I return.

Link back to the discussion thread.



  • Kyiv Halts Russian Gas Shipments Through Key Hub OilPrice. Also: Ukraine Shuts off Flow of Russian Gas to Europe at Donbas TeleSUR. Also: Ukraine Reduced Russian Gas Flowing to Europe Through Key Pipeline WSJ

  • European Oil Majors Report ‘Exceptional’ Trading Profits OilPrice

  • UK Ramps Up LNG Imports, But Consumers Unlikely To See Relief OilPrice

  • Britain’s economic dashboard is flashing red. Why is the government failing to act? Guardian

  • Cheap Food in Britain Is About to Become a Thing of the Past Bloomberg

  • Britons facing ‘real food poverty’, supermarket giant warns RT

  • Millions of UK homes face no heat this winter, power chief warns RT

  • Economy Minister: Germany Can Survive Without Russian Gas OilPrice

  • Germany not ready for Russian gas embargo RT

  • German GDP Would Lose Up to 12% With an Embargo on Russian Gas TeleSUR

  • The EU Has A Major Problem With Securing Non-Russian Gas OilPrice

  • Europe is running out of time to find alternatives to Russian gas CNN

  • Natural-Gas Prices Soar in Europe After Russia Sanctions Energy Companies WSJ

  • Austria threatens to seize Russian gas depot RT

  • Top German Gas Buyer Concedes To Russian Payment Scheme OilPrice

  • More European Buyers Prepare For Russian Gas Payments In Rubles OilPrice

  • Italy’s PM Suggests Forming Oil Buyer Cartel With U.S. OilPrice

  • Italy Eyes Stronger Mediterranean Ties in Shift From Russian Gas Bloomberg

  • Ukraine Conflict Weigh Heavily on Greece’s Livestock Farmers TeleSUR

  • Finland Prepares for Russia Cutting Off Gas Supplies Newsweek

  • Danish farmers turn their backs on mink after Covid mutation cull Guardian

  • Switzerland releases some frozen Russian assets RT

  • Siemens leaving Russia RT

  • Russian Shipping Traffic Remains Strong as Sanctions Take Time to Bite. Any day now… NYT

  • Ruble named world’s best-performing currency RT

  • Russia set to reap largest-ever wheat harvest RT

  • Russia is earning $20 billion per month in oil sales as higher crude prices lift export revenue 50%, says IEA BusinessInsider

  • Russian Tanker Giant Sovcomflot in Deals to Sell Ships Amid Western Sanctions WSJ

Asia and Oceania

  • Philippines’ debt now 63.5 percent of GDP AsiaNews

  • The soaring price of cooking oil is unforgivable for ordinary Indonesians AsiaNews

  • New Zealand challenges Canada dairy tariffs under CPTPP Bilaterals

  • India Looks To Import More LNG Amid Rising Demand OilPrice

  • LPG price: Millions hit hard as cooking gas cost soars in India BBC

  • Lao Economy Grinding to a Halt as Fuel Crisis Deepens TheDiplomat

  • Fuel crisis in Laos worsens KhmerTimes

  • Vietnam’s economy expected to grow six percent this year VietnamInsider

  • Sri Lanka economy crisis to get worse before it gets better, PM says BBC

  • Singapore welcomes proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with US: PM Lee ChannelNewsAsia

  • Bangladesh may hold talks with ASEAN countries to sign FTA: Philippine envoy Bilaterals

Middle East

  • India, Oman agree to have joint feasibility study on limited trade deal Bilaterals

  • The US-China Trade War Is About to Hit the Middle East Jacobin

  • Sanctions against Russia: Reactions from the Middle East NEO

  • Six Years Late And 250% Over Budget: Georgia’s Newest Nuclear Plant OilPrice

  • Turkey Looks To Kazakhstan To Form New Trade Route To Bypass Russia OilPrice

  • Kuwait Follows Saudis In Slashing Oil Prices For Asia OilPrice

  • ‘Impossible to survive’: Dubai food delivery riders go on strike IraqiNews

  • The U.S. Is Stealing Afghanistan’s Money and Starving Its People TheIntercept

  • Iranian press review: Anxiety over price of flour soars MiddleEastEye

  • Iran raises prices of food staples, stirring panic and anger SeattleTimes


  • Japan, Africa look to deepen trade ties Bilaterals

  • Ghana determined to solve debt crisis without IMF help – Finance minister AfricaNews

