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 11th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Right Wing

Mother Jones

McMaster apparently fired some kind of member of the White House who wrote a memo that Trump read that detailed the deadly nexus of Islam, Cultural Marxism and Corporate interests that were aligning in the war against Trump. I wish I had access to the full memo. This is starting to seem more and more like the Red Scare from back in the day.

North Korea

Rewire

Fascinating history of the North Korean nuclear program, the geo-politics of the Korean Peninsula and how the world got to where we are now.

Op Ed News

Pepe Escobar on the current stand-off between the United States and North Korea, the various players involved and what they hope to gain from this.

India

The Wire

PM and VP comment on the outgoing VP. Class act.

Economics

Evonomics

On corruption and co-operation.

Data and Advertising

Sputnik

In the US, you can’t collect data from mobile applications that are designed for children. Disney is in trouble for doing just that. They’re still denying the charges. This also isn’t the first time that Disney has got in trouble for this. Sticky ethical situation.

Israel

Vox

Bibi is facing corruption charge upon corruption charge. In rhetoric that sounds familiar to most people in the world at this point of time, he’s blaming the media and left-wing politicians of engineering all of this against him.

Benjamin Netanyahu (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Benjamin Netanyahu (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

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 9th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

The Immanent Frame

On the politics of Islam in America, caught between the appropriation of the Liberal and the Conservative spheres.

Tech

The Daily Dot

Boycott Google or Ban Google isn’t working out apparently. They’re pointing out the obvious here, which is that there is no way to get around using Google. Though in my head, all this article serves to do is bring up the fact that there is such an enormous amount of data that Google is able to process and use. Thing is, the fact that you don’t have a choice in the matter, and that they’re big enough for competition to be irrelevant should be reason enough for more anti-trust lawsuits, right?

Finance

Center for Financial Inclusion

CFI Blog post on ICICI bank in India and how they hooked up with Stellar, to create a product for their customers. ICICI customers can transfer money using a mobile wallet. This money is process in a cryptocurrency, the unit of which is lumens. It’s not very clear if you can export this cryptocurrency out of its environment. Probably not.

Society

Vox

The firing of the Google engineer who wrote the now infamous memo might not be open to arbitration. Google engineers are not unionized and the United States apparently offers no protection to employees at their workplace (in the private sector).

Gizmodo

An alternative to the anti-diversity google memo. Article on how science has always been used to justify the men over women argument, apart from various other things.

Timeline

Fascinating article on an article who explores Greenwich in New York City and how the forces that forced the young, black, gay and homeless of Stonewall now own it. Did they win?

Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

United States

Vox

Article on the unprecedented ethical concerns that affect Trump and this administration.

War

USA Today

Blackwater will receive more contracts going forward. I’m not sure why every time it gets reported, they open with a shocking line like: “The United States is considering a plan to entrust security to private contractors…”.

They’ve been doing it for a minute now.

The exact nature of their work is not clear, but apparently, they will serve in an advisory role.

August 4th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Feminism

Feministing

Very interesting article on the nature of what we would call modern feminism today. Again, I’m not criticizing the nature of any movement for equality that people desire. I just think there’s much to criticize in most post-modern movements. I think they all arise from this idea of absolute individual autonomy that borders on the western notion of owning something (in this case, the body) as the absolute. I also think that there are very real problems with how we code consent (as a binary), when it’s really about power relations. Take for example the fact that we think it’s wrong for a tenured professor to sleep with an undergrad student. There’s clearly no parity in terms of power between the two.

“That self-criticality means advocating for consent while questioning Western individualism’s reliance on the language of capitalism. For example, in Richard M. Wright’s essay on teaching consent through playtime, Wright explains sexual consent using the example of a friend wanting to borrow a book – if your friend says no or expresses hesitation, the author writes, you shouldn’t borrow their book. While the example itself is useful, upon closer examination it troubled me: I want to be able to make an argument for our rights over our bodies without necessarily relying on the idea of property ownership.

How do we imagine a standard of bodily autonomy which doesn’t reduce us to a libertarian vision of atomized individuals trading consent on a free market, but instead emphasizes our codependence?”

Feminist Current

Article and podcast on how the movement about reproductive rights should not be about “rights” but should be about sovereignty.

Iran

The Iran Project

Iran says its non-oil exports remain uncompetitive. This, despite the fact that the dropping of the sanctions was supposed to ease some pressure.

Iran Export Ship (Image Source: Flickr)
Iran Export Ship (Image Source: Flickr)

United States

FiveThirtyEight

Discussion on what Trump needs to do to right the ship. Strictly Machiavellian (as they mention themselves).

July 29th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

United States

The Washington Post

Republicans need tax reform to go through. Apparently, the country hasn’t had major tax reform in 31 years. Losing that would be too many losses for the first year of the Trump administration.

Political Wire

This doesn’t explain why Priebus is gone and the Mooch is still around!

Vox

Kelly was one of three generals that Trump placed in his cabinet. He’s been the one who has stayed out of the spotlight for the most bit. The article points out that he presents the Trump administration with a tough “soldiers general” type personality. Presumably, this will at least please the people who voted for him primarily on the issue of migration.

John F. Kelly (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
John F. Kelly (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Jezebel

Trump bites harder into the anti-immigrant narrative. Watch the speech in full, if you can. A more robust stance on domestic soil will deflect from the fact that there is tremendous opposition from the legislative bodies. As mentioned before, this will also please a large portion of his support base that voted for him to be harder on immigration. The article also states sources that point out that this isolates illegal immigrants and drives them into the arms of MS-13. What incentive do immigrants have to help law enforcement authorities in an environment like this?

