Amazon is not amazing...
Amazon is not amazing... Charles Mudede

The Root Cause of America’s Retail Apocalypse? Bloomberg claims it's not so much Amazon but that "many... long-standing chains are overloaded with debt." What basically happened is this: These chains borrowed lots of money to buy other chains (leveraged buyout), and this put huge debts in their books and profits in the books of Wall Street intermediaries. Sustaining these debts with revenue from sales, however, became more and more difficult as competition from cyberspace stiffened.

The writing Bloomberg sees on the wall:

There are billions in borrowings on the balance sheets of troubled retailers, and sustaining that load is only going to become harder—even for healthy chains. The debt coming due, along with America’s over-stored suburbs and the continued gains of online shopping, has all the makings of a disaster. The spillover will likely flow far and wide across the U.S. economy. There will be displaced low-income workers, shrinking local tax bases and investor losses on stocks, bonds and real estate. If today is considered a retail apocalypse, then what’s coming next could truly be scary.

And so, it's not that Amazon is doing anything that amazing. It's advantage is as obvious as night and day: It can sell stuff to broke consumers at a lower cost than debt-burdened brick-and-mortar giants can. As the brilliant post-Keynesian economist Steve Keen repeatedly points out on Twitter and in blogs and books, Americans go on and on about government debt but say almost nothing about private debt, which is massive and poses a much greater threat to the economy. Amazon happened to have the best business model for a country that has little or no money and mountains of debt.

Windy Night and Windy Monday: If you live in Seattle, expect "southerly winds gusting to 50-55 mph" between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. today. It was also very windy last night. It even began howling over homes in Columbia City at 3:00 a.m.. In Beacon Hill and Seward Park, the wind was just too much for a number of trees. They gave up the ground and fell on utility lines, which, incidentally, are often supported by the ghost of trees. At present, around 2,400 people in Beacon Hill and Seward Park are without power.



Nikkita Oliver Walks Into the Rainier Beach Safeway And: Follows the white loss prevention officer she finds following two black teens. Oliver, the former mayoral candidate and community activist, soon confronts the loss prevention officer, who doesn't work for Safeway but for Phoenix Protective Corporation, about his brazen profiling. But the officer appears to be under the impression that he is just doing his job right. He is paid to follow black teens when they enter the supermarket.



Cary Moon Beat Durkan Primarily In Neighborhoods Nikkita Oliver Won in August: But it was not enough to win the race, which will certainly tighten as late votes are counted. As expected, Durkan did very well in rich neighborhoods. And we can expect her to reward her voters handsomely. This city will become hardened and unlivable for all but the kind of people who voted for and gave loads of cash to Durkan, who, like Murray, is on the right of the neoliberal left (people like Moon and McGinn are in the center of the social democratic left, and folks like Oliver and Sawant are on the left of the radical left).

Bellevue Church to Prepare Congregation for Active Shooter: The Bellevue church, which is Presbyterian and has prepared its members for "fire and evacuations, medical emergencies, earthquakes," has decided to include active shooter to its list of potential disasters. The shooting that happened last week in Texas (and like the shooting that happened a month or so ago in Las Vegas) is already mostly forgotten by Americans, informed the church's dramatic decision. If it could happen in that rural church, it could happen here in their urban one. Q13Fox has the whole story.

China Is Catching Up to Blade Runner: And India is catching up to China. In fact the smog that's choking New Delhi, the capital of India, is, according to the Guardian, "[on a] scale [that can be] likened to smoking 50 cigarettes a day." Trump's current gutting of the EPA means we can expect the US to make an impressive return to the race to Blade Runner.

We Need to Stop Making Fun of Trump: And take his tweets seriously. Calling him dumb or childish is not only not helping, it's exactly what his followers want. Indeed, it is all they have left. They do not expect Trump to protect their jobs or to drain swamps or to tell the truth or to be presidential or any of that conventional crap. They want him to frustrate and nettle reasonable citizens and "coastal elites." This is their one and only joy, as negative and soul-broken as it is. We must not ignore Trump's stupidities, but we must also not give his supporters access to the poison that makes them smile a final smile.


Earthquake Injures Thousands and Kills Hundreds in Iran and Iraq: