Links 6/2/19

Muslims of early America Aeon

Superyacht Lost At Sea After Falling Off Cargo Ship International Business Times Oops.

Abortion Rights Are More Popular Than You Think Jacobin

Why New York Can’t Have Nice Things New York magazine

Why we need to start drinking coffee like Italians TreeHugger

Antonio Salieri’s Revenge New Yorker

Ultra-processed foods linked to increased risk of death and disease TreeHugger

Federal appeals court rejects challenge to Kentucky’s campaign ethics law Jurist

On Thin Ice: March Warming in Alaska Led to Eight Deaths, Disrupted Fishing Common Dreams

Julian Assange

UN Torture Report: ‘Demonized’ Assange Has Faced ‘Psychological Torture’ Consortium News

UK Foreign Secretary Defends Torturing Journalists, Then Says We Must Protect Journalists Caitlin Johnstone

Recreational marijuana movement takes root in Midwest but efforts elsewhere have stalled LA Times

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Cameras Came to the Newsroom. What if They Catch Us Printing Springsteen Tickets? NYT

Experts warns of ‘epidemic’ of bugging devices used by stalkers Metro UK

2020

Elizabeth Warren campaign’s in so, so much trouble Boston Herald. Caveat lector. Note the source. I don’t endorse this, but link to it to point out this is out there, and it’s not going to go away. Will it matter? Don’t know.

2020 Democrats impress San Francisco audience with ‘big ideas’ San Francisco Chronicle

‘Oh my God, is that Bernie Sanders?’ Democrats swarm San Francisco First Post

737 MAX

Boeing Built Deadly Assumptions Into 737 Max, Blind to a Late Design Change NYT

Sports Desk

Liverpool Beat Spurs to Win Champions League BBC

Champions League final: how money buys success on the pitch The Conversation

North Korea

Death And Resurrection In North Korea Moon of Alabama

Iran

IAEA Confirms Iranian Compliance for the Fifteenth Time American Conservative

China?

US should take ‘sole and entire’ responsibility for stalled trade talks, China State Council Information Office white paper says SCMP

China sets up blacklist to hit back in Huawei fight Asia Times

Europe’s China diplomacy seeks silver linings to US trade war Al Jazeera

India

Indian politicians have to be like Bernie Sanders: Ruchir Sharma The Hindu

Gaja: When a Cyclone’s Wake Is Worse Than the Cyclone Itself The Wire

Did the secular sanitisation of pre-colonial Indian history allow Hindu nationalism to weaponise it? Scroll

Troubling Unemployment Data, Leaked in January, Now Released Post-Elections The Wire

Class Warfare

The AI gig economy is coming for you MIT Technology Review

Austerity to blame for 130,000 ‘preventable’ UK deaths – report Guardian

Forget retirement — focus on financial independence Market Watch. Cavet Lector. I post this not because I agree with all it contains, but to spark discussion. Enjoy!

Counter culture: what we lose when shops disappear FT

War on Cash

Scotland is on the front line in the fight against “cash deserts” Quartz

Antitrust Alert

How Qualcomm shook down the cell phone industry for almost 20 years Ars Technica

Amazon could face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between U.S. regulators WaPo

Google Should Be Afraid. Very Afraid. Bloomberg

DOJ takes step toward a bruising antitrust battle with Google Politico

Trump Transition

Noam Chomsky: Trump’s “Economic Boom” Is a Sham TruthOut

Journalists with state broadcaster CGTN in US denied passes to cover Congress SCMP

Donald Trump terminates preferential trade status for India under GSP Economic Times

Letter From Mexican President Goes Way Over Trump’s Head Splinter

State Department Requiring Visa Applicants to Reveal Social Media Accounts, Raising Deportation Concerns Common Dreams

CONSERVATIVES PUSHED A STRATEGY TO WEAKEN HOME HEALTH CARE UNIONS. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BIT. The Intercept

Next Conservative leader: Trump condemned for ‘entirely unacceptable interference’ after praising Boris Johnson’s bid to be PM Independent

Antidote du Jour (via)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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177 comments

  1. David

    Re the Treehugger story about coffee, can I be the first to point out that the situation in Italy that so surprised the writer is in fact common all over Southern Europe, not to mention the Balkans, North Africa and the Levant, or pretty much anywhere else the Ottomans passed by. Indeed, as you get closer to the original home of coffee, in Ethiopia, it not only gets better it also acquires more ceremony. Watching Ethiopian women preparing coffee from green beans is an experience.
    North American coffee is not coffee by any reasonable definition. I remember many years ago getting off a very long and unpleasant Air Canada flight to Vancouver, and finding a coffee shop at the Airport called Second Cup. After the first I decided that they must have taken their name from a willingness to pay you to drink another. I couldn’t imagine why else you would.

    Reply
    1. Clive

      Similarly what the British call tea. It retains little, if any, resemblance to the authentic original drink. That said, I wouldn’t change it for all the… erm… tea in China. So long as it’s not made from the really dire stuff (powder-like chaff which falls from the leaves gathered and sorted during the drying process).

      Reply
      1. larry

        I would, Clive. Since I moved to England all those years ago, I have become a tea ‘snob’, obtaining my China tea (sometimes from Nigeria or India) from Fortnums or Jing Tea, and only loose tea, different teas having to be brewed at different temperatures. There are tea plantations in Scotland and Devon, but it is expensive. I haven’t had any, so can’t say how good, or bad, it is. When I first moved to England, I drank rubbish tea, like Typhoo, PG Tips, and the like. Eventually, I experienced muscle tremors from caffein overload — my hands shook. I had to find another kind of tea, and once I had had a good cup of tea, I never looked back. Of the ‘regular’ teas, I suppose that Yorkshire Tea may be the best. Yorkshire Tea comes in either tea bags or loose.

        The only coffee I can drink is Balkan, or Turkish, coffee so strong it tastes like chocolate.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          I’m very surprised tea can be grown in Scotland – it’s a Zone 7 plant, badly damaged around zero Fahrenheit. As I experienced, when we had an abnormal freeze. Aside from that, it grows well here; it’s a camellia, Camellia sinensis. The common flowering ones, japonica and sasanqua, are from Japan. There are actually a couple of tea plantations in the Willamette Valley, a Japanese one near Portland and a hobbyist’s project near Salem. The big problem is the cost of labor.

          That said, I agree about using loose tea leaves (I use two pots, pouring it off to prevent over-steeping) and getting good quality tea. That’s partly so I can brew it very strong and still drink it, but I also keep 5 or 6 varieties and cycle among them. I’m fortunate to have local sources, both the Co-op and a tea and coffee store, but I also order from Upton Tea in Boston. Not cheap, of course, though they do have a page of specials. Tea is still cheaper by the cup than comparable coffee.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            It is actually true!

            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/17/storm-in-a-teacup-as-gardeners-realise-uk-climate-is-perfect-for/

            The tea bush doesn’t require heat, only absence of frost (it can probably take a degree or two below freezing for very short periods of time but a hard frost would kill it).

            It is a marginal proposition here in my part of southern England — a friend of mine keeps a straggly bush going in a container but it’s just waiting to be finished off in a nasty cold spell of the sort we get every decade or so, despite what that Telegraph article tries to claim.

            Western coasts bathed in warm Gulf Stream waters are sufficiently frost-free to be suitable for crop production. Certainly with the onset of climate change.

            Reply
            1. polecat

              We had mostly freezing temps for the entire month of Feb. Our tea plants took a hit, but are recovering with lots of new shoots to replace the older leaves. It probably helps that they have southern sun exposure, although they tend to get some leaf scorch with what accounts for heat waves here in the PNW, due to the bed being in front of an expanse of pavers.

              Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        There are teas and then there are teas. One time, I worked with this English guy in Germany and after work we headed off to the local supermarket for some basics. The English guy wanted some tea but nearly went into shock when we reached the part of the aisles for teas and coffees. The Germans are very much into herbal teas and I mean in a big way and they had all sorts there. Citrus teas, raspberry teas, mixed fruit teas, hibiscus teas, chamomile teas, ginger teas – you name it. Finally he found some packets of no-name brand tea made out of what was probably the sweepings off the floor so he had to be satisfied with that. He really should at least have given the rosehip tea a try.

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I never understand the whole takeaway thing, I usually end up just spilling it over myself, and I don’t enjoy it, even if it is good coffee. I suspect that for many coffee is a substitute for a proper breakfast. Even then, a quick espresso shot can keep you going until you can eat properly. For that matter, I don’t enjoy eating while walking or doing other things either. Are people really so busy that they can’t take the time to just have a few minutes to enjoy the coffee or snack?

      I do suspect that lack of quality and eating on the move go together, which is why its encouraged so much by so many businesses.

      Reply
          1. Wyoming

            I have no idea on the origin of said practice, but my mother who was raised on a homestead in Wyo learned it from her parents who were born in the mid 1890’s. It was a common practice in the old west where you put the grounds in a big pot or pitcher and boiled the water. The egg keeps the grounds from getting in your cup. I grew up (from the age of 10) drinking coffee made this way when we were camping/hunting/fishing out in the boonies.