Drug Trade

Fusion

Cocaine produced and packed in Mexico relies on Guatemalan drug cartels to supply to the United States. It’s a stop off point on the trade route, so to speak.

Society

Rewire

On the subject of disasters and how the ensuing displacement of people can result in a permanently altered city. Naomi Klein spoke of this in the shock doctrine. There seems to be mounting evidence that she was quite right.

In Defense of Marxism

A Marxist interpretation of the Catalan question and how the author sees the proletariat of the Catalan region as having been let down by the petty bourgeoisies, at the first sign of external resistance.

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

The Daily Stormer

An Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi writer actually posted made a reference to a song by The Clash and posted a link to the song on Youtube. The irony is killing me.

The Daily Stormer

There’s some gushing about Scaramucci at the very end. It’s quite fascinating that liberal media and websites like the Daily Stormer can mention the exact same things and feel completely different about them. All of the incidents that the media reports as being indicative of crippling instability in the trump administration are exactly what the people who write for publications like the Daily Stormer want. They want the chaos.

Sudan

Sudan Tribune

Khartoum is denying that the Jebel Marra area has any need for assistance. This comes in the wake of the weekly UN bulletin that said otherwise. The government also pointed out that the World Food Program and various EU officials can attest to the fact that Jebel Marra was not in fact facing the kind of acute crisis of food, nutrition and security that the UN reported it as.

July 27th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Society

Consumerist

Article on a study that was conducted on a wide range of consumers, all in the first world, on the kind of purchases they made with their money and how happy it made them. Apparently, these people gained more happiness If they produced time-saving devices/ services with their money.

I think it would be very interesting if someone tried to replicate this experiment in a third world-country. I think there’s a certain value attached to status items when people acquire money in a country that isn’t part of the first world.

Right Wing

Acting Man

Person who claims that the British were the best thing to happen to India. Real Uncle Tom vibes from this one.

Rightly Considered

Philosophical argument against the death penalty. Blog that is dedicated to right wing philosophers. Article on why the author considers the death penalty to be just: because some people deserve it. He also brings in the question of who authorizes said punishments. As an aside he also mentions that God and the Church can punish him.

UK

SPERI

With the UK leaving the EU, they will have to renegotiate with the SACU, a bloc of Southern African countries that includes Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa among its members. It’s imperative that they lock that down since they apparently quite a large amount to these countries. The article also points out that since the SACU negotiates as a bloc, this makes things a little more complicated, since there are varying levels of importance in these linkages.

LSE Blog

Does MP voting reflect what the MP believes or what his constituents believe? The article feels like since MPs voted for what their constituents felt like on a certain range of issues (free votes?), this would also extend to other issues. I’m not sure about this one. I think the behavior of members of the parliament are dictated by a much more complex array of preferences. One of which is the institution of the political party.

Iran

Al Monitor via The Iran Project

Inflation in Iran is set to climb a marginal amount (from 10.2% to 10.9%) in Rouhani’s second term. Iran’s cash economy seems to be one of the biggest reasons why the country struggles to keep inflation in check. Their central bank has to keep up the supply of money in the economy to ensure that it satisfies all potential transactions, and this can lead to inflation if left unchecked. The central bank is also looking to manage the interest rate so that they can manage the balance between investment and inflation.

Scotland & Catalan

Fair Observer

Scotland and Catalan are both countries within countries. Or at the very least that’s how the local population predominantly feels. They have both tried to hold referendums in the past. Article focuses on why the referendum attempts that they might attempt in the future need the support of the British and Spanish governments, even if it is by coercion.

Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Media

YouTube via Long War Journal

Watch an Al- Qaeda affiliated organization along the Syria-Lebanon border shoot down an armed Hezbollah drone. The drone is seen dropping its payload at various locations, before being shot down.

Israel

Al Jazeera

Israel has removed the metal railings at the Al-Aqsa mosque. They removed the metal detectors on Tuesday.  According to an Al Jazeera reporter, this is a very people centric movement and is not directly influenced by any political organization (read: Hamas). I posted a video of the protests outside the Al Aqsa mosque which was essentially Muslims praying on the street. Though, there has been media of major unrest around the area.

Middle East

National Interest

Iran is significantly important in the world at this moment. Back before the nuclear deal, Iran was just one bit of the “axis of evil”. The nuclear deal and the restrain that Iran and the United States showed in reaching it, changed all that. Iran sort of came out of the shadows of the world. Sort of. The problem is, with an Iran that could work with nuclear fuel came fear from majority Sunni Gulf States and Israel. The article details how the Iran issue is driving them together. This is a good example of how something can make it seem like there’s some modicum of co-operation, but it’s really more of an alliance of convenience. I think that if the Gulf States and Israel do come closer solely on the basis of the Iran issue, it would be like if you got married to someone just for the sex. Eventually you realize that it’s not enough. There needs to be much wider engagement between the two blocs.

United States

Vox

Skinny Repeal is essentially the only thing that the Republicans can get enough numbers behind to pass. Anything else is way too radical. All of them know that they would be impaled by their constituents if they repealed Obamacare wholesale. Not to knock Obamacare, but at this point of time, it really does not matter if Obamacare is the most splendid healthcare bill on the planet. As long as it does a half decent job and people perceive it as kind of fair, it’ll be nearly impossible to repeal. Healthcare and other government services are kind of like that. They’re massive and have such enormous amounts of inertia that it becomes political suicide to touch them.

Tech

Zero Hedge

The internet was around a long time before 1995, but it started to experience 100% growth year upon year from 1995 onwards. That’s the year Netscape was introduced. With respect to the article, I don’t think bitcoin has really had its Netscape moment yet, but time will tell.