Links 5/22/19

Ravens Spread Negative Emotions to Their Friends, Study Finds Motherboard

Hostile Waters: How our noise is hurting orcas’ search for salmon Seattle Times Part four; includes links to previous parts.

The markets think the trade war stinks. A California garlic grower disagrees San Francisco Chronicle

Jamie Oliver’s empire collapses as 22 UK restaurants close Guardian

Revealed: air pollution may be damaging ‘every organ in the body’ Guardian

Over 1,351 Climate Strikes in 110 Countries Planned for Friday as Global Revolt Escalates Common Dreams

Apple redesigns keyboard in new MacBook Pro update and promises quick repairs on sticky keys CNET. Yet again. Alas, no sign of a revival of the MagSafe – so I’ll continue to nurse my current machine.

Waste Watch

Whole Foods becomes 1st national grocer in US to ban plastic straws TreeHugger

Major recyclers deny still exporting plastic overseas Waste Dive

Climate change: Global sea level rise could be bigger than expected BBC

Making industrial chemicals “green” requires a lot of renewable electricity Ars Technica

Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine Counterpunch

Julian Assange

The Missing Step Craig Murray

Our Famously Free Press

NYT editor predicts almost all newspapers will die in 5 years Fast Company


Australian election: was the Labor Party’s loss a setback for China’s interests? SCMP



Huawei founder says US underestimates company Economic Times

Why capturing Huawei is no victory in tech war Asia Times Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Trump’s Huawei ‘ban’ gives Asian tech firms 70 billion reasons to worry SCMP


EVM Miscounts, VVPATs and the Citizen’s Right to a Secret, Verified Ballot The Wire

The Silent Army: 10 reasons why public trust in the Election Commission stands eroded Scroll

Bangladesh Garment Unions Say New Factory Oversight Deal Risks Worker Safety Business of Fashion


How the West’s War in Libya Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries Consortium News

Iran’s Zarif: US playing ‘dangerous game’ in Gulf showdown Al Jazeera

Trump Transition

As Iran Tensions Rise, Congress Moves to Curb Trump’s War Powers TruthOut


Boris Johnson woos centre-ground Tories in bid to widen appeal Guardian

Brexit: uncommon ground

I’m running in the EU elections because the left refuses to get its act together in the face of neofascism Independent. Yanis Varoufakis.

737 MAX

French families sue Boeing over Ethiopian Airlines disaster France 24

Boeing Official Played Down Scenario That May Have Doomed Ethiopian Jet WSJ

Will FAA’s plan for 737 MAX fly outside US? France 24. Good question.

Class Warfare

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism Gallup

Uber Drivers Learn To Game Its Antisocial System Moon of Alabama

Emails Show How Much Pull Political Bosses Had Over State Tax Breaks ProPublica

Why Workers Without College Degrees Are Fleeing Big Cities NYT

Many More Students, Especially the Affluent, Get Extra Time to Take the SAT WSJ.


Democrats Cozy Up to Wall Street While Shunning Corporate Cash Bloomberg

14 Years Ago, Warren And Biden Battled Over Bankruptcy. Their Fight Still Defines A Party Rift WBUR

Beto busts out at CNN town hall Politico. But Buttigieg got a standing ovation…

Why Democratic candidates like Buttigieg keep failing to usher in the “Christian left” Vox

HOW THE LEFT SHOULD THINK ABOUT TRADE Current Affairs Benjamin Studebaker

Walmart workers invited a special guest to crash the company’s annual meeting: Bernie Sanders WaPo

Loretta Lynch told Congress that Comey lied when he claimed she told him to downplay Clinton email probe as a ‘matter’ instead of an ‘investigation’ Daily Mail

Police State Watch

Outrage as Texas Senate Passes ‘Unconstitutional’ Bill That Would Hit Pipeline Protestors With Up to 10 Years in Prison Common Dreams

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

The Creepy New Addition to McDonald’s Menu TruthDig. Jim Hightower.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Jamie Oliver’s empire collapses as 22 UK restaurants close Guardian

    There has been a wave of failures of mid-market restaurant chains in the UK. Apart from indicating the strains in the UK economy and the possibly flawed concept of trying to go for scale and quantity in food, a key issue seems to have been the influence of private equity in driving commercial rates for restaurants through the roof – it seems that most of these companies are using PE investment. I can’t help thinking there is a scam of some sort going on here, as this type of investment seems very high risk for PE.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, PK.

      I agree with you, but would add that a handful of other City and central London venues, e.g. Barbecoa, Fifteen, Gow and Galvin, which are / were not feasted upon by private equity parasites have also collapsed / closed. A mixture of high business rates and decline in demand have contributed.

      With the bad news about British Steel, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, one gets the impression that the MSM and joe public don’t seem or want to understand what is going on.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, the pile up of bad news for the UK economy is very ominous. I think its cash out time for a lot of investors (see British Steel and their resident PE parasite). They will of course try to leverage lots of cash from a panicking government first.

        The death rate for restaurants is particularly striking. I guess it could be just the inevitable clear out of an over-ambitious expansion in the last 10 years or so, but mid to high range restaurants are always the canaries in the cage for a consumer economy.

        What I’ve noticed about the restaurant closures is the complaint by many that landlords refuse to lower rents. The same thing happened in the Celtic Tiger crash – many relatively profitably restaurants closed because landlords preferred to maintain a notional ‘high’ rent (even on an empty premises) rather than admit their property was overvalued by dropping rents and keeping a good tenant. One of my favourite places closed for exactly that reason.

        I do find it very odd that supposedly sophisticated PE investors put money into chains which are heavily dependent on the goodwill of commercial landlords. Which makes me suspect that sometimes the investors and the landlords may be the same people in one form or another.

        1. eg

          “Which makes me suspect that sometimes the investors and the landlords may be the same people in one form or another.”

          Bingo. See Eddie Lampert and Sears …

        2. JBird4049

          Which makes me suspect that sometimes the investors and the landlords may be the same people in one form or another.

          From what I understand, American landlords are being concentrated into fewer companies invested in or even owned by investors. Add that credit worthiness and loans are often dependent on the putative, but not actual, cash flow. As long as the rental price is listed on that too high amount the calculations on the bank loans are based on it.

        3. Kfish

          Sometimes it’s not a matter of preference. The value of a commercial premises is a multiple of the rent it can bring in – if a heavily mortgaged building lowers its asking rent, the bank may use the corresponding drop in the value of the underlying security as a reason to demand extra security for the loan. Of course, this is only a problem for heavily leveraged landlords.

          1. nothing but the truth

            a landlady once refused to negotiate rent with me, and decided to leave the building empty (she could afford it), because, as she said, a lower rent would cause the bank to reduce the property valuation.

            1. Mailio

              No it wouldn’t with regard to property. But, with with to the ‘potential’ value of the property it would. And therein lies the difference.

      2. rtah100

        Barbecoa and Fifteen also belonged to Fat-Tongue [(C) Popbitch, which gave Jamie that nickname first].

        Fifteen was good, a genuine social enterprise and a concrete attempt to rehabilitate prisoners by putting them in the kitchen, a structured environment where energy and talent were more important than social polish, and front of house, where they could acquire the latter. I never went to the original one in Hoxton but I’ve been to the Cornish one a few times, which is still trading because it is a franchise.

        Barbecoa just baffled me. Fine dining and barbecue? Who needs that, exactly? It deserved to die- as did the bad-Italian chain that was the eponymous Jamie’s. The UK food scene has got a lot more ruthless: bad positioning will kill you quickly now. it nearly killed Carluccio’s and Wagamama is struggling. I think the ownership is secondary to poor strategy – but it is notable that both chains are now in the hands of PE secondary players, whose cost cutting and lack of understanding of hospitality is killing their golden geese.

        Galvin closed in Marylebone. I went there a lot when it first opened so that was the end of an era but I think they are still trading in the Windows on the World site up the tower in Park Lane. Marylebone rents keep rising but obviously the local residents were not opening their wallets for a fine local restaurant whereas the American and Arab tourists would. The high end has to be really high to pay these days….

    2. Wukchumni

      Wouldn’t it be statistically more prudent just to have friends over for a barbeque, while feeding the fire with 5, 10 and the occasional 20 Pound note in order to enhance the flavor of losing money, rather than being known for a chain of failed restaurants whose burn rate was even higher?

      1. ambrit

        With today’s jaded “Projecktors” and “Investors,” the better question to ask is; who loses the money, and who makes tons of “filthy lucre” while ‘advising’ on just who loses what.
        ‘They’ don’t call them “Top Predators” for nothing. Everyone below them on the “ladder of success” is literally ‘Lunch.’

        1. Wukchumni

          Luckily there’s a happy medium for sad Jamie when it comes to lighting lucre, and make mine medium well, please.

