IDF Tanks Reach Center Of Rafah As Hamas Claims ‘Indiscriminate Bombing’ Of Population

IDF Tanks Reach Center Of Rafah As Hamas Claims 'Indiscriminate Bombing' Of Population

IDF Tanks Reach Center Of Rafah As Hamas Claims ‘Indiscriminate Bombing’ Of Population

Israeli tanks have reached the heart of Rafah overnight amid continual heavy bombardment and shelling. Local eyewitnesses say they’ve reached a roundabout in the center of the city which forms a key landmark.

Images and footages to emerge Tuesday have confirmed the advance of tank columns and IDF infantry deep into Rafah, which has sent thousands more displaced Palestinians fleeing from the Western half of the city, where the most intense fighting is happening. 

Additionally BBC has observed of IDF tanks that overnight “they also seized control of the highest hilltop along the Gaza-Egypt border after reported gun battles with Hamas-led fighters.”

Al Jazeera still frame of IDF tank in center of Rafah.

Airstrikes have continued to increase in intensity on the Western outskirts, especially on the al-Faluja area which lies west of Jabalia camp.

Following the Sunday bombing of a refugee tent camp in a designated safe zone which reportedly killed 45 people, there are emerging reports of another catastrophic air raid:

The air raid targeted al-Mawasi in western Rafah, an area where tents have been set up to house displaced Palestinians. It is also a designated humanitarian area to which Israeli authorities told Palestinians to flee.

“Among them are 13 females were killed. Israeli forces targeted another makeshift tent [area] where most of the people were women and children,” Al Jazeera’s Hind Khoudary said, reporting from Deir el-Balah.

Pressure out of Europe in particular is growing, amid ongoing EU discussions over possible sanctions against Israel and after last week’s ICJ (World Court) call for immediate ceasefire, but so far the Netanyahu government is defiantly pushing forward its anti-Hamas operation.

Hamas has issued a statement meanwhile, as tanks plunge deeper into Rafah, calling on the UN Security Council to take “practical and immediate measures” to halt the invasion of Rafah city.

The statement said that the southernmost major city in Gaza “is being subjected to indiscriminate barbaric Zionist bombing, affecting homes and tents of displaced people in various parts of the city.”

“The UN Security Council is required to fulfill its legal and moral responsibilities in the face of the criminal Zionist entity’s disregard for the decision of the International Court of Justice, which ordered an immediate halt to the aggression against the city,” the Hamas statement added.

This comes a day after the White House appeared to justify Sunday’s Israeli attack on the refugee encampment. A Biden national security spokesperson told CNN on Monday, “The devastating images following the IDF strike in Rafah last night that killed dozens of innocent Palestinians are heartbreaking.”

“Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians,” the statement said. Axios has since reported:

The Biden administration is still assessing whether an Israeli strike that killed at least 45 displaced Palestinians at a tent camp in Rafah on Sunday is a violation of President Biden’s “red line,” two U.S. officials told Axios.

So far the administration has stalled some ammo shipments, even while approving more massive defense aid packages and funding for Israel, in a largely symbolic move meant more for deflecting criticisms from Progressive Democrats.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 05/28/2024 – 14:40

France lawmaker suspended for waving Palestinian flag

France lawmaker suspended for waving Palestinian flag

French parliament Tuesday suspended a left-wing lawmaker for two weeks after he held up a Palestinian flag during a heated debate over whether France should recognise Palestinian statehood. Sebastien Delogu, a member of parliament for the radical left France Unbowed (LFI) party from the southern city of Marseille, stood up with the flag during questions […]

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Elon Musk’s xAI Raises $6 Billion To Accelerate AI Race Against OpenAI

Elon Musk’s xAI Raises $6 Billion To Accelerate AI Race Against OpenAI

Elon Musk’s AI startup, xAI, announced early Monday morning that it had raised $6 billion from investors in a Series B fundraising round. This funding will accelerate its artificial intelligence development as the AI tech war with OpenAI intensifies.

Some key investors were Valor Equity Partners, Vy Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, and Kingdom Holding.

Musk wrote on X that the pre-money valuation was $18 billion. 

xAI listed its accomplishments over the past year:

xAI has made significant strides over the past year. From the announcement of the company in July 2023, to the release of Grok-1 on X in November, to the recent announcements of the improved Grok-1.5 model with long context capability, to Grok-1.5V with image understanding, xAI’s model capabilities have improved rapidly. With the open-source release of Grok-1, xAI has opened doors for advancements in various applications, optimizations, and extensions of the model.