  • Nigerian airlines win jet fuel subsidy after shutdown threat ClimateChangeNews

  • Zimbabwe Struggles to Stabilize Economy After Price Hikes TeleSUR

  • Libya Eyes Offshore Oil Expansion Amid Onshore Force Majeure OilPrice

  • Namibia launches sovereign wealth fund following oil discoveries AlJazeera

  • Inflation has become for first time in decades a clear and present danger to many countries of the world, says Egyptian PM EgyptIndependent

  • Senegal sees opportunity and ‘hypocrisy’ in Europe’s search for gas WaPo

Only months ago, world leaders pledged to stop financing new fossil fuel projects around the globe in a “historic” move against climate change. Now some of those leaders, desperate for energy as Russian flows dwindle, are turning to African nations with burgeoning reserves of oil and natural gas.

“You see the hypocrisy,” said Mamadou Fall Kane, deputy secretary of Senegal’s natural resource management agency. “Right now, Europe is really knocking on our door.”

Italy has already struck deals with Algeria, Egypt, Angola and the Republic of Congo to make up for almost two-thirds of the gas it was importing from Russia, according to research firm Capital Economics. Germany, the bloc’s economic powerhouse, is rushing to build import terminals for gas shipments from the United States and West Africa. A draft European Union plan for replacing Russian gas, reviewed by Bloomberg News, highlighted Senegal, Nigeria and Angola as potential partners to fill the widening gaps.

It’s an abrupt departure from November, when 20 countries — including Italy and Germany — agreed at the COP26 climate conference in Scotland to halt public financing for overseas fossil fuel projects this year and invest in green power instead.

North America

  • U.S. ammonia prices rise in response to higher international natural gas prices EIA

  • More Oil From U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Heads To Europe NakedCapitalism

  • Record High Diesel Prices Will Ripple Across The Economy NakedCapitalism

  • U.S. Gasoline Prices Hit All-Time High OilPrice

  • Record diesel prices, tight supplies could be next blow to the US economy CNN

  • Wall Street Is Turning Its Back On Big Tech As Oil Stocks Rally OilPrice

  • US cancels oil lease sales despite fuel crisis RT

The US Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the decision on Wednesday, calling off lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet. The department blamed “conflicting court rulings” for complicating its work on the Gulf of Mexico auction and “lack of industry interest” for torpedoing the Alaska offering.

  • US: Removal of Tariffs on Specific Chinese Products Possible TeleSUR

  • The Baby Formula Crisis NYT. Also: Biden is taking steps to address the worsening baby formula shortage — but it could be months before shelves are fully restocked BusinessInsider. Also: Baby formula shortage hits Canada RT

  • Biden’s sanctions against Russia are a double-edged sword WaPo

  • Powell: ‘Soft’ economic landing may be out of Fed’s control Yahoo

South America

  • GM Hikes Mexico Plant Wages by 8.5% in Landmark Deal With Union Bloomberg

  • Guyana Is On Track To Become A Leading Global Oil Producer OilPrice

  • Brazil Rejects US Oil Output Increase Request TeleSUR

  • Brazil’s Central Bank Workers To Keep Indefinite Phased Strike TeleSUR

  • ‘Nothing positive’: Salvadorans struggle to adapt to Bitcoin Politico


  • The NOPEC Bill Could Send Oil Prices To $300 OilPrice

  • OPEC+ Misses Production Target By Whopping 2.7 Million Bpd OilPrice

  • A Global Energy Shortage Is Putting Bitcoin Under Pressure OilPrice

  • How Russia’s War Is Impacting Global Metals Prices OilPrice

  • World Is Strained by Pricey Food and Now Weather Threatens Wheat Crops Bloomberg

