Apple announces plans to repatriate billions in overseas cash, says it will contribute $350 billion to the US economy over the next 5 years
“Apple will invest $350 billion in the US economy over the next 5 years
Apple on Wednesday made a slew of announcements about its investment in and contribution to the U.S. economy in part because of the new tax law.
The headline from Apple is that it will make a $350 billion “contribution” to the U.S. economy over the next five years, although it’s unclear exactly how the company came to that number.
The company also promised to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus.
It said it expects to pay about $38 billion in taxes for the horde of cash it plans to bring back to the United States. This implies it will repatriate virtually all of its $250 billion in overseas cash.
Apple also said it will spend over $30 billion in capital expenditures over the next five years. About $10 billion in capital expenditures will be investments in U.S. data centers, the company said.
Apple added that it will spend $5 billion as part of an innovation fund, up from the $1 billion CEO Tim Cook announced last year on CNBC’s “Mad Money.”
The job creation will include direct employment and also suppliers and its app business, which it had already planned to grow substantially (app developers earned $26.5 billion in 2017.) The new campus will focus on customer support.
Wednesday’s announcement indicates that Apple will still have hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. It could spend that money on buybacks, dividends or acquisitions or moonshot projects.
The announcement raises the bar for the world’s most valuable company — now a huge driver of the economy — to continue its dominance and growth in the wake of political pressure on big tech companies. The plan calls for Apple to keep up 2018’s $55 billion “supercycle” spending rate with domestic suppliers and manufacturers.
“We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible,” Cook said in a statement.
In 2016, then president-elect Donald Trump publicly called out Apple’s reliance on its Chinese supply chain, telling The New York Times that he would “get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States.”
Apple shares were up about half a percent after the announcement, adding about $5.6 billion to the company’s market capitalization after the stock opened Wednesday’s trading session down 0.3 percent.
SoCal Gas Faces Violation Notice for Recent Aliso Canyon Gas Leak
|| NBC San Diego
Regulators contend that SoCalGas didn’t notify the community about the leak until more than two hours after it began.
“The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a violation notice to Southern California Gas Co. Friday stemming from a nearly hour-long gas leak that occurred Monday at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Porter Ranch.
The notice accuses the gas company of causing a public nuisance, and regulators contend SoCalGas didn’t notify AQMD or the community about the leak until more than two hours after it began.
According to the AQMD, the leak was caused by the failure of a flange gasket, and SoCalGas did not notify the agency or the community about the leak until “more than two hours after it began.”
“We take all nuisance odor incidents seriously,” AQMD Executive Officer Wayne Nastri said. “SoCalGas and all facilities in our region have an obligation to protect residents from foul odors that can impact their communities.”
The Aliso Canyon facility was the site of the largest methane leak in U.S. history. That leak began in October 2015 and wasn’t capped until February 2016. Roughly8 8,000 families were forced from their homes, with many residents complaining of a variety of health issues. Many residents continue to call for the permanent closure of the facility.”
Report: Foreign Nationals Outnumber Americans in High-Paying, White-Collar Silicon Valley Jobs
“Foreign nationals now outnumber Americans in high-paying, high-skilled, white-collar jobs in Silicon Valley, California – the hub of the United States tech industry.
Silicon Valley Leadership Group President Carl Guardino touted the statistic in a report, revealing that 57 out of every 100 jobs in Silicon Valley that require at least a bachelor’s degree are taken by a foreign-born resident.
The revelation comes as President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has led an initiative to increase educational funding of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields while ignoring the issue of mass immigration and multiple visa programs that have led to Americans being replaced by foreign nationals.
For instance, Ivanka helped secure $200 million of the Department of Education’s grant funds towards STEM fields, Breitbart News reported.
At the same time, Ivanka endorsed a plan to give amnesty to illegal aliens who have been shielded under a President Obama-created temporary amnesty program. Such an amnesty would have the potential to lead to a chain migration whereby between 9.9 million and 19 million foreign nationals enter the U.S. over the next few decades, further crowding out Americans from the workforce.
The growing foreign-born population taking jobs in Silicon Valley comes as nearly 500,000 Americans graduate in the STEM fields every year who are forced to compete with a booming foreign-born population in the U.S. and foreign workers who are imported by outsourcing firms and major tech conglomerates.
For example, the H-1B visa, which brings more than 100,000 foreign workers to the U.S. every year, has been used quietly by tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook to import a cheaper, foreign workforce, as Breitbart News reported. The H-1B visa allows for Americans to be displaced from their white-collar jobs, and sometimes they are even forced to train their foreign replacements as a stipulation of their severance.