Then it outlined what’s coming down the pipe:

xAI will continue on this steep trajectory of progress over the coming months, with multiple exciting technology updates and products soon to be announced. The funds from the round will be used to take xAI’s first products to market, build advanced infrastructure, and accelerate the research and development of future technologies.

Musk added on X that, in terms of future announcements, “There will be more to announce in the coming weeks.” 

The fundraising shows that the AI arms race between Musk and ChatGPT creator OpenAI, as well as with others, is heating up. Grok is different from competitors, like ChatGPT4, because it’s trained on X posts and considered by some to be ‘anti-woke.’ 

Tyler Durden
Tue, 05/28/2024 – 07:45

Lai calls on troops to make Taiwan ‘safer’ after China drills

Lai calls on troops to make Taiwan 'safer' after China drills

Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te thanked troops on Tuesday after China held military exercises around the self-ruled island, as he urged them to help make it “safer”. Three days after Lai was sworn into office, warships and fighter jets encircled Taiwan in drills China said were a test of its ability to seize the island it […]

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A Final Indignity To The Arsenal Of Democracy?

A Final Indignity To The Arsenal Of Democracy?

A Final Indignity To The Arsenal Of Democracy?

Authored by Thaddeus McCotter via American Greatness,

It is Memorial Day weekend. A time for us to commemorate and reflect upon the ultimate sacrifices given by our fallen citizen-soldiers and the enduring grief of their families and loved ones, which were and are selflessly borne in the defense of their fellow Americans and our free republic.

This spirit of self-sacrifice is rarely evidenced by far too many of the elected officials who will publicly eulogize these same fallen patriots and extend condolences to their families and loved ones. While exhorting others to emulate the example of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, these disingenuous politicians refuse to risk an ounce of political capital—not by opposing public sentiment—but by supporting it in the defense of our national security. Why? Because they fear alienating major corporations and their own party leaders.

While currently occurring primarily in “Blue States,” abetting communist Chinese subnational incursions into our states has been a bipartisan disgrace—and this is despite the bipartisan warnings of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement communities.

The complicit politicians’ reasoning is as follows: using taxpayer money to subsidize CCP-linked businesses locating in states will provide jobs and boost the economy of not only the local populace but also the profits of these companies’ American corporate partners. In sum, having failed to implement the necessary fiscal and free market policies to produce domestic economic growth, these politicians have latched onto these Chinese-linked companies as an electoral lifeline. Apparently, these politicians think the public believes a job is a job and will not care about the use of their tax dollars to import CCP-linked companies into our backyard.

To wit: my home state of Michigan, which during World War II was rightly lauded with the name “The Arsenal of Democracy.” The “greatest generation” of Michiganians not only fought in foreign fields, they toiled in machine shops’ and factories’ floors to produce the armaments needed not only for our forces but for our allies as well. One shining example of American industrial and military might was the Ford Motor Company’s Willow Run Facility (Air Force Plant 31).

As the Detroit Historical Society records, Willow Run was built in 1941 with $200,000,000 investment by the federal government. At its wartime peak,

…Willow Run was able to achieve remarkable production rates. At its peak in 1944, it produced a B-24 [bomber aircraft] every hour. By 1945, it was able to produce 70 percent of its B-24s in two nine-hour shifts, with pilots and crew members sleeping on 1,300 cots as they waited for the B-24s to roll off the assembly line. The Ford Motor Company eventually produced half of their 18,000 total B-24s at Willow Run.

Yet, over time, even as the threats to America ebbed and flowed, morphed and intensified, Willow Run ebbed in the minds of policymakers and the public. In 1953, Willow Run changed hands by lease and, ultimately, by deed from Ford to General Motors; and by 2010, Willow Run plant became a casualty of GM’s bankruptcy proceeding:

Most of the plant was demolished in 2014 but a 175,000 foot portion was offered to the Yankee Air Museum, housed in a hangar until a 2004 fire. After successful fundraising, the Museum reopened in 2017 in the historic building.

“The American Center for Mobility claimed the remainder of the massive site and in 2018 opened a proving ground and research facility for self-driving cars, the only one in Michigan and one of ten in the U.S., as designated by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.

