en Turkish Authorities Top For Twitter Censorship <p>Twitter has evolved to become an important outlet for political discussion, debate and commentary. The platform was notably put to use to successfully organize anti-government protests on numerous occasions, and <a href="">as Statista&#39;s Niall McCarthy notes</a>, <strong>this put some world leaders on edge, unsurprisingly leading to some countries&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">clamping down on the network&#39;s content</a>.</strong></p> <p>Twitter&#39;s latest&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">transparency report</a>&nbsp;shows the number of content removal requests made by different countries as well as the share that were granted.</p> <p><a href="" title="Infographic: Turkish Authorities Top For Twitter Censorship | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: Turkish Authorities Top For Twitter Censorship | Statista" height="428" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em>You will find more statistics at <a href="">Statista</a></em></p> <p><strong>In the first six months of 2017, Turkey was the most controlling of Twitter content, </strong>making nearly 2,000 removal requests between January 01 and June 30. 11 percent of those requests were granted to some extent.</p> <p><strong>Turkish authorities&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">detained thousands of people</a>&nbsp;after last July&#39;s failed coup with President Tayyip Erdogan clamping down on what he percieves as illegal online activity for years</strong>.</p> <p>Russia also has a long history of attempting to silence Putin critics and it comes second, making a total of 1,213 removal requests up to June 30th.</p> <p>In the first six months of the year, <strong>90 percent of all removal requests came from just four countries</strong> - Turkey, Russia, France and Germany.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="740" height="311" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Computing France Geography of Asia Germany Politics Politics Recep Tayyip Erdo?an Software Transparency Transparency report Turkey Turkey Twitter Twitter Twitter Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603890 at Ban On Kaspersky Software Exposes The Hypocrisy Of US' Internet Agenda <p><em><a href="">Authored by Andrei Akulov via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><strong>On September 18, the US Senate voted to ban the use of products from the Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab by the federal government, citing national security risk. </strong>The vote was included as an amendment to an annual defense policy spending bill approved by the Senate on the same day. The measure pushed forward by New Hampshire Democrat&nbsp;Jeanne Shaheen has strong support in the House of Representatives, which also must vote on a defense spending bill. The legislation bars the use of Kaspersky Lab software in government civilian and military agencies.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="300" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>On September 13, a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">binding directive</a>&nbsp;issued by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, ordered federal agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from government computers over concerns the Russia-based cybersecurity software company might be vulnerable to Russian government influence. </strong>All federal departments and agencies were given 30 days to identify any Kaspersky products in use on their networks. The departments have another 60 days to begin removal of the software. The statement says, &laquo;The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks&raquo;. The Russian law does not mention American networks, nevertheless it is used as a pretext to explain the concern.</p> <p><strong>Similar bans against US government use of Kaspersky products have been suggested before. </strong>In 2015,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Bloomberg News</a>&nbsp;<a href="">reported</a>&nbsp;that the company has &laquo;close ties to Russian spies&raquo;.</p> <p><a href="">According to</a>&nbsp;US News, scrutiny of the company mounted in 2017, fueled by U.S. intelligence assessments and high-profile federal investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. This summer, the General Service Administration, which oversees purchasing by the federal government, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. In June, a&nbsp;<a href="">proposal&nbsp;</a>prohibiting the US military from using the company&#39;s products was reportedly included in the Senate&#39;s draft of the Department of Defense&#39;s budget rules.<strong> US intelligence leaders said earlier this year that Kaspersky Lab was already generally not allowed on military networks.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>Kaspersky Lab has been producing widely lauded anti-virus software for 20 years. </strong></u>Today, it boasts 400 million customers around the world. Suspected of being involved in cyber espionage, <strong>the leading antivirus programs producer concluded that it was &laquo;caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight&raquo; and is being &laquo;treated unfairly even though the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts&raquo;.</strong> Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, has repeatedly denounced the allegations against his company as false and lacking credible or public evidence. He accepted the invitation to testify before the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The testimony is scheduled on Sept. 27. Too late! Even if he proves that his company is innocent, the ban will be in force. It has been introduced without giving him a chance to speak on the issue and dissipate the fears.</p> <p><strong>Kaspersky highlighted that more than 85% of its revenue comes from outside&nbsp;<a href="">Russia</a>. </strong>The US measure will inevitably damage the company&rsquo;s image and&nbsp;undermine the competitive position of&nbsp;the Russian company internationally.&nbsp;<strong><a href="">Best Buy</a>&nbsp;has already said it will no longer sell software made by the Russian company.</strong></p> <p>All the decisions have been taken without giving the company a chance to openly address or mitigate the concerns. <strong>There has been no thorough investigation of its activities on US soil.</strong> No credible evidence has been presented to support the accusations. It all smacks of unfair competition. The Kaspersky Lab software is quite popular in&nbsp;the United States, and the company&rsquo;s competitors will no doubt look to&nbsp;capitalize on&nbsp;this opportunity.</p> <p><strong>The move is part of anti-Russian hysteria that hit the United States</strong>. Kaspersky Lab has come under&nbsp;a politically-charged attack simply because it is Russian. <strong><em>Can anybody imagine Russia&rsquo;s authorities saying that Apple and Microsoft were working hand in&nbsp;glove with&nbsp;the CIA and, therefore, their products were considered a security threat and should be banned?</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>A few months ago the authorities of New Hampshire, the state Jeanne Shaheen is from, were seriously considering a ban on&nbsp;Russian vodka imports and sales!</em></strong> Meanwhile, the US energy exporters use the Countering America&#39;s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act to&nbsp;vie for&nbsp;the European energy market.</p> <p>On August 14, President Trump signed a memorandum that directs US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether an investigation is needed into alleged unfair Chinese trade practices. The move represents the first step in a process that could allow the president to impose tariffs on Chinese imports or other punishing trade actions. The struggle for &laquo;fair trade practices&raquo; takes place against flagrant violations of international competition rules by the United States as illustrated by the unfair treatment of Kaspersky Lab.</p> <p>At the same time, the US takes no measures against Microsoft, which&nbsp;<a href="">is abusing</a>&nbsp;its dominance in the PC operating system market, creating obstacles for independent software security vendors by distributing its own Defender anti-virus software with the ubiquitous Windows operating system.</p> <p><u><em><strong>The message has been sent. Hypocrisy at the core of US internet agenda is becoming untenable. It cannot continue to advocate for an open web, while at the same time using the tactics of unfair competition. The narrative that United States is the defender of free Internet appears to be dead.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="618" height="309" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> anti-virus software Antivirus software Apple Best Buy Bloomberg News Business Central Intelligence Agency Computer security Computer security software Department of Defense Eugene Kaspersky federal government General Services Administration House of Representatives Ivan Kaspersky Kasperski Kaspersky Anti-Virus Kaspersky Lab Kaspersky Lab national security operating system Politics Russian government Russian intelligence Senate Software Strategic Culture Foundation Technology Testimony U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology U.S. intelligence United States Senate US government US military Thu, 21 Sep 2017 07:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603889 at Japan's "Deflationary Mindset" Grows As Household Cash Hordes Reach Record High <p>After being force-fed more stimulus than John Belushi, and endless rounds of buying any and every asset that dares to expose any cracks in the potemkin village of fiat folly, <strong>Japan remains stuck firmly in what Abe feared so many years ago - a &quot;deflationary mindset.&quot;</strong></p> <p>As Bloomberg reports, <strong>cash and deposits held by Japanese households rose for 42nd straight quarter</strong> at the end of June as the <strong>nation&rsquo;s consumers continued to favor saving over spending. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="332" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>The &quot;deflationary mindset&quot; that the Bank of Japan is battling to overcome was also evident in the money laying idle in corporate coffers,</strong> which stayed near an all-time high, according to quarterly flow of funds data released by the BOJ on Wednesday.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 362px;" /></a></p> <p>Still, as Bloomberg optimistically notes, with the economy expanding much faster than its potential growth rate, <strong>greater inflationary pressures could be on the way</strong>, which may prompt a shift in behavior by consumers and companies... or not!</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="530" height="320" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of Japan Bank of Japan Bank of Japan Business Deflation Economics Economy Economy of Japan Fiat Automobiles Inflation Japan Macroeconomics Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603887 at Never Forget: The US Government Has A Known History Of Using False Flags <p><a href="">Authored by Caitlyn Johnstone via,</a></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="b0c7"><strong>When it comes to 9/11, there are two groups of people:</strong> those who don&rsquo;t know exactly what happened, and those who orchestrated it.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure"><strong><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 560px; height: 295px;" /></a></strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="a380"><strong>Nearly everyone on earth belongs in the former category, but a lot of folks like to pretend they have a rock solid understanding of the events which transpired on that fateful day in 2001. </strong>Scoffing mainstream adherents like to pretend they&rsquo;re confident that the official narrative is accurate, but they aren&rsquo;t. A lot of hardcore conspiracy analysts like to pretend they know the real story, but they don&rsquo;t. There&rsquo;s simply not enough publicly available information for anyone to be certain exactly how things went down that day; all we can know for sure is that (A)<strong> the official story <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">is riddled with plot holes</a>, and (B) the American power establishment has an extensive and well-documented history of using false flags and propaganda to manipulate the public into supporting evil acts of military interventionism.</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="2158"><strong>If you think you know for a fact that the official story of what happened on September 11, 2001 is the true account and that all conspiracy theories have been &ldquo;debunked&rdquo;, you are ignorant.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">If you think you know the precise details of how what really happened differs from the official story, you&rsquo;ve spent way too much time diving down conspiracy theory rabbit holes and should probably ease off the weed. There&rsquo;s no need to get all defensive and go bedding yourself down to one hard doctrine of certainty when the US power establishment has already discredited itself so thoroughly. It&rsquo;s unnecessary to plunge deep into theory when these people&rsquo;s track record is so firmly established in fact.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">Here are just a few of the times the US government is known to have <strong>distorted the reality of events in order to manufacture public support for military intervention</strong>, which is per definition what a false flag is:</p> <h3 class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="88eb"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The False Nayirah Testimony</span></h3> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure">On October 10, 1990 a 15 year-old girl known only as Nayirah <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">testified</a> before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus about the horrors that Iraqi troops were inflicting upon the people of Kuwait. Her testimony that hundreds of babies had been taken out of their incubators and left to die on hospital floors was repeated as fact by Amnesty International, the mass media, numerous senators, and President H. W. Bush, tugging at the heartstrings of America and manufacturing support for American action in the Gulf War.</p> <p><strong><a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">It was a lie</a>. Nayirah was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, and her TV-friendly &ldquo;removing babies from incubators&rdquo; testimony was false. It never happened.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 560px; height: 355px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Former CIA Director Bush with the Kuwaiti Ambassador, who watched his daughter&rsquo;s false testimony before&nbsp;congress</em></p> <h3 class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="a8d8"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Gulf of Tonkin&nbsp;Incident</span></h3> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure"><strong>In 2005 a declassified historical study by the NSA <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">revealed</a> that one of the two incidents which were used to propel America into the disastrous Vietnam War happened the opposite of the way it was reported to have happened, and the second of the two incidents did not happen at all. </strong>The allegation that there were &ldquo;deliberate&rdquo; and &ldquo;unprovoked&rdquo; attacks upon the US Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2 and August 4 of 1964 was <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">solemnly affirmed</a> by President Johnson, which led to the swift passage of the <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">Gulf of Tonkin Resolution</a> authorizing full presidential authority to commit US military power to the Vietnamese intervention.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="5095">In reality the August 2 incident was not in any way &ldquo;unprovoked&rdquo;, and it was in fact America&rsquo;s USS Maddox which fired upon North Vietnamese boats first. On August 4 there was no engagement with any ships whatsoever, with Johnson privately <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">admitting</a> a year later that &ldquo;For all I know, our navy was shooting at whales out there.&rdquo;</p> <h3 class="graf graf--p graf-after--p"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The USS&nbsp;Maine</span></h3> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">&ldquo;But when the smoke was over, the dead buried and the cost of the war came back to the people in an increase in the price of commodities and rent?&mdash;?that is, when we sobered up from our patriotic spree?&mdash;?it suddenly dawned on us that the cause of the Spanish-American War was the price of sugar.&rdquo;</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">~ Emma Goldman</p> </blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="abd0">This goes way back. <strong>The video above describes how the Spanish-American war was brought on by a highly suspicious explosion upon the USS Maine while it was docked at the Havana Harbor in 1898, combined with the anti-Spain narratives of the plutocrat-owned newspapers of that time. Like all US wars, it was extremely profitable and benefitted the very rich.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="f5dc">*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure"><strong>This tradition of using lies to rally the unwashed masses behind military endeavors on behalf of the rich and powerful has probably been going on since the dawn of civilization, and it is only humanity&rsquo;s increasing adeptness at networking and sharing information which has enabled us to begin catching on to the deceitful manipulations of the people who rule us.</strong> Our history books are doubtless riddled with countless inaccuracies as to the real reasons underlying violent conflicts between various kingdoms and factions, because the few literate people who were permitted to write the official historic accounts of them had full control of the narrative at the time.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure">This is why we&rsquo;ve been seeing increasingly blatant panic from existing power structures about alternative media.<strong> <span class="markup--quote markup--p-quote is-other">Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.</span></strong> It is only by general societal consensus that power exists where it exists, that money works the way it works, etc. At any time the public could stop honoring existing power structures and create an entirely different model for itself, deciding to distribute resources and allocate responsibilities in a way that benefits more people more efficaciously than the current paradigm. It is only by their ability to manipulate and control the mainstream narrative that powerful people have been able to keep this from happening.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing" id="3786"><strong>If the power elites didn&rsquo;t need the consent of the public to rule, they wouldn&rsquo;t have to lie constantly about their reasons for war. </strong>The public would never consent to military interventions if politicians were allowed to appear on CNN and say &ldquo;Yeah well America has become a stronghold for the most powerful plutocracy in the history of civilization and it needs to maintain its status as the world&rsquo;s only superpower in order to protect the investments of that plutocracy. This is why we have to keep knocking the pillars of support out from underneath Russia and China, and why I get millions in re-election campaign donations.&rdquo;</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing"><strong>My more pessimistic readers won&rsquo;t like hearing this, but the reality is that Americans are basically good people who generally want what&rsquo;s best for the world. If they weren&rsquo;t, the unelected power establishment which rules over them wouldn&rsquo;t have to keep making up lies about babies in incubators and protecting their family from Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to secure US hegemony.</strong> If they ever told the public the truth, they&rsquo;d be dealing with hundreds of millions of heavily-armed Americans telling them to get their sociopathic asses out of here.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Obama Urged Trump To Continue Neoconservative Foreign Policy<a href="">#Trump</a> <a href="">#Obama</a> <a href="">#letter</a> <a href="">#neocon</a><a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) <a href="">September 4, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing">What this means is that those of us who want what&rsquo;s best for America and the world instead of endless war and economic oppression are necessarily locked in a <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" target="_blank">media war</a> with the plutocracy and its cronies.<strong> The populist alternative media owned and operated by ordinary people is the natural enemy of the plutocrat-owned mainstream media designed to prop up the existing power structure with establishment propaganda. </strong>Our ability to win this media war increases the more networked and internet-literate our society becomes, which is why the oligarchs have been working overtime to shut us down with <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" target="_blank">corporate censorship</a>.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing"><strong>There is no reason to believe anything these lying sociopaths say, especially not about something that has served such a crucial role in their <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" target="_blank">openly stated agenda</a> to ensure US dominance over the world using its military and economic might. </strong>When you&rsquo;ve got the extremely influential neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">saying</a> in September of 2000 that it would require &ldquo;a new Pearl Harbor&rdquo; to advance this agenda, and then getting exactly that one year later in an American tragedy which was used to manufacture support for greatly expanded US military interventionism, there&rsquo;s no good reason to take all that in with a trusting &ldquo;Yeah, that sounds legit.&rdquo;</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing"><strong>These people are liars, and they are depraved. </strong>They have no problem using lies to kill a million Iraqis and thousands of US soldiers to advance their agendas, and there&rsquo;s no reason to believe they wouldn&rsquo;t kill US civilians as well. There&rsquo;s no harm in familiarizing yourself with all the details about the various conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 if that&rsquo;s what you want to spend your brainpower on, but really all you need to know is that these people are known liars who have no problem slaughtering countless people to advance their agenda of global domination. <strong>There is no reason to trust them and many reasons not to. End of.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>I&rsquo;m a 100 percent reader-funded journalist so if you enjoyed this, please consider helping me out by sharing it around, <a href="">liking me on Facebook</a>, following me on <a href="">Twitter</a>, or throwing some money into <a href="">my hat on Patreon</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="247" height="152" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Central Intelligence Agency China Conservatism in the United States ETC Gulf of Tonkin incident Gulf War Kuwait Military Military history by country navy Nayirah Neoconservatism Plutocracy Politics Propaganda in the United States Proxy wars Reality SWIFT Testimony Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Twitter Twitter United States Navy US government Vietnam War Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603888 at How Did Toys "R" Us Implode So Fast? The CEO Explains <p>Reviewing first day motions from a company's chapter 11 docket, and more specifically the CEO's declaration, can be a great way to learn exactly what happened in the days/weeks leading up to a bankruptcy filing.&nbsp; The company spends millions of dollars every month on expensive lawyers (Kirkland &amp; Ellis in the case of Toys "R" Us), investment bankers (Lazard), turnaround advisors (Alvarez &amp; Marsal), claims administrators, etc., who all spend many sleepless nights in the days leading up to a filing trying to make sure the first day motions are as informative as possible.</p> <p>With those high expectations, <strong>you can imagine our surprise when we opened the Toys "R" Us CEO's declaration to find this "preliminary statement":</strong></p> <p><a href=" - Toy 1.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 266px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes, Kirkland &amp; Ellis was paid $800 an hour (ish) to type up the Toys "R" Us jingle in a court filing.&nbsp; Bravo!</p> <p>In any event, once you get beyond the amateur-hour antics, CEO David Brandon explains why Toys "R" Us was forced to file for bankruptcy in such a hurry.&nbsp; While debt service on a excessively levered capital structure was a big part of it, Brandon explains that <strong>media speculation over a potential bankruptcy filing led to a rapid tightening of trade terms just as the company was trying to build inventory ahead of the holiday season.</strong>&nbsp; Here are the details:</p> <p>1.&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Debt </strong></span>- Apparently spending the majority of your FCF on debt service while ignoring capital improvements and store remodels is a bad long-term business strategy for a bricks-and-mortar retailer.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Toys “R” Us, however, has been operating for more than a decade with significant leverage, necessitating the use of <strong>substantial amounts of cash each year (approximately $400 million) to service the more than $5.0 billion of funded indebtedness.</strong>&nbsp; But these substantial debt service obligations<strong> impair the Company’s ability to invest in its business and future.</strong>&nbsp; As a result, the Company has fallen behind some of its primary competitors on various fronts, including with regard to general upkeep and the condition of our stores, our inability to provide expedited shipping options, and our lack of a subscription-based delivery service.</p> </blockquote> <p>2. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Vendors </strong></span>- Media speculation of an imminent bankruptcy filing starting on September 6th caused<strong> 40% of vendors to restrict shipments and demand "cash on delivery" </strong>for new inventory purchases which would have required $1 billion incremental liquidity.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>More recently, the Company’s need for a comprehensive solution to its capital structure issues caused <strong>widespread “bankruptcy” speculation in the media, </strong>leading to a severe constriction in the Company’s trade terms.&nbsp; More specifically, in late July the Company hired Kirkland &amp; Ellis LLP and Alvarez &amp; Marsal North America, LLC, complementing its retention of Lazard, to consider restructuring and capital structure solutions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A news story published on September 6, 2017, reporting that the Debtors were considering a chapter 11 filing, started a dangerous game of dominos: within a week of its publication, nearly 40 percent of the Company’s domestic and international product vendors refused to ship product without cash on delivery,</strong> cash in advance, or, in some cases, payment of all outstanding obligations.&nbsp; Further, many of the credit insurers and factoring parties that support critical Toys “R” Us vendors withdrew support.&nbsp; Given the Company’s historic average of 60-day trade terms, <strong>payment of cash on delivery would require the Debtors to immediately obtain a significant amount—over $1.0 billion—of new liquidity.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>3.&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Holiday Inventory Build</strong></span> - Finally, this all came at the exact moment that the company was trying to build inventory for the holiday selling season.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The timing of all of this could not have been worse, as the Company is in the process of building holiday inventory.&nbsp; While birthdays, new game releases, and other special events drive year-round sales, the holiday season is the most important for annual results.&nbsp;<strong> In the fourth quarter (the weeks prior to Christmas), the Company generates approximately 40% of its annual revenue.