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Chris Britt Comic Strip for January 10, 2019

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Stephen A. Crockett Jr.,The Root Thu, Jan 10 12:29 PM CST
Trump claims he never said Mexico would directly pay for border wall.
Despite running on a campaign of how he was a master business deal-maker and touting that he was going to get a beautiful wall built to keep all the white people in America, now the president of people who wear shorts in winter is claiming that he didn’t mean what he said.
“When during the campaign, I would say ‘Mexico is going to pay for it,’ obviously, I never said this, and I never meant they’re gonna write out a check, I said they’re going to pay for it. They are,” he said as he prepared to visit the war-torn southern border of Texas, CNN reports.
Well, Mr. President you ran your entire presidential campaign on the promise that Mexico was going to pay for the wall.
Wasn’t Mexico Supposed To Pay For The Wall?
One of President Trump’s central campaign promises was that Mexico would pay for a southern border wall. Now Trump is asking taxpayers to pay for it.
Once in office, and remember that Trump had Congress in his pocket, Trump never did anything to get the wall built. Now the mantra has switched from Mexico is going to pay for the wall to Mexico is going to reimburse America for the wall.
CNN reports:
But in April 2016, Trump’s campaign outlined the steps he would take to compel Mexico to pay the US “$5-10 billion” to fund a border wall — a plan that relies largely on threatening to bar undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States from wiring money to relatives in Mexico.“It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” the memo said. Using a broad interpretation of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, Trump wrote in the memo that he would threaten to issue new regulations that would compel money transfer companies like Western Union to verify a client’s identity and legal status before authorizing a wire transfer. Trump now claims his renegotiated trade deal with Mexico and Canada would result in Mexico “indirectly” paying for the wall. But the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal has not yet been approved by Congress and even the perceived benefits of its passage would not amount to a Mexican — direct or indirect — payment of the border wall. Whatever economic benefits the trade deal delivers would be reflected in financial benefits to companies and higher wages for some individuals, not in any immediate financial boon to the US government.
The government has been shutdown as Trump holds some 800,000 American workers hostage as he fights to get funding for the wall that Mexico was never going to pay for.
Nonetheless, Trump claimed: “Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly, and when I said Mexico will pay for the wall in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not gonna write a check. But they are paying for the wall indirectly many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made.”
Everyone who didn’t vote for Trump knew that Mexico was never going to pay for the wall, which has also now become some kind of steel slats or steel barrier because the president is a liar.
Meanwhile, 800,000 federal workers just called their utility providers and promised that Mexico was going to pay their electric bill.
I’m sure it will work.

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Is TOTUS paying attention to those who represent the areas he is visiting? Answer NO!!, so how is this listening to the people? MA.

By Ted Hesson and Renuka Rayasam ,Politico
2 hrs ago.

