Henri Matisse Woman with a hat 1905
“Pfizer regional sales leaders”
• G-7 Unveils $600 Billion Plan to Counter China’s Belt and Road (R.)
Group of Seven leaders (G-7) on Sunday pledged to raise $600 billion in private and public funds over five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries and counter the Chinese regime’s Belt and Road project. U.S. President Joe Biden and other G-7 leaders relaunched the newly renamed “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment,” at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany. Biden said the United States would mobilize $200 billion in grants, federal funds, and private investment over five years to boost infrastructure development in lower- and middle-income nations. The United States says the G-7 backed effort promotes responsible investments that aim to benefit the communities they are made in.
“I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity. It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone,” Biden said, adding that it would allow countries to “see the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies.” Biden said hundreds of billions of additional dollars could come from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, sovereign wealth funds, and others. Europe will mobilize 300 billion euros for the initiative over the same period to build up a sustainable alternative to the Chinese regime’s Belt and Road Initiative scheme, which Chinese leader Xi Jinping launched in 2013, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the gathering.
The leaders of Italy, Canada and Japan also spoke about their plans, some of which have already been announced separately. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were not present, but their countries are also participating. The Chinese communist regime’s Belt and Road scheme involves development and programs in over 100 countries.
This is just too stupid. Richard Werner says it best:
“The US adopts yet another pro-Russia policy that strengthens Russia at the expense of the West: Russia is told it doesn’t have to service its debt. Normally the IMF enforces foreign debt to protect US investors, pushing foreign countries hard to pay up.”
• Russia Defaults On Foreign Debt For First Time Since 1917 Revolution
Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the 1917 revolution, according to reports, further alienating the country from the global financial system after sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine. The country missed a deadline of Sunday night to meet a 30-day grace period on interest payments of $100m on two Eurobonds originally due on 27 May, Bloomberg reported on Monday morning. Some Taiwanese holders of Russian Eurobonds said on Monday that they had not received interest payments due, two sources told Reuters. Official confirmation of the default was expected to come from international ratings agencies.
Russia’s efforts to avoid what would be its first major default on international bonds since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago hit a insurmountable roadblock in late May when the US treasury department’s office of foreign assets c (OFAC) effectively blocked Moscow from making payments. “Since March we thought that a Russian default is probably inevitable, and the question was just when,” Dennis Hranitzky, head of sovereign litigation at law firm Quinn Emanuel, told Reuters. “OFAC has intervened to answer that question for us, and the default is now upon us.” While a formal default would be largely symbolic given Russia cannot borrow internationally at the moment and doesn’t need to thanks to plentiful oil and gas export revenues, the stigma would probably raise its borrowing costs in future.
“This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”
• Chomsky on the Root Causes of the Russia-Ukraine War (CD)
Soon after the war, “the United States Department acknowledged that they had not taken Russian security concerns into consideration in any discussions with Russia. The question of NATO, they would not discuss. Well, all of that is provocation. Not a justification but a provocation and it’s quite interesting that in American discourse, it is almost obligatory to refer to the invasion as the ‘unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’. Look it up on Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of hits.” Chomsky continued, “Of course, it was provoked. Otherwise, they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion. By now, censorship in the United States has reached such a level beyond anything in my lifetime. Such a level that you are not permitted to read the Russian position.
Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. Except, selected things. So, if Putin makes a speech to Russians with all kinds of outlandish claims about Peter the Great and so on, then, you see it on the front pages. If the Russians make an offer for a negotiation, you can’t find it. That’s suppressed. You’re not allowed to know what they are saying. I have never seen a level of censorship like this.” Regarding his views of the possible future scenarios, Chomsky said that “the war will end, either through diplomacy or not. That’s just logic. Well, if diplomacy has a meaning, it means both sides can tolerate it. They don’t like it, but they can tolerate it. They don’t get anything they want, they get something. That’s diplomacy.