What is of note to the present discussion is this: back in 1941, the U.S. government expended taxpayer dollars to an American corporation to provide employment in making armaments for the defense of our nation.

Today, state governments are expending taxpayer dollars to CCP-linked companies that use the mantra of “jobs” to deflect from the potential to undermine our national security. All this for a talking point how “[Politician Name] Created [X Number of] Jobs.” (Sadly, the economic mendacity of this message remains lost upon far too many of our citizenry.)

And the offending politicians show no signs of slowing in their feckless endangering of our national security. As the Daily Caller’s Nick Pope reports:

Michigan Democrats shot down an effort to significantly expand the vetting process for China-tied companies seeking to cash in on state incentives earlier in May.

Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the state’s legislature pushed budget amendments that would have prohibited the use of state funds to subsidize corporations originating from adversarial countries like China, but neither amendment made it into the budgets that passed on May 9 and May 15. House and Senate Democrats leveraged their control of each chamber to shoot down both amendments.

The reason for the partisan divide is the support of the democratic administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer for “Gotion, a company looking to build a subsidized facility in the Grand Rapids area… The state announced in October 2022 that it would be providing Gotion with incentives worth $715 million to attract its $2.4 billion factory to Michigan.”

This is despite the fact that Gotion

…is tied to China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) via its parent company, Gotion High-Tech. The Daily Caller News Foundation has reported extensively on the company’s links to China and the CCP, which include Gotion High-Tech’s employment of more than 900 CCP members as of 2022 and the fact that a visiting delegation of CCP officials set up a talent recruitment work station at Gotion’s California headquarters in 2017.

This is not a one-off by the wholly Democrat-controlled Michigan legislature, who, according to state Senator Jonathan Lindsey (R-17):

Governor Whitmer and the Democrats in Michigan are so married to this idea of taking Michigan taxpayer dollars and giving them to these corporations with ties to China, they refuse to budge. Last year they voted against preventing tax dollars from supporting child slave labor in China. This year they voted against reviews and limitations on those dollars flowing toward our global adversaries. What they’re doing is absolutely wrong for the people of Michigan.

As Michigan Senate minority leader Aric Nesbitt (R-20) further points out, “It’s shocking to watch the Democrat majority in Michigan hand over hundreds of millions in tax dollars from struggling Michigan families to multinational corporations that pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party in their corporate documents.”

Yet, what of the Ford Motor Company, the quintessentially American corporation that was a major artery pumping munitions and materiel through the heart of the Arsenal of Democracy and into our military and allies’ hands? Like the Willow Run plant, Ford has another project seeking public subsidies. Unlike the Willow Run plant, however:

…Ford’s licensing deal with CATL, a Chinese battery manufacturer, has also drawn scrutiny. Ford planned to open a facility in [Michigan] – with the help of state incentives in excess of $1.5 billion – where it would manufacture batteries using CATL’s technology and know-how, but the company has since scaled down its planned factory, according to CNBC.

Perhaps it is an elected official and Navy veteran, State Representative Andrew Beeler (R-64), who, being well versed in the self-sacrifice made by our men and women in uniform and their families, so well expressed his consternation and concerns:

I didn’t spend years in the Navy pushing back against the Chinese Communist Party in the South China Sea only to come to the Michigan Legislature and give them government handouts… But House Democrats voted to let hostile foreign powers keep spreading influence and gathering intelligence on Michigan taxpayers’ dime.

Given the bipartisan opposition to spending taxpayer money to subsidize CCP-linked companies, one might be tempted to chalk this up to a case of imbecilic political hacks cutting off their nose to spite their face and hoping no one notices. Granted, it would not be the first time. Yet this is far worse. These useful elected idiots are spending taxpayer dollars to buy the CCP the razor that barbaric regime will use to cut our throat. That this is happening in Michigan could well constitute a final—suicidal—indignity to the arsenal of Democracy.

