June 23, 2018

Critic’s Notebook: How to Save ‘The Conners’ from Roseanne

Show Middle America. All of It.

A lot of the talk around “Roseanne” focused on ABC’s decision, after the 2016 election, to develop shows about life in the country between the coasts. That was a good idea, in that TV is better when it tells all kinds of different stories, geographically, demographically and otherwise. But the execution was an issue.

A lot of media outlets struggling to cover the country in the Trump era fell into the trap of acting like “middle America” and “working class” meant one thing: conservative, nostalgic, older white people watching Fox News in diners. If you didn’t fit that mold — if you were one of the millions of Midwesterners of color, or one of the liberals that make purple states purple — you didn’t exist.

“Roseanne” complicated that picture somewhat: Roseanne’s sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) was a liberal and Darlene and family returned from deep-blue Chicago. But it slanted its focus toward its title character and her “economic anxiety” self-justifications. Now it has a chance to spread the attention around, within the family and beyond. Remember Roseanne’s Muslim neighbors, Samir and Fatima (Alain Washnevsky and Anne Bedian)? How about making them recurring characters, with stories and challenges that have to do with things besides just being Muslim neighbors?

Keep the Politics Personal

I have no problem with politics in entertainment, because there’s a lot of politics in life. But “Roseanne” — both in the 1990s and in the revival — did its best work reflecting politics as lived experience: bills, health care, discrimination on the job.

The revival’s weakest episodes were its most on-the-surface takes on politics (the bad blood between Roseanne and Jackie over the election) and social hot buttons (Islamophobia). It’s not that sitcoms shouldn’t do this. It’s that the stories tried to turn “Roseanne,” unsuccessfully, into something it never was: a kind of modern-day “All in the Family” (something “The Carmichael Show,” for instance, did well).

I don’t know how much of that approach was driven by the writers, by Ms. Barr or by the writers deciding that they had to confront all the extratextual issues raised by Ms. Barr. But a post-Roseanne “Conners” has a chance to reset.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/22/arts/television/roseanne-the-conners-abc.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Kim Dotcom predicts US tariffs will drive cryptocurrency growth

The internet entrepreneur took to Twitter on Friday to make his predictions as trade tensions between the US and China, and the US and the EU intensified. EU retaliatory tariffs on several US products took effect on Friday.

READ MORE: Trump trade war a ‘symptom of paranoid delusions’ – Chinese media

“Trump is putting tariffs on international imports in an attempt to make up for the income deficit resulting from his tax cuts. It’s the largest theft in history,” Dotcom said, adding that the citizens of other countries were suffering as a result of the greed of America’s one percent.

“Foreign countries and their citizens are forced to pay for US tax cuts. But they call me a pirate. LOL,“ he wrote.

Dotcom, a staunch supporter of the cryptocurrency market, believes that current circumstances will facilitate further cryptocurrency growth. He often uses Twitter to encourage his followers to invest in Bitcoin, and he has also launched his own bitcoin-based payment system, Bitcache.

READ MORE: ‘Perfect cryptocurrency’: Kim Dotcom outlines plans for new universal money

Dotcom, who holds New Zealand residency, has been fighting extradition to the US since 2012 when the US Department of Justice closed down the operations of the video sharing site he founded, Megaupload. US authorities sought the arrest of Dotcom and his partners on charges of operating an organization dedicated to copyright infringement.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/430600-dotcom-trade-war-cryptocurrency/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Charles Krauthammer, Prominent Conservative Voice, Dies at 68

In 2005, President George W. Bush followed Mr. Krauthammer’s published advice when he withdrew the Supreme Court nomination of his White House counsel, Harriet E. Miers, after she was criticized as unqualified. Mr. Bush saved face by saying her opinions as counsel were protected by executive privilege and could not be shared with the Senate in any confirmation hearings.

The next year, The Financial Times called Mr. Krauthammer the most influential commentator in America. Mr. Krauthammer said he found all that influence worrisome.

“The reason,” he said, “is that when I was totally unknown, I could say anything I damn well please.”

Which subject had generated the most feedback from readers? “Well, if you write about dogs,” he replied, “you’re guaranteed to get enormous reaction.”

