Link back to the discussion thread.



  • Ukraine Seeks New IMF Deal to Boost Its War-Ravaged Budget Bloomberg

Ukraine must clinch a new loan program with the International Monetary Fund, the country’s finance chief said, as efforts to fight off invading Russian forces push its budget and international reserves to the limit.

Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said Kyiv needs more foreign aid from its longstanding donor, and preliminary discussions on a new assistance package are under way. His statement followed an appeal by central bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko, who called last week for a new deal with the Washington-based lender.

“Now we are having preliminary discussion with the IMF team in a way to have a new program, because we really need it,” Marchenko said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio on Thursday. “Now we are deciding on what basis it can be prepared, because it’s very uneasy for us and for the IMF team to prepare a very sophisticated macro-financial structure, macro-financial forecast by the end of this year.”

  • Cholera and other diseases could kill thousands in Ukraine’s Mariupol - mayor Reuters

Cholera and other deadly diseases could kill thousands of people in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol as corpses lie uncollected and summer brings warmer weather, its mayor said on Friday.

Mayor Vadym Boichenko said wells had been contaminated by the corpses of people killed during weeks of Russian bombardment and siege, and that the collection of bodies by the city’s Russian occupiers was proceeding slowly.

Might be because there’s so fucking many of them. The reports out of Mariupol are pretty grim.

“There is an outbreak of dysentery and cholera. This is unfortunately the assessment of our doctors: that the war which took over 20,000 residents … unfortunately, with these infection outbreaks, will claim thousands more Mariupolites,” he told national television.

Boichenko, who is based outside Mariupol, said the city had been placed into quarantine.

Boichenko, who said last month that the Russian bombardment had turned Mariupol into a “medieval ghetto”, said residents had been forced to drink water from wells because the city had no running water or functioning sewerage system.

This person has repeatedly lied about the conditions in Mariupol because we can clearly see his claims refuted by people like Patrick Lancaster, who is/was actually in the city, so I don’t know if the disease outbreak is real, or if it is real, how bad it actually is.

  • Russian-held Ukraine region scheming to sell grain to North America Reuters

Authorities in a part of Ukraine seized by Russia are using “cunning schemes” to avoid Western sanctions and sell grain to North America and other parts of the world, Russian state-run RIA news agency reported on Friday.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from the territories Moscow occupied since launching what it calls a special military operation in February. The war threatens to cause severe food shortages as Russia and Ukraine account for about 29% of global wheat exports.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the administration in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, was quoted by RIA as saying grain was also being sold to Middle Eastern and African nations.

“They are afraid of sanctions but nevertheless buy our grain with joy - of course, through intermediaries and cunning schemes,” RIA quoted Rogov as telling Russian television.


  • Fanfare and fireworks to open Russia-China border bridge BBC

Russia and China have opened a new cross-border bridge, which constructors say will cut the travel distance of Chinese goods to western Russia by 1,500km (930 miles).

  • West-nurtured “monster pet” Zelensky begins to bite his masters — Russian Foreign Ministry TASS

“Everyone in the West is already tired of Zelensky. To put it in a nutshell, he is the limit, he is pretty close to making them lose temper. There is a certain type of people who tend to be so intrusive you begin to feel a nagging toothache, because they pester you with requests and don’t let you forget about them even for a moment. They (the West - TASS) now have a different attitude towards him: they’ve realized at last that they have nurtured a monster pet, who is beginning to devour them slowly but surely,” Zakharova said in an interview uploaded to the Vovan and Lexus channel on Rutube.

Zelensky has developed the delusion, she said, that the West will “cancel” any person the Ukrainian president will point at. “In his own imaginary world, he begins to build a global agenda and to embed himself into that agenda. I am sure that he is absolutely certain he rules the globe,” Zakharova said.

“In other words, they understand that they have grown a monster who is now in the captivity of his own illusions. True, in some respects, he may pay off, but in many others he is so certain about his omnipotence that he has begun to annoy them,” she concluded.

  • Russia restores interest rate to February mark RT

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) slashed its key interest rate on Friday from 11% to 9.5%. The regulator noted that inflation in the country shows signs of easing.

The regulator also stated on Friday it expects annual inflation to be 14%-17% this year, before dropping to between 5% and 7% in 2023, and returning to its 4% target in 2024.

There were discussions in the last megathread about how this is probably too conservative and that the interest rate should be decreased much further.

  • ‘It takes two to tango’, but West ‘breakdancing alone’ RT

Meanwhile, China is doing the macarena.


  • Gasoline prices in Netherlands hit all-time high RT

Prices at the pump in the Netherlands have soared to record highs, driven by the growing cost of oil, according to data by Dutch consumer group UnitedConsumers.

The retail price for a liter of gasoline is currently at €2.50, data showed. It was reaching €2.505 per liter at the pump. The cost of gasoline rose by 0.2 cents per liter, compared with that recorded on March 10. The price of diesel has also increased, to €2.22 per liter on average.

By my math, that’s almost $10 per gallon.


  • Heatwave in Spain to drive temperature above 40C in parts of country The Guardian

Through the second half of this week, heat has gradually built across Spain, encouraging temperatures to reach widely 35-40C. Across central and southern parts they are forecast to rise even further this weekend. On Saturday temperatures are expected to exceed 40C in places and it will be the joint earliest heatwave since records began, tied with a heatwave that started on 11 June 1981. Records such as this are commonplace now, and more will be broken for decades to come as our atmosphere continues to hold increasing amounts of heat.

In northern Africa and the Middle East, 50C is a common threshold to be broken during summer. However, this year the city of Al Jahra in Kuwait experienced this temperature threshold broken on 4 June – early compared with a normal year. The heat that has lingered across northern Africa throughout the week continued to bring temperatures into the low 50s celsius, and then pushed north into Spain through the latter half of this week. This is in large part due to a mass of very warm subtropical air, alongside high pressure centred over the Atlantic coinciding to allow for the warm air mass across Africa to be brought up on the southerly flow.

United Kingdom

  • Rail Strikes to Cost UK Economy Almost £100 Million, Cebr Says Bloomberg

Rail and underground strikes due to hit the UK for three days later this month could cost the economy almost 100 million pounds ($125 million), with London dealt the biggest blow.

That’s according to analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which estimates around 250,000 people will be unable to work on June 21, the first day of action when the mass walkout is set to have the greatest impact.


  • France in no mood to make concessions to Russia, presidency says Reuters

France is unwilling to make concessions to Russia and wants Ukraine to win the war against Moscow’s invading forces with its territorial integrity restored, a French presidential official said on Friday, as Paris seeks to assuage concerns over its stance in the conflict.

President Emmanuel Macron has been criticised by Ukraine and eastern European allies after published interviews on Saturday quoting him as saying it was vital not to “humiliate” Russia so that when the fighting ends there could be a diplomatic solution.

“As the president has said, we want a Ukrainian victory. We want Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be restored,” the official told reporters when asked about Macron’s humiliation comments.

  • Emmanuel Macron Vowed to End Homelessness — but His Policies Made It Worse Jacobin

Weird. I had hoped that pragmatic and sensible policy could result in a better future for all of us, but now I don’t know what to think. Maybe we need to do even slower and more incremental change?


