- EU Works to Tighten Russia Sanctions Enforcement WSJ
The European Union says it is working to improve compliance with and enforcement of its six rounds of sanctions against Russia as the 27-nation bloc seeks to tighten the economic pressure on the Kremlin for its war in Ukraine.
At the heart of the EU’s challenge is the division of powers between Brussels, which sets sanctions policy, and the numerous national ministries, supervisors and industry groups that are asked to interpret and implement it. The sanctions are designed to hit Russia’s economy, financial sector, military and political elite by keeping Russian money and assets locked inside the EU bloc and sharply curbing trade and financial links with Russia.
The EU has no centralized enforcement division akin to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which can levy financial penalties on sanctions cheats at home and abroad. With EU authorities wary of angering national governments, Brussels also has limited authority to investigate and call out sanctions violators.
“Compared to the U.S., European implementation and enforcement of sanctions is sorely lacking,” said Brian O’Toole, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Treasury’s OFAC and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.
European officials involved with sanctions policy say they are confident that their economic sanctions are hitting the target. But EU governments are already discussing new measures that can close loopholes, tighten enforcement and better share data across EU nations.
For now, the leakiest area of European sanctions enforcement is the effort to identify and freeze money, assets and companies held in Europe by dozens of Russian oligarchs linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
EU authorities say that, so far, member states have frozen €13.8 billion—the equivalent of more than $14 billion—in assets held by oligarchs, but they acknowledge there is far more they could be missing.
An EU official said there also is demand from member countries to reach a common understanding of what control means, and that the European Commission is working with them on that.
“This is an issue that is splitting hairs around European capitals,” said Justine Walker, global head of sanctions, compliance and risk at the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists. “Finding out about who really controls a company can be extremely difficult.”
- EU laments losing ‘battle of narratives’ on Ukraine RT
Many G20 diplomats are more concerned with their own national interests than punishing Russia with economic sanctions for attacking Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said. He claimed the West was being accused of double standards and had failed to win a “battle of narratives” in relation to Ukraine.
“The global battle of narratives is in full swing and, for now, we are not winning,” Borrell remarked on Sunday in a blog post describing his participation in last week’s meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Indonesia. The solution, he said, is to “engage further to refute Russian lies and war propaganda.”
Some G20 diplomats, Borrell lamented, were more concerned about “the consequences of the war for themselves” than in going after the supposed culprit.
Others “complain about ‘double standards’ or simply want to preserve their good bilateral relationship with Russia.”
He said G20 ministers from the “Global South” agreed in principle with the goal of protecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but declined to support the Western response. The anti-Russian campaign led by the US involves arming Ukraine with increasingly heavy weapons, and sanctioning Russia with the expectation that it will cave in to pressure due to military and economic damage. Washington has declared a “strategic defeat” of Moscow as its ultimate goal in Ukraine.
“You idiots. You absolute fucking morons. What you SHOULD be doing is putting massive amounts of sanctions on Russia, crashing your economies, and probably starving and freezing your populaces - but don’t worry, because you can tell them that Putler is responsible, and they’ll probably just accept that and not rebel or anything. It’s worked in Europe so far."
- Putin is likely to completely cut off Russian gas supply to Europe, French minister says RT
Speaking at the economic forum Les Rencontres Économiques in southern France, Bruno Le Maire said: “Let’s get ready for a total shutdown of the Russian gas supply,” he said. “This is the most likely event.”
He called for France to quickly invest in energy sources such as biogas and nuclear technologies in order to become independent of Russian energy.
Saying that the war in Ukraine could potentially spread, he also said: “We should not take Vladimir Putin’s threats lightly.”
On Monday, Russia turned off the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to Germany for 10 days of maintenance. European leaders fear the pause will become a permanent shutdown.
- Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has fired 5 of his ambassadors to Germany and other countries, citing ‘diplomatic process’Business Insider
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired five of Ukraine’s senior envoys abroad, citing the “diplomatic process.”
The Ukrainian president released a number of statements announcing that he had fired his country’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Hungary.
No reason was given for these changes, but he said, "This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic practice,” he said in a statement, according to Reuters, and gave no further details.
- Return date for sanctioned Russian pipeline part revealed RT
Canada plans to return a repaired Nord Stream 1 gas turbine to the pipeline operator after July 14, according to unnamed sources close to the matter cited by Russian business daily Kommersant.
- The UK Is Racing To Ramp Up Nuclear Power Capacity Oil Price
The U.K. appears to be going full throttle on its nuclear power plans. From big to small, the British government is encouraging the development of a variety of nuclear developments as it offers support for a wide range of clean energy projects to solidify the future of its domestic energy security. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent introduction of sanctions on Russian energy, several European powers are racing to boost their fossil fuel and renewable energy output to help them avoid shortages and ensure their energy security. While some are going all-in with renewable energy projects, others are backing more controversial nuclear energy developments. After a significant movement away from nuclear power in much of the world over the last few decades, several state governments are reembracing the much-critiqued energy source.
In June, the U.K. government bought a 20 percent stake in the Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk for $100 million, demonstrating its dedication to a future with nuclear power in the energy mix. The development is owned by EDF and China General Nuclear Power (CGN), although the government’s stake could see CGN pushed out of the project after criticism of China becoming too heavily involved in U.K. infrastructure plans.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined national plans for the development of eight nuclear reactors by 2030. Sizewell C is expected to gain planning consent on 9th July, despite controversy over the construction costing taxpayers over double previous estimates and taking five years longer to build.
Delays have already been seen in EDF’s Hinkley Point C, which is expected to open a year later than planned, in 2027, and cost $3.6 billion more than anticipated, totaling between $30 and $31.5 billion. EDF is partnering with CGN on the construction of Hinkley and says the change in costs will not cause taxpayers any additional expense. The development was originally approved in 2016 but has seen delays due to pandemic disruption, according to EDF.
In addition to largescale nuclear power projects, the U.K. is also embracing smaller-scale developments in a shift away from solely traditional nuclear plants. After announcing plans to construct several Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) across the U.K. last year, Rolls Royce is expected to be granted permission for development by 2024, having started the regulatory process this year. The company hopes to start generating nuclear power by 2029.