Every year, more than 1.5 million illegal and legal immigrants are admitted to the U.S., with the current foreign-born population booming to an unprecedented high of roughly 44 million individuals. Mass immigration to the U.S. has been at the expense of American workers in the working and middle-class who have been forced to compete with foreign labor while their wages have remained stagnant.”
Dem Congressman Who Oversees Sexual Harassment Settlements is Under FBI Investigation
“It turns out that the Democrat swamp creature who oversees Congressional sexual harassment settlements is under FBI investigation.
Democrat Congressman Bob Brady of Pennsylvania is under FBI investigation for false statements, conspiracy and campaign fraud, Newsweek reported.
Brady is apparently Congress’ most trusted man to oversee sexual harassment cases. Amazing.
Pennsylvania Congressman Bob Brady, who oversees the settlements paid by Congress for sexual discrimination complaints, is under FBI investigation for false statements, conspiracy and campaign fraud, documents showed Tuesday.
Brady, a Democrat, is a ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, which gives him power over settlement payments with taxpayer dollars. The office also works to prevent sexual harassment in Congress.
The FBI obtained a search warrant for Brady’s emails.
There is probable cause to believe that Brady and his associates “were involved in the commission of several crimes, including conspiracy, false statements, producing false records, false campaign contribution reports, and violating limits on campaign contributions and expenditures,” the court papers say. “Brady’s email account is likely to contain evidence of these crimes.”
Brady’s campaign associates were also indicted last month.
A man like Bob Brady can easily be bribed or blackmailed since he is compromised. He is not fit to be in a position of power over other men who are desperate to make their sexual harassment cases disappear. This dynamic further stacks up against female victims who are abused and intimidated by powerful men in DC.”
California Becomes ‘Sanctuary State’ with Gov. Brown’s Signature
Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontention (or resistance) to lawful authority.
“California officially became a sanctuary state for illegal aliens on Thursday with the stroke of Gov. Jerry Brown’s pen.
Senate Bill 54 will go into effect in January 2018. Brown signed the bill entitled the “California Values Act” and released a signing statement. Brown explained what the bill does and does not do.
The bill prohibits local law enforcement from asking about immigration status in the course of routine interactions and prohibits them from complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests.
“The bill further directs our Attorney General to promulgate model policies for local and state health, education, labor and judiciary officials to follow when they deal with immigration matters,” wrote Brown.”
UC Berkeley Students Protest Exam, Accuse Peers And Professor Of Supporting White Supremacy
“UC Berkeley students attempted to shut down their midterm exam, with claims that it would have a negative impact on their physical and mental health. The students, who were captured on video, demanded a “take-home essay with significant time to prepare” and accused their uncooperative professor of not checking his privilege.
“This is a campus that is truly related throughout Latin America to the notion of free speech, said professor Harley Shaiken to the class, eliciting laughter and derision from the protesters.
Dismissive of the professor, the activists claimed that their “well-beings are being put on the line because of the emotional, mental, and physical stress that this university is compounding with what is already going on in [their] everyday lives.”
One protester shouted: “Have you ever checked ‘unlisted’ or ‘undocumented immigrant’? I don’t think so!”
Shaiken, who has written about workers’ rights in Mexico, is an expert in labor issues and earned the Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of California, San Diego in 1991. Despite his expertise in the subject, the students called him unfit to lecture them on the subject because he is white.
“Are you trying to silence us right now? Is that what you’re trying to do?” said a protester responding to a student who jokingly asked if it was a filibuster.
The professor offered to leave the classroom and hold a discussion with the protesters outside to prevent further disruption of the exam, but they refused. Instead, they took their complaints to the Department of Ethnic Studies.
“I don’t know why you’re still, like, sitting down, y’all. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. Y’all can take your fucking test, but people are dying out there,” complained one protester, who remained behind to accuse her peers of not participating in their protest. She accused her fellow students of supporting white supremacy.”
Shares of U.S. Media Companies Set for Worst Month Since 2015
|| Wall Street Journal
Traditional players struggle to adapt to shift toward streaming services
“By Michael Wursthorn / WSJ
Shares of cable providers and entertainment companies in the U.S. are suffering their worst stretch in nearly two years, as traditional players struggle to adapt to a shift toward streaming services.
Americans are ditching television subscriptions in favor of viewing movies and TV shows through online services. The move disrupts a delicate ecosystem of media companies sustaining themselves on subscription fees from pay-TV providers, and echoes Amazon.com Inc.’s upending of the brick-and-mortar retail landscape.
This development, along with disruptions related to major summer storms, has been pushing down stocks of major cable and broadcast companies.
In a sign of the diverging fortunes, Roku Inc., an early player in streaming television, priced its initial public offering late Wednesday. The IPO price valued the company at about $1.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal.
A group of 13 media companies in the S&P 500 have fallen 3.5% so far in September, on track for its steepest monthly decline since December 2015, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.4%.