Mr. Krauthammer’s book includes a column about Rick Ankiel, a pitching phenom for the St. Louis Cardinals. During one inning of a pivotal playoff game in 2000, the 21-year-old Ankiel walked four batters and threw five wild pitches. He was banished to the minors for five years, survived injuries, but gave up pitching altogether. He fought his way back to the Cardinals as an outfielder and, in 2007, sealed a game with a three-run homer and two days later hit two more home runs and made a spectacular catch.

That column, on the value of resilience, appeared in a section of the book called “Personal,” but Mr. Krauthammer never mentioned himself. Instead, he invoked the hero of Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural,” Roy Hobbs, a baseball prodigy who attempts a belated comeback after being shot.

“No one knows why Hobbs is shot,” he wrote. “It is fate, destiny, nemesis. Perhaps the dawning of knowledge, the coming of sin. Or more prosaically, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. Every life has such a moment. What distinguishes us is whether — and how — we ever come back.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/obituaries/charles-krauthammer-prominent-conservative-voice-dies-at-68.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Europe Retaliates Against Trump Tariffs

“Fewer than expected S.U.V. sales and higher than expected costs — not completely passed on to the customers — must be assumed because of increased import tariffs for U.S. vehicles into the Chinese market,” Daimler said in a statement late Wednesday.

Last year, BMW exported about 80,000 vehicles to China, including its X5 S.U.V., from the Spartanburg plant, its largest factory in the world. BMW said in a statement on Thursday that it did not need to revise its outlook for profit because of trade tensions, but the company added that it “continues to observe international developments closely.”

Shares of major German and American carmakers fell sharply Thursday on worries of a trade-related slowdown. Daimler shares closed off more than 4 percent in Frankfurt trading, and BMW shares slipped 3 percent.

If the trade conflict continues, companies could consider relocating assembly lines to other countries, leading to job losses in the United States. BMW already has factories in South Africa and China, among other countries.

Carmakers would not make such a decision lightly. Moving manufacturing is expensive and takes years to carry out. The German carmakers continue to hope that the conflict will blow over and perhaps even provide a catalyst for removing trade barriers with the United States.

Currently the United States charges a 2.5 percent levy on imported foreign cars while Europe imposes a tariff of 10 percent on cars from the United States. German automakers would be happy if tariffs fell to zero in both directions, though only as part of a broad trade pact, Eckehart Rotter, a spokesman for the German Association of the Automotive Industry, said Thursday.

Ironically, the tariffs could have a small — if somewhat short-lived — upside for Europe. Local steel and aluminum may eventually fall in price because producers in countries like Russia or Japan will divert supplies that otherwise would have gone to the United States, creating a glut in the market. That would be bad for steel producers but good for machinery makers and other companies that use a lot of steel, potentially giving them an edge over their American competitors in overseas markets.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/business/economy/europe-tariffs-trump-trade.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Trump threatens 20% tariffs on all European cars coming into US

The warning comes two days after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the White House had not made any decision on whether to extend the tariffs which had recently been introduced on other European goods.

The US president’s tweet dragged down stocks of European automakers BMW, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes. Shares of American car companies Ford and General Motors also plunged following the threat, but have since bounced back.

The 20-percent tariff is slightly lower than the one the US president pledged to impose on foreign automakers earlier this year. In May, the White House was reportedly considering a 25 percent tax on cars imported from Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and South Korea.

Trump has repeatedly issued warnings to US trade partners across the world about reducing the trade deficit. It was one of the pledges he made during his presidential campaign. The US president has severely criticized America’s current trade imbalance with many nations, particularly China.

The auto tariffs are a part of a broader agenda by the White House. Trump has slammed US automakers for manufacturing vehicles abroad. Last year, the US president threatened domestic manufacturers with a 35 percent tariff on cars produced outside the US.

The latest threat comes amid escalating trade tensions between the US and its partners. Earlier this year, Trump slapped China, Russia, India, Japan and Turkey with levies on steel and aluminum. Last month, the measure was extended to include the EU, Canada and Mexico – American allies that had initially been exempted.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/430574-trump-threatens-20-tariffs-on/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Trump trade war a ‘symptom of paranoid delusions’ – Chinese media

“The woes the administration is inflicting on Chinese companies do not simply translate into boons for US enterprises and the US economy,” the state newspaper said in an editorial headlined “Protectionism symptom of paranoid delusions.”

