I hate journalists so fucking much. Honestly, 75% of this would have been Dipshittery and Cope but I distributed it around instead.
The Euro Will Survive Falling Below Parity With the Dollar. Is this cope? idk. Bloomberg
Russian assets of France’s Renault now state property France24
Ukraine crisis: Can Africa replace Russian gas supplies to Europe? I’ll save you a read: not for a few years at least. BBC
Germany to Stop Russian Oil Imports Regardless of EU Sanctions Bloomberg
Eastern European countries are trying to stop Scholz from driving straight into a brick wall by wrestling for the brakes and Scholz just smugly dropped a brick on the accelerator.
- The EU is drafting a plan to pay for Russian gas without violating sanctions, insiders say BusinessInsider
Sources in attendance at a closed European Commission meeting on Friday said new guidance would allow importers of gas to open a Russian state-owned Gazprombank account and pay in euros or dollars, which would then be converted to rubles by the bank.
According to Bloomberg, the sources said companies should make “a clear statement that they consider their obligations fulfilled once they pay in euros or dollars, in line with existing contracts.” The commission did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside normal working hours.
This is like a children’s show, where the main character is being purposefully obtuse, and repeatedly saying like “Where’s the villain?” to the screen as he creeps up behind them and children are meant to go “He’s right there!” Except here, the EU is trying to find a way to get natural gas without rubles, and we repeatedly say “Use the scheme Russia proposed!” and then they go “Hm, I still can’t find a way of doing it without paying in rubles. How we do we get gas without rubles?” “USE THE SCHEME! IT’S RIGHT THERE! TURN AROUND!"
- Loss of Mariupol plants entail loss of 50% of Ukraine’s steel and cast iron exports TASS
Asia and Oceania
- Police Warn of Fire Risk as Residents Store Fuels LaotianTimes
Lieutenant Colonel Khamphet Dalavong, Director of the Vientiane Fire Control and Prevention Department, told the media that hoarding petrol in plastic bottles or other flammable containers poses a significant fire risk.
- World’s leading fund will expand investment in Vietnam VietnamInsider
On the morning of May 15, according to local time, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh received Mr. Charles Kaye, General Director of Warburg Pincus – one of the oldest and largest private investment funds globally.
Warburg Pincus is headquartered in New York with over 200 investment professionals in 14 offices in 10 countries. Since its founding, Warburg Pincus has raised 19 private equity funds and invested more than $94 billion in more than 940 companies in more than 40 countries. Today, the Fund manages more than $64 billion in private equity assets, with an active portfolio of more than 205 companies in a variety of sectors, including real estate, financial services, consumer technology…
China’s economic activity slides as Covid lockdowns hit growth CNN
China’s economy reviving as anti-virus curbs ease SeattleTimes
Shanghai targets June 1 return to normal as COVID lockdowns cool economy Reuters
Global wheat prices jump after India export ban BBC
China firm invests $70M in mango project in Cambodia PhnomPenhPost
A Chinese company has invested nearly $70 million to grow six varieties of mangoes in Stung Treng province for export to the Chinese market, with plans to channel a further $500 million into a large-scale exporting operation down the line.
- ‘Indo-Pacific Economic Framework’ not a blessing to Asia KhmerTimes
IPEF is created to encourage regional economies to “decouple” from the Chinese market by leading them to alternative supply chains, a step that Washington believes will help exclude China from the regional trading and supply systems.
This would essentially install a closed, exclusive and confrontational arrangement within this region designed with clear geopolitical and ideological intentions, which runs counter to the principles of multilateralism. The U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has openly described the IPEF as an “arrangement independent of China.”
Given China’s economic size and influence in the region and the possible consequences of artificially splitting the trading system and cutting off supply chains, such an arrangement would not be conducive to the unity and regional economic integration of the Asia-Pacific.
- In Today’s Election, Lebanon’s Left Has a Chance to Challenge the Establishment Jacobin
Africa: Youths' Strident Voices Demand an End to Child Labour AllAfrica
Kenya: Government to Modernize Factories in Nyeri AllAfrica
Egypt expects to reach a agreement with IMF ‘within months’ Investing
In March, Egypt said it was in talks with the IMF about potential funds in addition to technical support to hedge against the economic effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, should it be prolonged.
Egypt announces plan to boost economy against global crisis EgyptIndependent
Deutsche Bank not financing controversial African oil pipeline Reuters
- Mexico to boost fertilizer production to support local farmers Investing
Mexico aims to as much as triple its fertilizer production, the government said on Sunday, to support its plan to boost local agriculture production and control consumer price inflation.
- What Caused the Baby Formula Shortage? WSJ
Abbott Laboratories in February recalled several brands and shut down a plant in Michigan after complaints that four infants fell severely ill with a dangerous bacteria after ingesting its powdered formula. The Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation and onsite inspection, noting earlier findings that had detected the bacteria at the plant.
