☕ Cover: Our “better angels” as Abraham Lincoln referred to them, appear to be lost.
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: From acts of kindness to dinosaur parades, here are 50 good things that have happened during the pandemic.
📰 TOP STORY
What’s happening across the country right now is heartbreaking. Our “better angels” as Abraham Lincoln referred to them, appear to be lost. Interestingly enough, Lincoln popularized this phrase in first inaugural address on the eve of our Civil War in which he said, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” How true those words ring 159 years later. There is lot to unpack in order to try to make sense of what’s going on. As always, we’ll do our best to parse through what is truly chaos right now by illustrating various viewpoints in a multi-part series. Today we begin the backdrop: culture wars.
Today, Americans across the country are waking up to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another weekend of unrest, riots, and protests. These demonstrations were originally fueled by pent-up rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police. Specifically, tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. The composed protests quickly devolved into chaos, however. Cars were lit on fire in New York, Seattle, and Philadelphia. In Los Angeles, police cruisers had their windshields kicked in and outposts torched. Smaller cities were home to demonstrations as well. In Reno, Nevada protesters set fire to city hall, police launched tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators in Fargo, North Dakota, and demonstrators flipped a police car and lit it on fire in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington, D.C. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.” Today, we are highlighting opposing perspectives from outlets further out on the partisan fringes to try to tease out why this is happening. A big part of why this boiling point was reached is because of what has become known as “culture wars,” or conflict between those values considered traditionalist or conservative and those considered progressive or liberal. Let’s dive in.
On The Far Left: David Sirota of Jacobin—an American socialist quarterly magazine based in New York—writes that “we have to understand that terms like ‘looting’ are an example of the way our media often imperceptibly trains us to think about economics, crime, and punishment in specific and skewed ways.” Sirota says that, “Working-class people pilfering convenience-store goods is deemed ‘looting.’ By contrast, rich folk and corporations stealing billions of dollars during their class war is considered good and necessary ‘public policy’ — aided and abetted by arsonist politicians in Washington lighting the crime scene on fire to try to cover everything up.” Why are protesters setting fire to stores like Target and CVS? Well, Sirota says “public companies received $1 billion meant for small businesses: recipients include 43 companies with more than 500 workers, the maximum typically allowed by the program. Several other recipients were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more.” In summary, Sirota appears to be excusing the looting on the grounds that the “investor class,” “millionaires,” “oil companies,” and “public companies,” did it first, attributing the protesters’ reactions to a fight against capitalism.
On the Far Right: Joel B. Pollak of Breitbart says, “the chaos currently running amok on America’s streets began with President Barack Obama’s embrace of the Occupy Wall Street movement in the fall of 2011, shared by then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats.” Pollak adds that, “Obama and the Democrats embraced the fringe Occupy movement and elevated it to the mainstream of American politics. So, too, did the media, which had focused on every perceived flaw — real and imagined. The Occupy movement’s legacy persists today in Antifa, the self-styled ‘anti-fascists’ who attack journalists and police.” Additionally, Pollak says that “Obama found other radical causes to embrace” like the Black Lives Matter movement, which caused a “precipitous decline [in race relations] from 2014 forward” according to a Gallup study. In summary Pollak says that, even though “President Trump sided with the Floyd family and called on the FBI and the Department of Justice to investigate… the riots erupted anyway, because for nearly a decade, Democrats and the media elevated the radical left and their riots above the non-violent traditions of the civil rights movement. This is a culture war they started.”
Flag This: By and large, most Americans from all political stripes appear to agree on five things. One: the death of George Floyd was horrifying and wrong. Two: not all cops are bad. Three: not all protesters are bad. Four: protests are necessary and acceptable. Five: although these protests have largely been encouraged, the destruction of private property and incitement of civil disobedience is uncalled for, cheapens American democracy, and plays directly into our foreign adversaries’ hands. On some level, the argument then becomes, well, “enough is enough” meaning there is a subset of protesters who are justifying their destructive actions as a way to get attention for what they perceive to be decades of inaction by our political leaders. The counter-argument to that then becomes, why are these political leaders in office in the first place? The answer is because we voted them in. The final question then becomes, how many of these protesters will show up to vote in November? That question has nothing to do with any political candidate. It has everything to do with the fact that we don’t live in a country with a rubber-stamp parliament like China. America will never be ruled by a dictator like Kim Jong Un or autocrat like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. That’s why we can and should protest, speak our minds, and express our opinions. For there to be any real change, however, these opinions need to materialize in the form of votes in November, not broken storefronts, burning cars, and bruised cities.
🦅 US NEWS
COVID-19’s Surprise Effect: More Parents Are Interested in Home Schooling
This spring, the American education system crash-landed on the kitchen table of the average American family Nathan Harden writers for Real Clear Education. Although “the sudden shift to emergency home schooling has been daunting or downright overwhelming for most families … a recent poll indicates that a surprising number of parents are, in fact, more likely to consider home schooling or a virtual online school once the lockdowns are over.” Why? Here are the reasons Harden suggests:
- Quality of Education: “First, it could be that many parents are getting a closer look at their children’s curriculum, some perhaps for the first time, and they are alarmed by what they see. They fear that quality of education they are seeing on their kids’ Zoom classes is emblematic of what’s normally offered.”