Talking to reporters Wednesday, Sen. John Cornyn said border security requires more than an imposing structure.
Nearly every lawmaker who represents a district or state along the U.S.-Mexico border — including two Republicans — either opposes outright or more quietly declines to support President Donald Trump’s $5.7 billion request for a border wall, according to a survey conducted by POLITICO.
That poses an awkward reality for the president as he visits McAllen, Texas, Thursday to receive a briefing on border security. The politicians situated in the heart of a purported immigration crisis don’t agree that spending billions on a border wall — or “steel slats,” as Trump now prefers — will benefit their region.
The dissenters include Texas Rep. Will Hurd, the only Republican House member who represents a border district, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who will accompany the president on Thursday. Cornyn dodged questions Wednesday about whether he backs Trump’s $5.7 billion demand.
“I support a solution to the problem,” Cornyn told reporters when asked specifically about the sum. “I think it’s going to be negotiated.”
Cornyn was more blunt Monday talking to Fox News. “Coming from Texas with a 1,200-mile common border with Mexico,” he said, “the idea of a wall is somewhat off-putting to a lot of people.”
In a separate Fox News interview Tuesday, Cornyn said: “There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for the entire border. It’s quite a diverse geography.”
Trump, whose insistence on border funding plunged the federal government into a partial shutdown that’s entered its third week, will make his case Thursday in McAllen. As he meets with law enforcement professionals and other backers, opposition from border lawmakers — and many of their constituents — will loom in the backdrop.
POLITICO polled the offices of 17 Senate and House members who represent Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California about Trump’s $5.7 billion border barrier request. Only two — Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) — said they supported it.
Cruz called the amount “a good first step” when asked about the sum on Wednesday. “I think we need more than that,” he added.
McSally, who was sworn in as a senator last week, previously served in the House. In late December, she voted in favor of a spending bill that provided the wall funding.
When asked if she still supported that amount, McSally said she “already voted in the House,” but declined to comment further.
In the House, eight of nine border lawmakers are Democrats. The Democratic members all told POLITICO they’re against the $5.7 billion request. Instead, they favor spending for increased border security technology, improved screening at ports of entry and more personnel to handle asylum processing.
Rep. Juan Vargas, a California Democrat who represents a district that includes the southern part of San Diego, called Trump’s request “a new level of absurdity” in a written statement provided to POLITICO.
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez — a Texas Democrat whose district includes a small stretch of the border near McAllen — said the president’s visit to the city should demonstrate that illegal immigration isn’t causing a crime wave.
“If the president does visit McAllen, Texas, he should feel free to walk around and support our local businesses,” Gonzalez said in a written statement. “After all, it is safer to walk around McAllen than it is [in] D.C.”
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a newly elected Democrat who represents a New Mexico district with more than 175 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, opposes Trump’s request. She said a wall across her entire district would be “fiscally irresponsible,” since mountains provide natural barriers, but added that existing fencing in high-traffic areas makes sense.
Hurd, the sole border Republican in the House, makes no secret of his opposition to Trump’s $5.7 billion demand. After narrowly winning reelection in November, Hurd was one of seven Republicans who sided with House Democrats last week to reopen shuttered parts of the government without a deal on the wall.
“Everyone tries to act like this is some scary drug cartel movie back in the day,” Hurd told CNN on Tuesday. “The reality is that there are people sneaking into the country, we can stop that if we have smart solutions, and that’s ultimately going to be relying on technology.”
In the Senate, Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein of California and Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico all told POLITICO they’re against Trump’s plan.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who moved to the Senate from the House last week, declined to speak with a reporter in the Capitol on Wednesday. Her office did not respond to multiple requests by email and in person to share her views of Trump’s funding proposal.
She also opted not to vote in late December when the House considered the bill that provided $5.7 billion for a border wall.
Talking to reporters Wednesday, Cornyn said border security requires a mix of infrastructure, technology and personnel, not just an imposing structure.
“I think the president likes the term ‘wall’ because he thinks it’s a vivid description of what infrastructure is all about,” Cornyn told reporters. “But clearly what we’re talking about is something more than a concrete wall.”
For years, Cornyn has led lawmakers on behind-the-scenes tours of the border in South Texas, according to his office. The attendees have included Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), as well as Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and former Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who lost a reelection bid in November to Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen.
On the tours, Cornyn introduced legislators to Border Patrol agents and local leaders who argued the region thrives off cross-border trade with Mexico — a message more of mutual prosperity than crisis.
On a November trip with Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who represents a Texas district stretching south from San Antonio to the border, Cornyn’s group toured an immigration detention center and spoke at a federal courthouse in Laredo.
Cornyn and Cruz will both be in South Texas on Thursday with Trump. Cornyn will host a roundtable after the president’s visit with border-area mayors, civic leaders and Border Patrol officials.
Sergio Contreras, president of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, a local business association, has accompanied Cornyn on the educational outings. He said border lawmakers “understand the realities (of the border) because they represent our region and walk our streets.”
Many border lawmakers worry that building a wall would threaten local economies, force private landowners to cede their property and harm the environment, especially in areas such as Big Bend National Park in West Texas.
Contreras, who will be at the Thursday roundtable, said even discussion of a wall has caused some Mexican investors to halt millions of dollars of investments in retail and residential real estate projects in the Rio Grande Valley. He argues a wall would discourage Mexican shoppers from crossing the border to Texas. Those shoppers make up between 30 to 45 percent of the area’s retail sales, according to a 2012 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Laredo’s Democratic Mayor Pete Saenz, who has joined Cornyn’s border trips and will be at the event Thursday, said he disagrees with the president’s assessment that there’s a crisis on the border.
“Do we have incidents of activity? By all means,” said Saenz, who supports stepped-up security measures but not a wall. “To the extent of calling it a crisis and building these huge walls and physical barriers, we haven’t reached that.”