  • Tanker to pick up crude oil for Italy’s Eni arrives in Venezuelan waters Reuters

An oil tanker chartered by Italian oil company Eni SpA (ENI.MI) to carry 650,000 barrels of diluted crude oil supplied by Venezuelan state-run PDVSA arrived on Friday in Venezuelan waters, according to a document from the state-run firm.

The crude cargo will be the first for Eni following an authorization issued last month by the United States allowing the resumption of an oil-for-debt deal that had been halted by the Trump administration in 2020.


  • Germany warned of ‘difficult autumn’ and ‘tough winter’ RT

Germany should brace for a difficult autumn and winter due to skyrocketing prices, as the country pushes for independence from Russian energy, German Vice Chancellor and head of the Ministry of Economy Robert Habeck said on Friday in Berlin.

“As for the support of the people who need it, I clearly indicated what is ahead of us and what is already partially a reality… we are facing a very difficult autumn and a very tough winter,” he said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

Habeck made the prediction as he presented a new energy saving initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). Berlin is planning to replace Russian coal and oil by the end of the year and stop importing Russian gas by 2024, and is struggling to find alternative energy sources. According to the vice chancellor, energy prices are already extremely high and “many people will get significantly higher bills than usual” in the upcoming heating season.

“For this reason alone, saving energy is urgently needed, and I know that many are already looking at where they can save something, especially when they have to watch every cent anyway,” he said.

  • Falling Prices Help Germany Stock Up On Gas Ahead Of Next Winter Oil Price

Now that the winter season ended, Germany has started the process of filling its natural gas storage sites via auctions. As prices have declined and are in contango, Europe’s biggest economy has managed to fill just over half of its gas storage capacity so far.

EU member states are now required to reach a minimum 80% gas storage level by November 1 to protect against potential interruptions to supply. In 2023, the target will be raised to 90% full gas storage by November 1.

With day-ahead prices now at a huge discount to prices for the winter months, Germany is coping well with procuring gas so far, contrary to earlier doubts from the industry, Bloomberg reports.

Germany depends on Russian gas—mostly via the Nord Stream pipeline—for nearly 40 percent of its supply. It looks to reduce dependence on Russian supply but has acknowledged it would need a few years to become completely independent. The German industry in the biggest European economy has warned that a halt in Russian gas supply now would be “catastrophic.”


  • US wants Serbia to ditch Russian gas RT

The US hopes that Serbia will not extend its gas contract with Russia for another decade, according to Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser for energy security at the US Department of State, as quoted by TASS.

The White House is reportedly planning to offer the Balkan nation an alternative source of gas supply in the near future.

“Okay, look, one of our LNG facilities in Texas just exploded. And your gas supplies will have to be shipped across an entire ocean rather than a much shorter pipeline route from Russia. However, I must insist."

  • Serbia shrugs off pressure from Germany to join EU sanctions on Russia Reuters

Serbian President Aleksandar Vuvic appeared to rebuff pressure from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday for Serbia to join European Union sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying he did not believe sanctions to be “efficient”.

Scholz, who is on a two-day tour of the Western Balkans, said that as an EU membership candidate, Serbia should join the bloc in its measures against Moscow, which all its members were required to follow.

Asia and Oceania


  • Japan Hoping for Unlimited Clean Energy With Giant Ocean Turbine Newsweek

A Japanese company is set to drop an enormous machine into the ocean to generate power that, in theory, is unlimited.

To harness this tidal power, Japanese engineers at Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI Corporation) have built a 330-ton tidal power plant called Kairyu. It consists of a 66-foot central cylinder with two more on either side of it which both have 36-foot turbine blades attached to them.

When operational, Kairyu will be attached to the ocean floor by cables to keep it in place. It will then use the force of the water currents around it to turn the turbines which will generate power. This can then be transferred into Japan’s national power grid.

The company has been working on the machine for years, and in February this year completed a three-and-a-half-year test off of Japan’s southwestern coast, Popular Mechanics reports.

IHI estimates that it could one day be possible to generate roughly 205 gigawatts of electricity from the tides around Japan, which would be about enough to meet all the country’s energy needs. But there’s a long way to go.

Kairyu, though huge, is capable of generating 100kW of power. This isn’t much when compared with the average onshore wind turbine that has a capacity of 2.5 to 3 MW or more than 6 million kWh a year—enough to power 1,500 average European households with electricity, according to the European Wind Energy Association.


  • The US’s top energy advisor urges India not to buy too much Russian oil — and says Moscow’s revenues are now higher than before the war Business Insider

The US’s top energy advisor has asked India not to buy too much Russian oil, and warned the Asian country to be careful not to look as though it’s taking advantage of the fallout from the invasion of Ukraine.

Amos Hochstein, US special envoy for energy affairs, told senators Thursday that Russia is now making more money from oil and gas exports than it was before the war, thanks to the jump in prices.

India has swooped in to fill some of the gap. Around 800,000 barrels per day of Russian oil exports have been redirected from Europe to India, Rystad Energy analyst Claudio Galimberti told Insider, helping the country’s overall exports hold steady.

Hochstein told the Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation he has spoken to Indian officials on the subject. He said the country was previously importing just 100,000 barrels per day.

  • Record India Power Demand Stokes Concern of Blackouts Rebounding Bloomberg

India’s electricity demand has soared to new records, raising fears that blackouts that had eased in recent weeks could return.

Peak electricity use jumped to a record 210.8 gigawatts on Thursday, surpassing the previous record clocked a day before, data from country’s grid operator shows. The power ministry expects demand to rise to as high as 220 gigawatts this summer and is pushing power plants to import coal to be able to supply that much.

Soaring temperatures and rising industrial activity have boosted sales of electricity this summer, pressuring domestic supplies of coal, which generate about 70% of the country’s power. Power plants have been loath to import the fuel after seaborne prices jumped to record levels after Russia invaded Ukraine, exacerbating the supply squeeze.

“The high power demand scenario is here to stay,” said Rupesh Sankhe, vice president at Elara Capital India Pvt. in Mumbai. “We either brace for higher power prices on account of expensive coal imports or risk facing blackouts.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was on an official visit to India from June 8 to 10, during which he held talks with Dr. S. Jaishankar, the Indian external affairs minister. This was his first visit to India since assuming office in August 2021 and comes at a crucial juncture amid geopolitical churn not only in the region but across the globe.

The official statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs highlighted the exchange of views on important issues like the Iran nuclear deal, the Ukraine conflict, and the situation in Afghanistan. India “appreciated the role of Iran in facilitating India’s medical assistance to Afghanistan, including supply of COVID-19 vaccines to Afghan nationals residing in Iran.” In addition, all bilateral issues including cooperation in the field of regional connectivity and the progress made at the Chabahar port were reviewed. Exuding confidence at the outcome of the visit, the Iranian foreign minister said that “preparing a roadmap for strategic cooperation between Iran and India can regulate long-term relations and protect it from the impact of destructive factors.”

  • Anger Erupts in Bangladesh, India Over Comments About Islam The Diplomat

Thousands of people marched in Bangladesh’s capital and in parts of India on Friday to urge Muslim-majority nations to cut ties with India and boycott its products unless it punishes two governing party officials for comments deemed derogatory to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

The protesters in Dhaka also criticized their country’s government for not publicly condemning the comments made last week by the two officials in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party.