- Gazprom further reduces gas supplies to Italy: Eni Jakarta Post
Italy’s Eni said Monday Gazprom was further reducing the supply of gas, as the Russian giant began 10 days of routine maintenance on its Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
“Gazprom announced that today it will supply to Eni volumes of gas for approximately 21 million cubic meters/day, while the average for the last few days was of about 32 million cubic meters/day,” Eni said.
- Lithuania widens curbs on Kaliningrad trade despite Russian warning Reuters
What the fuck is wrong with Lithuania? Gotta be one of the most suicidal countries on the face of the planet right now.
Lithuania on Monday expanded restrictions on trade through its territory to Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, as phase-ins on earlier-announced European Union sanctions against Moscow took effect.
Additional goods barred from Monday morning include concrete, wood, alcohol and alcohol-based industrial chemicals, a spokesperson for Lithuanian customs said.
Russia warned Lithuania and the European Union on Friday that it could adopt “harsh measures” against them if the transit of some goods to and from Kaliningrad did not resume “within the coming days”.
Asia and Oceania
- China Looks To Reboot Its Economy With $220 Billion In Bond Sales Oil Price
Just as we predicted over a year ago, China - which remains painfully limited in how it can kickstart its slowing economy - is preparing for a massive fiscal stimulus in the form of a tidal wave of local government bond sales. With growth in the world’s second-largest economy faltering especially after China’s President Xi Jinping made clear weeks ago that “Covid zero” isn’t going anywhere, there is also “chance zero” that Beijing’s 2022 growth target of 5.5% will be achieved because of the lingering threat of new lockdowns.
China’s slowdown recently forced the People’s Bank of China to cut key interest rates for long-term loans to cushion the property slump and lockdowns. Meanwhile, as doubts rise that China will rebound like prior economic downturns, policymakers are set for round two of stimulation: an infrastructure splurge.
Bloomberg reports that China’s Ministry of Finance is considering allowing local governments to sell a whopping 1.5 trillion yuan ($220 billion) of “special” local bonds in the year’s second half. The people said the bonds would bolster the struggling economy.
- China says Asian nations should avoid being used as chess pieces Al Jazeera
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has said that Southeast Asian nations should avoid being used as “chess pieces in major power rivalries”.
Addressing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on Monday, Wang said many countries in the region were under pressure to take sides.
“We should insulate this region from geopolitical calculations and the trap of the law of the jungle, from being used as chess pieces in major power rivalry and from coercion,” he said, speaking through a translator.
“The future of our region should be in our own hands,” he added.
- World’s largest casino city locked down RT
The Chinese special administrative region of Macau, known as the world’s largest casino city, has been put on lockdown for the first time in more than two years following a new Covid outbreak.
According to the city government’s statement on July 9, operations of “all industries and commercial companies and venues in Macau” will remain suspended from Monday until July 18, except for those “deemed essential to the community and to the day-to-day lives of the members of the public.”
- Kiribati quits key Pacific island bloc Iraqi News
Kiribati has quit the premier bloc of Pacific island nations, fracturing the group just as its leaders launch a summit to grapple with rising seas and China’s security ambitions in the region.
The central Pacific nation of 120,000 people said it had taken “the sovereign decision” to withdraw from the 51-year-old, Fiji-based Pacific Islands Forum “with immediate effect”.
In a July 9 letter obtained by AFP, Kiribati President Taneti Maamau cited the forum’s failure to honour a “gentlemen’s agreement” to appoint a Micronesian candidate to head the secretariat.
The spat had led to a threat by Micronesian countries to leave the bloc but it was patched up with a deal last month to rotate the top job, set to be discussed at this week’s summit.
The Kiribati leader cited his country’s national day celebrations on July 12 as another reason for not attending the summit.
Australia is working with Fiji to encourage Kiribati “not to go through with their formal decision to leave”, said Pat Conroy, minister for the Pacific.
The island forum “is the central architecture for our region and losing Kiribati would obviously not be a good thing, and that is why we are working hard to avoid that,” he told Australian national broadcaster ABC.
Conroy stressed that Kiribati’s stated concerns were about the leadership of the forum, not China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Kiribati during a whistle-stop tour of the Pacific in May, signing 10 agreements in areas such as the climate and the economy, but not security.
- People Power Has Brought Down Sri Lanka’s Strongman. What Now? Bloomberg
Protest movements produce powerful symbols. Images of the citizens of Sri Lanka storming the presidential residence of the man who steered their country into financial ruin and then refused to step down sent a pointed message. When they started swimming in Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s pool, cooking in his kitchen and working out in the official gym, he had to know it was over for his family’s reign of economic destruction.
For the first time since demonstrations began in March in the capital, Colombo, soldiers were seen joining the protests. So too were the Buddhist monks who had previously helped propel the Rajapaksas to government. When the military starts to turn against the strongman who was once defense secretary, it’s clear the power has finally shifted — though they are still out in force on the streets and there’ve been reports of violence against protesters and journalists that’s put some in hospital. That the weekend was dominated by reports the Rajapaksas were planning on fleeing the country was not surprising given the renewed ferocity of the protesters now driven not just by anger but desperation. The president left his residence before it was seized and his whereabouts are, so far, unknown. He says he’s preparing to resign on Wednesday. His citizens say that’s not soon enough.
Sri Lanka has been in financial crisis for months. There is no fuel, essential medicines are either unavailable or in short supply and food inflation is running at close to 80%. Initial talks with the International Monetary Fund wrapped up on June 30, but there is no immediate resolution to the foreign exchange crisis that has brought the nation to a standstill. About a quarter of the 22 million population is unsure of where their next meal will come from, the World Food Program said on July 6.
The people have spoken. They have been telling their government for months to resign: The signs at the permanent protest site along Colombo’s waterfront overwhelmingly read “Gota go home.” When former leader Ranil Wickremesinghe stepped in two months ago to steady the administration (beginning his sixth term as prime minister) and start negotiating in earnest with the IMF, the people were not convinced. And they were right — whatever answers he may have had, he was viewed as part of the political establishment that had led Sri Lanka to this point. Hours after Wickremesinghe said on Saturday he too was prepared to leave his post, protesters set fire to his private residence, a move widely condemned by the broader civilian uprising.