Last year Abbott accounted for 42% of the U.S. formula market, about 95% of which is produced domestically. There are only four major manufacturers of formula in the U.S. today: Mead Johnson, Abbott, Nestle, and Perrigo. One reason the market is so concentrated is tariffs up to 17.5% on imports, which protect domestic producers from foreign competition. Non-trade barriers such as FDA labeling and ingredient requirements also limit imports even during shortages.
America’s baby-formula shortage illustrates how bigger government can make big business bigger, thereby limiting competition and choice.
That’s so weird! There’s a positive correlation between the state and the power of the market in capitalist economies!? But… but that would imply… that the political compass is completely made up?!
This is especially worth noting as Democrats push to expand entitlements and government control over the private economy with Medicare for All, free child care, universal pre-K and more.
Please go jump into a volcano. In Minecraft.
- The next recession will be mini compared to the last 2 — and feel completely different BusinessInsider
The US might be heading for another recession, but it probably won’t be a bad one.
Finally, the first good recession. I’m being a little unnecessarily literal, I admit, but in all seriousness: this economic situation fucking sucks for basically everybody who isn’t rich, and ESPECIALLY everybody who isn’t living in the West.
- America’s Electric Grid Has A $2 Trillion Problem OilPrice
…the grid needs huge amounts of investments, researchers and analysts say.
For example, in a “high electrification” or E+ scenario, with aggressively electrifying buildings and transportation so that 100 percent of cars are electric by 2050, America would need $360 billion invested in transmission through 2030 and $2.4 trillion by 2050, the Princeton University said in a report at the end of 2020.
Well, that’s never happening then. We’re just gonna let it decay into unworkabaility until the only power lines remaining are those that lead directly into important businesses and like, the stock exchanges.
- U.S., Europe race to improve food supply chains after India bans wheat exports CNBC
The United States and the European Union are looking at how to improve food supply chains with export restrictions from India and other nations accentuating global problems, the EU’s trade chief told CNBC
- US, EU to boost coordination on semiconductor supply, Russia IraqiNews
The United States and the European Union plan to announce on Monday a joint effort aimed at identifying semiconductor supply disruptions as well as countering Russian disinformation, officials said.
Diplomatically and Politically
Involving Ukraine or Russia
- Russia’s Sergei Lavrov Compares Ukraine to ‘Palestine’ Newsweek
A video of Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov saying that in order for Russians to not lose sleep over the Ukraine war, they must imagine the eastern European country is “Palestine,” has been shared by the Russian embassy in Geneva.
“When the United States declares that there is a threat to the United States 10,000 kilometers from the border of the United States, some people were grumbling, some were expressing their concern, but there was no hysteria like the one we witness today,”
“When Russia having warned for many, many years, that this is going to be a problem that we cannot tolerate a threat which NATO and the United States have been building just on our border, not 10,000 kilometers away,”
“You know, there was one interesting message I saw in Telegram from the Middle East. They say ‘if you if you cannot sleep because of the Russian conflict, here’s some advices to calm you down. First, imagine this is happening in Africa. Imagine this is happening in the Middle East. Imagine Ukraine is Palestine, imagine Russia is the United States.”
- Swiss switch to ‘presumed consent’ on organ donations Inquirer
Switzerland voted Sunday to boost the availability of transplant organs by making everyone a potential donor after death unless they have expressly objected. The legal change, approved by 60 percent of voters in a referendum, marks a dramatic shift from the current system.
- Nato expects Turkey not to hold up Finland, Sweden membership Inquirer
Nato and the United States said on Sunday they were confident Turkey would not hold up membership of Finland and Sweden in the Western military alliance, as the two Nordic states took firm steps to join in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Turkey sets demands, not opposed to Finland, Sweden NATO bid AlJazeera
Turkey laid out demands on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, saying it wanted the two Nordic countries to end support for Kurdish militant groups present on their territory, and to lift the ban on sales of some arms to Turkey.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his talks with Swedish and Finnish counterparts in Berlin had been helpful. The two countries had made suggestions to respond to Ankara’s concerns, which Turkey would consider. Cavusoglu added that he had provided proof that “terrorists” were present on their territory. He singled out Sweden in particular, saying the Kurdish militant group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), banned as “terrorist” by the US and European Union, had held meetings in Stockholm over the weekend.
Finland, Sweden already at heart NATO members – Germany’s Baerbock. She gave the game away! I don’t even have to say it anymore! Inquirer
It Is Foolish For Finland And Sweden To Join NATO. A long article that I quote large parts of - but not all. PopularResistance
Here’s what the West is intellectually unable – in the midst of its boundlessly self-righteous, militarist mood to see: NATO’s expansion policy created – and is responsible for – the conflict. Russia created – and is responsible for – the war. There exists no violence which is not rooted in underlying conflicts. Conflict and peace literate people, therefore, talk about both.
And if they want peace, they do not increase the symptoms – the war – they address the real cause, the conflict and ask the conflicting parties to tell what they fear and what they want and then move, step-by-step towards a sustainable solution.