  • A shrinking fraction of the world’s major crops goes to feed the hungry, with more used for nonfood purposes TheConversation

  • World’s Appetite for Russian Wheat Remains Strong Bloomberg

  • Global Diamond Trade Fractures Under the Weight of Russia Sanctions Bloomberg

Diplomatically and Politically

Involving Ukraine or Russia

  • EU has no foreign policy and fully relies on Washington’s line, Lavrov says TASS

  • What does the West really think about the Ukrainian conflict? Polls within. RT

  • Putin congratulates Gagloyev on his election as South Ossetia’s president TASS

  • Russia, Algeria plan to sign document confirming new quality of relations TASS

  • Russia Hopes the West Will Stop Pushing a Unipolar World TEleSUR

  • Russia Announces Initial Retaliatory Sanctions Targets; Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop NakedCapitalism Also: Russia Sanctions European Gazprom Units In Retaliation OilPrice

We speculated that Germany’s seizure of Gazprom operations, which included storage facilities, would be a prime initial target. We were correct. …

The list includes 31 companies from Germany, France and other European countries, as well as from the USA and Singapore. In particular, it includes former European subsidiaries of Gazprom, traders and operators of underground gas storage facilities.

In particular, Russian authorities, legal entities and citizens will not be able to conclude transactions with the sanctioned entities and organizations under their control, fulfill obligations to them under completed transactions, and conduct financial transactions in their favor. This includes the concluded foreign trade contracts. These bans were earlier established by a decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The resolution sets additional criteria for transactions that are prohibited from being performed with companies from the sanctions list. These are transactions concluded in favor of the sanctioned persons, or providing for the making of payments, transactions with securities with the participation or in favor of such companies, or transactions involving the entry of ships owned or chartered by sanctioned persons, in their interest or on their behalf, into the Russian ports.

Now so far this is all very entertaining, but what does it mean? It appears Europeans in the gas and possibly also electricity business won’t know for sure until Russia counterparties tell them their contracts are cancelled or they otherwise won’t be doing business with them. Remember that the sanctions are sweeping in terms of subjecting all Russian individuals and legal persons to them. And their application goes beyond the entities listed to include “organizations under their control.”

Given that Germany appears to have heisted Gazprom’s storage operations in Germany, and potentially in other countries, along with related trading businesses, Russia could take the view that any gas that could be delivered to the former Gazprom storage (and through any related pipelines) will not longer be supplied. We’ll see soon enough how sweeping a view Russian officials take.

In the mean time, this is bad news for Germany and potentially other countries who played along with gas operations heist. As of early May, Germany’s vice chancellor Robert Habeck said Germany had reduced the Russian share of its gas to 35%. The wee problem is that Germany was well on its way to filling up all of its gas storage facilities, and estimated that that supply would last to the winter. But since then, Germany has been providing some of its stored gas to neighbors Poland and Bulgaria, who are refusing to pay for gas in roubles, which has led Gazprom to reduce its supply to Europe. That is interfering with Germany’s stockpiling. So if Russia cuts supply on top of Ukraine’s reduction, Germany could face a gas crisis months ahead of schedule.


  • UK Imposes Visas on Salvadorans After Asylum Applications Rise TeleSUR

  • Jeremy Corbyn: We Can Build a New Economic Order Jacobin

In a speech to the Progressive International, former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says now is not a time for retreat. We must build a powerful alternative to capitalist destruction.

NATO membership for Sweden and Ukraine is therefore unnecessary for their security. They for their part bring nothing to NATO. If — God forbid — the war in Ukraine brings about an escalation to war between the United States and Russia, they will be on the side lines in any case.

By joining NATO, Finland is throwing away whatever remote possibility exists of playing a mediating role between Russia and the West, not just to help bring about an end to the war in Ukraine, but at some point in the future to promote wider reconciliation.

Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO may also be seen to have marked the symbolic moment when European countries as a whole abandoned any dream of taking responsibility for their own continent, and resigned themselves to complete dependence on Washington. However, (as with Sweden during the cold war) this dependence will doubtless be masked by impotent European whines and snarls when a new Trump-like president forgets the requisite thin pretence of courtesy and consultation.