          Hell money is a form of joss paper printed to resemble legal tender bank notes.The notes are not an official form of recognized currency or legal tender since their sole intended purpose is to be offered as burnt offerings to the deceased as a superstitious solution to resolve their ancestors’ financial problems.

          1. ambrit

            My heirs will have to buy that by the ton weight.
            Silly thought. Perhaps this ‘joss’ money will act like a levitation device when thrown “into the balance” when we are being judged by Anubis. Sort of a ‘Demonic Debenture.’

            1. Procopius

              I think the idea is that burning the money (and the paper Mercedes-Benz, and the paper iPhone IX, and the paper gold and silver ingots, and the paper food, etc.) your revered ancestors are protected from becoming “Hungry Ghosts.” There’s an annual ceremony for them, too, for the Buddhists who want to show compassion and earn points toward becoming Boddhisatvas. The paper money gives them the means to bribe the demons King Yan (Yama Baan in Thai) has set to torturing them. Chinese culture is very old. They decided 5,000 years ago that the after-life must be much like this life.

            2. Hepativore

              Considering all of the people who have burned “Hell money” for use in the afterlife over the years of civilization, I imagine that hyperinflation would be a huge problem with all of the currency being dumped into it by living relatives of the deceased. Does the underworld practice a form of MMT and raise taxes to take all of this extra money out of circulation to protect the value of its currency?

  2. Olga

    This is what some folks think qualifies as “green:” Proposed U.S. plant to pull CO2 from thin air, use it to pump oil –
    “JACKSON, Wyoming May 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A U.S. oil producer is teaming up with a company working to grab planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) straight from the air in a bid to extract more oil from the ground in a greener way, the companies said on Tuesday. Occidental Petroleum is partnering with Canada-based Carbon Engineering to build a new multi-million-dollar direct air capture (DAC) plant in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. shale oil field, located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico.”

    1. upstater

      Carbon capture goes hand-in-hand with corporate welfare and self-licking ice cream cones.

      One of the largest CC boondoggles is SaskPower’s Boundary Dam CC project, a lignite-fired generating plant. Designed and built by Trudea’s honey, SNC-Lavalin, it is down more than operating. CO2 is sold to extract more oil.

      1. jonboinAR

        It just doesn’t seem a realistic solution. Let’s see, how ’bout we expend a large quantity of energy to rectify this problem that recklessly burning enormous quantities of energy caused in the first place. Yeah, that oughta’ work. And we can get rich doing it too. Man, it’s ALL good! Don’t forget the green bonus points!

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      A little less than forty years ago, Shell built a CO2 pipeline from the McElmo Dome in the Four Corners area down to Denver City, Texas (in the heart of the Permian Basin). The McElmo Dome was a natural deposit of CO2 trapped underground. Mobil developed a similar deposit called the Bravo Dome in northeast New Mexico and piped it down to the Permian as well. The tax breaks granted by the feds (oil was at a record high $40 at the time) basically paid for the pipeline.

      Shell’s CO2 was used in tertiary recovery in the Hobbes field, an old field that had already undergone water flood recovery. The CO2 was supposed to increase the miscibility of the oil, enabling further recovery beyond the water flooding. The McElmo Dome is still producing, so perhaps Occidental needs its own CO2 for enhanced recovery in its fields.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said.

      He is from and enjoys being part of that milieu, especially on the London circuit, and is just pretending to be a lefty. Do you remember his glossy magazine photo shoot soon around the time he was finance minister.

      1. Tyrannocaster

        You both offer ad hominem responses rather than actual critiques of the article. Not very persuasive.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you and fair comment.

          Sometimes and based on what the person in question has said and where, the neo liberal Grauniad in this case, it saves time to bypass such niceties and put the boot in.

          1. Dr. Roberts

            I don’t think Yanis deserves the hate. The INET group he works with may be funded by Soros, and his DIEM campaign is a strange attempt to shepherd the left into watered-down eurocommunism, but his positions are generally pretty solid. He was pushing Tsipras to tell the Troika to fuck off after the Greek referendum. Save the ad hominems for your actual enemies and your reasoned criticism for sympathetic characters like Varoufakis.

            1. Olga

              Well… one needs to see what Yanis is proposing. He is either a tool (even if unwitting) or seriously misguided. The funny thing is that there are many YT videos of him discussing issues in a smart, incisive way… but then his solution just makes no sense. For example, he’ll go on and on about how undemocratic (and ruled by bankers) EU is (true), and then proposes to make the union stronger. That – to me at least – defies logic. He also has good talks about how capitalism evolved and what it represents today. His solutions do not match diagnoses. So one may draw one’s own conclusion…

            2. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you.

              Tsipras? I realise that Greece was boxed in, but his approach was worse than useless. Don’t get me started on these middle class pretend lefties.

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Didnt Bernie meet up with Yanis? To talk about a worldwide working class movement to compete with the fake popular politics of Bannon, Farage, Le Pen, Wilders?

            3. Lambert Strether

              > He was pushing Tsipras to tell the Troika to fuck off after the Greek referendum.

              For many reasons explained by Yves exhaustively at the time, that was not a “solid” position. Getting a Greek currency up and running was a unicorn, nothing more; his plans were childish. Greece did not have the operational capability to do that in the time frame required, if at all.

              Lots of people with a rooting interest in Syriza didn’t want to hear that, but it was true.

        2. todde

          The man worked for a party that literally called itself the “Coalition of the Radical Left”

          What he did as a member of this party was try to unsuccessfully renegotiate a series of debt instruments.

          Not real Radical, and he failed.

          Then he said “Congratulations’ to Macron when he won, with the caveat that now ‘we will oppose you.’

          I see plenty of people getting their heads cracked open opposing Macron, didn’t see Yanis there.

          Now he has moved on to fighting Fascist, hope he does that better job than he did ‘opposing Macron’.

          The neo-fascists didn’t strangle Greece, bomb Libya, or arm jihadist to overthrow Assad.

          Yanis, he talks real purty, that is about it.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        I forgot to add that Macron would like to roll his movement EUwide, vide his EUwide article a few weeks ago. “L’Europe? C’est moi!”

        His underlings have been in talks with the British Obama, or one of the pretenders to that throne, Chuka Umunna.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I must admit I can never quite figure him out. He is obviously very clever and I think he is very genuine, but his huge and obvious self-regard keeps getting in the way and I think he is far too fond of both the spotlight and the limelight. These things have a tendency to make even the smartest activists vulnerable to being manipulated.

  3. Summer

    Re: Four In Ten Americans Embrace Socialism

    100% of Americans are socialists. They only have other people they don’t want to be socialist with and tie it to monoculture living.
    We have had socialism for fhe wealthy since the inception of the country.

    Americans have a problem with UNIVERSAL socialism. Mention a tyoe of program that would be good to have. The upturned nose comes because someone “who doesn’t deserve it” may get something.

    1. Wukchumni

      Some years ago I was at a bar the night before a wedding of a couple of friends, and met the brother of the bride and his wife, and almost immediately was whelmed with a barrage of Fox News talking points, with a special emphasis on the evils of socialism, which he couldn’t stop talking about…

      So, I hit him up with the old ‘what do you do for a living?’ gambit, which is trite, but expected when a couple of men meet for the first time, and he tells me he’s a prison guard in Reno and his wife is a nurse there, and then says:

      “You might say I kick em’, and she fixes em’.”

      I rolled my eyes so far back into their orbits, that said pupils ended up on a milk carton, after having been reported missing.

      1. Summer

        I’ll bet in his rant he described the former USSR as a prision.

        I think of the USA as a country with socialism for the wealthy, upheld by the Constitution and for over 200 years there have been attempts to include more people one amendment or Congressional bill at a time.
        So many systems, all over the world, seem to be designed for and by monocultures.

        1. ambrit

          Regarding your last sentence; it could be argued that, world wide, there is essentially one dominant Monoculture: The Worship of Wealth.
          Greed. The gift that keeps on taking.

            1. Summer

              Just to add:

              There are small towns in the South more multi-cultural than these places.

              1. jonboinAR

                My small town in the south has blacks; whites: southern, yankee, Californian; Latinos; Asians; Africans (what country I don’t know); Hindi Indians; Native Americans; -that I know of. Is that multi-cultural enough?

                1. ambrit

                  Are they all “woke?”
                  Down a bit South of you, we here near the Gulf Coast have made an anti-culture from “Neo Know Nothingism.”

      2. Robert McGregor

        Wukchumni, You should have said, “I’m voting for Bernie Sanders, and working for prison reform to get rid of guards like you.”

      3. Janie

        Funny. Reminds me of a Michiganer we met who resented those receiving medical care on the taxpayers’ nickel. He was a retired military desk jockey.

        I thnk I knew the same prison guard. Oh, wait – the Nevadan I knew wasn’t married. He railed against Bush the Elder as being a dangerous liberal. His family saw black helicopters and government gun-snatchers everywhere, organized by the Clinton mob.

