Walmart Just Revealed How Poor U.S. Shoppers Are

Walmart is no stranger to sensational headlines, but there’s at least one story this week that is just begging to be taken apart. Anyone who thinks “Walmart Just Revealed How Poor Its Customers Are” is an accurate reflection of the facts, needs to keep reading. Because the problem isn’t that Walmart revealed how poor its customers really are, it’s that Walmart revealed how poor U.S. shoppers really are. The hook here, the news peg, is that Walmart released its annual report and in it, there’s a paragraph that states:
Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control … These factors include … changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans, …
The implication is that Walmart preys on the poor, that the retailer has somehow created poor people by paying low wages. That it relies on government assistance in a way that goes beyond accepting payment from shoppers via government programs. According to Business Insider:
Walmart, for the first time in its annual reports, acknowledges that taxpayer-funded social assistance programs are a significant factor in its revenue and profits. This makes sense, considering that Walmart caters to low-income consumers. But what’s news here is that the company now considers the level of social entitlements given to low-income working and unemployed Americans important enough to underscore it in its cautionary statement.
Not quite. It’s not the first time Walmart noted that a reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would hurt business. It may have been the first time it was mentioned in an annual report, but that’s because the reduction took effect during the fiscal year in question. In November, benefits for a family of four were reduced by $36 a month. Benefits had been increased as part of the Recovery Act in 2009, but Congress allowed the increase to expire on Nov. 1, 2013. An estimated 48 million Americans benefit from SNAP while roughly 80% of U.S. consumers shop at Walmart at some point during the year. Not all of them use SNAP, but the majority have some kind of budgetary constraint and it’s a number that keeps growing. Ten years ago, roughly 50% of Walmart shoppers cited low prices as the most important reason to shop at Walmart; today that number is 75%, said Andy Murray, Walmart senior vice president, creative, speaking at the Shopper Marketing Summit this week. Walmart shoppers are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in the price of gas, to small tax increases or to anything that adds another $20 burden to a household in any given week. Budgets are tight and getting tighter all the time, in spite of a slowly recovering economy. Walmart is hardly the only retailer to be affected by a reduction in SNAP benefits, or to say so in financial documents. The dollar store segment is also vulnerable. Roughly $4 billion in SNAP benefits were vaporized, money that was once spent at U.S. stores, not just at Walmart. This was bad news for shoppers and retailers, across multiple channels. As one grocery executive said in an online retail forum regarding the issue, “This cut hurts all of our sales, not just Walmart, let me make that clear. The struggle is universal for retailers, and sales are down around 8-10% since the first of the year.” I’m not a fan of criticizing other reporters or publications, but these headlines are designed to get clicks, to be shared, to fan the flames of outrage. In this case, it’s a false and very misplaced outrage. Walmart didn’t just reveal how poor its customers really are, it revealed just how poor so many U.S. shoppers are. Follow me on Twitter @lfheller Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/lauraheller/2014/03/28/walmart-just-revealed-how-poor-u-s-shoppers-are/?partner=yahootix

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Venezuela’s Attempted Currency Cure

