20 stories
·
1 follower

Blame the US Retail Apocalypse on hedge funds and financialization, not Amazon and Walmart

2 Comments and 4 Shares

mostlysignssomeportents:

America is in the midst of a “retail apocalypse”: 6,800 chain stores are closing this year. It’s true that online retailers and winner-take-alls like Walmart have delivered the coup de grace that finished off these stores, but the conditions that made them weak enough to kill are driven by Wall Street, not Walmart.

The common factor shared by the disparate struggling and bankrupt retailers – Toys R Us, Claire’s, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Sears, Penney’s, Circuit City, Sports Authority, Payless, Radio Shack, etc – is that they are saddled with crushing, inescapable debt that they took on when they were acquired by hedge funds that loaded the debt on as a way of stripmining the companies; also, they increasingly rely on predatory store-cards that can be used as cover for more financialization, debt-loading, and extraction by investors who profit even (especially) when their investments go bust.

Indeed, many of these companies are profitable, and some even experienced sales growth, even as they are circling the drain, because any dollar that comes in goes straight to debt service.

What’s more, the structure of this debt is such that the payments these companies “owe” are about to balloon, guaranteeing the end of the line for them.

Amazon and Walmart may push these companies over the brink, but America’s financial engineers brought them to that brink.

https://boingboing.net/2017/11/23/it-gets-worse.html

Hedge funds and the vulture capitalists who run them are destroying America.

Read the whole story
invinciblegod
8 days ago
reply
More proof that bankers are just plain evil.
Share this story
Delete

Stunned reactions after Donald Trump goes berserk and begins tweeting the details of his crimes

2 Comments

Donald Trump decided that today would be a good day to defend himself with regard to Michael Flynn’s plea deal in the Trump-Russia scandal. Suffice it to say that Trump didn’t run it past his attorneys first, and wasn’t thinking clearly at all, because by the time he was done tweeting, he’d begun unwittingly revealing the details of his Trump-Russia crime spree and attempted coverup. Stunned reactions came in from legal experts and political pundits across the board.

All along, Trump had publicly asserted that he forced Michael Flynn to resign because Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. But when Trump snapped on Twitter this morning, he tweeted this instead: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

If Trump knew that Flynn had committed the crime of lying to the FBI when he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to let Flynn off the hook, then Trump committed obstruction of justice. So this means that Trump just publicly confessed on Twitter to a felony. MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell responded to Trump with “We now have a winner for most self destructive tweet in history! A confession to obstruction of justice. Trump urged Comey to let Flynn go knowing Flynn was guilty.”

Congressman Ted Lieu, also an Air Force JAG prosecutor, replied “THIS IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. POTUS now admits he KNEW Michael Flynn lied to the FBI. Yet Trump tried to influence or stop the FBI investigation on Flynn.” Matthew Miller, formerly of the Department of Justice, replied “Never tweet. Especially if you’re going to tweet an admission to a crime.”

The post Stunned reactions after Donald Trump goes berserk and begins tweeting the details of his crimes appeared first on Palmer Report.

Read the whole story
invinciblegod
8 days ago
reply
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but isn't it also possible he learned of the lying after Flynn plead guilty and fired him for that?
wmorrell
8 days ago
Flynn was fired months ago. He plead guilty two days ago. If he was fired for lying to Pence *and* the FBI, then Trump pressuring and then firing Comey is obstruction.
Share this story
Delete

Delaying Chinese Global Dominance

3 Comments and 4 Shares

The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is over.  It was a seminal event.  It...

  • ...firmly consolidated political power in the hands of a single man, Xi (no successor was named).
  • ...clearly informed the world that China was now a global superpower (and the US was its only rival).
  • ...would promote a world based on 'capitalism with Chinese characteristics' (a capitalism in a Leninist cage) in opposition to Western Democracy.