      4. Christy

        “I rolled my eyes so far back into their orbits, that said pupils ended up on a milk carton, after having been reported missing.”

        Wuk, you do have a way with words!

        Such levity (along with intelligent comments, of course), is appreciated in these troubled times.
        Thanks for making me grin.

    2. zagonostra

      Listening people calling into CSPAN this morning giving their opinions on socialism. It was like blind people feeling and describing elephants.

      It also reminded me of Plato’s 7th letter where he talks about knowledge and opinions.

      The word “socialism” is a Yuge abstraction/distraction – focus should be on real concrete policies that improve people’s lives.

      1. jrs

        bread and roses but roses are almost beyond our ability to fathom at this point in our conditioning. So bread then … as bread has been “off the table” most of the time too.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        OK I’ll give you a definition: $7 trillion in handouts for banks, hundreds of billions in annual gifts to fossil fuel companies, billions in local tech company incentives, no-bid MIC contracts in the billions paid by taxpayers, massive tech monopolies who game the tax system with offshore shell companies: THAT’S socialism

        You local public library, fire department, and the crumbs sprinkled to a few welfare recipients absolutely pale by comparison.

        1. tegnost

          Exactly. When I talk to the faux news crowd I’m all about socialism and how the rich have it and the rest of us want it too! Leads to some awkward silences…

    3. jrs

      I’ll believe 4 in 10 Americans embrace socialism when they start showing up at DSA meetings. Otherwise color me skeptical about if they really are or not.

      I don’t mean the hardcore tankies ever further left for whom the DSA doesn’t go far enough. Fine they are lefter than thou and maybe sometimes have the most right to the word, but needless to say I strongly suspect they aren’t most Americans either.

      1. Aumua

        I suspect there may exist an entire spectrum between “the DSA” and “tankies”.

        1. jrs

          that 4 in 10 americans fall into? I’d have to say: not a chance. i mean the truth is most people are probably just not that into politics period.

      2. jonboinAR

        I hear you. That assertion reminds me of those ones where pundits will claim that 68% of Americans are in favor of say, Medicare for all, because a proportion of some sample checked a certain box on some pollster’s questionaire. As my old tokin’ buddy Mr. Natural would say, “Don’t mean sheeii*!”

    4. Tim

      We’ve been socializing wealth losses resulting from Capitalism quite a bit lately.

      We are far more socialistic as a country that we give ourselves credit for.

  4. zagonostra

    The Missing Step Craig Murray

    Interesting analogy below with reference to the “priestly class” – is this not what the MSM has become a member of?

    There is an interesting parallel with the reaction to the work of Reformation scholars in translating the Bible into vernacular languages and giving the populace direct access to its contents, without the mediating filters of the priestly class. Such developments will always provoke extraordinary venom from those whose position is threatened. I see a historical parallel between Julian Assange and William Tyndale in this respect. It is something worth bearing in mind in trying to understand the depth of the State’s hatred of Julian.

    1. John k

      Translating the Bible attacks the priests by removing their raisin d’etre.
      Publishing gov wartime secrets exposes the perps as murderers and torturers, with possible repercussions. And it also shows our lack of investigative journalists, thereby also attacking msm… which explains why msm does not support Assange, they can’t imagine themselves interested in investigating things in the future, so losing press freedom to investigate is in fact desirable.
      The bit surprising to many is the lack of concern on the part of the public and pols regarding the various revelations. Not only no blowback, but many of the perps are promoted, even feted.
      We’re not in Kansas any more. Could use some ruby slippers.

  5. Polar Donkey

    Libya chaos-
    It seems like Tripoli was to NATO in the 2000’s what Havana was to the U.S. in the 1950’s. French electoral corruption, Canadian contract bribing/sex cult scandal, Italian corruption, British corruption, and who knows about Clinton foundation corrpution. It seems NATO members knew wikileak diplomatic cables were going to come out and they had to get rid of Khadafi asap.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said, PD.

      Just to add the Libyan investment in UniCredit and transactions with Goldman Sachs, ENI and Total. There are many corporate players involved, too.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Bingo. My French brother-in-law, an old Africa-hand and colonialist, was in the top echelons in Tripoli when the bombs started flying. Everyone knew what this was about: UniCredito borrowed $4B from Gaddafi at the height of the crisis and did not feel like paying it back.

    2. dearieme

      I was struck by the West’s War in Libya.

      Had that war been launched by Bush the Younger it would probably have been headlined W’s War in Libya. Or maybe the Bush/Cheney War in Libya.

      So shouldn’t it be the Obama/Hillary War in Libya?

      No doubt Sanders fans could suggest a way of dragging in the name of Hands-on Joe too.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “No doubt Sanders fans could suggest a way of dragging in the name of Hands-on Joe too.”

        Whether that was intended as a petty swipe at Sanders people or not, we reserve the right to link Joe Biden to the catastrophically failed policies of Obama while he was VP for him and all of his atrocious Senate votes.

        1. Hepativore

          It helps that Biden and Cheney are now BFFs, apparently. I could not think of a worse person to associate with in terms of PR as Cheney was even more disliked than W. Bush during the Bush administration.

          I wonder if Biden and Cheney are going to go duck hunting with each other anytime soon?

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Steve Bannon points out that Creepy Joe has a very large China problem. In his speeches he says “what’s so bad about China?” (kind of like his statement “I don’t think the 500 billionaires at the top are the problem, they’re really good guys”). But one week after Hunter and Papa Joe landed in Beijing on Air Force Two, the Bank of friggin China handed Hunter, a completely inexperienced and unqualified investor, a cool *1 B-I-L-L-I-O-N D-O-L-L-A-R-S* for a PE fund. Which he immediately invested in…wait for it…a facial recognition technology company used to round up Uighurs. BoC later added another half bil.

          He’s got some serious ‘splainin to do. Those attempts to stay out of jail explanations may not sit so good in the Rust Belt

    3. JEHR

      I am ashamed of the part that the Canadian military played in bombing Libya. We are responsible, thereby, for many refugees drowning in the Mediterranean.

    4. David

      Sarkozy will go to trial for at least some of the dirty business relationships with Khadafi, and the latter’s alleged funding of his election campaign. Watch the dirt come out.

  6. Summer

    Re: Why workers without college degrees are fleeing the city

    People will talk about the company founder who didn’t finish high school or college.
    They do not talk about the older CEOs, VPs, and managers still working among us, in the modern age, who did not finish high school or go to college.
    They may be a dying breed but they are still quietly with us. A lot of them got their starts in jobs that companies are now “requiring” – with the only thing different about the job being the ability to user operate some computer software, which wouldn’t require a degree to learn.

    1. Hepativore

      Yes, and there is also the fact that many workers; particularly younger ones with a degree or multiple ones are often stuck at the bottom of the company hierarchy no matter how hard they work and have no opportunities to move up the company ladder. The best that they can hope for is that they will not be the names drawn out of the hat when the tin gods of upper management decide to reduce headcount to afford all of goodies that they are so fond of giving each other regardless of company performance.

      1. neo-realist

        Sometimes, if you come into a company as a quote unquote “older worker”, it’s difficult to move up because management may want someone in a higher up position who will be there for a long time rather than one who will be there a few years then retire. And one who is possibly cheaper.

        Was once told in a job interview that the last person who held this position was here for 25 years and we want somebody who will be here a “very long time.”

        1. JBird4049

          Was once told in a job interview that the last person who held this position was here for 25 years and we want somebody who will be here a “very long time.”

          I thought the problem was the complete lack of loyalty by companies to their employees creating all those unemployed older employees?

    2. jrs

      A lot of people with a lot of jobs skills and aptitudes learned in a looser age when a college degree wasn’t the minimum qualification for everything, might if they find themselves unemployed hear: “sorry I can’t consider you, you don’t have a degree”. Implying: therefore your not even qualified to do the job you’ve been doing for the last decade(s)!

      But while a degree has always had value, it hasn’t always been a minimum qualification for everything. The rules have been changing midstream. What does one do then at 50 or something? Retrain then? But that’s unlikely to pay off, seems a fools errand if ever there was one. Noone is rushing to hire brand new older college grads either.

      1. Summer

        It’s more of an emphasis on credentialism which is not exactly the same as experience and education.

        1. Hepativore

          Yes, and many employers are refusing to invest any sort of training in potential hires, even though there is always a need for it since no two jobs at two different companies are exactly alike. This might have to do with the fact that many employers now regard their employees as largely disposable and interchangeable, so they want to waste as little money and time as possible on people that are going to be gone in half a year or so during routine employment cullings.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Loretta Lynch told Congress that Comey lied when he claimed she told him to downplay Clinton email probe as a ‘matter’ instead of an ‘investigation’”

    Rumour has it that Loretta Lynch gave Comey his instructions to downplay the investigations on the tarmac of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport just after she had finished with another meeting.

