70K migrant children, hate crimes, and the White House's latest racist

Third Cultured vol 34

I am (attempting) to watch the public impeachment hearings, but this is some dull political theater for all the hoopla. All of this is to sway those 10-15 percent of middle-aged to elderly white people into believing (or not) that creating more of what they hate most – politics in their lives – is what’s best for them and the country.

I am not optimistic. At this point, I’m hoping these hearings don’t extend too far into 2020. Iowa votes in February and people barely care now. If this isn’t sealed up by the first caucus/primary votes, then it’ll die a slow death by procedure to Trump’s benefit.

Personally, I am more worried about Trump not leaving in November 2020 if he loses.

Until Friday,


PS – Here are some great think pieces to read when you get a chance:

Three Things to Know

  1. 69,550 – the number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody in 2019

  2. Hate crimes in the United States hit a 16-year high, according to the FBI.

  3. White supremacists work in the White House. There are emails to prove it. In a hair-raising report, the Southern Poverty Law Center details Stephen Miller’s affinity and deep association with white nationalism. Read this report.

    These are not normal times.

“Walls, it seems, are making a worldwide comeback.”

Constanze Stelzenmüller in her Brooking’s essay, “GERMAN LESSONS: Thirty years after the end of history: Elements of an education”

American Empire

69,550 – the number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody in 2019

American troops aren’t coming home any time soon. For what it’s worth, this is not all that surprising. As I’ve referenced before, I grew up on a military base…in Germany. A base that has been there for 60+ years and – short of a total NATO breakdown – isn’t going anywhere. Some updates on our deployed armed forces:

Hate crimes hit a 16-year high in the United States, according to the FBI.

In Syria, US forces raised alarms after watching drone feeds with Turkish-backed forces in Syria appearing to target civilians. The reports of possible war crimes went to top US military and diplomatic leaders in DC, where Trump meets Erdogan today. Trump is expected to offer Turkey a $100B trade deal, as well as additional incentives if Ankara rebukes the use of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

President Carter’s, 95, brain surgery went well! Bless his heart. History will be kinder to him than public opinion has been in his lifetime.

SCOTUS is likely to allow the Trump administration to shut down DACA which would put 700,000 young immigrants at immediate risk of deportation.

The Afghan government and the Taliban agreed on a prisoner exchange that would free American and Australian professors who were abducted by the insurgents more than three years ago.

Trump isn’t done with Greenland. The State Department is opening a consulate on the sparsely populated island for the first time since the Nazis occupied Denmark in WWII. The move marks a new diplomatic outpost in the fast-melting Arctic where competition is heating up (pun intended) with Russia and China to control newly accessible resources and shipping routes. There is some skepticism following Trump’s offer earlier this year to “buy” Greenland by taking over the island’s $600 million annual subsidies from Denmark, but Copenhagen and Nuuk see it as an opportunity for greater bilateral cooperation with Washington. (For now.)

China, Europe, Russia, and Everyone Else

Hong Kong’s police warned the rule of law is on “the brink of total collapse” after five months of protests. On Tuesday, protesters again clashed with police, this time at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who built barricades on the campus. Downtown, 1,000 protesters gathered to chat: "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong!" Earlier this week, police shot an activist in the torso and a pro-Beijing supporter was set of fire by protesters.

Bolivian Senator Jeanine Añez Chavez assumed the presidency as the highest-ranking official after the ousted President Evo Morales and his government fled to Mexico for safety. However, Morales promises that he’ll be back soon to oppose the coup and Anez’ rise to power.

Chile’s president said he’d support a new constitution after 5 deaths during protests.

Denmark to enact border controls with Sweden for 6-months following attacks.

Gambia accused Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya Muslims at a top UN court.

Germany’s $1.1B “African investment fund” is just financial support to help German multinationals secure a foothold in African resources and the growing market.

India’s highest court ruled in favor of Hindu’s right to build on the site of a destroyed mosque, securing another one of Modi’s campaign promises for his sectarian base.

Iran announced it found 50 billion more barrels of oil in the country’s southern regions, increasing its known reserves by a third. Iran’s reserves were already among the largest in the world, with the world’s fourth-largest proven deposits of crude oil and the world’s second-largest deposits of natural gas. However, it matters little while US sanctions remain in place and block foreign sales of Iranian oil.

Iraqi security forces denied using “poisonous gas” on protesters, saying they only used “the tear gas that is used by the United States and Britain.” Also, the country’s top Shi’ite cleric voiced skepticism at the elite’s actual willingness for reforms.

Israel killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander of the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. PIJ has vowed revenge with at least 150 rockets that have been fired at Israel from Gaza since the killing. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least 19 Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. This all comes as Israel is facing increasing tensions with Jordan which has refused to renew a provision in their 25-year old peace treaty.

North Korea is sad the US/South Korea isn’t pretending to play with them anymore, accusing the United States of “political and military provocations” and South Korea of “double-dealing behavior.”

Russia wants to lift the embargo on the Central African Republic’s diamond trade.

Spain’s Socialist party has reached an initial agreement to work towards forming a minority government with left-wing populists, Podemos.

The UK’s Labour Party suffered a second cyberattack, after thwarting one on Monday. The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack originated from Russia and Brazil. The attacks have increased pressure on Boris Johnson’s government to release the report on Russian interference in British elections.

Turkey's interior ministry said it has started repatriating foreign ISIS fighters back to their home countries, including 20 ISIS fighters from Germany, France, Ireland, Denmark, and an American. Ankara says it plans to deport 2,500 captured ISIS militants, mainly to Europe, but many of their home countries have been reluctant.

World Bank to scale down development in China’s Xinjiang region after allegations that a $50 million loan it granted in 2015 for an education project was being used to fund Muslim detention camps.

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Cities, Climate, Corporations, & Culture

American military’s top long-term national security risk? Climate change.

Brexit is forcing Tesla to build its EU gigafactory in Germany rather than the UK.

Google partnered with Ascension last year in “Project Nightingale" in an effort to collect the personal health data of millions of Americans.  Ascension is a Catholic hospital chain operating 2,600 healthcare facilities across 21 states.  The data shared includes lab results, diagnoses, and hospital records as well as patient names and birth dates.  Google has said it is using the data to inform AI systems to design better patient care.

Havana, Cuba celebrated its 500th anniversary!

Public libraries are a civic sanctuary unlike any other.

Softbank is coming to regret floating Silicon Valley with its $100B Vision Fund.

The Pope’s most vocal critic – American Cardinal Raymond Burke – denied being “the enemy of the Pope” even while waging a well-documented crusade against Francis’ reforms all over the world. His partner-in-crime? Steve Bannon.

Venice, Italy is flooding because of the highest tide in 50 years.