But neither the mainstream media nor politicians have the civil courage to address the conflict. It’s only about the war and only about Russia/Putin who must be punished, no matter the price to be paid by future generations. If we survive.
It’s a banality to point out that it takes at least two to conflict. But that’s the intellectual and moral level decision-makers, media and much of academia operate in these dark times.
This approach has no future and can never bring peace. Period. Decisions taken with this irrational approach and emotionalism will only make things worse. Such as Sweden and Finland joining NATO based on the hysteric panic of the moment: There simply exists no credible, realistic scenario that would lead to an isolated, out-of-the-blue Russian attack on either of them if they remained non-aligned as they’ve been for decades.
That some less knowledgeable people – or people who speak for NATO membership – have been talking about even an isolated, out-of-the-blue attack on the Swedish island of Gotland is Monty Python politics.
So why will Finland and Sweden now make a disastrous, tension-increasing decision to join NATO? Here are some of the possible reasons:
Both have been under heavy pressure by NATO and the US in particular. Sweden’s prime minister, Olof Palme, was murdered – a man who stood for the UN goal of international disarmament, nuclear abolition and the intelligent concept of common security. US ambassadors have held secret meetings with Swedish MP, there are many channels, demands and rewards.
Sweden’s single worst security challenge was the Russian submarine, U 137 Whisky on the Rocks. It was Russian, yes, but the operation was an American PSYOP – Psychological Operation – conducted by the “Navigation Expert” on board who was the only one never interviewed in Sweden and who soon after disappeared.
Both countries have moved to be wooed by the US and NATO. They have, over the last 20 years, become engaged with NATO in all kinds of ways – so, as the saying goes, why not marry now? In other words, Finland and Sweden now join because they have – incrementally – made one wrong decision after the other, painted themselves into a “no-choice-but-NATO” corner and abdicated every ounce of their historical, independent-minded creative foreign policy thinking. And stopped criticism of warfare and militarism.
Further, Sweden and Finland are now joining because elites related to the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, in both countries – rather than the people – decide security and foreign policy matters. Of course, there was extremely little open public discussion; it wasn’t wanted. Decision-makers knew that NATO’s nuclear weapons foundation and its members’ contact wars, particular in the Middle East were seen as basically evil among the citizenry.
Liberal media suggest that there cannot be a referendum because there is such a time pressure – presumably before that Russian invasion of Sweden and Finland – and, so, just make the most important foreign and security political decision since 1945 in a hurry now there is popular outrage at Russia – the beloved, necessary enemy.
The Swedish decision-makers of course know that there will never be a 75% or so majority for NATO – which is what there should be to make such a fundamental, fateful decision. So much, you may say, for democracy – but no new NATO member has held a referendum where NATO and other alternatives were freely discussed and a 75% majority came out in favor. (According to the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet daily of May 6, 2022, 48% think that Sweden shall join, but in just one week those who are not sure what to think have increased from 22 to 27%).
A further reason to join is the intellectual disarmament that decision-makers have unified around one alternative, forgotten to leave other doors open and deliberately quelled alternatives. The discourse of peace – in media, politics and research – has been disappeared. Peace has come to mean weapons, deterrence, more and more of it coupled to blind loyalty with every US/NATO war. For instance, then Social Democratic prime minister Göran Persson’s government quickly decided to disable Sweden’s weapons export prohibition legislation in 2001 in order to be able to continue exporting weapons to the US during its invasion of Iraq.
Without exhausting all those – tragic – reasons, one final reason to mention is the role of the media. Like everywhere else, media from left to right have unified around a pro-Western, non-neutral policy. The present pro-NATO propaganda, not the least in the liberal Dagens Nyheter, is pervasive. Critical voices are marginalized and public information “explainers” are reduced to some high school-like basic facts coupled with FOSI, Fake + Omission + Source Ignorance. Sweden is able to have televised panel discussions where, de facto, all the participants are more or less pro-NATO thus leaving out a large part of public opinion. )
What will be the consequences of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership?
The Swedes and the Finns will become less secure. Why? Because there will be harder confrontation and polarization instead of soft borders and mediating attitudes. In a serious crisis, they will, for all practical purposes, be occupied and told what to do by the US/NATO.
To the degree that, at some point in the future, the two countries will be asked to host US bases – like Norway and Denmark now – they won’t be able to say ‘No’! Such bases will be Russia’s first-order targets in a war situation.
From a Russian point of view, of course, their NATO membership is extremely tension-increasing and confrontational. Russia has 8% (US$ 66 billion) of the military expenditures of the 30 NATO members. Now there will be a huge re-armament throughout NATO; Germany alone plans to increase to almost twice as much as Russia’s expenditures. Ukraine will receive about US$ 50 billion. Add a re-armed Sweden and Finland and we shall see Russia rush down to 4% of NATO’s expenditures – and still be called a formidable threat.
