Strategic Lessons From The Civil War
September 29, 2020
From Daily Pnut’s Tim: About 20 years ago this month, I started my freshman (plebe) year at West Point. And to this day I still feel and identify as a plebeian. At West Point, I majored in Military History and Environmental Engineering. Military History was really why I went to West Point. There were many things that drew me to West Point (service, leadership, independence from my family, brain and brawn, etc…) but as a high school student who loved history, I learned about the school through my study of history. Recently I found myself re-reading the history of the American Civil War. Here are seven strategic lessons from my rereading of that time period. Read more here.
“Children are one third of our population and all of our future.” — Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health 1981
“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” — Marian Wright Edelman
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” — Dr. Seuss
Exploiting Elementary School Exiles
(Sony Ramany via Getty Images)
In the United States, debates surrounding COVID-19 and education have been limited to the merits of online school and whether students can return to in-person teaching environments. These problems, while still important, reveal a certain privilege enjoyed by those who attend schools able to successfully make the transition online. For millions of children in the developing world, school closures have pushed elementary school students onto the streets and sucked them into illegal, low paying jobs.
The UN now estimates that COVID-19 will force at least 24 million children to drop out of school and that millions of those recent drop-outs could end up being exploited as cheap laborers. This unexpected rise in child labor threatens to erode years of progress in school enrollment, literacy, social mobility, and children’s health.
“All the gains that have been made, all this work we have been doing, will be rolled back, especially in places like India,” says Cornelius Williams, the Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF. In populous developing countries like India, Indonesia, and Kenya — schools and early childhood development centers are closed indefinitely, and parents are turning to their idle children in order to make ends meet. The work is often dangerous. From industrialized factory jobs to literally rummaging through garbage dumps in search of recyclable plastic, child rights activists are demanding that international leaders recognize the new lives that school closures have imposed upon the world’s most vulnerable children.
Williams says that those who “really believe in education” should be directing the resources used to reopen bars, gyms, restaurants, and subway systems to safely return children to schools. “Is it because adults have agency and have the louder voice — and the power to vote?” he asked.
Despite these calls to action, classrooms around the globe remain closed indefinitely. 10-year-olds are now mining in Kenya and chopping weeds on Cocoa plantations in West Africa. 8-year-olds are being painted silver and pushed into the streets to beg for money as living statues in Indonesia. Just months ago they were students. But as they start making money for their families — child experts argue — it will be very difficult for them to ever return to school. (NYT)
A Stain On US-Israeli Relations
- Talk about airing out your dirty laundry: a recent report from the Washington Post reveals that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a habit of bringing bags full of his soiled laundry to the White House for their complimentary cleaning service.
- “The Netanyahus are the only ones who bring actual suitcases of dirty laundry for us to clean,” said one anonymous U.S. official. “After multiple trips, it became clear this was intentional.” These accusations were corroborated by staff at the President’s Guest House, where the Israeli leader often stays when he visits Washington D.C.
- Is this some sort of prophetic metaphor of US-Israeli relations? Or just another salacious media story intended to draw attention away from Israel’s recent breakthrough in Middle Eastern diplomacy? It’s likely neither — but reports of Netanyahu’s antics follow a trend of a world leader who always seems to carry some peculiar baggage with him.
- In 2016, Netanyahu sued his own government in order to prevent his laundry bills from being accessible under Israel’s freedom of information act. More recently, the Prime Minister was indicted on charges of corruption for accepting thousands of dollars in champagne, cigar boxes, and jewelry from business executives in exchange for relaxed regulations. He faces a total of three corruption trials, yet maintains he is innocent. Whichever way you wash it, dirty laundry just can’t seem to escape Netanyahu’s presence. (Guardian)
Argentinian Politics Comes To Bare
- There’s nothing like a debate over pension fund investments when it comes to getting Argentine politicians all hot and bothered. At least that’s what you might expect after watching Juan Emilio Ameri, a legislator in Argentina’s lower house, kiss his girlfriend’s bare breasts during a live-streamed congressional session.
- Despite his claim that he believed he was offline at the time, the scandalous clip of Ameri pulling down his partner’s blouse quickly went viral. Not long after, the legislator was forced to resign from his post in the lower house of congress. A statement from Ameri’s colleagues said that they “cannot allow irresponsibility of this magnitude” and his firing was appropriate given the “seriousness of his acts.”
- Not many came to the side of the promiscuous partisan. Except for Buenos Aires council member Maria Rachid, who defended Ameri in a tweet on Thursday saying that his actions were no worse than that of the legislators who routinely play Candy Crush on their phones during congressional sessions. Oh, the wonders of 2020 and our collective struggle against the societal scourge that is Zoom. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Did Xi Just Save the World? (Foreign Policy). The Red Dragon pledges to go green.
- Hong Kongers, Don’t Idolize the U.K. (Atlantic, $)
- China Will Learn the Hard Way That Australians Can’t Be Shamed (NYT, $)
- Australia joins US, China and Russia in refusing to sign leaders’ pledge on biodiversity (Guardian). A downer down under.
