I am a bit burned out and I need time to recuperate. Also, I have some other things I need to work on, including developing some other revenue…
"Truth is proper and beautiful in all times and in all places.: -- Frederick Douglass
"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable." -- Henry David Thoreau (1942). "Civil Disobedience"
The Senate voted 52-46 on Thursday to block President Joe Biden's student loan relief program.
The legislation would repeal Biden's debt relief program and resume federal student loan debt payments, which the administration had on pause. Moderate senators, including Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana as well as independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted with Republicans to pass the bill.
"With prices on the rise and our debt crisis getting worse by the day, the last thing we need is yet another debt-financed spending spree, this one to pay off someone else’s student loans," Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) tweeted after the resolution passed.
Democrats expressed outrage after the resolution passed.
"Republicans' cruel attempt to stand in the way of President Biden's plans to provide relief to tens of millions of Americans suffering under the crushing weight of student loan debt is damaging to our economy and wildly out of touch with the financial realities facing working families," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said.
Webmaster addition: The problem is that Biden can veto the bill.
For the third day in a row, the stock price of clothing retailer Kohl’s was down once again after the store became the subject of another Target-style boycott for marketing LGBT pride-themed products to children. The department store’s infant onesies, which feature the LGBTQ+ pride flag, have drawn backlash from shoppers and parents concerned about the influence of gender ideology on young children.
Kohl’s stock closed at its lowest price since 2020 when trading ended on Thursday. In total, the company’s share price is down roughly 13% since calls for a boycott began on May 26. Their stock previously suffered a sizable dip on Tuesday as news of the controversy spread.
The January 6 select committee finally released its long-delayed report late on December 23 after most Americans had happily turned away from politics to enjoy the Christmas weekend with family and friends. The Friday night news dump, a common tactic when government officials want to bury something controversial, was not exactly a vote of confidence in the panel’s ultimate work product.
As expected, the bulk of the 845-page document spun a well-worn tale that portrayed Donald Trump as the sole villain in a so-called “insurrection” the committee wants us to believe was engineered to keep him in the White House. Page after page included dramatic interpretations of snippets from witness testimony intended to bolster the committee’s preconceived conclusions.
Analysis of how law enforcement and intelligence services failed to prepare for the “attack,” a promise made by the committee in its original sell job to the public, is buried in a relatively brief appendix at the end. And despite confirmation the government was aware violence might occur—the FBI used a threat tag, “CERTUNREST2021,” purportedly to categorize in advance information related to January 6—federal and local agencies did not prevent what the Biden regime branded a terror attack comparable to 9/11. (FBI Director Christopher Wray’s name is not mentioned once in the report and it appears unlikely he sat for a transcribed interview.)
Even so, in the face of extensive evidence that those agencies were on high alert, committee members still faulted Trump: “Few in law enforcement predicted that the President of the United States would incite a mob attack on the Capitol, that he would send them to stop the joint session knowing they were armed and dangerous, that he would further incite them against his own vice President while the attack was underway, or that he would do nothing to stop the assault for hours,” the report dishonestly stated.
Webmaster addition: Worth a repeat in light of the footage showing Nancy Pelosi being filmed by her daughter as she left the capitol building!
Department of Homeland Security officials issued a Be On the Lookout alert (BOLO), Thursday, when U.S. authorities became aware that a “no fly list” suspected terrorist had made his way through Panama, and is expected to enter the United States through the southwest border, according to a document obtained by saraacarter.com.
The BOLO national security threat/no fly alert states “Mohamed Shaker MOHAMED ABDELAAL”, poses a “imminent threat to national security.” According to the alert Mohamed Shaker is from Egypt and was identified by sources in Panama, according to officials and the BOLO alert.
A DHS source, with knowledge of the incident, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The border has gotten so bad that we just don’t know what is getting in. We have had terrorist facilitators, guerrillas, hard corp gang members and who knows what coming in.”
“They must feel pretty comfortable with the state of the border if they are risking coming in. The numbers of military age “asylum seekers” coming in is enough to overwhelm law enforcement resources. We are in for a rough future if this doesn’t stop,” he added. The dhs source who spoke on background stated that the BOLO alert has been issued to local and state authorities.
Elon Musk has in the last year purchased twitter for a record 44 billion, he received lots of criticism including Apple even saying they may remove Twitter from the app store. However this wouldn’t stop Elon and he would continue to promote his platform with idea of creating open discussion for everyone regardless of political views.
One of Elon Musk’s most controversial tweets when he bought twitter was a tweet saying the following:
Twelve years ago, FBI agents in Baltimore sought to wiretap former Brookings Institution analyst Igor Danchenko on suspicions he was spying for Russia. But the counterintelligence analyst they were assigned to work with ‒ Brian Auten ‒ told them he could not find their target and assumed the Russian national had fled back to Moscow.
But Danchenko had not left the U.S., court documents show. He was living in the Washington area. In fact, he had been arrested in Maryland in 2013 by federal Park Police for being drunk and disorderly, something the FBI analyst could have easily discovered by searching federal law enforcement databases. Clueless, the FBI closed its espionage case on Danchenko.
Auten would quickly rise to become the FBI’s top Russian analyst. In 2016 and 2017, he failed to properly vet the Steele dossier, a collection of salacious allegations created for Hillary Clinton’s campaign which sought to tie Donald Trump to the Kremlin, before clearing it as the central piece of evidence used by the FBI to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Working out of headquarters as a supervisor, Auten knew Danchenko helped Christopher Steele compile the dossier while living in the area. But instead of contacting the Baltimore agents, Auten secretly groomed him as an informant, arranging payments of $220,000 to target Donald Trump and his former aide Page.