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Alicia Adamczyk 28 mins ago

You may have heard that over the weekend newly minted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with 60 Minutes that there’s precedent for wealthy Americans at the “tippy tops”—in this case, those earning over $10 million—to pay a marginal tax rate “as high as 60 percent or 70 percent.”
“That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more,” she said.
Conservatives claim that such taxation is unfair to rich people. And though presumably the Minority Whip should know better, Rep. Steve Scalise seemed to indicate that such a rate would mean the government would “take away” 70 percent of a high (to be clear: astronomically high) earner’s income. But that’s not how income tax works in the U.S. That’s because our income is taxed at “marginal” rates, as the congresswoman alluded to in her interview.
Steve Scalise

@SteveScalise
Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money
Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs
https://
hotair.com/archives/2019/
01/04/aoc-tax-rate-70-fund-green-new-deal/

15K
9:53 AM – Jan 5, 2019

What does this mean? It means that different levels of income are taxed at progressively higher rates for the same individual. What you likely refer to as your tax bracket is not the effective rate that you’re paying on all of your income. It’s the rate you’re paying at your highest level of income, the money you earn above the tax bracket thresholds. For example, take 2019’s tax brackets for individuals (you’re taxed at each rate if you earn over the amount listed next to it):
10 percent: $0
12 percent: $9,700
22 percent: $39,475
24 percent: $84,200
32 percent: $160,725
35 percent: $204,100
37 percent: $510,300
If you earn $161,000 this year, for example, you’re not going to be taxed at 32 percent for the entire amount. You’ll be taxed at each of the preceding four brackets as your income goes up, and will be taxed 32 percent on the amount earned over $160,725 at the federal level:
10 percent of the first $9,700
12 percent of the amount between $9,701 and $39,475
22 percent of the amount between $39,476 and $84,200
24 percent of the amount between $84,201 and $160,725
32 percent of the amount over $160,725
And so on, if you earn more than that example. What Ocasio-Cortez proposed, then, is another tax bracket of 70 percent at income over $10 million, not 70 percent on all income if you earn $10 million or more. And hewing to Ocasio-Cortez’s example, who earns over $10 million per year? According to a 2016 report from the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of U.S. households bring in at least $389,436 annually, though the average is closer to $1.15 million. So we’re talking about a percentage of one percent.
In 2019, the top marginal tax rate is 37 percent. Historically, that’s fairly low. You can go back to 1981 to find a 70 percent marginal rate, and that’s on income over $108,300 for an individual, per the Tax Foundation. Before that, for a period, earners at the “tippy top” were taxed over 90 percent. Ocasio-Cortez’s statement (it’s not a policy proposal at this point) is in line with progressive economic proposals.
In sum, the federal government isn’t coming to take away 70 percent of a tippy top earner’s money.