Traveling through the Rajapaksa’s stronghold of Hambantota last month in the island’s deep south, it was clear then that even the family’s diehard supporters were losing faith. Gotabaya’s decision to ban the import of fertilizers last year cost farmers at least two harvests and left them with little means of survival. It plunged the country into a food crisis from which it will take years to recover.
So what next? The IMF said it hoped for a resolution to Sri Lanka’s political turmoil to allow a resumption of bailout talks after the fury of Saturday’s protests. The US called on the parliament “to approach this juncture with a commitment to the betterment of the nation — not any one political party,” a State Department spokesperson said during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region. The problem is, only the protesters seem to be moving with any sense of urgency. Both Gotabaya and Wickremesinghe should stop prevaricating; parliament should appoint an all-party cabinet that includes technocrats with deep economic experience to guide the nation out of this government-induced emergency.
No, they should definitely fucking NOT do that, holy shit.
- Geothermal Power to Generate Over USD 600 Million Annually for Laos Laotian Times
- Pakistan’s prized mango harvest hit by water scarcity Inquirer
Mango farmers in Pakistan say production of the prized fruit has fallen by up to 40 percent in some areas because of high temperatures and water shortages in a country identified as one of the most vulnerable to climate change.
The arrival of mango season in Pakistan is eagerly anticipated, with around two dozen varieties arriving through the hot, humid summers.
This year, however, temperatures rose sharply in March — months earlier than usual — followed by heatwaves that damaged crops and depleted water levels in canals farmers depend on for irrigation.
“Usually I pick 24 truckloads of mangoes… this year I have only got 12,” said Fazle Elahi, counting the bags lined up by his farm.
“We are doomed.”
- Is The US Now Trying To Destabilize Uzbekistan? Popular Resistance
Unfortunately, the failure of the recent attempt to create an armed conflict in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAR) has not dampened Washington’s ardor in searching for ways to destabilize the situation in Central Asia and in creating an additional inconvenience for Russia, which at present is conducting a special military operation to de-Nazify Ukraine, by creating a “second front.” The United States, to this end, continues to use its sponsored NGOs, media and US intelligence capabilities to foment old conflicts in the region to put pressure on regional security, with a subsequent threat to Russia, as well as China. And in addition to the continuation of destructive operations in Kazakhstan, provoking instability in Turkmenistan and on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, there has been ethno-separatist activity on the so-called issue of Karakalpak independence.
- Ivory Coast’s capital cleans up after devastating floods Africa News
In the Ivorian capital, one person in five lives in flood-prone areas. It is not just Climate change to blame.
In Abidjan, people build in risky areas such as wetlands. Drainage pipes are blocked and channels are used as dumping grounds, leaving even the slightest of downpours to turn into flash floods.
“The city was built with concrete and bitumen. The water struggles to drain through,” said Yao Konan, an urban planner.
The city lacks proper drainage infrastructure by the rains have also become heavier in recent years, a phenomenon attributed to climate change.
Road construction without proper drainage planning has been blamed for flooding neighborhoods of the capital.
In June, 19 people lost their lives, and 5 were injured. Forecasters say the coming days look less grim.
- Property owners and officials find ways around century-old laws as the West runs out of water CNN
With a megadrought draining water reserves in the West, states are looking for alternatives to handle water rights, many of which were set more than 100 years ago when water supplies were far more abundant.
Back then, just posting a sign next to a water diversion was enough to be considered a right, one which could still be honored now. But the climate crisis is now straining those rights. There just isn’t enough water in California to satisfy what’s been allotted on paper.
For years, debate has raged in California about the best way to fix the water rights system for life in the modern era. Many of the senior water rights held in the state were set before 1914 when the permit system was established and when mining was big business.
“It’s an old water system that many perceive isn’t set up to deal with current climatic and hydraulic conditions,” Nathan Metcalf, a water rights attorney for California law firm Hanson Bridgett, told CNN. “It’s just not really set up to deal with climate change and the changing needs for water both from an environmental standpoint, and then there’s also the rub between agriculture and municipal.”
Recognizing the dour effect of climate change on the state’s hydrology, Democrats in California’s Senate have proposed using $7.5 billion in state and federal funds to “build a climate-resilient water system.”
Of those funds, $1.5 billion would be used to buy land with senior water rights from holders willing to sell them voluntarily in prioritized waters. The Democrats argue “fundamental changes” to the state’s water system are “needed to realign demand, supply, and the flexibility of the system.”
The proposal, which has yet to work its way through the legislature, would look to “retire water use incrementally from multiple water uses in a basin and across wide geographies” which would help provide clean drinking water while also improving fish habitats and wildlife refuge conditions.
- Survey suggests majority of Americans say concerns over charging logistics kept them from buying an electric car Business Insider
61% of the survey respondents who said they were not entirely sold on buying an electric car said that the logistics of EV charging availability — including when and where to charge the vehicle — would prevent them from buying or leasing an electric car.
The survey was released on Thursday. Respondents said EV range and the cost of buying an electric car could also pose a major barrier. Though, the polled Americans seemed less concerned with being able to fix the car or how it would perform in cold weather.
- Envoy pledges to name a street in Bolivia after General Soleimani Tehran Times
Bolivian Ambassador to Tehran Romina Guadalupe Perez Ramos said on Saturday that one of the most important streets in her country will be named after the IRGC Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani.
“People in Bolivia are very proud of him for fighting with the global arrogance,” the envoy said, referring to General Soleimani.
She made the remarks in a meeting with General Soleimani’s daughter in Tehran, IRIB reported.
“We are also planning to announce a sisterhood agreement between Tehran and a city in Bolivia,” she added.
The Ukraine War
- Stocks of Western-supplied missiles destroyed in Ukraine RT
Russian warships have destroyed stocks of US-supplied ammunition, by striking arms depots in Ukraine’s central Dnepropetrovsk Region with Kalibr cruise missiles, the defense ministry said on Monday.
- Ukraine’s Defense Minister Says It Has ‘Passed Test’ on New U.S. Guided Rockets, Needs More WSJ
Ukraine’s defense minister said his country has “passed the test” with its successful use of recently delivered American long-range artillery systems, but stressed the high attrition rate along its extensive front line has made the demand for additional supplies, such as armored vehicles and drones, more urgent.
