracy at iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 2 (45:13):
Stuff they don't want you to know is a production
of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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