There will be virtually no confidence-building and conflict-resolution mechanisms left in Europe. No discussion will be possible about a new all-European peace and security system. And whether it is understood and respected or not, Russia will feel even more intimidated, isolated and – in a certain situation – become even more desperate. As does, normally, the weaker party in an asymmetric conflict. We are living in very dangerous times and these two countries in NATO will only increase the danger, there is no way it could reduce it.
If Finland and Sweden so strongly want to be “protected” by the United States and/or NATO, it is completely unnecessary for these two countries to join because, if there is a serious crisis, the US/NATO will under all circumstances come to “protect” or rather use their territories to be closer to the Baltic republics. That’s what the Host Nation Support agreements are about.
It will cost a fortune to convert their military infrastructure to full NATO membership – and when they have joined, they cannot not pay whatever the price will turn out to be. In addition, there will be much less de facto sovereign decision-making possible – here de jure is almost irrelevant. And it was already very self-limited before they joined.
As NATO members, Finland and Sweden cannot but share the responsibility for nuclear weapons – the deterrence and possible use of them by NATO. It’s also obvious that NATO vessels may bring nuclear weapons into their ports – but they will of course not even ask – they know the arrogant US response is that “we neither confirm nor deny that sort of thing.
The days when Sweden and Finland can – in principle, at least – work for alternatives are numbered. That is, for the UN Treaty on nuclear abolition and the UN goals of general and complete disarmament, any alternative policy concepts like common security, human security, a strong UN etc. They won’t be able to serve as mediators – like, say, Austria and Switzerland. No NATO member can pay anything but lip service to such noble goals. NATO is not an organization that encourages alternatives. Instead, it seeks monopoly as well as regional and global dominance.
Finland and Sweden say yes to militarist thinking, to a ‘peace’ paradigm that is imbued with weapons, armament, offensiveness (long-range + large destructive capacity), deterrence and constant threatening: NATO is human history’s most militaristic organization. Its leader, the United States of America, has been at war 225 out of 243 years since 1776. Every idea about nonviolence, the UN Charter provision of making peace by predominantly peaceful means (Article 1 in the Charter) will be out of the window.
The political attention, as well as funds, will tend to switch to military matters, away from contributing to solving humanity’s most urgent problems. But – we know it now – the excuse will be Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Is there any huge change that cannot be justified with reference to that?
While everybody knows that the Arctic is going to be a region of central security and peace concerns in the near future, this issue has hardly been discussed in relation to the two countries’ NATO membership. However, it doesn’t require much expertise to see that US/NATO access to Sweden and Finland is a clear advantage in the future confrontation with Russia and China there.
As NATO members, Sweden and Finland not only accept but reinforce decades of hate of the Russian people, everything Russia including Russian-European culture. It will say yes to the West’s reckless, knee-jerk collective (illegal) punishment of everything Russia, the cancellation of Russia on all dimensions.
The prospect that no NATO advocates talk about is this: In all likelihood, we have only seen the hard beginning of an extremely Cold War with an ever-increasing risk of a Hot War too. It is the stated purpose of the US – and that means NATO – to weaken Russia militarily in Ukraine so it can’t rise ever again and to undermine its economy back home through history’s hardest, time-unlimited and unconditional sanctions – that is, sanctions that will not be lifted in a lifetime or more.
And, finally, by joining NATO, the two countries will be forced to side with the larger West in the future world order change in which China, the Middle East, Africa and South America as well as huge non-Western regional associations will gain strength.
Sweden opposed to stationing nukes, NATO bases on its soil, says ruling party TASS
Asia and Oceania
Myanmar junta slams US summit snub, lauds ties with China JakartaPost
Kim Jong-un decries North Korea Covid response, deploys army France24
Students in Laos See a Difficult Future in the “New Normal” LaotianTimes
The condition of students, who were abruptly forced into a period of lackluster online learning, became a major focal point of public concern during the Covid times. Secondary students mostly returned to in-person learning during the final semester of 2021, but many continue to suffer poor performance, citing a persistent lack of motivation, psychological unwellness, and a sense of hopelessness and limited opportunity in the future.
Local university students, though, mostly continued to study online. Some students were, as recently as 9 May, ordered to return to in-person learning with only a week’s notice, and only three weeks remaining in the term. Although many felt that online learning was ineffective, the response to the recent decree was not positive.
- Xi Jinping looms large over Australia’s election. Click on the article to see the image, lmfao. CNN
- ‘We are worse off’: Afghanistan further impoverished as women vanish from workforce Guardian
Sima Bahous, the UN Women executive director, said this month: “Current restrictions on women’s employment have been estimated to result in an immediate economic loss of up to $1bn – or up to 5% of Afghanistan’s GDP.” She added: “There is almost universal poverty in the country.”
The Afghan academic and former minister of mines, Nargis Nehan, says: “It is hard to collect data under the Taliban, and access to information is limited, but under the previous government 27% of the civil servants and almost 40% of the teachers were women. But only a handful of women are allowed to work these days.”
