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“…most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
We live in a strange time, one where the formerly unthinkable - skepticism among the "very serious people" about government data veracity - has become mundane. And yet even though numerous bank analysts and strategists, and this site of course, have repeatedly raised questions and concerns about the credibility of the most important US economic data - the monthly jobs report - nothing ever changes and if it does, it comes in the form of periodic "seasonal adjustment" resets where we "learn" that all the data that guided markets and central banks, had been fake, manipulated wrong for years.
But even if one ignores the blatant manipulation of economic data by self-serving administrations, who hope to generate political brownie points by casting the economy in a far stronger light than is merited in reality, there are still various bizarre offshoots within the data which few notice yet which are instrumental to maintaining the fake narrative.
Such as this: readers are probably aware that according to the BLS, there are now roughly 3.3 million more jobs (155.7 million) than there were at the peak just before the covid crash (152.4 million).
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia has unveiled her plan to release the long-awaited January 6 tapes, though not directly to the public.
Greene has enlisted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to grant access to the cache of video footage to three selected outlets, namely, John Solomon of Just the News, Julie Kelly of American Greatness, and a yet-unnamed third party. These sources are expected to analyze the footage and report their findings publicly.
On Twitter, Greene expressed her enthusiasm regarding the impending release, stating, "I'm excited to share the good news that just as I promised the J6 tapes are being released!" She elaborated that McCarthy has offered these chosen outlets "unfettered access to the J6 tapes."
The German broadsheet Die Zeit has caused a storm on social media after publishing an article in which it claims Germany will soon be “a country in which migrants will no longer be a minority.”
Die Zeit, the Hamburg-based newspaper widely considered to be a more highbrow read than the tabloids, posted the article highlighting Germany’s irreparable demographic change to its socials on Tuesday with the caption:
Integration was yesterday: Germany is the second-largest immigration country in the world, and the original Germans are likely to become a numerical minority among many in the foreseeable future. And now?
The accompanying photo showed a group of four young immigrants in a top-down flash convertible smiling at the camera with the headline: “They will be the powerful.”
In the latest ambitious project to use solar energy in space for powering the earth, a public-private Japanese partnership plans to test as soon as in 2025 if solar power generated in space can be beamed to the earth and converted into electricity.
The Japanese venture is the latest in a series of plans and experiments in recent months to test if solar power converted into microwaves could be beamed to receiving stations on the earth’s surface for large-scale use.
Scientists and science fiction writers have long dreamed of such a solar energy source: harnessing the sun’s energy regardless of weather or the time of day or night. This would overcome the constraints for solar power on earth, where generation can take place only when the sun shines. In addition, microwaves can pass through clouds, so beaming the energy via microwaves to the earth would not pose limits to solar energy due to weather conditions or the time of day.
The limits, of course, are the technology to do this at mass scale and the costs.
As relations between Russia and Germany continue to spiral downward amid the war in Ukraine, the two nations are engaged in tit for tat moves including ordering the closure of consulates and placing limitations on the number of diplomatic personnel in each country, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
Berlin announced that Russia was told to close down four out of five consulates general the Kremlin maintains within Germany. This move comes after Moscow limited the number of staff at the German Embassy and related facilities in Russia. Christofer Burger, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, told reporters the decision was made to ensure “parity of personnel and structures” between the two countries.
The collective west was dying to bury him – yet another strategic mistake that did not take into account the mood of Turkish voters in deep Anatolia.
In the end, Recep Tayyip Erdogan did it – again. Against all his shortcomings, like an aging neo-Ottoman Sinatra, he did it “my way,” comfortably retaining Turkiye’s presidency after naysayers had all but buried him.
The first order of geopolitical priority is who will be named Minister of Foreign Affairs. The prime candidate is Ibrahim Kalin – the current all-powerful Erdogan press secretary cum top adviser.
Compared to incumbent Cavusoglu, Kalin, in theory, may be qualified as more pro-west. Yet it’s the Sultan who calls the shots. It will be fascinating to watch how Turkiye under Erdogan 2.0 will navigate the strengthening of ties with West Asia and the accelerating process of Eurasia integration.