One official has been suspended and the other expelled after the BJP denounced insults of religious figures, but protesters in Bangladesh and India said the actions were not enough.


  • Consumers stunned by rising food, energy prices Jakarta Post

Middle East

  • US Congress proposes anti-Iran alliance RT

The US should support Israel and nine Arab countries in establishing an integrated air defense system to counter Iran, according to a proposal by 10 members of Congress from both parties made public this week.

Dubbed the Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act, the bill would authorize the Pentagon to cooperate with Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to develop and deploy integrated air and missile defenses against the alleged threat posed by Iran.

Can we please stop with the stupid acronyms?

The bill enjoys the support of 10 lawmakers from both political parties. Democrats Jacky Rosen (Nevada), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and James Lankford (Oklahoma) have introduced it in the Senate. Meanwhile, Democrats Brad Schneider (Illinois), David Trone (Maryland), and Jimmy Panetta (California) joined forces with Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington), Ann Wagner (Missouri), and Don Bacon (Nebraska) in the House of Representatives.


  • Textile industry set to unravel under Pakistan’s power crisis Iraqi News

Pakistan’s textile exports are set to dramatically dip as the sector is hobbled by a nationwide energy crisis forcing daily power cuts on factories, with an industry leader warning about “a state of emergency” for the manufacturing hub.

The South Asian nation is in the midst of a dire economic crisis, with runaway inflation, a depleted rupee and dwindling foreign exchange reserves hampering energy imports.

Meanwhile a heatwave has caused a surge in electricity demand, leaving a shortfall of over 7,000 megawatts — one-fifth of Pakistan’s generation capacity — on some days this month, according to government figures.

  • Pakistan increases defence budget to Rs 1,523 bn; hikes spending by 11 per cent IndiaTV


  • Explained: Turkey’s battered economy and Erdogan’s attempts to fix it MEE

The Turkish lira’s steady fall against the US dollar continues, with $1 currently buying more than 17 liras - the lowest rate in the last six months.

Meanwhile, annual inflation has risen above 70 percent, the worst since 1998.

Raising interest rates is often seen as a tool to reduce inflation but the Turkish government insists on keeping interest rates low and promoting exports as a way to tackle the crisis - but the trade deficit still continues to grow as energy prices hike up globally.

While the opposition and several economists keep calling on the government to increase interest rates in order to prevent the lira’s fall, Erdogan ruled out such a move in a speech on Monday, stating that “this government will not increase interest rates”.

Instead, Erdogan put forward two reasons for the high living costs: the large volume of dollars in deposit accounts and Turkey’s overreliance on imports.

Erdogan has also repeatedly promised that his government will take necessary steps to protect low-income citizens and prevent lira deposit accounts from being exchanged for dollar ones.

To this end, the minimum wage was doubled in January, while state employees received a nearly 30 percent increase in their salaries with a further raise promised in July.

Furthermore, the government introduced a measure in December aimed at stopping the dollarisation of deposits within Turkey by guaranteeing that savings accounts in lira will collect the same return as as forex markets. And if the forex markets drop below the official interest rates, the investor will still get an official interest rate return. This was intended to lure in investors without increasing interest rates.

Despite this, savings in foreign currency in Turkish banks have increased by 80 percent since June 2021, 15 percent more than lira, according to the Central Bank.

Saudi Arabia

  • US seeks full reset with Saudi Arabia, effectively moving on from the murder of Jamal Khashoggi CNN

Senior US officials have conveyed to Saudi Arabia that the US is prepared to move forward with a “reset” of the relationship, and effectively move on from the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in order to repair ties with the key Middle East ally, senior US officials tell CNN.

The planning for a reset is a dramatic about-face for President Joe Biden, who came into office vowing to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over Khashoggi’s murder. His administration also released an intelligence report last year that directly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of orchestrating Khashoggi’s killing.

But officials say Biden, who is under immense pressure to crack down on Russia and lower domestic gas prices amid inflation that’s rising at the fastest pace since 1981, has set aside his moral outrage to pursue warmer relations with the Kingdom amid the dramatic global upheaval spurred by the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Saudi Arabia Cuts Oil Volumes To China For July Oil Price

Saudi Arabia will ship lower-than-nominated crude oil volumes to some of its Chinese buyers in July, but will provide most other Asian customers with all the crude they have requested, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing refinery officials in Asia.

Many buyers in Asia have asked for more Saudi crude oil for July as barrels from the Middle East are cheaper than those from the North Sea and the U.S. because of a drop in the Dubai/Oman benchmark compared Brent and WTI benchmarks. The oil going to Asia from the Middle East is priced off the Dubai/Oman benchmark.

The Saudis will not fully meet all Chinese requests but will supply all the volumes and even extra barrels to some customers in India, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, Bloomberg’s sources say.

China and India, however, continue to buy Russian oil, and India is even reportedly seeking more of it in order to take advantage of the cheap crude, which sells at record discounts. Currently, the flagship Russian grade Urals sells at a discount of $30 a barrel or more to Dated Brent.


  • Israeli satellite shows ‘disabled’ Damascus Airport RT

The Syrian authorities on Friday said the Damascus International Airport temporarily suspended operations due to “technical disruptions,” just hours after a massive airstrike blamed on Israel. An Israeli satellite company showed photos of severely damaged runways and claimed the airport has been “completely disabled.”

All flights have been suspended for at least 48 and some traffic is being rerouted through Aleppo, AFP reported, citing an airport employee who wished to remain anonymous.

Israel has repeatedly targeted Syria with missiles, usually fired from the Golan Heights or from Lebanese airspace, wary of air defense systems provided by Russia to Damascus. On the rare occasions that Israel has acknowledged the attacks, its government said it was exercising preemptive self-defense against the Iranian presence in Syria.


  • Climate: Africa’s energy future on a knife’s edge Iraqi News

With more than half its population lacking mains electricity and still using charcoal and other damaging sources for cooking, Africa’s energy future –- torn between fossil fuels and renewables — is up for grabs.

As nations discuss the climate crisis at the UN’s mid-year negotiations in Bonn, AFP spoke to Mohamed Adow, founder of think tank Power Shift Africa, about the forces pulling the continent in opposing directions. The stakes, he warns, are global.

“Africa is home to 17 percent of Earth’s population but accounts for less than four percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions and only half-a-percent of historic emissions. The continent emits less than 1 tonne of CO2 per person, compared to seven in Europe or China, and more than 15 in the United States.

“My continent is at a crossroads with two possible futures. Africa can become a clean energy leader with decentralised renewables powering a more inclusive society and a greener economy, or it can become a large polluter that is burdened with stranded assets and economic instability.

" […] It is important to acknowledge that climate-induced migration is a threat. As climate impacts increase, people in Africa — where almost all agriculture is rain-fed — will be forcefully displaced from their land.

“In wealthy nations, that is seen mostly as a security issue. But this is a humanitarian disaster in which people are already losing lives, homes and livelihoods.

“The only way to prevent climate-induced migration in the long-run is to reduce carbon pollution at the scale needed.”