“We need to refresh our platoons and change them and make replacements also because we also have a lot of losses,” he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “We are waiting for more armor, more weaponry from our partners. We need to rebuild some directions and to refresh our fortifications and plan a new operational strategy.”
Climate and Space
- Billions Of Humans Depend On 50,000 Wild Species For Food, Fuel And Income Popular Resistance
A new report from the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – which is often described as the “IPCC for biodiversity” – found that billions of people depend on 50,000 wild species for food, medicine, fuel and income from activities like tourism.
“70% of the world’s poor are directly dependent on wild species. One in five people rely on wild plants, algae and fungi for their food and income; 2.4 billion rely on fuel wood for cooking and about 90% of the 120 million people working in capture fisheries are supported by small-scale fishing,” assessment co-chair Dr. Marla R. Emery said in a press release. “But the regular use of wild species is extremely important not only in the Global South. From the fish that we eat, to medicines, cosmetics, decoration and recreation, wild species’ use is much more prevalent than most people realize.”
- NASA shares teaser for Webb telescope’s first image release CNN
The James Webb Space Telescope will release its first high-resolution color images on July 12, one of which “is the deepest image of our universe that has ever been taken,” according to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Dipshittery and Cope
- Rising Social Unrest Over Energy, Food Shortages Threatens Global Stability Forbes
While reading this article, I was extremely confused about the framing of this issue, and then I saw what field the author works in, and it all made sense. Read the first two paragraphs and make a guess.
The nation of Sri Lanka has an almost perfect ESG rating of 98.1 on a scale of 100, according to WorldEconomics.com. But the government which had forced the nation to achieve that virtue-signaling target in recent years collapsed over the weekend because it led the country into self-declared bankruptcy, leaving it unable to purchase adequate supplies of fuel and feed its population. Thousands of angry Sri Lankans stormed the presidential residence on Saturday, forcing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down and reportedly flee the country.
Should current trends in global energy supplies continue, Sri Lanka could end up being just a harbinger of larger things to come around the rest of the world in the months and years ahead. Somewhat ironically, an analysis of the full ESG rankings linked above shows that many of the nations with the highest scores are developing nations with the highest degrees of famine risk. Haiti, as an example, has an ESG score of 99, while the well-fed United States stands far down the list at just over 58.
Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, seems to understand the reality his own continent faces should it be left without adequate energy supplies this coming winter. Last week, Timmermans urged EU and national leaders to make efforts to beef up their fossil fuel energy supplies and delivery systems in the near term in order to try to head off disaster. “If our society descends into very, very strong conflict and strife because there is no energy, we’re certainly not going to make our [climate] goals,” he said, adding “we need to make sure people are not in the cold in the coming winter.”
Wisely, Timmermans noted further that a failure by European leadership to adequately address a looming winter energy crisis could create such a high level of social and economic disruption that it could cripple the continent’s longer-term efforts to meet climate goals. “I’ve been in politics long enough, over 30 years, to understand that people worry most about the immediate crisis and not about the long-term crisis. And if we don’t address the immediate crisis, we will certainly be off-track with the long-term crisis,” he said.
It remains an open question whether U.S. President Joe Biden and his advisors also understand the risks posed to their own political futures by rising energy costs and likelihoods of power and supply disruptions. In an extraordinary pre-trip op/ed published in Sunday’s Washington Post, Biden somehow manages to write roughly 700 words about his pending trip to Saudi Arabia without including the word “oil,” even though no one doubts that a principal motivation behind his trip is to ask Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to produce more crude in an effort to resupply an undersupplied global market.
The President does make one single-sentence implicit reference to Middle Eastern oil, stating “Its energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
That is accurate, but let’s be clear on this point: The current biggest producer of oil on the planet is not Saudi Arabia, but the United States of America. This has been the case for several years now, yet we never hear anyone in this administration making any similar statements about how crucial the U.S. industry is to the maintenance of global oil supplies and the international stability plentiful oil supplies create and sustain.
The level of international stability has begun to crumble over the past year in large part due to the emergence of a chronically under-supplied international crude market. That is partly due to several factors, including impacts of the COVID pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, the diminishing capacity levels within the OPEC+ cartel and the growing energy crisis in Europe that began to germinate last summer. But another key reason why that is happening is due to the fact that, despite its ranking as the #1 supplier in the world, the U.S. industry is still about 1 million barrels of oil per day short of the highs achieved during 2018 and 2019. That is in large part thanks to the continuing efforts by the Biden administration to suppress the U.S. domestic industry, and by the efforts of the ESG investor community to deny it access to capital.
It should be noted that some of the food shortages are the result of governments placing a higher priority on achieving climate and ESG goals than on food production. One cause of the collapse of the Sri Lankan government was its decision to force farmers to switch from chemical fertilizers (which use natural gas as a key feedstock) to organic fertilizers in April 2021, a mandate that predictably and dramatically reduced crop yields. By the time the Sri Lankan government realized the disaster it had created and attempted to reverse course in November 2021, it was too late.
The Netherlands government, whose 90.7 ESG rating ranks it in the lower 3rd of European nations, showed a similar preference for ESG over food production last month when it announced plans for dramatic cuts in emissions of nitrogen and ammonia that could force the closing of many farming operations. The resulting protests have been huge, and reminiscent of the truckers’ protests that took place earlier this year in Canada. They have gained massive attention on social and traditional media platforms globally.
Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Organization’s Wytse Sonnema told Sky News Australia that the proposals have caused a broad sense of “frustration, anger, even despair” among the nation’s farmers. “And imagine if you’re a fifth-generation farmer living on your land, making a living, being part of a local community, and you see a map saying that basically there’s no future. No future for farming, but also no future for the economic, social, cultural fabric of the countryside.” Exactly so.
What it all amounts to is that governments in all parts of the world are making choices designed to help meet their often-arbitrary climate and ESG goals at the expense of feeding their populations and enabling citizens to keep their homes warm during the winter. Oddly, many of these political leaders seem genuinely surprised when such decisions and the damage they create cause social unrest that often ends with their being tossed out of office and even, as in Sri Lanka, run out of the country.
If this current dynamic continues, expect to soon see government officials interested in remaining in office to begin dropping the maintenance of their national ESG ratings down their list of pressing priorities.