The first immediate priority, from Erdogan’s point of view, is to get rid of the “terrorist corridor” in Syria. This means, in practice, reigning in the US-backed Kurdish YPG/PYD, who are effectively Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – which is also the issue at the heart of a possible normalization of relations with Damascus.
Now that Syria has been enthusiastically welcomed back to the Arab League after a 12-year freeze, a Moscow-brokered entente between the Turkish and Syrian presidents, already in progress, may represent the ultimate win-win for Erdogan: allowing control of Kurds in north Syria while facilitating the repatriation of roughly 4 million refugees (tens of thousands will stay, as a source of cheap labor).
As expected, Chuck Schumer's Senate was a lock for approving the deal to raise the debt ceiling, which will be suspended until January 1, 2025 while spending will remain 'roughly flat' for the same period of time "when factoring in agreed upon appropriations adjustments" (oh?), and virtually none of what actual conservatives wanted came to pass.
The 63-36 bipartisan vote means that the legislation will now go to President Joe Biden's desk - who 'looks forward to signing the bill into law as soon as possible,' according to a White House statement.
It’s been nearly six months since the first installment of the Twitter Files—the journalistic effort by Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, Lee Fang, and many others to expose the myriad channels by which the U.S government cooperated with Twitter on content moderation and censorship—was first published. Twitter Files One, perhaps the mildest of more than 20 unique reports, details the social media company’s internal deliberations in the days before the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop was removed from the site. Later reports have exposed the tendrils of a governmental apparatus that influenced some of the most significant media distortions in recent American history, from the fraudulent Hamilton 68 misinformation tracking dashboard to the FBI’s intimate involvement with Twitter’s content-moderation practices.
On May 31, OpenAI announced its efforts to enhance ChatGPT’s mathematical problem-solving capabilities, aiming to reduce instances of artificial intelligence (AI) hallucinations. OpenAI emphasized mitigating hallucinations as a crucial step toward developing aligned AI.
In March, the introduction of the latest version of ChatGPT — ChatGPT-4 — further propelled AI into the mainstream. However, generative AI chatbots have long grappled with factual accuracy, occasionally generating false information, commonly referred to as “hallucinations.“ The efforts to reduce these AI hallucinations were announced through a post on OpenAI’s website.
AI hallucinations refer to instances where artificial intelligence systems generate factually incorrect outputs, misleading or unsupported by real-world data. These hallucinations can manifest in various forms, such as generating false information, making up nonexistent events or people, or providing inaccurate details about certain topics.
In New York, a pro-life display was declared by a professor to be an act of “violence.” In Colorado, a university site warned that misgendering is violence. It is part of a national pattern on campuses where opposing views are declared “harmful” or “violent” as a justification for censorship or even violence. Now, University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers has declared boycotting the store Target over its line of LGBTQ+ “Pride” clothing is “literal terrorism.”
Target is the latest example of a corporation that is being “Bud Lighted” over its link to LGBTQ+ efforts. While experts on MSNBC and CNN assured viewers that these boycotts fade quickly, these companies have now lost billions. Target has reportedly lost over $10 billion. Miller Lite is also being hammered over its “Bad $#!T to Good $#!T,” ad slamming male-oriented beer campaigns.
With these boycotts picking up steam, the coverage has turned from dismissive to alarmist.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was the big star of a gala awards ceremony hosted by the Atlantic Council that was touted as the “Washington Oscars.”
The Atlantic Council is a neo-conservative think tank, which has three former CIA directors on its board and another as a lifetime director.
Paul Craig Roberts, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Reagan, called the Atlantic Council the “marketing arm of the military-security complex.”
In 2015, it helped prepare a proposal to arm the Ukrainian military with offensive weaponry like Javelin anti-tank missiles—the same year that it presented its Distinguished Leadership Award to Marillyn Adams Hewson, then the CEO of Lockheed Martin, which produces Javelin missiles and many other strategic weapon platforms.
In April, French President Emmanuel Macron emerged from three days of meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing sounding as comfortable talking to Beijing as he does talking to Washington.
