What we need is a new Oracle of Delphi to help us predict recessions. Also, Europe epically owns Putler, the US fucks up the Summit of the Americas, and Putin’s dying of every disease known to man.

Link back to the discussion thread.


Europe

  • IEA: Europe Could See Energy Rationing This Winter Oil Price

Europe could be forced to start rationing energy this winter, starting with industrial uses of natural gas, especially if the winter is cold and China’s economy rebounds, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, told the Financial Times in an interview.

“If we have a harsh winter and a long winter and if we do not take [demand side measures] . . . I wouldn’t exclude the rationing of natural gas in Europe, starting from the large industry facilities,” Birol told FT.

The world faces a “much bigger” energy crisis than the one of the 1970s, Birol told German daily Der Spiegel last month.

“Back then it was just about oil,” Birol told the news outlet. “Now we have an oil crisis, a gas crisis and an electricity crisis simultaneously,” said the head of the international agency created after the 1970s shock of the Arab oil embargo.

  • European Central Bank will hike interest rates by 25 points and end its bond-buying program in July Business Insider

The European Central Bank said Thursday it will hike interest rates for the first time since 2011 at its meeting next month.

The bank said it intends to raise rates by 0.25 basis points and will end its bond-buying program on 1 July.

The ECB also left the door open for a larger hike in September, as it tries to bring soaring inflation under control.

  • EU greenlights Spain, Portugal plan to ease energy prices Seattle Times

The European Union has approved Spain and Portugal using billions of euros in state aid to help ease the burden of spiraling electricity prices on consumers in the Iberian Peninsula as Russia’s war in Ukraine exacerbates an energy squeeze.

The 8.4 billion euros ($9 billion) in aid – 6.3 billion euros ($6.8 billion) for Spain and 2.1 billion ($2.3 billion) for Portugal – is intended to help to pay the fuel costs of electricity producers. The European Commission, which polices state aid rules, is permitting the program to run for a year.

Spain and Portugal signed off on a temporary cap on natural gas prices last month in a coordinated move described by Portugal’s environment minister as an “unprecedented” bid to temper soaring energy prices and inflation.

The move approved in Brussels late Wednesday skirts EU common market rules, but the EU’s executive commission said it was permitting it, “recognizing that the Spanish and Portuguese economies are experiencing a serious disturbance.” It means that gas used for power generation will average just under 50 euros ($54) per megawatt-hour until May 31.

Ukraine

  • Ukraine To Halt Coal, Oil, Gas Exports Ahead Of Critical Winter Oil Price

Anticipating a winter season defined by severe energy crisis, Ukraine will halt all exports of coal, natural gas and oil, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address to the nation on Wednesday.

Ukraine produces natural gas, crude oil and coal but domestic demand exceeds supply by approximately 35%, according to the International Energy Agency.

This winter, Zelensky said, will be “the most difficult” in Ukraine’s history since independence from the Soviet Union, and all energy resources will be diverted for domestic consumption.

“In the current situation due to Russia’s aggression, this will indeed be the most difficult winter of all the years of independence,” Zelenksy said. “But! Everything is alright. We must go through it so that our people feel the normal work of the state.”

Russia

  • Insurance Ban Is The EU’s Biggest Blow Yet To Russian Oil Exports Oil Price

The EU’s embargo on 90 percent of all its oil imports from Russia by the end of the year made most headlines last week after the bloc reached a watered-down deal to ban most of Russia’s oil. But the much bigger blow to Russian oil exports that will have dramatic consequences on the global oil tanker market and oil prices comes from provision number two in the latest sanctions package—EU operators will be prohibited from insuring and financing the marine transportation of Russian oil to third countries.

With the UK set to join the insurance ban after the UK and the European Union agreeing to jointly shut off Russia’s access to oil cargo insurance, Russia will be effectively shut out of more than 90% of the global oil shipment insurance market.

The insurance ban is a much bigger deal than the actual EU embargo on Russian oil imports, as it would cripple Russia’s ability to export crude anywhere in the world, analysts say. Russian exports from its Arctic oil projects will be especially hit because of the higher risk of liabilities, they note.

Moscow struck a defiant tone, and Dmitry Medvedev, a former president and now deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, said earlier this week that Russian tankers that cannot get insurance would be provided with state assurance under Russia’s trade agreements with other countries.

For some buyers, this may not be enough. For most ports in the world, this certainly will not be enough because most of the ports do not allow tankers to dock unless they have full insurance coverage, including insurance from the UK-based International Group of P&I Clubs, which handles 95% of the tanker insurance market and consists mostly of UK, U.S., and European insurers.

This is it. Europe has finally owned Russia. How will Putin cope? Keep this article in mind when you reach the India subsection.

  • Russia ramps up oil exports to Asia RT

Russia has boosted oil exports from the major eastern port of Kozmino to Asian countries by about a fifth, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The facility is close to the city of Nakhodka, which is about 80km south of the regional capital, Vladivostok.

According to the news agency, Russia’s Transneft has increased the amount of crude pumped to Kozmino via its main Asian oil route, the East Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline, by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd). Transneft has reportedly used chemical additives to speed up oil flows, the unnamed sources said.

Chinese and Indian companies have stepped up purchases of Russian crude over the past three months, eager to take advantage of discounted rates. Statistics show that Russian oil exports to India jumped by nearly 25 times in May compared to the same period of last year.

  • Microsoft scaling down business in Russia RT

US software giant Microsoft said on Wednesday it was making substantial cuts to its business in Russia, joining the latest exodus of international businesses from the country amid Moscow’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine.

“As a result of the changes to the economic outlook and the impact on our business in Russia, we have made the decision to significantly scale down our operations in Russia,” a Microsoft spokesperson said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

The rise of Linux!

  • West pushing Moscow toward ‘artificial’ default – Kremlin RT

Western countries are trying to engineer an artificial default in Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday. There is no reason for the country to renege on its obligations, he added.

During a briefing with journalists, Peskov was asked whether the recent EU sanctions against Russia’s central securities depository, which the Finance Ministry used to make payments on Eurobonds, was an attempt to push Moscow to fail on its foreign-debt obligations.

“The West, indeed, is pushing [the Russian Federation] to default. We should explain, however, that this would be an artificial default. This would be a man-made default, because there are no grounds for Russia’s default, absolutely none at all,” Peskov responded.

  • New law targeting LGBT propaganda introduced in Russia RT

Russian lawmakers are considering a new law targeting LGBT propaganda. It would provide for fines of up to $160,000 for promoting non-traditional sexual relations. The draft legislation was submitted to Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday and is currently being reviewed by the state-building and legislation committee.