venezuela-currency-580.jpegPosted by For years, visitors entering Venezuela through the Maiquetía airport, near Caracas, have been met with the same call from money traders: “Dólares, dólares?” The hawkers are after visitors’ American money—or any hard currency, for that matter. Hard currency has been in such short supply in Venezuela that it can be sold on the black market for more than ten times the primary exchange rate set by the government. The value at which the hawkers trade has come to define life for Venezuelans, and is an indicator of many of the country’s economic ills. But now the government has a plan to diminish the role of the black market. On Monday, authorities launched a new, supply-and-demand-based exchange system for the dollar, in what some analysts see as a radical shift from socialist policy and an admission that currency controls enacted by Hugo Chávez more than a decade ago—which pegged the bolivar, the local currency, to the U.S. dollar, and limited exchange—have failed. Those currency controls led to shortages of many basic goods—cooking oil, flour, even toilet paper—partly because importers didn’t have the dollars required to bring them in. Those with access to dollars could change them on the black market and live unusually well. These distortions are a major factor in the protests that have swept the country in recent weeks, the biggest test yet faced by President Nicolás Maduro.
Rather than the single exchange rate that we’re accustomed to when buying foreign currency, Venezuela now has a three-tier rate, in which the bolivar is worth a different amount in dollars based on the method of exchange. The primary rate, at which essentials such as medicine and food can be purchased, is just over six bolivars to the dollar. A secondary rate, known as Sicad, is defined by a weekly auction (sometimes cancelled) that values the bolivar at around eleven per dollar. The newest system, launched Monday, is known as Sicad II. Individuals and businesses can approach authorized brokers with bids for currency, which are then passed on to the country’s central bank for approval. The idea is that Sicad II helps to close the gap between the official rates and the one used on the black market. In the weeks leading up to the launch of Sicad II, the black-market value of the dollar plunged, as those seeking foreign currency anticipated that they would soon have a legitimate way of obtaining it at a better price. On the morning of Sicad II’s launch, a dollar bought around fifty-eight bolivars on the black market; a month earlier, it would have bought eighty-eight bolivars. (This is according to data from DolarToday, a Web site that tracks the black-market rate on the country’s border with Colombia.) On Monday evening, the central bank announced that the average rate of exchange through Sicad II on its first day was just under fifty-two bolivars per dollar; because the strongest official exchange rate was just over six bolivars per dollar, this represented an eighty-eight-per-cent devaluation. Still, this was the closest any official exchange rate had come to matching the black-market rate in recent years. But it didn’t last long. In trading later in the week, though people continued to exchange using Sicad II at around fifty-two bolivars per dollar, the black-market rate jumped to more than eighty bolivars per dollar. That appears to indicate that the Sicad II market is not providing enough dollars, and that people are still willing to pay a premium on the black market in order to obtain them. Authorities have not revealed how many dollars are being sold through the new exchange, stoking worries that there is simply not enough foreign currency available to meet demand. Meanwhile, the unrest is entering its seventh week; at least thirty-seven people have been killed in protests around the country. People are angry about the economic problems and high murder rate. Barricades, tear gas, and petrol bombs have become commonplace. On Twitter, Henrique Capriles, a two-time Presidential candidate who leads the country’s political opposition, decried the launch of Sicad II as a “mega-devaluation,” adding that it represented a “Black Monday” for Maduro. Silvana Lezama, a twenty-year-old communications student in Caracas, has attended and helped organize the protests since they began. She is slightly disillusioned by the lack of a clear aim, but she intends to stay on the streets. The Sicad II mechanism is “not going to solve the insecurity and the shortages,” she said. The country’s annual inflation rate remains high, and economists are expecting further price increases as businesses swap at a devalued exchange rate and pass on any raised costs to consumers. “We are currently at a very unstable equilibrium,” Alberto Ramos, a senior Latin America analyst at Goldman Sachs, told me. In the meantime, Lezama and her friends, along with thousands of others, will stay on the streets. As long as there is profit to be made, the hawkers will continue to greet visitors at Maiquetía airport. Photograph: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Source:  http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/currency/2014/03/venezuelas-attempt-at-a-currency-cure-a-new-exchange-system.html

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WHITE HAT AUXILIARIES – FACT CHECK #113