  • After 200 Years of Neutrality, Sweden Weighs Joining NATO NYT

  • Sweden and the United Kingdom Sign Mutual Security Deal TeleSUR

  • Leader says Turkey opposes letting Finland, Sweden join NATO SeattleTimes

  • Panic Buying Breaks Out in Finland, Bomb Shelters Checked After NATO Move Newsweek

“Many people are buying food for 72 hours, at the city level we have checked our bomb shelters, we are prepared for possible hybrid attacks,” said Kimmo Järva, the mayor of the city of Lappeenranta, in the South Karelia region, located about 19 miles from the Russian border.

Asia and Oceania

  • Cambodia PM: Neutral in US-China ties AsiaNews

  • Transgender people’s qualms continue as Nepal votes in local polls AsiaNews

The entire nation is readying itself for Friday’s local elections. However, for transgender people in Nepal, this election is yet another reminder of the government’s inability to properly understand the nuances of the queer community.

The issue of transgender people being misgendered in legal documents and being unable to change their documents isn’t new. While the government acknowledges the existence of the queer population, there is an inclusivity problem in Nepal that surfaces time after time. During the 2021 census, the gender categories were limited to male, female, and others. Young transgender activists had raised the issue of the population belonging to the queer community being forced to select the “others” category even if “they didn’t identify with the gender marker.”

“Our government confuses all LGBTI people as the “third” gender,” says KC. “I am a transwoman, and I want to vote as a woman. The only way for transgender people to have a safe and inclusive voting environment is for provisions to allow us to change our name and gender on our legal documents.”

  • Macron’s EU proposal: A potential mechanism for Southeast Asia? JakartaPost

  • ‘One country, two systems’ best for Hong Kong AsiaNews

In the 1990s, the prevailing opinion among US officials was that the rest of China would follow the example of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in governance. The “one country, two systems” model, in the view of US policymakers, would help spread Hong Kong’s system across the rest of China, beginning with big cities such as Guangzhou and Shanghai and spreading to other cities and finally the rural areas, in the next 10-15 years.

None of that happened.

Neither in Shanghai nor in Guangzhou, nor anywhere else, was there any pressure from the public to adopt the unique governance model of the SAR which has been in place since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland in 1997. Those who had assumed “two systems” to be more consequential than “one country” were disappointed.

Despite their diminishing expectations, however, the United States-led West still hoped the “Hong Kong model” would jump boundaries and sweep across the cities on the Chinese mainland.

  • North Korea confirms Covid-19 outbreak, Kim orders lockdown AsiaNews

  • ‘Long Covid-19’ symptoms observed in half of China’s infected populations AsiaNews

  • Three Rounds of Massive COVID-19 Testing In Beijing Underway TeleSUR

  • Thai gold mine blamed for sickening local villagers is set to reopen Bilaterals

The Chatree mining complex, owned by a subsidiary of Australia’s Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd., began operations in 2001 and was closed by Thailand’s ruling junta in 2017.

Villagers say the environment and their health has suffered as a result of the operations; mass blood tests found that the majority of children and adults tested exhibited elevated levels of heavy metals, including arsenic, manganese and cyanide.

The mining company denies allegations that its operations have caused health problems, and in 2017 sued the Thai government for shutting down the mine, seeking “very substantial damages.”

  • Bhutan and Thailand to have bilateral trade Bilaterals

  • To Solve Its Economic Crisis, Sri Lanka Must Demilitarize Jacobin

  • Sri Lankan Military With Full Powers To Suppress Protests TeleSUR

  • Many Sri Lankans flee Colombo as crisis persists Reuters

  • Tensions between South Korea and Japan Hit US Plans NEO

  • India Directs Schools to Reduce Hours to Combat Heatwave TeleSUR

  • China Slams Australia for Remarks on Solomon Islands TeleSUR

  • Chinese Ambassador Says China’s Rise Is No Threat to Australia TheDiplomat

  • Vietnam, Singapore Prime Ministers agree to promote high-level visits VietnamNews