If you reject diplomacy, you are saying: ‘Let the war go on with all of its horrors, with all the destruction of Ukraine, and let’s let it go on until we get what we want.'” By ‘we,’ Chomsky was referring to Washington, which simply wants to “harm Russia so severely that it will never be able to undertake actions like this again. Well, what does that mean? It’s impossible to achieve. So, it means, let’s continue the war until Ukraine is devastated. That’s US policy.” Most of this is not obvious to western audiences simply because rational voices are “not allowed to talk” and because “rationality is not permitted. This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”
• John Mearsheimer’s Ukraine Crystal Ball (ZH)
A new talk by Professor John J. Mearsheimer has recently been made public, wherein the famous author and political science theorist details the causes and consequences of the Ukraine war. Mearsheimer became more well-known, and “controversial” in establishment circles, after it emerged that he clearly predicted going back to 2014 the war which kicked off in Feb. 2022. He had said in a 2014 University of Chicago lecture, “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked.” This tragedy for the Ukrainian people is playing out now, with little hope that now totally defunct Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks will halt the fighting. Other than efforts of France’s Macron, attempts at basic diplomacy and direct communications are all but dead.
As the lecture intro describes: Prof. Mearsheimer focused on both the origins of the war in Ukraine and some of its most important consequences. He argues that the crisis is largely the result of the West’s efforts to turn Ukraine into a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. Russian leaders viewed that outcome as an existential threat that had to be thwarted. While Vladimir Putin is certainly responsible for invading Ukraine and for Russia’s conduct in the war, Prof. Mearsheimer states that he does not believe he is an expansionist bent on creating a greater Russia.
Regarding the war’s consequences, the greatest danger is that the war will go on for months if not years, and that either NATO will get directly involved in the fighting or nuclear weapons will be used — or both. Furthermore, enormous damage has already been inflicted on Ukraine. A prolonged war is likely to wreak even more devastation on Ukraine. Mearsheimer calls the war an “unmitigated disaster” and with “no end in sight” – for which he lays chief blame on the West. Lately student groups at the University of Chicago, as well as some pundits within the mainstream media, have sought to censor his views and “cancel” him – despite that he’s been on record and consistent in his predictions and views for years.
Oil refinery is a tricky business. Changes take time. Europe does not have time.
• Herr Habeck Firehoses Oil & Gas (Vilches)
One way to begin to understand the problem is agreeing and accepting that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyden made a historical bad joke, by saying “ The EU will make sure to phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion to allow us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes minimizing the impact on global markets”. Nope, you can´t do that in 6 months Ursula, if ever. So if you accept that´d be absolutely impossible then you are on the right track to understand the rest. Otherwise you´d be just playing games running around in circles. Hint: it´d be like trying to change the engine oil while cruising at 150 km/hr on a German autobahn. Of course, you can stop the car and change the oil, but in this case it would mean shutting down Europe for months. You cannot do that, can you ?
By any standards, there are definitely not enough adequate oil blends around to come close to satisfying European refinery requirements comparable to homogenous continuous over-abundant constant Russian high-quality Urals which the EU now has decided to ban. And also please accept once and for all that a specific oil blend is not just “any oil blend” to be plugged & played anywhere anytime. Oil blends are not fungible. A very specific refinery or processing plant tune-up needs to be specifically matched with an always constant high-quality homogenous oil blend in large enough quantities and for a given desired output such as diesel fuel, or whatever. No “open architecture” is possible here, that´s just for IT nerds, not for refineries. And definetly there are no vendors all lined up happily willing and able to sell you their oil blend in unlimited quantities already fully adapted to whatever plant you may have ´as-is´ for whichever desired production output you may need delivered just-in-time on-demand and only when you need it.
How long has she been in DC? Last chance to use abortion to get votes, Nancy
• Pelosi Leads Democrats In Effort To Codify Roe v. Wade Into Law (JTN)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is vowing to fight in Congress to codify Roe v. Wade after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision. “Democrats will keep fighting ferociously to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law of the land,” Pelosi said. “This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart wrenching.” The California Democrat called the decision a “slap in the face to women about using their own judgment to make their own decisions about their reproductive freedom.” Democrats have tried to codify Roe v. Wade into law in the past, but it has never passed Congress. In September, the Democrat-led House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, but the bill didn’t move forward in the Senate.