The US is pressuring Europe to decouple from China by reconsidering their relationship and breaking their significant economic ties. But when Macron traveled to China, his travel companions were a crowd of French business executives. And they weren’t there to discuss breaking economic ties with China. Instead, Macron declared that "any decoupling, or "de-linking," is not good for Europe, given the vast economic interests at stake." He rejected the US insistence that "differences over political systems that make Europe and China ‘rivals’ should . . . lead to the ‘decoupling’ and ‘escalating tensions’." Far from breaking economic ties and ending the relationship, France’s aim is to "reinforce those ties" and "re-launch a strategic and global partnership with China."
This independent stance, which Macron has frequently referred to as "strategic autonomy," was to be just the first of several comments that sounded more like Beijing than like Washington. Macron was independent, but he was not alone. Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, after saying that "There has been a leap forward on strategic autonomy compared to several years ago,” revealed that “On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it’s clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council. Some European leaders wouldn’t say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did … I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron.”
With the war in Ukraine raging, and Putin threatening to use nuclear weapons, the world is moving ever closer to complete annihilation. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists website, "This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. The Clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight – the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been. The war in Ukraine may enter a second horrifying year, with both sides convinced they can win. Ukraine’s sovereignty and broader European security arrangements that have largely held since the end of World War II are at stake. Also, Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks. And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict – by accident, intention, or miscalculation – is a terrible risk. The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high."
During times like these, it is important to remember that he have been on the brink of nuclear war before (in 1962) and being of a certain age, I think the anti-war films from that era are essential viewing for anyone concerned about our future on this planet, if we have one. One such film that remains topical both in its content and in its message is the 1964 classic Fail Safe, a movie the Pentagon didn’t want you to see, then or even now, despite its age. I have seen George Clooney’s remake, but it doesn’t hold a candle next to the original about how a system malfunction sends a group of Vindicator bombers (actually, B-58 Hustlers in the film) on a mission to nuke Moscow and the efforts of the President and USAF to get them to return to base and avoid starting World War III. Naturally the Pentagon wanted nothing to do with this film because they want the public to think the USAF is infallible, both in terms of personnel and systems. The reality is quite different. I know of a mistake during an exercise in which a unit was supposed to fire simulated missiles at the Soviet Union, but somebody goofed and they theoretically nuked Poland instead!
The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans places no constraints on spending on the war in Ukraine, a White House official told Bloomberg.
The $113 billion that has been authorized to spend on the war in Ukraine so far was passed as supplemental emergency funds, which is exempt from the spending caps that are part of the debt ceiling deal.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, funding “designated as an emergency requirement or for overseas contingency operations would not be constrained, and certain other funding would not be subject to the caps.” The deal suspends the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025.
Hawks in Congress are looking to use emergency spending to increase the $886 billion military budget that was agreed to as part of the deal. The emergency funds could go beyond Ukraine and might be used to send weapons to Taiwan or for other spending that hawks favor as part of their strategy against China.
The debt ceiling showdown appears to be on the verge of resolution, pending a vote in the Senate, with a deal between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to suspend the debt ceiling in exchange for a cap on some federal spending. The deal would roughly freeze discretionary spending at current levels for the coming year. But one area of federal spending received a reprieve from Republican fiscal conservatives, the defense budget. The budget will receive a 3 percent increase in the coming year, in line with the White House’s $886 billion spending proposal.
Over half of the Pentagon’s spending goes to contractors and the CEO of the biggest weapons firm in the world, Lockheed Martin, is already taking a victory lap. Speaking at the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference for investors, Lockheed head James Taiclet celebrated the defense budget hikes as a win for his company, telling the audience today:
“Now, there’s been the political activity going on around the debt ceiling lately. Even with that, the current agreement on the table, it’s not passed all the way through yet, the Senate’s still got to address it, is 3 percent growth for two years in defense where other areas of the budget are being reduced. And I think, again, that’s as good an outcome as our industry or our company could ask for at this point.”
The Joe Biden administration said it will walk away from some of its obligations under the landmark New START Treaty after the Kremlin ended its participation in the agreement earlier this year.