            Reply
          2. shtove

            No, I just needed a way of getting yolks into my diet without having to taste their full force and fury (I used to spit them out as a baby). Then I found out it’s a favourite in some SE Asian country.

            I stir the yolk up with a dash of cream and a little turmeric and black pepper, then keep stirring as the coffee drips in. Frothy, spicy, and emulsified. Nice breakfast.

            Reply
        1. polecat

          I grind my beans with ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves before pressing. The amount of grind is such that I end up with such a think brew, that I’m obliged to cut it some with hot water added to the cup. 1 cup (plus breakfast, as per mr. Kun above) and I’m good to go !

          Reply
            1. polecat

              To a grinder full of beans (1 heaping cup), add approx. 1/2 Tbsp. of the cinnamon crumpled (ceylon cinnamon crumples easily), next finely grate some whole nutmeg, (1/2 tsp.), lastly .. add 2 whole cloves, grind away … I grind the beans somewhat coarsely, as it seems to make plunging the french press filter screen less arduous !

              Kick back & Enjoy

              Reply
      1. Pavel

        I have been using those classic Bialetti stovetop “espresso” makers for 35+ years… Not quite the same as from a proper espresso machine but god knows 100 times better than most restaurant or takeout coffees. I buy a packet of Lavazza coffee for CAD 5.00 and I get 20 or 30 cups out of it.

        For various reasons (their tax-evading efforts and that nonsensical “tall” a/k/a small cup crap among them) I boycott Starbucks. One might note that in Italy “real Italians” wouldn’t have milk in their coffee after 12AM so I am amused by ostensibly chic people ordering enormous cappucinos all day long.

        I had dinner with 3 friends in a restaurant near DC last month — not a cheap place (~$240 for four IIRC). I made the mistake of ordering an after-dinner coffee. It tasted as though it had been sitting in a Mr Coffee machine for 12 hours. Undrinkable.

        To continue my grumpy old man Sunday rant: Perhaps 15 years ago I could go to a London hospital and buy a “cuppa” or a cup of coffee from a charity shop for 60p or so. Now the hospitals have exclusively licensed all food and drink to Costa coffee (UK version of Starbucks, though presumably they at least pay UK taxes) and one at least has closed its local canteen and put in a Marks & Spencer supermarket instead. The Costa coffees and teas cost about 3 quid. Pity the poor family and friends who visit the patients, forced to pay so much for a simple hot drink. Grrr.

        /rant

        Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, bonne dimanche à tous!

        Reply
        1. boz

          Thank you, Pavel.

          I could never figure out how to stop mould growing in the bottom half of my bialetti.

          Maybe I just never let it dry properly?

          Reply
      2. Oh

        It’s quite fashionable for young people to carry a cup from Sourbucks and sip its cold contents for hours on end. They’re making some kind of a statement, I guess.

        Reply
    3. Ignacio

      That is quite true. Remarkably Turkish Coffee, served black with the finely grounded coffee in the bottom. I always use “italian coffee makers” at home and also when I lived in California where very good coffee blends were available in many places. In Spain, making coffee inmediately after a weekend lunch and having it to extend a relaxed neverending post meal chatter is a tradition at homes and restaurants.

      Reply
    4. George Phillies

      Notwithstanding your article, espresso black coffee is, in my opinion, basically an undrinkable abomination. Coffee cut 1:1 by volume with milk and properly sweetened (cocoa is also a fine additive) is more to the point as a drinkable liquid. Some readers will have different tastes than mine.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I used to make cocoa in the morning with leftover coffee instead of milk. Very good. Now I live with a serious coffee addict, so there’s no such thing as leftover coffee.

        Reply
    5. Synapsid

      David and all,

      This whole discussion would go away if all would just accept the Truth that coffee was put on this Earth to be a flavoring for chocolate cake.

      Reply
      1. Tom Bradford

        I’ve had up-market tea prepared by afficionados and even been entranced by a Japanese tea-ceremony but in all cases the result (IMHO) was a cup of flavoured hot water which while pleasant was nothing remarkable in itself.

        At various times in a long life I had various types of coffee prepared in various ways, all of which seemed to me what I imagine one would get if one stewed fresh horse droppings for exactly 4 and a half minutes at a temperature of 95’c.

        I did, once, have a glass of red wine from a bottle that retails at $1,500. It would in my view have made a passable salad dressing.

        But if you want to get into a discussion of the correct cheese to serve with Marmite and on which bread, with the correct density of the right butter (and whether that should be salted or unsalted), what constitutes the proper music to background the experience and whether T-shirts or sweat-shirts should be worn over or tucked into jeans or slacks for the occasion, well I’m your man.

        Reply
        1. BobW

          Speaking of butter, I have driven 30 miles one-way to get a couple of pounds of Amish butter. Apologies to the climate.

          Reply
      2. jp

        Wow, so much discussion of the black water. Not to get the last word here but I like my coffee like my women, Black and Bitter

        Reply
    6. nihil obstet

      Expresso can be served in disposable cups and American coffee in ceramic cups. The story argues for a cosmopolitan taste by displacing the focus to a virtuous signaler.

      Reply
    7. lordkoos

      An Ethiopian lady friend once made coffee for me from scratch in the old way… it was excellent, but super strong, and traditionally people are supposed to finish the whole pot together. I’m sensitive to caffeine, so after two or three small cups was zoomed, had to beg off on finishing it.

      Reply
    8. Joe Well

      David, seriously? You are basing your opinion on an important aspect of North American life based on a visit to an airport many years ago? This is like a parody of Europeans talking about other countries. Even Friedman talks to a few cabdrivers.

      Reply
    9. DJG

      David: As you know, though, the biggest secret, and the revolutionary relationship that the author of the article missed, is that in Italy, the price of an espresso is considered an unsinkable economic fact: Throughout Italy, an espresso is one euro. Just about everywhere. (Meanwhile, in the U S of A, I pay $3.50 for my daily espresso, and I can’t imagine what the triple whip-i-ccinos with quinoa syrup cost.)

      In fact, the one-euro espresso in Italy is a continuous reminder to me how overpriced food is in the U S of A. And the price cannot be due to cost of labor, because Americans are paid peanuts.

      Reply
  2. Stadist

    Experts warns of ‘epidemic’ of bugging devices used by stalkers Metro UK

    Meanwhile Authorities work hard to keep and make GPS jammers illegal.

    Reply
      1. Annonymous in Southfield

        Those sales are illegal, the Feds may or may not find that site. Enforcement on this is probably a medium to low priority at the very most.

        Reply
    1. Annonymous in Southfield

      In response to Stadist regarding bugging devices used by stalkers: the reason given by the law (pdf file, save and read) is that the devices can interfere with emergency responders trying to find people or for calls to reach through to ER and 911 responders. Understandable, you could be sitting in traffic or driving and your jammer might block someone else’s call. So I guess I can live with the ban.

      What I can’t live with is the culture that condones stalking; I’ve been in conversations with people who make jokes about or threaten to partake in stalking. It’s a kind of ‘Billy The Kid’ cultural view that says getting even or seeking revenge is an acceptable form of socialized behavior.

      Additionally, from my personal experience, stalking has contributed to a lower quality of life for me in the past few years. I guess people who can’t find leverage through legal action in the courts will often seek to control, to impose punishment or just engage in bullying and brutality by engaging in stalking. I’ve never received a warrant or been given even a traffic ticket in the past 20 years but I’ve endured continuous stalking.

      Finally, the gaslighting that has been directed in my direction when I talk about this subject is mind bending. There are methods stalkers have that are not illegal to make certain their victim is clearly aware the stalking event is happening. I’ve given up on discussing it as I have yet to find anyone who is supportive of the issue from the victims standpoint.

      Reply
    1. flora

      ‘Corporations are people, too.’

      …This message brought to you by the People’s Billionaires Front for the Liberation of Corporations. /s

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Flora, That’s a quote from Mitt Romney, of Bain Capital, a parasitic organization that feeds off the bones of what’s left of American enterprise. Don’t forget to add …”My friend” at the end.

        Instead of fighting this absurd, and now legally protected concept, perhaps it’s time to do the opposite, to allocate and guarantee the same rights that corporations have to flesh and blood citizens?

        For example, expanded bankruptcy protection, to and including those damned by Biden’s bank boosting law that disallows student loan bankruptcies.

        Allow the paying of fines, at a similar tiny scale relative to income, that corporations pay, and make them partially tax deductible.

        Same for personal advertising, i.e. dating sites, just like the cost of product ads are tax deductible.

        Beauty care, plastic surgery and haircuts, all deductible, like new corporate logos and ads.

        Medical care, completely tax deductible, same as corporate headquarters building maintenance.

        Childbirth expenses, like opening a new office. Savings would be allocated to the parents, until the child is 18.

        Now, let’s talk about granting to citizens the equivalent of corporate subsidies, the oil depletion allowance and other things that “The Free Market” provides to corporations.

        In all seriousness, couldn’t some good constitutional lawyer file a class action lawsuit for the above under the Equal Protection Clause?

