Underground Mall Newsletter: 2019-10-22

Curated list of the recent news you should know!

Let’s start with some global economy news!

[TIME] The Head of the IMF Says it Will Take More Than a Sino-U.S. Trade Deal to Boost Growth

  • The global recession sure seems imminent folks.

[NPR] The IMF Warns About Rising Regional Inequality

  • Why do we have to wait for the people who caused a problem to tell us it’s a problem?

There’s a lot going on in South Korea, which isn’t a good sign for the economy…

[Bloomberg] South Korea’s Moon Says Economy Faces ‘Grave’ Situation

  • South Korea’s economy is, for now, bearing the brunt of the US-China trade war. This will likely come back to bite the US in the ass, because export-dependent economies like South Korea and Singapore (which is also not doing well economically) are bellwether economies for global trends.

[US News] Seoul Police up Security After Rally at US Envoy Residence

  • After Trump threatened South Korea to pay more for the US military literally occupying their country, South Korean anti-American activists broke into the embassy. Seoul Police beef up security after.

[South China Morning Post] South Koreans rush to eat pork as swine fever cuts supply and threatens entire industry

  • African Swine Fever, which has infected China heavily, has spread to SE Asia, and now South Korea.

[Japan Times] U.S. offered to help North Korea build up tourist area in exchange for denuclearization: report

  • A classic American Imperialist tactic. If North Korea allowed a foreign tourist industry, they would put destroy the economic situation that allows them to be independent. Remember, the North Korean perspective is that South Korea isn’t an independent nation, it’s a colony of the US. If there was a western tourism industry in North Korea, the North Korean view would be that it is indeed also an act of colonization.

Now onto China

[Xinhua] China mulls authorizing jurisdiction of Macao’s port zone at Hengqin to Macao SAR

  • Highlighting the differences between Macau and Hong Kong, the Chinese government wants to allow Macau to handle the nearby Hengqin Port. Right now, there’s too much complicated bureaucracy involving where the port’s workforce lives, so it’d be easier to allow Macau to handle it.

[Time] Taiwan Asks Hong Kong for Return of the Murder Suspect Whose Case Sparked Months of Protests

  • This case is super complicated and at the root of the Hong Kong protests. Basically, the guy murdered his pregnant girlfriend. He was from Hong Kong, but murdered her in Taiwan. He was found and arrested in Hong Kong. The extradition bill that originally started the protests was a bill to extradite the murderer to China, in order to be punished.
  • Now, Taiwan wants Hong Kong to extradite the murderer to Taiwan. But their in a tenuous position, because the terms in which he’s extradited would have far-reaching implications about how Taiwan perceives its relation to the country of China and the Chinese state.

[Washington Post] Trump abandoned the Kurds in Syria. Could Taiwan be next?

  • Linking this opinion piece, because it has an irresponsible level of ignorance about China-Taiwan relations. China has no desire to attack Taiwan. China considers Taiwan as an official province of the People’s Republic of China. Similarly, Taiwan considers all of China to be part of the Republic of China.
  • China wants this dynamic to continue. In fact, if Taiwan ever withdrew their claim to China is when China may attack. China wants Taiwan to continue claiming its China, because then it’s more justified to eventually annex Taiwan in some way. If Taiwan considered itself a country independent of China, it would be seen as a secessionist movement.
  • This piece is just baseless anti-China fuel.

And speaking of Syria

[Reuters] Iran rejects Turkey’s establishing of military posts in Syria

  • …but the US imperialism factory tells us they’re the bad guys!

Transitioning to Malaysia

[Yahoo] Malaysia Fears Becoming Sanctions Target in Trade War Crossfire

  • I’ve written about Malaysia’s PM Mahathir before. He has a lot of anxiety about China. Dude seems a little paranoid, but that’s also pretty much why he was elected.

[Reuters] Shun Malaysia, India’s palm oil buyers told amid Kashmir standoff

  • I’ve been trying to highlight Malaysia’s role in the global economy on this blog, partially due to their economic growth, but also because of Prime Minister Mahathir’s aggressive, capitalist-nationalism, opposition to China, etc.
  • But now, by speaking out against India’s handling of Kashmir, the Indian government is discouraging buying material to make palm oil from Malaysia.

Speaking of India

[BBC] India and Pakistan blame each other over Kashmir shelling

  • …really though, it’s India.

And a few stories from California

[LA Times] After Newsom bans pot use in limos, and for hospital patients, cannabis advocates are angry

  • This article was just funny to me because banning weed in limos, tour buses, and hospitals seem weirdly specific, considering California now has weed cafes.

[LA Times] Facing a deepening housing crisis, Gov. Newsom says he’s still ‘pleased’ with his work on it

  • The California housing crisis is getting worse with no sign of getting better. Any effort Newsom has done to assuage this has failed.

[LA Times] Southern California back on fire watch as dangerous winds return; red flag warnings expanded

  • The most interesting thing about this is now electric provider Edison is also considering shutting off electricity, the same way PG&E did in Northern California.