Posted on March 28, 2014 by whitehatauxiliaries • 60 Comments A Few Questions and Answers From The Top: With the continuing assistance of the White Hats and their colleagues, we have been allowed to provide you with information directly from the front lines, unfettered and unvexed, as it travels a pure line to us. I know the information is not always pleasant. But, if you would prefer that we embellish it, or write for impact rather than fact checking, then we would be forced to throw away the very reason we reached out to the White Hats in the very beginning: To get to the truth. In furtherance of that goal, we have been given answers to two questions, as of late. Please read this information carefully. Thank you for your continued readership. And thank you, again, to the White Hats and their colleagues and staff. Please await further information as it is available. ===================================================================== 1) For quite a while, many of you have requested more clarification as to why we have been advised to act quickly in the exchanging of Dinar and Dong once the revalue has taken place. The following, from the top, goes deeper into the reasons for such a suggestion: There is no plan as yet to organize Forex Markets, or any volume of demand to sustain the amounts of some issues. Printing has not been coordinated with bank capability to respond. Each sector is working for self interest. The first trades will be Private Placements which will ONLY be advised after safe completion. The banks will not have been pre-advised, and there will be a short window before chaos hits. Once Guru sites get a hold of it, mass chaos may result with a tidal surge of desperate cases mass appearing. Banks will NOT be able to cope so it is open to question the likely moves, but historical evidence of Banks response is that of lock outs. Private Rates may not be Public Rates, so when Public Supply grossly exceeds market needs, the market may respond by driving down Exchange rates. Or suspending trading. For that reason, we will try to set up a special pre advised and timed Notice Release just for the 2 sites [OWoN and WHA], so you each have the lead time to get in and out fast before chaos hits. You have nothing to lose by being in and out first and fast. You have everything to lose if caught up in the late Ambulance Chasing surge. You all need to understand that the key parties Do Fully Understand the extreme importance this means to many of you, which is why they so carefully advise parties to take a step back after cashing out, to keep it safe, and only partially reinvest in what you know and can control. Otherwise, it will be lost and game over. Life is NOT a game. It’s brutal and can be ugly. People can make it so. 2) Many have asked about private trading platforms that were abused by Bush, the agencies and cabal. Although such was detailed in the WH reports, we have some additional information, as follows: The White Hats and their London associates have been fighting this corruption together. Each have exposed numerous guilty parties. Only the power of their special link got it exposed at the very Top. Many do not understand the sheer, enormous pressure they work under. Hours off the Richter scale and the Roller Coaster temperaments of dealing with Mercurial Third and First World personalities. Diplomacy is key with extensive knowledge, Cultural experience and intellect needed. [WHA comment: Remember when I told you that the WH’s are qualified for this work? Now you know why] The White Hats, and other good US Patriots, have the one key contact needed who has the essential knowledge, experience and standing needed to assist them get those funds into their own Platform use for the true benefit of all. They do all work very closely together with huge integrity. OWoN and the White Hats will be working closely together to trade those funds and get them into Project Investment and Job Creation. Also for good Humanitarian needs. OWoN is not a currency trading or Guru site. It has already built up a substantial US and Global following and has clear intentions of using many US and Global supporters for Project development and delivery. In addition Community Planning and development. Major opportunities for US and other nationals to help turn our world around. Yes, the site is different, but it is challenging and uplifting consciousness to address the realities of our true Global problems and our collective need to both understand and plan for the rapid changes our nations are experiencing, with vast social ramifications. They are both on and even behind the front lines in this fight for Justice and all of us. Your gain is their pain. They do this as Patriots. Contentious as that may be. But they have already built a network of willing multi national parties able to put those funds to good use for all of us and our planet. They are very much on our side. Without them, all we are left with is Political chaos, incompetence, Bank /Cabal chicanery and subterfuge. Who else is giving you this information flow and help? Caring has a cost. One they pick up alone. Source: http://whitehatauxiliaries.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/fact-check-113/

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Big Bank FAIL: Judge Rules Foreclosure Unconstitutional

Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent February 3, 2014 – See more at: http://www.occupycorporatism.com/big-bank-fail-judge-rules-foreclosure-unconstitutional/#sthash.I9ifXo1E.JTTbRIvF.dpuf
Orig.src.Susanne.Posel.Daily.News- scott.stafne_occupycorporatism_susanne.posel
Judge George N. Bowden of the Superior Court in Washington State ruled against Bank of America (BoA) in a foreclosure battle that ended with the nonjudicial foreclosure sale under the Deed of Trust Act (DTA). The sale was deemed void, and the court is setting the foreclosure aside. In this case defended by StafneTrumbull law firm in Washington State, the homeowner won his ability to sue BoA for damages for a wrongful freclosure which is another major victory against the unethical and illegal foreclosures industry that has left millions of Americans homeless. Bowden acknowledged that this case was like most; “convoluted in the minefield” that is the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) system. Bradburn, the homeowner, was told by BoA “that he should stop making his mortgage payments so that he could qualify for refinancing.” BoA ensured that this homeowner was in default of the mortgage by promising to refinance; then initiated litigation against the homeowner to retrieve the property for failure by Bradburn to remain current on his payments. Bowden pointed out that the DTA “seems to contemplate a borrower and a lender with an independent trustee having the power to foreclose on the deed of trust in the event of default by the borrower. The lender would normally hold the underlying note and be the beneficiary of it. Here matters have been complicated by the sale of the underlying note from HomeStar Lending to Countrywide, which was later acquired by [BoA].” Interestingly, Bowden stated that “Fidelity Title was identified as the trustee but then MERS was characterized as the beneficiary ‘as the nominee’ of the lender and their assigns. At summary judgment it was claimed that the note was ‘owned’ by Fannie Mae although it was ‘held’ by [BoA], which was then described as the ‘servicer’ of the note at the behest of Fannie Mae.” The evidence presented by the homeowner showed that “MERS was never the owner or holder of the note.” Orig.src.Susanne.Posel.Daily.News- stafne.trumbull_susanne.posel_bradburn.bankofamerica In 2013, Bain v. MERS held that this system “is not and cannot be a legal beneficiary under Washington State law. Only the legal holder of the note, the real creditor, has the power to appoint the substitute trustee in order to transact such legal actions as a foreclosure.” Neil Garfield, property right attorney commented that MERS “is the electronic smokescreen that allowed banks to build their securitization Ponzi scheme without worrying about details like ownership and chain of title.” Garfield said: “Properties were sold to multiple investors or conveyed to empty trusts, subprime securities were endorsed as triple A, and banks earned up to 40 times what they could earn on a paying loan, using credit default swaps in which they bet the loan would go into default. As the dust settles from collapse of the scheme, homeowners are left with underwater mortgages with no legitimate owners to negotiate with. The solution now being considered is for municipalities to simply take ownership of the mortgages through eminent domain. This would allow them to clear title and start fresh, along with some other lucrative dividends.” Bowden cited that there were “contradictory statements that were filed. [BoA] filed a declaration with ReconTrust which identified Fannie Mae as the owner and beneficiary of the deed of trust, yet ReconTrust later identified [BoA] as the beneficiary.” This shows the scheme enacted by BoA to sanction this illegal and unconstitutional foreclosure which was proven because the DTA was not adhered to; as well as “failure to materially comply with that statute renders a foreclosure sale pursuant to it invalid.” Therefore the foreclosure implemented against the homeowner was illegal because there was a failure to appoint “a trustee that was independent.” Bowden clearly stated “I could not find that Fannie Mae as the claimed owner of the underlying note was a bona fide purchaser for value, even if it was not complicit in the violations of the DTA.” It was concluded that BoA and MERS action were “unfair [and] deceptive” in nature and the homeowner was “injured” because of this foreclosure. – See more at: http://www.occupycorporatism.com/big-bank-fail-judge-rules-foreclosure-unconstitutional/#sthash.I9ifXo1E.JTTbRIvF.dpuf