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To prepare for the holiday season, Toys “R” Us significantly increases inventory in September to fill store shelves with the selection and variety of products our customers expect.&nbsp; Accordingly, I believe it is critical that the Company reopen its supply chain immediately to ensure a successful holiday season.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Toy" width="600" height="332" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Given that, it's somewhat ironic that <a href="">Bloomberg</a> notes this morning how important Toys "R" Us is to vendors and how Mattel and Hasbro couldn't possibly allow the company to liquidate.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Rest easy, kids. Toys “R” Us Inc. isn’t going anywhere, at least not if the makers of Barbie and Transformers have their way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet, the company, which operates about 1,600 stores globally, will likely survive because manufacturers such as Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and closely held MGA Entertainment Inc. need the last remaining toy chain. These vendors are eager for whatever remaining leverage they have against the might of Amazon and Wal-Mart, the bane of all companies focused on a single category of shopping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Oh my God, they are very important, and people don’t understand,”</strong> Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive officer of MGA, said of the toy chain.<strong> “That’s the only place where kids can go and just buy toys. There is no toy business without Toys ‘R’ Us.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In many respects, suppliers have been propping up Toys “R” Us for years, according to Moody’s Corp. analyst Charlie O’Shea; they give the chain exclusive products during the holidays and funds for promotions to help it compete with the general merchandisers. The manufacturers offer this support because they want a place to sell toys at full price, year round. Major brands have also been funding an overhaul of Toys “R” Us stores by adding more featured areas for top brands such as Mattel’s American Girl dolls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the toy business, the incentive is particularly powerful. <strong>Last year, Toys “R” Us accounted for 11 percent of sales at Mattel and 9 percent at Hasbro -- the second most at both companies after Wal-Mart.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, many have speculated this week over how/why TOY bonds traded off 75 points on the company's filing?&nbsp; How could they be so wrong?&nbsp; While the timing of the filing was probably somewhat of a surprise, we can't help but wonder whether this simplistic org structure might have contributed in some small way?</p> <p><a href=" - Toy Org Structure.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 451px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="756" height="418" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Babycare Barbie Business Economy Economy of the United States ETC Investment Lazard Li & Fung Mattel Toys "R" Us Wayne, New Jersey Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:34:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 603832 at Prosecutors Unveil Full Details Of Anthony Weiner's Pedophilia <p>Earlier today <a href="">we reported that as part of the government's sentencing memorandum </a>(published at the bottom), federal prosecutors asked that disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and the man Hillary Clinton has quietly added to what has become a virtually infinite list of reasons why she lost the presidential election, be sentenced to about two years in prison for engaging in sexting with an underage, 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors filed paper in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday in advance of Weiner’s sentencing. In the document, prosecutors asked that the judge use the sentencing as an opportunity to send a message to other perverted politicians:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Government respectfully submits this memorandum in connection with the sentencing of Anthony Weiner, which is scheduled for September 25, 2017, <strong>following his guilty plea to transferring obscene material to a minor</strong>. Although the defendant’s self-destructive path from United States Congressman to felon is indisputably sad, his crime is serious and his demonstrated need for deterrence is real. <strong>The non-custodial sentence that Weiner proposes is simply inadequate; his crime deserves time in prison. </strong>For the reasons set forth below, the Government respectfully requests that Court sentence Weiner to a term of imprisonment within the range of 21 to 27 months.</p> </blockquote> <p>Weiner's sentencing will take place almost exactly a year after the New York Post published a story about him sexting with another woman who wasn’t his wife. Weiner said he would plead guilty in May after prosecutors brought charges following revelations that he also sexted with the 15-year-old, whom he met over Twitter. Both the girl and her father told the Daily Mail that Weiner knew she was underaged when they were corresponding.</p> <p>And just to make sure that Weiner does end up in jail, the US Attorney for the district of New York, Joon Kim, laid out in vivid - and gruesome detail - the circumstances of his pedophilia. As taken from the prosecutor memorandum:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In the evening of January 23, 2016, a 15-year-old girl (the “Minor Victim”) initiated contact with the defendant by sending him a direct message on Twitter. Over the next several hours, the Minor Victim and Weiner exchanged a series of messages, ranging from the mundane to the provocative. Early in the exchange, <strong>the Minor Victim revealed to Weiner that she was in high school. </strong>Despite knowing he was communicating with a high school student, Weiner participated in increasingly suggestive exchanges, telling the Minor Victim, among other things, that he thought she was “kinda sorta gorgeous.” Their communications continued the next morning on Facebook messenger, then moved to Kik, and at some later point, Confide and Snapchat. The latter three all are messaging and photo-sharing applications that delete messages and images once viewed. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As January turned to February, their intermittent exchanges grew more lascivious. This was despite the fact that there could be no reasonable doubt in Weiner’s mind that he was chatting with a minor – in addition to having revealed that she was a high school student, the Minor Victim told Weiner that she was getting her learner’s permit. She explained in Facebook chats that she has “parents that wouldn’t approve of some of the things” she does, and that she likes “older guys,” “[b]ut that’s illegal.” The defendant correctly observed, “You are young,” in one Kik message. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Against that backdrop, between February 17 and 23, 2016, Weiner and the Minor Victim participated in three video chat sessions on Skype. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no dispute that the Minor Victim repeatedly suggested that she and the defendant participate in video chats on Skype. Those suggestions were not, however, one-sided. For example, Twitter records reveal that during their first exchanges the night of January 23, 2016, at some point after the Minor Victim had suggested that they Skype, the defendant said “Leave the complex stuff for Skype.” That night as well, after a suggestive exchange, the defendant said “Maybe Skype someday.” Thus, although it was the Minor Victim who initially sought out Weiner, as the Government readily concedes, Weiner immediately responded to the Minor Victim’s overture and willingly participated in the offense conduct thereafter. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was then that the Minor Victim made clear that she was not just a minor – she was, in fact, only 15 years old. <strong>That did not stop Weiner. During the latter two Skype sessions, on February 18 and 23, 2016, and in a Snapchat communication on March 9, 2016, the defendant used graphic and obscene language to ask the Minor Victim to display her naked body and touch herself, which she did. </strong>He also sent an obscene message to the Minor Victim on Confide, describing what he would do to her, if she were 18. Part and parcel of these disturbing – and criminal – exchanges<strong>, the defendant also sent the Minor Victim adult pornography</strong>. In approximately March 2016, after several months of intermittent exchanges, communications between the defendant and Minor Victim largely stopped. The Minor Victim made efforts to re-engage, but was met with limited responsiveness. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The instant conduct was revealed to the public and law enforcement in September 2016, when the Daily Mail published the Minor Victim’s account of her communications with Weiner after she participated in a paid interview.</p> </blockquote> <p>And some further commentary from the proscuting attorney:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>This is not merely a “sexting” case. The defendant did far more than exchange typed words on a lifeless cellphone screen with a faceless stranger. With full knowledge that he was communicating with a real 15-year-old girl, the defendant asked her to engage in sexually explicit conduct via Skype and Snapchat, where her body was on display, and where she was asked to sexually perform for him. That offense – transmitting obscenity to a minor to induce her to engage in sexually explicit conduct by video chat and photo – is far from mere “sexting.” Weiner’s criminal conduct was very serious, and the sentence imposed should reflect that seriousness. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The defendant claims that he “responded to the victim’s request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager, but in spite of it.” While the Government does not contend that Weiner engaged in inappropriate sexual exchanges with other minors or that he is a pedophile, his professed ambivalence towards the Minor Victim’s age is belied by the defendant’s own statements to the court-appointed evaluator during his evaluation. Moreover, the defendant has acknowledged an interest in legal, adult, teen-themed pornography. In the context of this admitted interest, his insistence that he deserves a lighter sentence because the Minor Victim’s age meant nothing to him <strong>rings hollow. </strong>Even if the Court were to credit Weiner’s claim of ambivalence to the Minor Victim’s age, that purported ambivalence is part of the problem. That his victim was a minor – and therefore his conduct a serious crime – did not deter Weiner from forging ahead. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The defendant’s submission repeatedly makes note of the 15-year-old Minor Victim’s various motives for communicating with Weiner and her profit from sharing those communications with the media. While careful not to cast blame on the Minor Victim outright or disclaim ultimate responsibility for his crime, he relies, in part, on the circumstances of their communications in arguing for a sentence of probation. That argument should be rejected, and Weiner should be sentenced for what he did – not what motived the Minor Victim. <strong>Weiner, a grown man, a father, and a former lawmaker, willfully and knowingly asked a 15-year-old girl to display her body and engage in sexually explicit conduct for him online. Such conduct warrants a meaningful sentence of incarceration.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Defense lawyers had portrayed the girl as an aggressor, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election. </strong>Prosecutors responded that Weiner should be sentenced for what he did, and his victim's motives should not influence his punishment. A defense lawyer declined to comment Wednesday.</p> <p>Weiner, 53, said in a submission last week that he's undergoing treatment and is profoundly sorry for subjecting the North Carolina high school student to what his lawyers called his "deep sickness."</p> <p>In a plea bargain, Weiner agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months. Prosecutors said the sentence should fall within that span, and they noted that Probation Office authorities had recommended a 27-month prison term.</p> <p>He will be sentenced to prison next Monday. </p> <p><em>The full sentencing guildeline filed by prosecutors is below.</em></p> <p><iframe src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-VwPCONLam13baIsvRmuC&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="664" height="441" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anthony Weiner Anthony Weiner sexting scandals B+ Human sexuality KIM Law Manhattan Federal Court New York Post Probation Office Sentence Sexting Surname Twitter Twitter UN Court Weiner Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:14:15 +0000 Tyler Durden 603881 at The Real Threat Remains - Brandon Smith Warns "Do Not Be Fooled By The Fed's Magic Show" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Brandon Smith via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>I remember back in mid-2013 when the Federal Reserve fielded the notion of a &quot;taper&quot; of quantitative easing measures.</strong> More specifically, I remember the response of mainstream economic analysts as well as the alternative economic community. I argued fervently in multiple articles that the Fed would indeed follow through with the taper, and that it made perfect sense for them to do so given that the mission of the central bank is <em>not</em> to protect the U.S. financial system, but to sabotage it carefully and deliberately. <strong>The general consensus was that a <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">taper of QE was impossible</a> and that the Fed would &quot;never dare.&quot; Not long after, the Fed launched its taper program.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 486px; height: 283px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><strong>Two years later, in 2015, I argued once again that the Fed would begin raising interest rates even though multiple mainstream and alternative sources believed that this was also impossible. </strong>Without low interest rates, stock buybacks would slowly but surely die out, and the last pillar holding together equities and the general economy (besides blind faith) would be removed. The idea that the Fed would knowingly take such an action seemed to be against their &quot;<a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">best self interest</a>;&quot; <strong>and yet, not long after, they initiated the beginning of the end for artificially low interest rates.</strong></p> <p><strong>The process that the Federal Reserve has undertaken has been a long and arduous one cloaked in disinformation. </strong>It is a process of dismantlement. Through unprecedented stimulus measures, the central bank has conjured perhaps the largest stock and bond bubbles in history, not to mention a bubble to end all bubbles in the U.S. dollar.</p> <p>Stocks in particular are irrelevant in the grand scheme of our economy, <strong>but this does not stop the populace from using them as a reference point for the health of our system.</strong> This creates an environment rife with delusion, just as the open flood of cheap credit created considerable delusion before the crash of 2008.</p> <p><strong>Today, we find our economic fundamentals in complete disarray, but the overwhelming fantasy within stocks still remains.</strong> Why? <strong>Because yet again, for some reason, no one is ready to accept the reality that the Fed is pulling the plug on America&#39;s fiscal life support. </strong>Nary a handful of economists in the world think that the Fed will raise interest rates one more time this year if ever again, and the threat of a balance sheet reduction is the furthest thing from everyone&#39;s mind. <em><strong>Daytrading investors are utterly convinced they have the Fed by the short hairs. I say, the situation is actually in reverse.</strong></em></p> <p>The minutes from the <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Fed&#39;s July Open Market Committee Meeting</a> indicate that<strong> while the central bank has been the savior of stock investors for several years, the party is about to end.</strong> Comments on the risks a bull market might pose to &quot;financial stability&quot; have been more frequent the past couple of months</p> <p>Only a few weeks ago, <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan commented that bond markets could collapse</a> and bring stocks down with them do to overvaluations and increasing interest rates.</p> <p>Recent spikes in markets despite a steady stream of natural disasters, threats of war with North Korea, as well as &quot;increased inflation&quot; (according to Fed models) due to the damage wrought by <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Hurricane Harvey</a> suggest that the Fed will indeed continue hiking rates into our ongoing financial collapse.</p> <p>The next FOMC meeting will conclude on the 20th of this month, and the question is, will the Fed surprise with a rate hike and/or balance sheet reduction program? I believe the odds are much higher than many people seem to think. [ZH: we now know that The Fed did announce the start of the balance sheet reduction program as Brandon forecast]</p> <p>First, let&#39;s be clear, historically the Fed&#39;s predictable behavior has been to skip major policy actions in September and then startle markets with renewed and aggressive actions in December. People placing bets on a Fed rate hike in September would look at this pattern and say &quot;no way.&quot; However, the narrative I see building in Fed rhetoric and in the mainstream media is that stock markets have become &quot;unruly children&quot; and that the Fed must become a &quot;stern parent,&quot; reigning them in before they are crushed under the weight of their own naive enthusiasm.</p> <p><strong>In my view, the Fed will continue to do what it says it is going to do &mdash; raise interest rates and reduce and remove stimulus, and that the mainstream narrative will soon be adjusted to suggest that this is &quot;necessary;&quot; that stock markets need a bit of tough love.</strong></p> <p>If the Fed means to follow through with its stated plans for &quot;financial stability&quot; in markets, then the only measure that would be effective in shell-shocking stocks back to reality would be a surprise hike, a surprise announcement of balance sheet reduction or both at the same time.</p> <p>If <strong>the Fed intends to continue cutting off life support to equities and bonds in preparation for a controlled demolition of the U.S. economy,</strong> then there is a high probability at the very least of a balance sheet reduction announcement this week with strong language indicating another rate hike in December. I also would not completely rule out a surprise rate hike even though September is usually a no-action month for central banks.