It proposes to amend an existing administrative law, which prohibits propaganda promoting non-traditional sexual relations among minors. The new law would pronounce parts of the old legislation obsolete and impose administrative responsibility for LGBT propaganda in general.

An explanatory note attached to the document notes that “family, motherhood and childhood in their traditional understanding, which comes from our ancestors, are the values that ensure the continuous change of generations, act as a condition for the preservation and development of a multinational people, and therefore need special state protections.”

United Kingdom

  • Britain recruiting nurses from third of the world’s most short-staffed countries Morning Star

New recruits to the nursing workforce include those from 47 countries including Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana who, according to the World Health Organisation, face severe workforce shortages of their own.

The analysis comes weeks after the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirmed almost half of all new recruits were from overseas in the most recent 12 months.

  • Authority shaken, Boris Johnson pitches new plan for UK economy Reuters

Rocked by a major revolt against his leadership this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Thursday promise to rejuvenate a flagging economy and make it easier for young people to buy homes.

Johnson will pledge “fiscal firepower” to help ease a worsening cost-of-living crunch for households, in his first policy speech since Monday’s vote of confidence in which 41% of his own lawmakers voted against him. Previous Conservative prime ministers who did better in such votes have been subsequently ousted.

  • US gas prices hit fresh high of nearly $5 a gallon as UK sees record equivalent to $8.60 Business Insider

Asia and Oceania

  • China-Laos-Thailand railway has already ‘exceeded expectations’ Thaiger

Former Thai Deputy PM Pinit Jarusombat believes the extension of the China-Laos Railway into Thailand “has exceeded expectations” and will eventually provide the kingdom with a number of investment and business opportunities.

The China-Laos Railway, which opened only six months ago, connects Kunming in China with the Laotian capital Vientiane and stretches out around 1,035 kilometres.

The route has delivered more than 4 million tonnes of freight as of the end of May, handled over 3.2 million passenger trips, and goods have been delivered to 21 Chinese regions since December last year.

The former deputy PM says the China-Laos route has provided a new logistics boost for Thailand’s future trade with China.

China

  • China’s exports surge on easing COVID curbs, trade outlook still fragile Reuters

China’s exports grew at a double-digit pace in May, shattering expectations in an encouraging sign for the world’s second biggest economy, as factories restarted and logistics snags eased after authorities relaxed some COVID curbs in Shanghai.

Imports also expanded for the first time in three months, providing welcome relief to Chinese policy makers as they try to chart an economic path out of the supply-side shock that has rocked global trade and financial markets in recent months.

  • World Bank revises China’s economic forecast Asia News

The World Bank has revised its economic forecast for China down to 4.3 percent this year, from a higher expectation of 5.1 percent in December, amid COVID-19 outbreaks and changes in the global environment, according to a report released on Wednesday.

  • John Tamihere: China has every right to korero with our Pacific brothers and sisters and not be sneered at NZ Herald

An article by John Tamihere, who is “a former Labour cabinet minister and chief executive of Whānau Ora and West Auckland Urban Māori organisation Te Whānau o Waipareira.” I quote in full:

Stop criticising the alleged naivety of our Pacific and Melanesian whānau as they enter into possible trade agreements with China, it’s none of our business.

This is a masterclass in diplomacy as the Chinese do not arrive in battleships, guns blazing conducting brief, forceful conversations. They are not known in our area of the world as expansionists by the way of military colonisation.

What the Chinese have done is treated each Pacific and Melanesian nation as a sovereign nation and entered into arrangements with them, not as second-class citizens like we do, but as counterparts.

I’m talking about the way the United States, Australia and New Zealand treat our Pasifika neighbours.

In any diplomacy, you have to have mana on both sides of the covenant. This is clearly evident between us and China given they are our largest trading partner, with 32 per cent of New Zealand’s exports going there. Our free trade agreement with China has been the most successful trade agreement in our history, derived from high-quality goods, demand and a mutually respectful relationship.

Aotearoa is well ahead in trade exports and earning two-thirds of what we project by value. In 2021 we transported $5 billion more to China in exports than we did imports, so our balance of trade is well in advance and in our favour. The Chinese free trade agreement we have had since 2008 will never be mirrored by America or Australia because they won’t agree to lowering their tariffs on our products. Guess who is cutting the better deals around the globe, that’s right, the Chinese are.

Our so called “mates” in the Five Eyes never even identified there was a looming issue that we should have been competitive with. So just to beat up on the Chinese for doing business with sovereign nations is just racism. It can’t be anything else.

The fact is no Asian man or woman has ever been racist to me, the only people who have been are white folk. The Chinese are respectful and the trade they do with us is outstanding.

The Australian economy is dependent on exports to China with 40 per cent of their foreign earnings derived from China. If it wasn’t for the Chinese, the Aussies would have some major problems. As would we. But why do we blackguard this country? The narrative is almost always the nasty Chinese and the nice Yanks and Aussies. The evidence doesn’t stack up.

We saw the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meeting with Pacific leaders from eight nations negotiating different agreements that include infrastructure, tourism, trade, technological advancement, climate change, economic recovery and ongoing Covid-19 relief.

These deals have given China access to hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of ocean space. Our Pacific whānau makes them the most powerful in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere, solely because of their exclusive economic zone 200 miles out from each island. That is another master stroke of these agreements, the access China now has to fishing stocks. So overnight a major trading partner of ours had dialogue with sovereign Pacific and Melanesian nations and honoured them. And now we’re siding with the United States and Australia, collectively upset at this despite knowing that for the past 20 years China have practised chequebook diplomacy.

I just don’t like the stilted narrative that China is always the bad guy and I don’t buy it because I don’t see the evidence in it.

I’ll lower myself for a moment to acknowledge the media reports that China is allegedly buying voting support from the Pacific with military and security intentions in their backyard. None of that matters because any sovereign nation has a right to determine its own foreign policy and its own destiny. Meanwhile, they have been taken for granted and mistreated by the rest of us.

When was the last time the Americans, Australians and Kiwis entered into trade agreements with our Pacific neighbours? When you treat people as second-class citizens in your so-called area of interest, why is it so bizarre that they enter into their own trade relationships like we did in 2008? Why is it that those eight Pacific nations are currently being “manipulated” yet we weren’t? So it’s okay for the US, Australian and Aotearoa to engage in free trade agreements with China but it’s not okay for the Pacific and Melanesian nations?

Finally, Aotearoa cannot be drafted without our sovereign consent into any play by Australia or the US. The Australians buying nuclear-powered American submarines demonstrates that they may as well be the 51st State of the USA. Gone is the Anzac brotherhood, it is a myth.