A State Department fact sheet published on Thursday outlined “Four lawful countermeasures in response to the Russian Federation’s ongoing violations of the New START Treaty,” saying Moscow was notified in advance about the retaliatory move, which it deemed “proportionate” and “reversible.”
Of the four countermeasures, the most significant calls to bar all Russian inspectors from visiting US territories. However, inspections were halted due to pandemic restrictions imposed in 2020.
The State Department maintains that Russian officials could have resumed inspections last year but chose not to, though Moscow says it could not send staff to the United States due to US sanctions.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced Thursday that the US and Taiwan signed the first trade agreement under a new economic initiative that was launched last year.
The deal was signed in Washington by representatives of the US and Taiwan’s respective de facto embassies, the American Institute in Taiwan, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.
The agreement has angered China as Beijing opposes any official cooperation between the US and Taiwan. While the deal was signed by de facto embassies, it was negotiated by USTR officials and Taiwanese trade officials. The trade deal covers trade facilitation, regulatory practices, anticorruption efforts, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
“China strongly opposes official interaction of any form between China’s Taiwan region and countries that have diplomatic relations with China. That includes negotiating or signing any agreement of sovereign implication or official nature,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said before the deal was signed.
Joe Biden’s history with Israel’s illegal settlement project is a lot longer than anyone else’s in U.S. politics. More than 40 years ago when he was a young senator, he banged the table and told Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, If you don’t stop building illegal settlements across the Green Line we’re going to slash aid!
But of course Begin won on that one, Israel just kept building settlements. And in one of the iconic moments of the U.S.-Israel “special relationship”, in 2010, just when Vice President Joe Biden landed in Israel, the country announced 1600 new settlement units — thumbing its nose at the White House. Biden took it lying down. He’d learned!
Now the question is, What is Biden going to do about Israel reestablishing Homesh? Homesh is an outpost Jewish settlement in the West Bank that Israel promised the White House in 2005 that it would dismantle. But Israel’s new extremist rightwing government ministers demanded it as a “passion” project, so Netanyahu greenlighted it.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) began January 6, 2021, by mugging for the cameras—more specifically, a camera operated by her filmmaker daughter, Alexandra Pelosi, who just happened to record every moment of her mother’s movements on what would become one of the most infamous days in American history.
As a clearly tense Pelosi prepared to convene the joint session of Congress during which Republican members of the House and Senate planned to debate the Electoral College outcome in six states—Pelosi also is seen conducting a caucus video conference that morning criticizing Republican plans to delay certification—her chief of staff warned that President Trump might go to the Capitol following his noon speech at the Ellipse. “I hope he comes, I’m gonna punch him out,” she told Terry McCullough.
Turning toward her daughter’s camera, Pelosi continued her tirade. “I’ve been waiting for this, for trespassing on Capitol grounds. I’m gonna punch him out, I’m gonna go to jail, and I’m gonna be happy.”
As the global economic intelligentsia debates how to “decouple” or “de-risk” from China, Elon Musk clearly didn’t get the memo.
The Tesla founder was feted like a returning king in Beijing this week. From the moment his private jet arrived on Tuesday, Musk is reportedly being called “Brother Ma,” putting him in rarified league with Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma.
There are many takeaways from Musk’s first China visit in three years. One is that not everyone is decoupling from China, least of all the globe’s most influential electric-vehicle (EV) evangelist and owner of Twitter. Another: the future of EV production and innovation is shifting toward Asia’s biggest economy.
Yet the most important one may be how Beijing is putting out a huge welcome mat for foreign chieftains – from Musk to JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon – to signal that China really is open for business again.
Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is officially rated R, Variety has confirmed with Universal Pictures. The film is Nolan’s first for the studio after his lengthy tenure at Warner Bros., where he directed tentpoles such as “Interstellar,” “Inception” and his Dark Knight trilogy. “Oppenheimer” will be Nolan’s first R-rated feature since 2002’s “Insomnia.”
