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Post by thelivyjr »


"Wall Street ends first day of third quarter with solid rebound"

By Stephen Culp

July 1, 2022


* U.S. factory activity decelerates more than expected in June

* Micron's downbeat forecast prompts chip sell-off

* Kohl's tumbles after calling off sale to Franchise Group

* Indexes up: Dow 1.05%, S&P 1.06%, Nasdaq 0.90%

NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street bounced back to a sharply higher close in light trading on Friday as investors embarked on the second half of the year ahead of the long holiday weekend.

All three major U.S. stock indexes reversed early losses to end in well into positive territory in the wake of the stock market's worst first half in decades.

Still, all three indexes posted losses for the week.

"We're headed into the holiday weekend and having a late-day relief rally," said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta.

"But we’ll likely have to wait until investors return from the holiday weekend to see if it’s sustainable at the start of the new quarter."

Market participants now look to the second-quarter earnings season, the Labor Department's June employment report, and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting expected later in July.

The microchip sector dropped sharply after Micron Technology Inc warned of cooling demand.

Micron's shares slid 2.9%, pulling the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index down 3.8%.

Worries over waning demand in the face of decades-high inflation were reflected in the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) purchasing managers' index, which showed a deceleration in both new orders input prices.

ISM's report seemed to back the view that the economy is cooling and inflation appears to be past its peak.

This has raised the possibility that the Fed might have wiggle room for a dovish pivot after its second straight 75 basis point interest rate hike expected in July.

"The Fed is going to need to see a lot more evidence to change its mind about further continued interest rate hikes," said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist Ingalls & Snyder in New York.

"There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the economy and inflation despite early signs that inflation may have peaked."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 321.83 points, or 1.05%, to 31,097.26, the S&P 500 gained 39.95 points, or 1.06%, to 3,825.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 99.11 points, or 0.90%, to 11,127.85.

All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 ended the session green, with utilities enjoying the largest percentage gain.

Second-quarter reporting season begins in several weeks, and 130 of the companies in the S&P 500 have pre-announced.

Of those, 45 have been positive and 77 have been negative, a weaker negative/positive ratio than a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

The prospect of profit margins taking a hit from bruising inflation and waning consumer demand will have market participants listening closely to forward guidance.

Analysts now expect aggregate second-quarter S&P 500 earnings growth of 5.6%, down from the 6.8% projected at the beginning of the quarter, per Refinitiv.

Department store chain Kohl's Corp shares tumbled 19.6% following its decision to halt talks of a possible sale to Franchise Group.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.77-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.57-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 48 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 219 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.01 billion shares, compared with the 12.88 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio ... 022-07-01/
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Post by thelivyjr »


"High gas prices worth it for 'future of liberal world order,’ White House economics adviser tells CNN"

Kristine Parks

1 JULY 2022

White House economic adviser Brian Deese suggested the pain at the pump was a price Americans had to pay for the "future of the liberal world order," in a CNN interview on Thursday.

"CNN Newsroom" host Victor Blackwell played a clip of President Biden telling a reporter at Thursday's NATO Summit that Americans can continue to pay a premium for gas "as long as it takes" to win the war in Ukraine.

Blackwell asked Deese how the White House would respond to Americans worried that they won't be able to survive paying close to or over $5 a gallon, potentially for "years" to come.

"The military analysts, the Director of National Intelligence say this can be a long war measured in years."

"I think everybody understands why this is happening."

"But is it sustainable?"

"What do you say to those families that say, 'Listen, we can't afford to pay $4.85  a gallon for months, if not years."

"This is just not sustainable,'" Blackwell questioned.

Deese initially responded, "What you heard from the president today was a clear articulation of the stakes."

"This is about the future of the liberal world order, and we have to stand firm."

The comment caused a stir on social media.

Afterwards, the White House official praised President Biden's actions to lower gas prices as the "good news."

"Good news, over the last two weeks, we've seen the price of gas at the pump come down about twenty cents but still unacceptably high," he remarked.