It is about time we shaped our own foreign policy rather than being dragged along by others.

India

  • India is trying to strike new crude-oil deals with Russia — but Russia’s oil giant Rosneft doesn’t have any extra oil left, report says Business Insider

Russian oil giant Rosneft doesn’t appear to be short of customers.

Russia’s top oil producer is holding back on signing new six-month contracts with two Indian state refiners because it has already committed supplies to other buyers, Reuters reported on June 8, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter.

“They are saying they don’t have volumes,” one of the sources told Reuters. The source described Rosneft as being “non-committal” about signing new deals.

The development points to demand for Russian oil even amid hard-hitting sanctions and boycotts against the country over its invasion of Ukraine.

God, European leaders are such fucking morons. So incompetent they can’t even STOP buying commodities right.

  • India’s plan to remove old, polluting vehicles faces challenges Al Jazeera

India’s plan to remove millions of older polluting cars from its roads in an effort to clear some of the world’s most toxic air looks set to face several challenges with a new survey showing the majority of vehicle owners aren’t interested in trading in their automobile based on age.

Indonesia

  • Indonesia launches scheme to speed up palm oil exports Bangkok Post

Indonesia has launched an export acceleration scheme aimed at shipping at least 1 million tonnes of crude palm oil and derivatives following a recent export ban, according to a Trade Ministry regulation made public on Thursday.

The regulation is effective immediately and the acceleration scheme applies until July 31.

Sri Lanka

  • Electricity cuts hit Sri Lanka as key union goes on strike Al Jazeera

About 900 of approximately 1,100 engineers of the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board are on strike, stalling operations.

Swaths of Sri Lanka have been hit by electricity cuts after a power sector union went on strike in protest against new government regulations, compounding hardships as the country tackles its worst economic crisis in decades.

Japan

  • How Putin’s Spooking Japan Further Away From Pacifism WaPo

Bombed-out and poverty-stricken after World War II, Japan disbanded its military and renounced war, devoting its efforts instead to economic development under a pacifist constitution. More than seven decades later, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spooked Prime Minister Fumio Kishida into pledging a substantial increase in defense spending, which has long been only about half the target set for its Western counterparts.

While the country spends more than 5 trillion yen ($37.6 billion) a year on defense, the ninth-largest budget in the world in actual size, it refers to its 138,000-strong military as the Self-Defense Forces. Those forces, founded in the 1950s, boast impressive equipment including light aircraft carriers, fighter jets and ballistic-missile defense systems. But there are strict rules about what the SDF is allowed to do, and its right even to exist under the US-drafted pacifist constitution has been called into question by scholars. One of the founding principles of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party was to revise that document, which it still hasn’t done seven decades later. The party has laid out proposals to add a reference to the SDF.

Japan and the US became formal allies after World War II, meaning Japan has been sheltered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella amid growing threats from neighboring China and North Korea, and now renewed tensions with Russia. Tens of thousands of US troops are also based in Japan and subsidized by the Japanese taxpayer.

The role of the SDF was initially limited to fending off any invasion. Japan began making changes after it was accused of “checkbook diplomacy” during the 1990-91 Gulf War for contributing $13 billion to the U.S.-led effort but no troops. It subsequently took part in UN peacekeeping operations as well as sending non-combat troops to the second war in Iraq on a reconstruction mission. The past few years have seen closer military cooperation with a range of partners, including Australia and the UK. Each step toward becoming a “normal country” has been met with unease, both in and outside Japan, as there have been waves of confession and denial in the country over its past aggression in Asia. But Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions this year seem to have changed domestic views. Kishida’s decision to break with tradition by sending military equipment, albeit nonlethal, to Ukraine met little resistance.

Although Japan isn’t a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the ruling LDP has called for meeting the alliance’s target for defense spending, which is 2% of gross domestic product. That would mean doubling the military budget, which would probably make Japan the third-largest military spender in the world after the US and China. The cabinet has approved an economic plan to bolster defenses over a five-year period without specifying figures. (NATO member Germany, Japan’s World War II ally that nurtured a pacifist streak afterward, also made a radical policy shift after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, deciding to drastically raise its defense spending.)

As the world’s most heavily indebted nation, Japan may struggle to pull together the resources amid the ballooning cost of supporting its elderly population. While public opinion is broadly behind some increase in outlay, polls show voters don’t necessarily want a large rise. It’s also unclear how the money would be used. The LDP advocates obtaining long-range, counter-strike capability, but former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has also called for an improvement in pay and conditions for SDF members, as the government struggles to find enough recruits. The debate comes as Japan revises the documents that define its security and defense strategy.

China, which has seen its own defense budget soar, would be critical of any plan to beef up Japan’s military. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi’s hints last year that the existing 1% spending cap could be abandoned drew condemnation from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who said Japan should reflect on the fact that it had “inflicted untold sufferings on the people in Asia” and accused Tokyo of advocating an arms race. South Korea, which also frequently clashes with Japan over its history of colonialism, is in a more complex position as a fellow-ally of the US. South Korea’s new, conservative president has expressed hopes of reconciling with Japan. While Japan has apologized for past misdeeds, Japanese officials have triggered diplomatic flare-ups over the years by downplaying, defending or challenging the evidence of wartime abuses such as the 1937-1938 Rape of Nanking and visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which honors military leaders convicted as war criminals after WWII.

  • As the yen hits a 20-year low against the dollar, Japan’s central bank chief apologizes for saying consumers have become ‘tolerant’ of higher prices Business Insider

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Wednesday retracted his claim that Japanese consumers have become tolerant of price increases for the goods they purchase — a remark he made as the country’s buying power weakens with the yen at a two-decade low against the US dollar.

“My expression that households are becoming more tolerant of price rises was utterly inappropriate, so I will retract it,” Kuroda said in parliament, according to the Financial Times. Kuroda first apologized for his remark on Tuesday.

Kuroda’s retraction occurred on the same day the yen fell to a new 20-year low against the dollar below ¥134. The greenback during Wednesday’s session was up 1.3%, buying 134.29 yen. A strong dollar and a weakened yen make goods more costly for Japan to import.

Middle East

Iran

Former Trump administration official Mike Pompeo yesterday falsely accused President Biden of going back to “old policies” that purportedly empower the Iranian government. It is rich, coming from one of the officials most responsible for unraveling hard-fought international restraints on Iran’s nuclear program, and when all of the sanctions that Pompeo pushed and authorized remain in place under Biden.