After the draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked in May, Democrats in the Senate tried to pass legislation to codify Roe, but Republicans were able to block the measure. Realizing they lack the votes to codify a right to abortion into law in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats are calling on their base to mobilize and vote in November. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” President Biden said at the White House on Friday. “Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality they’re all on the ballot. Until then, I will do all in my power to protect a woman’s right in states where they will face the consequences of today’s decision.”
Pelosi also said Roe v. Wade is “on the ballot in November.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the decision to overturn Roe “makes crystal clear the contrast” between both parties as the November elections approach. “Elect more MAGA Republicans if you want nationwide abortion bans, the jailing of women and doctors and no exemptions for rape or incest,” Schumer said. “Or elect more pro-choice Democrats to save Roe and protect a woman’s right to make their own decisions about their body, not politicians.”
• White House: Biden ‘Does Not Agree With’ Expanding The Supreme Court (JTN)
The White House on Saturday confirmed that President Joe Biden has no desire to expand or pack the Supreme Court in the wake of the Court’s unprecedented repeal of Roe v. Wade earlier this week. Asked by reporters on Air Force One while en route to Munich about the possibility that Biden might move to add more justices to the Court amid the fallout from the ruling, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday: “I was asked this question yesterday, and I’ve been asked it before…about expanding the Court. That is something that the President does not agree with.” “That is not something that he wants to do,” she added.
Progressives have argued that packing the Court with more justices could offer Democrats a remedy to the strong conservative majority the institution currently enjoys. President Donald Trump appointed three justices during his administration, all of whom are seen as reliably conservative votes on the bench. Though she said Biden has no plans to pursue such an agenda, Jean-Pierre on Saturday did take time to slam the court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which eliminated the half-century-old federalization of abortion rights first implemented in 1973. “It’s so out of step not only with this decision, but it’s also so out of step with the Constitution,” she argued.
They’ll hit the ground running.
• Top Republican Signals 2023 Investigation: Biden ‘Compromised’ By Son (JTN)
Some conservatives have fretted the four years it has taken federal prosecutors to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings. But make no mistake, the man most likely to run the main House investigative committee if Republicans win control of Congress next year is determined to document how President Joe Biden’s foreign policy has been compromised by his son’s infamous wheeling and dealing. “We feel that Hunter Biden is a national security threat,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) told Just the News in a wide-ranging interview Friday laying out his priorities if he becomes chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “We’ve been poring over his financial records for many weeks now, and it’s troubling.
“So we’ve got a lot of questions about Hunter’s business dealings and questions for Biden administration officials to determine if thepresident is in fact compromised because of Hunter’s shady business dealings.” Comer was asked whether the evidence he has seen shows the president’s son ran “an influence peddling scheme” that sold access to his father to foreigners. “There’s no question,” he answered. “That was confirmed with the recent tape that emerged last week from the laptop that showed that Hunter Biden said that, you know, his dad would do anything he asked him to do,” said Comer. “I think that was the sales pitch that Hunter would make to the questionable shady figures in Russia who he received compensation from, the shady, questionable figures in communist China he would receive payments from, and those in Ukraine and Africa and everywhere else around the world.”
“No one would think that anyone wanted to do business with Hunter Biden because of his stellar resume or his record of achievement,” Comer added. “It was because his last name was Biden. And his father was the vice president of the United States.” Comer said the House oversight committee’s job wouldn’t be to focus on whether Hunter Biden evaded taxes, an issue already under investigation by federal prosecutors since late 2018, but rather on what government or policy favors countries and players got for paying the presidential son, including for a recent set of paintings.
“..directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces..”
• NYT Reports On Large CIA ‘Stealth Network’ Of Spies & Commandos In Ukraine (ZH)
A fresh New York Times report has confirmed what many already suspected – that the CIA is still very active inside Ukraine – especially with training as well coordinating weapons among its Ukrainian allies. The Times report details “a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training,” based on US and European intelligence officials with knowledge of the operations. The report says Ukrainian forces are reliant on this Western clandestine network “more than ever” while outgunned by the Russians. This comes months after investigative journalist Zach Dorfman’s bombshell expose in Yahoo News which detailed how a prior 8-year long CIA covert program to train Ukrainian fighters helped provoke the Russian invasion. The only question that remained after that March report was the extent to which the CIA was still active in the ongoing fight against the invading Russians.