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NEIL KEENAN UPDATE | They’re Bugging Us!

The assassination attempts on Neil have become persistent. The cabal is proving creative and resourceful, but we are taking all appropriate precautions – and they just can’t keep a good man down! FullBodyThe week of March 9th, after a meeting, Neil was not feeling well. By Saturday the poisoning symptoms became obvious and Neil started his antidote protocols put in place by Dr. Group. By Sunday he was feeling better. By Monday he was near 100%. But on Tuesday Neil felt exhausted and passed out for two days. When he regained consciousness, his hands and feet were paralyzed. There was major swelling in his left ankle. After the swelling went down on his left ankle, two red marks became obvious. Hair in that area was gone. And what was confirmed to be an injection site was located. AnkleZoomInThe arrow on the image to the left is a zoomed-in section of Neil’s ankle. You can see one of the red marks slightly off center to the upper left. Just left of the arrow you can see a white circle with a dark center, which has been confirmed as the injection point. So how did they get to Neil? Experts that we consulted with have concluded that it was a remote control flying robotic insect which likely infected Neil the evening of Tuesday, March 18th. Neil is recovering nicely thanks to our experts including, instrumentally, Dr. Group. Neil has recovered all functions of his extremities, including his fingers and toes. The swelling is completely gone. He is now walking on his own accord, and is nearly 100%. It was, however, the most painful poison recovery he has encountered to date. And the back-to-back attempts reveal the murderous resolve of our enemy. Marx Brothers (Cocoanuts, The)_01Last Saturday, March 22, Neil and Jo were in the hotel suite when they noticed a bug flying around. Jo started running around in a frantic manner swatting at it. Neil was still not very mobile, so he was confined to shouting encouragement to Jo’s hot pursuit, and swatting at it when it would buzz him. The bug would turn on them and then they would retreat, Joe screaming, and Neil hobbling. The situation reminded Neil of a Marx Brothers episode – the only thing missing being a cigar and a video camera. bug2Jo hit the thing several times and thought he had killed it four times, but it would just not die. Finally he got it down and smashed it with a piece of paper. Jo immediately felt dizzy and his hand became numb. The “bug” was thoroughly squished, but contained no blood whatsoever. And it was still moving around! Jo is familiar enough with bugs in Indonesia. This was nothing indigenous that Jo has ever come across before. They photographed it and sent it out. On the left is an image of it. Neil is fine. We have established protocols to defend against these new types of attacks. The end is near. Their efforts have become desperate, but they fail time after time – not just because we are more clever, which we may or may not be, and certainly not because we have equal technology, which we do not, but because this is our time now. Our opportunities, our survival, our moves and accomplishments seem to have become blessed by God, nature and fate. While we will continue to take every precaution that is reasonable and available, our real strength lies in our being right, which is our might. God bless Dr. Group and all who support our efforts. We will prevail. Source: http://neilkeenan.com/neil-keenan-update-theyre-bugging-us/

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