- Five reportedly killed [in Iran] at protests over soaring food prices RT
Tunisia opposition alliance demonstrates against President Saied AfricaNews
South Africa in new surge of COVID from versions of omicron Yahoo
Somalia Elects New President, but Terrorists Hold True Power NYT
Man, thank god the US isn’t doing any shady shit there that might undermine Somalian democracy.
- The United States Is Supporting A Brutal Occupation In Western Sahara PopularResistance
- Democracy is at stake in the midterms. The media must convey that. WaPo
Oh my fucking god.
I was mesmerized this past week by two astonishing videos, watching them both multiple times.
One showed the stunning Kentucky Derby, where the little-known chestnut colt Rich Strike came out of nowhere to blast past the favorites and win the race by less than a length. The other showed an entire North Carolina beach house tumbling into the ocean, yet another indication of Outer Banks shoreline erosion and, more generally, the world’s catastrophic climate crisis.
And I couldn’t help but see both as metaphors for the precarious state of democracy in America and the news media’s role in helping to save the day or in succumbing to disaster.
Yeah, I ain’t reading any more of this.
- How A Major Tar Sands Pipeline Project Threatens Indigenous Land Rights HuffPost
China’s Sinovac Biotech building vaccine plant in Chile investing US$ 100 million MercoPress
Lula’s campaign missteps stir the question: Has he lost his touch? WaPo
Rather than show off what has always been his greatest political talent — dazzling oration — Lula, 76, has made uncharacteristic gaffes. A politician who has always found a way to talk himself out of trouble is now increasingly talking himself into it.
In recent weeks, he has insulted the police, called Brazil’s elites “slavers,” accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of wanting the war that has devastated his country, and potentially most damaging in an election that could be decided by Brazil’s large evangelical vote, said abortion should be legalized and treated as a public health issue.
Holy shit, he gets more based by the day.
- 3 more Ukrainian aircraft shot down - 1 near Snake Island, 1 near Mykolaiv, and 1 near Izyum.
Ukraine restarts gas distribution stations, supplies in Kharkiv Inquirer
Liman has reportedly been almost entirely surrounded by Russia
Ten Ukrainian soldiers came out with white flags from the territory of Azovstal.
Russia is repairing the electricity grid in Mariupol - footage on Russian telegram of the lights being restored among the residential blocks.
Dipshittery and Cope
- Uyghur county in China has highest prison rate in the world SeattleTimes
Nearly one in 25 people in a county in the Uyghur heartland of China has been sentenced to prison on terrorism-related charges, in what is the highest known imprisonment rate in the world, an Associated Press review of leaked data shows.
A list obtained and partially verified by the AP cites the names of more than 10,000 Uyghurs sent to prison in just Konasheher county alone, one of dozens in southern Xinjiang. In recent years, China has waged a brutal crackdown on the Uyghurs, a largely Muslim minority, which it has described as a war on terror.
It goes on for a while in a very boring few paragraphs about how bad China is and the 1421 quintillion Ughyurs imprisoned, then:
The list offers the widest and most granular look yet at who is in prison in Xinjiang. It was obtained by Xinjiang scholar Gene Bunin from an anonymous source who described themselves as a member of China’s Han Chinese majority “opposed to the Chinese government’s policies in Xinjiang.”
The list was passed to The AP by Abduweli Ayup, an exiled Uyghur linguist in Norway. The AP authenticated it through interviews with eight Uyghurs who recognized 194 people on the list, as well as legal notices, recordings of phone calls with Chinese officials and checks of address, birthdays and identity numbers.
Alright, I had my doubts, but this seems very legit and extremely believable to me.
Darren Byler, an expert on Xinjiang’s mass incarceration system, said most arrests were arbitrary and outside the law, with people detained for having relatives abroad or downloading certain cell phone applications. He has documented arrest quotas for local police, in some cases resulting in the men from entire villages being rounded up and whole families uprooted from their homes.
“It is really remarkable,” Byler said. “In no other location have we seen entire populations of people be described as terrorists or seen as terrorists. …. The state is trying to reframe the narrative and say, you know, all of these people are actually criminals.”
Entire populations of people described as terrorists? That’s literally never happened before.
China has struggled for decades to control Xinjiang, where Uyghurs have long resented Beijing’s heavy-handed rule, resulting in violent clashes with the Han-dominated government. With the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Chinese officials began using the specter of terrorism to justify tight controls.
The United States government, at that exact same time, was enacting a policy of love and mutual respect to counter the terrorist threat from the Middle East, serving as an example to us all.
Well, anyway, when the UN visit happens, we will finally know the truth about what’s happening there. Well, the Xinjiang reporters are telling the UN not to go for some very odd reason, so unless they get their way, we’ll know for sure.
- China’s Communist Party congress: all praise Xi Jinping but draw the line at Mao SCMP
As China ramps up preparations for the Communist Party’s national congress later this year, officials around the country have found various ways to magnify their support for President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to stay on for a landmark third term.
