G20 Summit, UN Budget, and Rachel Maddow | Real Talk Monday

On Real Talk Monday, I break down three important stories from the week before and briefly explain why they matter. Also, there’s a cute picture of baby pigs at the end of this post!

What about the Children? US Strips Support for Kids in Developing Countries


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What happened?

Imagine there existed an organization where every country could come together and talk about how to make the world a better place, how to protect women from gender-based violence, and how to feed and educate underserved kids in developing countries… Oh wait! That already exists, and it’s called the United Nations. Surprisingly, the US is slashing half a billion dollars from its UN spending. The US is cutting 27 percent of spending on the UN regular budget and UN specialized agencies, and they’re cutting 37 percent of spending on peacekeeping operations.

Why it matters…

Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly points out that the budget cut “zeroes out funding for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Women, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

American Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley claimed that the cut was necessary “to build up our military.” Hahaha! oh… she was serious. She supports trading the basic vaccines children receive from UNICEF and the sexual health awareness women and girls receive from UN Women for military spending. Connolly noted that Haley had no comeback for why the military spending had to be paid for with UN funds (instead of funds from transportation, taxes, housing assistance, etc.) He also highlighted that keeping the peace is more financially conservative than going to war, “the U.S. only pays $24,500 per year for each deployed peacekeeper, compared to $2.1 million per year for an American service member deployed to a war zone.” In terms of peace, health, and finance, this looks like a lose-lose-lose situation.

See more on this story here.

Rachel Maddow Wants to Save You from Fake News


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What happened?

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show welcomes tips from viewers about events that aren’t getting the national coverage that they deserve. Most people use the tip line to send information about events that actually happen, e.g. dam damage and local protests. That wasn’t the case for this particular anonymous tip. An anonymous person (or persons) sent in counterfeit NSA documents, expecting Maddow to report on the documents as though they were real. Instead, she spent the first part of her show explaining why she and the national security experts the show consulted believe the documents are fake. She warned other newsgroups to watch out for fake tips.

Why it matters…

Should a news outlet run with a story founded on doctored documents, the people who made the bogus tip can immediately draw attention to the story’s falsehood. That fake story discredits the reporter, and enough fake stories can discredit a news organization as a whole. Whoever is doing this wants people to lose trust in news media. It’s on the news industry and the readers to rise above it.

See this story in The Washington Post.

G20 Summit: Not What Trump Said, but What He Did


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The what summit?

The G20 Summit is the meeting among the leaders of the Group of Twenty richest nations. It was created in the late 1990s after the Asian financial crisis and attended by finance ministers and central bank governors. After the 2008 financial crisis, these nations’ presidents, prime ministers, and dictators became the G20 Summit attendees, since they should discuss stances on climate change, sanctions, and other critical issues that impact the global economy. The main idea behind the summit is that these countries’ economies are too interconnected to flourish and flounder independently. This year’s G20 Summit was held in Hamburg, Germany.

What happened?

Summit hostess and German Prime Minister Angela Merkel stated that the three biggest issues of the this year’s gathering were “terrorism, climate change, and protectionism.” So, let’s run down this list.

  • Terrorism
    • G20 leaders agreed on the necessity of eliminating terrorist safe havens, as reported by India’s NDTV.
    • Attendees agreed to review their funding to ensure that no government funds stem from terrorist organizations.
    • G20 leaders did not sign any global terrorism prevention action plan.
  • Climate Change
    • All G20 leaders agreed on the irreversible, devastating nature of global climate change (except for Trump who doesn’t know science, truth, or the planet on which he’s living).
    • G20 leaders signed the communique (10 cent word for the joint declaration among G20 leaders) which reaffirmed their dedication to combating climate change. However, the communique was qualified by a separate statement which noted the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord, and the US’s desire “to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.” The decision to add the statement had G20 leaders shaking their heads in disapproval, much like 52 percent of Americans who disapprove of how the President is doing.
    • See more in The Guardian.
  • Protectionism
    • G20 leaders promised to reject protectionism. The political wording that lets any country throw that promise into the metaphorical trash can is their self-granted right to use “legitimate” trade restrictions when trade unfairly benefits one country over another or exploits trade partners.
    • See more in The Guardian.

The Summit was surrounded by anti-globalization and anti-Trump protests. CBS has some thorough coverage of these protests here.

Why it matters…

The aftermath of terrorism, climate change, and protectionism spans every country attending the summit, influencing consumer confidence, unemployment rates, economic growth and more. The G20 Summit aims to aid nations in unifying their approach to remedying these problems and improving the global economy and quality of life for their citizens. It’s hard to tell how helpful this meeting was in reaching that goal.

All’s Not Lost


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At least we have cute things.

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