        Reply
        1. allis

          Corporations are persons according to law. Shouldn’t persons also be treated as corporations according to law, especially tax law?

          I’m looking forward to deducting on my next tax return the various expenses necessary to keep my enterprise in business: fuel (aka food), rent, insurance, interest, supplies (toothpaste), maintenance (aka medical), and, of course, depreciation on my car and refrigerator.

          I’d be happy to pay taxes on the profits I end up with, particularly at the corporate tax rate.

          Reply
        2. deplorado

          Kudos, Cal2. I’ve always enjoyed and looked for your comments, and this is one of the best ones. Thank you!

          Reply
    2. jp

      Late in the day before I could get to NC but a very good piece by Joseph Stiglitz. Much of what the right seeks to characterize as socialism is not. Stiglitz has rebranded non-exploitive free markets as Progressive Capitalism.

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/three-decades-of-neoliberal-policies-have-decimated-the-middle-class-our-economy-and-our-democracy-2019-05-13?

      I think he is on to something and AOC and the new progressive left would benefit from it because Socialism is such a polarizing word. Not a polarizing concept but demonized since forever in us political propaganda. So don’t change the message but the word.

      Reply
    3. Procopius

      Well, if they can have religious beliefs, surely they can have feelings. I’ve never seen one display guilt, though. Never seen one take communion, either.

      Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    Liverpool Beat Spurs to Win Champions League BBC

    Oh good, a sports thread on NC :-)

    I’m away from home now so was forced to find a bar where I could watch the match – long time plastic ‘pool fan here. Truly terrible match for the neutral, but unbearably tense for everyone else. But so happy for Klopp, as has been noted in a few articles, he’s managed to humanise the corporatism of modern football, the club does mean so much to so many people.

    Reply
    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Yes, terrible is really the only word to describe it. Really too bad Spurs ousted Ajax in the semis – at least with Ajax trying to actually play we might have seen a game – and what a great reward it would have been for them and the unbelievable, and youthful (thus soon to be disbanded) team they have put together.

      And I would not have given the penalty, even though I have no reason to think the game would have been any better or turned out any differently. If Sissoko had had his arm tucked in (plus, he was trying to direct a defender – is that “unnatural”? – and Mane clearly played the ball into him precisely to try to get a cheap penalty) the contact and the action would have been completely the same yet no penalty.

      Reply
      1. curlydan

        I would not have given the penalty either. And yes, the match was very boring although here in the States the boredom was partly because the cable network TNT subjected us to two British(?) announcers whose names I believe were Dr. Sominex and Mr. Benadryl.

        Reply
      1. ChristopherJ

        Thanks PK and others. Sorry, Harry. Scouser here. Embarrassed at how we all played, like they’d been on the piss for three weeks, eh?

        But Spurs, looked panicky everytime they got the ball and the first touches were terrible. At end of day you needed to score and our keeper was in good form. TBH Spurs was like watching England in any world cup since 66 – you know they’re not going to win, but you pray for miracle anyway.

        Next time, bro, the best games were the semis – both were up there as the best comebacks of all time.

        Here in Oz, Foxtel has the monopoly, so forced to go vpn this year as part of my strategy to see more soccer and golf. Cheers all

        Reply
  4. Dirk77

    Re: Forget retirement — focus on financial independence. In spite of all the variations of this idea mentioned in the article, the one common theme is that all these people don’t want to work anymore. I wouldn’t mind knowing how general is that. Or perhaps no one ever really liked to work but it’s just gotten more intolerable, lately? Going by anecdotes of friends and family, capitalism now seems to delight in making workers as unhappy as possible, as if that is an end in itself. A**holery now being regarded as a virtue? Or perhaps that’s always been the way and, as the article mentions, people now have assumed that an economic boom is normal and are acting accordingly (wrongly)?

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Something bothers me about the FIRE movement. I have a friend who has that life and he rents his house for $300/night on AirBNB when he travels (he even rents a cheap hotel room when he needs extra cash), rides a really expensive bike, was a Network Engineer, white guy, no kids, yada, yada, yada.

      If more people lived like him, who would rent his AirBNB? The savings paradox, right?

      So it will always be a niche movement in the free-money fueled pyramid scheme known as capitalism because not everyone can be at the top. So this is pure individualism and kills human solidarity. And all the money in the market is just fueling climate change and the destructiveness of capitalism.

      Reply
      1. Kurtismayfield

        So basically the guy is being a capitalist and leveraging every advantage he has. Yes this is definitely a lifestyle for a small number of people. I don’t blame him, the system that we have sets up a small number of people for lifestyles like that while the rest of the world scrounges.

        RE: Dirk77

        In spite of all the variations of this idea mentioned in the article, the one common theme is that all these people don’t want to work anymore

        Why would you want to work anymore.. the only way to get ahead is to be a sycophant of a psycho .. and you get tired of seeing the same people “failing upwards”.

        Reply
        1. Summer

          One person from the article mentioned the young retirees could be a health emergency away from their plan being in trouble.
          They think it is worth the risk.
          The article didn’t mention their parents or other family that may also contribute to being confident in any early retirement plan.

          Reply
        2. Tom Bradford

          The more fortunate of the firees amongst us live in nations where health insurance isn’t required.

          Some will no doubt screech that we are thereby depending on the labour of others paying the taxes that underwrite the national insurance schemes that pay for any health care I might need and which in time will pay me a state pension one can live on but, having retired at 40 and being able to live on the income generated by investments earned by 15 years as a practising lawyer, I would reply that my investment income is taxed just like everyone else’s.

          Others will no doubt screech that by living on the income from stocks and shares I am a parasite leeching on the profits of companies that should in fact be paid to the workers that earn those profits. I don’t disagree, but I can only deal with the world I live in rather than the world I would like to live in – and unless one is prepared to work until the day one drops one is sooner or later going to have to rely on ‘unearned’ income from somewhere.

          Retiring early has enabled me to live where I choose to rather than where I need to in order to get employment, and spend my days doing what I want rather than being at the beck and call of others – and for me that means I can afford to spend an hour or more every day simply reading the articles and comments in ‘Naked Capitalism’ and its ilk and, I believe, becoming a more and better informed person as a result.

          Reply
          1. Anders K

            I will note that while your statement is true in that your “investment income is taxed just like everyone else’s” – I will have to quibble that everyone else has any investment income to talk about to be taxed.

            That said, good for you. I have become inured to the idea of working until I’m allowed to retire (they’re talking about 67 as a target now, up from 65, maybe it’ll be 69 or 70 when it’s “my turn”). While I do pay in extra to my pension, my beloved wife is truly into retail therapy (not having a job isn’t helping her fighting that), and will probably ensure that any excess we have is promptly reinvested in keeping the wheels of capitalism grinding.

            Reply
    2. Anonymous2

      George Eliot paints a world around 1800 (e.g. Adam Bede) where a good workman (and woman) took pride in his/her work and the fact that the world was a better place as a result of his/her efforts. I reckon however that she saw it as a world that had largely gone by the time she wrote.

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      It depends on what you mean by ‘work’, I know people who have taken some variation on that lifestyle and are very busy – helping non-profits, following time intensive hobbies, and so on.

      Last year I was in a little village in southern Portugal and talked to a local surfing instructor who said most of the village (about 5 miles inland of the popular coastal resort towns) was now owned by Germans. I assumed he meant retirees, but he said most were quite young. He said they tended to clear out before Christmas where they would go home for 6-8 weeks to work in bars and restaurants for the Christmas rush, and would then make enough money to live the rest of the year if they were frugal. Most he said had some little income on the side – maybe growing organic food or teaching yoga or surfing in the summer, but most just seemed to spend their days chilling out (his words, not mine).

      Reply
      1. Dirk77

        I wonder how long they can stick at it. It would be good to talk with people like that. But it’s an alternate reality for me, being much closer to standard retirement than they are. The road not taken. Still interesting.

        Reply
    4. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. when my dead hip asserted itself enough that i had to stop working, i realised that i didn’t really miss having a Job, at all.
      the weirdest thing was the reaction from all and sundry when I expressed this discovery….as if i had said i wanted to roast and eat their children.
      unthinkable! how dare you!
      of course, in my cripplehood….waiting 6.5 years for a new hip…i kept as busy as my body allowed…housework, playing/working in the shop or the garden,raising my boys, etc. I loathed the pain days where all i could manage was laying there watching tv.
      but none of this was remunerated…none of this was “a Job”.
      — get those same folks alone, and mildly stoned/inebriated,and comfortably assured that i won’t tell on them, and it comes out: they hate their jobs, hate themselves for hating their jobs, and hate themselves for admitting that they would much rather spend their days doing a million other things that the Market doesn’t value.I’ve witnessed people come near to tears when I assert the Humanist Truth that their value has little or nothing to do with their Job, but is inherent in them, and can’t be taken away…only given away, to those who do not deserve it.
      the sad thing is that we, ourselves, are the enforcers of this crappy way of being in the world…policing each other on behalf of the bosses and the Masters of the Universe. That long unpaid service, itself, should be justification enough for a UBI. we’ve earned it, dammit.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        When I tell new people i’ve met that i’m retired from the working world, they’re usually disappointed for me, and say such niceties as “you’re TOO young”. I suspect that they’re excited for the 77 year old Wal*Mart exiter still toiling away, as an example of all that’s good in our country.

