Memorial Day is more palpable than ever this year | #TC68
|Kyle Borland||May 25|
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As we watch a swath of Americans partake in Memorial Day festivities like it’s any other year – as if 100,000 Americans (and counting) haven’t died in the past three months – I understand a little more why presidents of the United States have always attempted to remind us of the fragility of our collective.
Washington said at his 1789 inaugural address, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
Lincoln said in his 1863 Gettysburg Address, “That these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Kennedy said in his 1961 inaugural address, “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship . . . to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
Obama said in his 2009 inaugural address, “Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”
Are we, as Americans, holding up our end of the bargain in 2020?
Did we ever?
That’s a more open-ended question than it seems coming from an email newsletter. We have certainly had flashes of brilliance or, at the very least, spurts of progress where our ideals grew to encompass more and more people (albeit at a glacial pace).
But, it’s hard to ignore that without a strong guiding hand, the majority of Americans opt for self-gratification over collective survival. There has been little-to-no effort from any level of government leadership to guide us through what should be a civilizational mourning period.
Instead, we’re worried about “the economy.”
Are we this numb to death? Are we this saturated in death’s presence that as long as the bodies don’t block our screens we can keep moving? Would we even care then or would we simply complain until we were no longer individually inconvenienced?
Memorial Day is meant to honor those who gave the greatest sacrifice of all for the American Way of Life. Today? We’d sacrifice those very people for GDP.
And…a haircut, apparently.
Stay safe and healthy, beautiful people. And, thanks for reading.
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“China has no intention to change, still less replace the United States. It’s time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernisation.
[US political attacks] are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war.”
American Empire & Other Wars (Graphic: ACA)
Beijing decided 2047 was too long to wait and initiated plans to kill Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” (aka democracy and autonomy). The CCP’s proposed law would ban all seditious activities aimed at toppling the central government, as well as external interference in Hong Kong and terrorist acts in the city. Massive protests in 2019 blocked the local government from passing its own NatSec law under Article 23 of the city’s constitution, so Beijing is taking matters into its own hands. In doing so, the CCP puts Hong Kong’s preferential US trading and investment privileges at direct risk as the city’s autonomy must be certified by the US by the end of May under the Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. Protests erupted in the city over the weekend in response and the White House responded by amping up its vocal support of Taiwan.
Bypassing Congress to sell arms to the Saudis is coming back to haunt Pompeo.
Hobby Lobby purchased a stolen 3,500-year-old Iraqi clay tablet – the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet – for its “Museum of the Bible,” and it is ordered to give it back.
Iran’s regime is weak after one of the world’s worst COVID responses, its shooting down of the Ukraine airliner, and a prolonged decade of anti-government protests where it lost the support of the middle and working classes.
Rafsanjani did not blame the Trump Administration or the American sanctions for the country’s problems; like many Iranians I spoke to, she felt that blaming the U.S. was a weak excuse for the regime’s failure to reform itself. “The coronavirus is just one instance,” she said. “There have been many events in recent years that show that our politics have gone wrong.” Iran’s increasing schisms, she argued, were the result of the regime’s flawed ideas. “One is the inessentiality of human life, which seems to be one of our most seriously pursued policies,” she said. “Another is the national-security lens—we look at things that have nothing to do with politics or security through the lens of national security. And when you put these two together you start to realize why these things keep happening.”
Isolated and dysfunctional, the Islamic Republic had reached a dead end, she said: “The regime has lost all popular support, and yet it is incapable of change. The result is that the Iranian people have lost hope. We are hopeless now.”
Israel wants to expedite its West Bank annexations before Biden can be elected.
The Renminbi can’t catch the US Dollar without help from Americans.
Above all, the United States must preserve the conditions that created the dollar’s primacy in the first place: a vibrant economy rooted in sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies; a transparent, open political system; and economic, political, and security leadership abroad. In short, sustaining the dollar’s status will not be determined by what happens in China. Rather, it will depend almost entirely on the United States’ ability to adapt its post-COVID-19 economy so that it remains a model of success.
Unless you live in Africa, your face is already cataloged in a database.
Voting rights must be front-and-center in November, especially in the South.
VP Joe Biden had another racial gaffe on his Thursday “Breakfast Club” interview where he declared, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” Needless to say, everyone from the media to the president’s campaign jumped on it like red meat. Biden quickly apologized but in doing so falsely claimed he was endorsed by the NAACP and was corrected publicly by the organization’s president. A collection of Black activists demanded Biden not choose Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has a notably poor relationship with the Black community.
Welcome to the “trilateralization of nuclear arms control.” With the fast-approaching February 5, 2021 expiration date of New START – the last nuclear arms-control treaty in effect – the US is eager to negotiate a new deal that includes itself, Russia, and China. Beijing has said it’s not interested in participating but both Washington and Moscow’s negotiators believe they’ll come to the table to be seen as a true world power. In a set of counter-productive moves, the US left the three-decades-old Open Skies Treaty (but signaled it would be open to rejoining should Moscow address its stated concerns), and the White House is looking to perform the first nuclear test explosion since 1992.
“The talk of a second wave as if we’ve exited the first doesn’t capture what’s really happening.”
“When America catches a cold, black people get the flu. In 2020, when America catches COVID-19, black people die.”
– Rashawn Ray, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, commenting on how COVID-19 disproportionately infects and kills people of color. An outcome that is exacerbating a racial divide that already existed in America’s public health system.
COVID-19 Updates (as of 2pm, 5/24/2020)
3x – Black and Latino Americans are three times more likely to know someone who died of COVID.
50 percent – Up to half of the posts on social media about COVID are bots.
38.6 million – The nine-week total of unemployment claims after 2.4 million Americans filed jobless claims last week.
100 million – Number of people in China facing a second lockdown.
$434 billion – The wealth billionaires have made during the pandemic so far.
Calling on powers he doesn’t have, Trump called for all churches to reopen.
CDC and several states are actively misreporting testing and case numbers.
Check out each individual state’s COVID trajectory here, courtesy of ProPublica.
Dr. Fauci’s approval rating is 27-points higher (68%) than Trump’s (41%).
Germany and France proposed a €500 billion ($547 billion) “EU Recovery Fund” to provide COVID-related grants to the continent, focusing on hard hits industries like aviation and hospitality. It would be the largest transnational fiscal effort in Europe since the Marshall Plan after WWII. The funds would be raised and distributed by the EU's executive body, the European Commission, which is planning to release its own proposal this week. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden – unsurprisingly – would like to see the funds distributed as loans rather than grants. The move is a huge shift from Berlin, typically fiscally conservative, as it would have the EU itself (as a fiscal union like the US) raise money on the bond market rather than the member states themselves.
Latin America is the new epicenter as cases decline in China, Europe, and the US. On Sunday, the White House announced new COVID-related travel restrictions on Brazil after the nation reached nearly 350,000 confirmed cases.
NYC only has a two-day supply of blood, and still can’t accept gay men’s blood.
President Trump praised Henry Ford’s “good bloodlines” while touring the Ford plant referencing Ford’s work to spread antisemitism and the Nazi Party.
Vaccine development demands cooperation but the world’s nations are siloing themselves behind borders and secrecy rather than collaboration.
Young people are dying of COVID in greater numbers in the developing world.
Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion to help deal with COVID-19, especially to help developing countries and supported a “post-COVID” investigation into WHO.