  • Biden, Xi, Putin congratulate Marcos Jr. Inquirer

Middle East

  • Israel Assassinated Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Jacobin

  • Why is Israel Helping the US against Russia Now? NEO

  • Stalled Iran nuclear talks have been ‘reopened’: EU’s Borrell TehranTimes


  • Paris Gets Kicked Out of French Africa NEO

  • Child malnutrition mounts amid conflict in northeast Nigeria WaPo

North America

  • Significant Washington Land Returned To The Colville Tribe PopularResistance

  • Biden approval holds underwater as nearly 80% of registered voters say country on wrong track: poll Yahoo

  • Republican lawmaker wants US visa applicants screened for “communist” and other “totalitarian” links. Uh, we need to enforce a kinetic situation on the sovereign border via the utilization of certain weaponry on individuals whom may have diplomatic links to foreign Orwellian states, and consider potentially lethal scenarios. RT

South America

  • Argentina To Grant $150 Pay Reinforcement To Informal Workers TeleSUR

  • Official Mourning Decreed in Cuba Over Hotel Saratoga Accident TeleSUR

  • Colombia’s Left-Wing Presidential Candidate Is Facing Vicious Right-Wing Opposition Jacobin

  • In Cuba, Mexico’s AMLO calls for end to blockade, urges Latin American unity amid ‘US economic decline’ Multipolarista

  • Why Latin America Needs A New World Order PopularResistance

  • Venezuela and OPEC Agree to Strengthen Cooperation TeleSUR

  • Venezuela Ready to Reopen Commercial Border With Colombia TeleSUR

  • Cuba and Venezuela Growing Ties of Cooperation and Brotherhood TeleSUR

  • Bolivian President Not To Attend Non-Inclusive Americas Summit PopularResistance

  • AMLO Will Not Attend Summit Of The Americas If Any Country Is Excluded PopularResistance

  • Honduras Rejects Exclusion of Countries in Americas Summit TeleSUR

  • Washington Faces Ultimate Snub, As Latin American Heads of State Threaten to Boycott Summit of Americas NakedCapitalism


General News

  • Congress Passes The Bucks, Realism Sneaks In, Poland Plans For More War Moon of Alabama

After a lot of talk about defeating Russia in the Ukraine and an alleged lack of Russian fighting abilities Congress passed another $40 billion fund for weapons and economic support. That brings the total to some $53 billion for Ukraine. Most of the money will go to the U.S. weapon industry, the CIA and to various Ukrainian oligarchs. Hardly anything will be received by those in need. With that packet now passed reality is allowed to sneak into U.S. media reporting on the issue.

Not one but two reports in the New York Times suddenly lament about the huge area of land the Russian troops have taken in east Ukraine: How much of Ukraine does Russia hold? NYT and Ukraine War’s Geographic Reality: Russia Has Seized Much of the East NYT

Additional to those more realistic reports the NYT allowed one of it authors to write an opinion piece against the widening of the war: America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t. NYT

Are you kidding me? I spend a month grinding through endless reports of Russian failure and on the days when I take a break, they start admitting that territory held may actually play a factor in war? They really are doing this to annoy me.

At the main hospital in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk, ambulances stream in day and night, carrying soldiers wounded at the front, who describe being pinned down by near constant shelling.

About 80 percent of the patients are wounded by explosives such as mines and artillery shells, said Capt. Eduard Antonovskyy, the deputy commander of the medical unit at the hospital. Because of this, he said, very few patients have serious injuries. Either you’re far enough from an explosion to survive or you aren’t, he said. “We either get moderate injuries or deaths,” Captain Antonovskyy said.

  • New York Times, Defense Intelligence Agency Go Wobbly on Ukraine Prospects as Militias + Russia Continues to Grind Down Opposition in Donbass NakedCapitalism

Russia has been proceeding slowly and systematically, destroying resupply by taking out fuel depots, refineries, equipment repair factories, and arms depots and more recently, electrical train substations and bridges. Russia also isolate smaller groups and pounds them with artillery to get them to surrender or wipe them out. This approach is not just to lower Russian casualties and increase the odds of Ukraine surrender/capitulation. It also is meant to undercut the supposed Ukraine advantage of extensive and well fortified bunkers in Donbass. If you are short on ammo, food, and water, those bunkers start looking less like protection and more like a possible coffin.