Deese explained the temporary federal gas tax holiday, pressure on oil companies, and a potential price cap on Russian oil were measures the president was taking to continue to "bring those prices down."

But Blackwell continued to press the Biden adviser on Americans' dissatisfaction with the administration.

He cited an AP-NORC poll finding 69% of Americans disapprove of the job the president is doing on the economy and 85% are unhappy with the direction the country is going.

Deese responded that he sympathized with Americans' "frustrations" but said they needed to remember the Biden administration had made "historic economic progress" and this was a "transition."

"And also remind the American people that even as we go through this challenging period, even while we move through this transition, we also have made historic economic progress and that's not to suggest that people shouldn't feel the anxiety that they feel," he began.

The Biden official touted how the United States was "better and stronger positioned" to tackle these problems.

When asked what he meant by "transition," Deese said the administration wanted to return the economy to a much better place than it was under the Trump administration.

"The economy pre-pandemic was not working for a lot of middle class families," the economics adviser claimed.

A Fox News poll from June found more voters trust Republicans to handle inflation. ... 4bad1b73d0
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Post by thelivyjr »


"Jesse Watters on Biden's press conferences: 'He's oblivious' and 'makes no sense at all'"

Fox News Staff

30 JUNE 2022

Jesse Watters blasted President Biden on "The Five" Thursday for refusing to take responsibility for rising inflation at home and blaming it on Russia and the war in Ukraine.

JESSE WATTERS: His policy is to bog Russia down in Ukraine and bleed them dry, and it could take years.

To the American driver that doesn’t sound like a plan to reduce gas prices.

It looks like that's no plan at all.

This thing is going to go on forever.

His policy is basically like things are bad, not as bad as Mexico, and none of it is my fault, and I have no plans to fix it.

You can’t tell the American people that.

You can’t tell the American people that inflation is bad, but it’s worse somewhere else.

We don’t live somewhere else.

We live here in the United States of America.

That’s like saying, don’t worry about crime, you should see Brazil.

We don’t live in Brazil.

We live here.

And then he keeps on saying, oh, well, you know, it’s Russia’s fault with the gas and inflation.

The Fed chair last week came out and said it’s not.

He’s walking through a blowup talking point, getting shrapnel all in his calves, and he doesn’t even feel it.

He’s oblivious to the fact that he’s making no sense at all.

He’s been to Europe at least twice.

Has he ever been to an oil rig?

Has he ever been to the border?

Has he ever been to a baby formula factory?

Has he ever been anywhere in this country where people say, yeah, that’s where you should be.


He loves flying across the Atlantic and talking about NATO. ... 4bad1b73d0
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Post by thelivyjr »


"Russian Missiles Kill 21 in Residential Area in Odessa Region, Ukraine Says"

Thomas Grove, Yuliya Chernova

1 JULY 2022

Russian missile strikes on a neighborhood in the southern Ukrainian region of Odessa killed at least 21 people, some of them children, according to Ukrainian officials.

The overnight attack — the latest in a surge of Russian strikes — was launched from a strategic bomber over the Black Sea hours after the conclusion of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit where President Biden promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

Russia has increasingly used its strategic bombers to launch antiship missiles at Ukrainian targets.

Earlier this week, a similar strike on a shopping mall in central Ukraine killed at least 20 people, and a barrage of missiles hit the capital city of Kyiv after weeks of relative calm there.

“Russia must be held accountable for its crimes,” said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional administration, adding that the Russians had used Soviet X-22 rockets.

“The warhead of such a missile alone weighs almost a ton.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian armed forces don’t target civilian infrastructure, in response to a question about the Odessa attack at a Friday press conference, according to Russian state media.

The Ukraine Security Service said nearly 40 people had been hospitalized after the strikes on an apartment building and a recreational center, including a pregnant woman, and one child was in a coma after being pulled from the rubble.

Two children were among those killed in the attacks, which were carried out while people were sleeping, local officials said.

Meanwhile, near Moscow, American basketball player Brittney Griner arrived in court for hearings in a trial on drug charges.

Images of handcuffed Ms. Griner, in a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt, being escorted in court, were published in Russian state media.