Perhaps the former secretary of state has failed to keep up with current events. Biden did campaign on breaking with former President Trump’s Middle East strategy — pledging to make Saudi Arabia a pariah for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and to restore the Iran nuclear agreement that Trump abandoned. Yet now, as his administration scrambles to bring down soaring oil prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the president’s advisers are reportedly pushing for Biden to reverse his commitments and bend the knee to the Saudi Crown Prince while allowing the window to close on restoring the Iran deal for fear of political blowback.

As a result of Biden continuing Trump and Pompeo’s approach, Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold power. In the absence of a restored nuclear agreement, Iran has now produced a “significant quantity” of uranium enriched to the 60 percent threshold. If Iran decides to enrich that stockpile further, it would soon have enough weapons grade material for a nuclear weapon. Likewise, Iran has already responded to the passage of an IAEA Board of Governors censure resolution over Iran’s stonewalling of questions into its past nuclear work by shutting off the agency’s cameras at some nuclear sites. Adding to concerns, Israel’s Air Force recently conducted a massive war game with over 100 aircraft simulating a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Instead of moving swiftly to restore the deal early in 2021, Biden’s cabinet nominees began implying that Iran must first return to its commitments — which it began abrogating one year after Trump pulled out of the accord — and suggesting that the United States would consult with partners around the region and seek a “longer and stronger” deal. While talks to restore the agreement did finally get underway in April 2021, they did not reach the finish line before Iran’s June presidential elections produced a new hardline administration that was deeply skeptical of negotiations with the United States. While talks with the new Iranian leaders finally picked up again late last year, they have snagged on the Biden administration’s unwillingness to lift poison-pill sanctions that the Trump team imposed for the explicit purpose of creating political hurdles for Biden to restore the agreement.

While it is still theoretically possible for Biden to snatch diplomatic victory from the jaws of defeat, Biden has ruled out the symbolic concession that would be most likely to break the months-long diplomatic impasse. Biden has reportedly said he will not lift the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, seemingly under any circumstance. The designation, quite literally planned to undermine Biden’s diplomacy, gains the United States nothing as Biden officials themselves have argued. But they have allowed it block a restoration of the agreement, regardless.

Turkiye

  • Turkey’s Erdogan warns Greece to demilitarize Aegean islands Yahoo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned Greece to demilitarize islands in the Aegean, saying he was “not joking” with such comments.

Turkey says Greece has been building a military presence on Aegean in violation of treaties that guarantee the unarmed statues of the islands. It argues that the islands were ceded to Greece on condition that they be kept demilitarized.

Greece argues that Turkey has deliberately misinterpreted the treaties regarding armed forces on its eastern islands and says it has legal grounds to defend itself following hostile actions by Ankara including a long-standing threat of war if it extends its territorial waters.

Erdogan’s warning comes amid a new escalation in tensions between the NATO allies that have a history of disputes over a range of issues such as mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea.

UAE

  • OPEC+ efforts to boost oil output ‘not encouraging’, UAE minister says Reuters

Efforts by OPEC+ oil producers to boost output are “not encouraging”, UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Wednesday, noting the group was currently 2.6 million barrels per day short of its target.

“According to last month’s report, we have seen the conformity (to output cuts) of the OPEC+ group and the conformity was more than 200%,” Mazrouei told an energy conference in Jordan.

Conformity above 100% means a country is producing less than what it is supposed to be as OPEC+ looks to gradually remove its production curbs.

Africa

  • Food Security and Russo-African Relations NEO

Africa is definitely an underreported region in this conflict, let alone outside it, and when it is discussed, the western media ventriloquizes African countries by concern-trolling about “millions starving due to Putin’s war” (of course, the millions starving before Putin’s war were just unfortunate factors of reality and all we can do is put commercials on the TV asking individual people to donate to charity). So I’m gonna quote the whole article here.

On June 3, talks were held in Sochi between the current president of the African Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Vladimir Putin. Macky Sall flew to Russia on a one-day visit and only for the sake of meeting with the Russian president. The head of the African Union Commission, M. Faki Mahamat, also flew with him to Sochi. He did not fly to Kiev as many had assumed, but returned to the African continent to participate in the activities of the West African sub-regional integration association ECOWAS.

Leaving the negotiating hall, Macky Sall said that he was “calmed by and very pleased with the exchange of views.” He also said he found the Russian president “committed and aware that the crisis and sanctions are creating serious problems for such weak economies as those in Africa.”

Immediately after the end of the visit, the media in the West called this visit “a diplomatic victory by Putin,” without much explanation as to what was meant. Attentive observers, however, immediately understood what had happened. It is, of course, not that a lone African president flew to Russia, thereby marking the “isolation” of our country proclaimed by the Western world as non-existent. Western leaders themselves have been in constant contact with the Russian president, in what is ostensibly known as “cutting off all the phones.” The French president frankly admitted that since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, he has spent 100 hours in negotiations with Vladimir Putin.

The reason behind the Western media quite rightly assessing this as a diplomatic victory for the Russian president is completely different. It consists in the policy of the West being defeated (because if there are winners, then there are also losers). First, to proclaim Russia as the culprit behind the looming famine in the world, about which so much has been written in recent months, and to connect it with Russia’s operation in Ukraine. And, second, if you do not provoke a large-scale famine on the planet, then at least launch this process.

In recent months, the United States and its satellites in Europe have gone out of their way to prove to Africans that Russia is an aggressor and the culprit for it being impossible to organize the export of 20 million tons of wheat from Ukraine that is urgently needed by developing countries, primarily African nations. The Russian president, who had previously stated that this was not true, on the eve of Macky Sall’s visit, gave a detailed interview in which he showed the groundlessness of the accusations against Moscow. Not twenty, but only around 5-6 million tons can be exported from Ukraine, which doesn’t affect the world grain market. Yet, there are no obstacles to it being exported from Russia, despite the West trying to make allusions to the contrary. Moreover, Vladimir Putin spoke in detail about five ways to export grain from Ukraine, but noted two important conditions: the lifting of sanctions against Russia and the demining of the Black Sea in the Odessa Region by those who mined it – that is, by the Ukrainians themselves.

But Putin’s diplomatic victory isn’t only the persuasiveness of Moscow’s arguments, turning into dust all of the anti-Russian propaganda accusing Russia of “organizing a famine.” But also that Africans themselves are becoming more and more convinced that the goal of the US and the EU is not to provide Africans with food, but to remove an extremely inconvenient competitor from the African continent. The Senegalese president himself showed dignity and courage to publicly say that the main problem today isn’t Russia blocking grain supplies (Moscow provides up to 30% of Africa’s needs and Ukrainian grain provides up to half), but the presence of sanctions against Russian banks, cutting them off from SWIFT, the boycott of Russian ships, their exclusion from European ports, and the unwillingness to insure them. He began saying this even before his visit to Moscow, when speaking before the EU Commission on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, headed by the well-known Josep Borrell, famous for his anti-Russian and Russophobic statements.