Obviously, the author has worked in the fossil fuel industry for 40 years. This article feels like something you’d be handed in an English class as an example of political bias in media that you would then have to analyse, it’s that transparently awful. How many people will read it in good faith? I dread to think. I’m not personally in any kind of media field, but this is why English classes and literature analysis is important, folks.
- Snake Island a warning to Russia that Ukraine ‘will not be broken’, says Zelenskiy EU Reporter
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the raising of the Ukrainian flag on Snake Island in the Black Sea was a sign his country would not be broken, as President Vladimir Putin warned the West that its efforts to defeat him would bring tragedy to Ukraine.
Proud that he finally managed to get a tiny propaganda victory after spending so many drones, aircraft, boats, and lives on getting this fucking worthless rock in the middle of the Black Sea.
- Americans Are Talking Themselves Into a Recession Bloomberg
Long-held economic theory says that just the expectation that inflation will accelerate will cause actual inflation to accelerate. The thinking here is that if consumers expect prices for goods and services to rapidly increase in the near future, they will buy earlier, faster and in bulk, which causes those prices to rise faster than they would otherwise. Makes sense, but can the same be said about a recession? Sure, and it may be happening now and in real time.
If people fear that the economy is about to take a turn for the worse, they will reduce spending, trade down to cheaper brands, postpone consumption and economize in general. The net effect if enough people take such action would be a recession. And guess what? The part of the University of Michigan’s latest monthly index of consumer sentiment that shows whether people say it’s a good time to buy a major household item has fallen to a record low in data going back to 1980. The same goes for the buying a vehicle. Buying a house is only slightly better, only dropping to its lowest since 1982.
America might be talking itself into a recession despite one of the hottest job markets in history, with two positions open for every available worker!
Yeah, you stupid dirty proles, the economic downturn is all in your heads! If you just believed hard enough, and spent more money on things, then we wouldn’t be going into a recession!
- The Supreme Court is damaging the US’s international standing Business Insider
This article is awesome because the whole time, it’s like “Well, America is obvious great and the best country in the world, but an issue like this might potentially fuel speculation that it isn’t. Which isn’t true, of course, obviously we’re super democratic and amazing and the best, but people abroad might start to falsely believe that we have problems.” which is just a great sentiment for reasons that would take many paragraphs to describe.
The article discusses the fall of Roe vs Wade, then:
But the reaction was not limited to individuals who identify as Democrats or even to US citizens. The response was international as well, with particular dismay expressed by Washington’s NATO allies.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States,” while the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement that, while it didn’t call out the US directly, pointed to the ways in which the right to abortion was being “violated and threatened in many regions of the world.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the court’s decision “horrific.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke of women’s rights being “under threat,” and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the ruling “a step backwards.”
Some observers might claim that such international condemnation is meaningless, as this is a domestic issue with little to no relevance for US foreign policy. The US alliance system, of which NATO allies are a core part, is based on shared interests, not necessarily shared values. It is predicated on the United States' material power and its ability to militarily counter the regional adversaries of its allies.
This grants the US wide latitude in how it is perceived by its allies, who, because they are dependent on US protection, will tolerate almost any set of policies pursued within the United States. Moreover, one can claim, as does the US Conference for Catholic Bishops, that the Dobbs ruling promotes a “culture of life,” a value shared with many US allies.
However, there are at least three ways in which the Dobbs decision undermines US standing in the world.
First, it is embarrassing. As a result of it, the US joins an inauspicious list of countries that have restricted abortion access in the past three decades — a list that is full of nondemocracies, notably Russia and Iran.
When a clear majority of the US public, including Republican-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, thinks that abortions in some form should be protected at the national level, it seems contrary to a democratic system’s operating principles that the court would undermine the “will of the people.”
Indeed, according to data from the Pew Research Center, the only subset of Americans that clearly favors bans on abortion are those that identify as white evangelicals. For a country ostensibly predicated on the value of pluralism, it is disconcerting when a major policy is set that is clearly favorable to just one religious and ethnic group.
This is only heightened by the seemingly capricious nature of the ruling. It is one thing to philosophically hold that, within reason, policies should be set at the level of individual states.
But when the court rules in the same week that individual states can set any restrictions on abortions but cannot impose limited restrictions on gun ownership, it feeds a perception, both domestically and internationally, that the US democratic system of governance is dysfunctional.
Second, and related, the ruling is destabilizing and points to further instability in US policymaking.
After the Trump administration reversed numerous Obama-era policies via executive orders, followed by the Biden administration doing the same to Trump’s policies, Washington’s negotiation partners can be forgiven for viewing US policy as erratic.
Now the Supreme Court has overturned a policy that had stood for 50 years, and there are concerns that other domestic human-rights policies that seemed to have been “settled law,” such as protections for contraception and same-sex marriage, could be revised as well.
This further underlines the instability of policies produced by the US system of governance and, in turn, the US government’s inability to maintain a long-term commitment to its policy agenda.
Those alarmed by the current court’s trajectory might take solace in the hope that if the older conservative justices — Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas — retire under a Democratic president and Senate, it could shift the court’s balance to a liberal majority. But that would simply exacerbate the trend of instability.
Third, the ruling is foreboding, raising the question of whether this is just the “tip of the iceberg.” A decision released on June 30 curbing the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to restrict power-plant emissions without congressional approval suggests it is, and that the goal is to end as much regulation as possible at the federal level — with the exception, of course, of gun control — thereby undermining the federal administrative state altogether.
If the Supreme Court does go on to undercut the federal government’s ability to set regulations in a variety of issue areas, ranging from health policies to the environment, it would complicate the ability of the US to broker agreements for some of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the next century and beyond, notably climate change.
Like its security and economic policies, any major policy adopted by the United States will have global reverberations. That is the nature of hegemony, which the United States still enjoys, even if the “unipolar moment” that marked the first two decades after the Cold War has passed.
But with hegemony comes great responsibility. That means steadiness when it comes to policy, and particularly adherence to well-established legal precedent. That is the foundation of the rule of law, a key pillar of the democratic values that the US espouses at home and champions abroad. Following last week, it will be ever more difficult for it to do either.
