The Battle of the Soul-Crushing Monsters: Facebook vs. Soros
Hello hello and welcome y’all once again to our USA Really daily podcast for November 23. Thanksgiving has come and gone, though probably most of us have leftovers we’re still munching on, right? I hope it was a great holiday for you all, with good times with family and friends and good eats. I went to a friend’s house here in Moscow who is just an excellent cook, and totally self-taught. Every holiday is a work of art with this guy. And there’s always an interesting international mix of people, so it’s always a good time.
And speaking of good times, well, that usually requires money, does it not? So let me remind you about our two chances for you to take home big fat stacks of cash. First is our Global Democracy Award where we’re looking for original works on the US government’s interference in other states, and our Zuckerberg Wanted action where we’re looking for solid evidence of the government enforcing illegal censorship online, and especially on social networks. In both cases, you could find yourself the happy owner of several thousands of dollars, so check both of these items out!
Alrighty alrighty, let’s get this thing started with a look at today’s opinion piece: “Facebook Policy Chief Admits Hiring PR Firm to Attack George Soros” by Pradeep Banerjee. This one kind of surprises me. I would have thought FB and Soros would be in cahoots to ruin the world. But, it turns out it’s about diverting negative media attention away from FB: Last week The New York Times reported that Facebook, facing flak over allegations that the Russians used its platform to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections, hired the Republican-linked consulting firm Definers Public Affairs to divert media attention from it and to tie all anti-Facebook groups to the Soros-backed Open Society Foundations. FB responded that Soros had criticized FB in some speech, so they started to investigate to see if there was some financial motivation to him saying this. “Later, when the ‘Freedom from Facebook’ campaign emerged as a so-called grassroots coalition, the team asked Definers to help understand the groups behind them," Facebook added, referring to a coalition of progressive groups that have been critical of the social media platform. “They learned that George Soros was funding several of the coalition members. They prepared documents and distributed these to the press to show that this was not simply a spontaneous grassroots movement,” the Facebook statement also said. There are two constants in this life—where there’s Soros, there’s trouble, and where there’s FB, there’s trouble. Check out this piece for all the juicy details.
And as usual, next up we have our slice of history for you in our “This Day in History” piece. On this day in 1863, the Battle of Chattanooga began in … do you know which war? 1863? Dear God, please tell me you know. Yes, of course the Civil War. The Chattanooga Campaign that took place in Tennessee closer to the end of 1863 turned out to be a decisive Union victory, as the Confederates were losing the war and didn’t have much time left to defend their country. And the key battle of the campaign was the series of battles of Chattanooga – a strategically important town located in the south-east of Tennessee. And on this day in 1936, Life Magazine was relaunched, and get this—Henry Luce paid to owners of Life $92,000 to revive it. That must have been a buttload of money back then! It still is! The magazine went on to enjoy its heyday from 1936 to 1972. And this is wild. The first smartphone came out this day in … 1992! Crazy, right? Though, I’m sure it’s not something we’d recognize as a smartphone today. It was called the IBM Simon and was on the market till February 1995. For more cool info on that and to see how it looked, you’ll just have to check out the full piece.
Next up: “Serious issues with Montana renewable energy law implementation.” Montana is considered one of the “pioneer” states in the field of renewable energy sources, yet, a number of issues have emerged as some companies operating windmills across the state don’t seem to be very law-abiding. For instance, Montana’s Public Service Commission and the state’s largest utility are now being sued over their handling of the state’s renewable energy law, and the Montana Environmental Information Center sued the PSC and NorthWestern Energy for not developing community renewable energy projects as spelled out in the law. This leads us to one of two different conclusions, and both are pretty bad for the state: Either the local law is too unrealistic and the suppliers aren’t ready to fulfill their obligations, or they simply don’t want to do so. Hmmmm, sounds like trouble’s definitely a-brewing in Montana, so head on over to this piece to find out more about what this is all about.