- How South Korea Successfully Managed Coronavirus (WSJ)
- From reichs to riches: Germany’s ex-royals want their riches back, but past ties to Hitler stand in the way (CNN)
- German chancellor hopeful says Trump win risks transatlantic collapse (Politico)
- Post-Soviet showdown: Armenia and Azerbaijan are clashing over a disputed region. Here’s what you need to know (CNN)
- Global coronavirus death toll crosses 1 million (Axios)
- The Virus Sent Droves to a Small Town. Suddenly, It’s Not So Small. (NYT, $)
- I used to be Ms Covid Casual. But with a sick sister, that’s changed (Guardian)
- New York Threatens Coronavirus Lockdown for Orthodox Jewish Areas (NYT, $)
2020’s Online Breadline
(Igor Golovniov via Getty Images)
- The last time the United States faced an employment crisis quite like the one we are experiencing today, the internet did not exist. What would message boards have looked like at the peak of the Great Depression? We’ll never know, but venture over to the Reddit community R/unemployment and you’ll see just how frustratingly opaque the process of receiving government benefits can be for the millions who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.
- This online thread of commiseration offers a unique insight into the dysfunctionality experienced by those trying to access state-run benefit programs. As Depression-era breadlines move onto the internet and citizens struggle to get in touch with government representatives, R/unemployment has filled the void as an ad hoc, crowd-sourced, people’s benefit office.
- Every day, some 46,000 members congregate to help one another navigate the confusing process of receiving unemployment aid. While other Reddit threads are often crude and lawless, moderators on this corner of the internet run a tight ship. The site’s regulations enforce rules like no swearing, no memes, no trolling — and perhaps most importantly — asks users to “remember the human.”
- For those who come looking for answers, they often find help within hours. People are asked to clarify their state and financial circumstance before fielding help, but will then be met with a flurry of suggestions from fellow unemployed Americans — often coming in the form of hacks that help users cut the line and get in contact with state officials.
- Live in Michigan? Dial 991111 to get in contact with a real person. New York? Try tagging the Department of Labor on Twitter. All in all, this online community has stepped up when the government couldn’t, and demonstrates the modern ingenuity of desperate Americans. (The Cut)
Additional USA News
- Alt-algorithms: The Flashing Warning of QAnon & Why the right wing has a massive advantage on Facebook (New Yorker, Politico)
- QAnon: Everything we know about the identity of Q. (Slate)
- At Pentagon, Fears Grow That Trump Will Pull Military Into Election Unrest (NYT, $). When political battles turn militant.
- Disclosure Doesn’t Work on a Shameless President (Atlantic, $)
- How can Biden mess this up? Only a fool would write off Trump. But there’s a reason he’s so desperate (Guardian)
- ‘I Moved on Her Very Heavily’: Part 4 (Atlantic, $)
- Former Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized after threatening to harm himself, police say (CBS)
- I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. (Medium)
- Count on it: Federal Judge Bars Trump Administration From Ending Census Early (NYT, $)
- Judge rules Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is not a credible source of news. (Slate)
Making Up For Lost Time
- Anyone who’s ever read a piece of science fiction has likely run up against a tricky paradox when it comes to the prospect of time travel. If you were able to theoretically travel back in time, wouldn’t you alter history so as to make it impossible for you to ever exist in the future? This quandary — known as the “grandfather paradox” — has long left researchers scratching their heads.
- However, a recent report from the University of Queensland suggests that this paradox wouldn’t necessarily exist if you were to travel back in time and say, stop patient zero of COVID-19 from becoming infected. Scientist Fabio Costa and honors undergraduate student Germain Tobar argue that despite changes made by a time traveler, original outcomes would still find a way to come to fruition.
- “You might try and stop patient zero from becoming infected, but in doing so, you would catch the virus and become patient zero, or someone else would,” Tobar explained. “No matter what you did, the salient events would just recalibrate around you.”
- These findings are consistent with another study published earlier this summer which concluded that changes made in the past won’t drastically alter the future. Even Blake Crouch, a bestselling science fiction author, agrees with this newfound assessment of hypothetical time travel.
- “The universe is deterministic and attempts to alter Past Event X are destined to be the forces which bring Past Event X into being,” Crouch explained. “So the future can affect the past. Or maybe time is just an illusion. But I guess it’s cool that the math checks out.”
- Defeating our attention-deficit: How to Get Focused (NYT, $)
- How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole (Wired)
- Remote learning sucks, explained in a comic (Vox)
- Higher ground: The expert guide to making the perfect cup of coffee at home (Guardian)
- Check website privacy with Blacklight (WaPo, $)
- The 7 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Muscle and Mobility (Barbend)
- Work it out by working out: If You Do This for 2 Minutes Every 2 Hours, Scientists Say You’ll Be Much Smarter (and Remember a Lot More) (Inc)
- ‘Kajillionaire’ shows how boomers stole from millennials — and what they’ll keep stealing (NBC)
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