- Biden Can Unite Israel and Saudi Arabia to Meet Iran Threat Bloomberg
US President Joe Biden’s success in reunifying and revitalizing the alliance of Western democracies, even expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to include Finland and Sweden, has given Washington its most dynamic international leadership role in decades. Now he’s going to try to do the same in the Middle East when he visits the region this week.
There, the common adversary is Iran, not Russia. There’s nothing as galvanizing as the invasion of Ukraine to bring together fractious neighbors Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. But Iran’s nuclear progress, growing missile arsenal and network of extremist militia groups across the region is, or should be, the next alarming concern in geopolitics.
There won’t be a spontaneous re-embrace of US leadership or renewed trust in Washington as there was in Europe. There has been a growing sense that the US is losing interest in the region as it focuses on China and Russia. But there’s an existing pro-American — or, more precisely, counter-Iranian — Middle East camp, and Biden will be meeting all of it.
His biggest challenge is that the two most important actors, Israel and Saudi Arabia, don’t have diplomatic relations, and can’t or won’t cooperate extensively, especially in public. To bring them together in a de facto US-led coalition, even if quietly and behind the scenes for starters, Biden must ascertain what they want from each other and the US, and, especially, how to deal with the Palestinian issue.
Unlike its smaller neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel in the Abraham Accords, Saudi Arabia needs meaningful concessions on the Palestinians to take any major diplomatic steps.
Israel, Biden’s first stop, is again in political tumult, with the coalition government having collapsed last month. Yet this may provide an opportunity: A productive meeting with Biden could give the interim prime minister, Yair Lapid, greater stature heading into elections this fall. Lapid is far more open to restarting talks with the Palestinians than other Israeli leaders.
At the meeting, Biden should stress a halt on the building or expanding of settlements (especially beyond the West Bank separation barrier); protecting the status quo at religious sites in Jerusalem; and halting provocations like evictions and nightly raids into Palestinian-ruled areas.
Biden needs to press Israel to recommit itself to a two-state solution, which remains a key Saudi goal, by expressing support for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state and promising not to annex occupied areas. (Biden is also meeting with former, and possibly future, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won’t be receptive to any of this.)
In the end, Biden’s trip will raise this question: The US plus Israel plus the Palestinians plus the Saudis plus all the other Arab states equals … what? If the answer is “not much,” then it’s back to business as usual, relying on a hodgepodge of bilateral arrangements with regional partners to contain Iran, combat terrorists and secure other key US goals.
Uhh… isn’t “containing Iran” and “combatting terrorists” mutually exclusive goals? Like, Iran is countering terrorist forces in the region. You’re the ones funding them and arming them, with ISIS vehicles just so happening to enter Israel and then, extremely strangely, being sent out repaired. That’s to say nothing of Saudi Arabia, which LITERALLY DID 9/11! But, as always, glory to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan.
That hasn’t been completely ineffective. But a new de facto regional partnership would be much more potent in advancing both Washington’s interests and those of its Middle East partners.
- Researchers in China claim they have developed ‘mind-reading’ artificial intelligence that can measure loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party, reports say Business Insider
Researchers at China’s Comprehensive National Science Center in Hefei claimed to have developed “mind-reading” artificial intelligence capable of measuring citizens' loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), The Sunday Times UK first reported.
In a now-deleted video and article, the institute said the software could measure party members' reactions to “thought and political education” by analyzing facial expressions and brain waves, according to The Times.
The results can then be used to “further solidify their confidence and determination to be grateful to the party, listen to the party, and follow the party,” the researchers said, per the report. The post was taken down following public outcry from Chinese citizens, according to a VOA article published Saturday.
Dr. Lance B. Eliot, an AI and machine learning expert, wrote in Forbes last week that without knowing the specifics of the research study, it’s impossible to prove the validity of the institute’s claims.
“This is certainly not the very first time that a brainwave scan capability was used on human subjects in a research effort,” he wrote. “That being said, using them to gauge loyalty to the CCP is not something you would find much focus on. When such AI is used for governmental control, a red line has been crossed.”
Late last year, the US Department of Commerce sanctioned several Chinese institutes for helping develop biotechnology including “purported brain-control weaponry,” as Insider previously reported.
The article says 1242942 quintillion Uighurs are being brutally dismembered by Xi personally, then:
“The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives,” US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said in a press release announcing the sanctions. “Unfortunately, the [People’s Republic of China] is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups.”
I don’t have much to say about this that isn’t extremely obvious to everybody reading this - that it probably doesn’t work, and even if it does work it’s probably not efficient, and even if it is efficient, the US has developed a much more generalized repressive system of ensuring no significant dissent amongst its population via extreme economic pressure and social propaganda efforts. If China really wants to do 1984, just do what America is doing and have two parties that are 99.96% the same and pretend those parties occupy the entire spectrum of political thought and generate massive culture wars between their bases instead of real political battles over the country’s economic system, and buy off your population with treats and PS5s and cars rather than actual democratic political power in the system. No direct brain control necessary, as the alphabet boys found out decades ago.
- Boris Johnson’s Fall Is Populism’s Latest Act of Self-Destruction Bloomberg
The idea of calling Boris Johnson a populist is beyond absurd. Words mean things! Yeah, I’m sure this fucking private school raised, fancylad homonculus encapsulating every deadly sin simultaneously, who burned money in front of homeless people for the laughs, is a prime example of the beliefs of populists seeking to improve their countries' populations through social and economic reform. I’m reminded of a semi-recent Chapo episode (episode 511) in which Will interviewed Thomas Frank on how the word “populism” has mutated into the deranged form that these aristocratic Epstein-befriending motherfuckers tout as its true definition, and represents the cyclical fear these people have of actual democratic power taking hold.
The defenestration of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a very British affair. There were prolonged shots of Number 10 Downing Street as the press waited for signs that he might surrender. There was a particularly fraught Prime Minister’s Question time as Johnson tried to defend his record against Labour’s Keir Starmer even as his MPs were deserting him. There were repeated references to the 1922 Committee — the Conservative backbenchers’ trade union that had its origins in a backbenchers’ plot, in 1922, to terminate the party’s alliance with another louche politician, Lloyd George. To add a very British twist to the tale: The 1922 Committee sprang from a meeting in the Carlton Club where Chris Pincher allegedly engaged in the drinking-and-male-groping frenzy that ended Johnson’s career.
Yet for all the local color, this was a British variation on the global story of populism’s dangerous appeal and destructive power. We have seen similar themes play out in almost every corner of the world. A charismatic leader wins power by promising to champion the people against the powerful. He breaks many of the formal rules of politics, starting with sartorial and behavioral codes but also targeting institutional rules, particularly when they involve putting constraints on his power. He frequently achieves remarkable things that convention-bound politicians deemed impossible. But he eventually crashes and burns — the victim not only of personal foibles but also of the logical contradictions inherent in his promises.
Johnson was on the lightweight end of global populism. His attempt to hole up in Number Ten even as his government collapsed was as nothing compared with Donald Trump’s support for the assault on the Capitol on January 6th. Johnson’s most spiteful act was to sack Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, for having the gall to tell him to his face to resign; Trump reportedly cheered on calls for his vice president, Mike Pence, to be hanged!
Bolivia’s Evo Morales tried every means imaginable to extend his time in power from referendums to court actions. Silvio Berlusconi controlled Italy’s three top television channels which provided slavishly favorable coverage of his political career. The Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte called for the use of “death squads” against drug gangs. Hungary’s Viktor Orban boasts about creating an “illiberal democracy.” Johnson is a piker by comparison with some of these figures.
Yet he nevertheless did serious damage to his country, damage that is even more striking when you consider that Britain is one of the world’s oldest and most stable democracies. He transformed the Conservative Party from a broad church into an ideological clique, expelling 21 Remainers, including Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, and giving jobs exclusively to Brexiteers, regardless of their abilities or public personas. He tried to remove constitutional constraints on the power of the executive by proroguing Parliament and denouncing both the Supreme Court and the House of Lords as constraints on the “will of the people.” Though Johnson’s days are numbered, his government threatens to break international law by unilaterally withdrawing from the Northern Ireland protocol.
Destruction is part of populism’s DNA, even in its most moderate form. Populism inevitably involves norm-breaking: Rule one of the populist playbook is that you demonize conventional politicians — those identikit suits and meaningless sound bites! — and offer something more “authentic.” Equally inevitably, populism involves disintermediation — populist leaders appeal over the heads of established institutions, particularly political parties, to the people.
Populists also make contradictory and un-costed promises that are eventually exposed as guff. Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s right-hand man when he first arrived in Downing Street who stormed out in spectacular circumstances, likens his former boss to a shopping trolley (complete with emoji) that careers all over the place. Johnson didn’t know whether he was a Thatcherite Tory, trying to cut the state, or a big government liberal, trying to provide the just-about-managing with security; in the end, he tried to do both, promising to build 40 new hospitals while also cutting taxes. The hospitals haven’t materialized and the tax-cutting refrain eventually drove his chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to resign, precipitating the final few days of chaos.
Culture continues to be dominated by preening elites who think they are not only more clever than the average person but also, thanks to their commitment to diversity and equity, more virtuous. The corporate elite has doubled down on its obsession with cosmopolitan values despite evidence that many regular people find this both irritating and alienating. And the ancient gods of belonging continue to beckon, perhaps even more so as technology and globalization break down traditional communities and promote anomie.
Johnson may be retreating to his former career as a writer and entertainer. Trump may be forced into angry retirement. But populism is here to stay — a vital force that, by combining the power of new technology with ancient tribalism, can destroy institutions, convulse economies, overturn corporate plans and generally plunge the world back into chaos. The wrecking ball still has a great deal of wrecking to do.
Thanks for the educated, well-informed take, Adrian Wooldridge, former writer at the Economist and the author of “The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World” (I am not fucking with you, that’s actually a book title that he actually wrote).
Good Takes that are Dope
- The Iran hawks’ dangerous hubris Responsible Statecraft
Some brainworms, but largely some decent analysis.
If there is something that distinguishes the Iran hawks, it is their seemingly insatiable lust for a war with Iran. The latest iteration of the theme is found in Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Marc Reuel Gerecht’s essay “Israeli moment.” True to form, Gerecht warms up the stale cliches about Iran having a messianic and expansionist regime with which a compromise is impossible. The new line is that the United States is no longer reliable in confronting Iran as it “disengages” from the region. Israel, then, is uniquely positioned to assume Washington’s mantle of regional hegemon; and Israel’s new-found Sunni Arab allies are on board for an anti-Iranian alliance.
This is a set of assumptions that is increasingly flaunted by the Israeli leadership itself. A string of diplomatic successes, such as “normalization” deals with a number of the Arab regimes via the Abraham Accords, and remarkable intelligence feats against the Islamic Republic, have buoyed Jerusalem’s confidence, to the point that former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett felt it appropriate to boast that Israel no longer hits Iranian proxies, but rather now goes for the “head of the octopus,” i.e. Iran itself.
Leaving aside Bennett’s desire to project tough national security credentials domestically, these are dangerously hubristic assumptions that, if unchecked, could easily spiral out of control and inevitably suck the United States into yet another costly Middle Eastern quagmire.
To justify his belligerence, Gerecht has to portray Iran as uniquely evil and irrational. According to him, even if the nuclear deal is restored, stopping the regime’s atomic ambitions is a “dreamscape.” Coming from a FDD associate, this is more than disingenuous: FDD fought tooth and nail against the original JCPOA and was instrumental in President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. participation from an agreement that had placed strict limits on Tehran’s purported “atomic ambitions,” limits which the “clerical regime” abided by for a full 18 months after Trump’s impetuous withdrawal.
Then Gerecht pulls out the familiar trope of a “regime that hates America and the West at a molecular level.” This blithely ignores the actual track record of the Islamic Republic, which, alongside its ideological anti-Americanism, also included efforts to decrease tensions with the United States — from former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s offer of a major contract with U.S. oil giant Conoco, to his successor Mohammad Khatami’s “dialogue of civilizations” to Hassan Rouhani’s JCPOA, including cooperation in a post-Taliban Afghanistan and a de-facto alliance against ISIS in Iraq. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hinted that if the JCPOA were faithfully implemented, dialogue on other issues, including regional security, was possible.