</p> <p>This would fit the trend of central banks around the globe strategically distancing themselves from artificial support for the financial structure. Last week, the <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Bank of England</a> surprised investors with an open indication that they may begin raising interest rates &quot;in the coming months.&quot; <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">The Bank Of Canada</a> surprised some economists with yet another rate hike this month and mentions of &quot;more to come.&quot; The <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">European Central Bank</a> has paved the way for a tapering of stimulus measures according to comments made during its latest meeting early this month. And, the <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Bank of Japan</a> initiated taper measures in July.</p> <p><strong>Even <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Forbes</a> is admitting that there appears to be a &quot;coordinated tightening of monetary policy&quot; coming far sooner than the mainstream expects.</strong> If you understand how the Bank for International Settlements controls policy initiatives of national central bank members, then you should not be surprised that central banks all over the world are pursuing the same actions and the same rhetoric. The only difference between any of them is the pace they have chosen in taking the punch bowl away from the party.</p> <p>The point is, when it comes to the fiat peddlers, there are indeed a few sure things, but continued stimulus is not one of them. <strong>One thing that is certain is that they will act in concert as they are clearly doing now in terms of policy tightening. </strong>Another thing that is certain is that if they plant a notion in the mainstream media &mdash; such as the notion that they are &quot;worried about overvaluations in stocks&quot; and that interest rates must rise, then they will follow through as they always have. Perhaps not at the pace the mainstream expects, or the pace I expect, but certainly somewhere in-between.</p> <p><u><strong>Finally, it behooves me to mention again that the Fed has done all of this before.</strong></u> In the lead up to the stock market crash of 1929, the central bank bloated stocks with easy credit measures and low interest rates, only to hike rates in the name of &quot;quelling inflation.&quot; This hacked the legs out from under markets with a machete, and the rest is history. The hidden purpose behind this tactic is extraordinary centralization on a global scale. The Fed is not interested in the health of the U.S. economy, it is interested in total globalization of all economies under one totalitarian umbrella. To make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.</p> <p><u><strong>Of course, the Fed will not engineer a market crash in a vacuum</strong></u>. It is my suspicion that the next Fed meeting will be <strong>followed by a geopolitical distraction &mdash; the most likely candidate being increasing conflict with North Korea</strong>.</p> <p><em><u><strong>Do not be fooled by the magic show. The real threat to us all is the central banking and international banking apparatus, including the BIS and the IMF. From now until the end of this year, remain vigilant.</strong></u></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="486" height="283" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alan Greenspan Bank of Canada Bank of England Bank of England Bank of Japan Bank of Japan BIS BIS Bond Business Central Banks Economic bubble Economy European Central Bank European Central Bank fed Fed model Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System Finance Financial crises Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Financial markets International Monetary Fund Japan Market Crash Monetary Policy Monetary policy Money North Korea Open Market Committee Quantitative Easing Quantitative easing Reality Systemic risk US Federal Reserve Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603885 at "Pizza Price Parity": Where Is Pizza Most And Least Expensive In America? <p><a href=""><em>Via,</em></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Between 2007 - 2010, a USDA <a href=""><span class="s2">study</span></a> estimated that 1 in 8 Americans ate some form of pizza on any given day. </strong>That number climbs to about 1 in 4 for males and 1 in 5 for females when looking specifically at Americans age 12 to 19. There&rsquo;s no escaping it; pizza is engrained in our diets.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Pizza is not only a pillar of the American diet, but also of our culture. </span></strong></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Through saturation of TV, movies, and now the internet, it has entered the zeitgeist. How do you make characters as strange as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles more relatable? Make them <a href=""><span class="s2">love pizza</span></a>. Right now, you can search on Amazon to find pizza <a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504974936&amp;sr=1-13&amp;nodeID=7141123011&amp;psd=1&amp;keywords=pizza"><span class="s2">sweatshirts</span></a>, pizza <a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504974993&amp;sr=1-1-spons&amp;keywords=pizza&amp;psc=1"><span class="s2">pool toys</span></a>, and pizza <a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504975120&amp;sr=1-6&amp;keywords=pizza"><span class="s2">cologne</span></a>. Even new disruptive and trendy technological innovations need their connection to pizza. That&rsquo;s why there&rsquo;s a pizza <a href=""><span class="s2">cryptocurrency</span></a> and <a href=""><span class="s2">drone</span></a> pizza delivery. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>We noticed that pizza prices and availability can vary dramatically across the United States</strong>. We analyzed data from Priceonomics customer, <a href="">Datafiniti</a>, a data company that has digitized menus across America. Which states and cities have the most pizzerias? How much can you expect to pay for pizza across the country?</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Starting with this business data, we searched for restaurants serving pizza. This data set gave us thousands of different listings to comb through for more detailed location and menu information. To control for differences in price because of toppings and sizes, we needed a standardized item for evaluation, so we found the price of a large plain pizza in each restaurant record. This baseline allowed us to compare prices across cities and states more accurately.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>So, where can you find the most places serving pizza? </strong>Accounting for population, you can find the most pizza places concentrated in the Northeast, particularly Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. At the city level, the trend is not as clear, with Orlando, FL, Buffalo, NY, and Minneapolis, MN taking the top three spots.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">How much will you pay for a large cheese pie? Median prices range from $7.25 to as much as $15. Despite only looking at plain cheese pizza, there are subtle stylistic differences that likely lead to price variation. The neighborhood family-friendly pizza place and the typical franchise have much lower prices than artisanal wood-fire pizzerias. Other regional differences, like Chicago deep dish, lead to higher prices as well.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">And the cities with the most expensive cheese pizzas in America? Buffalo, NY, Nashville, TN, and San Francisco, CA take the top three spots.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Despite those geographical differences, there is one universal truth: no matter where you are, you&rsquo;ll be able to find pizza.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>To start our investigation, we will want to see how pizza places are distributed across the country.</strong> To account for differences in population, our metric of interest will not be absolute number of restaurants, but instead number of restaurants per 100K residents. Controlling for populations makes sure some states, like California, do not dominate the top of our charts.</span></p> <p class="p1"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 516px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><em><span class="s1">Data source: <a href="">Datafiniti</a></span></em></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>The state with the most restaurants serving pizza is Connecticut, with 13.2 restaurants per capita.</strong> Smaller northeastern states with large Italian populations dominate the list, including Massachusetts (11.7), Rhode Island (11.6), and New Jersey (9.6).</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">New York and Illinois, two states that are known for their distinct styles of pizza, are in the second tier of states, along with areas of West, the upper Midwest, and Florida.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>States in the Deep South have the fewest number of pizza places per capita.</strong> We expect this result as these states don&rsquo;t have distinctive pizza styles. Hawaii, despite having an eponymous pizza (the Hawaiian, which features pineapple and ham), is also in this group.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So looking at these states, <strong><em>what is the cost of the average large plain cheese pie?