Featured Article

Retail Is Alive And Well, But Only For The Rich

A decade ago, with the majority of stores exiting, Euclid Square Mall in Ohio was temporarily used by religious congregations who held services in abandoned retail stores. Two years ago, Amazon announced plans to build a fulfillment center in its place.

The fate of many malls around the country has largely come to mirror that of the Ohio story in varying degrees of non-retail activity, including simply a place where the elderly gather to walk a few safe laps.

Shopping malls may be hot this holiday season, but more so in classic Christmas movies or the season finale of “The Walking Dead”. Not in reality.

In the retail apocalypse, American malls are having a hard time keeping their doors open, and they’re trying pretty much every gimmick in the book.

Several big cities are testing out malls that cater to the upper-middle-class, millionaires and wealthy tourists.

Opened in March this year, Hudson Yards in New York City features high-end brands such as Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Dior, and the like. According to management, 12 million people have visited the mall since its doors opened.

High-end malls in other parts of the country are thriving as well. One of them, the Bal Harbour Shops, located in Miami Beach, just announced a $550-million expansion. Bal Harbour Shops, with its mandatory $30 vehicle valet, is considered one of the most luxurious shopping malls in the country, complete with five-star restaurants.   As an additional benefit, luxury malls have been relatively immune to the US and China trade war. CLICK for complete article

Meth, We’re On It.

Paul Watson, Summit News – Yes, this really is the tagline. South Dakota’s Department of Social Services has spent nearly half a million dollars on an anti-meth ad campaign with the tagline “Meth. We’re On It.” No, this is not The Onion…Click to read full article.

How Google’s Fitbit Acquisition Is Already Posing Some Problems

A certain number of Fitbit Inc FIT users aren’t happy the fitness tracker and smartwatch maker sold itself to Alphabet Inc according to CNBC.

What Fitbit Users Are Saying

Alphabet’s Google unit said in November it will buy Fitbit in a $2.1 billion deal to gain better exposure to the health and wellness space. Nultiple users have expressed privacy related concerns and have no interest in being part of the Google ecosystem.

A Fitbit user named Mike Carpenter told CNBC he’s concerned what Google will do with all the data it collects “once their AI advances in 10 or 20 years.” Google will have a trove of data that “health insurance companies would love to get their hands on.”

“I only recently got it and now I’m thinking I don’t need Google watching literally my every step or my every heart beat,” Fitbit user Dan Kleinman told CNBC….CLICK for complete article

Will Bezos Buy The Seattle Seahawks?

While it appears that giant Amazon has lost a tax battle in Seattle, it might win the “big game,” with its billionaire owner Jeff Bezos considering buying an NFL team. Amazon poured nearly $1.5 million into last week’s Seattle city council elections, aiming to defeat politicians who supported a tax on big business that Amazon and other big companies oppose.

Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders accused Amazon of trying to buy the council.

Well, the lobbying didn’t work anyway.

Only two of the seven candidates endorsed by Amazon and other companies emerged as winners.

One of the winners was Kshama Sawant, a self-described socialist and Amazon’s fiercest critic on the council.

The backstory is that last year, the Seattle city council voted to levy a new tax on large businesses of about $275 per employee, calling it a “head tax.” The tax was designed to raise at least $45 million a year to build more affordable housing and help support a homeless population.

However, less than a month later, Amazon and other Seattle businesses succeeded in pushing local leaders to repeal the tax…CLICK for complete article

Twitter: The Saudi Spy Tool To Bring Down Dissidents

In 2017, Saud al-Qahtani–advisor to the Saudi Crown Prince–was rather active on social media.

In one Twitter post, he stated: “Does a pseudonym protect you from #the_black_list? No 1) States have a method to learn the owner of the pseudonym 2) the IP address can be learned using a number of methods 3) a secret I will not say.”

While it should be understood that once you put something out on social media, it’s there for anyone to use against you. But it’s quite another thing when the threat is coming from a figure who served as director the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming, legal advisor and a media consultant for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

That’s who Saud al-Qahtani was when he made his Twitter debut.

And what he was talking about in his 2017 tweet was a campaign to harass and target dissidents of the regime. To that end, he started the hashtag “#The_Black_List” in which he called on Saudis to suggest online critics to target. Now, just one week after Twitter management decided to stop all political advertising, two former employees and their handler were charged by the US government for espionage. For Saudi Arabia…CLICK for complete article

New Viral App May Be A National Security Threat In Disguise

Grandma trying to rap was one of the most shared TIkTok videos this year, but her late-start career might not get off the ground. The U.S. government is about to investigate the app for “national security risks”. Grandma herself may not be a national security risk, but her data–and the data of hundreds of millions of others–could be a goldmine for Beijing. Or, it could just be another case of America crying wolf in the middle of an all-out tech war.

For those unfamiliar with it, the app allows users to create, upload and share videos up to 15 seconds long using various editing tools and effects that enable lip-syncing and a number of other filters….CLICK for complete article