The child abusers and groomers at the Walt Disney Company are looking at yet another woke flop.
Box office analysts say the far-left company could lose millions on its latest woke entry, the live-action remake of the Little Mermaid, which opened over the Memorial Day weekend.
Maybe having transvestites greet little kids at Disneyland is causing some brand damage?
Maybe exposing little kids to adult sexuality in the form of transsexuals, homosexuality, and drag queens is causing some brand damage?
Maybe lobbying on behalf of public school teachers who want to expose elementary school children to gay porn is causing some brand damage?
I am just thinking out loud here.
Hey, maybe the Little Mermaid remake is in trouble simply because it sucks. But it is in trouble…
Facing a potential contempt of Congress vote, FBI Director Christopher Wray relented and has agreed to bring a subpoenaed document from the Biden family investigation to Capitol Hill for lawmakers to inspect on Monday, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer announced Friday.
The document in question, an FD-1023, contains uncorroborated allegations that an informant provided the FBI in June 2020 alleging that Joe Biden, when he was vice president, was engaged in a bribery scheme to change US policy in return for $5 million to his family’s businesses, lawmakers have said.
Congress was alerted to the document by an FBI whistleblower who raised concerns the allegations were never fully investigated. Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa demanded to see the document, and Comer followed with a subpoena.
As recently as Wednesday, Wray indicated he would not turn over the document in compliance with the subpoena, but would let lawmakers come read it at the FBI. But a deal was struck late Thursday for the FBI to bring the document to the Capitol, officials said.
“Chairman Comer will receive a briefing from the FBI and review the document on Monday,” his committee told Just the News in a statement. “Chairman Comer has been clear that anything short of producing the FD-1023 form to the House Oversight Committee is not compliance with his subpoena. This unclassified record contains pages of details that need to be investigated further by the House Oversight Committee.”
Webmaster addition: It's now being reported that it is a redacted copy, to "protect sources and methods." Suuuuuuuuure
In my previously published article series we examined the Panic of 1819 and the precedent it set for the bigger financial meltdowns that would come. We also examined the “Postwar Boom Period,” of the 1920’s about how economic growth created successful business profits which raised the standard of living for most Americans. As a result of this prosperity, Americans had enough spare cash to get involved in real estate speculations and stock market investments. A wave of chance taking swept the nation. Everywhere there was uncontrollable wasteful spending and powerful profiteering. In one of his campaign speeches President Hoover said: “…we shall soon, with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation.” Oh yes, things were certainly looking nifty. America belonged to the businessmen. It was theirs to exploit to the fullest. As a result of growing consumer credit, Americans were able to buy many more luxuries than they could afford. American businessmen and financial experts felt too confident that erratic fluctuations in the business cycle were finally under control. Their confidence and cockiness fogged their judgment to the point that they failed to see the danger signals that were everywhere. Nonetheless, they were so convincing in their future predictions that even President Hoover was taken in by what they said. It was a terrific time for him to assume office. Business was strong, the American people were enjoying prosperous lives, industry was thriving and the biggest stock market boom in the history of the United States was almost into its fifth year. He swelled with pride as he entered his first term, addressing the nation, “I have no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope.” Little did he know, his troubles would begin in late autumn of 1929. He would end his fourth year as an object of scorn and ridicule as the depression deepened. Voters felt that he was a “do-nothing” president who helped cause the Greatest Depression America has as of yet ever faced. This article, part 1 of a 3 part series, covers the beginnings of the mother of all economic meltdowns, the Great Depression. Parts 2 and 3 cover the Depression itself and its effects on America and the history of this great nation.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has lamented a breakdown in US-Chinese defense relations, warning that the absence of communication between leaders of the two countries inncreases the risk of an incident escalating into a more dangerous geopolitical conflict.
“You’ve heard me talk a number of times about the importance of countries with large, with significant capabilities being able to talk to each other so you can manage crises and prevent things from spiraling out of control unnecessarily,” Austin told reporters on Thursday in Tokyo, following a meeting with Japanese Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada.
Austin made his comments two days after the US Indo-Pacific Command accused a Chinese pilot of nearly causing a midair collision by buzzing his fighter jet in front of an American reconnaissance plane last week over the South China Sea. Beijing blamed the US for the incident and demanded that Washington stop flying spy planes in the region, saying the flights are “dangerous provocations.”
Manipur, the remote north-eastern Indian state, continues to burn weeks after the violence first erupted on May 3, following ethnic clashes between the majority Meitei community and the minority hill tribals, belonging to the Kuki/Chin/Zomi groups.
On Sunday, fresh clashes erupted between the two communities, and at least five people, including a policeman, were killed and 12 others injured.
RT Asia editor Joydeep Sen Gupta visited the Indian state to report on the genesis of the unending violence, whose local dynamics are inextricably linked to global narco-politics, amid fears of compromising India’s strategic cross-border interests.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government on Thursday said it would not hand over internal WhatsApp messages requested by a public inquiry into its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead seek a legal challenge against the demand.
The inquiry, ordered by the government itself in 2021 and chaired by a former judge, had given the government a 1500 GMT deadline to hand over the documents.
But the Cabinet Office said the COVID-19 inquiry was going beyond its remit and that the WhatsApp messages and other records it was requesting were "unambiguously irrelevant".
"The Cabinet Office has today sought leave to bring a judicial review," the office responsible for overseeing the operation of government said in a letter to the inquiry after the deadline passed.
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.
Webmaster addition: Again, we see the word "suspended" which means Biden and the FED can create as much new money out of thin air as is needed for the war against Russia. Of course, all that new money will trigger major inflation, making the money in your pocket worth less and less.
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.