        Time is worth money, non-negotiable of course, but it isn’t as if they’re making any surpluses of seconds you can use willy-nilly. And besides, you must train diligently when it comes to goofing off in a manner which one becomes accustomed to, if you’re ever going to make a success of it.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          Whenever I become worried about money, which I don’t have a lot of, I make myself recall that I’ve managed to live almost 68 years without renting my life and time away to some company who could care less about me. I’ve been very lucky and have had a little help now and then, but I’ve also simply followed what I’ve enjoyed doing the most to make a living. Outside of working for myself, I’ve had only a handful of “real jobs” in my lifetime, and those were always short-lived. Time so much more precious than money.

          Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        and! this gels with the impassioned rolling stone piece on the suicide epidemic.
        the feeling of failure in macho culture…defining ourselves by work, when work is harder to find, and doesn’t cover the cost of living…of being the forgotten people…the suicides we’ve had out here are all in that general mileau. about half had managed to double up on despair by getting hooked on meth or pills or both…the rest just got tired.
        the article mentions the economic despair, but i don’t think it goes far enough.
        and it’s not just the macho stuff….we are taught to internalise our shortcomings…to never admit that we haven’t “made it”…as if it’s all our fault, and the water we swim in is of no consequence.
        as a cook for many years, i watched gaggles of folks around tables, going on about how wonderful everything was, performing for their friends…when i knew…as did the others around the table…about their recent divorce, or the eviction or the job loss…or the tax man coming around, their kid in jail(it’s a small town, where everyone really does know everyone’s business)…but they just keep on pretending, and their friends let them, and then go on pretending themselves…round and round.
        for all the trappings of “community”(and i admit readily that we enjoy far more actual community than most other places), there’s still that taboo on commiserating and finding solidarity in our common experience.
        it’s sad

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          “raising my boys”

          That, Sir, is the most important job you have ever done.
          Someone as thoughtful as you, will be a great father.

          Once people realize the rules have changed, the old score no longer matters.

          Reply
        2. boz

          Thank you, Amfortas.

          That suicide piece on Rolling Stone was pretty tough reading.

          The world values “whatness” and not “who-ness”. Filling your small corner of the world with people who are interested in your “who-ness” has always been tricky – and in the age of virtue signalling / surveillance facebook and twitter? Fugeddaboutit.

          And when people no longer are able to produce a “whatness” that aligns favourably to our status, wealth and tech obsessed age, they get thrown in the dumpster to die alone.

          That’s why community and solidarity is so important.

          Reply
          1. Krystyn Walentka

            And this is why I think the FIRE movement bothers me. It is not about solidarity, it is hyper-individualism. “I got mine” instead of “We got ours”. There are a lot of people who hang out together and they call that “community”, but when the SHTF these people are gone.

            People think because the stock market went up for the last hundred years means that it will keep going up. All it takes is a skilled hacker making their way into the stock market machines.

            Reply
      3. neo-realist

        In my “end-stage” working life in my late 50’s, I don’t hate my present position; it’s a rather good place w/ low drama in spite of the sub par money. But my disdain for working is more of a existential exhaustion: Emotional, spiritual, psychological, and somewhat physical. The daily early rising with the public transit commute of standing/sitting in crowded buses, the office small talk, the constant changes in technology and procedures, the rapid fire demands of superiors and co-workers combined with the past stings of toxic bosses, co-workers, and jobs, age and race discrimination, some career dead-ends and frustrations, and I am so ready to leave and will have less than zero shame when I do.

        However, concerns of future GOP or neo-liberal Presidencies who will eviscerate the social security and the safety net cause me to think I will have to grind away much longer than I care too:(. The desire to have some disposable income to do more traveling factors in as well.

        Reply
    5. Jesper

      The article starts by describing a marketing professional who is living a frugal life? What is next, someone preaching the virtues of being poor and at the same time amassing a fortune while living a life of opulence? The world truly is upside down :-p
      I believe that marketing professionals want others to spend as much as possible – the opposite of being frugal. Possibly that belief is mistaken… I also believe that employers do not like frugal employees as people with expensive life-styles are easier to control. Therefore it is a little surprising that a frugal person managed to secure a well-paying job in a field like marketing, all in all the story is like someone working for Samsung having an iPhone. Not impossible, just slightly improbable. A long time ago, during the time of the browser-war, I did see Microsoft sales-people using the competitor browser when presenting so I should not be surprised by the improbable actually happening.
      Possibly being frugal is what our environment would need and also the opposite of what would increase the all-important GDP.

      Reply
    6. Summer

      But trotting out these exceptions could be Market Watch trying to get younger people to invest more of their earnings in the stock market that has not been as boomy these past months.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        They want the young people to invest in the stock market in anticipation of our elites withering away the social security fund to loose change.

        Reply
    7. Sconny Steve

      Dirk,

      I concur that corporate life is a motivator. My possible future independence happened more by accident. Countless re-orgs, right-sizings, down-sizings, a couple of layoffs, 2 out-sourcings, and 4 frozen pensions have left me trying to keep as large a cushion as possible. Save as much as possible, because it can all disappear in the blink of an eye.

      As a Gen Xer in my late 40s, there have some good times with some financially precarious events along the way. Looking at a broken down vehicle in the yard while browsing job listings trying to get back on the ladder was no fun. Borrowing for college for a couple of degrees left me with some debt that needed to be serviced. But those economic events events made a lasting impact on my habits (and many of my friends too). Many of the job markets I worked, owning a house became a stretch. Having the mortgage alone made for too much risk for me with the negatives outweighing the positives, so I tried to put as much in my qualified retirement accounts instead of having a house mortgage. Why guaranty 30 years on a reverse annuity, when the income stream to support that annuity could leave you with all your chips in the bank’s hands?

      That being said, human nature desires security and safety as its core. If people never feel safe from being kicked off the economic ladder their entire careers while working 50+ hour weeks, the FIRE movement begins to get legs – where folks are weighing all of these elements and asking themselves if the sacrifices of time and effort to an employer that is willing to throw them overboard the first moment of corporate distress is worth the effort in a world where human relationships and experiences are what really matters.

      Personally, I doubt I will ever retire even though I may end up financially independent. But why would I keep working for sociopaths putting me under stress, when there MUST be some businesses out there trying to help people instead of exploiting them?

      Thanks to all for the fun reading today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

      Reply
      1. Dirk77

        Perhaps the FIRE way will free up time for those to help change things for the better. As you know it’s tough to do when you are working for the man. I would think that change does not need more money – as that is part of the problem. It would seem then to need people with time.

        Reply
          1. Sconny Steve

            Great examples Dirk! Maybe if FIRE is thought of jumping off the treadmill to perform more meaningful work. Or pursuing a passion. Or pursuing one’s mission. Or helping people. Without some savings, helping others becomes more difficult.
            Thanks!

            Reply
  5. nippersdad

    Biden doubling down on “The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.” Printed on a glossy brochure, no less.

    I can see the ads writing themselves already. If that is an example of the kind of product being produced by Democratic strategists these days then Progressives should be grateful that the DCCC is making it so difficult for them to use them. That is just political malpractice in this political climate.

    Reply
      1. Phenix

        He is the Senator of Delaware. There are two parts of Delaware. Lower Slower Delaware and Northern Delaware. He was probably always a bigot but that behavior was/is normal in LS De.

        Reply
    1. richard

      Yeah, his brouchere! He doesn’t even show up to this whatever, and the writer still sees fit to give biden all the attention. It felt like a horse racey article without even bothering to mention who showed up to race.
      Is there an understanding about keeping uncle joe first in mentions, even though he won’t campaign anywhere?

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        Interesting that Nader figures prominently in the Powell memo and is still relevant. When I read the the memo a few days ago I was taken by the terminology, especially the use of “enterprise system”, a term that seems to have disappeared down the memory hole…

        Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Trump condemned for ‘unacceptable interference’ after praising Boris Johnson’s bid to be PM”

    Funny that. I don’t recall Obama copping as much criticism when he threatened the British people if they dared vote for Brexit. I’d call that ‘unacceptable interference’ that. I can see why Trump would like to see Boris elected. Nobody talks about his hair anymore which means that if Boris gets in, then any hair criticisms would just be on Boris alone.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I saw him on the news tonight. It was not an improvement. I think that he must have given himself that haircut.

        Reply
  7. NotTimothyGeithner

    Warren doubled down for a time, but her real problem is being a lesser Sanders while being pro-imperialism when she isn’t a spring chicken. She sat out 2016. Until she gives more than a lesser and late Sanders, she will always be hounded by these earlier foibles. Her green imperialism nonsense (we don’t need to control the oil if the military is green) has shoehorned her into a stupid position, which runs counter to her being smart and paying attention to issues she cares about.