Media shares got a bit of a reprieve Wednesday, rising 1% in their biggest gain since late July as the group joined an upswing in the broader market. Doug Mitchelson, a media analyst with UBS Group AG, attributed the gains to the Republican tax overhaul, which was unveiled Wednesday and proposed sharply reduced tax rates on businesses and many individuals.
“One of the top reasons for cord-cutting is affordability,” said Mr. Mitchelson. “A healthier consumer is a better spender for media companies.”
A selloff in the sector gathered pace on Sept. 7, when two industry giants gave updates that disappointed investors. Comcast Corp. said it expects to lose as many as 150,000 video subscribers in the third quarter.
“There’s a general level of concern around the major media companies having to do with cord-cutting and audience trends,” said Bryan Kraft, a media analyst with Deutsche Bank. “Those concerns aren’t new, but when there’s data to support they’re getting worse, you tend to see the stocks react accordingly.”
Even as the media sector over all holds on to gains for the year, up 3.9%, analysts say shares could slide further as companies cope with greater competition from rivals who are stepping up spending on content creation, such as Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc., as well as a challenging ratings environment.
National Football League games, usually considered a reliable draw for TV viewers and ad dollars, have been another headache for media companies. Ratings for this season’s NFL games have been mostly flat or down, compared with the year-earlier period, said analysts, who added that disruptions wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could be partly to blame.
NFL ratings could also be affected by players’ national anthem protests after President Donald Trump blasted players who participated. DirecTV is letting at least some customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite the protests as the reason.
“These extraordinary hurricanes have had a pretty severe impact on viewership, but it’s difficult to quantify” the impact from those storms alone, said Mr. Mitchelson. “Investors are nervous NFL ratings could end up down for the season.”
Besides that, new online “skinny bundles”—slimmed-down packages of channels from the likes of Hulu and YouTube TV—have left out many cable channels that are part of the traditional bundle. That will put pressure on some channel owners as more consumers sign up for those services, said Mr. Kraft, the media analyst at Deutsche Bank.
“Those services are seeing a lot of subscriber growth,” Mr. Kraft said, although he added the exact size of that population is hard to peg since some companies don’t release specific numbers.
Still, analysts pointed to Charter Communications Inc. as a bright spot among the media landscape. The company last year bought Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks, making it one of the largest cable operators in the U.S.
Tucker Carlson Destroys Leftie Hollywood Hack Rob Reiner Over Crazy Russia War Ad
“Tucker Carlson invited Hollywood director Rob Reiner tonight to discuss his latest Russia War video ad he released with Morgan Freeman and a group of leftie and anti-Trump RINOs.
Morgan Freeman told Americans this week in the latest anti-Trump Hollywood production, “We are at war with Russia.”
The Committee to Investigate Russia produced the video this week. The committee includes Rob Reiner, James Clapper, and Max Boot.
Tucker Carlson had Rob Reiner on his show and destroyed him over this Hollywood conspiracy.
Tucker Carlson: I agree with you we are very divided. And maybe this is one of the reasons. A lot of this is disingenuous. Anyone who looks at cyber warfare will tell you, any honest person, will tell you the Chinese military is the primary culprit in the United States, hacked into the White House not too long ago… Nobody said anything. You guys in Hollywood sell your movies in China. You bow to the imperatives of their propaganda and censorship office. You change your movies to suit them. And yet no one says we’re at war with China.”
“China has never been shy about its desire to acquire “soft power” – the kind of cultural and economic influence that can’t be wielded by military might. And Hollywood has often been a partner in its project.
China’s bid for soft power was on show this week, as Sony Pictures Entertainment formed an alliance with Dalian Wanda, a Chinese company that has become one of the world’s largest media empires, in a deal announced Friday. While the partnership was smaller than some of Dalian Wanda’s previous acquisitions, it attracted attention as the Chinese company’s third major deal in Hollywood this year.
These deals have sparked concern over whether China’s expanding influence in Hollywood could lead to more pro-Chinese propaganda in U.S. films. The Chinese government tightly controls media content, and Hollywood studios have been known to alter films to feature China or the Chinese government in a more flattering light to gain access to the country’s lucrative film market.
For Hollywood, China provides the blockbuster combination of a huge movie market and cash-rich equity funds that are eager to invest in films and companies. The Chinese box office is on pace to soon surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest market, perhaps next year.
On Sept. 15, 16 members of Congress mentioned the Chinese company by name in a letter that called for greater scrutiny of foreign investments. The 14 Republicans and two Democrats said that Dalian Wanda’s acquisitions have raised concerns “about China’s efforts to censor topics and exert propaganda controls on American media.”
