EPISODE 9b: ALLEY UPDATE

SHOW NOTES - LIMITED DUE TO TIME RESTRAINTS

Compiled & Synthesized by Samia Mounts

Are the economy, jobs, and the Dow all up thanks to Trump?

They are all up, that's true. But whether or not it's thanks to Trump is very hard to make a good argument about. Some say it's all him, others say these are trends that started with Obama and are just continuing in the same direction. If you look at the last eight years, the economy is continuing the upward progression it's been making ever since first starting to recover from the Great Recession of 2008.

What's going on with North Korea?

North Korea has been testing the waters by carrying out provocative missile tests and issuing extravagant threats to the United States. They've been pulling this shit for decades, although this is the first time since a false alarm back in 2013 that anyone's been truly worried that they may actually have nuclear missiles capable of reaching the U.S. In 2013, the Defense Intelligence Agency, then headed by General Mike Flynn, said they likely had miniaturized nuclear warheads. That turned out to be untrue. Now, the DIA has filed a confidential report saying the same thing again, except this time, no one is stepping up to contradict them like they did in 2011. That's extremely worrisome.

Trump's response to the latest over-the-top threat from North Korea was to respond in kind, promising "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if they made another threat.

Their response was to make another threat, this time aimed specifically at the U.S. territory of Guam.

Trump's response was to double down on the belligerent rhetoric.

So basically it's a shouting match between two "strong man" leaders who both look increasingly foolish to me.

Do the North Korean people have the ability to overthrow their government?

Probably not, or at least, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to do. In North Korea, the only news available is the state-run media, which spread nothing but propaganda glorifying Kim Jong-Un and his predecessors, and demonizing the West, especially the United States. North Koreans can't access the internet. They are cut off from information in a way we in the U.S. can't possible imagine. While there have been major efforts to smuggle information into the country, the North Korean government goes to great lengths to stop that from happening. It's extremely dangerous. If you're caught doing anything that looks like resistance, it's not necessarily just you who suffers. The government could put you and your entire family in prison camps.

For an in-depth look at the struggle to get information into and out of North Korea, I recommend you watch FRONTLINE's documentary, Secret State of North Korea. Click on the link and you can stream it right now for free.

That all being said, it seems that North Koreans are succeeding in accessing more and more information from the outside world, and one prominent North Korean defector has predicted that the people will overthrow the Kim regime soon.

What was Alley talking about with the climate change pie chart? Where is this chart, and what does it mean?

I'm not sure exactly which pie chart she was looking, but I found this one from the World Resources Institute that makes things much clearer than what she was describing. Basically, while China is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases at 26.83% of all world emissions, the United States is the second biggest emitter, at 14.36%. Rounding out the list of top 10 biggest greenhouse gas emitters are the European Union, India, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, and Mexico, in that order. After those top 10 emitters, every other country in the world combined makes up 26.99% of the rest of the world's emissions. That means only 10 countries are responsible for nearly three-quarters of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Are there valid economic reasons for pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement?

Not really, considering that adhering to the agreement is strictly voluntary. That's actually laid out in the agreement itself. There are arguments saying it'll be great for the economy and arguments saying it'll be disastrous, not only for the economy here in the U.S., but for the world economy, as well.

 

The truth is, we could have stayed in the agreement, maintained our good relationships with all the 195 other countries in the agreement, and still done whatever Trump wants to do with lifting environmental regulations. There would have been zero consequences. The agreement is voluntary.

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