Sears Closing 103 Stores

Today Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) announced the closure of 103 stores. After 24 quarters of consecutive losses, the retail giant is closing 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores. These closures are scheduled  for March and April 2018, with liquidation sales starting in mid-January.

Sears declined to say how many jobs were being lost. However, they did say most were part-time positions. They also promised severance packages to eligible associates.

Sears continues to face increased competition from on-line sellers such as Amazon, big box giants like Walmart, Best Buy, and Home Depot.

Senator Hatch to Retire

Today Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced he won’t seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2018. Mr. Hatch, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was responsible for shepherding the recent changes to the U.S. tax code through the Senate.

“Although I will miss serving you in the senate, I look forward to spending more time with my family,” Hatch said via Twitter.

Mr. Hatch, along with Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have all announced they will not run in 2018. Unlike those two seats, Utah is solidly Republican and should remain in the GOP column.

However, if a moderate Republican such as Mitt Romney were to be elected, the Senate suddenly becomes more problematic for President Trump.

2018 and Beyond

Things here at State of the Superpower became very busy during 2017. Life commitments, combined with Trump fatigue, combined to shut us down for the second half of the year. Actually, politics became too ugly. Instead of the usual policy/political differences, discourse degenerated to unacceptably  nasty levels . Political coverage became an unpleasant chore.

However, the new year brings new opportunities. Granted, the daily Trump outrage is omnipresent, but we are facing a critical year. The 2018 off-year elections  are only 11 months away, meaning there will be plenty of interesting and varied political topics to cover. After two years of Trumpism, this year we  determine the type of nation we are.

In addition, we here at State of the Superpower intend to broaden coverage to include international news, social commentary,  film/pop culture, and sports. We also want to expand our military and economic coverage. In short, the goal is to expand into more than a political blog.

For full disclosure, our writers do lean left politically. That being said, we’re not here to act as an echo chamber offering prepackaged liberal ideas. We want to look at both sides of a topic, and support what  works. If our writers can take both liberal and conservative readers out of their comfort ones, then we are achieving our goal.

So buckle up buttercups, it’s going to be a rough ride.

The QVC White House

On talk show train wreck Fox & Friends, Kellyanne Conway decided to shill for her boss’s daughter.  Mrs. Conway said, “It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.” They only problem is her boss is the President of the United States.

It may come as a shock to some, but the Office of Government Ethics prohibits using public office for private gain. This prohibition extends not only to those who hold office, but also their friends and relatives. It appears Presidential Advisor Kellyanne Conway violated this prohibition by going on television and encouraging Americans to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff”.

Ivanka is President Donald Trump’s oldest daughter. The “stuff” in question is her fashion apparel line. This line includes clothing, shoes, handbags, and other assorted accessories. And Mrs. Conway endorsement appears to be a response to the Nordstrom’s decision to drop Trump’s fashion line.

And Mrs. Conway wasn’t the only unclear with the “not using public office for private gain” concept.

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly,” the President tweeted from his private account. “She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

President Trump later re-tweeted the message from the official presidential account, @POTUS. I’ll concede tweeting on your private account is one thing, but using the official presidential account takes it to another level.

I don’t shop at Nordstrom. And if I did, I wouldn’t buy purses, shoes, or whatever Ivanka Trump pimps. So for me, this entire topic is stupid. And yet, I’m writing about it because people in high places can’t differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable. If you hold public office, you shouldn’t use that office to make money. It is basic government 101 and basic common sense.

Yet this administration can’s seem to differentiate between televised political events and a QVC commercial.

Travel Ban Sham

In today’s episode of really shitty policy ideas, we’re looking at President Trump’s Muslim ban. For the next 90 days, Executive Order 13769 forbids citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States. The Executive Order also halts refugee resettlement for 120 days, and places an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

This ban is stupid on so many levels. First of all, there is no instance of people from the banned countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) attacking Americans here in America. Now countries whose citizens have fucked us (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt) aren’t on the banned countries list. These are also countries Mr. Trump does business with.

I’m not launching an ethical debate about accepting refugees, because I don’t care. And honestly, most Americans don’t care. However, the threat of domestic terrorism is a joke. I’m more likely to be killed by a right wing Trumptard cleaning his loaded AR-15 than some refugee kid hugging me with a grenade wedged up his ass.

I dislike the ban because it lacks a success metric. If America was attacked by people from any of these countries and the ban was enacted, you could argue a drop in attacks showed the ban worked. If the number of attacks remains the same or increases, you can argue the ban failed. Since it has never happened, there is no baseline to measure success. If there was never danger, then you can’t claim to keep people safe.

And I’m not the only one. Executive Order 13769 has been criticized by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. Nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats used the State Department’s Dissent Channel to voice their opposition. In addition, protests were staged in cities, airports, and universities across the country. Despite these protests, polling in the United States show a fairly even split in support/opposition of the ban.

To be fair, I don’t believe Mr. Trump is racist. I do believe he is a small handed man-child who uses his wealth and fame to sexually assault woman. I also believe he is a sub-par “businessman” whose inherited wealth makes him too rich too fail. I also think he is a narcissistic bully with the emotional development of a Hostess fruit pie. None of that makes him a racist.

It just makes him a dick.