Now regarding some of those global protests currently going on…

[CNBC] Chile President Pinera declares emergency as capital is rocked by riots

  • The ‘riots’ are mostly caused by mostly urban inequality issues like high rent and raised fare on the subway.

[NPR] Violent Protests Continue In Chile As Government Imposes New Curfew

  • The Chilean protests continue, even as President Piñera retracts the metro fare hike, the original cause for protest. They’re continuing the protests due to neoliberal reform in general. The government called in over 10,000 police and military. Eight dead, more than 2,100 detained.

[France 24] Lebanon’s Hezbollah under rare street pressure

  • Hezbollah has taken a mild approach to the current Lebanese government, not calling for a new government, but instead asking for reforms. Lebanese people are upset with this equivocation, and are uncharacteristically demonstrating against Hezbollah.

And now some tech news…

[The Verge] HTC now has an entry-level blockchain phone

  • Cellphone now can act a bitcoin node, the future intensifies.

[Coinspeaker] Bitcoin Mining Startup Layer1 Raises $50M from Peter Thiel, Shasta Ventures

  • And the embodiment of evil Peter Thiel has invested $50 million into a crypto-mining farm.

[Business Insider] Huawei says its all-important Android replacement Harmony might not be ready for years

  • This article has a very “haha gotcha” tone to it, like Huawei is screwed. But Huawei isn’t going anywhere, and this phone OS is still on the near horizon.

[CNET] Twitter planning policy changes to help combat deepfakes

  • Good luck to twitter, but this says the Powers That Be are well aware of the proliferation of deepfakes and the impact they will have, more than it says anything about actual reduction in deepfakes.

Now for a quick hodgepodge of global politics

[EuroNews] ‘A grave historic error’: Juncker hits out as North Macedonia and Albania have EU bids blocked

  • I read this whole story and I’m still pretty confused. EU politics seem unique. But it helps give insight into the process of EU membership and its bureaucracy.

[CNBC] Qatar approves minimum wage law, scraps worker exit permits

  • Currently, Qatar has no minimum wage. Their worker exit permits basically mean that Qatar and Qatari corporations employ foreign workers, then forces them to leave when their work contract is done. Qatar didn’t reveal what the minimum wage will be.

[AlJazeera] Hamas decries Israel’s participation in Bahrain summit

  • Israel with the US is participating in a closed-door meeting with Bahrain, who has no diplomatic ties with Israel. Hamas rightfully sees this as a stunt to give countries more indebtedness to Israel.

[The Telegraph] Thousands of Rohingya refugees to be transported to flood-prone Bangladeshi island 

  • Bangladesh wants to move up to 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a flood-prone island an hour boats ride from mainland Bangladesh.

[AP] Berlin state government agrees on 5-year rent freeze

  • Hell yeah comrades!

And to close, a variety of different American news

[The Oregonian] Burgerville union forms picket line in Portland after contract talks fail

  • Good for Burgerville Union! The blueprint for fast food and service industry unionization.

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution] Excitement is high to expand gambling in Georgia, but so is skepticism

  • I currently live in Pennsylvania, and casino gambling spread here in 2006. Personally, as someone who worked in a Pennsylvania casino, I think the gambling industry should face much more scrutiny when it comes to big changes to the US economy. It’s a poor method of “job creation”, in places where jobs have left, because it just further creates a capitalist-dominated predatory economy.

[Huffington Post] Justin Amash Rips Trump For Shuffling Troops, Treating Them As ‘Mercenaries’

  • This is interesting to me, because this is the direction the US military, and global imperialist policing has been shifting since the Korean War. But it’s now becoming more and more clear. Amash is being coy, because unequivocally the US military is a mercenary force.

For example, Trump said on October 16:

You read where we’re sending some troops to Saudi Arabia. That’s true. Because we want to help Saudi Arabia. They have been a very good ally. They’ve agreed to pay for the cost of those troops. They’ve agreed to pay fully for the cost of everything we’re doing over there.. . . Saudi Arabia is paying for 100 percent of the cost, including the cost of our soldiers. And that negotiation took a very short time — like, maybe, about 35 seconds.

I may write more in-depth on this later.

[Bloomberg] UFO Group Sharing Exotic Materials With Army for Combat Vehicles

  • In my last newsletter, I linked an article about Tom Delonge’s UFO organization working on a secret project with the US Army. Now we know it’s to test metals that are believed to be from UFOs, to see if the military can use them.

[Vox] Affordable housing is disappearing. So cities are designating parking lots to sleep in.

  • Dystopian but not at all surprising.

[Hollywood Reporter] Ken Loach Says Marvel Films Are “Made as Commodities Like Hamburgers”

From the article:

“They’re made as commodities like hamburgers, and it’s not about communicating, and it’s not about sharing our imagination,” he said. “It’s about making a commodity which will make a profit for a big corporation – they’re a cynical exercise. They’re a market exercise, and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema. William Blake said, ‘When money is discussed, art is impossible.'”

Hard to argue with that!

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