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The two years of TOTUS has made a mockery of the United States across the world. If some of us feel that it doesn’t matter then you are wrong! No matter what TOTUS says (most of which is hyperbole and lies or alternate facts if you prefer) he has no idea how to lead a country. His business acumen is greatly suspect as shown by reports of his bankruptcies and the business bodies left in his wake. His foreign business deals are equally suspect and in some cases could be construed as treason or at the least quasi legal. This shutdown fomented by ignorance and disinformation is his way of making deals. It is furthered by party politics which is divided along party lines by Congressional members who are afraid of criticism from the “child” rather than doing the work they were elected to do by the often cited “American people”. It is well to note that these long serving Congressional members have for the past 10 years restricted any legislation that would serve the people by offering alternative facts rather than serving in an honorable manner. The current shutdown does not affect the salaries of the Congress due to a law enacted by the Congress along with their exemption from the ACA while changing it for the rest of us in the worst ways. If you ascribe to one political party or another without paying close attention to both then we (as a nation) will continue to have poor governance as we are experiencing now. Voters need to step up, get informed and take back control of the government, this make sound impossible but that’s what voting is for!

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Presidential decision informed by Media conservatives whose incomes and lifestyles are not affected by the government shutdown.MA

Jon Levine
The Wrap January 5, 2019

Sean Hannity urged President Trump to dig in his heels for funding of the border wall, even if it means keeping the government closed through his State of the Union address on Jan. 29… or longer.
“As much of an inconvenience, some people that work for the government and I hope they get their back pay, it needs to continue, straight throughout State of the Union and maybe beyond,” Hannity said at the end of a more than 20 minute opening monologue for his Fox News program Friday.
“The State of the Union, the president, he can take his case directly to you, we, the people. While the president should support back pay for those furloughed employees, make no mistake. No matter what the president does, he must hold firm on this border wall funding from Congress,” Hannity said.
When the Senate failed to pass a spending bill that included $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall on Dec. 22, a partial government shutdown was ordered, and the POTUS says he will reject any spending package that lacks it. In a Friday news conference, Trump warned that a partial government shutdown could go on for several months (or even years) or he could declare a national emergency to build the wall without Congress’ approval.
The Trump administration and the new Democratic House majority remain unable to come to an agreement over the proposed wall. Nancy Pelosi, returning for her second stint as House Speaker, has called the wall “immoral” and has vowed to prevent any money from being appropriated to it. As the shutdown goes into its third week, some 800,000 federal employees have been forced to go on unpaid leave or work without pay.
After initially being open to a deal with Democrats, Trump made the decision to shut down the government after facing intense criticism from allies on the right, including Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.
Trump said during his campaign that the wall would be paid for by Mexico, a plan which Mexico vehemently rejected. The wall went unfunded by the U.S. in the first two years of Trump’s term, during which time Republicans held control of Congress.
Read original story Sean Hannity Tells Trump to Continue Shutdown ‘Straight Through the State of the Union’ At TheWrap

 

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Excellent read and message.MA

Stephanie Ingersoll
10 hrs ago

CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee – Black men are more dangerous to other black men than white Ku Klux Klansmen ever were, Montgomery County Judge Wayne Shelton told a man accused of murder this week.
Shelton, presiding over the preliminary hearing of Vincent Bryan Merriweather on Thursday, said he’s sick and disheartened by what he sees as a lack of respect for human life, especially among young black men willing to shoot at one another for little or no reason.
“I grew up in a time where people wore white robes and they shot at black people,” Shelton said. “And now we see young black men wearing black hoodies shooting at black men – and doing much more effective job than the Klan ever thought about doing.”
Although Shelton has been saying that “black lives matter” for years, he lamented Thursday that no one is listening. “I’m sick of it,” he said.
Black Lives Matter: A primer on what it is and what it stands for
More: How social media has shaped Black Lives Matter, five years later
Witnesses testified Thursday that Merriweather and two other men exchanged gunfire between their car and another before Antorius Gallion was fatally shot in the head on Nov. 19.
According to Gallion’s brother and statements made to police, the altercation began at a middle school basketball game when two of the men’s feet brushed in the stands. That led to a stare-down and argument.
Shelton has given similar lectures in previous cases, comparing crime among young black men to KKK violence.
After two teenage brothers were accused of gunning down a young Clarksville man following a high school graduation party in May 2015, Shelton had stern words.
“What a horrible tragedy this is,” Shelton said at that hearing in June 2015. “Black lives matter.”
One of the suspects had just graduated high school and had a future ahead of him, as did the other two men. “That life mattered,” Shelton said as the victim’s family sobbed. “That black life mattered to them, and it matters to me.”
Shelton said he was upset that the shooting may have simply stemmed from a reaction of perceived “disrespect.” In years long past, the Ku Klux Klan would kill black people who they thought were disrespectful, he added.
“The Klan doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “Who doesn’t care about black lives now? I’ll let you answer that. I’m tired of black men killing black men. If I offended anyone … I can’t help it.”
On Thursday after Merriweather’s hearing, Shelton told The (Clarksville, Tennessee) Leaf-Chronicle that while he “might look like the whitest man in the room,” he isn’t.
Shelton said his great-great-great-grandfather was a free man of color in the 1860s, and he is disgusted by what he sees as a lack of respect for human life, whether it be at the hands of a racist police officer or rival gang members.
“Black lives really do matter,” he said. “The total disregard of that fact by any in our society is totally reprehensible.”
Follow Stephanie Ingersoll on Twitter @StephLeaf
This article originally appeared on Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Tennessee judge goes on tirade about crime among black men being ‘more effective’ than KKK