If the current hardline government in Tehran rejects such dialogue (for which it is criticized even by many regime insiders), it is due mostly not to the “hatred of America,” but rather the experience of Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and his “maximum pressure” campaign — a policy the FDD ardently lobbied for.
Once Iran is framed in apocalyptic terms, the punchline emerges: Israel is the only power willing and able to derail Iran’s regional ambitions, and it should use that power.
Recently, Israel has indeed scored a number of impressive successes in its shadow war with Iran — assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and military figures, apparent penetration, possibly through MEK operatives, of the very core of Iran’s security apparatus, and the foiling of alleged Iranian plots to target Israeli interests abroad. Last month’s dismissal of the long-serving head of the Revolutionary Guards intelligence arm, Hossein Taeb, clearly suggests that the Iranian leadership feels itself on the defensive.
Change of personnel at the top of security agencies is only part of the challenges Israel created for Iran — to regain their effectiveness, a more profound reform will be needed. What can be even more corrosive and demoralizing in the long run is the sense of mistrust and vulnerability that Israeli actions may have sowed in Iran’s security agencies. Reform needed to regain their footing will require time before it bears fruit, and Israel can use it to keep punching Iran.
Yet upping the ante from the ongoing shadow war to an open anti-Iranian Israel-led military alliance, as Gerecht suggests, would mark a significant escalation. Even a weakened Tehran still has potent capabilities to retaliate — either directly or through proxies. Because Iran is either unable or unwilling to reciprocate by striking inside Israel, it is building a “deterrence belt” against Israel’s presence in neighboring countries. A drone strike against an alleged Mossad presence in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, was claimed to have killed some Israeli operatives. Confirmed or not, attacks on Israeli interests in third countries are likely to continue. Other potential targets include Azerbaijan, which Iran has long suspected of being a key launchpad for Israeli intelligence activities.
Which brings us to the newly-minted Israeli “allies” among the signatories of the Abraham Accords — the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Saudi Arabia — not yet a part of the accords but inching closer to Israel. These countries may share Israel’s dislike of Iran, but by no means does that imply they are willing to join a formal, Israel-led alliance against Iran.
Iranian strikes on oil fields and infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE convinced Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to seek their own channels of de-escalation with Tehran. For now, Iran is disinclined to increase pressure on these countries as it has engaged in its own, thus far constructive, dialogues with them. However, should they forge more formal military ties with Israel, such as air defense agreements, or, in the case of the UAE and Bahrain, host any Israeli military or intelligence infrastructure on their soil, they risk once again becoming a target for Iran’s formidable missile and drone capabilities.
Another, as yet unused source of leverage Iran can use against Israel is the missile arsenal its Lebanese ally Hezbollah has amassed across Israel’s northern border in Lebanon. Moreover, as Russia deploys more of its forces in its war on Ukraine, it may rely more on Iran to prop up its Syrian client, President Bashar al-Assad, to the detriment of its deconfliction arrangement with Israel that effectively permitted Israel to strike at Iranian and pro-Iranian forces operating on Syrian territory virtually at will. The fact that the Kremlin’s own relations with Israel have soured following the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister and Israel’s increasingly difficult balancing act on Ukraine due to Western pressure to take Ukraine’s side makes such a scenario more plausible.
Any escalation of the “shadows war” between Israel and Iran into open conflict would inevitably bring in the United States given the likely domestic pressure from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come to Israel’s aid under such circumstances. In fact, Gerecht’s former FDD associate and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, John Hannah, now with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, made that point explicit earlier this week by urging the administration to throw all of its weight behind the nascent Israeli-Arab alliance against Iran.
Yet any American role in such an alliance would inevitably make the United States a target. It’s difficult to see how digging itself even deeper into the Middle Eastern morass serves the U.S. interest at a time when it so clearly needs to focus on far greater threats to its own security than Iran — from a revanchist Russia to a peer geopolitical rival China. When President Joe Biden visits Israel and Saudi Arabia later this month, he should make it clear to his hosts that Washington has no interest in being part of any war against Iran and discourage them from embarking on any reckless action that would bring that dreaded prospect closer to fruition.
Bloomerism and Hope
- ‘We Are Resilient People Who Fight For Each Other’ Popular Resistance
Elnora Gavin is a lifelong Benton Harbor resident and currently works as the West Michigan organizer with We the People Michigan. In this interview, she talks about her love for Benton Harbor, the challenges facing ordinary people there, and how they’re fighting to address everything from school closures to a disastrous human-made water crisis, and ultimately create a Benton Harbor where everyone flourishes. Eli Day, a Detroit-based writer and We the People Michigan communications director, interviewed Gavin for ConSystemvergence.
This is a long-ish interview, so I won’t quote it all, but check it out if you’re interested in some local efforts in the US. Here’s the last section:
Interviewer: And lastly, what would the future of BH look like ideally?
Oh, my goodness. That is a safe haven for Black folks. And when you have a safe haven for Black folks, that means a safe haven for everybody. You take care of what they statistically consider to be the least of these, then everybody can come through. And that’s exciting because our people are so creative. They have so many great ideas that need to be funded. And so you’re talking about fully funded creative solutions.
Just with the school system alone, as one example. You can literally re-create your community when your school systems are thriving. You’re talking about creating hundreds of well-paid jobs for folks. How many hours are kids in school? How many years are kids in school? So if the school is not working, you’re talking about 12 years wasted, as opposed to if the school has programs that actually meet the needs of our children. And they’re amazing now, but they’re fighting for their lives. Imagine if they’re in creation mode instead of survival mode. Imagine a beautiful city where the system is working for the people as opposed to working against them.
Our biggest problem is neglect, gross neglect. It’s almost like you’re starving somebody. What happens when you start feeding them? Completely different experience.
- Include the right to abortion in EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, demand MEPs EU Reporter
The right to abortion should be included in the c, MEPs urge in a resolution on the US Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights in the United States and the need to safeguard abortion rights and women’s heath in the EU, adopted with 324 in favour, 155 against and 38 abstentions. A proposal should be submitted to the Council to amend Article 7 of the Charter adding that “everyone has the right to safe and legal abortion.” MEPs expect the European Council to meet to discuss a Convention to revise the EU Treaties, as already stated in their resolution on 9 June.