August 12th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

Jim Bakker Show via Right Wing Watch

Panel of Christians with shelves stacked with food behind them. The table that they are seated at has a lot of food on it too. This is really the first time I’ve actually sat down and watched an entire one of these shows, I usually just watch the snippets that Right Wing Watch puts out. You’re going to watch the entire thing yourself, but there are a few things that should be pointed out. He encourages people to buy food from his store, and stores that are his partners. The reason for this is that apparently all of their food has an extended shelf life, which means it’s all powdered and desiccated.

I checked out their online store, and they have powdered fruit.

The reason that this is a good thing, is because, according to Jim, Churches need to stock up for when Jesus comes back to lead his army, and that people (all non-believers), will flock to churches, because that would be the only source of food. They would all have food sourced from the Jim Bakker show.

Fascinating. It’s always really interesting to see the different forms that monetized religion can take.

Klontzas Georgios - The Second Coming (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Klontzas Georgios – The Second Coming (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Society

Washington Post

Shifting demographics and the state of the American dream.

“Cultural shifts are also underway. In surveys, Millennials often say they want to own homes one day, but they are a generation that’s embraced the “sharing economy.” They don’t like to own much. They take Lyft and Uber instead of owning a car. They tell their parents and grandparents “no thanks” when they are offered the family china or trinkets. They prefer to spend their money on experiences — eating out, concerts, travel, gyms — instead of stuff.”

Philosophy

Edward Feser

Feser on the mindscape as being a realm from which all ideas come from. They precede us and will be there long after we are gone.

“The Mindscape, then, is essentially the collection of all the propositions and concepts that might possibly be grasped, entertained, affirmed, denied, etc.  The Pythagorean theorem would be an example of a denizen of the Mindscape.  When you entertain the theorem and I do not, you are accessing a part of the Mindscape that I am not, at least at that moment, accessing.  When we are both entertaining it, we are accessing the same part of the Mindscape.  But the theorem was there before either of us accessed it and will remain there long after we are gone.  The same is true of every other proposition or concept.  They are all out there waiting to be accessed, as it were.”

United States

Rewire News

Overview of what is going down in Virginia, USA. Though it’s probably over by now. Article does a good job of fleshing out how diverse the two sides are and how there are clearly ideological differences even between the both of them. I’ve read alt right articles which pan the entire “alt lite” moment for being a bunch of idiots who can’t recognize what is happening. The point is, there’s definitely more nuance here than you would think.

Media

Geographical Imaginations

Someone made a movie that can be found of multiple platforms. It’s apparently a bunch of imagery that tries to convey the kind of paranoia that should accompany the threat of nuclear warfare. It uses a lot of jarring imagery, clips of destruction and individuals commenting on nuclear warfare, to achieve this effect.

Korea

Vox

The North Korea – South Korea dynamic reminds me a lot of Pakistan – India. They both were a nation state at one point of time. There was an acrimonious split. There’s a demographic divide when it comes to opinions about the split, and a lot more. Most importantly though, the South Korean journalist in the article explains why South Koreans themselves aren’t panicking about the nuclear holocaust. It’s because they’re just used to this.

August 10th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

United States

Sputnik News

US ambassador to the UN (Hayley) made a statement on the role that the government and the rebel groups have played in the escalating humanitarian issue in countries like Yemen.

Shadow Proof

New Democracy is an organization that plans to broaden the reach of the Democratic Party. Going by this article alone, I’m not certain how they plan to achieve that.

National Interest

Fairly surface level article on processes of assimilation in the United States and Europe. Though it does point out an interesting point that has been made over the past 4 years, since the European migrant crisis began (and I do believe it is a crisis).

China

Sputnik News

The Chinese base at Djibouti is to act as a logistics supply facility rather than for military operations. China joins Germany, US and France among others in having a base in the uniquely strategic location. Article also quotes a Chinese rear admiral as saying that they were perfectly within their rights to establish a base in Djibouti and that Indian opposition to it was based on nothing.

China's PLA (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
China’s PLA (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Religion

Christian Today

Practicing Christians have of course been a part of the Trump ship since day one. Here’s evidence that it’s not a monolithic whole. If you follow the link to the tweet at the end of the article, you’ll see some stuff about people of faith calling on congress to prevent nuclear war.