But one city’s attempt at innovative adulation ended up reminding many of the traumatic authoritarian years under Mao Zedong.
Since February, the city of Nanning, capital of Guangxi region in south China, has not only been handing out free copies of a pocket-sized book of Xi quotes, but also held multiple reading sessions on it. The book, compiled by the propaganda department of the city’s municipal party committee, was praised by local officials and villagers as “vivid”, “easy to understand” and “easy to carry”.
However, local media reports about the campaign had mostly been scrapped by the end of April, as had happened before with some over-the-top praise for Xi recalling the Mao era. The drive raised eyebrows among many observers – reminded of the later Mao years when every Chinese person carried the “little red book” of the chairman’s quotes and wore Mao badges amid fanatical adulation for the autocratic leader.
“We have long passed the period during which official propaganda had a guaranteed buy-in from the public,” said Li Ling, lecturer for Chinese politics and law at the University of Vienna. “The Nanning government stunt was meant to signal public support for the exalted party ideology. “When the signal was badly received and recognised as fake, of course there is no point for the propaganda outlet to keep signalling it.”
The contradictions in this article are truly mind-splitting. Parenti woke up in a cold sweat when the author hit ‘publish’. China is, as Reddit and the media has informed me, ruled by autocrats with fanatical followings due to mass brainwashing, but is also an Orwellian state where dissent is ruthlessly crushed and hidden away, but also the people aren’t taking call-backs to Mao well anymore, so the state removes its attempt at promoting it (rather than, y’know, doubling down in a 1984ish way or whatever).
- How China’s zero-Covid policy is tipping the world into recession SCMP
YEAH, THAT’S THE REASON WHY THE WORLD IS ENTERING A RECESSION. CHINA’S LOCKDOWN. THAT’S IT. THERE’S NO OTHER ONGOING MAJOR GLOBAL CRISES THAT COULD POSSIBLY EXPLAIN THIS. IT’S ACTUALLY CHINA’S FAULT. THEY SHOULD JOIN THE WEST IN SACRIFICING THE ELDERLY ON AN ALTAR.
- America Has a Scorn Problem NYT
A Scientific American report on political polarization noted that Americans increasingly hold “a basic abhorrence for their opponents — an ‘othering’ in which a group conceives of its rivals as wholly alien in every way.” It continues, “This toxic form of polarization has fundamentally altered political discourse, public civility and even the way politicians govern.” A 2019 study by Pew said, “55 percent of Republicans say Democrats are ‘more immoral’ when compared with other Americans; 47 percent of Democrats say the same about Republicans.”
I have complete scorn for people who want to get rid of fundamental human rights and turn the clock back on them by half a century or more. On either side.
We find one another repugnant — not just wrong, but bad. Our rhetoric casts the arguments of others as profound moral failings.
It is a moral failing to want to ban abortion, especially due to a blatant long-term propaganda campaign designed to engage evangelicals in politics.
Those who are sympathetic to the Florida legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill don’t just want to leave lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity — with all the inevitable values-laden presuppositions they entail — to parents until kids are around 9 years old; they are “homophobic” and “transphobic.”
Yes, they are. I can guarantee that not a single percent of Republican parents are opposing it because they themselves want to teach their children about gender identity in a balanced way - it’s because they’re homophobic and transphobic.
Those who want to roll back Covid restrictions are not people who, given the effectiveness of vaccines, are concerned about other social problems caused by Covid precautions; they are “ableists.”
Coronavirus has been scientifically proven to give you long-term brain damage.
Those who believe biology makes it clear that a fetus is a human being who deserves protection from lethal violence are deemed “misogynists” or even, as one representative email I received after last week’s newsletter on abortion said, “full of hate, racism and white supremacy.”
You are a misogynist if you want women to give up their bodily autonomy.
But this hatred toward our opponents and the accompanying habit of moralism is destroying us as people. To be clear, I am not saying that I find all the brief arguments I’ve listed above equally valid or true. And I’m certainly not saying that they don’t really matter or have enormous cultural ramifications. I’m saying that we cannot flourish as individuals or as a society if we cast all those who differ from us as moral monsters.
No, that is exactly what we MUST do. We must fight people who want to destroy minorities. There is no paradox of tolerance - we must destroy the intolerant.
Furthermore, seeing those with whom we differ as morally contemptible makes us bitter and less joyful. We become sneering, intolerant and bombastic. Like the obnoxious guy in Luke’s parable, we scorn everyone else. We delight in the callout and the pile-on. Assuming the worst about everyone else ultimately makes us become the worst versions of ourselves.
I am bitter towards people who want to kill and oppress the people I care about.
So before we disagree with others, we have to make a decision about who our ideological opponents are. Are they like us or wholly other? How should we think of people, especially people with whom we have deep differences?
Finally, a half-decent point! These people are largely governed by the propaganda they’re exposed to and their material conditions. We still have to fight them, though.
And then it goes into religious crackpottery.