That this is happening at all constitutes an unconscionable affront to the citizen-soldiers who gave their last full measure of devotion for us.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 05/27/2024 – 23:00

Pope used gay slur in meeting with Italian bishops: media

Pope used gay slur in meeting with Italian bishops: media

Pope Francis used an offensive gay slang word during a meeting with Italian bishops, where he joked about the number of gay men in seminaries, media reports said Monday. During the private meeting one week ago, the 87-year-old pontiff was reported to have used the derogatory Roman term “frociaggine”, which translates loosely as the offensive […]

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“Global Trade War Looms, But It’s Not Just Trade War To Fear”

“Global Trade War Looms, But It’s Not Just Trade War To Fear”

By Michael Every of Rabobank

History, Humility, and Wishful Thinking

The UK election and the “I will protect you, but forgot my umbrella” Tory campaign have both been shaken up by its pledge to bring back conscription for 18-year-olds. This is seen as a desperate gamble and sad joke by many commentators, and even ex-military leaders say it’s silly to enroll unskilled, unwilling young adults when the armed forces need more equipment of all sorts, which the recent 2.5% of GDP defense spending pledge falls very far short of. Yet the joke must also be on those laughing when the global backdrop is so very serious.

Stop thinking about Friday’s US PCE deflator data for a moment and look at the bigger picture. The main Bloomberg headline today is the G7 warning China over its trade practices. They want “balanced and reciprocal collaboration,” and will “consider taking steps to ensure a level playing field.” The US is already going to let tariff exclusions on hundreds of Chinese items expire, and the EU may be leaning towards a high tariff on Chinese EVs. Elsewhere, China is asking South Korea to maintain stable supply chains, as it moves closer to the US, and even Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have recently raised tariffs on Chinese steel.

In short, global trade war looms, and as Bastiat noted, “If goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.” The problematic inverse is that even Adam Smith implied if some goods cross borders, soldiers don’t need to, and others won’t be able to when needed.

It’s not just trade war to fear. China just finished a huge military exercise that clearly rehearsed a blockade of Taiwan and says it will no longer accept US congressional delegations to Taipei: one including the CEO of Nvidia just opted to visit anyway. Tens of thousands of Taiwanese are on the streets protesting a “parliamentary coup” led by the pro-China KMT party and its ally aimed at weakening the new president, further stirring the national-security pot.

Russia apparently wants a ceasefire in Ukraine, which would allow it to keep all it has already taken. Of course it does: those are the most attractive terms available for anyone in that position. However, a further escalation in fighting still seems more likely. Indeed, NATO chief Stoltenberg now backs allowing Ukraine to use Western weapons to hit Russian forces inside Russia’s pre-2014 territory, which will only deepen the perception in Moscow that it is at war with the West and not just Ukraine. Russian responses obviously could range from the military within Ukraine, where fears of the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons may again re-emerge following recent military drills with them, but likely in the grey zone of sabotage and economic warfare wherever they can hurt most – which for the EU is lots of places.

The US just lifted its ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Israel-Hamas war continues despite the recent rulings of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, the latter giving a more nuanced legal opinion than many initially read into it. Israel’s fight with Hezbollah in Lebanon continues to escalate in tandem. Related Houthi attacks just claimed their first (unsuccessful) strike on a ship in the Med: others will follow, maybe closing off another major international waterway; and when do the Houthis share that military technology with forces in East and West Africa who want to block Western shipping going that alternative route rather than via Suez? Freight rates already spiking again, with warnings this can get worse. Relatedly, Russia just struck a Red-Sea-port-for-guns deal with Sudan, meaning they now have belt of influence and boots on the ground right across the Sahel.

If you have time today, read ‘Confronting Another Axis? History, Humility, and Wishful Thinking by Peter Zelikow. It’s the most detailed historical argument yet showing what I flagged in 2018 as a key risk markets were ignoring – that the US would see a coordinated pushback from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, which it would be ill-placed to resist with its current economic structure. The author says, “a serious possibility of worldwide warfare may be only in the 20–30% range. But that assessment is not reassuring.” Indeed, it isn’t!

While he agrees US defense supply chains will be rebuilt –transforming it, global trade, and markets– the next 1-3 years will prove exceptionally perilous as this all happens. He specifically warns, “The US does not have the strategic initiative in the present conflict. It is reacting to choices made by others, which its analysts may not anticipate and understand… I believe the anti-American partnership has probably decided to double down. They are probably preparing in earnest for a period of major confrontation.”