    Reply
    1. dearieme

      If the standard was set by Hellary, the Law Squaw is qualified to be a US Senator.

      The lying involved in her playing the race card seems pretty heinous to me. I mean, if everyone lied about their race how would the whole system of legally-accorded race privilege survive? Declaration of interest: I am part Carthaginian, part Esquimeaux, and part Viking.

      Or to be more serious, someone somewhere was turned down for the Harvard job that should, on merit, have been his or hers because Ms Warren lied her way into it. Shouldn’t she be paying reparations?

      Reply
      1. cj51

        Sen. Warren did not lie. One of the most prominent genealogy experts said it was highly likely she had Native American blood:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/warren-releases-dna-test-suggesting-distant-native-american-ancestor/2018/10/15/187ce196-d060-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html?utm_term=.2f89dca79673

        Sen. Warren did not lie to Harvard either. Questions about her ethnic background were not part of the hiring process:
        https://www.wbur.org/news/2018/09/02/elizabeth-warren-ethnicity-harvard

        There are many links to these topics on the net. It took me about 1 min to pick a couple.

        Reply
        1. dearieme

          Questions about her ethnic background were not part of the hiring process: pull the other one. Why did she, part way through adult life, start claiming to be a Red Indian?

          Sen. Warren did not lie. Of course she lied. Her claim was never that she had some tiny quantum of Indian descent, her claim was that she was a Cherokee.

          Reply
          1. Swamp Yankee

            A “Red Indian”? Just out of curiosity, are you British, dearieme? Most Americans retired that phrase a few decades back. I know one Lakota paratrooper who wouldn’t take kindly to it.

            This isn’t a woke crowd here at NC, but it’s also not one that uses that kind of locution.

            Most Native people I know prefer you use the name of their nation (Wampanoag, Lakota, Hidatsa, etc.)

            Reply
      2. JohnnySacks

        Poor and ineffectual handling of just a bunch of ignorant nativist creeps picking low hanging fruits, guilty as charged. Otherwise, the conclusion is that her grandmother was a liar then? Take a look at not only the source, but the writer – Howie Carr, a third rate Rush Limbaugh wannabe, the Boston blowhard. Whipping his one trick dead pony for the past 6+ years. Because that’s all he’s got, nothing more.

        Reply
    2. Hepativore

      Warren’s waffling on Medicare For All also is a major cause for concern.

      While I rank her third behind Sanders and Gabbard, this position is becoming ever more distant as time goes on, especially after her latest comments on Julian Assuange calling him a criminal.

      Finally, Warren has also shown that she can be easily bullied or intimidated by her political opponents. I am afraid that if Warren won the primaries and went against Trump, the “Pocahontas” debacle would be an omen of things to come as Trump might walk all over her.

      Finally, in the event that she does win the presidency, the neoliberal Democratic establishment would show her no mercy and would either cow her into inaction or might even convince her to roll over and continue the neoliberal policies of the previous two administrations

      Make no mistake, a Warren presidency would be better than the alternatives, but only in the event that we could not get Sanders or Gabbard.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think your third point is the number one reason not to support Warren – she would unquestionably be the candidate Trump would most like to face. She is too thin skinned and lacks a natural touch, he would take her apart.

        She is actually doing better than I anticipated. Her focus on being the ‘thoughtful’ progressive, with lots of interesting policy proposals is doing her a lot of good, and is good for the race. But I can’t see her doing well when things hot up, although I’d fear she would do more damage to Sanders than Biden.

        Reply
        1. Eureka Springs

          She’s not a leader. Certainly not at the Prez/VP level. Is she polling higher than Sanders for Prez in MA yet?

          Reply
        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Wonky Library Lady is not going to be president. And wanting her to be in the race just to pull the policy debate in certain directions is silly, since many other candidates have it much righter than she does: Mike Gavel, Tulsi etc

          So I’m just not sure what purpose she and her entire candidacy serves. Except for the natural Dem one: figuring out new ways to lose.

          Reply
        3. ObjectiveFunction

          The “Fake-ajawea / Lie-awatha” stuff is just a powerful shorthand reminder that Warren (like Hillary) just keeps trying to sell herself to us over and over as our judgy, humorless know-it-all First Head of HR / Teacher Nobody Liked, but at the same time risibly fails to swallow the same castor oil she insists is good for the rest of us. It’s also a reminder of an adult life spent at Hahvahd, the High Temple of Coastal Credentialism Where They Need to Call AAA to Change a Flat (ht Taibbi).

          That some of the castor oil may in fact be salubrious, or even lifesaving, is beside the point.

          Scott Adams pointed out long ago that Trump’s choices of nicknames are ‘weapons grade’, at a 4th grade bully level. ‘Sleepy Joe’ is a clear signpost that, like Truman, the Donald plans to run against the poster child of a Do-Nothing Congress (+ Swamp) as the Stand Up Guy Who Did Something (“I alone can fix!”), even if all the promised Winner Chicken Dinner hasn’t showed up in your pot yet. That’s 4 more years right there, even in a recession.

          Reply
      2. pretzelattack

        at this point, pretending assange is a criminal is criminal. anybody that wants to investigate can ascertain the facts. the conduct of the u.s., britain and sweden is transparent.

        Reply
      3. edmondo

        I assumed (before I read it) that the article was going to be about Warren’s money problems.

        The Warren campaign has HUNDREDS of paid staffers in Iowa, New Hampshire and Boston. Her fundraising has been lackluster (t best). If she hadn’t transferred tem million dollars from her senate campaign to her presidential campaign, she would have had no money to pay these people. It’s more than 9 months until the first votes are cast and she’s burning money like Hillary at a “buy-one-get-one-free” ad buying marathon.

        Watch her fundraising totals for the quarter due after June 30th. She is an odd’s on favorite to be out of the race before Christmas 2019. She’s spending it way too fast, too early.

        Reply
        1. Anders K

          I suspect that she hopes to either get someone elses money or, as a backup plan, consider that money as an investment in her next career, perhaps as a pundit (Elizabeth Warren, The Name You Know). Then again, I often overestimate the planning ability of people, including myself.

          Reply
      4. Cal2

        Hep,

        Warren’s a tenured professor that can get away with anything and cannot be fired.

        Politics is not the same. She might fold like a house of cards were she the candidate and in the debates versus Trump.

        Bernie or Tulsi would not fold.
        Bernie Sanders with Tulsi Gabbard as vice presidential candidate would most likely win.
        The other Democratic nominees, not so much. 4 More Years of Trump.

        Kamala Harris had the microphone snatched out of her hand yesterday in San Francisco. By “her people,” who apparently don’t like her that much. That’s the one that Trump really wants to run against. He could play golf all through the campaign and he’d still win.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Gabbard is the Wave! .. She’s the kind of Kick A$$ this country needs.

          Come On, Sanders ! … WTF are U waiting for ??? Give her the exposure she needs, to make the A-Team!

          … and, if elected, put Warren in a Cabinet position where she’ll do the most good !

          Reply
    3. JohnnyGL

      Re: Warren and Native American ancestry.

      Howie Carr is a clown. Breakfast Club can really stick the knife in when they’ve got marching orders to do a hit job, huh? Compare/contrast how they treated Kamala Harris. Charlamagne….excuse me, Lennard was pre-emptively coming up with excuses and explanations for any question that was mildly prickly.

      That said, the most honest answer Warren could have given about why she claimed Native American ancestry would be:

      “Because I don’t understand race in America and what it really means to be a Native American in this country. My family didn’t either, and no one taught them or me, for all my years of schooling and research, so I don’t know.”

      Of course, the above statement sounds damning, but I think it’s true that most Americans don’t really understand race. We’re not taught history effectively enough to learn. Of course, if we were, we’d be pointing fingers at the government and at the elites who’ve most benefited from the way race has been socially constructed. Instead, we’re left with trivialities like trying to be a little nicer to black people and learning about other cultures.

      For me, watching Yvette Carnell’s youtube lectures has improved my understanding immensely. She’s right to talk about ‘accrued disadvantage’ and ‘multi-generational wealth’. In America, we usually lie to ourselves and talking about individuals and their own accomplishments in their lifetimes. We pretend everyone is running the same race, by themselves, with a little edge here and there with regard to starting position, but that’s not remotely true.

      Reply
      1. Wyoming

        I’m about the same percentage Native American as Warren. I have been intensely proud of that fact my entire life. When I was a young ruffian growing up in racist Wyo I always took the side of the ‘Indians’ when we were playing ‘cowboys and indians’ – (this is a game where you run around shooting each other like a pack of wild animals – a whole other conversation for another time as it gets to the heart of a lot of our problems when we encourage young boys to practice killing). This propensity of mine was recognized by the family down the road who’s father was 100% Arapahoe and his many sons. These sons were the scourge of the county and could outfight anyone and did so on a weekly basis (4 of them ended up in Vietnam of course). One of the younger ones took a likely to me (after he pounded the snot out of me first – it is a right of passage kind of thing). We became blood brothers (in that we took our pocket knifes and cut our wrists and held them together to seal the bond). At the time this meant the world to me and pushing some 60 years later when I look at the scar on my wrist it still does. I’ll take their side on anything till the day I die. 1% or not I still feel part ‘Indian’ and I always will.