- Amazon’s Bezos again blasts Biden administration on inflation, says it’s most hurtful to the poor CNBC
“In fact, the administration tried hard to inject even more stimulus into an already over-heated, inflationary economy and only Manchin saved them from themselves,” Bezos wrote on Twitter. “Inflation is a regressive tax that most hurts the least affluent. Misdirection doesn’t help the country.”
Please jump into a ravine, in Minecraft.
We have the expected triumphant articles about how the definitely-not-NATO countries have now joined NATO, which Putin is supposed to be like, frothing at the mouth at? idk. I’m just gonna rapid-fire these ones as we’ve all got the point by now.
- In Rebirth for NATO, Europe Unites in Face of Putin’s Ambition NYT
The decisions by Finland and Sweden to abandon the neutrality they adhered to for decades and apply to join NATO is the strongest indication yet of a profound change in Europe in the face of an aggressive Russian imperial project.
As opposed to NATO, which definitely isn’t an imperial project.
The two Scandinavian states have in effect made clear that they expect the threat from President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia to be enduring, that they will not be cowed by it, and that after the Russian butchery in Bucha, Ukraine, there is no room for bystanders. Theirs is a declaration of Western resolve.
There are definitely room for bystanders when the US dronestrikes so many civilians that children fear clear skies, though.
This is a new Europe in which there is no more in-between space. Countries are either protected by NATO or they are on their own against a Russia ruled by a man determined to assert Russia’s place on the world stage through force.
Who has more foreign military bases: the US or Russia?
“Putin climbed into a tree and does not know how to get down,” said Nicole Bacharan, a French foreign policy analyst. “Now he will face a NATO that is stronger and bigger and more determined.”
And it hasn’t done fucking shit. Well, other than kill thousands in Yugoslavia, but that well, like, defensive, or something. It’s just a vacuum sucking money from European governments into the US military-industrial complex. Sucks to be the countries within it, tbh.
- Russian war effort runs into diplomatic, military hurdles Yahoo
Its military bogged down in a grinding conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russia lost diplomatic ground over the weekend as two more European nations moved closer to joining NATO.
Basically copy-pastes the NYT article for a bit, then:
On Sunday, a Ukrainian battalion in the Kharkiv region, where Russian troops have been pushed back by a counteroffensive, reached the Russian border and made a victorious video there addressed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The video posted on Facebook by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense shows a dozen fighters around a post covered with blue and yellow, Ukraine’s colors.
One said the unit went “to the dividing line with the Russian Federation, the occupying country. Mr. President, we have reached it. We are here.” Other fighters made victory signs and raised their fists.
Congratulations, Zelensky! Russia is occupying a third of your country and turning your soldiers into paste. But wait - what if Russia’s force is turning into paste instead? Enter:
- Russia has likely lost a third of the invading force it started with in February, UK defence ministry says BusinessInsider
The article doesn’t really like, go into that figure at all. It’s basically just like “This a real and true fact that requires no further investigation into its credibility or how even Russia is still advancing in the Donbass if it’s lost several tens of thousands of soldiers and all its tanks or whatever.” In three months, if the war isn’t over by then, Russia will have alledgely lost all its soldiers and the entire army will be crewed by poltergheists.
- Russia Lost A Third Of Its Forces In Ukraine. Now It’s Losing The War. Forbes
Yeah, you get the idea.
- General Staff report: in some areas, the Russian units are equipped less than 20% Yahoo
Every five soldiers shares one gun. And a single toothbrush. And also Stalin is there, with a really big spoon.
- Putin ‘Detached From Reality,’ Made ‘Miscalculation’ in Ukraine: Tony Blair Newsweek
Thank you! All this time, I was waiting for the wisdom of a smart man. A true world leader who led us through tough times and to a brighter tomorrow. Now, with Tony Blair telling us that Putin has made a big mistake in starting a war, I can finally sleep easily knowing that the adults are truly in the room.
- Putin ‘Isn’t Rational,’ No One Could’ve Prevented Ukraine War: Ambassador Newsweek
“He wasn’t believing history. He wasn’t logical. He wasn’t rational. He isn’t rational. So, I don’t know how one prevents that,” she said on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live, while adding that Russia has faced sanctions from Canada since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. “I don’t think there was anyone who could stop Putin doing what Putin did,” Galadza added.
God, if only there were two agreements relating precisely to this conflict. It would really suck if Ukraine broke them both times. But, yeah, Putin’s moves are completely illogical.
- Russians confirm they are hitting Ukrainian targets with banned cluster and phosphorus weapons Security Service of Ukraine Yahoo
Holy shit! Really?! What evidence do we have?!
… an intercept of the invaders’ conversation by the Security Service of Ukraine:
“Yes, they are still waiting for Volodka (Putin -ed.). To get all this fcked up, he will withdraw the troops and fcking fire “Topols” here. And so, you see, everything that was forbidden by international conventions: cluster bombs, phosphorus – we were allowed everything, we let everything go there.”