“Last month German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during a three-day tour of Senegal, said his country wants to ‘intensively pursue’ projects to develop and import Senegal’s huge gas reserves. Germany, of course, has been especially dependent on Russian gas.

“So now Europe wants to shackle Africa with new fossil fuel infrastructure that we know will be redundant within a few years, not to mention self-harming for the continent. And lest we forget: gas from Africa will emit the same amount of emissions as gas from Russia.”

“I think the majority of African nations recognise the tremendous opportunity that renewables present for job creation, innovation, reduced air pollution and sustainable industrialisation. But this majority is a silent majority — they have not yet leveraged their moral voice to make a case for a cleaner, sustainable Africa.

“There are some leaders. My country, Kenya, is currently powered by 90-percent renewable energy and has set a target of 100 percent by 2030.”


  • Algeria suspends friendship treaty with Spain over Western Sahara Euro News

The Algerian president’s office announced on Wednesday that the North African nation was “immediately” suspending a two-decade-old friendship treaty with Spain.

It was the latest blow to increasingly wobbly relations between Algiers and Madrid, which depends on Algeria for a large part of its natural gas supply.


  • Eastern forces in Libya expand oil blockade MEE

A blockade of Libyan oil output by groups aligned with forces in the east of the country expanded yesterday and today with the closure of two more export terminals, a threat to close another, and reduced production at a major field, engineers said, according to Reuters.

Tribal leaders said they would halt oil production in southern and central Libya until UN-backed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh hands over power to the government of Fathi Bashagha who was appointed by the eastern-based House of Representatives.


  • Rising prices heap more pressure on ordinary Zimbabweans Africa News

Zimbabweans are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate has shot up from 66% to more than 130%, according to official statistics. The war is blamed for rising fuel and food prices.

In Zimbabwe, the impact of the Ukraine war is heaping problems on the already fragile economy. The war “coupled with our historical domestic imbalances, has created challenges in terms of economic instability seen through the currency volatility and spilling over into price volatility,” Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told Parliament in May.

Teachers “can no longer afford bread and other basics, this is too much,” tweeted the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe in early June. The three largest teachers' unions are demanding the government pay their salaries in U.S. dollars because their pay in local currency is “eroded overnight.”


  • In an Attempt to Wrestle Away Land for Game Hunters, Tanzanian Government Fires on Maasai Farmers, Killing Two Inside Climate News

Tanzanian security forces fired gunshots at Maasai farming communities on Friday during what appears to be an eviction operation aimed at clearing land for the establishment of a game-hunting preserve, according to witnesses, photographs, videos and non-governmental organizations familiar with the situation.

“The government is willing to defy the court injunction, grab the ancestral land of the Maasai and hand it over to the royal family of the UAE for their hunting pleasures, indicating its ruthless disregard for its citizens, international law, and due process,” Mittal said in a written statement, referring to the UAE-owned Otterlo Business Company, which the Oakland Institute says has a license to run commercial hunting operations on the land at issue.

North America

United States

  • U.S. inflation unexpectedly accelerates to 40-year high of 8.6% Fortune

U.S. inflation hit a fresh 40-year high in May, unexpectedly accelerating in a broad advance that pressures the Federal Reserve to extend an aggressive series of interest-rate hikes and adds to political problems for the White House and Democrats.

The consumer price index increased 8.6% from a year earlier, Labor Department data showed Friday. The widely followed inflation gauge rose 1% from a month earlier, topping all estimates. Shelter, food and gas were the largest contributors.

The so-called core CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy components, rose 0.6% from the prior month and 6% from a year ago, also above forecasts.

The figures dash any hope that inflation had already peaked and was starting to simmer down. Record gasoline prices, paired with unrelenting food and shelter costs, are exerting strong pressure on Americans’ cost of living, suggesting the Fed will have to pump the brakes on the economy even harder. That raises the risk of a recession, which some economists already saw as likely next year.

  • The average gas price in the US hits $5 for the first time NPR

  • Americans have never felt this bad about the economy Business Insider

Americans' economic pessimism hit a new all-time-low in June.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index cratered to 50.2 from 58.4 in an early June reading, according to a Friday report. That reflects the lowest level since regular monthly data collection began in the late 1970s. The print also landed well below the median forecast of 58.1 from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The decline was powered by worsening sentiments across the board. The university’s index for current economic conditions deteriorated to 55.4 from 63.3, while the measure for consumer expectations sank to 46.8 from 55.2. Not only have Americans had it with today’s economy, they aren’t very hopeful that things will get better.

Forty-six percent of surveyed consumers linked their pessimism to elevated inflation, Joanne Hsu, director of the university’s Surveys of Consumers, said in the report. That’s up from 38% in May and the second-largest share since 1981, when inflation last trended so high.

The Friday report paints a bleak picture for the future of the economic recovery. Consumer spending counts for about 70% of economic activity, making it a crucial ingredient for bringing the US back to pre-pandemic health. Yet continuously rising prices risk curbing the spending spree.

The Federal Reserve is also raising interest rates at the fastest pace in 22 years. As borrowing gets more expensive, shoppers tend to slow their spending and shift more toward saving their cash.

  • President Biden Looks For Ways To Increase U.S. Refining Capacity Oil Price

U.S. President Joe Biden continues to look for ways to bring down the high cost of gasoline—and the latest efforts have him taking a hard look at U.S. refinery capacity.

According to White House economic advisor Cecelia Rouse who spoke to CNN in an interview on Friday, the President is looking to see what the administration can do, “whether that’s working with oil companies and refineries asking them, ‘We recognize your back capacity challenges - what can we do to help you maintain your refining capacity and bring more oil online?'”

Rouse did not elaborate on what this could entail beyond enquiring how they might be of help to the industry.

Says it all, really.

  • Biden Tells Exxon To Start Paying Its Taxes Oil Price

Come on, man!

  • Americans owe $22 billion in late utility bills as energy prices spike 34% CNBC

Americans are getting crushed by inflation across the board, but one area that isn’t regularly addressed is energy prices. CPI data released Friday morning detailed that in the past year, the energy index soared 34.6%. In May alone, the energy index jumped 3.9%, natural gas rose 8% and the electricity index increased 1.3%.

Home energy prices, specifically natural gas prices, have been relatively calm over the last 10 years. But since the onset of the pandemic, prices have soared to highs not seen since 2008. And the one-two punch of Covid-related economic hardship and 40-year high inflation has left millions unable to pay their utility bill.

  • The Great Rent Squeeze: Landlords’ jacking up rent was the single largest factor in May’s red-hot inflation report Fortune

Price increases in food and fuel have made life more difficult for every American, but housing took by far the biggest bite out of May’s price hikes. The latest CPI marks a 0.6% increase over last month’s core inflation, and 0.24% of that increase came down to housing. That means rising housing costs accounted for 40% of the price hikes in the latest core inflation numbers.

  • Texas energy grid expects surging demand as temperatures rise Al Jazeera

In the face of economic growth and surging temperatures that cause increased air conditioner use, Texas broke previous power demand records for the month of June earlier this week.

According to reporting by Reuters, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), tasked with supplying about 90 percent of the state’s power load and serving 26 million residents, has said that energy supply will be enough to meet projected demands.