Even worse for Europeans and all those trying to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia is that Macky Sall’s position actually reflects the real approach of the entire African Union and its member countries to the crisis in the food market. It is well understood here that the Ukrainian conflict affects the state of food markets, but at the same time, the main reason for its growth is Western policy itself, thoughtlessly and irresponsibly imposing sweeping sanctions on Russia.

African leaders cannot help but see something else. In addition to climate change and droughts, which hit, first of all, the Horn of Africa and the Sahara-Sahel region, there are more systemic problems. They consist of extremely unfavorable conditions for the provision of financial services by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to African countries, including for the development of agriculture: these are high interest rates and short terms for providing loans to an industry where business margins are low and payback is extremely doubtful in a changing climate. The West, despite its repeated promises to African countries to reform the World Bank and the IMF, does not make significant indulgences for Africans, as this would undermine their dependence upon them. Hence the hysteria by the US and the EU regarding Russia’s alleged guilt.

Yet, it is getting harder and harder to blame the health of the initiators of the anti-Russian campaign. Therefore we need to talk about President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic victory. That’s the real truth.

Sudan

  • Sudanese farmers warn of failing harvests as hunger rises Reuters

On the fertile clay plains of Sudan’s Gezira Scheme, farmers would have normally started tilling the soil weeks ago before planting out rows of sorghum, or peanuts, sesame and other cash crops.

Instead, in a country stalked by sharply rising hunger, swathes of the 8,800 square km (3,400 square mile) agricultural project lie untouched.

Farmers who spoke to Reuters say the government, which has been cut off from billions of dollars in international financing following a coup in October, failed to buy their wheat under promised terms earlier this year.

That, they say, means they did not have the money to fund the new crop now.

Zimbabwe

  • Zimbabwe: Govt Leaning to Russia As Others Shun Moscow for Invading Ukraine AllAfrica

As much of the world is shunning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Zimbabwe this month hosted Russia’s third highest ranking official. Analysts say Zimbabwe is looking to Russia for fuel as well as cooking oil and wheat that it used to get from Ukraine, while Russia has its eyes on Zimbabwe’s minerals.

During a visit to Zimbabwe last week, Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko, chairperson of the Federation Council of Russia, said Moscow would improve trade relations between the two countries given that the West was shunning them.

Alexander Rusero, who heads international relations studies at Africa University in Zimbabwe, says the nation’s ties with Russia are both ideological and historical.

He says the relationship goes back to when Russia supplied arms to the now-ruling ZANU-PF party as it fought for Zimbabwe’s independence in the late 1970s.

Russia later vetoed proposed U.N. sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2008, when President Robert Mugabe won re-election through vote-rigging and heavy-handed intimidation.

“And given the realities that Zimbabwe is perceived as a pariah state, it is perceived as an outpost of tyranny by the Western international community, by the United States which is currently in an antagonistic relation with Russia, so Zimbabwe historically and ideologically will be leaned more to Russia and China than the Western international community,” said Rusero.

Harare-based independent political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya says Russia has an interest in Zimbabwe’s minerals, such as gold and platinum.

North America

United States

  • Freeport LNG plant blast adds to strain on global supplies Reuters

Freeport LNG, operator of one of the largest U.S. export plants producing liquefied natural gas (LNG), will shut for at least three weeks following an explosion at its Texas Gulf Coast facility, raising the risk of shortages especially in Europe.

Freeport LNG, which provides around 20% of U.S. LNG processing, disclosed the shutdown late on Wednesday after appraising damage to the massive facility.

U.S. natural gas markets fell as traders anticipated the outage would lower domestic demand.

The market impact spread on Thursday to drive European gas prices up to a fifth higher as traders feared lost U.S. shipments would stress a market already struggling with reduced Russian supplies.

  • This chart explains why the US will avoid a recession, according to JPMorgan strategists Business Insider

It’s a chart of consumer deposits. Whatever. We’ve seen this argument repeated a hundred times already, regardless of its validity.

  • Famed economist Robert Shiller says there is a ‘good chance’ of a recession—it’s a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ Fortune

Yes, it’s yet another recession prediction. And, this time, the bearish outlook is coming from one of the most respected economists in the world.

Nobel laureate and Yale professor Robert Shiller said in a Bloomberg interview on Wednesday that he believes there is a “good chance” the U.S. will experience a recession sometime over the next few years.

The odds? A “much higher than normal” 50%, he noted.

Our chief astrologist has noted that Mercury is in gatorade and this portends recession. However, our Most Esteemed Haruspex has looked through the eagle entrails and says that the shape and color of the liver indicates that a recession is still years away. And then we consulted the Ball Of The Holy Eight, which gave us the answer: “Ask again later”

  • How Long Will The Era Of $5.00 Gasoline Last? Forbes

A radio host asked me this week how long I thought the era of $5.00 gas at the pump would last. I replied that it would likely last as long as it takes for the price to rise to $6.00 per gallon. It was not a facetious reply.

AAA reported Thursday morning that the average national U.S. price per gallon of regular gasoline had reached a new record high of $4.97, on the verge of topping the $5.00 mark for the first time in the nation’s history. Whether the crossing of that key threshold happens on Friday or over the weekend, it will inevitably happen soon.

  • America’s Clean Tech Industrial Revolution Is Underway, Thanks To President Biden Forbes

Sort of like a New Deal, but climate-oriented, or green. Not sure what you would call that.

The United States’ economy is finally rebounding after two years of pandemic turmoil, yet still we face compounding challenges. Volatile energy prices, inflation (largely caused by rising fossil fuel prices), and global supply chain disruptions make everyday transactions slower and more expensive, exacerbating energy burdens for more households. Meanwhile, unchecked climate change threatens lives and livelihoods.

President Biden acted decisively to fight these intersecting challenges by boosting America’s clean energy supply chain, ensuring national energy security, and alleviating immediate pressures with a long-term shift in the industry’s course. These actions will ensure our economy prospers today and in the future.

Biden’s two-year suspension of anti-circumvention tariffs on solar panels provides the solar industry, investors, and consumers with the certainty needed to continue a rapid solar buildout—critical to solving climate change. Offering this near-term reprieve creates breathing room to ramp up domestic production of solar and other clean energy technologies—something the Senate has failed to do.

Invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies, including solar, heat pumps, and electrolyzers, supports the goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 along with widespread electrification of zero-carbon transportation, buildings, and industry. Finally, by setting new federal procurement targets, the administration ensures a growing market for new, clean technologies.