The director confirmed last month that “Oppenheimer” is the longest movie of his career yet, running just shy of the three-hour mark. What does that mean for prints of the film? The Associated Press reports that “Oppenheimer” is so long that Imax prints are “11 miles of film stock” that “weigh some 600 pounds.” As is par for the course, Nolan shot the movie using large format film camera. Universal Pictures has now made tickets available for the film in premium theaters such as Imax 70mm, 70mm, Imax digital, 35mm, Dolby Cinema and more.
Nolan told AP that the “best possible experience” for viewing “Oppenheimer” is the Imax 70mm film format. However, that format only exists in 25 theaters across North America. Some of those venues include the AMC Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, the AMC Lincoln Square in New York, the Cinemark Dallas, the Regal King of Prussia near Philadelphia and the AutoNation Imax in Fort Lauderdale.
“The sharpness and the clarity and the depth of the image is unparalleled,” Nolan said. “The headline, for me, is by shooting on Imax 70mm film, you’re really letting the screen disappear. You’re getting a feeling of 3D without the glasses. You’ve got a huge screen and you’re filling the peripheral vision of the audience. You’re immersing them in the world of the film.”
On Thursday night, Daily Wire’s screening of the widely successful What Is A Woman documentary was throttled by Twitter after company owner Elon Musk said that it wouldn’t happen.
On Thursday, Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing announced that the outlet had reached an agreement with Twitter to air the film for free in order to celebrate its one-year anniversary. Twitter was initially enthusiastic about the idea, Boering stated, adding that the platform offered the opportunity to buy a package to host the movie on a dedicated event page.
Daily Wire accepted and signed the agreement, at which point Twitter asked to see the film to better understand which segments might “trigger” viewers. After reviewing the film, Twitter informed the outlet that the package was no longer available. Instead, the video’s reach would be limited under the platform’s “hateful conduct” policy because of “misgendering.”
After news spread, Musk told Boering that the incident was the result of a “mistake” at Twitter and vowed to reverse the decision. “This was a mistake by many people at Twitter. It is definitely allowed,” Musk said.
A U.S. Air Force official said last week that a simulation of an artificial intelligence-enabled drone tasked with destroying surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites turned against and attacked its human user, who was supposed to have the final go- or no-go decision to destroy the site.
The Royal Aeronautical Society said it held its Future Combat Air & Space Capabilities Summit in London from May 23-24, which brought together about 70 speakers and more than 200 delegates from around the world representing the media and those who specialize in the armed services industry and academia.
The United States has announced its first round of sanctions on Sudan, after the Sudanese army pulled out of ceasefire talks in Jeddah.
Four companies have been sanctioned by the US. Two are connected to the army and two are connected to its enemy, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary.
The White House released a statement on Thursday saying that it was responding to the ongoing violence in Sudan by "levying economic sanctions, imposing visa restrictions against actors who are perpetuating the violence, and releasing an updated 'business advisory' on Sudan."
The US government said that "these measures are intended to hold accountable those responsible for undermining the peace, security, and stability of Sudan".
The FBI has restarted its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported on Thursday.
According to a front-page story in the SMH, the FBI is looking to build its case up against Assange, who was indicted by the US Justice Department in 2019 for exposing US war crimes by publishing classified documents he obtained from a source, a standard journalistic practice.
The report said that last week, the FBI contacted Andrew O’Hagan, a Scottish novelist who worked as a ghostwriter for Assange’s autobiography. O’Hagan rejected the FBI request as he opposes the US’s efforts to imprison Assange for his journalism.
“I would not give a witness statement against a fellow journalist being pursued for telling the truth,” O’Hagan said. “I would happily go to jail before agreeing in any way to support the American security establishment in this cynical effort.”
Assange’s legal team was surprised by the FBI request, which came amid building pressure on the Biden administration to drop the charges against the WikiLeaks founder. A delegation of Australian lawmakers recently met with the US ambassador to Australia and called on Washington to free Assange, who has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison since the indictment.
On Dec. 24, 2022 Matt Taibbi was in a room at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco poring through reports sent to Twitter from an entity called the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF). The FITF is an FBI-led interagency task force that forwards “moderation requests” from numerous government agencies, including Homeland Security, the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department, to social media outlets. Taibbi was given access to the internal traffic by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk. It revealed how the FBI and other government agencies routinely suppressed news and commentary. He published a Twitter thread that night, Christmas Eve, with the headline “Twitter and Other Government Agencies”.