China cuts US investments by 92% amid escalating trade war

The paper refers to research by Rhodium Group, which found that Chinese investment in the United States declined by 92 percent to $1.8 billion in the first five months of this year – its lowest level in seven years. “The fast-shrinking Chinese investment in the US reflects the damage being done to China-US-trade relations… by the trade crusade of Trump and his trade hawks,” it said.

According to the China Daily, the US is trying to preserve the global economic system, which is working to America’s benefit. “However, times have changed, and what they are doing now is folly given the global value chains that were primarily forged by the US for its advantage.”

The economic difficulties America is facing are a result of its aggressive trade policy, not China or other countries, according to the daily. “The travails of the US economy have been the result of the costly wars the US has pursued and the damage done by the greed and dubious practices exposed by the subprime crisis.”

On Monday, President Trump threatened to hit $200 billion of Chinese imports with 10-percent tariffs if Beijing retaliates against the initial $50 billion in levies that the US imposed on Chinese goods.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/430543-china-trump-trade-war/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Germany makes €3 billion from Greece’s financial crisis

“Greek debt is sustainable going forward,” Eurogroup President Mario Centeno told journalists. “This is it, we have managed to deliver a soft landing of this long and difficult adjustment. There will be no follow-up program in Greece.”

The agreement grants Greece a 10-year extension to repay €96.9 billion worth of loans covering roughly half of Europe’s financial aid to Athens since 2010. The deal also defers interest payments and amortizations for another 10 years, until 2033.

Death and taxes: In ruins of Greek economy unpaid debt more than half of GDP

Greece will also receive an additional €15 billion on repayment of some more-expensive IMF loans, as well as to create a cash buffer so that it could meet financing needs in the next two years.

The deals sealed as part of the financial aid to Greece over the past eight years will give Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, some €2.9 billion. The profit emerged from interest rates through purchases of Greek government bonds under the Securities Markets Program (SMP) of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Under the SMP deals, all the profits received from buying the Greek securities by other states should be transferred to Greece in case Athens manages to meet all the austerity and reform requirements.

By 2017, the Bundesbank reportedly earned around €3.4 billion in interest gains from the SMP purchases. However, only in 2013 and 2014 these funds were transferred to Athens and the ESM, the federal government says. For the last four years, the money has stayed in Germany.

In 2013, nearly €527 million was transferred back to Greece and around €387 to the ESM in 2014, with Germany receiving €2.5 billion in overall profit. Moreover, the state bank KfW managed to get interest profits of €400 million from the loan.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/430541-greece-aid-germany-earns-billions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

ABC Plans a ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff, Without Roseanne Barr

Examining the genesis of the original “Roseanne,” the executives and producers believed they had found a way to move forward without ABC’s paying Ms. Barr. Although she has been credited with coming up with and shaping the Roseanne Conner character, the creation of the show itself is credited to Matt Williams, a writer-producer who was fired after clashing with the star early in its run.

When “Roseanne” was canceled last month, many television executives expressed doubt that even entertaining the idea of a spinoff was possible. Marcy Carsey, one of the show’s founding producers, recently said she would not try to continue with a similar series.

“I think I would just say, ‘O.K., we had a wonderful run,’” Ms. Carsey said at a television festival in Austin, Tex., this month.

Ms. Carsey’s former producing partner, Mr. Werner, held a different view. “We are grateful to have reached this agreement to keep our team working as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family,” he said in a statement.

By going ahead with the spinoff, ABC executives are gambling that viewers will approve of the network’s decision to bring back the Conners and will display an interest in characters who once served as foils to the lead.

A recent Quinnipiac University National Poll found that 48 percent of registered voters agreed with ABC’s decision to cancel the show, and 34 percent said they would have preferred to see it remain on the air. Among those identifying themselves as Republican, 50 percent disagreed with the network’s move.

