2015: The Last Christmas in America

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Posted on 30th November 2015 by Administrator in Economy

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Guest Post by Charles Hugh Smith
If we define Christmas as consumer spending going up while earnings are going down, 2015 will be the last Christmas in America for a long time to come. In broad brush, Christmas (along with all other consumer spending) has been funded by financialization, i.e. debt and leverage, not by increased earnings.
The primary financial trick that’s propped up the “recovery” for seven years is piling more debt on stagnating incomes. How does this magic work? Lower interest rates.
In a healthy economy, households earn more money (after adjusting for inflation, a.k.a. loss of purchasing power), and the increased earnings enable households to save, spend and borrow more.
In an unhealthy, doomed-to-implode economy, earnings are declining, and central banks enable more borrowing by lowering interest rates to zero and loosening lending standards so anyone who can fog a mirror can buy a new pickup truck with a subprime auto loan.
The problem with financialization is that it eventually runs out of oxygen. As earnings decline, eventually there’s no more income to support more debt. And once debt stops expanding, the economy doesn’t just stagnate, it implodes, because the entire ramshackle con game of financialization requires a steady increase in debt and leverage to keep from crashing.
The trickery of substituting financialization for earned income–the trickery that fueled the last seven years of “recovery”–is exhausted.

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Is Santa Poised To Fill Christmas Stockings With Coal?

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Posted on 23rd November 2015 by Administrator in Economy

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Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Perhaps a retail coals-in-the-stockings Christmas will awaken the mainstream media to the reality that recession is now a global phenomenon.

If container shipping is any reflection of the upcoming Christmas season, Santa is poised to fill the nation’s Christmas stockings with coal. Let’s start by noting that Baltic Dry Index Falls Below 500 for First Time Ever (gcaptain.com) and Container Freight Rates Plummet 70% In 3 Weeks (Zero Hedge).

For a corroborative report on shipping along America’s Atlantic Coast, we turn to correspondent J.M., who works in the shipping industry. Here’s is J.M.’s sobering first-hand observations:

We just arrived back in New York after a multi-port run down the Atlantic seaboard. My observations of the box ship trade in and out of those major ports, as well as coastwise between the ports, is that business is dismal.

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MACY’S IMPLODING, CATCHING DOWN TO SEARS & PENNEY’S

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Posted on 11th November 2015 by Administrator in Economy

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About that resilient consumer and the tremendously low unemployment rate of 5%, maybe someone should tell Macy’s why their sales and profits continue to plummet. Their stock is down 13% today to a three year low of $40. It has fallen 45% in the last four months. It seems the market doesn’t like it when your sales fall 5.2% over last year and your profits crash by 46%. And this is after you close a bunch of your worst performing stores. I have a feeling they might be announcing the closure of another 100 stores after this upcoming disastrous Christmas season.

It was interesting that when I looked for their earnings announcement link on Marketwatch, it was no where to be found. So I went to their website, and now I know why they don’t want the results too widely viewed. It’s much worse than the headlines reveal. When you examine their balance sheet and cash flow statement, you see the looming disaster on the horizon. The executives running this retail titanic might be the dumbest fuckers on earth.

Let’s examine their brilliant strategic moves:

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WTF OBSERVATION OF THE WEEK

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Posted on 29th September 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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It was bad enough when my local Wal-Mart had aisle upon aisle of Halloween candy available in early August. How many bags of Halloween candy purchased in August or September will really make it to Halloween night? With the land whales roaming the countryside today, I’d reckon NONE. The desperation of American retailers to siphon every ounce of possible profit from the ignorant masses is palpable as you observe retail outlets today. Kohl’s sends out 30% coupons on a weekly basis and when you go to the store, it is virtually empty with dozens and dozens of overstock racks with clothes 60%, 70% and 80% off, before even using the 30% coupon. You can smell the decay.

On Sunday morning while doing my weekly 7:00 am (before the People of Wal-Mart awake and remove their sleep apnea machines) trek to Wal-Mart for paper goods, prepping supplies, and a few other miscellaneous items, I turned my head toward the outdoor department and to my utter amazement saw Christmas trees, decorations, and other assorted Christmas crap already overflowing from that department. I thought to myself WTF!!! It is still 80 degrees outside. I was wearing shorts and flip flops. Halloween is still over a month away. Sure signs of desperation from the biggest retailer in the world. 

The retail pain has only just begun. As this recession gathers strength, job losses build, and the stock market crashes, the number of retail outlets that will close will be beyond comprehension. Retail CEOs have been living in a delusional world where they think the consumer will be coming back. That delusion is going to be shattered into a million pieces. Wal-Mart might as well sell their Chinese made Christmas crap all year long. It won’t do a bit of good.  


CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

9 comments

Posted on 26th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Via Cagle Post

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ISRAEL

2 comments

Posted on 26th December 2014 by Zarathustra in Politics |Social Issues

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Merry Christmas from the only democracy in the middle east.  Behold our shared values.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=749364#sthash.qWksvsr3.dpuf

via Mondoweiss.net

Israeli forces suppress Christmas march in Bethlehem
Published Tuesday 23/12/2014 (updated) 25/12/2014 14:00
(MaanImages)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Tuesday suppressed a peaceful march calling for “Christmas without occupation” in Bethlehem.Demonstrators marched to the Israeli military checkpoint in northern Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas and hand out gifts to children in the area.Marchers held up signs reading: “Jesus came with a message of: Peace, Freedom and Justice” and “We want Christmas without occupation.”Israeli forces prevented demonstrators, some of whom were dressed as Father Christmas, from reaching the checkpoint and fired tear gas at the crowd.