    1. DJG

      Rev Kev: Quite an article, although it slips midway and calls it an e-mail “account,” only to use the word “server” in the last paragraph.

      The Democrats, like so many of the U.S. upper-middle class, have detached actions from consequences. But I can assure you and these Democrats that, if they impeach Trump, it is going to be a cesspool. And the Clintons may finally be put out of commission.

      I’m wondering what the Liberal Big Jim Comey Fan Club is going to do with this information.

    2. political economist

      This is a huge story. This brings to light again a central contradiction to the Clintonite belief system, which alternately casts JC as the devil who caused HRC to lose the election and as the saint who was fired by DT thereby obstructing justice, DT’s prime impeachable offense.

      Trying to parse LL’s words makes it clear she is lying, again: Here’s the quote: “‘I have never instructed a witness [note general absolute statement not referencing JC] as to what to say specifically.” Obvious translation, “I did tell him to lie but not in those specific words.”

      LL is not believable but should we therefore believe JC?

      1. John k

        It’s not possible they’re both lying?
        Who tipped off the reporter regarding the tarmac meeting? And any chance she knew it was coming?
        And I wonder if bill invented a reason to be in AZ just at that moment…

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I have always attempted to argue from the position of risk-management which, it appears, very few people even know about. It is a normal part of decision making in the corporate world so it’s strange that most people seem unable to think that way. Even if you are skeptical and believe science is a kind of racket, there is enough basic evidence so that any rational person has to believe that we are running a very BIG risk in doing nothing which has been always US policy except Democrats will wave their arms and Republicans have the decency to just be in denial. So I’m glad to see a libertarian thinking in terms of risk-analysis but I don’t think it will make any difference in terms of policy. The truth of the matter is that actually acting on climate change will disturb too many vested interests and since the vast majority of Americans live in media-induced, drug-induced, or self-induced fantasies there cannot be any action on climate change unless the oligarch class signs on to the issue and that is unlikely since all that class seems interested in is to exploit any situation to the utmost. We live, today, in the worst possible situation culturally, economically, and politically for any action to be taken.

      I suspect, when it’s too late and disasters become overwhelming in perhaps ten years that there will be an interest in the issue–but I see no evidence. The left is obsessed with Russia and both the right and the left are obsessed with tribalism and fantasies coming out of those fantasies. I see no possibility at present for reason to re-emerge as a cultural force but I could be wrong.

      I would add here how air pollution is increasing health problems and dementia according to the Guardian article above. I’ve noticed that I forget a lot more than I udes to and thought it was part of aging–but I’ve noticed young people having the same problem so….

      1. anon y'mouse

        part of that MAY be that technology remembers so that you don’t have to.

        remember when you had the numbers of your 20 favorite friends and family memorized? not just their home phone, but also their work numbers?

        try to remember a phone number for five minutes now. i doubt that is a function of aging.

        also so with reports on those young people who can’t read cursive script, because they are not being exposed to it.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Ive always loathed business speak. “Risk Management” GREAT

        A Liberal Arts Major

        And cursive is…Lets just i say i never had the desire to write cursive.

          1. wilroncanada

            I did my high school finals in cursive, but the marker didn’t like all those curses.

      3. Lambert Strether

        > The left is obsessed with Russia

        Let’s not confuse liberals and the left. We live in a multidimensional political world, not a linear one (though I grant the liberal and conservative poles are still immensely attractive, they are decreasingly so).

    2. wilroncanada

      Maybe it was something like this:
      I’ve had a life changing experience of climate…glug glug glug…

  8. tegnost

    Funny, at first glance I thought it was a magpie…The times article on moving to the country, it’s amusing when the data opposes the folklore (if things aren’t going well for you in tennessee you should move to…) I miss seattle and the social contacts and etc… but don’t expect to live there again.

    1. Judith

      Yes, the bird’s bill seems corvid-like.

      Regarding moving to the country. I do not think this migration is confined to people without college degrees. In the Boston suburbs where I live, I sense (based on various conversations) that the middle class in general is being squeezed out. I know I am planning on moving someplace where the rents are not so high, and ever increasing.

    1. Oh

      I’ve also noticed many city, county and state websites include sign ons thru google and Facebook. And many want us to like them on Facebook. I’ve noticed that Google has corrupted the school system in CA, at least in Palo Alto Unified School DIstrict by providing Chromebooks) to students and forcing them to use them for homework assignments (thanks to the School Districts). That way Google can start the spying and collection of data early in life. I’m sure Facebook is playing a role too.

      1. Lambert Strether

        What Hawley said about Facebook could also be said about Google. Maybe we’d be better off without them. Would rolling the tape back to 1995 be so very, very bad?

  9. DJG

    The past isn’t even past:

    This story is a personal history that exemplifies Catalan radicalism, the enduring influence of the Spanish Civil War in Spanish politics, the results of the genocides of WWII, and the way that liberals lost the peace.

    Meanwhile, here in the United States of Amnesia: The Spanish Civil War? Was Robert E. Lee in it? Or was it George Washington? Let’s invade Iran!

    1. Wukchumni

      Well, our premature anti-fascist volunteers were in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, so there’s a little brand name action going on.

  10. Wukchumni

    The markets think the trade war stinks. A California garlic grower disagrees San Francisco Chronicle
    Garlic grower wards off tragic tariffism losses compared to farmers in flyover, who are kept going only by soy lent green.

    1. John Wright

      The press has consistently highlighted the tariff losers, as if no one benefits from the tariffs.

      It is good to see the highlighting of a winner in the Trump tariff war.

      To hear all the “sky is falling” news about the tariffs should make one believe that the USA would be even better off with negative tariffs.

      Why have we not seen the pressure for negative tariffs?

      Negative tariffs would be USA government subsidies of the purchase of imported products.

      Let’s see if the financial media promotes tariffs with a negative sign.

      1. Wukchumni

        USA Garlic exports were $20 Million in 2017

        USA Soybean exports were $21 Billion in 2017

          1. Wukchumni

            I was shocked at early season pricing of California peaches, plums & apricots @ the supermarket yesterday, around $3 a pound.

            That’s what they usually expect you to pay for out of season Chilean fruit with no taste on account of it being picked way before it ripened.

            1. Judith

              When that California fruit reaches the east coast it is tasteless and costs at least $1 more a pound. Two good reasons to wait for local.

              And while we are talking about peaches.

              Alice Waters’ favorite California organic peach farmer, David Mas Masumoto discovered that less water results in smaller more favorful peaches:


              1. Judith

                Which makes sense. Larger fruit contain more water, diluting the flavor. For example, think of the intense flavor in tiny just picked strawberries.

                1. Wukchumni

                  The richest spot i’m aware of for wild strawberries in the southern Sierra is about 4 miles in on the Hockett trail from Atwell Mill, in Mineral King. Not too far from the East Fork grove of Giant Sequoias.

                  There’s a 50-60 foot long and 20 foot wide swath of them.

                  The biggest one is about the size of your pinkie fingernail…

                  1. Cal2

                    Those are definitely Alpine Strawberries, a different variety.
                    Easier to grow at home than regular strawberries.

                    They like shade, meaning places where other things don’t grow.

                2. Lambert Strether

                  > think of the intense flavor

                  Same with grapes, I think. Tough old vines fighting for every drop of water with deep roots in stony soil is what you want for rich flavor, IIRC

                  “Wait for local” is a good slogan, BTW.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Organic soybean veggie burgers can be a good substitute, for those looking to cut down on meat consumption.

          This is a great opportunity for Americans to get healthier.

          1. Wukchumni

            Too late, dude.

            All those soybeans that were being held in silos across the middle of the country, got flooded out. May I suggest an Asian Carp from one of the rivers nearby instead, prepared in a garlic butter sauce using the reduction method, and pan fried until perfection?

            Just watch em’ though when they’re in the pan, alright?


              1. newcatty

                Let us keep in mind, that most of the soybean, big agriculture farms are not organic. It’s worth mentioning, since a lot of veggie burgers sold are not made with organic soy. Not to mention…read those ingredients, how about a liberal dose of salt and “additives”? Now, we have the much touted :Impossible Burger. Its impossible all right: impossible that its not called the Frankenstein Burger. Made with GMO processing so it tastes like, yeah, a bloody beef Burger. Nothing against organic veggie burgers. Just buyer beware. Of course, if you make your own, then cool. Like that once in a while…have you tried black bean ones? Easy to still buy organic black beans.

        2. ewmayer

          From the article: “Christopher Ranch is heavily focused on the U.S. market, with 90% of its garlic staying in the country. It exports a limited amount to countries including Mexico, Canada and Japan.”

          It’s not about boosting exports, it’s about preventing underpriced-due-to-environmental-and-labor-arbitrage imports from driving the dwindling (down from 12 in 1990 to just 3 today) number of domestic producers out of business.