The court had already extended her detention through this December.

Ms. Griner was arrested in mid-February in a Moscow airport.

Russian authorities say she was carrying illegal vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage.

Mr. Peskov told reporters Friday that Ms. Griner wasn’t a political pawn, and sought to distance the Kremlin from the legal proceedings.

The U.S. State Department has said she was wrongfully detained.

The increase in Russian attacks in Ukraine has come as Western leaders met at two summits that have underscored broad support for Kyiv and Western unity in the face of Moscow’s aggression.

The U.S. committed to its biggest military expansion in Europe since the Cold War at the NATO summit on Wednesday, including its first permanent troop presence in Poland, while members struck a preliminary deal to add the formerly neutral nations of Sweden and Finland to the alliance.

The permanent troop presence in Poland would amount to only a few hundred additional personnel on top of the roughly 12,000 U.S. troops that rotate through the country, said Paweł Soloch, national security adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda.

But those permanently stationed personnel will include general-grade officers, he said, a sign of increasing coordination and alignment between America and its NATO allies bordering Russia.

And it will mean increased deployments of logistics and weaponry to support the U.S. and NATO troops there.

“More importantly, a declaration has been made that this is going to be a permanent presence,” he said.

“This is critical for us.”

In Ukraine, Russia is strengthening the integration of territories under its control.

Public transportation links are being established between some of the territories that Russia recently took control of and the Crimean Peninsula, which has been in Russia’s hands since 2014.

The first public buses ran between the towns of Kherson, Berdyansk, Melitopol, and the Crimean city of Simferopol on Friday, according to Russian state-media reports.

There had been no such links since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

One of Russia’s top administration officials, Sergei Kiriyenko, visited the Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Thursday, according to Russian media.

Mr. Kiriyenko, the first deputy chief of staff of the presidential administration, toured a volunteer-run food-distribution center in Kupyansk.

On Thursday, Russia withdrew from the strategically important Snake Island.

Ukrainian forces carried out missile and artillery strikes that forced Russian troops to abandon the southern outpost in the Black Sea in two speedboats, the Ukrainian General Staff said in a statement.

The small island, captured at the start of the war, had been an offshore platform for Russia to aim weapons at Ukraine, and Moscow’s control had allowed troops there to monitor shipments from Ukrainian ports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Thursday that the Russian pullout “significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea.”

“It does not guarantee safety yet, it does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return,” he said.

“But it already limits the actions of the occupiers significantly.’’

The Russian Defense Ministry said its troops had left the island “as a symbol of goodwill” after completing their mission there.

Russia said the withdrawal shows it doesn’t interfere with the export of Ukrainian grain, following the wishes of the United Nations, and that it is now up to Ukraine to clear mines and allow the safe passage of cargo ships in the Black Sea.

The British Defense Ministry said Ukraine’s consistent missile and drone attacks against the Russian garrison, together with the successful use of antiship missiles to prevent Moscow from resupplying the island, were key to the Russian withdrawal.

Ukraine this week carried out its first strikes with newly arrived U.S. multiple-launch rocket systems, which Kyiv and the West hope will turn the tide of the war, particularly in eastern Ukraine, where Russia continues to make advances.

Russian troops took the city of Pryvillya, the U.K. Defense Ministry said Friday, as they try to surround Lysychansk, the last contested city in Ukraine’s Luhansk province.

Ukraine also is working to bolster its defenses around its biggest strongholds in Donetsk region, the cities of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk, where Ukraine’s General Staff said Russia is regrouping and trying to improve its tactical position, ostensibly for an assault on the cities.

In keeping with Russia’s tactics of launching artillery strikes before advancing on new territory, forces have increased their shelling on Ukrainian troop positions around the two key cities, the general staff statement said.

During two summits spanning nearly a week, Western countries pledged billions of dollars in additional military support and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Speaking Thursday at the conclusion of the NATO gathering in Madrid, Mr. Biden pledged that the war wouldn’t end with a Ukrainian defeat.

“This summit was about strengthening our alliances, meeting the challenges of our world as it is today and the threats we’re going to face in the future,” Mr. Biden said.