Ensuring access to low-cost clean energy technologies for all Americans will fight inflation and reduce energy costs, while bolstering our country’s energy security and global competitiveness.

At its peak in the late 1970s, American manufacturing accounted for a little more than 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) and supported 19.6 million jobs. Today, U.S. manufacturing accounts for around 11% of GDP and 12 million jobs. Domestic manufacturing’s decline stems from myriad factors, including several economic recessions, shifts in global market dynamics, and policy decisions that led companies to offshore their operations—between 1990 and 2011 the U.S. manufacturing sector lost one out of every three jobs.

The upside of this trend was the abundant availability of cheaper consumer goods and the scaled production of clean energy technologies, which helped reduce costs at a faster than anticipated pace. The downsides were far more substantial: Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. has lost nearly 7.5 million manufacturing jobs while entire communities were shuttered and impoverished.

Reinvigorating U.S. manufacturing requires smart policy action now— and time is of the essence. Securing the raw material supply chain, training a skilled labor force, and navigating the operational logistics of increasing production takes a few years at minimum.

I’m confused as to what makes you think that the economic market forces that propelled industry out of the West and towards Asia have now been reined in, and that the US can just choose to bring back all its factories now. Did Biden manage to find the big button that brings back domestic industry hidden in the Oval Office that has evaded all presidents for the last few decades because he dropped his ice cream and looked under the desk?

Climate change and volatile fossil fuel prices mean those are years we don’t have. President Biden’s decisive action this week will accelerate clean energy deployment and expand the domestic clean energy supply chain.

Suspending any potential anti-circumvention tariffs on solar panels for two years will empower the U.S. solar industry to continue developing and sustaining hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, while still upholding trade law. This temporary suspension will provide the solar industry with the certainty it needs to keep growing and preserve jobs, even as the DOC’s investigation continues.


Military

The Ukraine War


Climate and Space

  • As climate catastrophes multiply, Republicans rethink denialism WaPo

Each day seems to bring us a zombie step closer to the climate apocalypse.

Drought in the West. Fires in the Southwest. Power outages coming to the Midwest. Monkeypox and other strange diseases spreading. Food prices soaring. Migration and crime exploding. Giant spiders arriving with young that can parachute from the sky. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration going full Lake Wobegon, forecasting a seventh consecutive “above-average” hurricane season.

And, to top it all off, there’s a freaking cheeto in the White Hou– oh. right. nevermind.

It might feel as if The End Is Near. But fear not: House Republicans are swinging into action.

After a quarter century of Republican climate denialism, The Post’s Maxine Joselow and Jeff Stein revealed this exciting news last week: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plans to unveil a strategy Thursday outlining how Republicans would address climate change, energy and environmental issues.”

But there were just a couple of small problems with the resulting two-pager put out by the House GOP “Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force.” The strategy didn’t, er, actually mention the word “climate.” Neither did it make any commitment to decreasing greenhouse-gas emissions. The only indirect acknowledgment that climate change is even a thing was a call to mine more rare minerals of the sort used in batteries. And the strategy included a gusher of proposals to boost oil and gas production.

In fairness, the man in charge of the Republican task force, Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), says the group plans to outline a fuller climate-change strategy later this year. In an interview, he told me that “global emissions as a result of our strategy would go down more than they would under Biden,” who has set a target for cutting U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030. No climate denier, Graves also said he wants to “try and change the trajectory and try to hit that 1.5 C target” — the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It would be an extraordinary achievement if Graves could persuade his fellow Republicans to undergo such a sea change on climate — and I wish him gigawatts of power as he attempts it. For now, his colleagues continue to operate under what might be termed the R.E.M. climate policy: It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

  • WalMart expands transportation partnerships with electric, hydrogen vehicle pilots Reuters

Retail giant Walmart Inc on Wednesday said it was expanding transportation pilots with manufacturers of electric, hydrogen and natural gas-powered vehicles, including Cummins Inc and Daimler Truck’s Freightliner.

The partnerships, which are in addition to previously announced transportation tie-ups, are part of Walmart’s 2040 goal to achieve zero emissions across its global operations, including its fleet of roughly 10,000 tractors and 80,000 trailers.

A larger number of companies have been pushing into the growing commercial EV space in an effort to slash emissions. But Walmart’s U.S. senior vice president, Fernando Cortes, cautioned the company was in the early phase.

“We’re still in the testing stage and trying these technologies,” Cortes said. “We know that for us to decarbonize our fleet, there’s no one solution that can get us really to scale and that’s ready to give us that future that we want.”


Dipshittery and Cope

  • Philanthropy can help protect against climate change Seattle Times

Philanthropists could help ease the damage from climate change by donating more money to address global warming and the communities most at risk from it, according to a report that the research organization Candid released Wednesday.

“There can be huge climate value-for-money in supporting communities to address the inequalities that are causing their climate vulnerability,” Heather McGray, of the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, says in the report, ” Centering Equity and Justice in Climate Philanthropy.” “But it only works if success is defined as reducing the overall harm of climate change, not just reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Candid’s Camarena said the climate crisis requires the same wide range of small, creative solutions that philanthropic donors used to help combat COVID-19. And she said she believes there’s reason for optimism that those changes can be achieved.

Excuse me, what solutions did philanthropic donors come up with for covid-19? It was a complete fucking disaster in every respect.

“In the wake of both the reckoning of COVID inequities and the wake of the racial reckoning with the murder of George Floyd, many foundations changed their value statements and posted notices about how they support racial equity, and in some cases even racial justice,” she said. “Climate justice aligns very well with that, as funders think about not just putting the words on a website but how to operationalize those words.”

United States

  • Bernie Sanders Should Run for President a Third Time Jacobin

This has already been discussed at length in the dunk tank, so I’ll just link that post.

  • US asks if China, Russia favor their ties over world security with North Korea vetoes Inquirer

The United States on Wednesday questioned whether China and Russia had elevated their “no limits” strategic partnership above global security by vetoing more U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches.

I agree. I even think we should sanction the country that has launched the most ballistic missiles and especially the most nuclear missiles, for their role in undermining world security, whatever country that happens to be.

“We hope these vetoes are not a reflection of that partnership,” senior U.S. diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis told a meeting of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in response to the vetoes in the Security Council two weeks ago.

“Their explanations for exercising the veto were insufficient, not credible and not convincing. The vetoes were not deployed to serve our collective safety and security,” said DeLaurentis, addressing the assembly after China and Russia.