Yet markets are wishing for large rate cuts. The only way this makes sense is the geopolitical argument of keeping debt servicing costs low enough to expand military production: but today that implies locking in higher inflation too. Hence my view that we will need a hybrid tight-and-loose fiscal-and-monetary policy, as was the case prior to our roll-out of neoliberal global financialisation in the 1980s.

Those in the real economy cannot be as blithe as markets: the physical economy is changing. We can see that in the global trade war that looms, and the policies being offered in the UK and the US.

And if the politics and the physical economy must change more, logically so must central bank architecture: it’s impossible it remains the same against that kind of backdrop. Coincidentally, an Australian senator recently lashed out at the RBA in a manner applicable to all Western central banks now:

“The RBA is clueless as to how monetary policy works. In 1985, Paul Keating lifted government capital controls. This meant that private banks were no longer restricted as to how much money they could borrow from offshore banks and what they used it for.

The private banks had $8bn in foreign debt in 1985. By 2008 they had $800bn in foreign debt. This lifted house prices from 4 times average earnings to around 12 times average earnings. Banks now lend 70% to households and only 30% to business… The 1937 Banking Royal Commission recommended that the central bank should control the volume of credit in the system as opposed to private banks.

In 1992, the RBA was made independent, and APRA was split off in the late 1990s. It’s a sad reflection on just how little monetary policy is understood that RBA officials had no idea as to what I was talking about when I asked why they don’t establish an infrastructure bank.

It beggars belief that the RBA could print $300bn to pay people to stay at home and get brainwashed by State Premiers but not actually set about funding Australia’s infrastructure, which would actually solve our productivity crises, which is what is driving inflation.”

Just include national security in with ‘infrastructure’, and you are where I’ve said we would be: which is a long, long way from thinking that US personal consumption expenditure is the most important global metric to be focusing on.

Of course, financial markets will Keep Calm and Carry On: because they are in denial; 20-25% is ‘not worth trading’ as a tail risk; they have no idea how to translate into their specific assets; if they take the WW3 view, they might as well just ‘Buy All the Things’ anyway; and, as Zelikow puts it, “It is really hard, cognitively and institutionally hard, to hold open a doorway to the emptiness of what we don’t know and adapt to changing circumstances.”

Tyler Durden
Mon, 05/27/2024 – 18:20

Internet Archive is under DDoS attack

Internet Archive is under DDoS attack

The Internet Archive, a vital digital repository for millions of historical documents and websites, is currently grappling with a significant distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Reports indicate that the DDoS attack began earlier today, severely impacting the site’s accessibility and functionality. The Internet Archive team said to have made ‘some adjustments‘ and is actively working to […]

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For Memorial Day, Imagine Speaking To Those We Once Honored, Like These…

For Memorial Day, Imagine Speaking To Those We Once Honored, Like These...

For Memorial Day, Imagine Speaking To Those We Once Honored, Like These…

Via Wirepoints.org,

This Memorial Day, imagine speaking to them.

Imagine briefing them on what has become of America, then asking, “Is this what you died for?”

Imagine their reaction.

Imagine, for example, speaking to the 16 dead Marines named on the memorial behind barriers at the former Marine training camp in Chicago, now housing illegal migrants.

Imagine, for a start, explaining today’s crime on our streets, our politicized legal system, woke indoctrination in the military, government censorship, the assault on free speech, the Palestinian flag raised over Daley Center in Chicago, the foreign influence peddling conducted in open view by a president and his family and the Venezuelan gang members arrested in Chicago, deportation of whom was thwarted by federal or local policies. Imagine telling them, whose motto was “Leave no man behind,” about the Afghanistan withdrawal process.

And imagine telling them that millions from many nations, including our enemies, are entering unchecked through an open border.

Those Marines’ survivors can only squint through the gates to see the abandoned memorial at the migrant center.

I took these pictures Sunday of the converted migrant facility at 3034 West Foster in Chicago. You can see the memorial only through the iron gates in the front.

The memorial to the Marines, inaccessible and barely visible behind the locked gates.

Trespassing signs are everywhere.

Most of it the facility is covered in blinds to prevent pictures.

Readers here who told me they tried to film it say they’ve been chased off.

Many of the migrants deserve pity and compassion, but if they entered illegally they must return home or to where they will be legally accepted. We have no other choice.

Honor the dead by imagining you could speak to them, but do not say “Happy Memorial Day.”

Tyler Durden
Mon, 05/27/2024 – 12:20