Link back to the discussion thread.


  • You really don’t understand how bad it could get in Europe this year Fortune

An energy crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades is unfolding around the world.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of this year created a ripple effect in global markets. Western nations that once relied on energy supplies from Russia—the world’s second largest natural gas producer and third largest petroleum producer—condemned the invasion by refusing to buy Russian energy, or were cut off by President Vladimir Putin.

Nowhere is this crisis more pronounced and more dangerous than in Europe, where a long-standing gambit on cheap Russian gas has backfired. At the onset of the war, the European Union’s 27 member nations relied on Russia for 40% of their natural gas—the second most common energy source in Europe behind petroleum oil.

But now, with Russian supplies limited, the benchmark price of natural gas in Europe has more than doubled over the past year, and both consumers and corporations are getting hit hard.

Electricity bills have already tripled in many places. Some coffee shops and restaurants have seen monthly bills rise from €2,000 a year ago to €7,000 now, and major industries have started furloughing workers and cutting back on expenses due to high electrical bills. The situation is so dire that governments that previously renounced fossil fuels and nuclear power are desperately reopening shuttered coal plants and nuclear sites, and nationalizing utility companies to save them from going bankrupt.

But as bad as it is now, these might still be the good days for Europe. With winter and higher gas demand on the way, experts told Fortune that Europe’s energy market has never been more vulnerable. Even the slightest uptick in energy demand anywhere in the world could push entire sectors of Europe’s manufacturing industry to shut down entirely, devastating European economies with a wave of unemployment, high prices, and in all likelihood public unrest and divisions between European nations.

“Prices are at historically record levels. We have never ever seen anything actually like this,” Tatiana Mitrova, a research fellow with Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, told Fortune. “This will become quite painful.”

  • European Industry Buckles Under Weight of Soaring Energy Prices Bloomberg

Europe’s industrial giants have fretted for months that gas shortages this winter will cripple production. But even with fuel available, companies are discovering they can’t afford it.

“It’s not about shutdowns. It’s pricing, it’s cost,” said Christian Levin, chief executive officer of Traton SE, the truckmaking unit of Volkswagen AG.

Europe is paying seven times as much for gas as the US, underscoring a dramatic erosion of the continent’s industrial competitiveness that threatens to cause lasting damage to its economy. With Russian President Vladimir Putin redoubling his war efforts in Ukraine, there’s little sign that gas flows – and substantially lower prices – would be restored to Europe in the near term.

Signs of an economic transformation are already afoot: Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has seen its usual trade surplus dwindle as the surge in imported energy costs offsets its high-value exports of cars and machinery, and chemical companies began shifting production outside the country. Last month, German producer prices jumped by a record 46%.

  • Euro zone likely entering recession as price rises hit demand -PMI Reuters


  • Ukraine to slash ties with Iran over ‘unfriendly’ drones supply to Russia Inquirer

Ukraine said on Friday it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran and strip the ambassador of his accreditation over what it called Tehran’s “unfriendly” decision to supply Russian forces with drones.

Earlier in the day, Ukraine said it had downed four Iranian-made “kamikaze” unmanned aerial vehicles, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to complain Tehran was harming Ukrainian sovereignty and its citizens.


  • Toyota Motor to close its factory in Russia Reuters

  • Russian ruble jumps even as the US dollar slams other global currencies and Putin escalates the war on Ukraine Business Insider

The ruble moved higher on Friday, making it an outlier among other global currencies as they continued to weaken against the unstoppable US dollar.

Russia’s native currency gained 4.5% against the dollar, hitting 56.7 and climbing to a high not seen since August 25. The ruble’s performance was also the strongest gain against the euro since mid-July.

The ruble edged lower earlier in the week in response to Russia’s mobilization of more troops into Ukraine, while President Vladimir Putin threatened the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict.

But the ruble has rebounded to find renewed strength as the currency has done several times this year. Russia implemented strong capital controls immediately following the invasion of Ukraine and sought to control outflows of cash. The ruble has gone from both one of the weakest - and strongest - global currencies this year.

  • Russia’s Gas Exports To Europe Drop By 82% In A Year Oil Price


  • German economic downturn deepens in September, outlook grim Reuters

The downturn in German business activity deepened in September, a preliminary survey showed on Friday, as higher energy costs hit Europe’s largest economy and companies saw a drop in new business.

S&P Global’s flash composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which tracks both the manufacturing and services sectors which together account for more than two-thirds of Germany’s economy, fell to 45.9 in September from August’s final reading of 46.9.

  • Germany’s Scholz to visit Gulf states on energy hunt Iraqi News

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will on Saturday begin a two-day tour of Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, in the hope of sealing new energy deals with the fossil fuel exporters.

Scholz, accompanied by a sizeable industry delegation, will first head to Saudi Arabia before visiting the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on Sunday.

The chancellor hopes to agree new energy partnerships with the oil- and gas-rich Gulf states, with the loss of Russian supplies in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

Scholz however is faced with a diplomatic balancing act, as he will have to navigate significant differences with his hosts over human rights.

Oh, I’m sure he’ll manage to work through these ‘significant differences’, just like Biden did when he visited. They are ‘good country’, not ‘bad country’.

United Kingdom

  • Britain takes aggressive anti-China line with hawkish PM Liz Truss Multipolarista

Liz Truss, the UK’s new prime minister, must be in the running for the most anti-China British leader in a century.

Truss has done more than any other single politician to move the Conservative Party, and therefore the British government, from wanting to be a close friend of China, during the David Cameron premiership, to today where the UK is openly threatening Beijing’s economic stability and political security.

As foreign secretary in 2021, Truss convinced fellow G7 foreign ministers to include a line in their closing communique condemning China’s economic policy. Then, in a major speech this April, she threatened to crack down on China’s rise if they “don’t play by the rules”.

As she vied for the top seat in 10 Downing Street this August, Truss pledged that, if she were made prime minister, she would officially designate China a “threat” to British national security.

When the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan that same month, in a deeply provocative trip aimed at angering China, Truss openly talked about the need for the West to support the Taiwanese separatist movement.


  • Belgium To Shut Nuclear Reactor On Friday Amid Energy Crunch Oil Price

Belgium announced on Friday that its Doel 3 nuclear reactor will disconnect from the grid and cease operations, even as the country fears blackouts this winter. It is one of four reactors at the Doel plant near the port of Antwerp, and is the first nuclear reactor to shut down in Belgium’s plan to exit nuclear power completely.

The move moves even as thousands of Belgians took to the streets on Wednesday to protest soaring electricity prices and high costs of living. In a recent Belgian media poll, 64% of Belgians are concerned that they might not be able to pay their energy bills.

It also comes as Belgium stainless steel maker Aperam was forced to stop production as the high energy prices became untenable.

The decision to shut the reactors was made years ago, well before Europe’s energy crisis took hold. In 2011, it was decided to shut Belgian’s oldest reactors by 2015, and the rest by 2025. At that time, nuclear energy accounted for over half of the nation’s power consumption. In addition, under Belgium law, nuclear reactors have to stop producing electricity 40 years after installation, although some reactors in the country have been afforded extensions. While the Federal Interior Minister called for an extension for Doel 3, it was not granted.


  • Estonian PM tells nation to prepare for blackouts if Russia switches off power grid Reuters

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told her nation that power blackouts are possible if Russia kicks the Baltic states from the joint power grid, as she announced a snap defence readiness exercise.

“We must also be prepared for Russia might disconnect Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from their electricity grid”, she said in a televised address on Thursday evening, according to the government website.

Asia and Oceania


  • Wang Yi warns US not to approach China from ‘position of strength’ SCMP

  • China Urges US To Stop Plundering Syrian Resources TeleSUR

The Chinese government has demanded Washington to cease plundering Syria’s national resources and respect the Arab country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“We call on the United States to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, lift unilateral sanctions and end the theft of Syria’s national resources,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

At a press conference, the Chinese spokesman stated that the U.S. military has repeatedly stolen Syria’s oil, in fact, according to the Chinese official, it appears that the Americans are becoming increasingly “uncontrollable.”

Faced with such a situation, Wenbin stressed that Washington has a duty to investigate the thefts executed by its military forces and to reward the damage caused on Syrian territory.

  • The typical Chinese adult is now richer than the typical European adult, a new wealth report finds Business Insider

A major new report from investment banking and wealth management giant Credit Suisse has found that the average Chinese adult is now wealthier than the average European.

Although North America and Europe together account for 57% of total household wealth globally, China is squeezing out Europe in rankings of wealth per median adult.

Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report, which was released this month, estimates the average wealth of households around the world.

It found that Chinese median wealth per adult, at $26,752, now outstrips Europe, where the average adult has a wealth of $26,690. The European figure takes into account the whole of the continent, which includes many less wealthy nations in its southern and eastern regions.

Median wealth in China was more than four times greater than in Russia, where median wealth was $6,379 in 2021.

China’s average wealth, however, was still less than a third of the wealth of the median American ($93,271) — and only about 10% of the wealth of the median Belgian ($256,336).

That seems like a lot of money for the median Belgian.


  • Lightning and heavy rains kill 36 in northern India in one day Guardian


  • U.S. in talks to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia -WSJ Reuters

The Biden administration is in discussions with Australia to build the first few nuclear-powered submarines for the island nation in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing Western officials.

Australia has been boosting its defense spending over the past few years as China steps up its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The idea is to provide Australia with an initial nuclear-powered fleet, which can spend longer time underwater, by the mid-2030s, the Journal reported.

Middle East


  • Kazakhstan Closes Trucking Loophole Which Allowed Russia To Dodge Sanctions Oil Price

Astana has closed a loophole that was allowing Russian and Belarusian truckers to bring European Union cargo across Russia to Kazakhstan without the correct paperwork.

The clampdown comes as Kazakhstan continues efforts to comply with international sanctions against Russia and Belarus – fellow partners in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a free trade zone – to avoid Western countries targeting Kazakhstan with secondary sanctions.

Kazakh customs officials have halted on the border at least eight Russian articulated trucks carrying goods from the EU this week, Russian newspaper Izvestiya reports.

On September 20 Astana explained that truckers must comply with a rule requiring them to present two documents: one from the cargo’s place of origin, and one from the place where it has been reloaded onto Russian or Belarusian trucks for transportation out of the EU and onward to Kazakhstan.

With Russian and Belarusian trucks banned from the EU, they will struggle to secure those documents.

“Since the introduction of sanctions by the European side against Russian and Belarusian haulers, most cargo loads from European countries to Kazakhstan are currently carried out via load switching (reloading) of cargos at terminals located on Belarusian border territories,” the Ministry for Industry and Infrastructure Development said.

Russia and Belarus had bans in place that they lifted after sanctions were imposed at the start of the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine, to allow haulage companies more freedom of maneuver as business with Europe ground to a halt.

That was done without consultation with fellow EAEU member Kazakhstan, which subsequently, after talks with the Russians, exempted Russian and Belarusian rig drivers from the ban on load switching from July 1 to the end of 2023, as a “goodwill gesture.”

That was to the chagrin of Kazakh drivers.

Atameken, a business lobby association, warned at the time that it could reduce Kazakh truckers’ share of the market on international routes to Kazakhstan, already low at 31 percent, to just 10 percent.

Russian truckers say they were not previously being asked on the Kazakh border for a permit issued within the EU, Izvestiya reported.

But Astana insisted this had been the rule all along.

“A reminder of the rules of application of the regulatory approval system when transporting cargos from third countries via load switching and the need for foreign haulers to observe it has been sent to countries of the EU, EAEU, CIS, Ukraine and Georgia,” the ministry said.

The reminder came just as Halyk Bank, Kazakhstan’s largest, suspended the use of Russia’s Mir payment cards – one of the few cards still available to Russian bank clients – after a U.S. Treasury Department warning that sanctions could be imposed on institutions accepting them.


  • Mahsa Amini: Raisi says Iran must ‘decisively confront’ protesters as death toll doubles MEE

  • Iranian army says it will confront enemies as protests rage Reuters

The Iranian army said on Friday it will “confront the enemies” to ensure security, the toughest warning yet to nationwide protesters enraged by the death of a woman held by police.

Iranians have staged nationwide demonstrations over the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested by the morality police for wearing “unsuitable attire”.

The army said “these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime”.

  • Iranian State TV Raises Death Toll in Amini Protests to 26 TeleSUR

  • US to expand internet access to help Iranians evade state surveillance Guardian

The US Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance expanding the range of internet services available to Iranians despite US sanctions on the country, amid protests around Iran after the death of a 22-year-old woman in custody.

Officials said the move would help Iranians access tools that can be used to circumvent state surveillance and censorship, but would not entirely prevent Tehran from using communications tools to stifle dissent, as it did by cutting off internet access for most citizens on Wednesday.

“As courageous Iranians take to the streets to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, the United States is redoubling its support for the free flow of information to the Iranian people,” Deputy US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said.

“With these changes, we are helping the Iranian people be better equipped to counter the government’s efforts to surveil and censor them.”

  • Musk says activating Starlink, in response to Blinken on internet freedom in Iran Reuters

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that he would activate the firm’s satellite internet service, Starlink, in response to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s tweet that the United States took action “to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians.

Yeah, I’m becoming ever more adamantly convinced that this is an attempted colour revolution.

  • Raisi calls for activation of joint economic commission with Zimbabwe Tehran Times

  • Top Iranian military commander cautions Azerbaijan, UAE Tehran Times

Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, stated on Thursday that Tehran encourages both the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve their disputes through dialogue, reiterating Tehran’s position that the Islamic Republic will not endure regional states resorting to “military conflict”.

He also warned the Persian Gulf region’s southern littoral states (an indirect reference to the UAE and Bahrain) to be wary of the Zionist regime’s schemes, stressing that the Zionists' presence in the region will affect security and that the Iranian armed forces will monitor the enemy’s movements in order to respond to their threats.


  • Death toll from sinking of Lebanon migrant boat rises to 89 Guardian

The death toll from a migrant boat that sank off the Syrian coast after sailing from Lebanon earlier this week has risen to 89, Syrian state TV said on Saturday.

The country’s transport ministry has quoted survivors as saying the boat left Lebanon’s northern Minyeh region on Tuesday bound for Europe with between 120 and 150 people onboard.

Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), described the incident as a “heart-wrenching tragedy”.


  • 7 Killed, 41 Wounded in Kabul Mosque Explosion TeleSUR

Seven people were killed and 41 others wounded after a bomb explosion ripped through a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Friday.


  • Israel summons Mexican Ambassador over Mexico City protests outside Israeli Embassy MEMO

The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Mexican Ambassador in Jerusalem for a reprimand, after protesters gathered Thursday in front of the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City and vandalised its premises.

“We view the issue very gravely. We expect that Mexico will fulfil its international obligations,”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, said, according to Times of Israel.

Demonstrators attacked the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City on Thursday, and sprayed graffiti on its walls that included “Death to Israel” and other slogans. The protesters demanded the extradition of former Mexican official, Tomas Zeron, who was involved in the disappearance of 43 students in the country in 2014. Zeron, who previously headed Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency, currently resides in Israel.


  • Turkiye President slams US warning to Turkish banks over using Russian MIR cards MEMO

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has denounced US warnings to impose sanctions on Turkish banks over using the Russian MIR transaction payment system, Anadolu Agency reported.

Speaking to reporters at the Turkish House in New York on Thursday, at the conclusion of his visit to the United States to participate in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Erdogan said, “this is not befitting friendship or our economic relations”, referring to the US warnings, pointing out that the sanctions will be evaluated by the relevant Turkish ministers and will be dealt with accordingly.

He added that the concerned authorities are currently discussing alternatives and that he will meet with them on Friday to take the final decision.



  • Botswana Seeks to Reduce Its Reliance on Diamonds TeleSUR

President Masisi’s economic recovery plan includes strengthening the protection system to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups.

On Thursday, Botswana should diversify its economy to reduce its heavy dependence on diamonds, President Mokgweetsi Masisi told world leaders attending the general debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

Botswana is facing “an uphill battle” to attract investors to diversify its economy away from dependence on diamonds, the president said, while pointing out the resource is still the “bedrock” of its economy.

When Botswana achieved independence 56 years ago, it was among the world’s poorest countries, but now it is an upper-middle-income country, Masisi noted, adding it was fortunate to discover “what has turned out to be the largest diamond reserve across the Kimberley Belt.”

The president stressed that Botswana’s recovery plan includes strengthening its protection system to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups and persons living with disabilities.


  • Mali: Hundreds march against UN peacekeepers Africa News

The protestors waved Malian flags and chanted anti-UN slogans. Others carried Russian flags as they marched through the streets of the capital.

Mali’s army government has had a frosty relationship with the UN mission also known as MINUSMA, culminating in July in the detention of Ivorian soldiers after branding them mercenaries.

“MINUSMA has done nothing here. We want them to leave. We are here to show the international community that we no longer want MINUSMA. We don’t care about MINUSMA. We love our country. We want our soldiers, led by Colonel Assimi Goita,” said Lassina Doumbia, a protester.

" They can go back to their homes and stay there. We don’t need their help anymore. Assimi Goita is enough for us. The Malian youth is enough for us, " added Samba M. Wangara.

South Africa

  • South Africa Raises Policy Rate by 75 Basis Points TeleSUR

On Thursday, South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had decided to raise the policy rate by 75 basis points to 6.25 percent per annum with effect from Friday.

North America

United States

  • Dow hits 2022 low as markets sell off on recession fears Politico

Stocks tumbled worldwide Friday on mounting signs the global economy is weakening just as central banks raise the pressure even more with additional interest rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6 percent, closing at its lowest level since late 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.7 percent, close to its 2022 low set in mid-June, while the Nasdaq slid 1.8 percent.

The selling capped another rough week on Wall Street, leaving the major indexes with their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.

Energy prices closed sharply lower as traders worried about a possible recession. Treasury yields, which affect rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans, held at multiyear highs.

European stocks fell just as sharply or more after preliminary data there suggested business activity had its worst monthly contraction since the start of 2021. Adding to the pressure was a new plan announced in London to cut taxes, which sent U.K. yields soaring because it could ultimately force its central bank to raise rates even more sharply.

  • The Dollar Is a Wrecking Ball That’s Ruining Everything Bloomberg

The idea of the Federal Reserve hiking rates “until something breaks” has become something of a mantra in markets. The problem is some stuff is already beginning to shatter, it’s just all taking place outside of the US.

Here, for instance, is Japan intervening to bolster the the yen for the first time since 1998, when it was in the grips of the Asian Financial Crisis.

And here’s sterling plunging against the greenback after the UK unveiled a mini-budget featuring regressive tax cuts for high-earners and companies.

While most of the move in cable clearly had to do with the questionable economics of the new Conservative leadership (more on that from Joe below), you can’t ignore the role of the strong dollar here. It also pushed down the euro, which fell below $0.98 for the first time since 2002.

And of course, we know that a stronger dollar has sparked havoc in emerging market economies, which often have dollar-denominated debt and import commodities that are invoiced in US currency.

Speaking of commodities, the dollar has been breaking things there too. As Odd Lots guest and the author of the Commodity Context newsletter Rory Johnston tweeted, there’s a whole lot of dollar dynamic in the oil price this week given the absence of much other news. The global benchmark Brent is now down more than 30% from above $123 a barrel in June.

In bringing down prices of commodities, the strong dollar is ruining one of the last remaining hedges for investors trying to offset higher inflation.

That’s a feature rather than a bug for a Fed that’s been adamant that stocks need to come down in order for monetary policy to actually tighten financial conditions. But make no mistake, the dollar is a wrecking ball swinging at the global economy and investors’ portfolios right now.

  • Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel says Jerome Powell is making one of the biggest policy mistakes in the Fed’s 110-year history, and it could lead to a major recession Business Insider

Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel has a big issue with the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes in its bid to tame inflation, and worries that the central bank is making the biggest mistake in its history and may provoke a steep recession.

That’s because, according to Siegel, inflation is starting to come down significantly and the Fed is still moving forward with its rate hikes.

“The last two years [are] one of the biggest policy mistakes in the 110-year history of the Fed, by staying so easy when everything was booming,” Siegel said.

  • The US tops the world with more than 140,000 ultra-rich citizens worth more than $50 million, after adding another 30,000 to the rolls in 2021 Business Insider

Okay, I think this article has unintentionally the funniest introduction I’ve seen probably the month.

Back in 1821, the British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley made a prescient observation.

“The rich get richer,” Shelley wrote. He noticed those who already had wealth continued to accrue more at the expense of those poorer than them.

Exactly two centuries later, Shelley’s words still largely ring true. The rich are still getting richer, according to a new report on global wealth from investment bank Credit Suisse.

No fucking shit. “Welcome to my essay. The Oxford dictionary defines ‘wealth’ as…"


  • Central banks around the world are willing to risk recession to fight inflation — and early signs suggest widespread pain for everyone, everywhere Business Insider

Countries around the world are rushing to crush inflation. The price? A global economic downturn.

In the US, the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, has warned that the fight against rising prices will “bring some pain” to Americans by slowing job growth, making mortgages and credit cards more expensive, and possibly prompting layoffs. He characterized the Fed’s inflation target as “unconditional,” offering a clear signal that the central bank will accept some economic discomfort — and even a recession — if it means ending the price surge.

He’s not alone. Central banks in the UK, Europe, Canada, Switzerland, Indonesia — more than 80 countries in all — are similarly slamming the brakes on their economies to curb inflation, according to the World Bank. Monetary tightening is the broadest its been in five decades, and as inflation hovers at worrying highs around the globe, it’s unlikely any central banks will ease up soon.

  • Africa: 400 Million New Green and Digital Sector Jobs, Will Pave Way to ‘Rebalance Societies’ All Africa

It says Africa but the article is more of a global UN thing.

A year after the UN launched an initiative to accelerate green and digital job creation, and expand social protection, the Secretary-General on Friday urged world leaders to “put people first” by making massive investments in their future wellbeing.

According to António Guterres, the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions aims to rebalance societies by putting decent jobs and social protection at the centre of sustainable development.

“The path of inaction leads to economic collapse and climate catastrophe, widening inequalities and escalating social unrest”, which could leave “billions trapped in vicious circles of poverty and destitution”, he warned a High-Level meeting during the 77th General Assembly in New York.

Countries taking the lead

Mr. Guterres commended the actions of countries such as Togo, which deployed innovative digital solutions to expand social protection to hard-to-reach populations, and South Africa, which recently launched a Just Energy Transition partnership.

“It is imperative that we provide the support needed - at speed and at scale - to keep the momentum and ambition of these and similar initiatives alive”, he underscored.

He said the present economic system is unfair, boosting inequalities and pushing more people into poverty, and that’s why it requires a deep structural reform.

“We are working hard to achieve that - but change won’t happen overnight. In the interim, the Global Accelerator is a critical tool to help provide immediate support to people in need and advance action towards transformative change for all”, he said.

The initiative aims to create 400 million new decent jobs - especially in the green, care and digital economies - and extend social protection to the over four billion people currently without coverage.

It is also meant to be a tool to help the world manage the massive transformations in areas such as digital, climate, or demographic change, that will fundamentally change societies in the coming decades.


The Ukraine War

  • U.S. prepared to impose more costs on Russia over Ukraine referendums Reuters

Whatcha gonna do? Steal their foreign reserves? Cut them off from SWIFT? You blew your load way too early and now you have nothing. The best you can do is put secondary sanctions on countries officially trading with Russia, which may hurt Russia in the short term but hastens your demise in the mid to long term.

  • Former NATO boss slams Macron for “disastrous” diplomacy on Ukraine Reuters

Diplomatic efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron in response to the war in Ukraine were a failure and “deeply harmful” for Kyiv, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO secretary-general, said in an interview published on Friday.

“It was not a success”, Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister who was one of the world’s most-senior diplomats until he left the transatlantic defence alliance in 2014, told French magazine Le Point.

His comments come after criticism, especially in eastern Europe, about how Macron kept an open line with Russian President Vladimir Putin with direct phone calls even after the invasion of Ukraine and has warned against ‘humiliating’ Russia.

“Macron astonished us at the beginning of the crisis with his, to say the least, unique and critical statement that Putin should not be humiliated and offered an exit ramp. Such statements were disastrous and deeply harmful”, he added.

Macron seemed to me the only European leader who had even the slightest amount of sense. Of course, it didn’t achieve anything, so who really cares. Maybe if a few more leaders had been like Macron, just maybe some kind of diplomatic solution or ceasefire could have been reached early on in the war. Alas, we had too many people like Boris.

Climate, Space, and Science

  • Indigenous activists raise climate awareness on sidelines of UNGA Iraqi News

Uyukar Domingo Peas, an Ecuadorian Indigenous activist, says if there are still “reservoirs of natural resources” in the world, it is “because we have protected them for thousands of years.”

Peas has been fighting against the destruction of forests for three decades and regrets that states and companies continue to destroy the Amazon despite the urgency of the climate crisis.

“The Amazon must remain intact for the youth and the rest of humanity,” the 58-year-old from the Achuar nation told AFP, lamenting that governments and corporations have not sought the ancestral knowledge of Indigenous peoples to save the planet.

Peas was speaking at Environment Week, a series of independent events involving Indigenous peoples from around the world that is being held in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

An estimated 80 percent of the world’s tropical forests — about 800 million hectares — are in Indigenous territories, according to organizations that defend them.

Many Indigenous people blame capitalism for the destruction of their forests.

“We want companies and banks to stop investing for money and invest for the common good” because “climate change harms every human being,” he said.

He is calling for funds to implement the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative, which aims to protect 35 million hectares in the Amazon rainforest of Peru and Ecuador, and is home to 30 Indigenous communities with around 600,000 people.

He hopes that the nine countries that share the Amazon — often referred to as the lungs of the planet, spread over nearly 300 million hectares with three million inhabitants from more than 500 peoples — will also join this initiative.

  • Thousands call for ‘climate reparations and justice’ in global protests Guardian

Thousands of young people have staged a coordinated “global climate strike” across Asia, Africa and Europe in a call for reparations for those worst affected by climate breakdown.

From New Zealand and Japan to Germany and the Democratic Republic of Congo, activists walked out of schools, universities and jobs to demand rich countries pay for the damage global heating is inflicting on the poor.

In the latest day of action by the Fridays For Future movement, strikes “for climate reparations and justice” were planned in about 450 locations worldwide.

The protests take place six weeks before the Cop27 climate summit, where developing countries plan to push for compensation for climate-related destruction to homes, infrastructure and livelihoods.

Recent months have seen deadly floods engulfing large parts of Pakistan, wildfires ravaging north Africa, Europe and North America, and record-breaking heatwaves in Britain and India.

“We’re striking all over the world because the governments in charge are still doing too little for climate justice,” said Darya Sotoodeh, a spokesperson for the group’s chapter in Germany.

“One day, it could be my house that gets flooded,” said 15-year-old Park Chae-yun, one of about 200 protesting in Seoul, South Korea. “I’m living with a sense of crisis, so I think it is more important to deliver my concerns to the government to take preventive measures rather than going to school.”

The biggest strike took place in Berlin, with police in the German capital estimating 20,000 took part in a rally calling on their government to set up a €100bn fund for tackling the climate crisis.

About 400 young activists gathered in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, chanting “Act for Africa, protect our planet”. They marched on the shoulder of a busy thoroughfare carrying cardboard signs saying “Climate Justice” and “Climate SOS”.

In Rome, 5,000 young people turned out for a march that ended near the Colosseum. One carried a placard saying: “The climate is changing. Why aren’t we?”

    • Geoengineering Will Be Part of a Fossil Fuel–Free Future Jacobin

I’m not gonna go into this article, but the premise is essentially that while geoengineering carbon removal projects are typically seen by the left as boondoggles and sometimes actively harmful to the planet, some leftist climate figures think that geoengineering is a necessary part of a progressive climate agenda as carbon will have to be removed from the atmosphere even if we stopped all emissions tomorrow. I don’t disagree with the general idea, in fact I’m quite supportive of it, though the devil is always in the details. Unfortunately I didn’t have time today to read through it comprehensively so I can’t officially say if this is a Good Take or a Bad Take.

Dipshittery and Cope

I don’t read any of these unless they’re particularly interesting. I’m happy for them tho. Or sorry that happened.


  • Is China a juggernaut? Or an ailing giant? Both. WaPo

Is China (a) an economic juggernaut, rapidly overtaking the United States in the technologies of tomorrow? Or is it (b) an ailing giant, doomed by demography, failing real estate developers and counterproductive government diktat?

Trick question: China is both. But the country’s weaknesses increasingly dominate its strengths.

Start with the evidence for juggernaut China. Back in 2000, the country’s spending on research and development, government plus private, was about one-ninth that of the United States, according to Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development statistics. Fast-forward to 2020 and it was 85 percent. Further, by concentrating its resources, China has achieved global leadership in strategic areas. A worldwide ranking of universities, ordered according to how many top-cited papers in math and computing were generated from 2015 to 2018, shows Chinese institutions holding the top seven slots.

Excellence in research has come with dominance in key commercial technologies. Chinese companies lead the world in drones, mobile payments and 5G networking equipment. Chinese consumers’ habit of conducting every aspect of life via smartphones has generated data with an extraordinary density, and cheap Chinese labor allows for the data’s laborious tagging. Combined with double-fisted government subsidies, these two factors give China a head start in the race to train artificial intelligence systems.

China’s venture capitalists are formidable. They have learned the art of disruption from Silicon Valley’s experts: The top Sand Hill Road outfit is Sequoia Capital; the top China outfit is Sequoia China. American and American-trained venture capitalists have launched several other firms in the mainland. Sinovation Ventures, a leading backer of AI, is led by Kai-Fu Lee, an alumnus of Google, Microsoft, Apple and the Carnegie Mellon PhD program.

All of which recently led Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google, to warn that the United States might lose the tech race against China. Since that could include military technology, losing could pose an existential threat. Yet China’s leaders, for their part, face even more profound challenges.

Economic growth in China is projected to come in at just over 3 percent this year. That is much lower than the official target of 5.5 percent; it is positively humiliating relative to China’s performance of a decade ago, when annual growth was around 8 percent. Boosters will ascribe this slowdown to idiosyncratic snags. But the snags collectively point to the big picture. An authoritarian system is reaching its limits.

As we all know, exponential growth can continue forever, and China is a failure for not maintaining it. I mean, honestly, the rest of the article isn’t worth the word count of putting in this update. We already know what they’re gonna say and we already know that it’s not true, and it’s certainly not entertaining, so…

The West

  • Hillary Clinton likened Donald Trump’s Ohio rally to Adolf Hitler speeches, report says Business Insider

We’re doing this again? Really? Can’t we just leave all this shit in 2016-2020, where it belongs?

  • Biden has a big climate win at home. Global success still depends on China. WaPo

It’s not a big climate win, for starters. Also, if you want China to cooperate with you a little more, maybe stop sailing your ships through the fucking Taiwan Strait every month and promising to send billions in military equipment to Taiwan? Like, you’re sanctioning China wherever you can and then some politicians have the audacity to be like “China is reducing cooperation with us, this is dangerous for the climate!” Morons.

  • If the pandemic is ‘over,’ so is Biden’s authority to forgive student debt WaPo

Aha! You have been logically owned, good sir!

President Biden declared that “the pandemic is over” and now is trying to walk it back. Little wonder: With just a few words in a “60 Minutes” interview, Biden completely undermined his administration’s legal justification for student loan forgiveness.

The nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model estimates that Biden’s loan forgiveness plan will cost between $605 billion and $1 trillion. Congress has not authorized him to spend any of that. So where does the president get the authority to unilaterally spend up to $1 trillion? He claims to find it in the Heroes Act — a law passed after the 9/11 attacks to help those Americans called up to active military service not default on their student loans. The law provides “the Secretary of Education with specific waiver authority to respond to a war or other military operation or national emergency” (my emphasis).

In an August memo explaining the legal basis for Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, Education Department general counsel Lisa Brown claimed that emergency authority includes a “national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic.” This is absurd. The Heroes Act explicitly states that it is intended to help the “hundreds of thousands of Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard reservists and members of the National Guard [who] have been called to active duty or active service.” It authorizes the secretary of education to forgive or modify their loans in response to a “national emergency, regardless of the location at which such active duty service is performed.” There is no way to read this law as justifying debt relief for an entire class of individuals who never wore the uniform.

Biden is not even trying to conform with the intent of the law — by, for example, perhaps extending loan forgiveness to first responders and front-line medical workers who risked their lives during the covid-19 pandemic. He’s driving a steam engine right through the plain text of the law and providing mass debt forgiveness for those who did not serve in any capacity in a national emergency — and using the pandemic as justification.

But now that Biden has declared the pandemic “over,” his justification for abusing this law has evaporated. Walking through the Detroit Auto Show, Biden told CBS correspondent Scott Pelley, “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.” He said, “We still have a problem with covid. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. But the pandemic is over.”

That means what his administration’s lawyers called a “national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic,” is no longer “present.” And if the pandemic is no longer present, neither is the legal basis for using it to forgive student loans.

Of course, consistency has never been Biden’s strong suit. In the spring, his administration announced it was lifting Title 42 — the Trump-era public health order that allows border officials to turn away illegal migrants in order to prevent the spread of covid-19 — because Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared it was “no longer necessary” since we now have “an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19” and “97.1% of the U.S. population lives in a county identified as having ‘low’ COVID-19 Community Level.”

In other words, Biden effectively declared the pandemic emergency over for illegal migrants at the border, but then a few months later invoked it to justify student loan forgiveness. Then he (again) declared the pandemic “over” — even as his administration submits an emergency request to Congress for $27 billion in pandemic spending before the end of the year.

I fucking hate these kinds of liberals/conservatives. Smugly going “Mhm, yes, well, you may be TRYING to do a good thing - how very noble! - but it unfortunates breaks the rules, specifically section 4B, paragraph 5.” The high point of these peoples' lives was the teacher giving them a gold star for reminding them to set homework over the weekend while the rest of the classroom groaned.

Good Takes that are Dope

For good, or at least decent, analysis of an event or situation - particularly one that hasn’t been covered endlessly before or has a fresh angle.

In his Wednesday address to the UN General Assembly, President Biden again called for a united global stance to isolate Russia because of its war of aggression against Ukraine.

Such global unity has never existed, except in the fevered hopes of U.S. officials. Biden neglected to mention that virtually all of the 40 countries contributing to Ukraine’s defense are NATO members or other U.S. allies and security dependents. Support elsewhere in the world for sanctions and other components of its policy against Moscow has been notable by its absence.

Barely one month into the Ukraine war, Hudson Institute scholar Walter Russell Mead noted Washington’s lack of success in broadening the anti-​Russia coalition beyond the network of traditional U.S. allies.

“The West has never been more closely aligned. It has also rarely been more alone. Allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization plus Australia and Japan are united in revulsion against Vladimir Putin’s war and are cooperating with the most sweeping sanctions since World War II. The rest of the world, not so much.”

Biden’s boast about 141 nations coming together “to unequivocally condemn Russia’s war” was a bit of an exaggeration. His comment referred to a resolution the UN General Assembly passed on March 2. It did demand “an immediate cessation of the hostilities by the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” but it was purely symbolic measure that did not require member states to do anything.

Despite the toothless nature of the resolution, five nations cast negative votes, and 35 nations, mostly in the Middle East and Africa abstained — an unsubtle diplomatic snub to the United States. The easy action would have been to vote for the meaningless gesture and placate Washington. That more than 20 percent of UN members opposed the measure or abstained was an early sign of trouble for Washington’s policy, not an affirmation of global unity supporting that policy.

Matters have not improved since then. Despite extensive diplomatic pressure from the Biden administration, key diplomatic and economic players — including Brazil, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia — have refused to impose sanctions against Russia. Most damaging, Asia’s two demographic and economic giants, India and China, have stubbornly remained on the sidelines.

  • Palestine’s Abbas tells UN Israel is destroying two-state solution and doesn’t believe in peace MEE

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, where in his near hour-long speech he said Israel was “destroying” the two-state solution, and lambasted the UN for failing to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

“[Israel] has and still is through its current policies, which are premeditated and deliberate, destroying the two-state solution,” Abbas said to other world leaders in attendance.

“Israel does not believe in peace. It believes in imposing a status quo by force and by aggression.”

The Palestinian leader said that Israel is working towards “making the relationship between the State of Palestine and Israel a relationship between an occupying state and an occupied people, nothing more”.

Abbas’s comments are in stark contrast to those of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who spoke at the UN the day before.

Lapid threw his support behind the two-state solution, a reference which Israeli leaders have generally avoided during the UN assembly.

“An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy, and for the future of our children,” Lapid said.

Still, despite Lapid’s verbal support, prospects for a two-state solution continue to shrink as a result of illegal Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, the intended future home of a Palestinian state.

  • The Problem Isn’t “Polarization” — It’s Right-Wing Radicalization Jacobin

Many liberal responses to Trumpism lament “polarization” on all sides. But the call to return to a sensible centrism ignores the real crises we face — falsely equating those who want to solve them with a far right who would make them worse.

I mean, yeah, this is an easy goal for Jacobin.

  • Claims That Capitalism Is Eradicating Global Poverty Are Wildly Misleading Jacobin

Boosters of the capitalist system love pointing to statistics suggesting stunning progress in eradicating global poverty. But those metrics set the bar pathetically low — and don’t account for the obscene explosion in global inequality.

Once again, good job Jacobin.

  • The British Left Could Benefit From a Few Lessons From the French Left Jacobin

Five years after their electoral breakthroughs, the projects led by Jeremy Corbyn and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have gone in opposite directions. The British left would be in a stronger position today if it had displayed some of Mélenchon’s confrontational grit.

Just to be clear - I’m not actually saying this is a good take, I just couldn’t think of where else to put it. This seems to me to be a topic that should be hotly debated by us/socialists in general, and I also think that the national political environments between the UK and France are so different that you really can’t argue that their left movements can be exchanged freely. Corbyn and the movement that propelled him/he propelled was the result of the socioeconomic and political conditions in England. Melenchon and his movement was similarly the result of the socioeconomic and political condition in France.

Bloomerism and Hope

For events that show that a better, more equitable, and happier world is possible than the neoliberal hell we inhabit.

  • Cuban zoo helps deaf visitors experience the wild Inquirer

The rhinos, giraffes, and lions that populate Cuba’s national zoo have long been a wonder for all, but for deaf Cubans like Tatiana Romero, tours of the sprawling facility outside Havana have recently become a lot more welcoming.

Earlier this year, sign language interpreters began accompanying groups of deaf visitors aboard the bus and trails that take them across an enclosed plain designed to imitate the African savannah.

“When I was a child I used to visit the park. But many years have passed,” said Romero, 35, who lost her hearing in the womb. “The interpreter was a great surprise, now I can understand everything.”

The tours are one among several innovative program the state-run and operated zoo offers for people with disabilities, including animal therapy for children with Down’s syndrome, autism and other special needs.

“Previously, very few (deaf) people visited the zoo because they could only see the animals,” said Yoandra Oliva López, an interpreter and educator with the zoo. “Now many more are visiting.”

  • Rail Strikes Proliferate as Third UK Union Plans October Action Bloomberg

A third UK rail union announced strike dates for early October, with the period set to bring the worst disruption so far in months of walkouts in the industry.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association said Friday that thousands of ticket office, station and control-room workers will walk out on Saturday, Oct. 1, the following Wednesday and Thursday, and again the next Saturday. Unions are seeking higher pay amid soaring inflation, as well as deals on job security.

TSSA, whose action will affect Network Rail Ltd. and 11 train operating companies, joins the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and drivers’ union Aslef in announcing a new wave of strikes after walkouts planned for last week were canceled on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

All three unions are striking on Oct. 1, limiting travel options to the Conservative Party’s annual conference, which starts the following day in Birmingham. Two of the unions are also targeting Oct. 5, when delegates and other attendees will be making their way home from the event.

  • Atlanta wants to build a massive police training facility in a forest. Neighbors are fighting to stop it CNN

This is an actually pretty detailed piece, from what I’ve skimmed. Unfortunately it’s a little too zoomed in for me to feel justified quoting much from it (especially as it’s in America, which is already overrepresented in the general media) but the among the first several paragraphs is a decent summary.

The expected $90 million, 85-acre center, announced and approved by the city of Atlanta last year, will include a shooting range, mock city and burn building, among other facilities. The Atlanta Police Foundation says the center is needed to help boost morale and recruitment efforts, and previous facilities law enforcement has used are substandard, while fire officials now train in “borrowed facilities.” The police foundation, a nonprofit established in 2003, helps fund local policing initiatives through public - private partnerships. Among those sitting on its board of trustees are leaders of UPS, Wells Fargo, The Home Depot, Equifax and Delta Air Lines.

But the plan has been met with fierce resistance from a community still reeling from monthslong demonstrations protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Some locals say the city’s announcement blindsided neighbors and the development process since has largely been a secretive one with limited input from the most affected communities.

For others, the facility poses environmental concerns at a time when the deadly impacts of climate change have become hard to ignore: The training center would carve out a chunk of forested land Atlanta leaders previously seemed to agree to preserve, though the city says officials are committed to replacing trees destroyed in construction.

Activists determined to stop the project have camped out in the forest’s trees and, despite a permit which could soon signal the start of construction, say they have no plans to leave.

  • Indiana abortion clinics reopening after judge blocks ban Politico

After an Indiana judge on Thursday blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, phones starting ringing across Indiana abortion clinics, which are preparing to resume the procedure a week after the ban had gone into effect.

“People are getting the word that abortion is now legal again, and people are ready to get their health care that they deserve and that they desire,” Dr. Katie McHugh, an abortion provider at Women’s Med in Indianapolis, told The Associated Press.

Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue in a lawsuit that it violates the state constitution.

Indiana’s seven abortion clinics were to lose their state licenses under the ban — which only permits abortions within its narrow exceptions to take place in hospitals or outpatient surgical centers.

Link back to the discussion thread.