        Reply
        1. Oh

          Kudos to you! I don’t understans why parently buy toy guns for their children. The kill and murder mentality must run in their blood.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            As I remember a boy doesn’t need a realistic-looking store-bought gun to play. Any stick will do, or just your index finger. They don’t need to be taught to kill. Chimpanzees eat meat.

            Reply
        2. Amfortas the hippie

          me, too. 1/16, in my case…but it’s the Texas Band of the Cherokee, whom the Oklahoma bunch doesn’t like. But that whole side of my family is obscured: no records, dirt floors, faulknerian darkness of deep east texas. …add in the “shame” of having indian blood, and many of my granddad’s siblings dismissed the idea as fantasy.
          i only recently found my great grandma(and her dad) on the Dawes Rolls, settling the matter to my satisfaction.
          when Warren’s kerfuffle erupted, i investigated just a bit…and remembered my own history. looked like a$$holes attacking, and Warren offering an inept defense, to me.
          the inept defense is what lessens her, in my eye.
          she should stay in the senate.

          Reply
      2. Chef

        In my best estimation, Carnell is a fake. Aside from admitting to being on the board of Progressives For Immigration Reform(PFIR) heavilty connected to John Tanton, much of her ADOS verbiage is simply attacking other black (mis)leaders.

        Additionally, many of the ADOS social media accounts are clearly fake; it’s not unusual for a white person to run the accounts while imitating black vernacular.

        Reply
    4. Tommy S.

      i agree with nottim’s post….I think we’re just getting left hand fakes from her….don’t trust her at all, not that I trust any politician to ‘save us’…..but think tulsi and or sanders would follow through with a few things….meanwhile….it will take a revolution bottom up, to save the burning villages…..

      Reply
  8. johnf

    737 MAX: “It’s been reported that [relying on a single Angle of Attack sensor is] a single point failure, but it is not considered by design or certification a single point” [because] the pilots were the backup….

    So why did Boeing not validate that: that even under routine flight conditions, the pilots will likely overcome or accomodate an AoA failure? If safety comes first, you do not “consider” that they will (and can) – you prove it.

    If I were of a conspiratorial mind, I might wonder if Boeing shifted their test pilots to simulators, and incompletely simulated MCAS, so that they would not discover issues that would delay the plane’s delivery.

    Reply
  9. flora

    This article’s about the enormous growth in the shadow banking system. I don’t know how much longer this can go on; whenever it ends it will not end well.

    https://www.greenwichtime.com/business/article/A-new-credit-bubble-gets-ready-to-burst-13911193.php

    This bit sound like it could apply to CalPERS’ plan to turn over a huge chunk of money to PE and hedge funds in a blind do-whatever deal.

    “To fund all this loan-making, the shadow banks have turned to insurance companies, pension funds, university endowments and wealthy investors, offering them a chance to buy into a diversified pool of loans that offer returns ranging from 6 percent to 13 percent, depending on the level of risk they are willing to assume.

    “The ratio of corporate borrowing to a variety of metrics – profits and assets, book value or the size of the overall economy – is at or near an all-time high. So is the riskiness of the loans, reflecting the amount of debt companies have taken on, the absence of covenants and the rosy assumptions made about the amount of cash flow companies will have to cover debt service.

    “Meanwhile, the difference in interest rates between the safest loans and the riskiest – in financial jargon, the “spread” – is at historically low levels, a reliable indication of too much money chasing too few good lending opportunities. According to the latest “financial stability” reports from the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund, all of these measures have gotten worse in the last two years, with many flashing yellow and red on their dashboards of systemic financial risk.”

    Sure hope JJ wins a seat on the CalPERS board.

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Letter From Mexican President Goes Way Over Trump’s Head”

    You know, I think that Trump is going about this in the wrong way. His pre-election demand was to build a wall along the US/Mexico border and to have Mexico pay for it. He is still trying to build his wall and is now wanting to levy tariffs against Mexico so that they would pay for it. We will forget the fact that it will be American consumers that will in the end pay for these higher tariffs. Now the length of the US/Mexico border is 3,145 km (1,954 miles) which is a bloody long border. This would cost a fortune.
    So how about this idea. If you look at a map of Mexico, you will see that it narrows the more south you go. At a pretty narrow point, you will see that the distance from Coatzacoalcos on the Gulf of Mexico side to Salina Cruz on the Pacific side is only 322 km (200 miles) which is about a tenth the distance of the US-Mexican border. Build it there. Trump could go halves with the Mexicans in the construction, the cost of building it would be in the millions instead of the billions because of local building costs, Trump can claim that the has fulfilled his promise to the America people and Mexico can but a lid on the number of people crowding their own cities. It would be a win-win situation which is why Trump would never agree to it. Going by his track record the past two years, he only understands and goes for win-lose deals. Oh well…

    Reply
    1. koki

      Consumers are already paying and paying and paying to provide immigrants free medical, housing, and education.

      So what costs consumers more? The above services or the tariffs?

      It is obvious that Mexico is doing what it can to penetrate our borders and to help others rush the country.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘It is obvious that Mexico is doing what it can to penetrate our borders and to help others rush the country.’

        Well it worked in Texas. That used to be apart of a Mexican province you know but Americans penetrated the borders from the US and helped others to rush the place. They must be going for all those places lost to the US back in 1848 in the Mexican Cession which would mean California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, about half of New Mexico, about a quarter of Colorado, and a small section of Wyoming. Call it the Hispanic States of America.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          There’s a nice story about the Southern Pacific railroad exec (spy) getting the map drawer drunk in Tucson and making him draw the line under Arizona with a little kink: so it did not include the northern tip of the Gulf of California. SoPac Railroad did not want a U.S. port there

          Reply
    2. Plenue

      I know a guy who has unironically suggested the way to ‘fix’ the immigrant problem is to just conquer all of South America and make it all US states. He speaks Spanish and has a girlfriend in (of course) Columbia, who he likes because unlike haughty American women, she isn’t ‘too independent’ (of course), so you (probably?) can’t really accuse him of simply having a racist disdain for brown foreign people.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        No he doesn’t “simply have a racist disdain”, his issues are way deeper than that.

        Reply
  11. Toshiro_Mifune

    Re: Google
    I have no qualms at all about antitrust investigations. However, any move to break google up is going to be long a drawn out.
    The real elephant in the room for Google is that they’ve become bad at their core business; search. Well, I suppose their core is really ads served in response to search. But, Google’s search engine has become bad. Like bad, bad. Yahoo circa 2005 bad. Exactly the point in time I gave up in Yahoo and started using Google. I don’t see a lot of writing about this in the tech press but I know I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Google’s only saving grace at this point is that DuckDuckGo is pretty much a small handful of people so it isn’t quite as well optimized. Other than that I would dump them entirely

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve been using DDG for a couple of years now and I’ve noticed that its getting very close to Google in its ‘usefulness’. Its a bit of convergence as DDG is getting a bit more precise while Google is unquestionably getting worse. The only area where Google is definitively better is that it knows my geographic area, so when I’m looking for technical documents for work purposes it always finds me something more relevant than DDG.

      Reply
    2. Pespi

      Someone must have written about this in depth, but I haven’t found it. The only improvement in google’s search is the use of big data to guess what you’re thinking when you write “restaurant in los feliz with purple door.”

      If you’re trying to find real information of the kind that wasn’t that hard to find before google crapified itself, good luck.

      Reply
    3. L-City Layabout

      As a user, Lambert has repeatedly commented on search crapification, but I’m surprised I haven’t seen more in-depth reporting on this. The decline has been clear to me–a writer, not a tech head–for years. Do people in general not notice if it gets them to that Los Feliz restaurant?

      There have been mentions here of specialized alternatives–not just DDG. Could someone repeat them, suggest some? Thanks.

      Reply
    4. Oh

      Google has only one business line – stealing your information. Everything else they do helps them to do that.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        They have another bidness line – pushing social engineering for THEIR sole benefit … under the guise of ‘the greater public good’ … e.i. ‘do no evil’ bullshit ! They are of no redeeming quality whatsoever ! ..

        Reply
  12. Carolinian

    Lotsa good links today. Re the NYT/737 story–some new information including an explanation that the MCAS was originally intended to activate only during unusual high speed maneuvers and had sensor redundancy by relying on both the angle of attack sensor as well as a G-force sensor. This may explain why only one AOA sensor was used. Then at the last minute the system was changed to guard against low speed stalls and the G-force sensor was removed from the design.

    While the F.A.A. officials in charge of training didn’t know about the changes, another arm of the agency involved in certification did. But it did not conduct a safety analysis on the changes.

    The F.A.A. had already approved the previous version of MCAS. And the agency’s rules didn’t require it to take a second look because the changes didn’t affect how the plane operated in extreme situations.

