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IronLionZion's Journal
IronLionZion's Journal
August 30, 2019

Pumpkin spice wars: The violent history behind your favorite Starbucks latte


Pumpkin-spice latte season is starting even earlier this year, with the famous drink spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves pouring into Starbucks coffee shops Tuesday.

But underneath those fuzzy-sweater vibes, the spices in “the PSL” have a dark history. Particularly nutmeg. It’s a story of war, genocide and slavery.

The variety of nutmeg we’re familiar with is native to the Banda Islands in what is now Indonesia. In the Middle Ages, the Bandanese became rich trading the spice — plus mace, which comes from the same plant, and cloves, which also grew there, according to Atlas Obscura. Nutmeg made it to the lips of Chinese and Malay elites, and to Europeans via Arab traders, who kept the location of the source secret.

All that changed in 1511, when Portuguese explorer António de Abreu became the first European to land on the Banda Islands, according to food historian Michael Krondl. Portugal, which was absorbed into the Spanish empire in 1568, had a foothold in the nutmeg trade for nearly 100 years, but the Bandanese resisted their efforts to gain more control.

The Dutch showed up in 1599, and everything got gruesome soon afterward. They seized the islands, built a fort and informed the Bandanese they were no longer allowed to trade with anyone else, according to historian Vincent C. Loth. The Bandanese signed contracts agreeing to the arrangement, though it is unclear if they understood what they were agreeing to, Loth wrote. They ignored the contracts anyway, continuing to trade with whomever they always had, plus a new partner on the scene — the English.

Good Morning DUers! Start your day off with some liberal guilt.

Then feel slightly better knowing there doesn't appear to be any nutmeg in it. It must be artificial flavorings since I don't see cinnamon, ginger, cloves, or allspice either. They even started using pumpkin puree and juice after some online shaming.

Milk, Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso.
August 28, 2019

America needs more immigrants to keep economy growing (labor shortage)


New York (CNN Business)Tariffs and the trade war with China are the biggest near-term financial problems facing the United States. But one market expert thinks the United States needs to focus on a longer-term issue if it wants to remain on top of the world's economic heap: immigration.

David Kelly, chief global strategist with JPMorgan Funds, argued in his most recent weekly report that America could soon face a big labor shortage as more baby boomers reach retirement age. There aren't enough younger people currently to replace them.
He said that many people, including members of the Trump administration, are focusing too much on trying to find ways to stimulate more demand via tax cuts and calls for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates.

But Kelly thinks the biggest looming problem for the United States is about the supply of people in America that are of working age and able to keep spending.

Unless America adds more younger people to the labor force, Kelly argues that any tax cuts or other stimulus would be "more pointless than a fast car in a big city."

"There is an obsession with how to stimulate demand, with fiscal policy, monetary policy and currency policy all being deployed to rev up the economic engine," Kelly wrote. "However, America is facing a demographic pothole, and unless we fill it, growth will be mediocre, at best, regardless of how we try to stoke demand."

Kelly recommended some short-term fixes to help fill the demographic pothole. He suggested making three-year undergraduate college degrees more available to students and delaying eligibility for Medicare benefits to retirees by one year until the age of 66.
But those proposals would also be controversial. That's why boosting immigration makes the most sense.

This job market should be great news for any DUers who are job hunting. My company has been hiring lots of inexperienced people and training them up. People with the right experience and skills have lots of bargaining power for higher wages or better benefits like telework days and relocation reimbursement. I have a coworker who asked for and got 3 work from home days a week so she can deal with her kids, and she lives in the same suburb where we work.
August 25, 2019

Their neighborhood was flooded to save Houston


His husband survived Hurricane Harvey's landfall, only to die after the government opened Houston's reservoirs.

Houston, Texas (CNN)Two days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas in August 2017, as historic rainfall submerged parts of Houston, the Army Corps of Engineers released water from two reservoirs into a river running through one of the country's richest zip codes.

The water crept out of Buffalo Bayou and into West Houston's Energy Corridor, home to numerous energy companies and residential neighborhoods.

It inundated Kyle Haines' home, drowning his 71-year-old husband, Bob. It left Maria Sotolongo's home nearly uninhabitable and set her on a costly road to rebuilding that would test her marriage.
Two years later, they're still trying to recapture the sense of security that was swept away with their possessions. On top of that, they're embroiled in litigation over the Corps' role in what happened to them.

Hundreds of West Houston property owners are suing the federal government, claiming the Corps flooded their homes to save the rest of the city. They allege the government owes them for effectively taking their property to store water from the reservoirs, in violation of a Fifth Amendment right which says the government can't take private property for public use without just compensation.
But the government doesn't see it that way.

The Corps referred questions about the litigation to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment. But in legal briefs, government lawyers blame the storm for the flooding.

They claim the Addicks and Barker dams and reservoirs did their job and that the damage could have been worse if not for them. They say the government's responsibility to protect the public in an emergency trumps the plaintiffs' rights to their property.

"The Court should conclude here, as a matter of law and based on the undisputed facts, that to prove causation Plaintiffs must show that if the flood risk reduction Project had not been built, their properties would have flooded significantly less or not at all during Hurricane Harvey."
And as the legal fight continues, so does the daily struggle to rebuild.

If they don't build better flood control infrastructure, this is going to happen again. Hurricanes will keep happening and people will die from flooding.
August 24, 2019

A Louisiana Parish Jailed a U.S. Citizen for Being Latinx


Ramon Torres had been a U.S. citizen for nearly ten years when he was detained for four days on an immigration hold – despite having a U.S. passport, a Louisiana driver’s license, and a Social Security card, and despite that fact that a court ordered his release.

Torres’ ordeal began in August 2018, when he was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Torres, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2009, was carrying multiple forms of identification, including his driver’s license and other security credentials. Torres was booked at the Ascension Parish Jail, and the next day the Parish Court ordered his release.

But Torres wasn’t released. Instead, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office placed an “immigration hold” on Torres on the suspicion that he was unlawfully present in the United States.

The basis for this suspicion? He had a Latinx name and brown skin. Staff at the sheriff’s office explained that they had a policy of detaining all Latinx people for immigration review.

When his friends and family tried to intervene and provide additional documentation proving that Torres is a U.S. citizen, officials in the sheriff’s office still didn’t budge.

Torres spent four days in jail before a lawyer’s involvement finally secured his release.

Bet they don't detain immigrants with names like "Melania Knavs" or "Donald Drumpf". My whole life people have told me it doesn't matter that I was born here, Americans are white.

Many Black Americans would be familiar with this scenario with police. Detaining US citizens by race is kind of like detaining US citizens for being Jewish or LGBT or whatever. When they come for you, there will be no one left to say "It can't happen here" and "Godwin's Law".
August 23, 2019

How Trump's tax cuts and the trade war have set the stage for a self-inflicted recession


New York (CNN Business)Cracks are beginning to form in the American economy, threatening to tip the country into recession. And at least some of those cracks are self-inflicted.

The biggest problem facing the United States economy is a slowdown that has struck China, Germany, South Korea and other manufacturing powerhouses.

President Donald Trump's escalating trade war with China has only amplified the pre-existing global growth slowdown. That overseas trouble has started to infect American factories, which are contracting for the first time in a decade.

"This could be the straw that breaks the camel's back," Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC, said of the ongoing trade war. "I am more concerned about the US economy now than I have been throughout this expansion."

The United States is also coming off the 2018 sugar high of Trump's tax cuts and the bipartisan surge in government spending. There was always a risk that stimulating an already-healthy economy would backfire by creating a boom-to-bust scenario.

"You aren't supposed to do stimulus until you're in a recession — when you need it," said Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. "We pulled demand forward before there was a recession, meaning we may in fact have caused the recession."

I'm curious to see how he blames this on Obama, or Nancy Pelosi. Hillary did it!

Seriously, as the stock market has hit all time highs, wise folks have trimmed their stocks and moved into bonds, cash, and other safer investments. Recession before the election should be the last straw for this president.
August 22, 2019

Stock buybacks exploded after the tax cuts. Now they're slowing down


New York (CNN Business)Corporate America's epic buyback mania may finally be succumbing to gravity.

The 2017 corporate tax cut left US businesses flush with cash. S&P 500 companies responded by rewarding shareholders with record amounts of buybacks in 2018, with each quarter setting an all-time high.

However, that record-shattering pace appears to be slowing. S&P 500 companies executed $165.7 billion of buybacks during the second quarter of 2019, according to preliminary estimates by S&P Dow Jones Indices. Although that's still a stunning amount of repurchases, it marks a 13% decline from the same period a year ago.

The slowdown in buybacks, which have become a lightning rod for criticism among some in Washington and even on Wall Street, underlines the impact the tax law had last year as companies steered a sizable chunk of their windfall to investors.
"2018 was an adrenaline high," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Companies pounded their chest and rushed to show how much money they could return to shareholders via the new tax changes."

The pullback in buybacks may also reflect a desire by companies not to get stuck buying their own stock near record highs.
"A lot of these companies have seen their stock price go up a lot. Treasurers are thinking, 'Maybe I save some ammo in case anything crazy happens,'" said Ian Winer, advisory board member at Drexel Hamilton.

graph and video at the link

Watch the stable geniuses propose new tax cuts. At least Dems control the House this time.
August 22, 2019

Greenland row: Donald Trump attacks 'nasty' Danish PM

Being called "Nasty" by Trump is a badge of honor. Kind of like Nasty Woman and Bad Hombre.
August 19, 2019

Two mass killings a world apart share a common theme: 'ecofascism'


Before the slaughter of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso this year, the accused gunmen took pains to explain their fury, including their hatred of immigrants. The statements that authorities think the men posted online share another obsession: overpopulation and environmental degradation.