Since this isn’t how the US does war, of course the Russians had to be losing, had to be resorting to this method out of weakness. But non-mainstream analysts with actual military experience, like Scott Ritter, Bernhard at Moon of Alabama, Andrei Martyanov, the eccentric but knowledgeable Jacob Dreizen, Daniel Davis, and Douglas Macgregor all have taken issue with the West’s dismissiveness, usually backed with specifics. And the counter was typically not to rebut them substantively, but to go ad hominem and charge them with being too Russia friendly. Even the admitted non-expert Alexander Mercouris yesterday said it was striking to see the sharp contrast between what both Russian and Ukrainian sources were saying about how the battle was going for Ukraine (not well), versus continued Western media cheerleading.

But what is noteworthy is the lack of any positive statement about Ukraine or its capabilities. The best the document could do was depict Russia as initially wanting to capture Kiev, a thesis debunked by Scott Ritter and others, and now making do with lesser combat aims. Note the conclusion:

Russia’s brutal aggression in Ukraine is reviving fears of a more imperial and militaristic Russia, prompting requests from NATO allies for assurances that U.S. security guarantees will be honored. U.S. partners in the former Soviet Union will also look to the United States for signs that they are not being abandoned while adjusting their policies to coexist with a stronger and more emboldened Russia. Russian military modernization efforts will progress even as initial timelines for some programs may have to adjust to likely new economic realities, and Moscow will continue to blend traditional displays of military might with other coercive political, economic, cyber, and information confrontation measures to achieve its geopolitical interests, delineate its redlines, and compel the United States to take its concerns more seriously. Moreover, U.S. efforts to undermine Russia’s goals in Ukraine, combined with its perception that the United States is a nation in decline, could prompt Russia to engage in more aggressive actions not only in Ukraine itself, but also more broadly in its perceived confrontation with the West.

Paul, for his part, had warned he would be making this move in a local podcast earlier this week, and reminded that he was first obligated “to the national security of the United States of America,” not to Ukraine, no matter how good giving the weapons and humanitarian aid felt. He pointed to the deficit and current inflation, up to a 40-year high.

“We can’t save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy,” he said in his floor remarks. “Americans are feeling the pain and Congress seems content on adding to that pain by shuffling money out the door as fast as they can.”

He noted that adding to the billions the U.S. has given to Ukraine since 2014, Congress will have authorized some $60 billion in total spending to the country. Let’s put $60 billion into perspective, he said. “Ukraine would be become the largest annual recipient of U.S. military aid in the past two decades.”

He noted that international partners and allies were stepping up, sending unprecedented amounts of weapons and aid to Ukraine at this time. “It’s not all about us, it isn’t that we always have to be the Uncle Sam, the policeman who saves the world, particularly when it’s on borrowed money,” he added. “America can’t afford to be world’s policeman.”


  • EU to provide new 500 million euro military aid to Ukraine Reuters

  • US says Russia has forced thousands of Ukrainians from their homes and into so-called ‘filtration camps’ BusinessInsider

  • Javelin missile: Made by the US, wielded by Ukraine, feared by Russia. Another Javelin article! Yahoo

Eastern Ukraine

  • Donbass militia advance on Adviika.

  • Noose continues to slowly tighten around Severodonetsk.

Dipshittery and Cope

Luckily, the usual suspects of creating godawful articles are currently distracted by the Russian failed river crossing that like, destroyed all their tanks and killed a trillion Russians or something. I’m sure it’ll be worse tomorrow.