Right Wing

Zero Hedge

Article by Ilana Mercer (a libertarian), on the state of American federalism and the fact that she considers the government to be overstepping its boundaries. I don’t really know the American constitution, so I’m not going to take a shot at this. I’m going ahead and putting it down under right wing because there are lines of thought that are fairly right wing, along with all the libertarian ideas being thrown around.

August 10th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Right Wing

Right Wing Watch

Rick Joyner is a pastor who says that Trump is sensitive to the word of the Lord. He also says that there is hope since they now have the “most evangelical cabinet in U.S. history.”

Economics

Mainly Macro via Economists View

UK is an anomaly. Article has a chart form the FT about how GDP growth has been positive and real wage compound growth has dropped in the same period (post crisis). So, what gives?

Vox EU (CEPR Policy Portal) via Economists View

Roads and Schools. Article argues that the benefits that communities and the economy accrues from schools is distributed over a longer period of time and takes longer to add up, thus making it a lot less attractive in the eyes of politicians.

Marxism

Stumbling and Mumbling via Economists View

How the authors version of socialism differs from the conventional statism that is often associated with it. Along the way he also argues from a smaller government.

Society

Louis Proyect

National anthems and their influence on the country. Author goes into when it first started being used as a proxy for getting crowds to conform and stand up.

Colin Kaepernick (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Colin Kaepernick (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

A Dragon’s Best Friend

On sustainable models of tourism in popular cities/towns. How to ensure that the citizens of a town get something out of it.

Vice

Vice article on the changing face of ballet. This could be interesting in a wider sense. I think there are a lot of people who come from many different ethnic backgrounds who are involved in different art forms, professionally and otherwise, which are very firmly rooted in western traditions. It would be interesting to see if they could bring something of themselves to these art forms and if it would continue to be appreciated by the more traditional schools.

Religion

Times of Israel

A Russian has launched an ICO that he claims is the first Kosher currency. I’m actually really interested in this model of doing business, which incorporates more than just the start operating practice of creating shareholder profit. Whether this will be a success or not will remain to be seen. Read the article for the details on the cryptocurrency that will operate on Jewish financial law.

Guam

Savage Minds

Guam has been in the headlines because North Korea threatened it. Guam has a huge US military presence. This is what inspired the threat.

July 26th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

Christian Today

World famous Evangelical Christian Billy Graham on whether or not he considers the Anti-Christ have a presence on this earth in this day and age? He struggles to define what he means by the Anti-Christ. Though he does present two contradictory ways in which Christians can deal with this, by saying that Christians should not worry about it even if he is a great presence in this world. As a theologian, he really should be able to flesh this out more.

Antichrist form the Osogovo Monastery (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Antichrist form the Osogovo Monastery (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Libya

Libya Herald

The Presidential Guard Commander has said that all light, medium and heavy arms would not be allowed to enter the capital Tripoli. This is part of the larger plan for the administration in Tripoli to restore some amount of normalcy to the capital after the Libya Dawn takeover. Italy and Turkey are the only major embassies to have returned to the city. It will take a while for there for various governments to trust the administration with their envoys.

Zambia

Lusaka Times

The Community Development and Social Welfare Minister of Zambia declared that as long as girls continue to be married off early, that the country would not grow and prosper. Though she was short on the details of whether girls who were not forced into marriages early in their lives would be allowed to pursue avenues that would contribute in any way to those around them.

Argentina

The Bubble

Midterm Primary Elections are just around the corner and The Bubble spoke to Rosendo Fraga on his predictions. Around 25% of the electorate have not decided on who they want to vote for. A huge number of undecided voters.

“But we’re not seeing a clear scenario where we can say that a party is 10, five points ahead of another one. That’s a matter we have to be aware of. Doing a bit of electoral geography, we have the provincial interior that has a third of the vote, with cities such as Bahía Blanca, Azul, Tandil, where Cambiemos has the majority of the vote. They have the rural areas as well,” he added.

Buenos Aires is the prize that everybody wants. Like in most other countries, there are certain territories that are considered as statements. Another way to put this would be to call them mandate indicators. These are usually historically important places, capitals or areas where enormous amounts of the electorate are concentrated (usually urban centers). Uttar Pradesh in India is a good example of this.