    Boeing’s attitude and what they told the FAA was that the MCAS would almost never activate and therefore was not important enough to include in training manuals. According the the NYT, the system was not even part of the original airplane design but was included at the request of the test pilots.

    None of the above lets Boeing off the hook and indeed just the opposite. But it may indicate mistakes and managerial confusion more than dangerous manipulation by the marketing department. Clearly Boeing should have simply admitted their mistake after the first accident. The cover up is worse than the crime?

    Reply
  13. TiPs

    Thanks for posting the “FIRE” article on 30-somethings and retiring early. I’m in Higher Ed (in NYS) and something I’ve been thinking about for awhile wrt student loan debt, the impact of room and board on the cost of getting a degree. At public institutions in NYS tuition is less and less of a burden (with various “free tuition programs), so room and board is the main cost for most students.

    First, related to the article, if one wants financial independence at a young age, then “going away to college” is not a prudent choice (unless one believes/hopes a progressive in the WH will one day wipe the slate clean..). I would not be surprised if more and more parents are thinking along these lines, as well as their kids. The total cost of HE puts most grads into debt peonage, not financial independence.

    Second, as staying home and attending your local public university becomes more popular, a lot of institutions will be in financial straits as dorm population declines, and My institution has set itself up for serious difficulties if this indeed happens.

    Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Some of these ideas can be repurposed and weaponised for political boycotts, torturecotts and extermicotts.

        Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I have advised young people to NOT go to college at this time unless their parents are rich and they are going to one of the major colleges not to learn but to pass through the hoops to have a good chance at entering into service in the oligarchy. Online learning, study groups, community college and so on seem to be good choices. Studies have shown that college does little to increase knowledge and is mainly a place to make connections, socialize, experiment with alcohol and sexual expression and so on–not a place of learning. Not only that but there is little intellectual rigor left not only in the classroom but in the intellectual class itself as we keep going deeper into a post-rational society.

      Reply
      1. Hepativore

        I agree with you in spirit, but the trouble is a lot of employers do not view alternative higher education credentials as being legitimate. A lot of things can indeed be learned online, but the resume-scanning algorithms that employers often use will probably reject any application that does not have a degree from a “recognized” institution.

        Some things are also hard to do online, such as laboratory classes, and community colleges do not offer some degrees. I went to school for histology, and while it is a very big field with many applications it is not something that is usually found outside of many four-year colleges.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          There are alternative institutions that can evaluate and administer courses that will let you graduate. Excelsior College and other more mainstream colleges do offer non-traditional degrees at relatively lower costs.

          Reply
      2. JEHR

        If I were a young person starting my higher education and couldn’t afford the high tuition rates, I would enroll in a community college program where I could learn a trade in about two years. That training would enable me to get a job. Then I would enroll part-time in University programs that interested me.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Your plan is at the mercy of “outsourcing” programs. Here Down South, the construction trades have been immisserated through the importation of low cost and often low skill foreign workers. I have been told that the ‘good’ trades workers in other countries stay at home, while the marginal cases travel up to El Norte for work. I have personally seen mid level trades contractors who maintain a ‘stable’ of foreign workers and move them from job to job while underbidding the ‘local’ contractors.
          Down here, at least, this will all end up in fire and blood one fine day. Unfortunately, the ‘foreign’ workers will take the brunt of the abuse and suffering due to their obvious ‘differences’ from the locals. No one really goes after the local contractors who hire the foreigners. Someone should. It is enshrined in American politics as “equal opportunity.”

          Reply
          1. altoid

            Construction businesses around here ( Georgia) often prefer Hispanic workers. More dependable, often better skilled, more creative at problem solving. Most important, they don’t take a month off in the Fall to go deer hunting.

            Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Donald Trump terminates preferential trade status for India under GSP”

    Trump was complaining that India did not provide “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.” What he actually meant was unrestricted access for US corporations to India which would have eventually meant chaos there. The Indians are playing the whole thing down as they probably reckon that some of the tariffs that they will have to pay will sting them but nowhere as bad as following Trump’s demands. They have already ceased Iranian oil imports which has hurt their economy but Trump is also demanding that they also stop buying Russian weaponry and buy American weaponry instead or suffer further penalties. There’s no keeping some people happy.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      Trump is the front man for Banks, Insurance Chemical, Oil, Petroleum and Pharmaceutical companies that want to ravage the Indian economy.

      Reply
        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Amply true, but by extension he knows he’s riding the tiger now, and failing to win reelection will be very bad for his family and his brand. So by extension, he will be ‘front man’ for what gets votes.

          Reply
  15. pretzelattack

    per caitlin johnson the bbc and sky news interviewed un rapporteur nils meltzer on assange’s torture, but have hidden the interviews. the way the propaganda works is ever more obvious.

    Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        yes, that’s a good interview. amy goodman still can do good work. i’m just marvelling at how shoddily the propaganda is being handled. i suspect sky news and the bbc get vastly more viewers than dn, and they not only axed the interview from going on air, they aired an interview with some shill that has been smearing assange for years. it’s like going to a play, and the actors aren’t wearing their costumes, and forget their lines. maybe it was ever thus, and the internet has just made it easier to check on facts.

        Reply
  16. skk

    Thanks for the link: Did the secular sanitisation of pre-colonial Indian history allow Hindu nationalism to weaponise it? Scroll ( .in )

    Its good to see left leaning writers say this – that school textbooks omit, downplay, obfuscate, dismiss in anodyne phrases, the mass killings, destruction of temples, and forced conversions to Islam. While separately, they celebrate Mughal India. Whereas, or also, from the wiki on “Islam in India”:

    During the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent, Indian-origin religions have been persecuted by Muslim rulers.[34] Muslim rulers massacred Hindus, Jains and Buddhists while attacking temples and monasteries, while also forcing them to convert including on the battlefield.[35] Most of the great temples in Northern Indian subcontinent were destroyed during the Muslim rule.[36] Will Durant calls the Muslim conquest of India “probably the bloodiest story in history”,[37] consequently between the years 1000 CE and 1500 CE, the population of the Indian subcontinent decreased from 200 to 125 million.[38][39]

    Of course people still “know”. Outside of school text books, other material, folklore so to speak, from which the knowledge is quite widespread. So you get this tension between the standard govt narrative
    and the peoples knowledge.

    No wonder the BJP govt works on publishing new govt authorized school text books, presumably to include such material.

    So you also get to the tension on the idea of India, the current nation state ( thus excluding Pakistan and Bangladesh, both explicitly Muslim nation-states ) and the ideological fight over it.

    Of course, such history should always been seen in its own context. But to get to “what is to be done ( now) ?”, one should have a truer acknowledgment of history.

    Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    When I was a kid, like any good Angeleno, we’d go to Disneyland once or twice a year, and aside from the ‘mountain climbers’ clad in Tyrolian duds scaling the Miniaturehorn, the place was so dead to me by the time I could burn a reefer on the gondola cars and not get caught, hopefully. Haven’t been back since GHWB was President.

    This is a fitting tribute to the hap-hap-happiest place on this fair earth…

    My first week on night shift, I had gradually grown aware of an odd man circling my popcorn wagon eyeing me with an unnerving intensity. He claimed to be an employee on break and really needed a free bag of popcorn. He kept pleading, scaring customers, until I finally surrendered.

    Immediately, he stood ominously still and silent.

    Approximately a minute after he sauntered off into the night, my supervisor and assistant manager appeared and asked if I’d given a customer a free bag of popcorn. After their admonishment, my boss recited the “10 specific rules governing all members of the Disneyland cast.” He reluctantly allowed me “one last chance at probation.”

    Later, a hostess from Foods said the popcorn addict was obviously a “Customer,” the name they used for security employees disguised as guests, assigned to roam the Kingdom and interact with staff. “You were lucky,” the hostess said. “He must have liked you or you’d be gone.”

    My summer of paranoia had begun. My brightly striped uniform made me an easy target, so on breaks in the employee cafeteria, I discreetly investigated. I identified the Keystone Kop on Main Street, U.S.A., as an official undercover policeman. In Frontierland, it was the Cowboy. On Tom Sawyer Island, the Cavalrymen kept watch. All could escort anyone breaking the rules of Disneyland — drunks, spitters, kids who threw things from a gondola of the now-defunct Skyway — to the backstage Anaheim Police Department jail. What if security checked my job application? It had been nothing but an outrageous series of distortions, lies and delusions. Could lying to Disney be a federal crime?

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-hc-disneyland-lifer-galaxys-edge-20190531-story.html

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Would you believe that the Carpenters worked for Disney in their very early days – and were sacked?

      Reply
  18. JCC

    Eric Nagourney is a senior editor and a gutless jerk. In his editorial piece in the NYTimes he states, in response to Kara Swisher’s statement regarding surveillance cameras everywhere, “I don’t intend to [get over it],” she wrote, “and I don’t think anyone else should, either.”

    Just look at me, the failed rabble-rouser. Here I am back at my desk, writing this. I am surrounded by cameras. And I am meekly going about my work.

    I’ll try not to get over it, Ms. Swisher. I promise. But maybe tomorrow? Right now, I really need to get to the next story.