  • Empires and emperors are things of the past — in theory. Initially I thought this was just gonna be some historian going on about empires and then the Economist going “Well, those obviously don’t exist anymore. The End!”. But I underestimated how bad it was going to be. Economist

Having said that real empires are a thing of the past, Mr Lieven rather shyly makes the case that understanding them is still important. As he puts it, “most large countries in Asia remain more like empires than the European model of the ethno-national polity.” If the continent “catches the disease of European ethno-nationalism the planet might well not survive the resulting chaos.”

Modern India, he writes provocatively, is the product of the Mughal and British empires, which used divide-and-rule tactics, along with pomp and ceremony, to knit the subcontinent together. Having lost its anti-colonial legitimacy, Mr Lieven says, the Indian state is now succumbing to the plague of ethno-nationalism, and seems to be locked in an ever-more dangerous stand-off with Pakistan.

Okay, fine, whatever.

That analysis will be controversial in India. In any case, the argument for studying empires can be made more simply. Recall that since 2017 American strategy has avowedly been based on great-power competition, which means vying with Russia and China. Officially, neither is now an empire in the sense of being ruled by a sovereign. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are depicted as emperors in cartoons, but both emerged from an ideology that in theory abhorred inherited privilege.

Ah, here we go.

What matters most, though, is not what they are, but what they think they are. Regardless of their differences from the old imperial despots, both men see themselves as heirs, in important ways, to the monarchic realms of yesteryear. Mr Putin has drawn on tsarist history to make his case for subordinating Ukraine. He has encouraged his bureaucrats to study the work of Ivan Ilyin, who saw royal imperialism, not liberal democracy, as the way to hold Russia and its dominions together. For his part, Mr Xi has led an energetic effort to rehabilitate the Qing dynasty, which ruled from 1644 to 1912, and has persecuted historians who take a different line.

In a sense, Russia and China have followed similar paths: first a communist revolution, which led to a rejection of almost all the religious and ideological trappings of the regimes that went before; eventually, a gradual reclaiming of the imperial heritage. The era of crowned despots who personify the divine will may be over, but the age of self-conscious imperial calculus is not.

  • Despite everything, Azov in Mariupol continues to knock the invaders out of their positions Yahoo

  • Military Expert Gives Putin’s Forces 90 Days in Ukraine. I think the most logical thing to do next is to take the first letter of each word in Putin’s Victory Speech and do linguistic analysis for when he will end the war because all his troops are so demoralized that they’re calling their mothers and crying. Newsweek

A military expert on Thursday told Newsweek he believes Russia’s military can only last about 90 more days in Ukraine before its forces and equipment become too depleted to continue.

Sean Spoonts, editor-in-chief of the military news outlet SOFREP, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have already expended a sizable portion of its arsenal since the war began in late February. He also noted that Russia is facing difficulties replenishing military equipment and vehicles due to supply chain interruptions and severe economic sanctions placed on Russia.

After first estimating Russia’s timetable to be at three months for how long it can last before it may decide it needs to cut its losses, Spoonts said that figure may be on the high side.

“I think the Russians would not be able to go much further than 90 days longer,” Spoonts said. “At the bleed rate that they’re going through right now, 90 days may be stretching it.”

  • The World Tries to Move Beyond Covid. China May Stand in the Way. NYT

As the rest of the world learns to live with Covid-19, China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, wants his country to keep striving to live without it — no matter the cost.

But pressure is mounting for a change to the zero-Covid strategy that has left Shanghai at a standstill since March, kept hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens under lockdown nationwide and is now threatening to bring Beijing to a halt.

This week, the World Health Organization called China’s current pandemic strategy “unsustainable.” An economist summarized it as “zero movement, zero G.D.P.” Multinational companies have grown wary of further investments in the country.

For more than two years, China kept its Covid numbers enviably low by doggedly reacting to signs of an outbreak with testing and snap lockdowns. The success allowed the Communist Party to boast that it had prioritized life over death in the pandemic, unlike Western democracies where deaths from the virus soared.

I mentioned this a few days ago, but seriously: where the fuck did the criticism of China’s “obviously fake” numbers go? I remember it! Do the people who wrote it not remember it!?