</em></strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 418px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><em><span class="s1">Data source:&nbsp;<a href="">Datafiniti</a></span></em></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>North Dakota and Wyoming have the most highest median prices.</strong> While there is no distinct regional trend, there are some possible explanations for what we see. These states have fewer pizzerias, which tend to be more upscale, artisanal sit-down restaurants. So in cases where you can find pizza, it&rsquo;s just a more expensive variety. Maine and Alaska have the cheapest pizza options. While that&rsquo;s not exactly the attribute you want your pizza to be known for, it is a great thing for pizza lovers in these states.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now we will go one level deeper and take a look at America&rsquo;s cities.<strong> Where can we find the most pizza restaurants per capita? </strong>When working with this data, we limited our comparison to the 50 cities with the greatest absolute number of pizza places.</span></p> <p class="p1"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 746px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><em><span class="s1">Data source:&nbsp;<a href="">Datafiniti</a></span></em></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Orlando, FL sits at the top of our list with 21.6 restaurants per 100K residents. </strong>While Orlando is not known for any pizza tradition, a few things could be causing the abundance of pizza. Florida, in general, is known for tourism, Orlando especially. Pizza is guaranteed to interest tourists no matter where they&rsquo;re from and it&rsquo;s a great option for families when traveling. Ft. Lauderdale likely has a similar story.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Number two is a city from New York that is not NYC; it&rsquo;s Buffalo (20.2). </strong>This mid-sized city has a sizable Italian community and its own <a href=""><span class="s2">style of pizza</span></a>. It&rsquo;s a medium-thick crust round pie that is somewhere between New York and Chicago pizza styles.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Our third place city, Minneapolis (21.1), may seem like the odd-man-out at first, but the Midwest also has its own <a href=""><span class="s2">distinct pie</span></a>. Its square shape and medium-thick crust is similar to the traditional Neapolitan pie that families would bake at home. You&rsquo;re likely to see this shape of pizza across the Rust Belt, as far east as Detroit.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Now that we know where to find pizza, we should learn more about prices.</strong> Again we will look at the median price of a large plain pizza to compare our cities.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 232px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><em><span class="s1">Data source:&nbsp;<a href="">Datafiniti</a></span></em></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>The city with the highest median price is Buffalo, NY at $14.79 for a large plain pie.</strong> In general, large metropolitan areas or mid-sized eastern cities compose the most expensive cities for pizza. Most likely their prices are just a product of the higher cost of living.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>At $5.99, Lexington, KY has the least expensive median price. </strong>Overall these cities are smaller and more often in the center of the country. Two of the cities with the most pizzerias, Orlando and Minneapolis, are also on our list for least expensive plain pies. That&rsquo;s great news if you are a pizza lover in either of these cities. While we would need much more data to verify this idea, it could be possible that the high number of restaurants leads to greater competition and therefore better prices for customers.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="731" height="468" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Chicago-style pizza Detroit Florida Food and drink Hospitality Illinois Italian cuisine Italian-American cuisine Mediterranean cuisine Midwest Pizza Pizza Hut Pizza in the United States Popular culture USDA World cuisine Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603872 at The Best Jobs Without A College Degree 2017 (In One Simple Chart) <p>The Great Recession<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;destroyed the job market</a>&nbsp;for workers without college degrees, and the situation<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;hasn&rsquo;t gotten any better</a>.</p> <p>This begs the question - <strong><em>can you still enjoy a high standard of living without a college degree?</em></strong> And what are the highest paying jobs for people without a traditional higher education?</p> <p>This new chart, <a href="">from</a>, sheds some light on these pressing questions.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="546" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="" target="_blank">The Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>&nbsp;tracks which professions do not require a college education, how many people currently hold those jobs, and their median salaries. We combined this information into a scatter plot graph. The more dots you see, the more people work in that profession. And the higher the dots on the vertical axis, the more money they make.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>You can quickly see some pretty interesting trends.</strong> There are a lot of people without college degrees who make a great living. <strong>The median household income in the U.S. is<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;$56,516</a>. By that standard, all the jobs on our chart pay well above average.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Specialization is the key to earning a high wage, especially in an area that cannot be outsourced. </strong>Elevator installers, power plant operators, transportation inspectors&mdash;these are all professions that require a high level of skill and must be done in person by someone with years of experience and certifications. Regardless of how automation affects the economy, you won&rsquo;t ever be able to replace jobs like firefighting and law enforcement, despite what futuristic movies like&nbsp;Minority Report&nbsp;may have you believe.</p> <h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Top Ten Highest Paying Jobs Without Needing a Degree&nbsp;</span></h3> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p dir="ltr">1. Nuclear power reactor operator - $91,170 (salary) &amp; 7,170 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">2.&nbsp;Transport manager - $89,190 (salary) &amp; 113,270 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Police supervisor - $84,840 (salary) &amp; 100,200 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Power distributor - $81,900 (salary) &amp; 11,380 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">5. Elevator installer - $78,890 (salary) &amp; 22,240 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">6. Detective - $78,120 (salary) &amp; 104,980 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">7. Commercial pilot - $77,200 (salary) &amp; 38,980 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">8. Media equipment worker - $75,700 (salary) &amp; 18,620 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">9. Electrician - $75,670 (salary) &amp; 23,060 (workers)</p> <p dir="ltr">10. Power plant operator - $74,690 (salary) &amp; 35,010 (workers)</p> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><strong>And now, a word of caution. The top 25 professions where you don&rsquo;t need a college degree only employ about 1.4 million people. That&rsquo;s a lot of people, but the entire working population in the U.S. is<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;over 205 million people</a>. </strong>In other words, these jobs not only demand years of experience and specialization, but they&rsquo;re also pretty rare. And don&rsquo;t be mistaken: you may not need a college degree, but you do need some type of post-secondary training. You can&rsquo;t just graduate high school and start your own electrical company. You have to work as an apprentice or join a training program first.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>That being said, it&rsquo;s still possible for people without a formal college education to earn a respectable salary.</strong> The big takeaway from our chart is that you want to be in a position that can&rsquo;t easily be replaced through automation or outsourcing. <strong><em>If you can find a career like that, then you&rsquo;re in good shape to enjoy a high standard of living.</em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1251" height="673" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Automation Bureau of Labor Statistics Business Human resource management Job Labor Nuclear Power Personal life Profession Professor Recession Recruitment Salary Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603883 at Pepe Escobar Unmasks Trump Doctrine: Carnage For New Axis Of Evil <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,</em></a></p> <p>North Korea, Iran, Venezuela are targets in <strong>&quot;compassionate&quot; America&#39;s war on the &quot;wicked few.&quot;</strong> It&#39;s almost as though Washington felt its <strong>hegemony threatened</strong>...</p> <p><img height="312" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><em>Paul Delaroche, Napoléon à Fontainebleau, 1840. With other global powers increasingly at odds with US foreign policy under Donald Trump, the nation&#39;s hegemony on the world stage may soon face its own crisis point.</em></p> <p><strong>This was no &ldquo;deeply philosophical address&rdquo;.