If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores? If we truly are in an "economic recovery", then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country? Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as Amazon.com have had a huge impact. Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online. But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing. In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing. Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer. Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up. That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.
The dismal news overnight that a Malaysian Airlines jet, carrying over 200 passengers and crew, had "gone missing" appears to have become considerably more troublesome. News this morning of pools of oil off the Vietnam coast - suggestive of a crash - are dreadful but, as NBC News reports, perhaps more crucially, U.S. officials told NBC News on Saturday they are investigating terrorism concerns after two people listed as passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet turned out not to be on the plane and had reported their passports stolen (while in Thailand).
CIA Spies On Senate Intelligence Committee In Effort to Block Senate Report On Disastrous CIA Torture ProgramSubmitted by George Washington on 03/05/2014 13:09 -0400
CIA Goes to EXTREME Lengths to Cover Up Its Illegal and Counter-Productive Acts
Having "condemned Russia's incredible act of aggression" which markets now appear to have forgotten about, we wonder just what Secretary of State John Kerry will have to say in this speech. Markets appear to think it's all over and east and west Ukraine can all sing Kumbayah with Putin leading the melody but other leaders continue to call for "crushing" sanctions against Europe's largest gas supplier. We are sure Kerry will clear it all up and explain where the line that was not crossed is... and for goodness' sake don't mention the Russian boots on the ground in Crimea...
Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Invasion, Considers State Of Emergency After Masked Gunmen Occupy Two Crimean AirportsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/28/2014 07:58 -0400
The bizarre events in the Crimea continued overnight, after unidentified masked men but dressed like those who took over the parliament in Simferopol yesterday, took over two airports by blockading one near the Russian naval base in Sevastopol and another in the capital of Simferopol. This prompted the Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov, to accuse Moscow's military of blockading the airports, and in a Facebook post, he called the seizure of the Belbek international airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol a "military invasion and occupation." He added: "It is a breach of all international agreements and norms." As NBC reports, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian military sources as saying the incident at Belbek airport was intended to stop "fighters" flying in. However, Interfax later quoted a Russian official as saying that no units had approached the airport or blockaded it. In a nutshell, Russia continues to push with escalation ever further, and is testing just how far it can and will go without Ukraine responding.
Is the groundwork for the "transitioning out" of the US Attorney General being laid? From Reuters: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was taken to a Washington, D.C., hospital as a precaution on Thursday after he felt faint and was short of breath during a morning meeting with his staff, his office said in a statement. "He is currently resting comfortably and in good condition. He is alert and conversing with his doctors," according to the statement. Please get well soon Eric: how else will this nation sleep easy at night knowing there are still so many "Too Big To Prosecute" banks out there whose wrists you still have to slap?
Including a Direct Contact with Bin Laden by an FBI Resource In 1993
The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To "Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2014 00:35 -0400
In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.
The dismal trail of dead bankers continues. As The Journal Star reports, a successful Lincoln businessman and member of a prominent local family died last week. Former National Bank of Commerce CEO James Stuart Jr. was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say what caused the death. This brings the total of banker deaths in recent weeks to 9 as Stuart is sadly survived by three sons and four daughters.
A 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi near New Orleans remained closed Monday after two vessels collided and caused an oil spill on Saturday in foggy conditions about 30 miles west of New Orleans. As NBC news reports, the Lindsay Ann Erickson crashed with the Hannah C. Settoon, which was pushing two barges carrying barrels of light crude oil that spilled into the river. Clean-up efforts are underway.
Presenting a few of tonight's headlines...
- *OBAMA: 'THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES IF PEOPLE STEP OVER THE LINE' (like last time with Syria?)
- *FACEBOOK TO BUY WHATSAPP FOR ABOUT $16B CASH AND STOCK ($50 per user!)
- *U.S. COULDN'T REACH UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS IN FEW DAYS: OFFICIALS (can you hear me now?)
- JAPAN JAN. IMPORTS RISE 25.0% Y/Y (Abenomics is nailing it)
- *CNN LIES ABOUT VENEZUELA EVERY DAY: MADURO (no comment)
- Vietnam Bans Import of Used Electronic Devices
- *WILLIAMS: FED HAS REACHED `END OF THE LINE' ON JOBS THRESHOLD (that didn't last long)
- *SUGA: EXPECTS IMPROVEMENT IN TRADE BALANCE IN FUTURE (any day now)
- *MADURO SAYS `IT'S YOUR LAST CHANCE OR YOU'RE TOAST' (but you wanted peace?)
- *OBAMA SAYS WILL SEEK COOPERATION WITH PUTIN ON UKRAINE (worked last time?)
- And lots more...
Has the world gone mad?
Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951? Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that "food prices soar as incomes stand still", but the truth is that this is only just the beginning. If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere. Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be "disaster areas", and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.
Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do).
"It's really a crisis situation," exclaims one California city manager, "and it's going to get worse in time if this drought doesn't alleviate." For the state that produces one-third of the nation's fruits and vegetables, the driest spell in 500 years has prompted President Obama to make $100 million in livestock-disaster aid available within 60 days to help the state rebound from what he describes is " going to be a very challenging situation this year... and potentially some time to come." As NBC reports, Governor Jerry Brown believes the "unprecedented emergency" could cost $2.8 billion in job income and $11 billion in state revenues - and as one farmer noted "we can't recapture that." Dismal recollections of the 1930's Dust Bowl are often discussed as workers (and employers) are "packing their bags and leaving town..." leaving regions to "run the risk of becoming desolate ghost towns as local governments and businesses collapse."
- Draghi as ECB Master of Suspense Keeps Investors on Edge (BBG)
- Abe lays out detailed plan for expanding defense powers (Nikkei)
- Inflation Fuels Crises in Two Latin Nations (WSJ)
- Obama walks into crossfire of Asian tensions (FT)
- Harvard Makes Professor Disclose More After Blinkx Slides (BBG)
- Hedge Funds Rework Currency Positions in Market Drop (BBG)
- Canada, U.S. Strike Tax-Information Sharing Deal (WSJ)
- Indonesia calls for greater clarity from Fed on tapering (FT)
- Sony to cut 5,000 jobs, split off PC, TV operations (Reuters)