America: The Land of the Exceptional, and Also the Detestable
Welcome back dear loyal readers and listeners of USA Really! This is another edition of our weekly podcast where we give you a rundown of everything that has hit the web over the past week. We have everything you need to know about what Trump has been up to, what the economy has been up (or down) to, and some news from the tech world.
As always, there’s a lot to get to, so let’s jump right in.
February 25 got underway with an opinion piece from Jeffrey Silverman: “The Most Loathsome American Ideology is Exceptionalism.” He begins by marveling that exceptionalism is still a thing today—it deserves a face palm, Silverman believes. But exceptionalism is still a reality, not only In terms of foreign policy but most aspects of our lives today, he says. America and Americans in general, have proved they have a lot in common with the Germans of yesteryear, who likewise considered that by right of birth or happenstance they could demand their way or the highway. Hmmm, that’s quite a claim there, Jeffrey? Can he back it up? He also goes on to argue that, well, Americans don’t really have the right anymore to hold onto exceptionalism. Check out the piece to see how Silverman lays out his argument.
Next up was an update on the US-China trade war situation: “Trump Pleased, Beijing Cautiously Optimistic,” followed by part 2 of our “Russian Lemons and Other Fakes from Forbes” series. This time there’s a look at reports about the longest railroads in the world and then it moves into a look at defense and aviation. The United States has a good variation of aviation, although it is outdated, according to the American media. And this is not the only problem for the US army. In general, the level of physical training in the army is declining, and they are looking for new ways to make soldiers healthy and physically fit.
Then more economic apocalypticism with “Will the US Economy Plunge Into a Recession by 2021?” About half of American economists seem to think so. Ain’t that fun? Then we have another piece on China and the CIA using Turkey to pressure the Asian nation. It seems that while President Trump is waging a trade war with Beijing, everything seems to be developing as if reconciliation has occurred between the CIA and Turkey, aimed at planning further secret operations against China.
Then there’s an interesting piece on the history of US defaults. Did you know we had our first default all the way back in 1790? I wouldna guessed.
February 26 started off with the daily opinion piece, this time from Seraphim Hanisch: “The Mainstream Media Does Not Want You to Think!” That’s a title that’s kinda obvious for thinking people, right? Several recent stories on Fox, Breitbart, and other alternative media news sites address the increasingly obvious bias of the mainstream media with regard to news reporting. The media is very actively trying to control and direct what information they want the public to hear, rather than truly reporting the news, or interviewing people to get their takes on things, and to perhaps fully interview all sides in a controversy and then let the American public decide for themselves what to think. It would be just terrible to give people facts and let them actually use their brains!
Then we have the story of some lame boss who is complaining that people won’t work for her for free. She wants some interns and people have the gall to ask for money! And another economic piece about reducing the trade deficit with China. One big time CEO has noted that when concluding a trade agreement with the Trump administration and reducing the trade surplus with the US, China will continue to reduce ownership of US government bonds.
And continuing on with the economy, “Trump Strikes at Oil Prices Again.” He’s calling on OPEC to chill out and lower them prices! It’s risen by nearly 25% since the beginning of the year. That’s not cool! Aaand apparently China has offered Trump $1.2 trillion in increased purchases to bring an end to the trade war. But what would they really get in return?
And we wrapped up the day with the piece “How to Help Venezuela.” It has become commonplace to believe that the main economic problem of current Venezuela is hyperinflation. According to the IMF, in 2018 it was measured by millions of percent. But if we look at the situation more closely, we'll see that inflation is only part of a larger problem: the problem of reducing the amount of money in the Venezuelan economy. If money talk is your thing, this piece has got all the details you need.
The next day, February 27, started off with an article from Pradeep Banerjee: “More Than 7 Million American Children Suffer From Mental Illness.” Gun-related killing sprees in schools make for catchy headlines, but the fact that more than 7 million children in the US suffer from mental illness does not. With one in every seven school-goer suffering from mental illness, who should we blame for the gun-related violence at schools? It is for you to answer: the guns or those policy-makers who have failed to address the problem of mental illness among those going to schools. While deciding do not forget that guns have since the US’s existence been a part of the American identity but school massacres are a new phenomenon. So what exactly is it that has changed in our youth that has led to this new phenomenon? Check out the piece!
Then we had a piece on “Populism and Economic Cycles,” which takes a look at the long slow rise of populism. It didn’t just appear out of nowhere as it might appear to many! And that’s a sign that the artificial economic cycle we’ve been living in for about a decade is about to go kapoot.
Aaaand the US just cannot give up on this Russophobia nonsense, making another attack against the Russian-based Federal News Agency. In fact, the details of the attack made by the US Cyber Command, obtained during a special investigation by the Federal News Agency (FAN), demonstrate that the staff of the US military department acts unprofessionally and unproductively.