</strong>&nbsp;And hardly a show of &nbsp;&ldquo;principled realism&rdquo; &ndash; as spun by the White House. <strong>President Trump at the UN was &ldquo;American carnage,&rdquo;</strong> to borrow a phrase previously deployed by his nativist speechwriter Stephen Miller.</p> <p><strong>One should allow the enormity of what just happened to sink in, slowly</strong>. The president of the United States, facing the bloated bureaucracy that passes for the &ldquo;international community,&rdquo;<strong> threatened to &ldquo;wipe off the map&rdquo; the whole of the Democratic People&rsquo;s Republic of Korea (25 million people). </strong>And may however many millions of South Koreans who perish as collateral damage be damned.</p> <p>Multiple attempts have been made to connect Trump&rsquo;s threats to the <span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="">madman theory</a>&nbsp;cooked up by &ldquo;Tricky Dicky&rdquo; Nixon in cahoots with Henry Kissinger, according to which the USSR must always be under the impression the then-US president was crazy enough to, literally, go nuclear. But the DPRK will not be much impressed with this madman remix.</span></p> <p>That leaves, on the table, a way more terrifying upgrade of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Trump repeatedly invoked Truman in his speech).&nbsp;<strong>Frantic gaming will now be in effect in <a href="">both Moscow and Beijing</a>: Russia and China have their own&nbsp;<span style="font-weight: 400;">stability / connectivity&nbsp;strategy under development to contain Pyongyang.</span></strong></p> <p><strong>The Trump Doctrine has finally been enounced and a new axis of evil delineated.</strong> The winners are North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.&nbsp;Syria under Assad is a sort of mini-evil, and so is Cuba.&nbsp;Crucially, Ukraine and the South China Sea only got a fleeting mention from Trump, with no blunt accusations against Russia and China.&nbsp;That may reflect at least some degree of realpolitik; without &ldquo;RC&rdquo; &ndash; the Russia-China strategic partnership at the heart of the BRICS bloc and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) &ndash; there&rsquo;s no possible solution to the Korean Peninsula stand-off.</p> <p><strong><em>In this epic battle of the &ldquo;righteous many&rdquo; against the &ldquo;wicked few,&rdquo; with the US described as a &ldquo;compassionate nation&rdquo; that wants &ldquo;harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife,&rdquo; it&rsquo;s a bit of a stretch to have Islamic State &ndash; portrayed as being not remotely as &ldquo;evil&rdquo; as North Korea or Iran &ndash; get only a few paragraphs.</em></strong></p> <h3><u><strong>The art of unraveling a deal </strong></u></h3> <p>According to the Trump Doctrine, <strong>Iran is &ldquo;an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,&rdquo; a &ldquo;murderous regime&rdquo; profiting from a nuclear deal that is &ldquo;an embarrassment to the United States.&rdquo; </strong></p> <p>Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif&nbsp;tweeted:&nbsp;<span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;Trump&rsquo;s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times &ndash; not the 21st century UN &ndash; unworthy of a reply.&rdquo; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov once again stressed full support for the nuclear deal ahead of a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">P5+1 ministers&rsquo; meeting scheduled for Wednesday, when Zarif was due to be seated at the same table as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Under review: compliance with the deal. Tillerson</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;is the only one who wants a renegotiation. </span></p> <p>Iran&rsquo;s President Hassan Rouhani has, in fact, developed an<span style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;<a href="">unassailable argument</a> on the nuclear negotiations. He says the deal &ndash; which the P5+1 and the IAEA all agree is working &ndash; could be used as a model elsewhere.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">German chancellor Angela Merkel concurs. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, Rouhani says, if the US suddenly decides to unilaterally pull out, how could the North Koreans possibly be convinced it&rsquo;s worth their while to sit down to negotiate anything with the Americans ?</span></p> <p><strong>What the Trump Doctrine is aiming at is, in fact, a favourite old neo-con play, reverting back to the dynamics of the Dick Cheney-driven Washington-Tehran Cold War years.</strong></p> <p>This script runs as follows:<strong><em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Iran must be isolated (by the West, only now that won&rsquo;t fly with the Europeans); Iran is &ldquo;destabilizing&rdquo; the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, the ideological foundry of all strands of Salafi-jihadism, gets a free pass); and Iran, because it&rsquo;s developing ballistic that could &ndash; allegedly &ndash; carry nuclear warheads, is the new North Korea. </span></em></strong></p> <p><strong>That lays the groundwork for Trump to decertify the deal on October 15.</strong> Such a dangerous geopolitical outcome would then pit Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi against Tehran, Moscow and Beijing, with European capitals non-aligned. <strong>That&rsquo;s hardly compatible with <span style="font-weight: 400;">a &ldquo;compassionate nation&rdquo; which wants &ldquo;harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife.&rdquo;</span></strong></p> <h3><u><strong>Afghanistan comes to South America</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>The Trump Doctrine, as enounced, privileges the absolute sovereignty of the nation-state. </strong>But then there are those pesky &ldquo;rogue regimes&rdquo; which must be, well, regime-changed. <strong>Enter <span style="font-weight: 400;">Venezuela, now </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">on &ldquo;the brink of total collapse,&rdquo; and run by a &ldquo;dictator&rdquo;; thus, America</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &ldquo;cannot stand by and watch.&rdquo;</span></strong></p> <p>No standing by, indeed. On Monday, Trump had dinner in New York with the presidents of Colombia, Peru and Brazil (the last indicted by the country&rsquo;s Attorney General as the leader of a criminal organization and enjoying an inverted Kim dynasty rating of 95% unpopularity). On the menu: regime change in Venezuela.</p> <p>Venezuelan &ldquo;dictator&rdquo; Maduro happens to be supported by Moscow and, most crucially, Beijing, which buys oil and has invested widely in infrastructure in the country with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht crippled by the <a href="">Car Wash investigation</a>.</p> <p><strong>The stakes in Venezuela are extremely high. </strong>In early November, Brazilian and American forces will be deployed in a joint military exercise in the Amazon rainforest, at the Tri-Border between Peru, Brazil and Colombia. Call it a rehearsal for regime change in Venezuela. South America could well turn into the new Afghanistan, a consequence that flows from Trump&rsquo;s assertion that <span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong>For all the lofty spin about &ldquo;sovereignty&rdquo;, the new axis of evil is all about, once again, regime change.</strong></p> <p>Russia-China aim to defuse the nuclear stand-off, then seduce North Korea into sharing in the interpenetration of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), via a new Trans-Korea Railway and investments in DPRK ports. The name of the game is Eurasian integration.</p> <p><strong>Iran is a key node of BRI.</strong> It&rsquo;s also a future full member of the SCO, it&rsquo;s connected &ndash; via the North-South Transport Corridor &ndash; with India and Russia, and is a possible future supplier of natural gas to Europe. The name of the game, once again, is Eurasian integration.</p> <p><strong>Venezuela, meanwhile, holds the largest unexplored oil reserves on the planet, and is targeted by Beijing as a sort of advanced BRI node in South America.</strong></p> <p>The Trump Doctrine introduces a new set of problems for Russia-China. <strong>Putin and Xi do dream of reenacting a balance of power similar to that of the Concert of Europe, which lasted from 1815 (after Napoleon&rsquo;s defeat) until the brink of World War I in 1914.</strong> That&rsquo;s when Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia decided that no European nation should be able to emulate the hegemony of France under Napoleon.</p> <p><strong>In sitting as judge and executioner, Trump&rsquo;s &ldquo;compassionate&rdquo; America certainly seems intent on echoing such hegemony.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="889" height="463" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Abu Dhabi Afghanistan Brazil BRICs China Donald Trump Donald Trump Eurasia Economic Union Fontainebleau Fontainebleau Foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration Foreign relations of Iran France Hassan Rouhani Henry Kissinger India International Atomic Energy Agency International reactions to the United States presidential election Iran Iran Islamic Consultative Assembly KIM Middle East Middle East Mohammad Mohammad Javad Zarif Napoleon Natural Gas North Korea Nuclear program of Iran Politics Rex Tillerson Rex Tillerson Saudi Arabia Shanghai Cooperation Organization South China Ukraine United Nations White House White House Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603878 at