      2. Grant

        I understand the complexities with tariffs, but the US did develop behind a massive wall of protectionism. In Ha Joon Chang’s book “Kicking Away the Ladder” he cited data showing that from roughly the War of 1812 until about WW II the US had the highest average industrial tariffs of the now OECD countries. Spain for a bit in the 20th century and Russia shortly before the revolution had higher average tariffs, but otherwise the US was at the top. It had high industrial tariffs thereafter and still has among the most protectionist agricultural systems. Chang’s article “The truth is on a 10 dollar bill” gives a good summary of his argument. I dont think most Americans are aware of this, or the fact that the protectionism has been the norm when countries are developing. I dont think most know that while industrial tariffs have been steadily declining overall in the US and other major economies, all countries still protect strategically important industries in various ways.

        I can understand the complexities that the internationalizatuon of production introduces into the tariff debate, but there are other things that do as well. For example, markets are missing environmental impacts and production is often in places now where far more non-market impacts are generated. Would tariffs not play some role possibly in taking those impacts into account? What about countries that use slave labor, or force workers to work in inhumane conditions, or production being transferred to places where union organizers are killed, like in Mexico and Colombia? Could tariffs not play a role there? After all, less exploited labor in places where stuff is produced would raise the prices of goods we import. Should we not then push for higher wages for workers because it would raise the prices of the things we buy? Maybe many things we buy, especially luxury goods, should not be as cheap as they are.

    2. Cal2

      Wonderful product, and in other unmentioned news about Christopher Garlic, remember the
      “shortage of field labor” after the vile Trump clamped down on illegals?

      “Christopher Ranch, which grows garlic on 5,000 acres in Gilroy, Calif., [announced after raising wages] Now the company has a wait-list 150 people long.”

      Chinese garlic has heavy metals and other toxins in it. A study stating the air quality in China causes the death of approximately 4,400 people EACH DAY.

      You’d have to be nuts to eat anything grown in China, even so called “organics”.
      Whole Foods, a.k.a. ‘A**Whole Foods’, sells Chinese grown ‘organics’ and is a bad actor, helping to destroy, like Walmart, local health food and organic stores.
      After they are out of business, surprise! Whole Foods’ prices go up.

      Want organics at Whole Foods? Bring Sherlock Holmes along with you to try and decipher the vague signage as they try to steer customers to non-organic produce, “best” “better” “sucker!”.

      It’s now their Amazon policy to avoid organics altogether.
      9 ways they lie:

      1. ewmayer

        We are spoiled here in NoCal, garlic-wise … every couple of months I buy a massive 48oz jar of locally-grown crushed garlic at Costco for just $5. IOW, at least in CA one doesn’t even have “domestics are more expensive” as an excuse to buy the imported crap.

        1. wilroncanada

          Locally-grown, ewmayer? You mean in Kirkland, Washington?
          And as for 5000 acres of garlic in SoCal, Who the hell in California needs 5000 acres worth of garlic. It should be a local product, grown on small farms to feed REALLY local populations, of in your own backyard, like we do. A small patch gives us a whole year’s supply.

          1. ewmayer

            Don’t know WTH you’re on about, mate – Kirkland is the catchall Costco house brand name – the garlic is Kirkland Brand MINCED CALIFORNIA GARLIC. And not all of us want to be garlic growers, chicken farmers, what-have-you. Within reason, economy of scale can actually be a useful thing. “Who the hell in California needs 5000 acres worth of garlic”? Uh, the non-garlic-growing population of the state, maybe? So enjoy your homegrown, but I’m happy to support a local (Gilroy is NoCal, not SoCal, btw) larger-scale family-run operation. And take both your strawman arguments and your lousy judgmental tone and stick ’em in your pipe and smoke em. You are the textbook illustration of “letting the perfect get in the way of the good.”

  11. The Rev Kev

    “As Iran Tensions Rise, Congress Moves to Curb Trump’s War Powers”

    That is the trouble with so much these days. There are plenty of laws on the books but they are not enforced. Here is what I quickly found online about the matter of War Powers in the US Constitution-

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war. The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2, which names the President Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

    See? The laws are already there – in this case the supreme law in the US – it is just that they cannot be bothered to follow it. The Senate has had this power for the past few centuries but they never stepped up and shut down illegal wars or they let twerps like Obama ignore them.

    1. dearieme

      That’s a special case of the well-known fact that the only new law most democracies need is “Obey the existing laws, you bastards!”.

    2. urblintz

      Indeed… and let’s not forget that there are plenty in Congress, including the Democratic leadership and its corporate underling concubines, who will vote for war in ein augenblick. Congress reasserting its responsibility to declare or not to declare war means nothing.

      1. ewmayer

        But the original wording even covers that –

        “The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2″

        The only reasonable reading of that is that the “power to direct the military” in combat operations is *dependent* on a Congressional declaration of war. But of course the ever-worsening erosion of that firewall, by way of a toxic pas de deux between ever-more-imperial presidential administrations and congresses happy to have the “it wasn’t our doing” excuse should the combat operations go badly, has been underway for many decades.

        Welcome to post-constitutional America!

    3. Edward

      The United States used to be described as a “Nation of Laws”. That sure has changed.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Rahm talked about catharsis in his little “it wasn’t me” screed in regards to allowing Wall Street off the hook, but the decision to let Wall Street off despite broken laws, even if they are complex cases, ignores the whole premise for having laws.

        We’ve had people break the laws, but allowing our former philosopher king to simply dismiss the whole reason for laws in pursuit of his vision of prosperity isn’t about catharsis but stability of society and faith in the republic, not whims. Trump breaks the law, so what? There isn’t law anymore. Just violence towards the poor.

        1. Edward

          Americans are not better or different from other people. If we ignore lawbreaking, our country will become like the other countries where the law is ignored. Destiny owes us nothing. The most important laws are in the constitution, and these are broken casually. Violation of the constitution gets less attention then it should, in my opinion. But this is how empires develop, I suppose.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      have had fun forwarding that to all my Warren-supporting never-Bernies who say she’s the policy wonk and he’s a demagogue with 3 talking points that all involve the phrase “1%” or “billionaires”. Sadly a lot of progressives have bought the “It’s time for whites and men and olds and especially old white men to get out of the way (so we can have an old white woman with watered down versions of the better candidate’s policies, I suppose).”

      It’s not a repeat of 2016, but it kinda rhymes. This country is so odd. One party you can’t get the nomination UNLESS you’re a white man; one party it’s an open liability

      death to idPol

      1. Baby Gerald

        The brainwashing of the American people against their own interests runs so deep. I was just speaking with a family member whose wife was just diagnosed with a potentially serious illness. His job with the county provides decent health insurance but is still worried about the compounding cost of co-pays. He tells me of a colleague who ran up $8000 in debt from co-pays and proudly stated that the ‘community’ raised the money to help him pay and that, should it happen to him, he’s confident that his fellow colleagues will do the same. When I countered with a ‘shame in the richest country in the world we need to crowdfund health expenses’ he responded with some nonsense saying it’s a good community-building experience. Bake sales for health care. You just can’t convince some people.

        1. Geo

          Does your friend think introverts with a limited social circle or even social anxieties deserve to die from unaffordable health care expenses? Interesting that they’re OK with healthcare being a popularity contest.

          1. Baby Gerald

            This is a great point, Geo, and one that I didn’t bring up because the discussion diverted into other directions but this is exactly why we can’t think this situation is tenable– people without networks of friends and family will simply die off without any support. It’s a savage Darwinistic outlook that is insidiously linked to an American supremacist ideology.

          2. Lambert Strether

            Good argument!

            Also, IIRC, crowd-funded health expenses fund-raising doesn’t necessarily work. You have to be charismatic, seem deserving, have a good story, etc. You don’t get the “community-building experience” unless you’re the right kind of person.

        2. Oh

          The hospitals and the insurance crooks should be waiving the copays. Why should they collect money at all if the copays are a burden?

          It’s always the case that the public has to pay and the rich get off collecting on their exorbitant bills.

          1. Baby Gerald

            Another excellent point, Oh. The whole reason for the co-pay was to deter those supposed people who would otherwise live in their doctors’ offices. What use is a pile of naggingly routine $25 depletions for regular treatments or prescriptions that cost exponentially more than that? These co-pays should be eliminated for things like chemotherapy regimens or any other treatment that is carried out in stages as authorized by a specialist. Nickel-and-diming a cancer patient is nothing to be proud of.

  12. DorothyT

    Re: NYT editor predicts almost all newspapers will die in 5 years

    The headline leaves out the most important word: “local.” It does remain an important prediction, but so many local newspapers disappeared (some merged and cut back or cut out local news) years ago.

