Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday Myth

It comes from the highest authority, the New York Times:

"Black Friday is no longer a bellwether for retail" by Hiroko Tabuchi New York Times  November 30, 2015

NEW YORK — If the lines at Target or Macy’s this Black Friday seemed shorter than in years past, shoppers have the Internet to thank.

More people shopped online over the Thanksgiving weekend than in brick-and-mortar stores, according to a closely watched survey released by retail’s biggest trade group, the National Retail Federation. (Spending at physical stores still dwarfs online spending, however.)

Related: Back in the Black Friday

The trade group also stuck by its forecast on Sunday that retail sales this holiday season will rise 3.7 percent this year, below last year’s growth of 4.1 percent. For the first time in more than a decade, the group did not release estimates of total spending for the holiday weekend.

Then $omething is wrong.

The federation’s chief executive, Matthew Shay, said big shifts in consumer behavior made Black Friday weekend sales less of a bellwether for holiday spending, or for the state of the American consumer.

Shoppers are taking advantage of a deluge of sales and promotions to shop when they want, and how they want, he said.

Retailers, in turn, are scrambling to offer sales earlier each year, both in stores and online.

“Shopping has changed and the consumer has changed and retailers have changed,” Shay said. “Retailers are heavily promoting starting the day after Halloween.”

Got any change?

Meanwhile, there is “a broad and deep expectation” among shoppers that sales and promotions will continue far beyond Black Friday, and less of an imperative to spend over the weekend, Shay said.

The importance of Black Friday has long been more myth than fact.

(That is where blog editor stopped. So all these years the ma$$ media and propaganda pre$$ have been pimping myths more than facts, huh?)

Black Friday is generally not the year’s biggest shopping day. MasterCard estimated that shoppers bought more on Dec. 23 last year, presumably in a late scramble for Christmas gifts.

The amount of $h** they are shoveling makes the whole place look like a living room after Chri$tma$ gifts have been opened. 

Last year it was a late scramble, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah!

And Black Friday’s importance has waned even further in recent years, as retailers offered holiday sales earlier and longer.

After a while you get $ick of the rationali$ations for an economic $y$tem that sends wealth upward and that's all. Thank God NYT pre$$titutes are getting paid for this codswallop.

Some industry analysts have questioned whether the season itself is losing significance as retailers increasingly offer sales all year round.

It looks like it Chri$tma$ all year 'round, huh?

And data shows that consumers are spending less on clothing and shoes and more on traveling, eating out, and on their cars and homes.

Which con$umers would they be, huh?

Still, holiday promotions — much of it on Black Friday — remain critically important for some products, like new gadgets and technology, but a more accurate measure of holiday spending will not be available until the Department of Commerce releases retail spending figures next month for November, and for December in January....

Yeah, "still(!!!!)," and the government will rework and rewarm lies to make us all feel better, blah, blah, blah.


Related: Spending Was At An All Time Low For Black Friday And Corporations Lost Billions

Look, you can believe who you want. 

Chicago Protests Killing Christmas

Speaking of protests in the Globe:

Protesters demand end to upcoming Blue Hills deer hunts

Not making my day.

Truckers to converge on Moscow to protest tax

And by the side of the road in AmeriKa?

"Somewhere in America, a tractor-trailer loaded with hidden surveillance equipment is parked at a truck stop or warehouse while authorities wait for thieves to steal it. Such ‘‘sting trailers’’ have been successful in busting up crime rings and recovering other pilfered merchandise. ‘‘It’s like fishing,’’ said D.Z. Patterson, an investigator for Travelers insurance. ‘‘You’ve got your worm in the water, but there are hundreds of other worms out there. They have to pick yours.’’ Cargo theft has become a huge problem that the FBI says causes $15 billion to $30 billion in losses each year in the United States. The problem worsens during the holiday season, when cargo Grinches target inventories of retailers. Law enforcement and the insurance industry are fighting back by tempting thieves with ‘‘sting trailers’’ harboring cameras and GPS tracking devices."

Right, huge problem I'm sure, and now I will be looking at parked trailers a lot differently. 

It's V for Vendetta, isn't it, with the roving surveillance trucks? Thing is, U.S. authorities have had these operations going on for years before this lame piece of propaganda rolled up and parked.

What is insulting is authority expects us to believe this cock-and-bull cargo thieves crap in this age of near total surveillance -- with the answer being, more surveillance! It's simply an excuse for more spying, folks.