    If he had an ounce of sense he would bring a can of black spray paint to work, grab a chair to stand on, and hose each one of the cameras down with the paint.

    But instead he pens an editorial piece in the NYTimes explaining that he is just too darn busy to worry about ubiquitous surveillance, even in his own office, and since none of his co-workers seem to care, well… why should he?

    And he gives the rest of the NYTimes readers an excuse to shrug their shoulders and say, “Tsk tsk, If a NYTimes Senior Editor doesn’t seem too worried and can’t do anything about it, why should I?”.

    Personally he comes across to me as a little cowardly while making excuses for mass surveillance. In fact, he represents the NY Times perfectly.

    Reply
  19. tokyodamage

    It’s your website, you can do what you want. I’m just giving my opinion as a long-time reader.
    Unless someone from the international soccer organization goes to jail, I don’t want to read anything about sports.
    NC is my only news outlet. . . . not just because of the cool links you list, but because of how you filter out all the BS and distractions.
    But the daily links are changing. First you started with all the cute-animal stories, and now sports?
    This place is getting to be Normal-ville USA, and if current trends continue, I might just give up on reading news altogether and commit to a life of 100% ignorance.

    And when you look at the sad state of ‘anti-establishment’ news, why not choose ignorance?
    Democracy Now is now parroting State Department propaganda, Twitter is dumb as hell, Chapo Trap House has always been hipster trash, and Assange got busted. The Intercept shuttered their Snowden archive, and Mother Jones seems to be run by the CIA . . .BUT AT LEAST THEY DON’T HAVE SPORTS.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Not-reading the sports stories is as easy as not-clicking the links.

      God made a scroll button.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Bees there, done that.

      The Padres’ Sunday afternoon game against the Marlins was delayed 28 minutes when a swarm of bees invaded Petco Park.

      The bees arrived as the Padres were batting in the bottom of the third inning as hundreds of bees were first seen above right field.

      As a few Marlins players left the field for the visitors’ dugout, the bees then moved toward the infield and most eventually settled on a microphone attached to the side of the netting behind home plate, next to the Padres dugout.

      Most fans seated in that half of the lower section of seats fled, but some remained to take pictures and videos with their phones. For several minutes fans all over the ballpark searched for the bees, as a pair of announcements were made that anyone with a bee allergy should stay clear of the area.

      Padres players looked on from the dugout, seeming mostly bemused.

      At around 4:20 p.m., a little more than halfway through the delay, a person in a protective bee suit emerged from the tunnel near the dugout, climbed a ladder and sprayed the microphone.

      https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/padres/story/2019-06-02/padres-marlins-bees-delay

      Reply
  20. Summer

    Note: Apple is going to shut down iTunes.

    Whether or not you are a fan of its design, the move is on to take away the ability to access music without an internet connection.
    Any way they spin it, the culprit was the idea that one could still download to a personal drive and not have to go online.

    I’m about to rack up a download bill from hell….
    While I do stream music as well, I’ve kept hundreds of CDs (parted ways with too many other formats). I’m one of those people with music to close to my being to leave it at the mercy of a middle man.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      I’ll be looking for an alternative program soon myself I guess (the comments to the articles I’ve read about iTunes being bumped off mention some possibilities) as I do not stream media with the exception of watching videos on YouTube (or videos embedded in web pages via other means) – and I only do that with things I don’t expect to want to rewatch/relisten in the future. Everything I value I own in a hard copy (CD, DVD, BluRay, vinyl and even tape) or at the very least save to a hard drive and back up. I still use an iPod Nano for music on the go. Since Apple has pretty much dumped the iPod line too I suppose when it dies I will have to find a replacement that has a similar form factor.

      Since I recently had to replace my MacBook Pro 13 when it went crazy and died (after two years use it failed catastrophically internally) I noticed that currently if you want a decent size hard drive from an Apple laptop, by which I mean 500gb or more, you really have to spend. I assume this is due to the move to use streaming and “the cloud” (AKA: “all your stuff is on someone else’s server… somewhere) for everything.

      Reply
      1. Mark Alexander

        I use an ancient iPod 4th Gen that runs Rockbox (open source replacement firmware). This way I’m not tied to iTunes (I use Linux, so iTunes is not an option anyway), I can just treat the device as a normal external disk and copy files to it directly, and I can play music in non-proprietary formats (i.e., Ogg Vorbis). I should probably buy a backup iPod of similar vintage on eBay in case this one dies.

        I use a similar strategy with laptops: buy old ThinkPads, throw away Windows.

        This is the best way I know of to keep old hardware working and eliminate dependence on large corporations.

        Reply
      2. Hepativore

        There are websites that let you rip the sound from any Hooktube (YouTube) video such as Flvto and save it in MP3 format. That is what I use and you can avoid all of the DRM nonsense that comes with places like iTunes.

        Meanwhile, there is a website called Grooveshark that has a massive music library that allows you to download from it directly, and you do not need an account to stream from it.

        Reply
  21. Plenue

    >Elizabeth Warren campaign’s in so, so much trouble Boston Herald.

    Jesus Christ! Putting aside the central point its making, the tone of that article. This makes Fox look like The Real News Network. I sure hope Howie Carr doesn’t operate under any illusions that he’s a real journalist.

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      Howie tended to be more moderate and broadly anti-corruption when he started out in the 80s and early 90s; saw where Limbaugh’s bread was buttered, and the rest, as they say, is history.

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    More trouble for those 737s. Inspections carried out have revealed that the slats used on that bird were faultily manufactured which effects some 300 ships and maybe older ones as well. Oddly enough, though I just saw this story mentioned on this morning’s TV, no mainline MSM sources seemed to be covering the story yet going by a Google News search-

    https://www.camdenadvertiser.com.au/story/6195238/faulty-parts-on-some-boeing-max-jets-faa/?cs=12651

    Reply
  23. VietnamVet

    We shouldn’t be too hard on India. American history has been white washed by Hollywood, history textbooks and everyone else. The USA is a settler nation. The closest I came to realizing this was on a trip to ride the train in Copper Canyon in the early 1990s. A short walk from the motel and I saw Mexican Indian women washing clothes in the stream. Not in the USA. Our natives were killed or moved into reservations away from national parks. Central America is suffering from drought likely due to the shift in weather that dumped all the water on the Mid-West. Together with sea level rise and forever wars, the already horrendous wave of human migration will only get worse. Instead of walls, the cheap way is to build up North America’s Coast Guard to keep Europeans and Asians out and to mitigate the adverse effects in Central and North America so families can survive at home. We are still rich enough to do this. But, no, that would require recognizing indigenous and lower-class people as human beings.

    Reply
  24. Arthur Dent

    Re: NYC

    Over the past couple of years I have had the misfortune of working on a couple of design and construction projects in NYC. If everything wasn’t so annoying, it would be hysterically funny, like something out of a John Cleese/Monty Python skit.

    The NYC Department of Building process and building code/permit requirements are so convoluted and complex that even the people who specialize in permitting struggle to understand the requirements. One project requires a 150 sf one-story pre-fab structure that is effectively a glorified garden shed. The permitting costs are going to be more than the construction cost of the structure. The total cost will rival the cost to construct my 2,300 sf home outside of NYC (land costs are not included, just permitting and construction).

    I have come to the conclusion that the entire system is designed to deal with people like Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, as well as union-featherbedding. The little 150 sf building even needs an elevator permit and inspection. Presumably, if they made any exceptions for single story buildings, every story in a 50 story high-rise could be called “1” by the developer so the attorney could argue that it is a single story structure and therefore does not need an elevator permit.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      “designed to deal with people like Donald Trump”
      Hey maybe now that he’s president we can just surround him with local ordinances, and keep him in check?

      Reply
  25. Carey

    ‘Artificial Intelligence — The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet’:

    “..Most of what is being called “AI” today, particularly in the public sphere, is what has been called “Machine Learning” (ML) for the past several decades. ML is an algorithmic field that blends ideas from statistics, computer science and many other disciplines (see below) to design algorithms that process data, make predictions and help make decisions. In terms of impact on the real world, ML is the real thing, and not just recently. Indeed, that ML would grow into massive industrial relevance was already clear in the early 1990s, and by the turn of the century forward-looking companies such as Amazon were already using ML throughout their business, solving mission-critical back-end problems in fraud detection and supply-chain prediction, and building innovative consumer-facing services such as recommendation systems. As datasets and computing resources grew rapidly over the ensuing two decades, it became clear that ML would soon power not only Amazon but essentially any company in which decisions could be tied to large-scale data. New business models would emerge. The phrase “Data Science” began to be used to refer to this phenomenon, reflecting the need of ML algorithms experts to partner with database and distributed-systems experts to build scalable, robust ML systems, and reflecting the larger social and environmental scope of the resulting systems.

    This confluence of ideas and technology trends has been rebranded as “AI” over the past few years. This rebranding is worthy of some scrutiny..”

    https://medium.com/@mijordan3/artificial-intelligence-the-revolution-hasnt-happened-yet-5e1d5812e1e7

    Reply

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