Write to Thomas Grove at and Yuliya Chernova at ... 4bad1b73d0
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Post by thelivyjr »


"January 6 committee's Kinzinger: Secret Service agent who may dispute Hutchinson claim 'likes to lie'"

Timothy Nerozzi

1 JULY 2022

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., claimed Thursday that a Secret Service agent who may testify before the Jan. 6 committee about the timeline of events that unfolded around former President Donald Trump during the riot "likes to lie."

Two Secret Service agents, Tony Ornato and Robert Engel, are prepared to testify before Congress that then-President Donald Trump did not lunge at a steering wheel or assault them in an attempt to go to the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, a source close to the Secret Service told Fox News' David Spunt this week.

The explosive new allegations were made on Tuesday by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

A series of social media posts accumulated this week in which colleagues and opponents of Ornato have accused him of failing to tell the truth in the past and being a habitual liar.

"Tony Ornato sure seems to deny conversations he’s apparently had," claimed Olivia Troye, former White House Homeland Security advisor under Mike Pence.

"First this one with Keith Kellogg in 'I Alone Can Fix It' [and] now he’s denying the story he told Cassidy Hutchinson."

"Those of us who worked w/ Tony know where his loyalties lie."

"He should testify under oath."

"Tony Ornato lied about me too," said CNN's Alyssa Farah Griffin.

"During the protests at Lafayette Sq. in 2020, I told Mark Meadows [and] Ornato they needed to warn press staged there before clearing the square."

"Meadows replied: ‘We aren’t doing that.’"

She added, "Tony later lied [and] said the exchange never happened."

"He knows it did."

The whirlwind of attacks on Ornato's trustworthiness caught the attention of Kinzinger, who publicly commented that Ornato lies often.

"There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie," Kinzinger wrote.

Rep. Liz Cheney declined to comment on the possibility of Secret Service members testifying in front of the Jan. 6 committee after two agents disputed claims about Trump's behavior during the riots.

When pressed on whether the Secret Service members would speak on growing narrative discrepancies in witness testimonies, Cheney demurred.

"The committee has spoken to both Mr. Ornato and Mr. Engel, and we welcome additional testimony, under oath, from both of them, and from anybody else in the Secret Service who has information about any of these issues," Cheney told ABC News. ... f01a67e828
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Post by thelivyjr »


"Blinken and Mayorkas give a waiver to terrorists"

Michael Rubin

30 JUNE 2022

Perhaps the departments of State and Homeland Security expected the entry that was slipped into the Federal Register to go unnoticed.

In that entry, however, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas changed the rules to allow those with membership in terrorist groups or a moderate involvement with such groups entry into the United States.

Their move comes after Rep. Jim Banks questioned why the State Department granted a visa to Iranian actor Parviz Parastui, a staunch supporter of late Iranian terror master Qassem Soleimani.

Parastui subsequently assaulted an Iranian dissident.

In effect, rather than explain the unexplainable, two of Biden’s top security officials are instead extending a middle finger to Congress.

The proposed changes go beyond one man.

To differentiate between those planting a bomb and those funding or merely cheering the bombing is disingenuous.

Two decades after 9/11, Blinken has effectively signaled that terrorism is not a black-and-white issue, but rather one permeated by shades of gray.

Under such circumstances, some terrorism becomes more acceptable than other terrorism.

The problem here is multifold.

The U.S. designates Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization for good reason.

Even if the Quds Force, previously run by Soleimani, was the tip of the spear, the IRGC and its network of companies provided a financial engine that enabled the force to operate with plausible deniability independent of Iran's parliament’s budgetary process.

While diplomats may embrace the fiction that the IRGC conscripts innocent Iranians, this is false.

Iranian men are subject to conscription into the army, but, whether for ideological reasons or because they seek better pay or opportunities within the Islamic Republic’s bureaucracy of theocracy, some volunteer for the more elite IRGC.

To absolve them of their actions cannot be matched to their killing of hundreds of Americans.