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Two prominent Liars in Government. MA

By Ted Barrett and Clare Foran, CNN 11 hrs ago

While McConnell and Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican and his new deputy in Senate GOP leadership, left the White House after the meeting, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise stood behind Trump in the Rose Garden as the President boasted during a lengthy and far-reaching session with reporters that he could “call a national emergency” to build a border wall with Mexico — the issue at the center of the shutdown stalemate — without the approval of Congress if he wants, and defended the use of eminent domain, something that is unpopular with many conservatives, to facilitate construction.
At one point, a reporter explicitly asked the President, “Why is Senator Mitch McConnell not here? Why was he not invited to this?”
Trump replied that McConnell was not there “because he’s running the Senate,” despite the fact that the Senate adjourned for the weekend before the White House meeting started and will not be back in session until Tuesday.
The President also praised the Senate GOP leader, saying, “He’s been great. He’s been really fantastic.”
Trump also emphasized that McConnell had been at the meeting. “He was here. He was with us for hours at the meeting.”
Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, told CNN that the two Republican senators left the White House after the meeting unaware a press conference was planned. They would have attended if asked, Stewart said.
McConnell told CNN on Thursday that he has not been “sidelined” in talks to reopen parts of the government, but asserted that he has “no particular role” to play in ending the standoff, a responsibility he argued falls to the President and congressional Democrats who wield expanded power in the new Congress now that Democrats have taken over the House majority.
The Senate majority leader did speak to reporters at the Capitol on Friday as he returned from the meeting at the White House, saying that it was a “spirited discussion as you can imagine.”
“I would say the news is that the President agreed to designate his top people to sit down with all the leaders’ staffs this weekend to see if we can come up an agreement to recommend back to us, the various leaders,” McConnell said.
He added that “the government couldn’t reopen until Tuesday anyhow because we don’t have people here to vote” since both chambers of Congress gaveled out of session on Friday and won’t return until Tuesday.

How McConnell is handling the government shutdown fight
In recent days, McConnell has kept a relatively low-profile in the midst of the shutdown fight and distanced himself from negotiations to end the impasse.
McConnell had opposed shutting down the government, and in late December, it seemed briefly that a partial shutdown would be averted when Senate Republicans and Democrats joined together to pass a stop-gap funding bill that would have prevented a shuttering of roughly a quarter of the federal government.
When the Senate passed the measure, the proposal had the backing of congressional Democratic leaders and top congressional Republicans had indicated they were optimistic the President would sign it.
But the plan was upended a day later when it came time for the House to take up the legislation. After facing criticism from conservative allies who wanted to see him push for border wall funding, the President abruptly informed House GOP leaders that he would not sign the bill because it did not match up with his demands for the wall.
In a brief hallway interview on Thursday, McConnell explained that his role is now reversed from when he and then-Vice President Joe Biden worked to avoid a fiscal cliff and negotiated other tough issues during the Obama administration.
“Well, it’s not complicated. I was in this role when Obama was President, and Biden and I did deals because they needed some of our votes. So, now the role is reversed and ultimately the solution to this is a deal between the President and Nancy and Chuck because we need some of Chuck’s votes and obviously we need Nancy’s support,” he said, referring to newly installed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.
“So, I haven’t been sidelined,” McConnell added. “It’s just that there’s no particular role for me when you have this setup.”
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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Bottom line is all Sears Holdings “owned” properties are worth triple as real estate, therefore ESL investments would get a bargain if the properties are sold as such.MA

Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY Published 1:20 p.m. ET Nov. 6, 2018 | Updated 3:50 p.m. ET Nov. 6, 2018

Sears Holdings chairman and investor Eddie Lampert may have profited from the company’s plunge into bankruptcy, a group of creditors alleged Tuesday.
A committee organized to represent the retailer’s unsecured creditors in court accused Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments of potentially structuring deals to gain an unfair edge as the company declined.
They “may have exercised undue influence to siphon value away from the Company on favorable terms,” the creditors group said in a court filing.
The group also said Lampert may have leveraged his “insider status to obtain an ever-increasing percentage” of Sears debt, allowing him to “obtain beneficial positions” in the retailer’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
USA TODAY reported in June that Sears was giving Lampert and his funds about $200 million to $225 million per year in debt payments.
Sears representatives declined to comment.
Lampert’s ESL said in a statement that the hedge fund “has consistently supported Sears Holdings in its efforts to transform and return to profitability during a period of rapid change and disruption in the retail industry.”

“We have every confidence that all transactions involving ESL and Eddie Lampert are valid and enforceable, based on fair and reasonable terms, which were approved by independent directors who were advised by independent financial and legal advisors and featured other appropriate corporate governance procedures,” the hedge fund said. “Any legal claims that attempt to challenge these transactions will have no merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously against any asserted claims.”
Lampert, who served as CEO from 2013 through the company’s bankruptcy filing last month, extended billions in financing to Sears. He also holds ownership stakes in various assets formerly owned by Sears, including valuable real estate spun off in 2015 into a real estate investment trust called Seritage Growth Properties.

“No one should be shocked that he is profiting off transactions to lend Sears money —the issue is, were those deals done at arm’s length and at commercially reasonable terms?” said Philip Emma, senior analyst at Debtwire, which provides news and analysis of corporate and municipal debt.
The Seritage deal was particularly suspicious, the unsecured creditors group alleged.
The committee said its examination of the deal shows it “appears to be at discounted prices” and that subsequent leaseback deals to Sears carried “unfavorable and burdensome terms” for the struggling retailer.
Sears was paying Seritage $90.8 million in annual rent for 151 leases, amounting to $4.73 per square foot, according to a Seritage public filing.
Seritage representatives were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
The creditors group is asking a judge to force Sears to give up documents related to the deals in question, including $2.4 billion in debt held by Lampert through his investment funds, including ESL.
Debtwire’s Emma said creditors typically pull all available levers in bankruptcies in an attempt to get paid. So it’s “not unexpected” that they would make these accusations given Lampert’s history of lending to Sears.
What’s “pretty unusual,” he said, is that Lampert is acting simultaneously as debtor, investor, lender, landlord and vendor.
Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, hoping to shed debts and close more than 180 unprofitable stores in a bid to stay open as a smaller company. It had 687 stores when it filed, including its Kmart discount stores.
Lampert’s ESL owns nearly 50 percent of Sears. He engineered the company’s tie-up with Kmart in 2005 and has served on its board since. He gave up the CEO post when the company filed for bankruptcy.
In the final months leading up to the Chapter 11 filing, Lampert proposed that his hedge fund buy Sears appliance brand Kenmore, but a deal Never happened.