Several people were treated at the scene for tear gas inhalation.

Mazen al-Azza, an activist with the Palestinian National Initiative, told Ma’an that the march had a peaceful Christmas message, but “Israeli soldiers did not miss the chance to suppress it by assaulting journalists and peaceful demonstrators.”

The ancient Palestinian city — said to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ — is now surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements on all sides.

Bethlehem is also cut off from Jerusalem, historically its twin city, by Israel’s separation wall, which runs along the northern side of the city.

CHRISTMAS FACTS 2014

7 comments

Posted on 24th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Infographic: Christmas Facts 2014 | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD

16 comments

Posted on 24th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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There will be limited action on TBP for the next two days, as family and friends gather at my house to make merry. I hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas. Enjoy the ones you love. You never know what next year will bring and how much time you have left, so enjoy the time you’ve got. Thanks for all your support and friendship over the five years I’ve been running this crazy blog. It’s become a sanctuary for the sane. Hopefully, the truth will set us free. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 

Buenos Aries

Buenos Aires

New York City

New York City

Dublin

Budapest

Moscow

Moscow

Copenhagen

Switzerland

Berlin

Berlin

Oslo

Paris

Quebec City

Quebec City

Athens

Athens

London

London

Sydney

Vatican City

Bethlehem

The Reason

QUOTES OF THE DAY

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Posted on 24th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”

George Carlin

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!”

Benjamin Franklin

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Charles Dickens

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.”

Ronald Reagan

“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? ”

Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

“The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.”

Jay Leno

“And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

AN SSS CHRISTMAS

23 comments

Posted on 19th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Lonely Libertarian

The Twelve Rules of Christmas

0 comments

Posted on 16th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via The Rutherford Institute

(Compiled by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute) 

Over the years, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by parents and teachers alike concerned about schools changing their Christmas concerts to “winter holiday programs” and renaming Christmas “winter festival” or cancelling holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays. Hoping to alleviate ongoing confusion arising from political correctness over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas in schools, workplaces and elsewhere, The Rutherford Institute has issued its “Twelve Rules of Christmas” guidelines.

In issuing the guidelines, Institute attorneys cited incidents in which, for example, a public school 6th-grade class was asked to make “holiday cards” to send to the troops but were told they could not use the words “Merry Christmas” on their cards. Similarly, nativity displays, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, wreaths, candy canes and even the colors red and green have been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God.

In order to clear up much of the misunderstanding over what can or cannot be done in terms of celebrating the holiday, the following twelve rules are offered:

  1. Public school students’ written or spoken personal expressions concerning the religious significance of Christmas (e.g., T-shirts with the slogan, “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season”) may not be censored by school officials absent evidence that the speech would cause a substantial disruption.(i)
  1. So long as teachers are generally permitted to wear clothing or jewelry or have personal items expressing their views about the holidays, Christian teachers may not be prohibited from similarly expressing their views by wearing Christmas-related clothing or jewelry or carrying Christmas-related personal items.[ii]
  1. Public schools may teach students about the Christmas holiday, including its religious significance, so long as it is taught objectively for secular purposes such as its historical or cultural importance, and not for the purpose of promoting Christianity.[iii]
  1. Public school teachers may send Christmas cards to the families of their students so long as they do so on their own time, outside of school hours.[iv]
  1. Public schools may include Christmas music, including those with religious themes, in their choral programs if the songs are included for a secular purpose such as their musical quality or cultural value or if the songs are part of an overall performance including other holiday songs relating to Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or other similar holidays.[v]
  1. Public schools may not require students to sing Christmas songs whose messages conflict with the students’ own religious or nonreligious beliefs.[vi]
  1. Public school students may not be prohibited from distributing literature to fellow students concerning the Christmas holiday or invitations to church Christmas events on the same terms that they would be allowed to distribute other literature that is not related to schoolwork.[vii]
  1. Private citizens or groups may display crèches or other Christmas symbols in public parks subject to the same reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions that would apply to other similar displays.[viii]
  1. Government entities may erect and maintain celebrations of the Christmas holiday, such as Christmas trees and Christmas light displays, and may include crèches in their displays at least so long as the purpose for including the crèche is not to promote its religious content and it is placed in context with other symbols of the Holiday season as part of an effort to celebrate the public Christmas holiday through its traditional symbols.[ix]
  1. Neither public nor private employers may prevent employees from decorating their offices for Christmas, playing Christmas music, or wearing clothing related to Christmas merely because of their religious content so long as these activities are not used to harass or intimidate others.[x]
  1. Public or private employees whose sincerely held religious beliefs require that they not work on Christmas must be reasonably accommodated by their employers unless granting the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.[xi]
  1. Government recognition of Christmas as a public holiday and granting government employees a paid holiday for Christmas does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.[xii]

AN AWD CHRISTMAS

122 comments

Posted on 12th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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For some reason, I think AWD would have liked this touching Christmas video.