Starbucks says "it will thrive" right before telling landlords they must lower the rent

Starbucks felt pretty confidant on May 4, when CEO Kevin Johnson posted on its website that Starbucks “will not just survive, but with adaptations and new routines, it will thrive.” But a day later, the company's COO Roz Brewer sent a letter to its landlords that said, “Effective June 1 and for at least a period of 12 consecutive months, Starbucks will require concessions to support modified operations and adjustments to lease terms and base rent structures.” Well, demanding reduced rent for one of the world's largest coffee restaurant chains is one way to thrive.

According to The Seattle Times:

Starbucks wants landlords to give it a break on rent for at least a year as coronavirus social-distancing measures batter sales at the Seattle-based global coffee chain...

Starbucks demanded the rent relief one day after the company announced it would reopen 90% of its 8,900 company-owned U.S. stores by early June. In a May 4 post on Starbucks’ website, President and CEO Kevin Johnson wrote that Starbucks “will not just survive, but with adaptations and new routines, it will thrive.”

The letter to landlords struck a more dire tone, asking them to “adapt to new realities” — including an anticipated $225 billion hit to the American restaurant industry over the next three months.

The company called the closure of many businesses to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus “a staggering economic crisis,” adding that “the psychological and economic scars will last for months, if not years.”

Details about how much of a rent reduction and which specific locations would get the reduction haven't yet been hammered out. Read the rest

Right-wing websites are weighing the pros and cons of letting people die from coronavirus to help the economy

It's already been reported that Trump is getting antsy about all the social-distancing quarantines intended to flatten the curve of coronavirus deaths, and that he's eager to return things to business-as-normal. Who cares about a million deaths as long as the economy is moving, amirite?

I'm sure his decision has nothing to do with the fact that his own hotels are hurting from the shutdown. Again, what's a few million lives compared to the President's personal profits?

Unfortunately, Trump is not alone in his mass-murdering sentiment. Republicans have been parroting a new refrain this week, that, "The cure cannot be worse than the disease." But this implies that a few billionaires losing some money is objectively worse than a million dead. And that's just absurd.

Jonathan Ashbach took to The Federalist to complain about the ways that coronavirus impedes on that uniquely American value of "freedom."

It seems harsh to ask whether the nation might be better off letting a few hundred thousand people die. Probably for that reason, few have been willing to do so publicly thus far. Yet honestly facing reality is not callous, and refusing even to consider whether the present response constitutes an even greater evil than the one it intends to mitigate would be cowardly.

First, consider the massive sacrifice of life Americans are making in their social distancing campaign. True, nearly all are not literally dying, but they are giving up a good deal of what makes life worth living — work, classes, travel, hugs, time with friends, conferences, quiet nights out, and so forth.

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Venezuela just defaulted on its debt

Already facing severe medical and food shortages, Venezuela is out of money and out of credit. The country issued a statement that it was defaulting on its debt, having missed its 30-day grace period on bond payments. This means investors can start seizing Venezuela, including barrels of oil that are being stored out of the country. This will make the already awful conditions there worse.

From CNN Money:

Venezuela has no other meaningful income other than the oil it sells abroad. The government, meanwhile, has failed for years to ship in enough food and medicine for its citizens. As a result, Venezuelans are waiting hours in line to buy food and dying in hospitals that lack basic resources.

If investors seize the country's oil shipments, the food and medical shortages would worsen quickly.

"Then it's pandemonium," says Fernando Freijedo, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, a research firm. "The humanitarian crisis is already pretty dire ... it boggles the mind what could happen next."

It's not immediately clear what steps bondholders will take. Argentina went through a vaguely similar default, and its bondholders battled with the government for about 15 years until settling in 2016. Every case is different, though.

By Jamez42 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Read the rest