China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership in February, nearly three weeks before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Their vetoes on North Korea publicly split the U.N. Security Council for the first time since it started punishing Pyongyang with sanctions in 2006.

During a right of reply in the General Assembly later on Wednesday, Chinese diplomat Wu Jianjian said China categorically rejected “presumptious comments and accusations against China’s voting position.”

“China’s vote against the U.S.-tabled draft resolution was entirely reasonable and justified,” Wu said. “Continuing to increase the sanctions against DPRK (North Korea) would only make the likelihood of political solution even more remote.”

NOOOOOOOOOOO! If we had just sanctioned the DPRK one more time, they would have collapsed! I can’t believe China did this! We were so close!

Russia

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will drag its economy back to 2007, wiping out 15 years of gains, finance experts say Business Insider

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will wipe out 15 years of economic growth in Russia, according to an influential association of finance experts.

The prediction was made by the Institute of International Finance, a collective made of representatives from global finance firms. It was reported Wednesday by the Reuters news agency.

The group cited several repercussions from the invasion that would hit Russia’s finances hard. It estimated the damage would drag the economy back to around its size in 2007.

The group predicted that Russia’s economy would contract by 15% in 2022 and a further 3% in 2023.

Wow, and Russia already had a GDP the size of Italy! They must be screwed! I think it’ll be interesting to see the West increasingly come to terms with the fact that the Big Money Number isn’t necessarily a reflection of a country’s economic, political, or military power.

  • Putin unexpectedly postpones his annual phone marathon for the first time in 18 years Business Insider

President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly postponed his annual phone marathon on Wednesday, the first time in 18 years.

Putin has held the “Direct Line” dial-in session for Russian citizens to fire questions at him each year since 2001, only missing it once, in 2004.

Speaking to the state-run TASS news agency on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov gave no reason for the change and said the dial-in wouldn’t happen in June.

Somewhere between two and three million Russians try to talk to Putin during the phone-in each year, according to TASS. Past “Direct Line” events have run for more than four hours.

In recent months, Putin has missed several routine events.

In April, Putin’s annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly was postponed and has not been rescheduled, The Moscow Times reported. Last month, Putin didn’t turn up at an annual ice hockey game in Sochi even though he was expected to play.

Those have been accompanied with speculation, pushed by Ukrainian intelligence, that Putin is unwell.

In May, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, told Sky News that Putin has cancer, without providing evidence, a claim that has also been made by an anonymous oligarch close to the Kremlin.

Okay, I have a theory. And I know this will seem completely bonkers and off the wall, but just hear me out for a second. The reason he’s missing these events… might be because he’s busy with the Ukraine War and the economic hurricane it’s set off? Actually, never mind, it can’t be that. He probably has turbocancer.

  • Russia unexpectedly poor at cyberwar—European military heads Inquirer

I swear I’ve also seen articles about how amazing Russia’s electronic warfare technology has been in Ukraine and further abroad. However, the good news is now that Russia has been confirmed to be terrible at cyber warfare and hacking, that means that it’s impossible for Russia to have hacked the 2016 election, so Russiagate is finally discredited and liberals will definitely shut up about it now! Otherwise there would be a contradiction and liberals would be doublethinking, and that’s only what Chinese and Russian and North Korean people do because of their 1984 government social credit -72,000,000,000,000 animal farm orwell!

  • With New Tactics, Ukraine Can Break Russia’s Black Sea Grain Blockade Forbes

In the American Civil War, Southern rebels used all manner of subterfuge to try and break a tight naval blockade and threaten Union shipping at sea. Today, the Ukrainian government can employ similar tactics to harass and, potentially, sink or disable Russian vessels in the Black Sea and beyond.

You know your strategy is good when you begin by appealing to the strategies of a civil war a century and a half ago.

By raising the costs on the Russian blockading force and the Russian Navy, Ukraine has the potential to break the Russian blockade—a first step towards getting much-needed grain and fertilizer into world markets. Russia has about twenty military vessels in the Black Sea, and just a handful of those are relevant in terms of enforcing a blockade. For Russia, attrition at sea really matters.

Military employment of civilian vessels is a proven tactic. During the U.S. Civil War, the Confederate Navy often used sleight-of-hand to arm itself at sea. The notorious southern commerce raider, CSS Florida, was built in England as a merchant ship called Oreto. Upon leaving England, the ship promptly changed its name and used at-sea transshipments to convert itself into an armed commerce raider, commissioning into the Confederate Navy. Several other ersatz raiders followed.

Similar tactics can work today, setting the stage for a far more kinetic effort at opening the Black Sea. Ironically enough, Ukrainian diplomats might even find the task of building an improvised navy even easier than it was back in the 1860s. Today, utility and cargo vessels can be bought and sold in an instant, with their ultimate ownership effectively hidden in a nest of front companies. Antiship and basic anti-air systems are far more portable than heavy civil war cannons, and, at sea, these systems—Stingers, Switchblades, rockets and missiles—can be passed from one ship to another without much notice.

Tugs, fishing-boats, and even barges can be modified easily to hide all kinds of improvisational armament, endowing almost any platform with the delightful capability to scare, harass, and even sink Russian vessels—almost anywhere in the world. Those countries that have the most to lose from Russia’s illegal attack upon the world’s breadbasket should rush to quietly slip Ukrainian volunteers the floating assets necessary to discomfit Russia’s maritime presence.

I’m confused as to how this addresses the actual reason why the grain can’t leave Ukrainian harbours - which is that they mined the sea and thus the civilian ships can’t safely leave. I feel the media has ignored this crucial detail before it started studying 19th century anti-blockade naval tactics.


Good Takes that are Dope

  • Longer-Range Missiles Could Also Mean Longer-Range Suffering for Ukrainians Common Dreams

The U.S. may be finding itself in a paradoxical position in which the increasingly advanced weapons it is sending Ukraine may be undercutting the goal of pursuing a diplomatic end to the war.

Putin says that the U.S. and UK announcements demonstrate the intent of the West to pursue “the sole objective of stretching out the armed conflict as long as possible.” Furthermore, he has warned that “if it now comes to rockets and they are supplied, we will draw conclusions from that and employ our weapons that we have in sufficient quantities to strike those facilities that we are not attacking so far.”

Lavrov went further, warning that “the longer the range of weapons you supply, the farther away the line from where [Ukraine] could threaten the Russian Federation will be pushed.”

Ignoring this may not only risk prolonging the war, but it also risks imperiling Ukrainians with further violence and may ultimately be counterproductive to the West’s own goals.