    Here’s the actual quote:

    The greatest crisis in American journalism is the death of local news . . . I don’t know what the answer is. Their economic model is gone. I think most local newspapers in America are going to die in the next five years, except for the ones that have been bought by a local billionaire.

    1. wilroncanada

      My daughter is editor of a local community newspaper, now part of chain owned, as noted above, by a billionaire. The owner has little regard for the newspapers he owns for news reporting and even editorial content. Fortunately, he mostly leaves them alone. For him, they are wrapping for the multitude of flyers that can be sent with them. Of course, he also owns the printing presses.

  13. Wukchumni

    We have some of the oldest hydroelectric generating plants in California, which makes it way to the power houses through a series of flumes about 15 miles long, emanating from glacial lakes @ around 10,000 feet in Mineral King and from the main part of Sequoia NP. The bottom 3 videos in the link give you an idea of how the system works.

    The three Kaweah Power Houses are each over a century old. Kaweah No. 1 (on Highway 198 near the Mineral King Road junction) went online in June 1899. Kaweah No. 2 (Kaweah River Drive) has been in operation since 1905. And Kaweah No. 3 (at the Sequoia National Park entrance) went into production in 1913.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine”

    I have to confess to a serious error in judgment. I had assumed that the general trend was to maintain the status quo as in driving season, personal cars, a disposable & consumer goods orientated society like we have now. Tomorrow would look more or less like today. Well I was wrong. When you look at the things talked about in this article like electric cars, modern batteries, smartphones, solar panels and the like it becomes obvious. We are not talking about maintaining the status quo but we are trying to build Tomorrowland-

    Looks great on film but the truth of the matter is that on our present course and with our present behaviour towards the environment, we will be lucky if we do not go back to subsistence farming again with some areas marked as Forbidden Zones.

    1. Summer

      The establishment needs one more big, infrastructure/industrial revolution. The contention and fight all over the world is how the establishment in each country can get around paying labor to do it. That is “trade war.”
      And even if workers come out with a good deal in any respect, they will be laying the infrastucture for the robot/automation/AI revolution. All the current infrastructure is designed for human mobility and mind.

    1. Wukchumni

      This was posted yesterday, and here are grievous errors that Jared Diamond committed…

      “The book is riddled with errors. Diamond gets wrong the year of the Brexit vote. He claims that, under President Ronald Reagan, “government shutdowns were nonexistent.” But they occurred a number of times. He describes Australian-rules football as a sport “invented in Australia and played nowhere else.” But it is played elsewhere — in Nauru, where it is the national sport, as well as in China, Canada, France, Japan, Ireland and the United States, according to the Australian Football League.”

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t really get the Aussie Rules thing – the sport is played all over the world by expat Aussies, but isn’t ‘international’ in any real sense. Its like Gaelic Football in Ireland – there are leagues in the US, Britain, even across Asia (and London and New York have ‘county’ teams for the purposes of competition), but its always expats or their children, nobody disputes it is essentially an Irish game only. So its just pedantry to say that what Diamond says is wrong.

    2. Partyless Poster

      That review was really irritating, He points out a few small technical errors but his main beef seems to be that Jared Diamond is an old white guy and so therefore has no credibility.
      ID politics are destroying the left, I read a post on FAIR where someone claims a natural history museum is white supremacist because it assumes a white audience.
      Do Chinese museums assume an Asian audience?
      Do majority populations matter?

      1. Cal2

        Yes, they do matter when they’ve had enough and they vote along racial and gender lines,
        i.e., “I will vote only for a white man,” thus destroying any chance for progressive politics that the loudmouth so called SJW progressives claim to represent.

        How do you think Trump got elected, and will be reelected, if they were to put the Kamlacaust on the ballot, even alongside Status Quo, Student Debtor Foe Joe?

        Bernie Sanders and (Major) Tulsi Gabberd are different, she’s served our country.

      2. Chris Hargens

        Have to disagree. There are are more than a few small technical errors. More important, the reviewer’s main criticism is that Diamond makes his content subservient to the “framework” he’s trying to push. Sure, Diamond is an old white guy, but the reviewer’s critical points don’t issue from that fact.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > the reviewer’s main criticism is that Diamond makes his content subservient to the “framework” he’s trying to push.

          That’s true, and frameworks are both Diamond’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. Sourcing like “my friends in Japan” was also an issue.

      3. zer0

        I have a question: did you read the book?

        If you think those are the major errors in the book, then you clearly must not have read it, or didnt read it well.

        Diamond equates entire populations to one ethos. Something that is the mark of a person who doesnt grasp the historical details.

        Can you imagine if I said “every American was for the Iraq War”? Diamond does this over and over again. And he doubles down by stating they all think this way because of some nationalistic trait. For the Fins, it was their love of literature.

        Its a pseudo-intellectual book, clearly mirroring Diamond’s recent pseudo-intellectualism. You dont travel around the world nearly non-stop for 15 years giving speeches on your hit Guns, Germs, and Steel and expect to actually do enough detailed research to write a coherent book. The people I admire, are the ones that would never care about the fame because their products are labours of love. For Diamond, its becoming pretty clear (he’s had other bad books after GGS too, this isnt the first) that maybe historical research isnt his labour of love. Rather, a cash cow hes been milking for far too long.

  15. Olga

    Why capturing Huawei is no victory in tech war Asia Times Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.
    As usual, worth a read. And in the comments at Saker site (where it was also published), there’s a reminder from Tim Cook about why Apple stays in China. Donald probably has no time to read this, but he should:
    Another commenter discusses Huawei’s HongMeng OS, which “has been worked on since 2012, Linux based, it has already won awards in China for innovation and performance.” Assessing it is beyond my pay grade, but it does sound promising. (If Goog is forced to retreat in time, no big loss, I’d say. They’ve stopped innovating a long time ago, and just collect rent, plus work with the blob.)

    1. dk

      And right on cue:
      Following Trump’s Orders, Google Bans Huawei’s Access to Android

      “The United States is Google’s biggest market, and so it wants to stay friendly with the U.S. government and the U.S. market more than the concessions its willing to make to the Chinese government,” explained Walters.

      Google might just be reading the writing on the wall and figure they might as well take the opportunity to force Huawei to jump into a new OS a little earlier than planned:

    2. a different chris

      That’s why it’s so good to hear of all those initiatives where Apple is putting it’s billions behind things such as US vocational education, and addressing the problem where “In the US you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China you could fill multiple football fields.”

      Oh, wait.

      1. pricklyone

        Lil’ Timmy needs work on causal relationships…
        We used to have lots of “tooling engineers” here, but we had them train their Chinese replacements, and then downsized them out of existence.

        You will only find them in manufacturing countries, not in a ‘service economy’!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Escobar could be a little more critical or objective with China. For example from his article:

      In July 2015, China’s State Council – which comes up with all the big policies that matter – issued a major directive; from now on everybody should join the “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” bandwagon.

      This is how it works in China. The central government may lay down the main goals. But implementation is totally local – as in thousands of mayors and local officials. These people only get promoted inside the vast bureaucracy through performance. And the examiners are of course big wigs in the Chinese Communist Party’s human resources department. So it’s easy to imagine the frenzy when Beijing sets clear goals and targets. Go for it – or disappear into career oblivion.

      Mayors and local officials – I remember reading about unreliable local GDP numbers from those same people. Will this be similar?

      This is how it works…

      But does he think that should be the case, that the 5G world will be a better world, as the central government of China in Beijing alone decides and says it will be?

      Has Escobar ever been critical of China recently?

    4. TheHoarseWhiperer

      The problem is not the OS. The problem is denying Huawei access to Google services. No Google maps. No access to Google Play store. All of this infrastructure is very expensive and non trivial to maintain. And white they may be able to substitute with home grown alternative in China, globally they are screwed. It doesn’t matter how brave of a face they place on it, the risk to revenue is very real.

    5. Oh

      Several years ago Samsung announced that it was working on a Linux based OS for their cell phones but it was apparently shelved due to pressure from Google and the US cell phone companies. Same thing happened a decade earlier on S. Korea’s attempt to come up with an OS for PC’s.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Logical that. Makes it harder to spy on people when they aren’t using Google stuff.

    6. Lambert Strether

      That Inc article is very interesting:

      “The products we do require really advanced tooling, and the precision that you have to have, the tooling and working with the materials that we do are state of the art. And the tooling skill is very deep here. In the US you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China you could fill multiple football fields.”

      Take a bow, neoliberals! David Harvey has a similar perspective.

      Oh, but Time Cook also says:

      We want the quality level of zero defects

      Lol, not for butterfly keyboards!

  16. PeakBS

    Raising capital is fun with Tesla!

    Broke Citi: May 3rd, Buy this $TSLA stock from us at $243 and buy these $TSLA bonds from us at par.

    Woke Citi: May 22nd, lower price target from $238 to $191

    How about that wonderful bank just realizing Tesla is toast ?

