Sweatshop Shutdowns | Whö Döne It | Into the Ice
June 11, 2020
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. ― Albert Einstein
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, But Definitely Sweat The Sweatshops
(Ulet Ifansasti via Getty Images)
In the mid 1990s, it was revealed that a TV celebrity known for her do-gooder stances had a clothing line made in an overseas “sweatshop.” Suddenly the perception of wildly-popular Kathie Lee Gifford went from charitable humanitarian to uncaring profiteer.
Truth is, the vast majority of clothing people buy in the US is made in places like Bangladesh. Before COVID-19, Bangladesh’s 4,000 garment factories supplied some of the biggest brands in the world and produced over 80 percent of the country’s total exports.
On March 22 one of America’s largest clothing retailers, Kohl’s, called and cancelled $150 million worth of existing orders from Bangladeshi and Korean garment factories. Other brands followed suit. By mid-April, with $3.18 billion in orders cancelled or suspended, Bangladesh’s exports had plummeted 84 percent. Some factories had already closed, and tens of thousands of garment workers had lost jobs.
Many of Bangladesh’s 4 million workers were single mothers and young women who worked long hours in cramped spaces for little pay. “They fired me in the same way they fired my other pregnant colleague,” one young woman said. “They did not pay us our wages, compensation or benefit, which I was owed after six years working there. I have given all my energy making clothes for very low wages.”
Kohl’s is a behemoth among US department store retailers. Unlike many retailers, it’s managed to remain profitable over the years. Protective moves like cancelling orders world-wide, furloughing 85,000 US staff, and shuttering its 1,159 stores meant the company could continue paying shareholders their dividends, like the $109 million it paid out on April 1.
When we all re-emerge from sheltering in place the mall will look like a very different place: A record number of retail stores are expected to permanently close this year & The Reason Starbucks Is Closing 400 Stores. (CNN & Slate) Additional song: Rainer Maria – The Reason The Night is Long.
- The nice Patagonia, North Face, or REI apparel that signals style, a love of outdoors, and capitalism with a conscience might not be as sweatshop free as one thinks: The Dark Secrets Lurking Inside Your Outdoor Gear: Allegations of abuse have surfaced at a Bangladeshi factory whose multinational owner manufactures for some of the most popular outdoor brands we love. Here’s why that should surprise no one.
- If you like Patagonia sweaters then you are on your way to soon looking like a tech investor: Someone is selling a $500 Silicon Valley investor ‘starter kit’ as a joke about how venture capitalists all dress the same. (Business Insider).
A Classic Whö Döne It!
- Just who killed Sweden’s long-time leftist prime minister Olof Palme in 1986? This Nordic mystery has been a favorite topic of conspiracy theorists, much like the assassination of US President Kennedy. Theories included the CIA, Kurdish separatists, the South African security services, and Chilean fascists, among others.
- On Wednesday, prosecutors finally announced the name of the man they believe gunned Palme down on a Stockholm street more than three decades ago. The likely assassin was identified as Stig Engström, a graphic designer who was interviewed along with over a dozen others who said they saw someone fleeing the scene immediately after the attack. Engström was briefly considered a suspect at the time, but another man was tried and found guilty in 1989. His conviction was overturned the following year for lack of evidence.
- A journalist who said he had investigated the case for 12 years noted that Engström had lied to police, had “the right timing, the right clothing … unique information” and he had “a deep political interest and a deep anti-Palme sentiment.” Engström won’t be prosecuted, however, as he committed suicide in 2000. (NPR)
- A few whodunit murder movies we recommend
- Knives Out Trailer and Everything Wrong With Knives Out In Whodunnit Minutes
- Gattaca Trailer (one of our favorite movies of all time)
- The Maltese Falcon Trailer (another great Bogart film)
- Memento Trailer (Christopher Nolan is a fantastic director and we look forward to watching Tenet)
- Minority Report Trailer (we recently rewatched this on Amazon Video after first watching it years ago and it’s aged very well)
- Additional song (a song for those who are trying to avoid being in a whodunit story or want to keep their social distancing): Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now?
Viral Misinformation Goes Viral
- The European Union has accused China of running a huge disinformation campaign inside the EU about COVID-19. It’s the first time Brussels has accused Beijing of responsibility for a huge wave of false facts about the coronavirus. Accusations have been leveled at Russia numerous times, but the European commission had never publicly pointed the finger at China as a source of disinformation until now.
- In mid-April, at the height of Europe’s pandemic, a Chinese embassy website claimed that care workers in France had abandoned their jobs and left residents to die. An unnamed Chinese diplomat also claimed falsely that 80 French lawmakers had used a racist slur against the head of the World Health Organization.
- EU member states are grappling with how to deal with China on a range of fronts — from foreign policy and security to the economy. This more assertive stance marks a change in tone from a report in March, which merely described Chinese media narratives, while focusing the spotlight on disinformation from Kremlin-backed sources. At the time, lawmakers in the European parliament accused the commission of watering down the report on disinformation under pressure from China. (Guardian)
- Behind China’s Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus (NYT, $)
- Zoom shuts account of US-based rights group after Tiananmen anniversary meeting (Guardian)
- A U.S. Secret Weapon in A.I.: Chinese Talent (NYT, $)
- How Hong Kong caught fire: the story of a radical uprising (Guardian)
Power and Money
- A Crash in the Dollar Is Coming (Bloomberg): “The world is having serious doubts about the once widely accepted presumption of American exceptionalism.” And “Like Covid-19 and racial turmoil, the fall of the almighty dollar will cast global economic leadership of a saving-short U.S. economy in a very harsh light. Exorbitant privilege needs to be earned, not taken for granted.”
- Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged and Projects Years of High Unemployment (NYT, $)
- The CARES Act Sent You a $1,200 Check but Gave Millionaires and Billionaires Far More (ProPublica)
- Millions Of Americans Skip Payments As Tidal Wave Of Defaults And Evictions Looms (NPR)
- ‘An American fiasco’: US hits grim milestone of 2m Covid-19 cases (Guardian)
- US coronavirus update: Covid-19 cases rise in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina (Vox)
- U.S. could reach 200,000 coronavirus deaths in September, expert says (Reuters)
- Coronavirus: Renewed push for ‘travel corridors’ (BBC)
- As Virus Infections Surge, Countries End Lockdowns (NYT, $)
- Africa And The Coronavirus: Forecasters Have Different Scenarios : Goats and Soda (NPR)
- Can a Vaccine for Covid-19 Be Developed in Record Time? (NYT, $)
- Last time we told you about the great folks at Hubs Peanuts, we provided some fun facts about George Washington Carver, the father of over 300 uses of peanuts. Today we’re talking about a different father… yours!
- Are you looking for the perfect thing to round out your Father’s Day gift? Give your dad something great to snack on and add on some delicious Hubs Peanuts. Quality peanuts are usually hard enough to find, but Hubs will send their peanuts straight to your door so you can stay in and stay safe!
- Peanuts are one of the best food items to have in your pantry. They contain 25g of protein per 100g servings as well as other important minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, fibers, and vitamins! At Daily Pnut we love nuts and peanuts and we think our readers and their dads will also enjoy healthy snacks.
- Hubs Peanuts are a great gift for all the dads in your life. And to seal the deal, Hubs is giving our readers 10% off all orders in June with the promo code DAILYPNUT.
Titanic 2: This Time It’s Personal
(Archive Photos via Getty Images)
- First Space Force, now Icebreaker Fleet. President Trump has ordered the construction of a fleet of icebreakers and bases to pursue US interests in the Arctic and Antarctic by the end of the decade, signaling that his administration is taking a more aggressive approach to the contest with Russia and China for polar resources.
- The president issued a memorandum on “safeguarding US national interests in the Arctic and Antarctic regions” which calls on the administration to come up with a plan within 60 days that would include at least three heavy icebreakers to be built by 2029, and recommendations for locations to build two support bases in the US and two on foreign soil.