In short, China publicly announced that it is now in a 'cold economic war' with the US for the future of the world.  In fact, China was so confident of its eventual victory, it clearly articulated the centerpiece of their effort to accomplish it:  one belt one road    

  • It's an investment of $8 trillion (to start!) to build a global road, rail and maritime system that connects Asia, Africa, and South America (60 countries in total) to China.  
  • Transportation is a natural monopoly.  Xi is trying to build a transportation monopoly on a global scale.  It isn't only backed by Xi personally, it is also now enshrined in the Communist party constitution (!).  In other words, it's going to get done.
  • By the time this round of investment is completed, a majority of the global economy will be in economic thrall to China.  Subsequent iterations ensure that the US will become a second tier economic power.  All within 20 years.

Unfortunately, due to a self-inflicted wound (Trump is merely a symptom), the US couldn't be in a worse position to counter this effort.  Decades of blind adherence to economic and social neoliberalism has shattered US cohesion along all three vectors: moral, mental, and physical.   The result has been intractable economic stagnation, social turmoil, and political chaos.  Even worse is on the horizon: the US is careening towards identity authoritarianism.  In time, the US may be able to regain stability.  Regardless, it's unlikely the US will find a way through this crisis fast enough to mount a successful conventional counter to China's challenge.  So, what is to be done under the assumption the US will eventually recover, but not soon enough for conventional efforts?

One belt one road

Delaying China

One solution is to mount a rearguard action -- a method of delaying an advancing enemy when your forces are in retreat.  An action that buys time for the US to regroup and regain cohesion.  The US faced a similar situation re; the Soviet Union in '79 after the invasion of Afghanistan.  In that case, support for Afghan insurgents kept the Soviets occupied while the US recovered (Carter, inflation, Iran, etc.).  In this case, the rearguard action would be the disruption of China's plans for one belt one road.  This could be done inexpensively and with very little manpower or visibility.  How? 

  • Create groups that operate like global guerrillas.  Small groups that operate independently w/o oversight.  More letters of marque than special operations.    
  • In the short term, disrupt the Chinese construction effort.  Double and treble construction costs by delaying timeliness and forcing increased security efforts.   Drive up the costs of financing.  Drive away subcontractors.  
  • Next, force the Chinese to physically and logically protect the entire system, from roads to ports to trains, from disruption.   As my analysis of Lawrence of Arabia shows, it's more damaging to partially disrupt a system than to completely break it.  Keep up the pressure -- with the ability of systems disruption to generate a million to one return on investment, this is sustainable.  

Sincerely,

John Robb

Writing on a crisp fall day in New England

PS:  Doesn't the US risk more from disruption than China?  No. The US doesn't have a choice.  If it doesn't act while this system is being built (when it is the most vulnerable to disruption), the US will cede global dominance to China forever.  China is creating the equivalent of "Standard Oil stranglehold" on the global economy and once established it will likely become too big/too entrenched to roll back through global guerrillas.

Read the whole story
invinciblegod
44 days ago
reply
"Create groups that operate like global guerrillas.  Small groups that operate independently w/o oversight... forcing increased security efforts... orce the Chinese to physically and logically protect the entire system, from roads to ports to trains, from disruption"

So the suggestion to counter an economic power grab is literal war? Seems counterproductive.
Share this story
Delete
2 public comments
cherjr
44 days ago
reply
Что-то Робб понервничал
48.840867,2.324885
skorgu
44 days ago
reply
A bit sensational but interesting.

Republican Senator Bob Corker Says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’

2 Comments

Jonathan Martin and Mark Landleroct, reporting for The New York Times:

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” […]

All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he said, adding that “of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Even Republicans are now saying, on the record, what has been obvious all along: Trump is mentally unfit for the job — an impulsive, angry, uninformed narcissist with a tenuous hold on reality who is a menace to the nation and the world.

Contrary to Trump’s (and his followers’) incessant bleating, the news media is in fact profoundly biased for Trump by pretending he’s mentally competent. The narrative as presented on the front pages of our major newspapers is that we’re still within the bounds of normalcy: Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the White House, but unable to advance any significant legislation because of conflicts within the party.

The real story is that we’ve elected a dangerous man mentally unfit for office — quite possibly both mentally ill (narcissistic personality disorder) and suffering from the early stages of dementia — and the only people who can do something about it are the members of his own party, who refuse to do so out of fear of angering those in the electorate who for whatever reason still support Trump.

I don’t agree with Bob Corker on politics, but I admire and thank him for breaking the seal on speaking openly of Trump as mentally unfit. If Democrats say it, it can be spun as politics. When Republicans say, there’s nothing to spin.

Read the whole story
invinciblegod
62 days ago
reply
As much as I agree with this, won't Republicans who support Trump treat Bob Corker the same way as how Democrats would treat a Democratic senator for supporting Confederates/KKK/pro-life/[insert other democratic main issue]?

IE. wouldn't Republicans just say that Corker is no longer a Republican and will disregard what he says?
ahem1234
62 days ago
Already happening bub.
codesujal
61 days ago
He's also not running for re-election... makes all of this easier.
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
sirshannon
62 days ago
reply
"the news media is in fact profoundly biased for Trump by pretending he’s mentally competent"

Man who claimed mom died in Iraq after Trump's ban lied, Imam confirms

2 Comments

Posted:Feb 01 2017 02:14PM EST

Updated:Feb 01 2017 02:34PM EST

DETROIT (WJBK) - The leader of a mosque in Dearborn has confirmed to FOX 2 that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a ban instituted by President Trump this weekend, lied to FOX 2 about when her death occurred.

Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, says Mike Hager's mom did not pass away this weekend after being barred from traveling to the United States. The Imam confirms that Hager's mother died before the ban was put in place.

After the story aired on FOX 2 and was posted on <a href="http://FOX2Detroit.com" rel="nofollow">FOX2Detroit.com</a>, we received many questions about the validity of Hager's claims that his mother died waiting to be approved to come home. FOX 2 has confirmed that his mother died five days earlier.

According to Al-Hussainy, Hager's mother had kidney disease and was receiving treatment in Michigan - where she lived - before traveling to Iraq to visit family. The Imam said she passed away on January 22, 2017, five days before President Trump instituted the travel ban.

On Tuesday, Mike Hager told FOX 2 that he and his family were stopped while trying to return from Iraq to Michigan. He said that he was allowed through because of his American citizenship but his ailing mother and other family members were not. He then claimed that his mom passed away in Iraq on Saturday, as he was traveling to the United States.

Travelers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are banned from traveling to the United States for 90 days so the country can detect "individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States."

FOX 2 is continuing to try and contact Hager for more details. 

Read the whole story
invinciblegod
312 days ago
reply
Literally not going to believe anything Fox says without confirmation since they lied about the Canada mosque shooting.
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
satadru
312 days ago
reply
Ugh.
New York, NY

People Spent $1.6 Million on Dock that Adds Ports BACK to the MacBook Pro

2 Comments and 3 Shares

This is mind blowing when you really think about it. HyperDrive, a product created specifically to add ports back to the newest version of Apple’s MacBook Pros, has raised nearly $1.6 million from over 17,000 people desperate to undo one of Apple’s biggest hardware goofs to date.

Apple’s decision to remove ports—including the coveted SD card slot, which Phil Schiller called ‘cumbersome’—is one of the most widely criticized design decisions Apple has ever made. But it’s also been extremely lucrative for accessory makers.

In lieu of spending copious amounts of money on individual dongles from Apple, people have flocked to products like this dock and the HyperDrive, throwing money away on rolling back their ports.

There’s no way of knowing just how much money has been spent on different solutions trying to fix the MacBook Pros’ most glaring issue; but since HyperDrive is on Kickstarter, we do know how much people have spent on this one single solution: nearly $1.6 million.

At $70 each, HyperDrive isn’t necessarily a cheap fix, but it’s definitely cheaper than buying all of these ports as separate adapters. If you’re interested, you have three more days to jump on the bandwagon on Kickstarter… if you haven’t already switched back to Windows in protest.

(via Resource Magazine)

Read the whole story
invinciblegod
331 days ago
reply
You can think of this as Apple's way to help small businesses!
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
emrikol
326 days ago
reply
#DongleTax
Linton
Next Page of Stories