Is the Revolution Worth the Pain? | India vs. Pakistan | Cohen vs. Trump

FEBRUARY 27, 2019  /   SUBSCRIBE
 
 
 

 

“For millions of people, “wealth” amounts to little more than a few weeks’ wages in a checking account or low-interest savings account, a car, and a few pieces of furniture. The inescapable reality is this: wealth is so concentrated that a large segment of society is virtually unaware of its existence, so that some people imagine that it belongs to surreal or mysterious entities. That is why it is so essential to study capital and its distribution in a methodical, systematic way.”

“At the heart of every major political upheaval lies a fiscal revolution.”

– Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Available at your local public library)

 
 
 

 

A Slow Burn Summit: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States president Donald Trump have both arrived in Vietnam ahead of their Vietnam Summit. Their meeting comes eight months after the historic summit in Singapore, which had failed to produce any concrete negotiations toward denuclearization. While President Trump flew on Air Force One, Kim Jong Un opted to take a three-day excursion overland via train. Despite his an anti-smoking campaign in North Korea, Kim Jong Un was filmed smoking a cigarette during a train pit stop on its journey across Asia – pushing the question as to whether or not he will give up nuclear arms if he can’t do so with cigarettes.

President Donald Trump on the other hand, has been dealing with situations of his own – as seen by American journalists being abruptly evicted from a hotel housing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The White House has set low ambitions for Thursday’s talks, organized in a matter of weeks after Trump announced the summit on February 8th, seen by many, who have described preparations as disorderly and chaotic.

 
 
 

 

Wargames 2: This Time It’s Personal: Someone call Matthew Broderick because the U.S. has officially declared a cyber-war on Russia. It has been revealed that on the day of the 2018 American midterm elections, the U.S. military blocked internet access to the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg. This infamous “troll farm” is believed to be responsible for some of the Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election. While details on the cyber-blockade are still classified, we currently know that President Trump and Congress have both approved this move by U.S. Cyber Command. One anonymous source who is close to the operation had told the Washington Post, “They basically took the IRA offline…They shut ’em down.” (WaPo)

Herbie 2: The MooAV Bug: A company in Singapore is looking to bring the future of autonomous automobiles to the streets of Singapore within the next few years with their MooAV shuttle. Designed by the startup MooVita, this self-driving shuttle aims to reduce the traffic and air pollution plaguing Singapore. MooVita conducts their research at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore,  where other scientists and engineers have also been testing out self-driving cars on a 5 acre test track equipped with realistic roads and even a rain simulator. They expect to have autonomous cars on the roads within the next ten years. (CNN)

Good Morning, Vietnam 2: Peace Summit: The story of Vietnam is a tale of redemption. A once one-party Communist nation, Vietnam has come a long way since their “American War” and they are very aware of that. Vietnamese leaders hope that the upcoming summit in Hanoi will be a chance for Kim Jong Un to understand the precedent set by their nation.One clear and monumental bonus for post-war pro-America Vietnam: trade. In 2017, more than $54 billion Vietnamese goods were sent to the U.S. (NPR)

Titanic 2: An Inconvenient Truth: NASA has reported that an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan is about to split off from Antarctica. A crack along the Brunt ice shelf first appeared in October 2016, this “Halloween Rift,” is spreading to the east and is estimated to intersect with another fissure within the next few weeks. This is not the largest iceberg to ever split from Antarctica, however it is a warning sign for things to come as melting ice and instability in Antarctica’s icebergs are a major contributor to rising sea levels. (Guardian)

 
 
 

 

Retaliation NationTensions between India and Pakistan have risenfollowing an air strike which India reported to have killed “a very large number” of fighters. Pakistan has stated that no casualties have been reported. Pakistan said it would respond at a time and place of its choice, with a military spokesman even alluding to its nuclear arsenal, showing the heights the conflict between the two neighboring countries has reached following a suicide bombing in Kashmir this month.

The Indian government stated that their target had been a training camp belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group that claimed the suicide car bomb attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir on February 14th. A senior Indian government source said that 300 militants had been killed in the strikes and that the warplanes had ventured as far as 80 kilometers into Pakistan, though no evidence has been collected to support their claims.

 
 
 

 

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Cohen’s Cold Shoulder: Michael Cohen on Tuesday morning appeared before the Senate intelligence committee in the first of three congressional appearances that could possibly unveil crimes President Trump has committed while in office. Trump’s former lawyer and aide stated that he plans to “provide evidence of alleged criminal conduct by Trump since he became president.” (Guardian)

High Prices for Higher PunishmentHigh drug prices were challenged and attacked on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, as the leaders of seven drug industry giants were forced to defend their industry’s prices and business practices by lawmakers and politicians. Putting profits before patients, many companies have come under scrutiny for “scalping” people in need. (NPR)

 
 
 

 

Follow What You Preach: “Thinking about how to prepare future generations for those jobs, I am reminded of a book popular when I was growing up. The book was written by a minister named Robert Fulghum and is called Everything I Needed to Learn I Learned in Kindergarten. In the book, he argues that the values we should nurture in our kids are human values: empathy, fair play, learning how to get along with other people, saying sorry, imagination and so on.” – Humanity + AI: Better Together, Frank Chen, A16Z. This is an interesting piece about artificial intelligence and jobs. The book reference reminds me that it is very difficult as a parent to follow not just the emotional instruction we teach our kids but also the physical and lifestyle ones: to eat one’s fruits and vegetables, to get plenty of sleep, to take a nap when one is tired and moody, and to stay physically active. Sometimes I wonder what happened during adulting that made us lose track of all the fundamental and sound aspects to living and connecting with other people? What is it about growing that makes us unlearn the fundamentals?

Speaking of practicing what one preaches: The Corruption of the Vatican’s Gay Elite Has Been Exposed (New York Magazine) If the Catholic church has left one disillusioned, then don’t necessarily take refuge in the church of workaholism: Workism Is Making Americans Miserable: For the college-educated elite, work has morphed into a religious identity—promising identity, transcendence, and community, but failing to deliver. (Atlantic)

 
 
 

LAST MORSELS

 

“What was the good of industrial development, what was the good of all the technological innovations, toil, and population movements if, after half a century of industrial growth, the condition of the masses was still just as miserable as before, and all lawmakers could do was prohibit factory labor by children under the age of eight?”

– Thomas Piketty

“Britons who came of age in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 will, in many cases, be worse off than their parents. Born on the wrong side of skyrocketing property values, 30-year-olds are only half as likely to own homes as baby boomers were at the same age. A third are expected to rent for their whole lives.”

– ‘Austerity, That’s What I Know’: The Making of a Young U.K. Socialist (NYT, $)

 
 
 

LAST SONG

 

“Is the revolution worth the pain?
And who stole the reins anyway?
If to all intents we stay the same
Is the revolution worth all that pain?
And all the misery
When all that goes around still comes around?”

– Revolution by Unbelievable Truth (the song sounds like an early Radiohead song)

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