Other notable shows — like “House of Cards,” “Transparent” and “Two and a Half Men” — have continued without key cast members. And there is precedent for continuing a series without its eponymous star. The 1980s sitcom “Valerie” was retitled “Valerie’s Family: The Hogans” and then “The Hogan Family” after Valerie Harper left during the show’s second season because of a salary dispute. The writers killed off Ms. Harper’s character — it was a car crash — and brought aboard Sandy Duncan as “Aunt Sandy,” the show’s new matriarch.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/business/media/roseanne-barr-spin-off.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Greece Prepares to Stagger Back From Debt Crisis, the End of Bailouts in Sight

But Greece still faces daunting challenges.

Unemployment is no longer at historic highs, but one-fifth of Greeks are jobless. The economy is growing, though at a relatively slow pace of 1.4 percent last year. Households have seen their incomes chopped by a third, hundreds of thousands of Greeks work low-paying temporary jobs, and more pension cuts and tax increases lie ahead. The country had to impose credit controls in 2015, and there are still limits on how much cash Greeks can withdraw from shaky banks, although those restrictions have been gradually relaxed in recent years.

“If you look at the past three years, the Greek economy recovered, jobs were created,” said Zsolt Darvas, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels think tank. “But I think you can’t just look at the past three years. You have to look at what happened in 2010, and clearly it was a huge disaster.”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who rose to power vowing to reverse austerity, has acknowledged that the end of Greece’s third bailout program will not bring about a magical transformation. “When you take a patient out of intensive care,” he told a group of Greek entrepreneurs last month, “you don’t make him run a sprint.”

Managing the country’s debt, which is equal to nearly 180 percent of its gross domestic product, remains a herculean task. Severe belt-tightening will still be necessary if Greece is to have any hope of regaining credibility with international investors. The country is still years away from being able to sell new debt on financial markets; it still owes staggering sums to banks, financial institutions and other countries, which will be looking over Athens’s shoulder for years to come.

Mr. Tsipras’s political opponents, who have been gaining ground in opinion polls, have noted that the country will remain under foreign supervision for years to come and will still be subject to harsh austerity measures, including a package approved by Parliament last week that includes further pension cuts, tax increases and privatization of state assets.

That view is often echoed by regular Greeks. “What exit? This is a life sentence,” said Giorgos Amanatidis, a 67-year-old pensioner in Athens. He added, “Taxes, taxes and more taxes.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/business/economy/greece-europe-bailout.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Europe Strikes Back Against Trump Tariffs as Global Trade War Escalates

“Fewer than expected S.U.V. sales and higher than expected costs — not completely passed on to the customers — must be assumed because of increased import tariffs for U.S. vehicles into the Chinese market,” Daimler said in a statement late Wednesday.

Last year, BMW exported about 80,000 vehicles to China, including its X5 S.U.V., from the Spartanburg plant, its largest factory in the world. BMW said in a statement on Thursday that it did not need to revise its outlook for profit because of trade tensions, but the company added that it “continues to observe international developments closely.”

Shares of major German and American carmakers fell sharply Thursday on worries of a trade-related slowdown. Daimler shares closed off more than 4 percent in Frankfurt trading, and BMW shares slipped 3 percent.

If the trade conflict continues, companies could consider relocating assembly lines to other countries, leading to job losses in the United States. BMW already has factories in South Africa and China, among other countries.

Carmakers would not make such a decision lightly. Moving manufacturing is expensive and takes years to carry out. The German carmakers continue to hope that the conflict will blow over and perhaps even provide a catalyst for removing trade barriers with the United States.

Currently the United States charges a 2.5 percent levy on imported foreign cars while Europe imposes a tariff of 10 percent on cars from the United States. German automakers would be happy if tariffs fell to zero in both directions, though only as part of a broad trade pact, Eckehart Rotter, a spokesman for the German Association of the Automotive Industry, said Thursday.

Ironically, the tariffs could have a small — if somewhat short-lived — upside for Europe. Local steel and aluminum may eventually fall in price because producers in countries like Russia or Japan will divert supplies that otherwise would have gone to the United States, creating a glut in the market. That would be bad for steel producers but good for machinery makers and other companies that use a lot of steel, potentially giving them an edge over their American competitors in overseas markets.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/business/economy/europe-tariffs-trump-trade.html?partner=rss&emc=rss