“The Buenos Aires Province is arguably the big price of the elections. Whoever gets it will be perceived as the winner, even if their party doesn’t get the most votes at a national level. That’s why I asked Fraga if he believes that the government will try to spin the analysis if it loses the Province at the hands of the former president.

“They will certainly try. They will say something like “Cristina is a party in the Buenos Aires Province, maybe the City too. I label the Peronist vote in the interior as something different. This is what the Kirchnerism tried to do in 2009, when De Narváez won and in 2013, when Massa won. It couldn’t. They could try, but I think it will be hard for it to [make] work. Especially because Cristina is a candidate, and that’s something that nationalizes the election in the Province,” he said.

Finance

Institutional Investor

Goldman Sachs apparently bonds issued by Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) back in 2014. The opposition party leader wrote to the CEO accusing him of making money off the suffering of a people. Which technically isn’t wrong.

Goldman isn’t the only large corporation that has done this. BlackRock also has holdings in the country. Goldman says that they made the investment in the hope that life in the country would improve, without going into the ethical quandary of whether supplying funds to Maduro was in good faith.

Arguments are made in the article about investing in developing nations in general and how government rule cannot damn individuals in the country who aren’t beholden to their host nations way of acting, but that really doesn’t solve the Goldman problem. PDVSA is a state-owned giant with very clear links to Maduro.

July 25th – International News Round Up (Part II)

Energy Markets

Zero Hedge

Barclays allegedly unloaded the last bits of its oil contracts to unidentified buyers. This is expected to raise prices of futures and also make oil riskier.

“Perhaps the best news from today’s book sale is that it concluded smoothly and without any major market impact, suggesting it was planned well in advance. The question is what would happen to the oil derivative market if a similarly-sized block hit the tape ad hoc and without prior warning. For the sake of the Fed’s “market stability” mandate, let’s hope we don’t find out.”

Saudi Arabia

Trend via SPA

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have added 9 new entities and individuals to their Qatar linked blacklist.

“The countries accused some of the individuals named with roles in raising funds to support Nusra Front jihadists and other militia groups in Syria, the SPA reported, while others were said to have contributed to and supported Al Qaeda.”

China

China Digital Times

Bao Tong, former aide to Zhao Ziyang, has come out with a series of tweets in support of Guo Wengui’s allegation fueled scandal.

HNA Group is a Chinese company that has been the subject of Guo’s ire. The allegations tie top Chinese leaders such as Wang Qiashing to the company. Bank of America has since stopped any transactions with the HNA Group. Share prices have since dropped and stayed low.

Follow the link to read the original tweets in Mandarin.

South Sudan

South Sudan Tribune

Article by an independent journalist on the state of the South Sudanese Peace. He accuses the government of the country to be full of sectarian elements and blames corruption for the state of the country.

“In Conclusion, the world must impose sanctions on the government of South Sudan by not giving or donating foreign aids to the Country. All the European Union (EU) funding projects should be put to an end, United States of America (USA) projects should be put to an end. Japanese developmental projects should be put to an end. Peace will ONLY be achieved in South Sudan when world leaders stop sending money to South Sudan. Let all Organizations withdraw their funding’s from South Sudan and within a week, peace will come to the South Sudanese people.”

Religion

Torah Musings

Nachmandies/ Rabbi Moses ben Nahman/ Ramban was a medieval scholar whose commentary on Jewish scripture is considered to be of particular importance to the community. The article mentions particular teachings of Ramban in reference to the scriptures and asks the reader to go beyond simplistic explanations.

The Sefer Torah (Image Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/09/PikiWiki_Israel_4204_Sefer_Torah_from_Theresienstadt_concentration_camp.jpg/1280px-PikiWiki_Israel_4204_Sefer_Torah_from_Theresienstadt_concentration_camp.jpg)
The Sefer Torah (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

United States

Washington Post

Attacks on opposition leaders keep the voting public focused on individuals and not ideologies. This is a problem that Indian politics is in many ways beholden to. The narrative that you can create as the only hope against your opponent is important. Trump being elected in a lot of ways was a result of the fact that Clinton was a pretty weak opponent. Keeping the narrative anti-Clinton allows Trump to not be bothered by the rest of the problems that are plaguing his administration. It might work for 6 months but I doubt it’s going to work for 4 (let alone 8) years.