    If you wanna follow along with the tanking Bond it’s TSLA4830349

  17. JAFA

    I received an email from an “AI Recruiter” this week.

    “My name is Wendy, and I’m helping the Siemens hiring team. I should also mention I’m an artificially intelligent Recruiter. Yep— you heard that right!.

    It appears HR personnel are also being automated out of a job. Has anyone else seen something like this?

    1. Off The Street

      Variations on a theme and the logical extension of those ATS bots that parse one’s resume and return a score. Early versions may have some bugs when peering into the soul of an applicant and coming up with low scores.
      Combine that with other HR task outsourcing and you could imagine some blacklisting. Bug, or feature?

  18. petal

    This is an article about Alf Jacques, who is an Onondaga Nation member. He keeps alive the tradition of making lacrosse sticks out of wood. Fascinating person and story, especially for any fans of the game out there. The article is in the Washington Post this morning but they are not digging my ad blocker, so to the Syracuse page it is.

    1. Wukchumni

      When I was a kid, precisely zero that I knew of played lacrosse, we only wore the shirts by the same name, and now my nephews in SD are playing the game.

      I’ve never heard of an American that plays Aussie-rules football, though they tell me it’s huge in Nauru.

      1. petal

        When I was a kid in the 80s-early 90s, no schools in my county had it, but the richer counties around us did, and the area around Syracuse was a hotbed. We were sandwiched and I looked on in envy! I had always wanted to play but didn’t get the oppo until I went away to university a year early and walked onto the team there. Since those days, the sport has ballooned, and there are even special programs that are located in underserved city areas so those kids get a chance to play, too. Everyone plays with a plastic stick now, and I am going to guess most folks don’t know the origins/history of the game, so this nice article about Mr. Jacques will hopefully spread the word. I’ve played just about everything, even rowed, but lacrosse will always have my heart. Best of luck to your nephews!

        When I was in Australia in ’99 for school, Aussie Rules was definitely a regional thing. The area I was in had the cricket and the rugby, so I never got to see an Aussie Rules game in person. It is an amazing game to watch. I doubt it would catch on over here in the States-too fast, too rough for Americans(esp with no pads).

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Why capturing Huawei is no victory in tech war”

    I think that the essence of this story is right at the beginning where it says ‘China is a strategic competitor and must be contained, no holds barred, on all fronts: economic, military and most of all, technological.’ And that is it in a nut shell. Trump came right out and told Fox News that while he is in office, that China won’t be allowed to become a superpower. He virtually boasted that he is sabotaging the Chinese economy so that they cannot compete with the US. I can only guess how the Chinese are going to take it but can you imagine if a century ago that the British Empire told Teddy Roosevelt that they would make sure that the US would never become a superpower? And then made sure that the great White Fleet could never leave US shores by refusing to sell it fuel for that Fleet? Here is that story about Trump-

    And for those interested, here is an article called “Huawei’s US ban: A look at the hardware (and software) supply problems” at-

    1. Olga

      This is how China feels about it:
      At the “Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, where Beijing demonstrated its soft power, did not mention the U.S. but [Xi’s remarks] were regarded as the highest level response yet to tough rhetoric from Washington:”
      “’If someone thinks their own race and civilization is superior and insists on remolding or replacing other civilizations, it would be a stupid idea and disastrous act,’ Xi said.”
      It’s that “disastrous” part that worries me.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For Beijing, the Chinese civilization can be inferior and superior.

        During the Cultural Revolution, it was inferior, and traditional Chinese ideas needed to be purged.

        Today, China dominates in manufacturing, and Xi’s idea of buy-global (instead of buy-local), with trade along the New Silk Road, is promoted as superior, in a Tianxia with Beijing at the top.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trump is just more blunt. He doesn’t need to play to ID politics. Obama’s Asia Pivot was always about China. In regard to Russia, a reasonably strong and independent Russian Federation is large enough to not get pushed around by China or become a poodle similar to the UK and France in their relationship to the U.S. For smaller countries, they can access China through Russia, or go to Russia if its aligned with China if China becomes too onerous which it could because of its size.

      Politically, I’m not sure Democrats could raise the threat of the Yellow menace so soon while the crusade against Brown People is still going on. Formerly quirky plans of BRIICS and the New Silk Road went from long term projects to pressing concerns in light of Libya and tearing up the disarmament deal with Gaddafi at the first opportunity. Moscow and Beijing realized Washington can’t be depended onto maintain the propagandized world and promises of the Pax Americana. Between Iraq, Libya, and the pivot to our torture ally Syria made it clear the Soviet propaganda about the United States was basically all true.

  20. Wukchumni

    I suffer from paronomasia and having as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, a fellow whose name sounds like ‘done for’, doesn’t inspire much confidence, but you go with the material they give you.

  21. Ignacio

    I hope someone can help me. I am trying to find a link/post on a program developed in California to help low income families to invest in renewables/energy saving. I think it was linked in april.

    Next week I’m going to an event on sustainable development with spanish authorities and I would like a good example that migth be replicated

  22. JAFA

    AI Recruiting Partner
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  23. dcblogger

    What the Venezuelan elite is doing to Maduro is what the American elite will do to Bernie and the country if we elect him, I hope he knows that and I hope that he has a plan. Remember the California energy crisis? A small sample of what we are in for, unless Bernie can come up with a way to stop it.

    Same goes for Warren, except that I don’t think that she realizes that. Bernie is more likely to anticipate it and come up with a plan.

    1. Adam Eran

      That’s about right. I remember thinking that if Kucinich (then running for president) was ever elected, it’d be about six months before the first assassination attempt. Hence “assassination insurance” Pence in the current administration.

      Previous NC posts decrying Yanis Varoufakis’ fecklessness dealing with the Greek debt crisis may be correct, but I’d say it would require Varoufakis to put his life on the line to act any differently.

      Personally, I’d put that more sympathetic spin on Obama’s malfeasance, too–and I despise Obama. Sure, he not only didn’t prosecute Bush / Cheney’s war crimes, and he promoted the torturers while prosecuting the whistle blowers….but doing otherwise would have put his life in peril, at least that’s my bet.

      So…how many commenters are willing to act “correctly” in such life-threatening situations?

  24. Wukchumni

    I know the word rankles, but there has never been an episode of hyperinflation in the digital age, what would a catalyst be and how would it work?

    In previous hyperinflations historically, it was either the debasement of coins, or the issuance of too much paper money, that did the trick.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know about the “hyper” part, but didn’t the recent round of “QE”s in America produce a similar result, societally speaking?

      1. Wukchumni

        Sorry, that didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, nor nothing about the mechanics of a ‘no host party’ involving digital fiat money.

    2. Adam Eran

      Sorry, that’s the popular illusion–that the “over-printing” of currency leads to inflation. Not so. In the Cato institute’s study of 56 historic hyperinflations, how many originated with a central bank “run amok”? Zero — and that paraphrases Stephanie Kelton.

      In virtually every instance, the hyperinflation was a response to a shortage of goods, like the oil shocks of the ’70s in the U.S., typically coupled with a balance of payments problem.

      So Zimbabwe distributed the land from exiting Rhodesian farmers who previously fed the country. Agriculture there is not what Westerners are used to, so for example tsetse fly eradication has to precede raising Western cattle–otherwise the herds die of sleeping sickness. I’m guessing the colonial programs like that fly eradication suffered badly, too. So Zimbabwe had a food shortage. Then it started printing money to pay for imported food. The shortage was the key prerequisite, though.

      In Weimar Germany, the French invaded to take over the Ruhr, an important industrial area because the Germans were slow in making their World War I reparation payments–they did not supply some phone poles on schedule. The shortage of goods that resulted from the Ruhr being out of commission, and balance of trade problem with the reparation payments, led to that hyperinflation.

      In a counter example, the Fed issued $16 – $29 trillion in credit for the financial sector in 2007-8. Where was the inflation then? If just “printing money” made inflation occur, then there should have been a massive amount that year. (Actually, Warren Mosler says the Fed allowed overdrafts in the financial sector’s Fed accounts in these amount, but to me that sounds like a distinction from printing money without much difference.)

      Theoretically, government could bid up prices, competing with the private sector for limited goods and services, but historically that’s not the way it’s happened. Ever!

      Bonus question: Would a job guarantee be inflationary? Who else is competing for the unemployed? Answer: no. Public policy props up prices for surplus agricultural products, why not labor?

      1. Wukchumni

        My point is in the past, it needed a prop, be it in 1623 Germany during the first hyperinflation or in 1923 during the Weimar hyperinflation. And by the way, it ought to be Kopernicus’s Law, not Gresham’s.

        The stage setting for the financial debacle was the public in which the money circulated in both instances, and now that said stage is for the most part invisible to us, how would anybody know in terms of overt signs that something is wrong?