Then we’ve got an interesting essay on US strategy that breaks down several different classic geopolitical strategies. At the moment, the US, as a state represented by the national / industrial elites, faces a difficult choice. The inertial scenario leads not only to the loss of status of a superpower and a global hegemon, but also to the risk of losing its subjectivity as a single state. Then we closed out the day with another piece on Trump asking for lower oil prices. But do his tweets have as much influence as they seem to?
And the last day of February got rolling with another piece from Jeffrey Silverman: “The Word "Treason" Applies Right Now: Venezuelan Traitors Beware!” Some would say the US has been an enemy of Venezuela for hundreds of years, but now the “new” president Juan Guadio is asking for the US’s help via military force and CIA aversion to overthrew the Maduro administration. So does that make him a traitor to his country?
Then we have the story of a terrible human being who got 190 years in the pen for killing three parents in front of their kids, and the story of another terrible human being—Gov. Cuomo, who has signed another terrible law, this time on gun confiscation. The new legislation allows gun rights to be stripped from private citizens without any criminal conviction. Of course, Pelosi had to get into the mix, talking about the national health epidemic of guns.
And apparently, “Americans Believe Russia Is Much More Dangerous Than China and North Korea.” In fact, a third of Americans think Russia is our main enemy. That means the mainstream media is doing its ridiculous job. And speaking of Korea, no agreement was reached at the Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam, as you’ve probably heard by now. Of course the media is playing it up as if Trump has failed, but he’s saying he’d rather take his time than rush and do a bad job. We’ll see what the truth turns out to be.
Then a piece on Venezuela and how much oil it exports to America—the amount is going way down, and we closed out the day with a piece on India sending an aircraft carrier to the shores of Pakistan.
Then we began the great month of March an opinion piece from K. E. Benois: “The War Machine Heats Up.” It is now probable that a military intervention in Venezuela is being discussed at the highest levels of the US government, Benois says. A rather bleak exclamation mark was placed on this fact when failed presidential candidate and Florida senator Marco Rubio tweeted out a none-too cryptic juxtaposition of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi alive and half-dead, a rather macabre window into the mind of the man who might have been president had 2015-16 gone differently. It may turn out to have mattered little however, since Donald Trump has little to lose politically from launching an intervention, despite the fact that his successor may be left with a toxic foreign policy disaster.
Then we’ve got another article on the economic recession. This one is pretty technical, breaking everything down with mathematical formulas, line charts, and the like. If you’re a numbers and math guy, then definitely check this one out!
Then there was part 3 of our series “Russian Lemons and Other Fakes from Forbes.” This one takes a look at just about everything, including Latino Americans in the workforce, fertility and migration rates, economic growth, trade policy, gig economies, and the aging of the white population. Check out this piece to see how all of these factors fit together!
Then we’ve got a piece on some lunatic psychiatrist who is urging parents to raise their children as genderless “theybies.” These people are doing the devil’s work. And more devil’s work: There are sick people out there who are splicing instructions on how to kill yourself into children’s videos on YouTube Kids. Imagine hating children that much? It’s the same darkening of the heart that fuels abortion.
Then March 2 had some interesting tech articles, which started off with, “Tech Giants-Funded Project OpenAI Provides Unlimited Capabilities for Election Meddling.” Project OpenAI announced that they’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text, achieves state-of-the-art performance on many language modeling benchmarks, and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering, and summarization — all without task-specific training. This sounds like some pretty wild and fascinating stuff.
Then an economic warning: “U.S. Can't Reduce National Debt and Budget Deficit at Expense of Economic Growth.” Then another economic piece on our currently ongoing trade war, and another tech piece, this time on Elon Musk. Is he trying to commit “suicide by SEC”? He seems to really like the push the buttons of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and some people are theorizing that his company isn’t doing as hot as he’d like, so instead of getting canned for his job, he’s hoping the SEC will can him so he can go out as a martyr on top. This piece breaks down the idea for you.
And so Trump has declared a national emergency to build the wall. Obviously the Dems are against it, but some Republicans are too, and Trump has been warned about the possibility of a Republican rebellion against the emergency.
Finally, we wrap things up with a look at part 4 of our series “Russian Lemons and Other Fakes from Forbes.” This one again covers a lot of ground, focusing on the topic that has most of the conscious world bothered today: Venezuela. Do we really think the mainstream American media is giving us the truth about what is going on there? Is the economy as bad as they say? Are the people chomping at the bit to get rid of Maduro? What’s the deal with drugs there? It’s long been known that the media does the background work to prepare the way for our foreign policy meddling in other countries, so let’s be honest, Venezuela is probably another instance of that.
And that’ll do it for us for this week’s edition of the weekly podcast. As always, we covered a lot of ground, and we hope you heard something that intrigued you, and we hope to see you here again next week!