Yet abandoning the strategy risks a surge in deaths, especially among the country’s tens of millions of unvaccinated older people. Researchers this week warned of a “tsunami” of deaths if the virus surged unchecked, leaving China’s fragile national hospital system overwhelmed and raising the possibility of social unrest.

The head of the World Health Organization, whose recommendations China once held up as a model, was silenced this week when he called on the country to rethink its strategy.

No, no, we’re okay with mass death, we’ve normalized it (like literaly every single fucking person on this website predicted the liberals would do), please stop trying to save lives, that isn’t good for the hecking economy!

China’s state-controlled media has also glossed over the draconian measures officials have deployed to deal with outbreaks. This week, as some authorities in Shanghai erected new fences around quarantine zones, boarded up more homes and asked residents not to leave their apartments, state media painted a picture of a city slowly returning to normal.

In one video widely circulated online before it was taken down by censors, an exasperated woman shouts as officials in white hazmat suits smash her door down to take her away to an isolation facility. She protests and asks them to give her evidence that she has tested positive. Eventually she takes her phone to call the police. “If you called the police,” one of the men replies, “I’d still be the one coming.”

  • Congress Picks Populism Over Increased Supply With Price Gouging Legislation. This article was LITERALLY written by an oilfield CEO. Hilarious. Bloomberg

Democrats continue to decry high gasoline prices and accuse oil companies of price gouging, but lawmakers should consider whether their policies restricting domestic energy production are to blame for soaring consumer prices.

Democrats may want to look in the mirror before pointing the finger at the people who create jobs and produce the energy this country runs on. The Democrats' own policies are causing the energy scarcity that’s driving up prices.

Oil and gas prices have risen because of falling supply. Less than a decade ago, there were 1,600 active drilling rigs in the country producing or searching for oil; now, there’s a quarter of that number.

They are sticking to their populist playbook of blaming corporate America for profiteering. They have bashed oil companies – incorrectly – for price gouging since consumer prices at the pump started rising after President Joe Biden took office over a year ago.

Congressional Democrats are proposing numerous bills against Big Oil for the crime of profiteering. Now, they plan to introduce legislation next week that would expand the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to investigate price gouging and give the President the power to declare an energy emergency and limit price increases.

This is how things are done in Venezuela and other socialist countries, not America. Thankfully, none of these measures are likely to become law because Democrats lack the 60 votes required to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

False accusations of price gouging are not only wrong, but they are also dangerous. Attacking the very industry while we need it to increase investment in exploration – even the Biden administration has called on the oil industry to increase supply – only makes sense to the far-left progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

It just goes on like this tbh.

  • Liberals Should Be Worried About the Conservative Comedy Scene. The right are getting better at comedy and it’s making the liberals nervous. Politico

Since the golden days of political satire in the early 2000s, left-leaning journalists and comedy critics have wondered — with a mix of smugness and genuine curiosity — why conservatives aren’t funny.

The various explanations for the right’s comedic deficiencies all circle the same basic thesis: that there is some sort of intrinsic contradiction between conservatism and comedy. As the academic Amber Day put it her book Satire and Dissent, “The nature of conservatism does not meet the conditions necessary for political satire to flourish. … [Conservatism] originates from a place that repudiates humor.”

For the past three years, Matt Sienkiewicz, an associate professor of communication and international studies at Boston College, and Nick Marx, an associate professor of film and media studies at Colorado State University, have immersed themselves in the world of conservative comedy. The findings of their inquiry, which they detail in their new book, That’s Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them, might come as a surprise to devotees of the Daily Show: Conservative humorists aren’t merely catching up to their liberal counterparts in terms of reach and popularity. They’ve already caught them — and, in some cases, surpassed them, even as the liberal mainstream has continued to write conservative comedy off as a contradiction in terms.

“[Liberals] are ceding ideological territory in the culture wars to the right via comedy,” Marx told me, noting that once-beloved liberal comedians like Stewart are struggling to find their footing in the treacherous landscape of post-Trump humor. “This thing that we thought we have owned for the last 20 years has been leaking, and the borders are slowly getting shifted.”


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I Thought I’d Mention

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Link back to the discussion thread.