The same holds true for the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Like the IRGC, Hezbollah has killed hundreds of Americans over the decades.

Many who join the movement, however, do not intend to participate directly in operations against Americans or Israelis.

When I visited Nabatiyeh, located in the Hezbollah heartland of southern Lebanon, in December 2020, residents described how Hezbollah was hemorrhaging members as its funding dried up against the backdrop of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s "maximum pressure" campaign.

While it is good that members abandoned the terrorist group, these defectors made a conscious decision to empower killings for their own wallets and should have no entitlement to visit the U.S.

Too often, Europeans excuse Hezbollah by arguing that it is not just a terrorist group, but rather a broader political and social movement that runs hospitals, clinics, and schools.

That should be irrelevant: If Greenpeace put bombs on buses, would it really matter what they did with spotted owls?

The Blinken policy, however, appears to embrace the European notion that effectively lets Hezbollah off the hook.

Such actions play into the hands of terrorist groups such as the IRGC, Hezbollah, or, for that matter, groups such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that set up NGOs to launder their activities.

Terrorism is a conscious choice, a tactic used to achieve aims unattainable at the ballot box or diplomatic parlor.

To legitimize it empowers it.

To believe that terrorism is only done by those who wield a gun is especially naive.

Just as dangerous are those who would provide material support or cheer it along.

There should be no shades of gray when confronting the scourge.

Unfortunately, as Blinken and Mayorkas believe otherwise, people will suffer.

Michael Rubin (@mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ... c94da7ec8c
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Post by thelivyjr »


"71 percent don't want Biden to run for re-election: poll"

Caroline Vakil

1 JULY 2022

(The Hill) – Seven in 10 Americans say they do not want President Biden to run for a second term, according to a new poll that comes as Biden’s approval numbers remain low and his party braces for losses this November.

A Harvard CAPS–Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with The Hill found that 71 percent of respondents polled do not think Biden should run for a second term compared to 29 percent who say he should run.

Among the contingent of respondents who believe the president should not run, 45 percent said Biden should not make another bid because he is a bad president, while about one-third of respondents said he is too old and about one-quarter said because it was time for a change.

“President Biden may want to run again but the voters say ‘no’ to the idea of a second term, panning the job he is doing as president."

"Only 30 per cent of Democrats would even vote for him in a Democratic presidential primary,” Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, said.

But a majority of respondents - 61 percent - also say former President Trump should not run for the White House in 2024.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said the former president should run again.

Among the respondents polled who believe Trump should not make another bid in the next presidential cycle, 36 percent said Trump was erratic, 33 percent said he would divide the country and 30 percent said he was responsible for Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of pro-Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the election results.

A majority of those polled said they would consider a moderate independent candidate should Biden and Trump square off against each other in 2024, including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats polled.

Sixty percent said they would consider a moderate independent candidate for president if Biden and Trump ended up running against each other in the next presidential cycle, compared to 40 percent who said they would not consider it.

Broken down by party, 53 percent of Republicans polled and 64 percent of Democrats said they would consider a moderate independent candidate in that situation.

The development comes as Biden continues to suffer low approval ratings.

The Harvard CAPS–Harris Poll found that the president has an overall approval rating of 38 percent, with respondents given him low marks on handling inflation (28 percent), the economy (32 percent), stimulating jobs (43 percent) and reacting to COVID-19 (50 percent), among other issues.

Democrats are already bracing for losses this November given Biden's low approval numbers and the historical precedent that a first-term president's party generally suffers losses in the following midterms.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling last week overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats have used abortion as an issue to galvanize voters, though it is unclear how the issue will compare to inflation and other concerns in November.

The polling also demonstrates that while former President Trump is considered one of the most influential people within his party, Americans may not necessarily be married to the idea of voting for him in 2024.

Some of that comes against the backdrop of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot's hearings, which has sought to show how the former president and his allies tried to get state officials and others like former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey was conducted on June 28 and 29 with 1,308 registered voters surveyed.

It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.

The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics.