As for costing the economy:

"Long delays plague federal disability system; Many applicants slip into poverty before decisions are made" by Kelli Kennedy Associated Press  November 28, 2015

MIAMI — Diabetes, arthritis, and open-heart surgery have kept Sherice Bennett from working, but she can’t afford her medicine and became homeless while waiting for more than two years for a chance to convince a judge that she qualifies for federal disability benefits.

Maria Ruiz also is waiting to appeal her denial; meanwhile, she has been in and out of psychiatric wards since being diagnosed as bipolar and hasn’t been able to buy her medicines since August.

Still others die waiting.

Another VA, but thankfully the war machine has been funded.

One man had already been dead for two months this summer before his request for a hearing reached the desk of Miami Judge Thomas Snook. He ultimately approved the claim, and the man’s spouse will collect his benefits.

Overburdened administrative judges are working through huge caseloads of these appeals across America, but Miami has the country’s longest average wait for a hearing, at 22 months.

Of course, the $cheming looters in the banking industry get a government check cut within a week after the people rejected it.

And while they wait, many slip into poverty, burdening their families and dragging down the economy.

Wow. Blaming the old and ill for the economic woes as the top whatever percent swims in cash.

Besides, I have been told we have been in recovery for six years, and a good recovery compared to the rest of the world at that. WTF?

Experts blame aging baby boomers for the backlog, which began after the Social Security Administration got $1 billion less in funding than it sought for more staff. 

Related: Lockheed Looted Social Security 

Who$e to blame again?

The roughly $126 billion Social Security disability program is funded through payroll taxes and keeps many of America’s most vulnerable people off the streets by sending an average of $1,165 in a monthly check to about 9 million permanently unemployed who qualified through prior work history.

More than 8 million others qualify because they are low-income and receive an average $540 a month — both groups require medical proof that they can’t work.

Not exactly bank bailout stuff, is it?

A million hearings are pending, and it makes sense for them to keep pushing: Just under half of applicants eventually get the benefits, including millions who convince an administrative law judge on appeal that their disability makes a job impossible.

The Social Security Administration says two new judgeships are planned for Miami to lighten this load, but it’s unclear if any candidates want to work there.

‘‘The system doesn’t work,’’ said Bennett, 58, whose son quit college to help her pay rent after she was evicted. ‘‘No one should have to wait two years for a hearing. We have criminals that wait less time than that. These are people that are sick and have paid into the system.’’

It's not meant to work as millions per day are spent to advance the war agenda and empire overseas. 

It's time you started facing facts, America. This government doesn't give a shit about you.

Delays in other cities are nearly as bad: Brooklyn, N.Y.; Spokane, Wash.; and Fort Myers, Fla.; and Milwaukee have 20-month waits. Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Baltimore; and Chattanooga, Tenn., are close behind with 19 months. The shortest wait time is eight months in Fort Smith, Ark.

That somehow justifies it all, right? Just as bad as them! Call it normal, the government neglect and insult. At least Israel is never hurting for anything. 

The national average is about one year and four months, according to the Social Security Administration, and petitioners typically wait another four to five months for a decision after the hearing.

Three years ago, the agency tried to resolve these appeals more quickly by limiting caseloads, but then judges felt pressure to approve more cases, and since approvals take far less time and paperwork than denials, the program’s overall cost soared.

Ah, that is what brought it to the attention of the fa$ci$ts in government.

In a scathing review last year, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee alleged that hundreds of judges were rubber-stamping approvals and costing taxpayers unnecessary billions. Four judges alone cost taxpayers $11 billion since 2005, according to the committee’s investigation.

While not approving of fraud, it's all a matter of proportionality. 

Fort Myers Judge Larry Butler said judges who took the time to comb over sometimes hundreds of pages of medical documents to reach a decision were put on the radar for discipline for not approving cases fast enough.

‘‘The people who are not generating a high volume of cases were the judges who were doing their jobs . . . and those judges tend to have a lower payment rate,’’ Butler said.

Seattle-based attorney John Chihak, whose firm handles 600 cases a year, says these judges ‘‘are in fact every bit subject to the capricious whims of the process as the subjects who have to wait two years to get a hearing.’’

The Obama administration said there’s no indication judges are rubber-stamping cases, but some of the data was not made public and could not be verified....

Obama said so.... it must be true!


At least this state is better:

"Lawsuit alleges discrimination against deaf inmates" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  November 28, 2015


A 45-year-old woman being held at the state prison in Framingham has degenerative hearing loss and needs two hearing aids. But when she arrived to begin her sentence eight years ago with two fully functioning devices, she was forced to turn them in because they were not issued by a licensed health contractor.