- Fears over a second wave: “Respondents see the coronavirus as a long-term crisis that won’t go away any time soon.”
- Flag This: “While home schooling is often associated with conservative or religious families, surprisingly, there seems to be no significant difference here with respect to party affiliation. In fact, Democrats were slightly more likely (45.7%) to express increased interest in home schooling, compared to Republicans (42.3%).”
U.S. savings rate hits record 33%
The personal savings rate hit a historic 33% in April, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday, Maggie Fitzgerald writes for CNBC. Why it matters: “With the U.S. consumer accounting for more two-thirds of the economy, the economic recovery depends on whether the increase in savings is a result of shutdowns or structural changes in consumer habits, analysts said.” The Intrigue: Personal income in the US actually surged 10.5% in April, the biggest jump since the US Bureau of Economic Analysis starting compiling data in 1959. How come: The gain in income was driven solely by an 89.6% gain in government transfer payments in April.
- Flag This: In order for there to be a true economic recovery, two things need to happen. Small businesses need to get back online and people need to start spending the money they are saving.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
On Friday, President Trump announced he will take measures to eliminate Hong Kong’s favored trade status with the US. So far, Hong Kong has not been subject to tariffs imposed on China during the recent trade war, but this may be about to change. The Intrigue: Financial markets, like the S&P 500 raced higher after Trump’s remarks. Here’s why: Trump did not mention anything about his “phase one” trade deal, signed in January. Therefore investors took the announcement in stride, believing that it might not impact the US economy as much as was feared earlier on Friday. Here’s how it’s playing:
- On the Right: Gordon G. Chang: Trump is right to ditch 5 decades of failed US-China engagement policy Gordon G. Chang, Fox News
- On the Left: Hong Kong was a global crossroads. Now it’s a fault line. Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post
Vietnam: How this country of 95 million kept its coronavirus death toll at zero
Dana Kennedy of the New York Post asks: “How did Vietnam, a country without wealth or an advanced healthcare system, avoid even one coronavirus death among its 97 million people?” Nectar Gan of CNN adds, “On Saturday [Vietnam] had just 328 confirmed cases, despite its long border with China and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year.” So how is this possible? For starters and skeptics, Vietnam’s official numbers may seem too good to be true. Outside of this however, medical authorities say it acted early and swiftly.
- “Vietnam ignored China and the World Health Organization’s initial insistence that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission and deployed rapid measures like strict quarantining, and contact tracing before its first case was even detected, CNN reported.
- Temperature screenings were enacted at the airports in early January for passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, the virus epicenter. Just a week or so later, government officials put more stringent medical quarantine regulations in place at border gates, seaports and airports.
- Vietnam declared a national epidemic on Feb. 1 though it had just six confirmed cases in the country. All flights between Vietnam and China were halted, followed by the suspension of visas to Chinese citizens the next day.”
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
More big employers are talking about permanent work-from-home positions
Thousands of Americans are waiting to return to normalcy, but for many that may not mean going back to an office, Adedayo Akala writs for CNBC. Example One: Mondelez’ CEO said this week the coronavirus crisis has showed “we can work in different ways,” and as a result, the company does not need all its global offices. Example Two: Nationwide, which has gone to 98% work from home during Covid-19, announced a permanent transition to a hybrid model, with working-from-office in four main corporate campuses and working-from-home in most other locations. Example Three: Barclays CEO Jes Staley said crowded corporate offices with thousands of employees “may be a thing of the past.” Bonus: Microsoft experimented with a 4-day workweek, and productivity jumped by 40%.
College Football Hall of Fame broken into and damaged during protests in Atlanta
A protest against police brutality was held in Atlanta following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. Late Friday, those protests passed the College Football Hall of Fame, where people proceeded to damage the building. Keep reading.
Uber launches hourly ride booking option in some U.S. cities
Uber Technologies on Friday said it would offer rides by the hour in some U.S. cities, a feature aimed at helping Americans with essential trips during the coronavirus pandemic. In South America: Chile’s antitrust regulator said on Friday it had approved “without conditions” Uber’s purchase of Chilean online grocery provider Cornershop, clearing a key hurdle for the ride-hailing company as it seeks to expand into the delivery of groceries and other goods.
📢 PRESENTED BY VINCERO
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
Results From Last Week’s Flag Poll
President Trump said he would overrule any governor who disagreed with him that places of worship should be allowed to reopen in accordance with new CDC guidelines. Do you think congregations should be allowed to reopen? 86% said Yes, 14% said No. Full results and comments.
This Week’s Flag Poll
Do you support President Trump’s Executive Order against social media companies? Click here to vote.
On June 1, 1980, CNN (Cable News Network), the world’s first 24-hour television news network, makes its debut. The network signed on at 6 p.m. EST from its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with a lead story about the attempted assassination of civil rights leader Vernon Jordan.
New York. San Francisco. Rio De Janeiro. Shanghai. These still, dark landscapes offer a glimpse of what the world’s largest cities would look like if only lit by the stars (WIRED)
The Incredible Story of the US Army’s Earth-Shaking, Off-Road Land Trains (The Drive)
The Very Drugged Nazis: They demanded purity of blood, body, and mind. But nobody became more dependent on drugs than Adolf Hitler, and no armed forces did more to boost troop performance than the Wehrmacht did by using methamphetamine. (The New York Review of Books)
Question: What could replace the Electoral College?