As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval. ... 66401ca916
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Post by thelivyjr »


"Russia's messages with missiles tell West to back off"

By TAMER FAKAHANY and CARA ANNA, Associated Press

2 JULY 2022

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The latest in a litany of horrors in Ukraine came this week as Russian firepower rained down on civilians in a busy shopping mall far from the front lines of a war in its fifth month.

The timing was not likely a coincidence.

While much of the attritional war in Ukraine’s east is hidden from sight, the brutality of Russian missile strikes on a mall in the central city of Kremenchuk and on residential buildings in the capital, Kyiv, unfolded in full view of the world and especially of Western leaders gathered for a trio of summits in Europe.

Were the attacks a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin as the West sought to arm Ukraine with more effective weapons to bolster its resistance, and to set Ukraine on the path to joining the European Union?

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko suggested as much when missiles struck the capital on June 26, three days after EU leaders unanimously agreed to make Ukraine a candidate for membership.

It was “maybe a symbolic attack” as the Group of Seven leading economic powers and then NATO leaders prepared to meet and apply further pressure on Moscow, he said.

At least six people were killed in the Kyiv strike, which pummeled an apartment building.

The former commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe, retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, went further in connecting the attack and the meetings.

“The Russians are humiliating the leaders of the West,” he said.

A day after the Kyiv attack, as G-7 leaders met in Germany to discuss further support for Ukraine during their annual summit, Russia fired missiles at a crowded shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, killing at least 19 people.

The timing of both attacks appeared to be juxtaposed with the European meetings of U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, all supporters of Ukraine.

Defying the evidence, Putin and his officials deny that Russia hit residential areas.

Putin has denied that Russian forces targeted the Kremenchuk mall, saying it was directed at a nearby weapons depot.

But Ukrainian officials and witnesses said a missile directly hit the mall.

It was hardly the first time that bursts of violence were widely seen as signals of Moscow’s displeasure.

In late April, Russian missiles struck Kyiv barely an hour after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a news conference with visiting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude toward global institutions,” Zelenskyy said at the time.

Kyiv's mayor called the attack Putin’s way of giving the “middle finger.”

The Russian president recently warned that Moscow would strike targets it had so far spared if the West supplied Ukraine with weapons that could reach Russia.

If Kyiv gets long-range rockets, Russia will “draw appropriate conclusions and use our means of destruction, which we have plenty of,” Putin said.

On Friday, a day after Russian forces made a high-profile retreat from Snake Island near the Black Sea port city of Odesa following what Ukraine called a barrage of artillery and missile strikes, Russia bombarded residential areas in a coastal town near Odesa and killed at least 21 people, including two children.

While Russia’s messaging can be blunt and devastating, Ukraine’s signals under Zelenskyy have focused daily on seeking to amplify Moscow’s cruelty to a world that day by day risks becoming weary of the war.

If interest fades, the concerted support seen at global summits could fade, too. and with it the urgency to deliver the heavier weapons that Ukraine craves.

Zelenskyy tends to pair pleas for more help with reminders that all of Europe ultimately is at stake.

He described the mall attack as “one of the most daring terrorist attacks in European history.”

For all of Ukraine’s indisputable suffering, it was a bold statement of some hyperbole in the context of extremist attacks with mass deaths in Paris, Nice, Brussels, Madrid and London in this century alone.

For Zelenskyy and Ukraine, the underlying demand cannot be reiterated enough: provide more heavy weapons, and faster, before Russia perhaps makes irreversible gains in the eastern industrial region of the Donbas, where street-by-street fighting grinds on.

In his nightly public addresses, Zelenskyy also makes sure to capture the traumatic toll on everyday life in Ukraine, appealing well beyond global leaders to the wider world.

This week, he accused Russia of sabotaging “people’s attempts to live a normal life.”

Images of the shopping mall’s smoking debris said the rest.

Fakahany reported from London.

Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine war at ... 66401ca916
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Post by thelivyjr »


"White House sparks backlash after saying high gas prices guard 'liberal world order'"

Christian Datoc

1 JULY 2022

The White House's messaging on elevated gas prices continues to provoke frustration from consumers.

National Economic Council Chairman Brian Deese spoke with CNN Thursday afternoon just hours after President Joe Biden told reporters that the public should expect prices to remain at their current level for "as long as it takes" for Ukraine to win the war against Russia.

"What we heard from the president, this is about the future of the liberal world order."

"We have to stand firm," Deese said.

"At the same time, what I'd say to Americans across the country is you have a presidential administration that is going to do everything in its power to blunt those price increases and bring those prices down."

"These are uncertain times," he said about a recent poll showing that 85% believe America is on the wrong track.

"When prices are high, people are understandably frustrated when they are pulling up at the gas pump."

"That's understandable."

"At the same time, it is our job, and it’s the president’s firm conviction, that what he can do as president is to take every responsible action that he has, and we have and also remind the American people that even as we go through this challenging period, even whilst we move through this transition, we also have made historic economic progress."

National gas prices dipped roughly 20 cents to round out June, but they continue to hover above $4.80 per gallon, and Deese's comments sparked a significant negative backlash on Twitter.

Biden himself has recently sought to change his messaging on gas prices after Democratic officials urged the White House to focus on domestic solutions rather than blaming prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The American people understood."

"The American people rose to the moment."

"The American people did what they always have done: defend freedom around the world."

"They chose to stand with the people of Ukraine," Biden said during a speech calling for a three-month gas tax holiday.

"So for all those Republicans in Congress criticizing me today for high gas prices in America, are you now saying we were wrong to support Ukraine?"

"Are you saying we were wrong to stand up to Putin?"

"Are you saying that we would rather have lower gas prices in America and Putin’s iron fist in Europe?"

"I don’t believe that," he said. ... 66401ca916
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Post by thelivyjr »


"Joe Biden has a new scapegoat: your local gas station"

Opinion by David Freddoso

3 JULY 2022

President Joe Biden is proving that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

Recall that over the last couple of months, Biden has been desperately trying to explain away the high cost of gasoline.

When people didn’t buy Democrats’ scapegoating of oil companies, he claimed it was Vladimir Putin’s fault.

Never mind how far gas prices had risen before Putin invaded Ukraine.

But people were not fooled, and so last week Biden began appealing to your sense of patriotism.

Last week, the message was that when you pay $7 for gas, you are paying for the “liberal world order.”

Big surprise, but even that message isn’t getting the desired results.

So this weekend, Biden’s team has found a new scapegoat -- your local gas station.

Yes the Shell station down the street from you is now supposed to do its part to support the American way of life by taking a large loss on a gallon of gasoline:

If I were Biden, I would not be counting on gas stations to bail him out politically ahead of the election.

And yes, that’s what this is really about, isn't it?

No, your local WaWa isn’t holding American foreign policy hostage by overcharging for gas.

Believe it or not, most gas stations don’t make much money on gasoline.

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, your local gas station might be marking up the product by as much as 35 cents a gallon, or by as little as zero.

Even at the high end, that is hardly an amount worth getting upset over.

Gasoline retailers are getting squeezed by high gas prices because it’s causing people to buy gas less frequently.

Their entire goal in selling gasoline is to get you to stop in and buy products with better profit margins -- candy, soda, coffee, chili dogs, small bottles of Advil, crispitos, and overpriced luxury bottled water that claims to have special properties, among other things.

In some contexts, gas station owners will deliberately take a small loss on gasoline in order to get more foot traffic into their convenience stores.

But should they take a substantial loss in order to protect Biden from the consequences of his own pervasive and multi-faceted anti-fossil-fuel agenda?

Of course not.

The Biden aides who make his decisions and run his Twitter feed have once again chosen an inapt scapegoat.

They ought to look into the mirror instead.

For years, Democrats have been rooting for higher gas prices.

It’s part of their agenda to combat global warming.

Now, they have gotten their wish, and they are scared of the political consequences.

Suddenly, patriotism and American soft power require that we get that oil flowing again.

Democrats are now so worried about losing the average voter that they are not afraid to risk angering the environmental extremists in their ranks.

You can think of that as a political market signal. ... b543b79b15
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