According to a civil lawsuit filed on her behalf last week, prison officials gave her one state-approved device, but it broke shortly thereafter.

Other plaintiffs in a class-action suit against the state Department of Correction include a legally deaf man who was twice left behind in his unit at the Massachusetts Treatment Center during a fire alarm because he could not hear it, and hearing-impaired inmates who have been disciplined for not obeying prison announcements they could not hear.

The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Worcester last week by prisoners’ rights advocates who allege the state Department of Correction discriminates against deaf and blind prisoners.

“Deaf and hard of hearing prisoners in the [Department of Correction] are essentially living in a prison within a prison,” said Elizabeth Matos, a staff attorney with Prisoners Legal Services, a corrections reform group in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit also names Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health Care, the department’s medical contractor. Matos said staff from both agencies “have repeatedly ignored the requests of deaf and hard of hearing individuals for even the most basic accommodations necessary to protect themselves within an often dangerous environment and to access the same programs and services offered to hearing prisoners.”

A spokesman said the state Department of Correction does not comment on pending litigation and would not comment on the lawsuit. A representative from Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health Care deferred to the state.

The 49-page lawsuit alleges that the state follows policies and procedures that systemically deprive deaf and blind prisoners of services and programs that other inmates would be entitled to, such as access to medical care, mental health counselors, and educational and religious programs. The department, the lawsuit alleges, also deprives inmates of the ability to communicate and interact with loved ones.

For instance, the department uses outdated telecommunication devices for deaf and blind prisoners who try to call loved ones, even when newer technology, such as video devices, is available, easier to use, and cheaper for inmates and their families. And, the suit alleges, the outdated telecommunication devices are often not even available.

The department, according to the complaint, also fails to provide prisoners with functioning hearing aids or sign language interpreters, restricting their ability to take part in educational, vocational, or rehabilitation programs. Many of the inmates cannot communicate with medical providers, the suit alleges. According to the complaint, one inmate had a seizure and could not communicate with a medical provider. The inmate was then prescribed medication, but staff “did not tell him what it was or what it was meant to treat.”

In addition, the suit says, when announcements are made, some inmates have difficulty hearing them but are still disciplined if they do not comply. And hearing aids provided by the prisons are often not functional, the suit contends. The female prisoner at Framingham had one with a hole in it.

“She was forced to make do by covering the hole with scotch tape to make her aid minimally functional,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that the department’s policies not only discriminate against certain inmates but put them in danger.

“When [plaintiffs’] hearing devices are not functioning properly, their ability to communicate and understand their environment is seriously compromised,” the lawsuit states. “They are forced to observe the clock and other prisoners closely, taking their cues from them to ensure they are in the right place at the right time. This increases the danger that they face of exploitation and verbal and physical abuse from other prisoners.”

The lawsuit alleges that the agencies not only failed to provide basic, equal services but that they failed to act on requests over the last several years to address inmates’ concerns, as other states have.

Deborah Golden, an attorney with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, part of the team of prisoners’ right advocates, said similar calls for reform were heard in states such as Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky, but not in Massachusetts.

“We were disappointed to discover that Massachusetts is so backward,” Golden said. “It should not take a lawsuit to ensure that men and women in Massachusetts are guaranteed their rights to health, safety, and effective communication.” 

Imagine how I felt when I realized the mythical image of Massachusetts rarely matches the reality of the $tate.  

The Boston law firm of WilmerHale is also part of the legal team.


Must have been the volume at the theater that made them deaf:

"Despite mighty competition, Katniss and her crew dominated the box office once again. ‘‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2’’ held on to its first-place spot in its second weekend in theaters, earning $51.6 million to top ‘‘The Good Dinosaur’’ and ‘‘Creed,’’ which both debuted Wednesday, according to Rentrak estimates on Sunday. Disney and Pixar’s animated dinosaur movie took second place, bringing in $39.2 million Friday through Sunday, while ‘‘Creed,’’ a new entry in the Rocky Balboa canon, came in third with $30.1 million. The James Bond film ‘‘Spectre’’ earned $12.8 million and ‘‘The Peanuts Movie’’ took in $9.7 million."

Looks like the Spotlight dimmed. What a joke.


"The industry, facing weak sales and looking for sure-fire winners, is catering to the appetites of consumers, critics, and other cultural gatekeepers."

I won't miss the myth makers.

Also see: Thousands In Europe Protest Against Bombing Syria

What do you mean the Globe missed those?