Biden recently quoted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying that “ultimately this war ‘will only definitively end through diplomacy.'” He then provided a long list of U.S. weapons being sent to Ukraine. Biden then squared the two statements by explaining that, “every negotiation reflects the facts on the ground. We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”

Ignoring the Russian warnings against U.S. provision of long range missiles may be counterproductive to that stated goal.

The CNN report says one of the potential frameworks being discussed for a negotiated settlement is a four-point Italian proposal, calling for Ukraine committing to neutrality and not joining NATO, security guarantees for Ukraine, and negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on Crimea and the Donbas.

This proposal sounds a lot like earlier proposals Ukraine and Russia were apparently discussing with some promise. One of the tragedies of this war would be if it were prolonged only to arrive at the same settlement that could have been brought about many months, and many deaths, ago.

  • Keep Your Guns and Batons Away From My Pride Parade Jacobin

The participation of cops at Pride events has always been controversial. Now, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the uprising that followed, more local Pride march planning boards are reexamining how they involve police. This year parade planners have chosen to ban police officers from marching in uniform in cities across the United States, including Philadelphia, New York City, and San Francisco — decisions that have led to heated debates within LGBTQ communities as well as pushback from politicians.

In San Francisco, police officers were initially told they could march in the city’s Pride parades dressed in civilian clothing representing their department, just like any other work-based group, but that they had to ditch their official uniforms (and guns). Unsatisfied with the prospect of marching out of uniform, the police department announced that it would boycott the parade, and Mayor London Breed joined them. Breed’s statement argued that Pride parade organizers were hypocrites: “We can’t say, ‘We want more Black officers,’ or ‘We want more LGBTQ officers,’ and then treat those officers with disrespect when they actually step up and serve.” Within a couple weeks, San Francisco Pride buckled to the pressure and reversed their decision.

Pride events are often corporate-sponsored and watered down to begin with, which leads many on the queer left to write them off as lost causes. But the co-optation of Pride isn’t inevitable and doesn’t have to be accepted. The queer left should loudly and proudly reject the participation of armed and uniformed cops marching at Pride. The world we envision won’t be achieved with more LGBTQ officers. We want to rethink the role of police in our society — and our own history and experiences teach us why.

he American LGBTQ rights movement has its origins in the struggle against criminalization and police violence. While well-off queer people tended to socialize and cruise in private homes and exclusive clubs in the twentieth century, working-class queers typically only had access to public places like bars and parks, leaving them much more vulnerable to police harassment. If harassment, brutality, and humiliation weren’t punishment enough, LGBTQ people who were arrested could find their name printed in the local newspaper, a practice that often constituted a direct threat to their employment.

Transgender people endure especially harsh treatment: they’re seven times more likely than cisgender people to be physically assaulted by the police, are frequently assumed to be sex workers, and are routinely mistreated by police, from verbal harassment to persistent misgendering. An anti-loitering law in New York has been so overexploited as a pretext to profile transgender people that it has been nicknamed the “walking while trans” ban. And we must remember that LGBTQ lives have been lost at the hands of police violence. It was only days after George Floyd’s murder that Tony McDade, a black trans man with a history of mental illness, was shot by an officer who had turned off his body camera.

Prison is a miserable place for anyone, and LGBTQ people are extra likely to end up behind bars and face high rates of abuse in prison. Nearly half of black transgender people are incarcerated during their lifetimes, and roughly one in five youth in juvenile facilities identify as LGBTQ. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, “Being LGBTQ in a U.S. jail or prison often means daily humiliation, physical and sexual abuse, and the fear that it will get worse if you complain.”

We can all agree that there are queer cops, and well-meaning cops, who want to use their position to actually make our communities safer. But the institution of policing encourages so much widespread abuse that it overshadows those good intentions. As Alex Vitale writes in his book The End of Policing:

“Modern policing is largely a war on the poor that does little to make people safer or communities stronger, and even when it does, this is accomplished through the most coercive forms of state power that destroy the lives of millions.”

The overpolicing of LGBTQ communities is in part due to personal homophobia but also due to the fact that most queer and trans people are poor and/or working class — whether that is defined by income, job status, or education. More than a third of LGBTQ adults are struggling just to pay their bills. Young LGBTQ people, often facing rejection from their families, represent a shocking 40 percent of homeless youth. This pushes them toward “criminalized behaviors such as drug sales, theft, or survival sex, which increase their risk of arrest and detainment.”

Of course, LGBTQ people suffer the consequences of crime too. But aggressive policing is a failed strategy to resolve the social problems that drive crime in the first place — and as the recent mass shooting in Uvalde grimly illustrates, neither can police be counted on to provide the safety we expect from them. A real war on crime would be, as John Clegg and Adaner Usmani write, “equivalent to the task of building a large, redistributive welfare state that takes from the rich to give to the poor.” This means building a fighting labor movement in this country, which would necessarily be arranged against police officers who break strikes (as seen on the recent Hunts Point Teamsters picket line) and suppress union organizing drives (as seen in the arrest of Amazon organizer Chris Smalls).

The fight over whether or not to allow uniformed police into Pride parades may seem to some like a purely symbolic one. But challenging the identitarian notion that queer cops represent progress is an important part of reclaiming the radical, transformative politics of queer liberation from what too often amounts to a single-issue movement devoted to winning inclusion into the very institutions that stand in the way of real justice. We don’t need more queer cops. We need to build a whole new infrastructure of public safety that isn’t rooted in punishment and violence.


Bloomerism and Hope

  • ALBA secretary: Summit of the Americas is ‘failure,’ US ‘empire is losing its power’ Multipolarista

This is an interview with Ben Norton (who runs Multipolarista) and the secretary of the Bolivarian Alliance, Sacha Llorenti. Video and transcript in the article.

  • Summit Of The Americas, Another Nail In The Coffin Of Monroe Doctrine Popular Resistance

A few hours before the inauguration of the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, the Biden administration had not yet been able to publish its guest list for the event.

This is the second time the US is hosting the Summit, the first time was the first Summit held in Miami back in 1994. The objectives proposed for this ninth edition of the Summit are to focus on the creation of a regional agreement on migration and the formulation of a post COVID-19 economic recovery strategy.

However, according to an analysis published by Xinhua, the main concern in this edition of the Summit will not be the usual lack of consensus in the region but, rather, the absence of several regional leaders who will not participate.

The article discusses the history of the US in the region, then:

Although the decline of US hegemony will not be a quick process, the current boycott of the 9th Summit of the Americas will likely serve to create a consensus in the region that will insist that not a single country should be denied a “seat at the table” by the US, simply because it disagrees with its government.

This is, therefore, another nail in the coffin of the Monroe Doctrine. A burial that is progressing slowly but steadily.


Link back to the discussion thread.