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More on the wall. MA
Jamil Smith, U.S. Rolling Stone 3 hours ago

The border wall is Trump University. It’s Trump Steaks and Trump Vodka, too. It’s the futile promise of a fruitful career in the Trump Organization if you’ve earned his favor on a game show, or the assurance of fortunes once you buy that book that he didn’t write and likely never read himself. The wall is a con. And like practically everything else at the foundation of his empire, Trump always lied about who was going to pay for it.
Those of us intimately familiar with the structures already built inside our borders to oppress brown and black people knew that it didn’t matter whether or not the wall was a “metaphor,” as Lindsey Graham put it last Sunday.
Jerry Falwell, Jr., the Liberty University president, told the Washington Post this week that there is nothing Trump could do to endanger his support from the evangelical community and that “I can’t imagine him doing anything that’s not good for the country.” I presume “anything” includes a partial government shutdown over a border wall that Trump said Mexico was going to pay for but alas, there was no follow-up.
The sycophancy of supporters like Falwell, Jr., is why Trump never needed to try this hard to get the wall built. He may not have needed to even attempt to follow through on it. Were he wiser, he would have continued to use the wall as a political McGuffin: the unobtainable, unknowable object that he continued to dangle in front of his supporters until he won his second term. Now, as Democrats take over the House of Representatives today, Trump is behaving as though he lacks bladder control. Inadvertently, he has handed Democrats a unique opportunity. Not to put too fine a point on it, but preventing the construction of Trump’s border wall is a chance to defeat an actual, literal example of structural racism.
Democrats need to both defeat the wall and use this as a teachable moment for the country. Other forms of institutional bigotry are much less obvious, and therefore more easily ignored or equivocated. Betsy DeVos reversed the Obama guidance aimed at reducing racial disparities in school discipline, for one. Right before Christmas, we learned that Ben Carson has been pulling back Housing and Urban Development investigations into systemic patterns of segregation, choosing instead a more regressive path: focusing on individual cases brought to the department’s attention. On Thursday, the Post reported that a more sweeping rollback of “disparate impact” regulations is under consideration. A border wall, even a mythical one, is easier than housing discrimination for some Americans to envision.
Despite his astonishing 89 percent approval rating among Republicans, it is to Trump’s disadvantage for him to make the wall a wedge issue. For one, the partial shutdown is currently showcasing, and not in a good way, how essential government is to our lives. Native tribes surely care more about their roads being paved by government workers so that they can eat and get health care. Those 800,000 or so federal workers must understand that their rent and bills are jeopardized solely because Trump wants to signify to bigots yet again that “No, really, I’m with you.” (Perhaps he needed to reboot his credibility with the racists after signing the FIRST STEP Act and getting too much credit for “overhauling” the criminal justice system.) The folks coming to Washington on their class trips have found museums closed and uncollected garbage overflowing from the cans in the National Mall. Yosemite’s roadsides reek of the urine from reckless visitors. Images from the shutdown have offered a gross analogy for a nation under Trump: this is America without adult supervision.
Democrats depend on an America that considers government to be important, and their voters strongly prefer it not to be racist. The wall is structural racism manifest, not “border security.” Consider that argument, not some heady stuff about whether it can actually exist along the nearly 2,000 miles of border line. Democrats have the power to keep Trump and the Republicans from having the wall, and that should be the end of it. Politically, this is hunting in the zoo: tell Trump, “Hey, how about $0.00 for your wall,” and wait him out. I don’t think that it will take all that long to get the government working again.
Even conservative commentator Ann Coulter, a consistent advocate of the wall, believes that Trump will fold on this issue. What happens next is the question. “If he doesn’t build the wall, the next president will be a Democrat,” she said during a Wednesday radio interview. I’m not so fatalistic. If Trump caves, I doubt too many Democratic challengers bring up the wall as a failed promise in 2020. And if dropping his ransom demand ends the shutdown, the effect may be like the changing of a channel once the credits begin to roll. Given the attention span that folks seem to have, it all might depend upon whom he fires the next day. Or which country he fires upon.

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