Weather forecasts from AccuWeather show temperatures in Houston, the largest city in Texas, rising from the low 90s Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius) earlier this week to 102 F (38.8 Celsius) on Sunday, substantially higher than the average high of 91 degrees (32.7 Celsius) for this time of the season.

  • Marilyn Monroe drag queens call on presidents to act on climate change Euro News

Biden would absolutely go up to one of them and think that Marilyn Monroe was back and make some weird comment to them asking if they wanted to go to a malt shop.

A group of drag queens dressed as Marilyn Monroe sang in front of life-size cardboard figures of several regional presidents in Los Angeles on Thursday, calling on them to end the climate crisis in North and South America.

A drag queen dressed as Evita Peron performed “Don’t Feed the Greed, Argentina”, urging rich countries to pay their ecological “debt” to developing countries.

The opening day of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, was stained by brutal police repression of demonstrations.

The meeting has already been marred by controversy surrounding the White House’s refusal to invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, giving rise to boycotts and complaints from many other nations of the Americas. Perhaps most notable was the refusal of Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to attend.

News outlets and social media platforms shared numerous videos of the scene in which a towering Los Angeles police officer violently attacked a woman who was speaking into a bullhorn, tackling her onto the pavement and delivering blows to her face. At that time, US President Biden’s presidential motorcade was passing through the area of the event now being referred to disparagingly as the “Friends of America Gathering” or the “Summit of Exclusion.”

During the beginning of Biden’s speech at the inaugural ceremony of the summit, shouts of protest and loud booing could be heard for several minutes from protesters opposed to the hegemonic foreign policy of the US. President Biden stopped his speech for several seconds, and then spoke over the tumult, which continued unabated.

The White House press office claimed that there were two people who tried to interrupt Biden’s speech, but did not specify what they were saying. “President Biden began speaking at 6 p.m. and was booed almost immediately by two of the attendees,” read a brief report.


The Ukraine War

  • Russian telegram:

About 400 militants of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are blocked at the Azot plant in Severodonetsk - LPR Ambassador to Russia

Contact has been established with Ukrainian militants, negotiations are underway on the safe exit of civilians, Rodion Miroshnik said.

Also, according to the diplomat, the Ukrainian armed formations were made clear: they must lay down their arms and surrender, no other conditions will be accepted.

In the Kherson region, there is a clear integration into the Russian Federation, the region will never return to Ukraine, said Stremousov, deputy head of the regional administration

Large APU losses could lead to tipping point - The Guardian

With this name and its own count of the destroyed militants of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, an article was published in the leading British publication.

“Ukrainian losses range from 600 to 1,000 people a day. This is a colossal reduction in the combat capability of Ukraine due to the unsuccessful attempt by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to hold the defense of Severodonetsk.

“The total number of casualties - more than 20,000 a month - raises questions about what state the Ukrainian army will be in if the war drags on until the autumn. The Russian army already controls large parts of Ukraine, and they can suspend hostilities with a territorial advantage.”

Phone of captured/dead Ukrop shows google searches for “Why isn’t javelin working” “javelin won’t shoot” “javelin making noises”

  • Defense Politics Asia:

Ukraine switches strategy and decides to attack on a wide front on the Kherson front, with fighting reported at a bunch of different villages.

  • NATO Hints at Permanent Bases Near Russia Due to ‘Unpredictable’ Kremlin Newsweek

NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said he expects that permanent NATO military bases will be implemented in Eastern Europe in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, hosted by the Alliance for Democracies, Geoană suggested the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act is now “void” after the Kremlin began with their invasion of Ukraine and the military alliance is under no obligation to comply with it further.

The 1997 agreement was designed to build trust between Russia and NATO, as well as limit both sides’ military presence in Eastern Europe.

Geoană said the alliance’s leaders will be working on a “fundamental transformation of NATO’s posture, presence and deterrence” on the eastern flank, including “more of a presence on the ground” during the NATO Summit in Madrid at the end of June.

  • Spain mulls whether to send high-tech tanks to Ukraine France 24

Spain this week confirmed an explosive report that it is considering supplying the Ukrainian army with dozens of Leopard 2 main battle tanks. The move would make Spain the first NATO-country to provide Kyiv with modern third-generation military vehicles and could heavily impact Ukraine’s chances in its battles against Russia in Donbas. But the news has put Berlin in a tough spot since its lawmakers would have the final say on whether the German-built super tanks ought to roll in Ukraine or not.

  • Lukashenko admits that Belarus will fight for west of Ukraine Yahoo

“They (the West) have not yet abandoned the goal of aligning the front so that it passes from Smolensk-Pskov, Smolensk-Bryansk-Kursk and from there to Rostov. They need to align the front. And we are this thousand-kilometre balcony, so it must be cut off”, assumes Lukashenko.

Lukashenko added that “they (the West) will not stop there.”

“They will come from Western Ukraine or somewhere else. Maybe we will have to fight for Western Ukraine so that it is not chopped off. Because this is death for us, not only for Ukrainians. Terrible processes are under way,” the self-proclaimed president added.

  • Outgunned Ukraine Needs More Weapons Fast as Russia Advances, Officials Say WSJ

Ukrainian leaders are warning that the fate of the industrial heartlands in their country’s east depends on the amount of Western-supplied heavy weaponry that can be placed on the front lines in Donbas, as Russia presses on with its attempts to expand its control to Severodonetsk and other strategic cities.

The entire area has come under heavy Russian fire, Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian governor of the eastern Luhansk region, which along with Donetsk makes up Donbas, said Friday. “Fierce street fights continue in Severodonetsk,” he said on the Telegram social-media platform, adding that key routes such as the road between the eastern cities of Lysychansk and Bakhmut remain under Ukrainian control as the fighting turns into a war of attrition.

How much longer the Ukrainian forces can hold back the Russian advance will depend in large part on how many Western artillery systems they can deploy.

There are now five systems placed near the front lines made by members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Thursday, with Polish-AHS Krab artillery units supplementing M777 and FH70 howitzers, Caesar self-propelled howitzers and U.S.-made and Norwegian-supplied M109A3 howitzers.

But Mr. Reznikov said Kyiv needs more. “Ukraine desperately needs heavy weapons, and very fast,” he said on Facebook, adding that each day up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are killed on the front lines and up to 500 wounded and that Russia is able to press on some areas through the sheer volume of its forces. “I cannot say that I am satisfied with the tempo and quality of weapon supplies. Absolutely not.”

Surely it’s not a good thing to have a bunch of different systems if you’re trying to create an effective combined-arms military defense? Surely you want one set of equipment that all the troops can use competently, rather than a bunch of different ones, each of which requires different training to use?

  • ‘War fatigue’ may cause West to lose interest in Ukraine support Al Jazeera

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds into its fourth month, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears the specter of “war fatigue” could erode the West’s resolve to help the country push back Moscow’s aggression.

The US and its allies have given billions of dollars in weaponry to Ukraine. Europe has taken in millions of people displaced by the war. And there has been unprecedented unity in post-World-War-II Europe in imposing sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and his country.

But as the shock of the February 24 invasion subsides, analysts say the Kremlin could exploit a dragged-out, entrenched conflict and possible waning interest among Western powers that might lead to pressuring Ukraine into a settlement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy already has chafed at Western suggestions he should accept some sort of compromise. Ukraine, he said, would decide its own terms for peace.

“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome [that is beneficial] for themselves, and we want [another] outcome for ourselves,” he said.

An Italian peace proposal was dismissed, and French President Emmanuel Macron was met with an angry backlash after he was quoted as saying although Putin’s invasion was a “historic error”, world powers should not “humiliate Russia, so when the fighting stops we can build a way out together via diplomatic paths”.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said such talk “can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it”.

Even a remark by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that Ukraine should consider territorial concessions drew a retort from Zelenskyy that it was tantamount to European powers in 1938 letting Nazi Germany claim parts of Czechoslovakia to curb Adolf Hitler’s aggression.

Kyiv wants to push Russia out of the newly captured areas in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as retaking Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and parts of the Donbas region under control of Kremlin-backed separatists for the past eight years.

Every month of the war is costing Ukraine $5bn, said Volodymyr Fesenko, political analyst with the Penta Center think tank, and that “makes Kyiv dependent on the consolidated position of the Western countries”.

Ukraine will need even more advanced weaponry to secure victory, along with Western determination to keep up the economic pain on Russia to weaken Moscow.

“It is obvious that Russia is determined to wear down the West and is now building its strategy on the assumption that Western countries will get tired and gradually begin to change their militant rhetoric to a more accommodating one,” Fesenko said.

Europe’s domestic concerns are nudging their way into the discourse, especially as energy prices and raw materials shortages start to take an economic toll on people facing higher electricity bills, fuel costs and grocery prices.

While European leaders hailed the decision to block 90 percent of Russian oil exports by the end of the year as “a complete success”, it took four weeks of negotiations and included a concession allowing Hungary, widely seen as the Kremlin’s closest EU ally, to continue imports. Weeks more of political fine-tuning are required.

“It shows that unity in Europe is declining a bit on the Russian invasion,’’ said Matteo Villa, an analyst with the ISPI think-tank in Milan.

“There is this kind of fatigue setting in among member states on finding new ways to sanction Russia, and clearly within the European Union there are some countries that are less and less willing to go on with sanctions.’’

Wary of the economic effect of further energy sanctions, the European Commission has signaled it will not rush to propose new restrictive measures targeting Russian gas. EU legislators are also appealing for financial aid for citizens hit by heating and fuel price hikes to ensure public support for Ukraine does not wane.

Italy’s right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, who has been seen as close to Moscow, told foreign journalists this week that Italians are ready to make sacrifices, and his League supports the sanctions against Russia.

But he indicated backing is not unlimited amid signs the trade balance under sanctions has shifted in Moscow’s favour, hurting small business owners in northern Italy who are part of his base.

“Italians are very available to make personal economic sacrifices to support Ukraine’s defence and arrive at a ceasefire,’’ Salvini said.

“What I would not like is to find us back here in September, after three months, with the conflict still ongoing. If that is the case, it will be a disaster for Italy. Beyond the deaths and saving lives, which is the priority, economically, for Italy, if the war goes on it will be a disaster,” he said.

Climate and Space

As climate change becomes ever-more impactful on the world, I think I’m gonna have to redefine this section a little. So, national (or regional) effects of climate change go up above in their respective subsections, whereas global effects, or effects that are divorced from any particular country (e.g. melting ice caps), or general studies go here.

Leaders made big climate promises. They’re struggling to follow through. WaPo

After world leaders made lofty promises in the fall to move faster to combat climate change, the months since have brought steady reminders of why following through on those pledges is critical — and why it is so difficult.

Crippling heat waves have scorched India and Pakistan this spring, upending millions of lives. And yet, Russia’s devastating war in Ukraine has consumed the attention of numerous heads of state.

Destructive floods have killed hundreds of people in South Africa — a catastrophe that the nation’s president blamed in part on climate change. And yet, the ongoing pandemic has caused staggering numbers of deaths and remains a public health crisis on multiple continents.

Scientists warned in thousands of pages of agonizing detail — once again — how the world is far off target from its climate goals, and that inaction will lead to more deadly and costly disasters. And yet, inflation and other economic problems have dominated headlines in the United States and abroad.

The upheaval unfolding around the world has left many policymakers and environmental advocates worried that immediate crises — among them war, spiking gas prices and an open-ended pandemic — are hindering the ability of leaders to take necessary action on the longer-term threats posed by climate change.

The world is barreling toward a threshold that leaders promised to try not to cross — allowing the Earth to surpass more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above preindustrial levels.

By contrast, progress toward climate action that matches the bold rhetoric at a high-profile fall summit in Scotland, known as COP26, is slow and fitful. With only a handful of months until the next such gathering, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, it remains unclear when, or whether, those promises will result in concrete implementation.

  • ‘Unknown Territory’: Antarctic Glaciers Melting at Rate Unprecedented in 5,500 Years: Study Common Dreams

Dipshittery and Cope


  • Putin’s bodyguards collect his poop on trips abroad and take it back to Russia with them, report says Business Insider

Wow, this is the most literal dipshittery article I’ve ever seen.

President Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards collect his poop when he travels abroad, according to a report from two investigative journalists.

The claim was made by Regis Gente, the author of two books on Russia, and Mikhail Rubin, who has covered Russia for 13 years, in a Thursday report for the French news magazine Paris Match.

According to the article, the responsibility for collecting Putin’s feces lies with the Federal Protection Service, the department tasked with protecting Putin and other government officials.

According to Gente and Rubin, each time Putin needs to go, an FSO agent places his excrement in a specialized packet so that it can be returned to Russia in a suitcase.

Such excrement collections happened during Putin’s visit to France on May 29, 2017, and during his October 2019 trip to Saudi Arabia, the reporters wrote.

A video, taken during a Putin trip to France in 2019, showed six suited men in Putin’s entourage accompanying him into a bathroom. One of them was seen exiting the bathroom holding a small briefcase, though it is unclear what it contained.

The tactic appears to be an effort to reduce the risk of foreign powers discovering information about Putin’s health or predilection for future conditions that could be contained in the 69-year-old’s DNA.

  • Obama warns the Ukraine war is ‘far from over’ and the ‘costs will continue to mount’ Business Insider

Can’t he go back to compiling his favourite movies? Why can’t he just fuck off?

Former US President Barack Obama on Friday cautioned that Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine will not end anytime soon and warned it will have far-reaching consequences.

“Make no mistake, this war is far from over. The costs will continue to mount,” Obama said during a speech at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday, adding that the trajectory of the war remains unpredictable and urged the world to remain “strong, steadfast and sustained” in its support until the conflict ends.

Obama praised the fierce resistance of Ukrainian forces and civilians against the aggression of Russian troops, citing their “courage” as a reason that President Vladimir Putin has been unable to achieve his desired strategic objectives within the eastern European country.

“They’ve united to defend not just their sovereignty, but their democratic identity,” he said. “Their actions have rallied much of the world behind the values of self-determination and human dignity — it’s inspiring.”

The war, Obama said, has turned Russia into an international pariah — cutting the country off from resources and forcing its “best and brightest” to leave.