The alleged Christchurch shooter, who is charged with targeting Muslims and killing 51 people in March, declared himself an “eco-fascist” and railed about immigrants’ birthrates. The statement linked to the El Paso shooter, who is charged with killing 22 people in a shopping area this month, bemoans water pollution, plastic waste and an American consumer culture that is “creating a massive burden for future generations.”

The two mass shootings appear to be extreme examples of ecofascism — what Hampshire College professor emerita Betsy Hartmann calls “the greening of hate.”

Many white supremacists have latched onto environmental themes, drawing connections between the protection of nature and racial exclusion. These ideas have shown themselves to be particularly dangerous when adopted by unstable individuals prone to violence and convinced that they must take drastic actions to stave off catastrophe.

The alleged El Paso shooter’s document is full of existential despair: “My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist.”

In recent years, the mainstream environmental movement has moved strongly in the direction of social justice — the opposite of what hate groups seek. Now, the leaders of those organizations fear white nationalists are using green messages to lure young people to embrace racist and nativist agendas.

Absolutely disgusting. RWers are using this as an excuse to blame "the left" for mass shootings. Not the racism or easy access to assault weapons.

Oh and "took pains to explain their fury" means they don't have a political agenda and are therefore not terrorists.

August 19, 2019

White Nationalist Arrested For Threatening To Attack Jewish Center In Ohio, Police Say


A white nationalist was arrested Saturday for threatening to shoot up a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio, police said.

James Patrick Reardon of New Middletown, Ohio, is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing. His bail has been set at $250,000.

The 20-year-old sparked a police investigation after posting a video to his Instagram account on July 11 that showed him firing a semi-automatic rifle. In the post, Reardon tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown and identified himself as a white nationalist in the caption.

The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force raided Reardon’s home on Friday and seized dozens of rounds of ammunition, semi-automatic weapons and a bulletproof vest, reported WYTV. They also reportedly found anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda.

“This is a person who has declared himself as a white nationalist and with the hate crimes, everything else going on, we wanted to make sure we did our part to make sure this person was taken off the streets very quickly,” New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio told the news outlet.

Reardon attended the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 and identified himself as a white nationalist while being interviewed for a documentary, D’Egidio said.

The most important takeaway here is that terrorists never look like this. Since he doesn't have a political agenda. That smirk on his face.

August 19, 2019

Witnesses said a bank robber didn't have facial tattoos. So police digitally altered

Witnesses said a bank robber didn’t have facial tattoos. So police digitally altered a suspect’s mugshot.


It would be hard to miss Tyrone Lamont Allen’s facial tattoos.

The 50-year-old’s forehead is covered in delicate script, reaching from his eyebrows to his hairline. A single teardrop appears under his left eye, while his right cheek is unmistakably inked with a looping design.

So when authorities got a tip that Allen was behind a string of bank and credit union robberies in Portland, Ore., in April 2017, there was one major problem: None of the tellers had mentioned seeing any tattoos on the robber’s face. Surveillance footage, too, showed a man with no visible tattoos.

Yet, Allen was charged with the crime — after police took an unusual step. As the Oregonian first reported Friday, investigators used Photoshop to digitally alter his mug shot, covering up his distinctive tattoos. Two of the tellers, who weren’t told that the image had been edited, subsequently picked him out of a photo array of five similar-looking men and identified him as the robber.

Now, a federal judge in Oregon is tasked with determining whether that crucial evidence should be thrown out of court, and whether Allen’s rights were violated. His attorney, Mark Ahlemeyer, argued that the question has weighty implications, given that today’s technology makes it easier than ever to manipulate a photograph.

If covering up a suspect’s prominent facial tattoos is considered fair game, the federal public defender wrote in a recent motion, “there would presumably be nothing wrong with adjusting various pixels to make someone’s face appear slimmer, so long as the government’s theory was that the suspect had gained weight since the crime.”

When laziness is combined with racism, any black person will do. Especially if he can't afford a good lawyer.

Further down the article the police claim to do this all the time and don't have to report it. There should be laws about this sort of thing.

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Southwestern PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 06:36 PM
Number of posts: 44,337

About IronLionZion

If an H-1b has an American accent, they are probably not an H-1b. It's race, not citizenship. Americans are more diverse than you think. Millions of US citizens don't look the way you might expect. This fact is very important and will help us win elections.

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