        We’re in the midst of our Thirty Years War, at great expenditure of money and lives, in which nothing has been gained, aside from the handsome returns earned by arms manufacturers, sutlers & victualers.

        To quote the words of Nikolaus Kopernicus in 1517, “The greatest and most forbidding mistake
        has to be when a ruler tries to make a profit from the minting of coins by introducing and circulating new coins, with an inferior weight and fineness, alongside the originals and claims that they are both of equal value…”. These words should have been remembered a hundred years further down the line.

        The so-called “Kipper and Wipper period” saw the highest inflation in the history of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The start of the Thirty Years’ War marked the beginning of a drastic deterioration in the quality of coins in Central Europe which lasted until 1623. The origin of this financial and economic crisis, however, is to be found some decades before this.

        And as far as a sudden shortage of goods goes?

        I feel sorry for China in some ways, they really don’t want to keep serving drinks to their alcoholic best customer, who’s been obnoxious and made scenes that would cause anybody in the Middle Kingdom to lose face and how.

        They cut us off from taking our recyclables, why not cut us off as far as the perhaps 88% of crap in American stores bearing the words: Made In China.

        1. Bernalkid

          Yeah but you never distinguish between assets and money. The corporations and large property stay in the same hands.

      2. Oh

        In a counter example, the Fed issued $16 – $29 trillion in credit for the financial sector in 2007-8. Where was the inflation then?

        I believe the inflation has occurred in real estate and asset prices including the stock market. Rents have tripled in most cities, same with any kind of housing. If you’re looking for general inflation in goods (manufactured goods, i.e. imported from China, food,gasoline, autos and hard goods) there has been less inflation. I believe QE has had disastrous effects on purchasing power for the majority while it has been a boon for the rentiers.

  25. Wukchumni

    Whole Foods becomes 1st national grocer in US to ban plastic straws TreeHugger
    …did straws come along initially as a way for women not to wreck their lipstick application by drinking from a glass?

    1. ambrit

      Glass straws were originally made for patients who could not move their mouths due to illness or the recovery from some situation where the face had to be immobilized for a period of time. This is covered in some detail in the Film Noir “Dark Passage.”

          1. ambrit

            I’m not sure just where we set the boundary for what are now generally known as ‘straws.’ I’ve read that the Gauchos of the Pampas have drunk their Mate out of a gourd with a silver straw (bombilla) for several centuries.

  26. Tomonthebeach

    Yves’ frustration with Macbook.

    I will probably never understand Apple product loyalty, especially given the inflated costs, constant flow of bad press associated with company policies, and never-ending repair bitches. I think it all boils down to whether you own your laptop or if your laptop owns you.

    Back in 2012, I bought one of the first Microsoft Surface tablet PCs. Feather-light, powerful, and usable as a tablet (which is great for reading) or as a laptop with a clever magnetic cardboard-thin backlit keyboard that attaches in an eyeblink. Mine is only 10.5″ wide so I can use in on aircraft seatback tables even when inclined. It can power off an airplane USB port, and; it fits into my tiny 10″x13″x3″ hardback briefcase leaving enough room for a variety of USB cables, USB multiport, an anywhere mouse, Bluetooth earbuds, phone charger, 6-ft HDMI cable, 2TB backup drive, small Gorilla tripod, EU power adapter, and a backup battery along with assorted cable adapters and my inflatable neck pillow.

    The Surface line does come in much larger sizes, but all have the superslim design with removable keyboard. I have never had a lick of trouble dragging it all over the US and EU. I can even Skype on it – no attachments needed. It is my main PC for the several months we spend each year in Europe. For the record, I am retired and have no financial connection to Microsoft. Well, my IRA and mutual funds probably hold some MS stock – Apple too :-).

    1. zer0

      I think Apple lost its way.

      They used to be designed for professionals. Nice screens, fairly rugged unibody design, good battery, mobile, slim, etc. w/ actual performance too boot.

      Now, they are very lackluster. The CPUs are not the latest, and they lack dedicated graphics cards. I assume this is so they can maintain high margins, but this has started to really tick the professional users that actually want the latest tech.

      For the price of a MacBook Pro, you really get nothing. Slow processor, low memory, no graphics card for $1799. For $1799 anywhere else, I would get a better CPU and a laptop with a videocard.

      Looking at it this way, the quality problems are not surprising. They are selling you a brand name, a fashionable laptop 1st and foremost. Quality isnt in that equation, neither is performance metrics.

      And if you look at more performance options from Apple, the price is staggeringly high: $2500 for the high-performance (kinda, more like mid-range gaming performance) 15″ macbook pro. $5000 for actual high performance iMac Pro.

      1. Bernalkid

        Glad to hear our betters are like the Upper Class Twit of the year, see Uber and Tesla, not to mention Theranos. It’s grand, I say.

        1. JBird4049

          Apple has not lost its way. It has become a greedy company that more concerned about making money now using crapification instead of the long term profits from running a successful maker of high quality products. Think Boeing.

          Older users like me remember when Apple was was better than Microsoft. The price might still have been too high and yes, Mac devotees were just a bit crazy. Still good stuff in a cooler design. Now it is Boeing, being more concerned about the immediate immense profits rather than long term success building better quality stuff that can justify premium prices.

          The company has the money, the Mac-Heads, and the tech base to make fantastic stuff again. Question is will they pull a Boeing?

      2. vlade

        Yep. I feel the same with iPhone. The design is dumb (extruding camera lenses???? ), the UI is dumb (ask how many had the torch turned on by mistake, and it can’t be removed from the lock screen) and I could go on.

        The only thing that goes for it is that it’s less intrusive than Android, if you need email (end hence internet connection) on the phone (and unfortunately, I do).

        I wish there was a decent alternative to Android/iOS.

  27. ewmayer

    “Whole Foods becomes 1st national grocer in US to ban plastic straws TreeHugger” — They haven’t similalrly banned single-use plastic food containers and utensils of the kind with which the nonrecyclable-waste bin of my local WF’s dining area is routinely overflowing and which constitute overwhelmingly more plastic waste than straws, so banning the latter strikes me as virtue-signaling PR.

  28. Pelham

    Re Dems cozying up to Wall Street despite pledges to shun big money: Given this particular sleaze and the now proven fact from 2016 that the party itself cannot be trusted, I propose the following:

    A mass movement that states and notes the above and signs up voters nationwide who pledge not to vote for any Democratic presidential candidate other than Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. They’re the only ones not bellying up to Wall Street for bucks (although Tulsi Gabbard may be refusing to do so as well; let’s find out and possibly add her to the list of acceptable candidates).

    Of course, it’s just barely possible that the primaries and convention won’t be rigged and another candidate could emerge somewhat legitimately. Unfortunately, there’s no way we can tell. We can’t count on someone leaking or hacking into emails to enlighten us this time round.

    So we just have to dictate our terms. Minus Sanders, Warren (or possibly Gabbard) at the top of the Dem ticket, we will vote for someone else — a third-party candidate or Trump — or won’t vote at all. This could well return Trump to the White House. But the upside would be the dissolution of the Democratic Party as it now exists. Longer term, that may be worth the cost.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I think Liz supporters need to back up and ask: can this person become president?

      Phrased differently: can wonky Library Lady get the job done against The Orange Man? In debates? On Twitter? When the hapless and fearful voter, in the privacy of the voting booth, starts thinking about things like the Commander-in-Chief role?

      Same question for Buttgig. A gay mayor of a small Indiana town? With that last name?

      Or Bernie: an old Jewish guy with a Bronx accent?

      The entire current crop are midgets. Tulsi is the best on policy across the board IMO. But a young Hindu woman from Hawaii?

      1. pricklyone

        If the “hapless and fearful” voter really had concerns as above, they would insist on having a candidate pick his cabinet and advisory staff in advance of the primaries!
        Is Trump impressing you in his role as C in C?

      2. Pelham

        I like Gabbard, too. Like Bernie, and possibly more so than Warren, she exhibits some real backbone. She and Sanders are the only two I trust to actually try to follow through on the policies they propose rather than water them down till they’re unrecognizable or forget them altogether. Warren might be similarly tough, but the fact that she failed to back Sanders last time and her only modest accomplishment with the CFPB makes me wonder at her conviction.

    2. jrs

      it’s easier to imagine the dissolution of the world than the dissolution of the Dem party, but wait for it like Godot I guess. If it was going to happen shouldn’t it have happened by now. They lost to Trump.

  29. newcatty

    OK, though I don’t for a moment underestimate many of the public who would not vote for the above mentioned politicians due to their fears and prejudices. I want to remind you of the same rhetoric about how can a black, well spoken, elite educated, tailored Democrat be elected president? No fan of him, but just a reminder of how the voting public can be surprising in their choices. I hope that the public is ready for someone to be president who have the best policies, regardless of ID propaganda, will support Bernie, Tulsi or Sanders.

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