Obama’s warning, however, underscores the current status of the 15-week-long war, which has become a slow-moving, scorched-earth, and bloody campaign in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Ukraine said earlier this week that over 40,000 civilians have been killed or injured since the February 24 invasion — a figure much higher than the latest United Nations tally of roughly 9,500 casualties.

The UN, however, has warned in all its casualty reports that it “believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration.”

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, officials have said both Ukraine and Russia are losing hundreds of troops each day.

The roots of the war in Ukraine can be traced back to 2014, when Obama was still in the White House. That year, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The Kremlin in 2014 also began supporting rebels in a war against Ukrainian forces in the Donbas. By the time Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, roughly one-third of the Donbas was controlled by the Kremlin-backed rebels.

Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine in 2014 led to historic tensions between Moscow and Washington, which have been on the rise ever since.

The Obama administration slapped sanctions on Russia over the 2014 annexation of Crimea, but they didn’t go nearly as far as more recent economic penalties imposed on Russia by the Biden administration and European countries in response to the broader invasion of Ukraine this year.

Yeah, that’s basically everything you need to know about the last 8 years or so. Putin, because he’s evil, invaded Crimea for literally no reason nor provocation, and then that led to increased tensions that led to the present day. Can’t think of several major details being left out there.

  • Zelensky is Betting Time is on Ukraine’s Side Newsweek

A mixture between cope and acceptance. This has the tone of a scared underling going up to a tyrannical leader or CEO or something who is clearly going through delusional megalomania and going “Oh yes, sire, you are definitely doing all you can, and your efforts have been truly amazing and have led to innovations across the field. But wouldn’t it be better to not give your enemies the satisfaction of eventually beating you - though of course they probably won’t - by letting them think that you’ve given up and beaten by surrendering today, even though you’re actually preparing for the final strike that will destroy them?” Watching these dipshit western commenters and journalists all come toward the same conclusion, and also watching them realize that there’s no way that they can suggest that Ukraine surrender to Russia without massive backlash from God Emperor Zelenksy, is pretty funny.

If the first month of Ukraine’s war was a comedy of errors for the Russian military—replete with immovable armored columns and vehicles with empty tanks—the last several weeks have been a tough stretch for Ukrainian troops on the front lines. Russian forces are still taking heavy casualties and now face Ukrainian sabotage operations in territory they occupy. But there has been a shift in momentum for Russian forces, who outnumber Ukrainian defenders in long-range artillery and are fighting on terrain more suitable for the scorched-earth offensive maneuvers the Russian army has historically conducted.

Dispatches from the Donbas paint a disturbing picture of hell on Earth, with tired, shell-shocked Ukrainian troops undergoing endless rounds of missile barrages. The Russian military is learning from past mistakes and adjusting tactics accordingly, concentrating firepower on a smaller portion of Ukrainian territory with the goal of causing so much destruction that Ukrainian troops have no option but to fall back. Depending on who you believe, Ukraine is either still in the fight for the industrial city of Severodonetsk or only a few days away from beating a tactical retreat across the Siverskyi Donets river.

Senior Ukrainian officials remain stoic, but even President Volodymyr Zelensky, a gifted orator and inspirational leader, has acknowledged the fight in Severodonetsk is “fierce” and could determine the overall battle in the Donbas. Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, has said at least 100 Ukrainian troops are being killed every day, with another 500 troops wounded. A leaked Ukrainian intelligence report, published by the Independent on June 9, draws an even darker picture. Desertions, according to the report, are now becoming a problem for the Ukrainian army, and the casualty rate inflicted by the massive Russian artillery bombardment is having “a seriously demoralizing effect” on the troops forced to endure them. Although Ukraine’s total number of soldiers has doubled since the start of the war, there is a concern that Kyiv will struggle to sustain itself in this war of attrition as time goes on.

Even with such a high rate of casualties and the Russians progressing on a slow advance, the Ukrainian government is no mood to talk peace. This position is bolstered by high-profile commentators in the West who flinch at the very thought of sitting down at the table with the Russians. When The New York Times Editorial Board wrote that Kyiv may have to ponder territorial concessions to end the war, the paper was blasted for supposedly blaming the victim. When Henry Kissinger delivered similar remarks a week later, the former national security adviser and secretary of state was met with a chorus of denunciations, as if he learned nothing whatsoever from Neville Chamberlain’s concessions to Adolf Hitler in Munich. And when French President Emmanuel Macron had the gall to phone Putin, other European heads of state blew it out of proportion as if it were the modern-day equivalent of phoning Hitler during the height of World War II. The only acceptable conclusion to the war, it appears, is for Kyiv to fight until it reclaims every last morsel of Ukrainian territory from the Russian marauders.

In a perfect world, Ukraine would kick the Russians out just like the Americans kicked Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait more than 30 years earlier. Who wouldn’t like to see Putin, the macho-man, Peter the Great-wannabe, turn into a weak and disheveled shell of his former self, holed up in the Kremlin with his tail between his legs?

Yet it bears repeating that we don’t live in a perfect world. Today, the Russians control about one-fifth of Ukrainian territory and have established a land corridor from Russia to the Crimean Peninsula. Based on the battlefield dynamics at this time, there’s a decent probability of the Russians expanding their control in the weeks or months ahead. As motivated, courageous and innovative as the Ukrainian army has been, and given the battlefield geometry as it now exists, can anyone analyzing the situation honestly predict with such smug certainty that a longer war will produce a better peace for Ukraine? What in this four month-old conflict, with its seesaw battles, tactical surprises and trail of disproven assumptions, warrants such confidence?

For a wartime commander in chief like Zelensky, there is no such thing as certainty. He can’t afford to be certain about anything. Positions that seem viable today could quickly become unviable tomorrow.

Right now, Zelensky has calculated that peace talks with the Russians are a waste of time. Only when the battle turns Ukraine’s way will such talks be appropriate—and even if those talks do happen, territorial concessions will not be a part of the discussion.

But as the war goes a certain way, so may his calculations about how to end it. As the leader responsible for the safety and welfare of more than 40 million people, Zelensky can’t afford to have tunnel vision. Many of those arguing for Kyiv to fight until an unambiguous military victory is achieved have the luxury of residing in capitals thousands of miles away from the battlefield. Zelensky and the Ukrainian people, in contrast, will have to deal with the costs and consequences of such a strategy. Those consequences include additional infrastructure damage, a deeper economic catastrophe, more civilian lives lost and the very real possibility of more Russian gains on the ground.

Zelensky is gambling that more time, patience and grit will be the magic formula to resist the Russian advance and gift Ukraine better terms when peace talks do commence. As Ukraine’s head of state, this is his decision to make. But what happens if his gamble doesn’t pay off? These aren’t easy questions to answer, and none of us, no matter our strong moral convictions, should pretend otherwise.

  • Restoration of empire is the endgame for Russia’s Vladimir Putin CNN

Reading Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mind is rarely a straightforward task, but on occasion the Kremlin leader makes it easy.

Such was the case on Thursday, when Putin met with a group of young Russian entrepreneurs. Anyone looking for clues as to what Putin’s endgame for Ukraine might be should read the transcript, helpfully released here in English.

Putin’s words speak for themselves: What he is aiming for in Ukraine is the restoration of Russia as an imperial power.