“I cannot believe that I, a Russian inva– I mean, soldier, am carrying out illegal warfare techniques in a battlefield situation! I really hope that this conversation isn’t being recorded as I speak, and that it is used as evidence against Russia to amplify the sanctions and get more weapons to Ukraine!"
- NATO’s Stoltenberg says Russia’s Ukraine offensive not going to plan Reuters
Essentially: “Le cauldron hasn’t formed yet."
- Europe’s leaders fall out of key on Ukraine. JUICY cope in this one. Politico
In the latest installment of the Eurovision Song Contest, Europeans seized the opportunity to show solidarity with Ukraine and thumb their noses at Vladimir Putin.
Epically owning Putin by giving Nazi salutes and saying fascist slogans at the Eurovision Song Contest.
But away from the enthusiasm for Ukraine’s winning entry at that festival of campy pageantry, shallow symbolism and bad English, the Continent’s most powerful capitals have begun singing from a different song sheet.
After weeks spent fretting over what would happen if Russia crushed Ukraine, Western European leaders are now worried about what might happen if Ukraine actually wins. Ukraine’s recent success in pushing Russian troops out of some occupied territory has prompted leaders from France to Germany to Italy to conclude that a once-unthinkable Ukrainian victory is now a distinct possibility.
Even as European leaders sympathize publicly with Ukraine’s struggle and in some cases have gone to great lengths to support the country, they also fear that what French President Emmanuel Macron last week called a “humiliation” of Russia could create a whole new set of problems, Western officials say.
One big concern is that a Ukrainian win could destabilize Russia, making it even more unpredictable and putting a normalization of energy links further out of reach. That’s why some western European capitals quietly favor a “face-saving” resolution to the conflict, even if it costs Ukraine some territory.
Even as Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have said repeatedly it would be up to Ukraine to determine the conditions for a halt to hostilities, they’ve recently underscored their preference for a ceasefire, sooner rather than later.
Ukraine is winning so fucking hard that we might just have to give Russia Ukraine’s territory and provide a ceasefire to make Russia happy. This is distinguishable from a Russian victory, because uh, we said it is. Pure fucking idealism. Floating in the clouds. It just goes on like this. Like, they’re so clearly setting up the situation in which not only can they be like “Russia may have won but Ukraine put up a heroic defense and now we need to all pitch in to repair Ukraine” (which then never happens and the country is a mass graveyard of both people and infrastructure and 90% of its economy is agriculture, solely feeding Europe for when the climate destroys agriculture nearer the equator), but actually “Ukraine actually won the war, even if it cost them territory” in a sharp contrast to almost every single war waged throughout human history up until this point. Like, you can’t even say it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory because Russia has plenty of infrastructure to recreate any equipment it lost, and also the casualty figures are completely divorced from even an approximation of reality, so its manpower losses will be manageable. Westoids are so fucking propagandized that it’ll work too. God fucking damn it.
Ethiopia: Persistent Drought Result of Climate Change, Experts Say AllAfrica
Record number of dams removed from Europe’s rivers in 2021 Guardian
More than 200 barriers were taken down last year, helping to restore fish migration routes and boost biodiversity and climate resilience
- Is Elon Musk Right Or Wrong To Dismiss Hydrogen Use For Low-Carbon Energy Storage? Forbes
Last week, May 12, 2022, Musk said hydrogen “is the most dumb thing I could possibly imagine for energy storage.” This is not the first time, as Musk has made similar negative comments in past years. A few years ago, Musk told reporters that hydrogen fuel cells were “extremely silly.”
- California is in a water crisis, yet usage is way up. Officials are focused on the wrong problem, advocates say CNN
Newsom has pleaded with residents and businesses to reduce their water consumption by 15%. But in March, urban water usage was up by 19% compared to March 2020, the year the current drought began. It was the highest March water consumption since 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board reported earlier this week.
Kelsey Hinton, the communications director of Community Water Center, a group advocating for affordable access to clean water, said that urban communities — which typically get water from the state’s reservoirs — don’t seem to understand the severity of the drought in the way that rural communities do, where water could literally stop flowing out of the tap the moment their groundwater reserves are depleted.
But advocates say government officials are also focusing on the wrong approach. They say voluntary residential water cuts are not the solution, and that restrictions should be mandated for businesses and industries that use the vast majority of the state’s water.
“Corporate water abuse has to be addressed or no other measures will matter,” said Jessica Gable, a spokesperson for Food & Water Watch.
“The perception in California right now is it’s no secret any longer that drought is linked with climate change,” Gable told CNN. “But there has been no effort to curtail the industries that are using the most water, which are coincidentally the industries that are also sending out the most emissions that are fueling the climate crisis.”
How was CNN allowed to publish this by the American regime?
More Than 75% Of The World Could Face Drought By 2050, UN Report Warns PopularResistance
Energy Security Concerns Are Fueling A Renewable Boom OilPrice