Then we’ve got some news for you about your wallets, something we all have to think about, unfortunately: “Fed Remains Deaf to Pleading to Stop Raising Interest Rates.” People used to know the evil of usury—it’s in the ancient religious texts, like the Bible and apparently even the Koran, but the Fed continues to repeat its mantra about the need to raise the key rate. And this is taking into account that American households continue to sink into a debt hole. Even the slightest increase in the rate will lead to households not being able to service their debts and the country will ride a wave of bankruptcies, causing a strong economic and then political crisis. And the cause will be banks and the Fed. The bad thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a good script for the US economy to follow anymore. The Fed and its allies will continue their interest rate game, which will trigger higher rates for credit cards, home equity loans, and other kinds of borrowing, and will crush the US stock market in the coming year, and, finally, shock the public by withdrawing from its financial stupor. It all sounds very apocalyptic! But this piece breaks it all down for you and takes you through the numbers, so check it out!
Next up, we’re heading back to the ever-present immigration topic! “It’s High Time to Reassess Trump’s Immigration Policy.” I like the way this one kicks off: “More and more Americans are concluding that POTUS was right about the immigrants, though still not many of them are capable of making an impact on the state of affairs. Ultimately, American society is likely to be shattered into several “opinion-camps”: The most radical opponents of Trump in his “Trump-being” will strictly stick to their anti-president propaganda to the very end, overlooking the evidence; some will change their political preferences emulating ex-Dems as the party “has rotted”; some will remain silent on immigration flaws, pretending politics is none of their business. Anyway, one thing is clear: Sooner or later, everyone is going to acknowledge Trump was right.” Even Mexicans are sick of the migrants now. they carjack cars when they see there is just one occupant, raping people, robbing and stealing in Mexico. They also choose severe methods for fighting the police: The caravaners are throwing large rocks at officers that could kill them. And it looks like conditions are right for them to storm the border and maybe even succeed. This issue has been growing for a long time and it’s sure to only keep doing so.
Then good ol’ Hillary is back in the news, and it seems she just can’t get enough of making a fool out of herself: “Hillary Clinton's Attempts to School EU on Migrant Crisis Cause Laughter Among Europeans.” Speaking to the Guardian as part of a series of interviews with “senior centrist political figures” about the rise of right-wing populism, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate mused that Europe “needs to get a handle on migration” because the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa in recent years is “what lit the flame” of support for anti-immigration political figures. She suggested that politicians like Angela Merkel, the architect of Europe’s open-door immigration policy, were “very generous and compassionate,” but insisted that the EU must clamp down on support for refugees because “if we don’t deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic.” However, the Europeans did not forget that Clinton was one of the most vocal defenders of the 2011 Libya military intervention while in office, which is widely believed to have been a prelude to the refugee crisis that rocked Europe, and they did not fail to remind Clinton about it. And how un-Democrat, un-liberal of her to speak against immigration! Would she ever have the courage to speak against immigration in America? Of course not.
And more on immigration: “Trump Authorizes Use of Lethal Force for Troops Along US-Mexico Border.” Trump has authorized US troops guarding the border against migrant caravans to use deadly force if necessary. His memo on the matter comes amid the ongoing controversy over the costly deployment of around 5,900 active-duty troops to the southwestern border, announced by Trump eight days before the midterm elections during a period in which the president was seeking to inject fears over immigration into the campaign. Earlier this week, Trump authorized the military to use its rules of engagement, rather than those of domestic law enforcement agencies, at the border, as the Secretary of Defense determines are “reasonably necessary” to protect border agents, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention, and cursory search.” Trump, who has been frustrated by congressional refusal to provide funding for the border wall he promised to build between the United States and Mexico, has repeatedly portrayed migrants fleeing Central America as an invading force. Most Democrats and some Republicans oppose the border wall, and House Democrats' victory in the midterms means he is less likely to get the money he is seeking. Well, we all know this is going to become an all-out brawl, so keep your eyes peeled for more news!
And that’ll do it for our news for today, but, of course, before heading out, let’s get a sneak peek preview of tomorrow’s opinion piece. It’s called “Why doesn’t Washington care about its former state employees?” and it’s by Vladislav Ginko, an economist and lecturer at Touro College. This piece takes a comparative look at the health care systems in America and Russia through the lens of the author’s friend who worked for the government for decades and, when he found himself pretty sick, didn’t get the best treatment around. According to Ginko, he could have gotten much better in Russia. Does that grab your attention? I hope so! Check out the piece tomorrow for all the details!
And with that we head on out for the night. Thanks for listening, thanks for reading, and keep it right here for all the news you need to know.