Many observers quickly picked up on one of Putin’s more provocative lines, in which he compared himself to Peter the Great, Russia’s modernizing tsar and the founder of St. Petersburg – Putin’s own birthplace – who came to power in the late 17th century.

“Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years,” a relaxed and apparently self-satisfied Putin said. “On the face of it, he was at war with Sweden taking something away from it… He was not taking away anything, he was returning. This is how it was.”

It didn’t matter that European countries didn’t recognize Peter the Great’s seizure of territory by force, Putin added.

“Putin’s confession of land seizures and comparing himself with Peter the Great prove: there was no ‘conflict,’ only the country’s bloody seizure under contrived pretexts of people’s genocide,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. “We should not talk about ‘saving [Russia’s] face,’ but about its immediate de-imperialization.”

There’s a lot to unpack here

So buckle up, douchecanoes. I’m not sure who needed to hear this but here we are I guess. Thread begins:

in terms of both history and current affairs. Podolyak was alluding to talk in international capitals about offering Putin a face-saving way to de-escalate or halt the fighting in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron has led that charge, saying last weekend that the world “must not humiliate Russia” in the search for a diplomatic resolution.

Those arguments may have seemed more reasonable before February 24. In the run-up to the invasion, Putin laid out a series of grievances to make the case for war, from NATO’s eastward expansion to Western delivery of military assistance to Ukraine.

But read the transcript of Putin’s remarks on Thursday more closely, and the facade of rational geopolitical bargaining falls away.

“In order to claim some kind of leadership – I am not even talking about global leadership, I mean leadership in any area – any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty,” Putin said. “Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.”

In other words, there are two categories of state: The sovereign and the conquered. In Putin’s imperial view, Ukraine should fall into the latter category.

Putin has long argued that Ukrainians do not have a legitimate national identity and that their state is, essentially, a puppet of the West. In other words, he thinks Ukrainians have no agency and are a subject people.

Yeah, that’s an insane thing for Putin to say. Like, we obviously don’t have leaked audio of Victoria Nuland picking and choosing the next Ukrainian leader in 2014, and of course she didn’t then proceed to say “Fuck the EU”, so how can Ukraine be ruled by the West?

By summoning the memory of Peter the Great, it also becomes clear that Putin’s aims are driven by some sense of historical destiny. And Putin’s project of imperial restoration could – in theory – extend to other territories that once belonged to the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union, something that should raise alarms in all the countries that emerged from the collapse of the USSR.

I will agree that this argument makes sense if Americans also agree that when they admire George Washington or the founding fathers or the people from those early eras of American history, then it’s alluding to how they want to create lebensra– I mean, uh, Manifest Destiny through territory throughout the world that’s already occupied by people already living there. Otherwise, you admit that people can pick and choose the acts that they admire in their heroes, and the interpretations of those acts, which might differ from yours. Of course, from a socialist perspective, it’s all made-up Great Man bullshit, and Washington and Peter the Great both have evident issues especially if you’re personally inspired by them, but I’m talking from the perspective of a lib here. It’s all pointless shit-flinging.


  • Soros to blame for Ukraine conflict – Hungary RT

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has listed billionaire financier George Soros among the “instigators of war” in Ukraine.

In an interview with Kossuth radio on Friday, Orban said that only peace would curb inflation and save the economy from further shocks, but admitted that Ukraine had “the right to defend itself.”

He also said that Hungary was now virtually the only country that wanted peace. Indeed, Budapest, unlike most other European capitals, has refused to send weapons to Ukraine.

“We need to fund peace, not war,” Orban explained.

However, he did emphasize that there were people who were interested in prolonging the conflict.

“It is now quite obvious that there are business circles that are interested in this war. George Soros symbolizes them. He speaks openly about the need to prolong the war. These are instigators of war who want to cash in on the war,” the prime minister said, adding that such “instigators” should be held responsible.

Orban has long been one of the harshest critics of Soros. In 2020, the Hungarian prime minister called the billionaire “the most corrupt man in the world,” one that allegedly had “a long list of politicians, journalists, judges, bureaucrats and political agitators masquerading as members of civil society organizations” on his payroll.

The classic conservative move of correctly identifying the problem in abstract, but when it comes down to specifics, they go completely off the rails. “We should have peace in Ukraine to help soothe the economy, but some people want to cynically extend the war for their own selfish gain.” YES! “These people are, of course, the Jews.” NO!

Good Takes that are Dope

  • The Global Banking System Is Humanity’s Underwater Straitjacket Forbes

This article is about how dollar hegemony is fucking everything up and has no information that we haven’t seen from more progressive sources - it’s just interesting that Forbes is allowing it to be posted on their platform.

Bloomerism and Hope

  • Ex-president handed jail time for ‘coup’ RT

Former Bolivian President Jeanine Anez has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for assuming power in a “coup” against her left-wing predecessor, Evo Morales, in 2019.

  • Is This the Labor Upsurge We’ve Been Waiting For? Jacobin

A long article by Jacobin. I quote the first section.

Things are looking up for the US labor movement these days. The ongoing organizing wave at Starbucks and the shocking victory at the Amazon JFK8 fulfillment center have garnered the most headlines, but it goes far beyond that. We can point to organizing among an ever-growing number of media organizations both old and new, tech and gaming workers, higher education workers (both graduate and undergraduate), retail workers at REI, congressional workers in Washington, and many more.

In April, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took note of the trend, issuing a press release noting that the number of organizing petitions filed between October 2021 and March 2022 was up 57 percent compared to the year before. NLRB general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo described it as “a surge in labor activity nationwide.”

Beyond the numbers, the people doing the organizing give reason for optimism. The current uptick is being led by a new generation of workers who reflect the reality of today’s working class. They are young, multiracial, of many national origins and gender identities, college-educated and not, tattooed and pierced and not.

This new generation is drawing on the lessons of past organizers, for example developing strategy using 1930s-era Communist Party organizing manuals or seeking guidance from former AFL-CIO organizing director Richard Bensinger. But they also aren’t afraid to throw received wisdom out the window, as when Amazon Labor Union (ALU) organizers filed for their union election at JFK8 with a bare minimum of 30 percent of workers having signed union representation cards, far lower than the usual threshold of at least two-thirds of workers.

And then, in an ironic twist, many of these workers are throwing received wisdom out the window by playing by the rules. After decades of organizers and labor academics bemoaning the fact that the legal framework for workers to unionize in the United States makes it virtually impossible to organize, these workers are, in fact, using that broken framework to organize. Most of the new organizing is happening via old-fashioned workplace-by-workplace NLRB representation elections, not recognition strikes, minority unions, corporate campaigns, or neutrality agreements.

The current organizing uptick comes on the heels of last year’s strike uptick, “Striketober” followed by “Strikesgiving,” as well as historic highs in public approval of unions in general. Sixty-eight percent of Americans had a favorable view of unions in 2021, including nearly half of Republicans, the highest level recorded since 1965.

Taken together, the situation for US labor seems more hopeful than it has in decades. But it’s important to keep these positive signs in perspective. Many labor activists and analysts have spent the past several decades wondering if the latest string of organizing or strike victories portended the “green shoots” of a new labor revival. Is this time any different?

Link back to the discussion thread.