The partnership — in which the Chinese company will help promote Sony films in China and co-finance some of Sony’s biggest China movie releases — comes on the heels of two major acquisitions. In January, Dalian Wanda announced the acquisition of Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood production company behind such blockbusters as “Jurassic World” and “The Dark Knight.” In March, AMC Entertainment, a U.S. cinema chain previously acquired by Dalian Wanda, made a bid for Carmike Cinemas that would make Dalian Wanda Group the owner of the biggest cinema chain in the United States.
The Chinese company is expanding elsewhere, acquiring cinema chains in Australia and Europe in steps toward its goal of controlling 20 percent of the global film market by 2020. It is also heavily investing in China’s domestic industry, including a 400-acre film studio slated to open in 2017 that will have 30 soundstages, an underwater stage, and a permanent set of a New York City street.”
The NFL Is Dying As Middle Class Americans Say “TURN IT OFF”
“The first two weeks of ratings for the NFL were down twelve and then fifteen percent respectively.
That’s a huge drop and a downward trend that has owners and the league worried as advertising profits are certain to slide as well.
The timing of the decline in ratings is clear – as some players chose to use their platform to push an anti-American/anti-police/anti-military/anti-Trump agenda, millions of fans responded with a collective HELL NO and found other things to occupy their free time.
Last season then San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance as it played before the game. His protest was a Black Lives Matter inspired gesture – the same Black Lives Matter group that has on more than one occasion called for the killing of police and white people.
Kaepernick now finds himself on the outside of the NFL looking in. He was dropped by the 49er’s for his poor play. Other players this season are now staging similar protests even as an increasing number of fans would clearly rather those players focus on playing football for which they are paid millions of dollars per season for doing so.
And so the ratings continue to drop by double-digits. A New York Post report indicated a ten percent drop in ratings will cost the major networks of CBS, Fox, ESPN, and NBC $200 million in lost operating income.
That’s real money.
Should ratings decline by twenty percent the league would experience a full-blown fiscal crisis that could threaten the very viability of the league itself. Players are protesting themselves right out of a job. A handful of spoiled millionaire athletes taking on the traditional values of millions of Middle Class Americans isn’t good for business.”
Equifax finally responds to swirling concerns over consumers’ legal rights
|| Washington Post
Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the Equifax data breach site’s fine print — and found what they argue is a red flag.
Buried in the terms of service is language that appears to bar those who enroll in an Equifax credit monitoring program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. Here’s the relevant passage of the terms of service:
AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL.
This language is commonly known in the industry as an “arbitration clause.” In theory, arbitration clauses are meant to streamline the amount of work that’s dumped onto the court system. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concluded in the summer arbitration that clauses do more harm to consumers than good — and the agency put in place a rule to ban them.
“In practice, companies use these clauses to bar groups of consumers from joining to seek justice by vindicating their legal right,” Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s director, told reporters in July, according to my colleague Jonnelle Marte.
Here’s a further look into why the language raised concerns.
Why is arbitration a big deal?
There is already at least one class-action suit brewing against Equifax. Arbitration clauses make it hard if not impossible for consumers to join such suits. Arbitration is weaker than class-action suits, critics say, because it limits consumers’ ability to find facts to support their case, to appeal decisions or to present their case before a jury.
Friday afternoon, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took aim at Equifax’s arbitration clause, tweeting his staff has contacted the company urging it to remove that part of the fine print.
“This language is unacceptable and unenforceable,” the state’s top lawyer said in his tweet. Minutes later, Schneiderman’s office announced a formal probe into the Equifax breach. In a release, the state attorney general’s office said Schneiderman had sent a letter to Equifax asking for more information. Among the questions were whether any consumer information has found its way to the “black market,” according to a person familiar with the investigation.
A spokesperson for Schneiderman declined to comment on whether officials were investigating the sale of company stock by Equifax executives before the discovery of the hack.
So should I register with the Equifax site, or not?
It’s up to you, but you should know going into the process what you’re signing up for. Equifax issued a statement Friday evening apologizing for consumers’ inconvenience and said the arbitration clause and class-action waiver “does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”
“The three credit reporting agencies collect a vast array of personal data from consumers to calculate credit scores, which can determine an individual’s loan-worthiness or the terms of a loan. At a minimum, the accrued information includes Social Security numbers and credit card information that would be nerve-wracking to have stolen.
Yesterday, this information from as many as 143 million people in the U.S. — about 44% of the population — was leaked after a cybersecurity breach of Equifax’s database.
“The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed,” the firm said in a statement. “As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents.”
Equifax says the breach occurred from mid-May through July 2017, and they urge consumers to “check potential impact” at a dedicated website, which you can do here. They’ve also opened a call center line (which will be open on weekends), and recommend that people with questions advises people who are worried about their information being exposed to consider placing a temporary fraud alert on their credit report for now.”