The new Times reporting confirms that the US program is not only active and ongoing, but appears larger in scale than previously thought given the CIA’s close cooperation with the Ukrainians is happening both inside and outside the country, across multiple locations. “Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials,” the report indicates.
It appears much the CIA’s work in Ukraine is centered on coordinating intelligence with local intel services and counterparts. “Few other details have emerged about what the C.I.A. personnel or the commandos are doing, but their presence in the country — on top of the diplomatic staff members who returned after Russia gave up its siege of Kyiv — hints at the scale of the secretive effort to assist Ukraine that is underway and the risks that Washington and its allies are taking,” NY Times continues. Over the weekend, Canada also has been reported to have special operations troops inside Ukraine. This was reported months ago, but with a separate NYT report offering further confirmation. “Both CTV and Global News reported in late January that Canadian special forces had been sent to Ukraine, but National Defence did not comment on that deployment,” Ottawa Citizen writes Sunday.
“..the Government is right not to be concerned and has come to the conclusion that there is no need for restrictions.”
• Covid’s Infection Fatality Rate Now Same as Seasonal Flu (DS)
Death rates from Covid are lower than ever, according to an analysis by Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Jason Oke carried out for the Mail on Sunday. The IFR is now ~0.0333%, similar to seasonal influenza. “Experts say there is little need to fear a recent surge in cases as fewer than one in 3,000 infected people now dies from coronavirus – with the rate even lower for the vaccinated. The analysis of official data by Oxford University shows the ‘infection fatality rate’ has dropped about 30-fold since the pandemic began due to a combination of vaccine protection and naturally acquired infection.
Professor Carl Heneghan of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, who carried out the analysis with statistician Jason Oke, said: “There have been an astonishing number of Covid infections so far this year, but deaths have come down. “Now we are looking at an infection fatality rate for Covid of around one in 3,000 which is comparable with seasonal influenza. That’s why the Government is right not to be concerned and has come to the conclusion that there is no need for restrictions.”
“..as the Left radicalized, and Taibbi stayed the same, the journalist found himself in a new space.”
• Taibbi Talks Reaction To Him Reviewing ‘What Is A Woman’ (DW)
Old-school liberal investigative journalist Matt Taibbi told Ben Shapiro on this week’s episode of “Sunday Special” that he “lost friends” for merely reviewing Matt Walsh and The Daily Wire’s groundbreaking documentary, “What is a Woman?” Taibbi was a star writer at “Rolling Stone” magazine and beloved by the elite liberal media, but as the Left radicalized, and Taibbi stayed the same, the journalist found himself in a new space. Like, for example, sitting down for a lengthy conversation with one of the most prominent conservative figures in American politics — and seeing a lot of agreement. “The response was unbelievable, just for reviewing the movie — forget about what I said about it,” Taibbi told Shapiro about his review.
“I lost friends over that. There were people who I’ve known for decades who basically said I’m a transphobe and I’m … out of their loop.” Taibbi explained that he first noticed an unwillingness from the Left even to discuss the transgender issue before he chose to review The Daily Wire documentary. “With the trans issue, there would be some people who would talk to me, and then there would be some people who were furious that you even called, would refuse to have any kind of discussion, would call you a transphobe for even asking certain kinds of questions — and this is before you even have a point of view on the subject,” he said, recalling a time he tried to gather quotes for a story. “I thought that was odd.”
Taibbi noted that this was a rehash of what he witnessed as a journalist in 2016 when reporting on former President Donald Trump. He recalled including a quote from a pro-union lifelong Democrat who said he voted Republican for the first time, for Trump, because he felt lied to about the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The pushback from the leftist media community told Taibbi he wasn’t allowed to report or say true things if they went against the greater narrative. Taibbi didn’t abide by the leftist media rules with Trump and didn’t with the trans issue, either. Though, he admitted, the trans issue pushback did give Taibbi a momentary pause. “I had kinda tried to stay away from the issue. It’s complicated, and I try to stay away from issues I don’t know a whole lot about,” he said.
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