“There would be a list of YouTube videos,” Taibbi said when I reached him by phone. “There would be a notation that would say ‘We assess that these are all created by the Internet Research Agency in Russia. We assess that they are promoting anti-Ukraine attitudes.’ I would see that all those videos were no longer on YouTube. You can make your own deduction from that, but that was the pattern. They would send Excel spreadsheets full of account names and either all or most of them would be gone.”
The content that was suppressed included right-wing and left-wing reports critical of the dominant narrative advanced by the Democratic Party and the old establishment wing of the Republican Party, which has been folded into the Democratic Party. Threads from the Yellow Vests movement, activists from the Occupy movement, Global Revolution Live, negative stories about Joe Biden, reports on the Ukrainian energy company Burisma that paid Hunter Biden about $1 million a year while his father was vice-president, positive stories about Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, reports about Ukrainian human rights abuses and details of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop were part of the plethora of accounts that were flagged and disappeared.
The U.S. Army has said it is seeing an upward trend in recruiting but has refused to provide numbers to bolster the claim.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told Congress that the branch has improved upon its numbers from last year in its bid to reverse a severe recruiting crisis, but would not fulfill a request to provide the actual data when it was requested by Military.com
According to the outlet, requests to the Army for quarterly recruiting data were made in early April, and the branch has declined for weeks to be forthcoming with the numbers and has provided no reason for their refusal.
In 2023, despite skyrocketing inflation and debt, as well as rising sociopolitical divisions, leadership among both Republicans and Democrats will always agree that substantially more US taxpayer money, never less, should be poured into the military-industrial complex, according to an analysis by journalist Judd Legum.
Case in point, the debt ceiling agreement established between the Joe Biden administration and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy caps military spending at a record $886 billion, exactly matching Biden’s mammoth budget request.
The GOP was seeking large increases in military spending and would only entertain cuts in non-military expenditures. The agreed upon war budget represents a 3.3% increase over the current year. The tentative deal still needs to make its way through Congress, where hawks will fiercely oppose any and all military spending caps.
Half of that money will go to defense contractors, with Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics receiving the lion’s share. Some of those industry giants are currently ensnared in a massive “price gouging” scandal, with a bipartisan group of senators demanding an investigation at the Pentagon’s highest levels.
US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, on 31 May, threw cold water on reports by Israeli media that allege Saudi Arabia is close to normalizing ties with Tel Aviv.
“There’s a lot of misreporting and a lot of hyperventilation in the press, a lot of excitable rumint, I would say, in the press, especially in the Israeli press. They’re just electric with the idea that Saudi Arabia might take that step,” Leaf told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, the senior US official stressed Washington sees “plenty of space to get things done.”
Earlier this week, Israel’s National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said during a radio interview that the far-right government in Tel Aviv is “in a fog” on any progress in talks between Riyadh and Washington over normalization.
“I say this to be as clear as I can within the framework of the fog that exists for us … We are not really aware, right now, of what is happening in the Saudi-American corridors,” the Israeli official said.
As the sun sets over Taiwan’s Kinmen islands, the neon lights of mainland China dazzle in the distance just 2.5 miles away.
Yet as striking as the lights on the horizon are the reminders, everywhere, of war. Kinmen’s beaches are lined with anti-invasion spikes, its islands dotted with aging military posts, its streets home to countless bomb shelters – defenses prepared long ago for an invasion that never came. Or, at least, one that hasn’t come yet.
The shadow of war has hung over these islands ever since Taiwan and mainland China split at the end of the Chinese civil war in the late 1940s. Kinmen, a near and easy target for the mainland’s Communist forces, was bombarded with an estimated one million artillery shells in the years that followed.
Though active fighting ended in Kinmen in 1979, Beijing continues to claim self-governing Taiwan as its territory and recently has been making increasingly bellicose threats toward Taipei. As a consequence, many see the likelihood of war returning to these lands as higher now than it has been in decades.