- The Coast Guard has had a longstanding plan to build three heavy and three medium icebreakers; the memorandum appeared designed to expand and inject extra urgency into the Coast Guard’s plan. It also suggests that the US look into leasing arrangements while the new fleet is being built.
- America currently has just one heavy icebreaker, the aging Polar Star, supplemented by a single medium icebreaker. In comparison, Russia has 40 icebreakers, Finland has seven, and Canada and Sweden have six each. The US study is also to explore the potential for a nuclear-powered icebreaker, and “defensive armament adequate to defend against threats by near-peer competitors.” (Guardian)
- No word yet on whether Trump wants to try to make the ultimate real estate play of his presidency by pursuing Greenland again: After Trump tried to buy Greenland, US gives island $12M for economic development (ABC News)
- Netflix snags Space Force trademarks ahead of US military (CNET)
Additional US News
- DoJ push to dismiss Michael Flynn case a ‘gross abuse of power’, ex-judge finds (Guardian)
- Major Problems With Voting in Atlanta as 5 States Hold Primaries (NYT, $)
- The Quiet Demise of the Separation of Church and State (NYT, $): “The government is allowing federal pandemic aid to pay for clergy salaries, something that once would have been unthinkable.”
- From General Petraeus: Take the Confederate Names Off Our Army Bases (Atlantic, $): The Atlantic is now the go to site for former generals to publish their thoughts: Mattis, Mullen, Votel and Petraeus. Trump had a quick response to this suggestion: Trump rejects calls to drop Confederate base names (BBC)
- In letter, Pentagon leaders outline military role in recent unrest (WaPo, $)
- ‘Cruise Ships on Land’: As Las Vegas Reopens, a Huge Test for Casinos (NYT, $)
- ‘Their greed is gonna kill us’: Indian Country fights against more fracking (Guardian)
- The ‘Concerned Citizen Who Happens To Be Armed’ Is Showing Up At Protests (NPR)
- This is a humorous & amusing read: Know The Signs: How to tell if your grandparent has become an antifa agent (WaPo, $)
- Canceled: Gone With the Wind dropped from HBO Max over depiction of slavery (Guardian) & Video By Reality TV Crew Of In-Custody Death Of Black Man Reportedly Destroyed : Live Updates: Protests For Racial Justice (NPR)
Black Lives Matter
- ‘What I saw was just absolutely wrong’: National Guardsmen struggle with their role in controlling protests (Politico)
- “It Changes Who Has the Power”: How Bail Funds Across the Country Are Responding to Protests (Ringer)
- The Police Have Been Spying on Black Reporters and Activists for Years. I Know Because I’m One of Them. (ProPublica)
- Police in the US have shot and killed more than 5,000 people since 2015 (WaPo, $)
- Amazon bans police from using its facial recognition technology for the next year (Verge)
If A Car Drives In The Woods And No One Is Around To Invest In It…
- Perfecting the technology behind driverless cars has taken a little longer than expected. A decade after Google unveiled an autonomous car prototype, the technology is still far from ready. The coronavirus pandemic has slowed it down even more — just when the world could really benefit from cars ferrying people and packages without a human driver.
- Tech companies once promised that by 2020 there would be fully functional self-driving cars on the road. But companies that made these promises are now between a rock and a hard place. To perfect their technologies, they need to test it on roads. But they also need at least two people in the cars to avoid accidents, and because of social distancing rules that’s often not possible. So many cars are still sitting in lots.
- The pandemic timeout has hastened an industry shakeout that was already underway. Many self-driving car companies have no revenue, and operating costs are unusually high. Autonomous vehicle start-ups spend on average $1.6 million a month — four times the rate at financial tech or health care companies. And many investors are wary of dumping more money into the projects. (NYT)
- Meanwhile there’s still innovation happening with vehicles especially with the move to electric vehicles: Tesla vs. Nikola: 7 things to know about Elon Musk’s big foe (Fast Company) & Tesla shares surge past $1,000 as Musk revs up the Semi (Reuters)
Please consider making a donation to Daily Pnut, a fiercely independent publication that cares deeply about truth. We are thankful and grateful for all of our readers & supporters!
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU