Saturday, October 21, 2023

Rolling Stones

Yes, I'm working on a review.  Melissa Ruggieri (USA TODAY) notes:

Nearly 60 years since dropping their blues-steeped debut, the legendary rock band rooted by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards continues to make a glorious noise, continues to pique our attention with every utterance of a new tour and, simply, continues to matter.

The band’s latest album, “Hackney Diamonds,” their first new material since 2005’s “A Bigger Bang,” arrived Friday.

Again, I'm working on a review.  It'll probably go up Sunday. 

That's a song you can start with from the new album -- the Rolling Stones with Lady Gaga. 

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, October 20, 2023.  Gaza remains under assault as Joe Biden wants to send more weapons and money to the Israeli government (as well as even more billions to Ukraine).

Oh, Joe.  What do you say when Joe just lies?  What do you say?

You know, earlier this morning, I returned from Israel.   They tell me I’m the first American president to travel there during a war.

He said that last night in his televised speech.  When has the region not been at war?  Israel's been oppressing Palestinians since day one.  Betty, rightly, noted this during the "Roundtable" we did at THIRD, "What I found so hilarious was she was also Tweeting about Indigenous Day.  I know her face is cracked, but is her mind as well?  The Indigenous people right now are the Palestinians.  They are akin to the Native Americans.  It's their land that was stolen.  Barbara Lee and her tired old ass need to leave Congress."  The she Betty's referring to is Barbara Lee who's never done a thing to defend Palestinians.

This is utter nonsense.  And it's shameful that former President  George H.W. Bush did more for Palestinians in 1991 than Joe Biden's doing in 2023.  Israel was displacing the Palestinians -- in part to make room for Soviet Jews -- and the government was eager to get their hands on $10 billion from the US but then Bush put a 120 day halt on the loan until the Israel government stopped displacing the Palestinians.  

Eric Cortellessa (TIMES OF ISRAEL) quotes the late Bush stating, "It is in the best interest of the peace process and of peace itself that consideration of this absorption aid question for Israel be deferred for simply 120 days.  I think the American people will strongly support me in this.  I'm going to fight for it because I think this is what the American people want, and I'm going to do absolutely everything I can to back those members of the United States Congress who are forward-looking in their desire to see peace."

Joe smiled too much throughout that speech.  He was also swaying and looking confused.  Maybe the lies were too much for him to sell?  He noted 1300 Israelis killed in the attack on October 7th and yet didn't note the over 4,000 residents of Gaza that have been killed nor did he note that these are civilians and that that punishing them for the actions of others is collective punishment, is a War Crime.

 I wish all the Palestinian people would see this. I wish they can see that not all of America want them to die, that they are not disposable. They have a right to live. They didn’t ask to be born in occupation. And so I just want to thank you on the bottom of my heart. The dehumanization has chipped at my soul, and I can’t imagine what it’s made so many other people feel. So, you all being here to speak truth — because the warmongers are out, y’all. They are ready. They want to kill and not stop. It’s pure insanity.

I still remember the cry of Maya, who was being dragged out of that festival, crying for her father. But just like poor Shaima in Gaza, who was number one in her scores — I don’t know if you know anything about Palestinian culture, but it’s a big that somebody from Gaza could score number one on her — you know, it’s like the valedictorian for the whole Palestinian people. And both of them — both of them are victims. They’re victims of the oppression, of the violence. They both deserve to live. I don’t care what their faith is or their ethnicity. Maya didn’t deserve to be targeted. Neither did Shaima deserve to die. And that’s the common humanity that we all have to remember, because they’re trying to take it away from us. And we have to make sure it doesn’t happen, not on our watch.

I’m going to be real with you all. My colleagues, many of them — I usually don’t talk smack about them. No, I’m usually considerate, because I don’t like them policing me, so I don’t police them. But as an American, not just as a member of the United States Congress, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that they’re saying, “Not yet. Maybe next week.”

 Joe had his hands out grabbing for your money for more war -- to back the government of Israel but mainly to back the US-installed Ukraine government.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) explains:

Biden’s speech was not a serious attempt to convince anyone or rationally explain US foreign policy. It consisted of a series of non sequiturs strung one after the other, with no coherent argument binding them together. Biden drew a parallel between Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin that, objectively, did not make the slightest sense.

But as he spoke, it became clear that the main aim of the speech was to “utilize the war in Gaza” to procure a “massive spending bill for the war in Ukraine” to prop up the Zelensky government following the failure of its summer offensive.

Indeed, the New York Times has reported that $60 billion of the $100 billion spending bill Biden proposed in the speech will go to fight the war in Ukraine against Russia. This figure is more than twice Biden’s initial request of $24 billion in August. Some $14 billion will go to Israel.

Despite its rambling and incoherent nature, the main import of the speech is clear: America is hurtling towards global war, and the president of the United States, the so-called “commander-in-chief,” is demanding $100 billion in additional funds, on top of the $1 trillion already proposed for all military spending, to finance this explosion of military aggression.

Patrick notes that Joe also spoke of this outrageous sum of money -- US taxpayer money -- as "an investment."  I'm sorry, if a company is failing, I don't call my broker and say, "Put everything in!"  No, I sell my stocks and get out while I can.  But the US-installed government in Ukraine is losing and has been losing.  The US government installed those losers.  They do not represent the people of Ukraine.  That's why they couldn't win an election and Victoria Nuland and other Americans in government worked to overthrow them.  I don't take stock tips from idiots and Joe's a real idiot to keep pouring money into Ukraine.   We supposedly don't have money for Medicare For All in this country but we've sent $75 billion to Ukraine and Joe now wants to send $60 billion more?  

Roughly 24 hours before Biden's Oval Office address, senior U.S. State Department official Josh Paul resigned in protest of the administration's arms transfers to Israel, whose indiscriminate bombing of Gaza has drawn global outrage.

Paul's resignation appears to be part of an intensifying revolt inside the U.S. government. HuffPostreported Thursday that some officials believe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken "are overlooking widespread internal frustration" and seem "uninterested in their own experts' advice as they focus on supporting Israel's expanding operation in Gaza."

One unnamed State Department official told the outlet that "there's basically a mutiny brewing within State at all levels." Two officials told HuffPost that U.S. diplomats are crafting a "dissent cable" criticizing the administration's policy.

"Such cables are seen within the State Department as consequential statements of serious disagreement at key historical moments," HuffPost noted. "The dissent channel was established amid deep internal conflict during the Vietnam War, and diplomats have since then used it to warn that the U.S. is making dangerous and self-defeating choices abroad."

A CBS/YouGov survey released Thursday showed that 52% of U.S. voters—including 53% of Democrats—oppose sending more weaponry to Israel.

"Many young voters and Muslims and Arabs in swing states like Michigan will likely sit out the 2024 election or vote for a third party if Biden continues to take this incredibly risky bet on Netanyahu's far-right regime," Democratic strategist Waleed Shahid said in response to the survey. "Biden's on a path of political suicide getting and will alienate so many parts of his base ahead of 2024 simply to green-light Netanyahu's revenge plan which echoes the worst parts of Bush's reckless War on Terror." 

NERMEEN SHAIKH: The death toll in Gaza is nearing 3,800 as Israel continues its aerial bombardment of the besieged territory for the 13th day. Dozens of Palestinians were killed overnight as Israel bombed southern Gaza in areas that were supposed to be safe zones after Israel ordered residents of northern Gaza to vacate their homes. This is Raafat al-Nakhal speaking in Khan Younis after an Israeli airstrike.

RAAFAT AL-NAKHAL: [translated] We came from Gaza City. They told us to come to the south, so we came to the south. We found that the strikes intensified in the south. We stayed in a house. In front of us, there were strikes, and behind us, strikes. There’s no safety. There’s nowhere safe in Gaza. You have to be ready to die and to just stay in your house. …

There’s absolutely no difference between Gaza City, Rafah, Khan Younis, between the south, the north, the east or the west. They brought us to the south, and it’s been strikes every day. Every day there are martyrs in massive numbers. …

I’m over 70 years old. I’ve lived through several wars. It’s never been like this. It’s never been this brutal — no religion and no conscience. Thank God. We only have hope in God, not in any Arab or Muslim country or anywhere in the world, except for God.

AMY GOODMAN: Funerals were held earlier today in Khan Younis after an Israeli airstrike leveled a three-story building, killing 12 members of the same family. Relatives said the dead include seven children.

GRANDFATHER: [translated] What is this that has happened to them? Babies sleeping in their houses, five children and four women sleeping in their houses, no men. They were sleeping inside. The strike hit a three-level building on six babies and four women. What shall we say? Thank God. The children were all 5 or 6 years old. There was no warning, because it’s an Israeli despicable terrorist country and not an Islamic country, a terrorist American country.

UNCLE: [translated] These are seven babies. Four are buried here, and three are buried in another site. The total is 10.

GRANDFATHER: [translated] The children died, their mothers and their grandmother.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Meanwhile, in the northern Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike trapped children under rubble. Dramatic footage shows Palestinians trying to rescue the children.

AMY GOODMAN: This all comes as Israel has amassed tanks on the border of Gaza ahead of what appears to be an imminent ground invasion. Protests have been growing across the Middle East after hundreds of Palestinians died in an explosion at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. Palestinians say the blast was caused by an Israeli missile. Israel has denied responsibility despite attacking the same hospital just days earlier. According to the World Health Organization, 115 health facilities have been attacked so far in Gaza.

On the diplomatic front, the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza. President Biden, who’s returned from Israel, is scheduled to give a primetime address tonight seeking $100 billion from Congress to help arm Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Israel now says they believe 203 hostages are being held in Gaza after being seized in the Hamas attack on October 7th that killed over 1,400 people in Israel.

We go now to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where we’re joined by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. He’s a Palestinian physician, an activist and politician, who serves as general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative. He’s been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006, is also a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Central Council.

Dr. Barghouti, welcome back to Democracy Now! If you can respond to —


AMY GOODMAN: — all the developments? Most recently, of course, President Biden has just left. Your assessment of his visit and the Arab summit that was canceled by Mahmoud Abbas, who’s based where you are, in Ramallah, the head of the Palestinian Authority, the Jordanian king and the Egyptian president, after the attack on the hospital, and your assessment of what Israel is saying about that attack?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: You know, Amy, I don’t know where to start. The atrocities are beyond description. We are subjected now, as Palestinians, not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank, to horrifying war crimes, ethnic cleansing, acts of collective punishment against the population of Gaza, where civilians are dying because they don’t have water, they don’t have electricity, they don’t have food, they don’t have medicines, and an act of genocide. Every five minutes, a Palestinian is killed in Gaza. Every 15 minutes, a Palestinian child is killed in Gaza. And it goes on. My last number is 3,785. I think it’s already wrong, because with the passage of each minute, more Palestinians are killed.

What did President Biden do? Instead of coming here and telling the Israelis — and he knows very well that the United States is the only country in the world that has leverage over Israel. Instead of telling them, “Stop this atrocity. Have ceasefire, so that you can at least save the prisoners that are in Gaza, the Israeli prisoners,” he came here to be totally complicit with Israeli war crimes and to push the United States into becoming a participant in these war crimes by sending soldiers to participate in the Israeli invasion and in the crimes that are committed against the Palestinian people.

He bought every lie that Netanyahu told him, and he kept repeating them. And I don’t understand how the American intelligence structure don’t tell their president that these are lies. I am sure they know that. The first lie about decapitating children, it turned out to be a big lie. The other lie about raping women, it turned out to be a lie, and that’s what Los Angeles Times apologized about. Then this huge lie about Palestinians killing themselves in their hospital, this huge lie that Israel distributed and the Israeli military did, as they usually do, by telling series of lies and changing them one time after the other.

Before I come back to President Biden, let me explain. Israel committed a terrible airstrike on the Baptist Hospital, run by the Anglican Church, killing no less than 300 — killing no less than 473 Palestinian people, mainly children and women, and injuring more than 300 others. Why? For what? It was all about the Israeli ultimatum that was already, according to WHO, sent to no less than 27 hospitals, including the largest hospital in Gaza, Shifa Hospital, to evict and evacuate so that Israel can conduct its ethnic cleansing of big parts of Gaza at the moment, with a plan of ethnically cleansing all of Gaza Strip. The strike was clearly Israeli. The type of explosion is something that no Palestinian militant group has, a huge blast that took the lives of almost 500 people instantly, in less than a minute. That’s a power that no Palestinian group has. So it was a big lie.

But Israel lied four times in justifying this attack. The first Israeli reaction was that they did the airstrike on the hospital — they admitted it in the first round, and they said they did it because Hamas militants were hiding there. Then they changed the story, and they said that Hamas is taking Palestinians as human shield. Then the third story, they changed the story and said it was Hamas rocket. And then the fourth lie, which is now dominant, is that it was a jihadi rocket.

How could the United States repeat these lies and accept them without verifying them? Israel did that before with the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, when they changed their story four times. Each time, in the beginning, they said she was killed by a Palestinian, and gradually they admitted that it was their crime. Believe me, these lies should not be continued.

And the United States should immediately support an immediate ceasefire. The meeting that should have been taking place with the Jordanian king and with the Egyptian president and with Palestinian president did not take place because all these three people realized that Mr. Biden does not want to support ceasefire immediately. And they realized that he’s practically supporting the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt, something that Egypt refused and something that Jordan refused and something that all the Arab countries refused. That is the essence of what’s happening now.

And so, Israel now is changing the plan a little bit by pushing all the people from the northern part of Gaza and the middle of Gaza into the southern part. It’s already a very small area of less than 140 square miles, becoming now less than 60 square miles, with 2.3 million people. They say they pushed them down for safety, but they continue to bombard them in the south. The game is clear: They want to ethnically cleanse, completely, Gaza Strip. And they initiated acts of ethnic cleansing already in the West Bank, where 20 Palestinian communities have already been evicted by Israeli terror settlers, where more than 75 Palestinians already killed also in the West Bank. At this very moment, the Israeli army is attacking Tulkarem camp and Nur Shams camp in Tulkarem area, using drones and using also rockets against civilian population in a refugee camp. This is the situation that is getting worse and worse every day.

And the real plan, as I can see it, according to what an Israeli minister said, “We’re going to shrink Gaza’s size.” What does that mean? Annexing the northern part and the middle of Gaza? What will happen to all these hospitals? Let me read to you what World Health Organization says. The World Health Organization says that 130 attacks — 136 attacks were committed against health facilities in Gaza, during which time 491 Palestinians were killed, 16 health workers were killed, 370 people were injured, 23 Palestinian health ambulances were destroyed, and 26 facilities were completely destroyed or partially destroyed. Seventy-seven similar attacks also took place in the West Bank.

So nobody can convince us that it was Palestinians who killed Palestinians in that hospital. And nobody should give any justification for the behavior of President Biden. The only conclusion that one can come to is that he cares only about his reelection. He doesn’t care even about the lives of Israeli prisoners, neither him nor Netanyahu; otherwise, why wouldn’t they accept ceasefire? Why Netanyahu continues his airstrikes, although these airstrikes already killed 22 Israeli prisoners? They continue because they don’t care about Palestinian lives or Israeli lives.

And Mr. Biden should listen not to the lies of Netanyahu, but to the noble voice of the Jewish people, the American Jewish people who came to the American Congress to demonstrate and demand one thing: immediate ceasefire. I’m telling you, we’re calling on the whole world to immediately stand up, and instead of supporting the genocide and the collective punishment and the hysterical Israeli ethnic cleansing, to support immediate ceasefire, so we can stop the killings that are taking place, a ceasefire that could guarantee safe passage to the prisoners, but also that could guarantee humanitarian aid to Palestinians who are now dying out because of thirst, because of starvation, and, most importantly, because of lack of medicines and because of a possibility of an epidemic that could immediately start in Gaza because of the suspension of vaccinations for children and because of the destruction of sanitary infrastructure. We could see an epidemic of cholera very soon in Gaza. Is that what Mr. Biden wants? Is that what Mr. Netanyahu wants? This is atrocity that should stop. And anybody that don’t call — that doesn’t call, sorry, for a ceasefire immediately will be considered not only complicit with these war crimes, but a participant in them.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Dr. Barghouti, could you respond to the decision that Biden announced of Egypt opening the Rafah border for 20 humanitarian trucks to enter into Gaza, you know, and what you think the significance of that is, if there is any, and the specific concerns you’ve raised as a doctor, the tens of thousands of pregnant women in Gaza today, what the fate of patients there are, who are in urgent need of medical care, and none is available?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, one of the most striking scenes was the images of children who died in the uterus of their mothers, because they were pregnant and they were hit. But there are 5,500 Palestinian women who are giving birth this month, and we already received terrible, terrible information about them giving birth in the streets, because there is no place to go to. The south of Gaza does not have any space anymore, besides the fact that there is no safe space for anybody. Israel has already destroyed more than 80,000 homes and houses of people, and people have no place to go to. And there is very high risk now of an increased infant mortality, perinatal mortality and maternal mortality because of the situation that Palestinians find themselves in — no sanitary facilities, no drinking water, no running water, no proper sewage system. It’s a total disaster and total, total humanitarian crisis.

You asked me about something about President Biden. Can you repeat the question, please?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Yes, about the decision to let convoys, humanitarian convoys, 20, in from Egypt into Gaza.

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Imagine 2.3 million people already deprived of fuel, water, electricity, medications and food for 12 days. And you send 20 trucks for them? What does that change? It’s less than a drop in the ocean. That’s much less than what people need. It becomes only a cover of the crime that is happening. I’m not against, of course, bringing these trucks, whatever they can help, but that’s not what we need. We need an open corridor so that food, water, electricity, as well as medications can get to people. We have medical teams in Gaza. We have Palestinian medical relief teams working along the work of the Red Crescent, as well as the Ministry of Health. And they are calling us every day, telling us, “We don’t have any more medications. We don’t have even dressing to help the injured people. We don’t have proper sanitary facilities. How can we deal with patients in these conditions?” You know, patients were treated and surgical operations took place the other day on the stairs of the hospitals, because there were no beds left. And the massacre that happened in the Baptist Hospital was so shocking and practically brought the whole health structure down. And now, already, three hospitals stopped working, because they have no electricity, because they don’t have sufficient medications. It’s a humanitarian disaster that is building up.

And the only explanation is that Netanyahu wants to solve what he thinks is the demographic problem of Israel, being that the number of Palestinians today in West Bank and Gaza Strip and in Israel itself is equal to the number of Israeli Jewish people. He wants to eliminate that, first by ethnically cleansing the 2.3 million people in Gaza, pushing them out of Gaza and then annexing Gaza Strip, and then initiate a process of ethnic cleansing for Palestinians in the West Bank, first in Area C and then in the rest of the West Bank. That’s why the king of Jordan is so shocked about these plans, because he knows that he’s coming next. After they finish with Gaza, they will move to the West Bank. This is something that nobody should accept.

I never thought — I never thought, I admit — and I was wrong — I never thought that Israel could dare to conduct ethnic cleansing in the 21st century. And unfortunately, I was wrong. That’s exactly what they are doing today. And I ask the question. They say that Israel has the right to respond. OK, they responded. They responded. They already killed almost 4,000 people. How many thousands of children, how many thousands of patients, how many thousands of women and men should die before Israel decides it’s enough? Or should all the millions of Palestinians disappear from Palestine and disappear from this world so that these fascists — and I call them fascists and Nazis — that are governing Israel would be satisfied?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Dr. Barghouti, I just want to quote to you — I think this is the senior minister to whom you were referring, comments he made — Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, saying in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday — he said, quote, that “At the end of this war, not only will Hamas no longer be in Gaza, but the territory of Gaza will also decrease.” So, if you could talk more about that, elaborate on your point about what precisely they intend to do with Gaza, and then talk about what’s happening in the West Bank? You said it’s also the site of war crimes, of ethnic cleansing. But also the protests that are directed against the Palestinian Authority there — we had earlier in headlines that the protests across the West Bank have also taken aim at the ruling Palestinian Authority, which has launched a violent crackdown on demonstrations. A 12-year-old Palestinian girl named Razan Nasrallah was shot and killed by PA security forces Tuesday during protests in Jenin. So, if you could talk about that, the situation in the West Bank?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Yeah. I’m sorry, but you asked about something else before the West Bank?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Yes. I just cited to you the person whom I thought you were mentioning earlier, the Israeli foreign minister —

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Oh, Cohen, yes, yes.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: — talking about — yes, please.

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Yes, yes, Eli Cohen. The foreign minister of Israel means that Israel is turning now, since Egypt is not allowing the ethnic cleansing of people in Gaza to Egypt up ’til now, is turning to plan B. And plan B is to remove everybody in the northern part of Gaza and in Gaza City itself — that is about 1.1 million to 1.2 million people — move them down to the southern parts of Gaza and then annex that area, cutting down the size of Gaza from 140 square miles to maybe now less than 50 square miles or maybe 60 square miles. This is the only explanation of what he said, shrinking the size of Gaza, bringing it down. And they think — the Israeli government thinks — that if they cluster all these 2.3 million people in such a small area, then the pressure will be so huge that Egypt will be obliged to open the borders and let them out of Gaza. And in that case, Israel would have achieved its original plan of total ethnic cleansing, pushing Palestinians out of Palestine into the Sinai. Mind you, 70% of these people have already been ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948. They were displaced from parts of the 520 communities that Israeli troops erased to earth back in 1948, committing 50 massacres and pushing Palestinians out of Palestine. They want to repeat the same ethnic cleansing again.

But let me tell you, this is not the last plan of Israel. Netanyahu made it very clear. Maybe I’m repeating that. He carried the map of Israel in the United Nations in front of the whole world weeks ago, in which that map, the map of Israel, included the annexation of all of the West Bank and the annexation of all the occupied Gaza Strip. This is their plan: annexation, ethnic cleansing and committing genocide against the Palestinian population.

But in response to your question about West Bank, let me tell you the situation here is very dangerous, is very grave. First of all, Israel imposed practically a process of fragmenting the West Bank into 224 small islands or ghettos, if you want, separated from each other by no less than 640 military Israeli checkpoints, many of which are closed completely — for instance, Jericho now is totally closed — and then the wall, of course, itself and the so-called bypass roads, which are segregated roads exclusive for Israelis. Many, many Palestinians cannot move now from one area to another. Our health work is becoming very, very complicated in the West Bank because we cannot move medications, we cannot move medical teams.

And the worst situation is in the so-called Area C, which represents no less than 60% of the West Bank, where settlers are continuously attacking Palestinians. The other day, Israeli terror settlers attacked the village of Qusra, in Nablus area, killed three Palestinian civilians. The army, the Israeli army, came and killed a fourth one. The next day, when the people were having the funeral of these four Palestinians killed, the settlers came back again and killed two more people, a father and a son — six people in one village in less than 24 hours. The terror of settlers is everywhere.

But in addition to that, the Israeli army is conducting a wide-range campaign of arresting Palestinians. According to my information, no less than 750 Palestinians have been arrested during the last week. And the number is growing, which means that the number of prisoners in Israeli jails is more than 6,300 now, many of whom are held under the so-called administrative detention, which means they don’t know why they are in jail, they don’t have any legal due process. Their lawyers cannot even defend them, because they don’t know what they are charged for, including 260 children who are in Israeli jails at the moment.

Add to that the fact that already more than 75 Palestinians have been killed. And the Israeli army, now thinking that everybody is busy with what’s happening in Gaza, they are now conducting military operations against Palestinian civil areas, including Tulkarem refugee camp and, before that, Jenin refugee camp. And this can go on. So it’s a very dangerous situation and a very risky situation for all Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, we only have a minute, but what about, and why then, the Palestinian Authority violent crackdown on demonstrations, with the 12-year-old Palestinian girl, Razan Nasrallah, shot and killed in Jenin?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That was also a crime, committed by Palestinian security forces, and it should not have happened. It is unacceptable to encounter demonstrators with gunfire. That is unacceptable. We’re not calling, of course, for chaos or internal division here among Palestinians. We have enough of what we have in front of us with fighting Israelis. But the reality is that the behavior of the security apparatus is unacceptable, including suppression of freedom of expression. People were mad. They were angry at what was happening in Gaza, about the killing of people inside that hospital. And maybe they made some — I mean, they went out of control. But responding to that by shooting Palestinians, that’s the last thing that we can accept or we should accept.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa —


AMY GOODMAN: — Barghouti, I want to —

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Sorry. I just wanted to say that they have to also abide by international law and stop this wrongdoing.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti is a Palestinian physician, activist, politician, serves as general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Coming up, we’ll hear the voices of the historic Jewish-led protest in Washington, D.C. Thousands came out, hundreds were arrested, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Back in 20 seconds.

Where's the video?  Use the link.  Can't embed YOUTUBE here because they're censoring DEMOCRACY NOW!  They've taken away  the "share" feature.  You can stream it on YOUTUBE after you go through this nonsense:

The following content may contain graphic or violent imagery
Viewer discretion is advised

But you can't embed it.  And that's on everything from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW! including the headlines segment, including the segment that is nothing but Naomi Klein and Rashida Tlaib speaking to a crowd in DC.  There is no excuse for the censorship that YOUTUBE is imposing.  COUNTERPUNCH also continues to be targeted and Joshua Frank has an updated on that,

It's an effort to silence the truth -- that censorship -- and they're scared that people will connect the obvious dots so they try to silence and terrify people.  Zane McNeill (TRUTHOUT) notes:

U.S. law firms Davis Polk & Wardwell and Winston & Strawn are retaliating against law students who signed on to or drafted public statements in support of Palestine by rescinding letters of employment.

“Shame on [Davis Polk & Wardwell] for penalizing students for exercising their rights of free speech and to oppose genocide in violation of International law,” Chaumtoli Huq, an Associate Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law, said on social media. “[The] Legal community must speak up against this action by employers.”

The law students, who attend Harvard, Columbia, and New York University, had condemned Israel for the killing, occupation and displacement of the Palestinian people. According to the United Nations (UN), Israeli forces have killed a staggering 4,200 Palestinians in just 10 days, displacing over 1 million more. Since Israel started bombing Gaza on October 7, at least 11 Palestinian journalists, 28 medical staff and 14 UN colleagues have been killed. One Palestinian child has been killed by the bombings every fifteen minutes, and more than 100 children have been killed each day, according to a Palestinian nonprofit.

Ryna Workman, a New York University law student and Student Bar Association (SBA) President, published a principled statement on October 10, expressing an “unwavering and absolute solidarity with Palestinians in their resistance against oppression toward liberation and self-determination.” Winston & Strawn, a firm at which Workman had previously interned, rescinded their job offer in retaliation for Workman’s statement. New York University has also opened an investigation into Workman, threatening them with discipline and potential expulsion due to their statement in solidarity with Palestine.

Efforts like this do not silence people.  This is about conviction and people like Ryna have it and they're not going to be intimidated into silence.  

Okay, we got to move quick to get this posted on time.  In Tuesday's snapshot, I called out an opinion column and an e-mail takes exception with that.  The person found the column very helpful and how could I object?

Hmm.  How could I object to the US and Israel deciding what needs to be done going forward?

Hmm.  If I give you a few more seconds can you not discover the problem yourself?

If not, let me spoon feed.  The Palestinians? 

Don't they have a right to have a say in their future?

I'm not really big on 'answers' that are imposed upon others.  There have been many times when disagreed with something regarding Iraq or thought it wasn't a good idea.  But that's not my business.  I'm not living there.  I call out killings and theft in Iraq, I call out attacks on democratic rights.  But if they want a new system of representation, that's up to them to decide. 

So, no, I don't support efforts that want to bring the US and Israel to the table to make decisions for Palestinians.  Don't support it and never would.

Let's move on to hate merchant -- Riley Ugly Gaines.  SNOPES notes:


In October 2023, former NCAA athlete Riley Gaines won a $10 million "defamation lawsuit" against TV talk show host Whoopi Goldberg.


Labeled Satire (About this rating?)

On Oct. 9, 2023, SpaceXMania published an article claiming former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines had won a $10 million "defamation lawsuit" against "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg:

Breaking: Riley Gaines Wins $10 Million ‘Defamation Lawsuit’ Against Whoopi Goldberg

In a narrative that has threaded its way through courts, television studios, and the ever-buzzing hive of social media, Riley Gaines, a name now synonymous with legal victory, has ascended the proverbial podium once again. This time, she is not just basking in the ethereal glow of athletic accomplishment but is swathed in the vindication that comes from a triumph of a different sort—a whopping $10 million defamation lawsuit win against Whoopi Goldberg.

We found Facebook posts that included the article, as well as a YouTube video that nearly copied the SpaceXMania article word-for-word. In addition, multiple websites copied the SpaceXMania article in the same manner, including, and

This story is not true. As originally published, the SpaceXMania article featured a "Satire" label above its headline.

 Riley's the loser who can't keep her message straight -- Marcia's often noted her "I have no problems with trans athletes" to "how dare they!"  She also creates attacks that never happened -- creates them for media attention.  What I find interesting is pairing the above with this next item.   James Factora (THEM) reports:

Over the past few years, many LGBTQ+ people have been hyperaware of the escalating violence against the community. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s latest crime report puts devastating figures to those feelings, revealing a nearly 33% increase in crimes perpetrated against trans and gender-nonconforming people.

The FBI released the report, which reviews crime data from law enforcement agencies across the country, on Monday. The report found that in 2022, there were 469 recorded hate crimes against trans and gender non-conforming people, compared to 353 in 2021. Altogether, that accounts for a 32.8% increase in hate crimes against both trans and gender-nonconforming people.

While violence against trans and gender-nonconforming people accounted for the most dramatic increase from last year, other parts of the community were affected as well. In 2022, there were 1,077 recorded hate crimes against gay men, up from 950 incidents in 2021. According to the report, recorded hate crimes against lesbians and bisexuals remained about the same.

These statistics paint a grim portrait of the state of LGBTQ+ safety in America. As Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson stressed in a statement, these numbers probably do not even tell the whole story. "Too many cities and states are reporting incomplete data, or even no data at all, on hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community,” she said.

Hate crimes are up.  Interesting.  Homophobic transphobic anti-Palestinian fake liberal Jonathan Turley doesn't write about that.  But he did what, three pieces was it?, on Riley being attacked in San Francisco.  And, in fact, she wasn't attacked.  Campus police rejected that claim.  But Turley never corrected it.  And he never, ever finds time to cover the actual, real life, documented attacks on, for example, trans women.  He's such a sad and disgusting freak.

Freak?  We're back to Riley.  Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka (BOSTON GLOBE) reports Riley was being paid by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.  So we should upgrade the hate she peddles.  She's not just a transphobe, she's also a racist 

That DeSantis, who as governor of Florida has pursued an anti-LGBTQ agenda, is so closely aligned with Gaines is not particularly surprising. But the nearly $12,000 the DeSantis campaign paid Gaines, who graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2022, in a transaction dated early August of this year appears to be the first and only time it paid her.

So this was after Ronald's well known falsehood that slavery was beneficial to African-Americans as some sort of trade school or maybe a finishing school?  For some reason, non-African-Americans didn't need that but Ronald thinks African-Americans did.  Riley clearly agrees with that or she wouldn't have taken $1200 from his campaign (or let them pay $1000 in travel expense).  The con artist cleaned up pretty well but still woke up with the same ugly face.

Ron DeSantis' hardcore supporters continue to hope that he will turn his ailing presidential campaign around, but polls released in mid-October aren't looking good for the far-right Florida governor.

Morning Consult poll released on October 17 finds him trailing GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump by 45 percent. And according to Fox News polling, Trump leads DeSantis by 46 percent.

One of DeSantis' biggest problems is financial. DeSantis' presidential campaign, Politico's Jessica Piper stresses in an article published on October 18, has been hurting from a fundraising standpoint — and that problem isn't getting better.

Maybe wasting campaign money on private jets wasn't prudent?  Maybe a smart campaign wouldn't throw out $1300 for one month of 'work' to Riley?  Maybe all of this goes to someone not qualified to be president?  Just as all the legal fees he's stuck Florida taxpayers with go to how he's not qualified to be governor?  Frank Cerabino (PALM BEACH POST) explains:

Florida’s high-heeled tough talker was in Iowa recently, bragging about his house-cleaning of faculty at New College of Florida. 

The Sarasota college, the smallest in the state university system — and one that had, until recently, been regarded as a real gem — has been functioning mostly as a besieged campaign target for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a kind of ground-zero for his war against “woke” in higher education.

His 'war' is wrong ideologically but it is also wrong financially.  Frank also notes Ronald installed one of his cronies -- unqualified cronies -- as president of New College and the crony not only got a job he was not qualified for, he's also getting  salary that is five times as much as the woman holding the job had been paid:

I think you can imagine what happened next. The interim job for Corcoran was made permanent this month, even though students ranked Corcoran last among the three final candidates. 

And instead of the approximate $300,000 annual salary Okker was getting, Corcoran — one of the most spectacularly underqualified college presidents in America — will have his interim pay of $699,000 a year boosted to nearly total compensation of $1.5 million a year.

All to run a small college with an enrollment of about 700 students.

The following sites updated:


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Ann Wilson and Dolly Parton

Ann Wilson is the lead singer of Heart -- famous for many songs including "Barracuda," "What About Love," "Crazy On You," "Magic Man," "Never," "Alone," and "All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You." Marissa Sullivan (PEOPLE MAGAZINE) reports:

Ann Wilson of the band Heart is reflecting on her big hair days.

In an interview with PEOPLE ahead of her Women Who Rock benefit performance on Oct. 19, when asked about the multitude of hair spray cans that were likely in the band's dressing room, the rocker laughed over the memory.

"Totally. Hairspray and shaving cream!" Ann, 73, tells PEOPLE. "Everything went into the hair. So funny."

The legendary female-fronted group with Ann and her younger sister Nancy Wilson formed in 1973. They cranked out top hits in the '70s like "Magic Man," "Barracuda," "Crazy on You," and their 1987 song, "Alone," all of which still get constant airplay and millions of streams today.

Discussing her new solo album Another Door and how it's been received so far while on tour, Ann says she is pleased with how much her fans love it.

"There's a song on our new record called This Is Now. And every night when we play that we get this really amazing audience reaction because it's just a simple message, That was then, this is now,' " she shares. "And people just, I don't know, the song ends and you kind of hear this sigh go up. They love it and it's a song they've never heard before."

So that's Ann, let's move over to the one and only Dolly Parton:

Dolly Parton has always dressed the way she wants but it turns out one of her most iconic looks came about because she was worried about overexposing herself.

In her new book, "Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones," released on Tuesday, the legendary country superstar gives fans an in-depth look at her private costume archive from the 1960s up until the present day.

While Parton is known for wearing bold outfits, she writes in the book that ever since jumpsuits came into style, she has preferred to wear them over dresses and skirts when performing.

"A new popular style in the '70s were formfitting jumpsuits and pantsuits with big bell-bottom pant legs — in fact, this is one of my favorite styles of all time. I have them in a rainbow of colors," she writes.

"Practically speaking, wearing jumpsuits on stage prevented folks in the front row from getting the kind of 'peep show' that wearing a miniskirt could sometimes accidentally offer," Parton continues.

I'm excited for the release of Dolly's album.  (Transphobe Kid Rock got caught drinking Bud Light.  He's a hypocrite and one that's been exposed so I'm not going to let him spoil Dolly's album.)

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, October 19, 2023.  Joe Biden backs the slaughter in Gaza, a State Dept official resigns over the assault, efforts on the part of the Israeli government to lie about a bombing a hospital fall apart, and much more.

Yesterday, there was a protest in front of Congress with activists calling for a cease-fire.

US House Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene took time off from Tweeting praise for racists who reveal state secrets online and called the peaceful protest "an insurrection."  Yes, she is that crazy.

Let's note Chelsea Handler again (no, I can never get enough of this clip).

Marjorie Taylor Greene: I have people come up to me and say crazy things to me out of the blue in public places that they believe because they read it on the internet.

Chelsea Handler:  Well if that's not the pot calling the kettle QAnon.  This woman thought 9/11 was a hoax, that the Clintons killed JFK Jr. and that Jews are in charge of space lasers.  But please, don't come at her with some crazy ideas -- she might believe them. 

Hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a protest demanding members of Congress push Israel for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, where nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed over 12 days of relentless Israeli bombardment.

Thousands of protesters led by members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), IfNotNow, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and other groups rallied on the Capitol grounds and inside the building, where hundreds of people took part in a sit-in.

Their chanted slogans—including "not in our name" and "cease-fire now"—resounded thunderously under the Capitol Rotunda, while at other times they clapped their hands and sang with solemn determination in Hebrew.

"We're here to say: not in our names, and never again," JVP declared. "And we'll continue our civil disobedience until Congress calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, or until they force us to leave."

"Cease-fire is the first step to stop the ongoing genocide by the Israeli military of the over 2 million Palestinians in besieged Gaza, unable to leave," the group continued. "In the past week, over 3,000 Palestinians, including 1,000 children, were murdered by Israeli and U.S. bombs. Over 1 million people are displaced. We have the power to stop this violence."

"What we know from past Israeli state atrocities against Palestinians is that the bombs only stop once there is a sufficient mass outcry from the international community," JVP added. "It's on us to build that outcry—as fast as we possibly can." 

Earlier this week on Monday, a similar event took place in front of the White House, with hundreds of demonstrators engaged in acts of civil disobedience (including blocking entrances to the White House grounds), carrying signs and chanting demands to end war, apartheid and genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Around 30 individuals were arrested during the protest.

Protests against the assault on Gaza having been taking place around the United States and WSWS has an ongoing thread about the protests here.

Yesterday, US President Joe Biden embarrassed himself, the truth and justice with statements he made in Tel Aviv.  Andre Damon (WSWS) breaks down Joe's remarks:

Biden spent the vast majority of his speech recounting alleged Palestinian atrocities, or praising the Israeli government, or describing how he would arm Israel. Just six lines mentioned the Palestinians, and those were focused on blaming them for being massacred by the Israelis.

He began his speech with the declaration: “I come to Israel with a single message: You are not alone. ... As long as the United States stands … we’re going to stand by your side.”

Over the past 11 days, Israel has killed 3,478 people in the Gaza Strip. In this period, there were over 136 attacks on healthcare workers and facilities throughout Palestine, the World Health Organization reported. Gaza’s public health system is on the brink of collapse, with food, fuel and water all running critically low.

Biden did not condemn any of the hundreds of targeted attacks on civilians, hospitals, medical workers and critical infrastructure by Israel. He did not condemn the displacement of the Palestinians from Northern Gaza. He did not call for a ceasefire, and he did not call for de-escalation.

His speech was a deliberate statement that Israel’s genocide is taking place with the support of, and at the behest of, the United States, making Biden fully culpable in the war crimes committed by the Netanyahu government. 

He is deeply out of touch with events and with the region.  Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Palestinian officials are accusing Israel of killing over 500 people in an airstrike on a hospital in Gaza City, where thousands of civilians had sought refuge. Israel is denying responsibility, claiming the explosion was caused by a failed rocket fired by the militant group Islamic Jihad. Palestinian officials have blasted Israel’s claim, pointing out Israel, the military, had already hit the hospital just days before.

As we continue to look at Israel’s war on Gaza, we’re joined by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, a renowned Palestinian American scholar. He’s the author of a number of books, including his latest, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine. Professor Khalidi’s new piece for The New York Times is headlined “The U.S. Should Think Twice About Israel’s Plans for Gaza.”

We’re going to go to that in just a minute, Rashid, what the U.S. should be thinking about right now. But if you can begin by responding to these developments of the last 24 hours, with the explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital, and the significance of this?

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, it’s obviously had an enormous significance. It led to the cancellation of a summit that was planned for Amman with President Biden. The Arab participants all pulled out after this atrocity.

I think it’s also led to increased anger all over the Arab world. There are demonstrations in at least eight or nine Arab capitals as a result of this. There was already rage at American — blanket American support for Israel. And I think this has increased that.

I think that it is very hard to believe, given that Israel has threatened hospitals and schools in the past, and it’s hit hospitals and schools in the past, and that the kinds of weapons used by Islamic Jihad and Hamas have very limited warheads, that this could have been, as the Israelis claim, a misfire. As you reported, a piece of video that they put up turns out to have been dated from a period after the attack on this hospital. In any case, whoever was responsible, the result will be enormous, enormous anger at the United States for its support of Israel, as well as a further increase in this enormous death toll inside Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the Palestinian legislator and medical doctor himself, said they actually had, in a very short period of time, a number of explanations of what happened. At first they didn’t say this. They said that Hamas was operating underneath the hospital. Then they said they were using Palestinians as human shields, sort of to explain what had happened. Then they came up with this. Now, I wanted to ask you — you know, we had on Sharif Abdel Kouddous, whose award-winning documentary, The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, won the George Polk Award for that, documenting what Israel said about the murder of this Palestinian American journalist. They first said she was killed by a Palestinian gunman —


AMY GOODMAN: — then said evidence was inconclusive. Then, after enormous pressure and multiple investigations by many news outlets and human rights groups, they said they likely killed her, but not intentional and caught in crossfire — something that was disproven by human rights group after a forensic architecture study of the whole thing — 


AMY GOODMAN: — showing it was an Israeli sniper, Professor Khalidi.

RASHID KHALIDI: I mean, Israel has an enormously successful public relations machine. It took them, I think, 45 minutes to put out this specific cover story on this one, and it was immediately knocked down, as I think you already reported, when it turned out that the piece of film that they produced actually dated 40 minutes after the attack on the hospital.

AMY GOODMAN: The New York Times pointed that out, the timestamp.


AMY GOODMAN: And then they actually retracted the video from X, from Twitter.

RASHID KHALIDI: Precisely, precisely. I mean, they have a well-oiled machine to manufacture cover stories for everything they do. They have been warning hospitals that they are targets since just after this attack, the initial attack out of Gaza on the 7th of October. They hit this hospital the other day, as you just reported. They hit a school today. If you read the Israeli press, you have senior Israeli generals and retired generals talking about places like hospitals and schools as targets, because they claim there are Hamas bunkers beneath them. So it’s hard not to accept that this was an Israeli airstrike or an Israeli bombardment.

And in any case, I think here perception is reality. Given that Israel has dropped 6,000 bombs, at least, on the Gaza Strip in the last 11 days, it’s very hard to believe that — it will be very hard at least for people in the Middle East, who know how Israel systematically lies about what it does in military operations, to believe that this was anybody else than Israel. And I think that’s the important fact to retain. People in Palestine, people in the Arab world, people in everywhere except in the American, Western European media bubble are going to chalk this up to Israel’s attack on Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about your piece, “The U.S. Should Think Twice About Israel’s Plans for Gaza.” Explain what you see unfolding now, and respond to President Biden sitting down with the prime minister, Netanyahu, today and saying the other team did it, attacking the hospital, and go on from there.

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, I mean, the president has bonded the United States to Israel at the hip, since very soon after this horrible escalation started. And in so doing, he has made the United States responsible, in the eyes of the world, for everything. And this is the latest example of that. He’s basically read from an Israeli teleprompter, as he seems to do routinely when anything relating to the Middle East comes up. It’s almost as if his lines are scripted in Tel Aviv at the Israeli Defense Ministry, where their disinformation headquarters are located.

And he has, I think, put the United States in a position that I am not entirely sure anybody in his administration realizes. The United States is going to be vilified not just in the Middle East as a result of its unlimited support for Israel. What we are seeing now is only the beginning. The munitions that are being sent, the aircraft carriers that have been sent to the eastern Mediterranean, the huge bill that they’re going to put before Congress for — I’ve seen a figure of $100 billion — is going to cement in people’s minds the idea that the United States and Israel are one, which means that whatever happens in Gaza, going forward, in terms of people being killed, innocent civilians being killed, in terms of population being expelled — basically, we’re talking about ethnic cleansing of northern Gaza — and, heaven forbid, people actually being forced out of Gaza into Egypt, which is still a possibility, even though the Egyptians have resisted — all of these things will be put down not just to Israel, but to the United States. And I don’t think they fully realize — or if they do, they haven’t anything about it — that this is what the president has — this is where the president has put the United States, for whatever reason. Electoral reasons, his own personal sympathy for Israel, it really doesn’t matter. We are now in a situation where the United States, in my view, has put itself in a more precarious position in the Middle East than it has any time since the 1967 War.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what’s happening on the northern border, on the Israel-Lebanon border, and Hezbollah and the back-and-forth rocket fire that’s going on there and what this could signify.

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, I mean, the most apocalyptic scenario, which I hope and pray does not come about, would be a full-scale war on the northern border between Hezbollah and Israel. That has the potential to draw many other actors in and turn into an even wider war than that, possibly, heaven forbid, involving Syria and Iran, and then, indeed, perhaps the United States. That would be a real apocalyptic scenario. I have a sense that the United States, Iran and Hezbollah and Israel are all reluctant to go too far down that path. Any one of them might do something that could provoke that kind of escalation.

But the real problem is unintended consequences of actions that are out of control. Whatever Israel or Hezbollah or Iran or the United States may want, there may be actions that will precipitate a rapid escalation. And that would — I mean, the situation is appalling as it is. It really would be infinitely worse, the devastation of Lebanon that would follow, the involvement of — communities in northern Israel would be devastated, as well. But the possibility of that growing even wider is, to me, terrifying.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about who Biden hears. I mean, on the one hand, you have Jordan canceling the summit. He was going to meet with the king, with the Egyptian President Sisi and with Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, who turned around as soon as the bombing happened, and said he wouldn’t participate. Then Jordan canceled. Now the U.S. is saying they canceled it mutually. But what exactly this means? So, the only image is President Biden hugging Israeli President Herzog and the prime minister, Netanyahu, at the airport when he arrived. But even at home, State Department officials afraid to raise the issue of Palestinian deaths. HuffPo had a very interesting piece, “'On Thin Ice': Some Biden Administration Staffers Feel Stifled Discussing Horrors in Gaza.” And they talk about a call made by — made by the head — let me see if I can find this — a call with Muslim staffers where they were told to talk about their concerns. And they talked about being afraid of being fired, of being blacklisted, if they dared raise the actual concern they have about what’s happening and what the death toll could be and the position that President Biden is taking right now.

RASHID KHALIDI: We are moving into a McCarthyite era where expression of sympathy for Palestinians is equated with terrorism, and maybe met with police state tactics. Students are being visited by the FBI. I’m not in the least surprised that the government is sending the FBI to talk to student activists, is clamping down on its own employees who dare to express humanitarian sentiments. You are required now to utter a mantra in which you exclusively talk about Israeli suffering. And if you do not do that, you are branded and doxed, and so on and so forth. That’s happening in the academic — in academia, in universities. It’s happening in companies. And it’s, I am sure, happening within the federal government. I have no information about that.

But that is in line with the administration’s position, which is that this is a one-sided affair, in which on the one side is absolute evil, something which, according to administration spokesmen, is worse than ISIS, [. . .]. And with that kind of Manichaean point of view, clearly, anyone who expresses any dissent, you know, you are supporting absolute evil if you talk about anything but the unlimited suffering of Israelis. Now, the suffering of Israelis is unquestionable, but that that should be the only obsession of the president and his men and women puts the United States in a position where, maybe in the sound bubble of the United States, the so-called Western world, it’s comfortable, but with the rest of the world, that will not wash, including countries that are not particularly supportive of Palestine, countries like India, China and so forth. Those are countries that — and other parts of the world, I think — see things in the very same way. So, I don’t know that these people understand the degree to which they are harming this country by this kind of blind, one-sided, Israel-first approach.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Rashid Khalidi, if you were president, if you were President Biden, what would you do right now?

RASHID KHALIDI: What would I do right now? I would immediately call for a ceasefire. I would make sure that the hostages were released immediately. It is unconscionable that they be held. That would require a negotiation between Israel and Hamas about what the terms for that release would be. I would insist on that. It is absolutely urgent those people be gotten out. Most of those are innocent civilians, certainly the civilians amongst them, or many of them are innocent civilians.

The second thing I would do would be to say to Israel, “Look, there is this Palestine question. It’s been the problem for 75 years. If you don’t address it, the United States will not be willing to offer unlimited support.” And addressing it means talking about the Palestinian self-determination, talking about ending the occupation, talking about rolling back settlements, not limiting the unlimited expansion of settlements. I mean, there’s a whole set of things without which you will never have a resolution of this. And so I would work towards a lasting resolution of a struggle that’s been going on, as I say in the book, for more than a hundred years, instead of yet another Band-Aid, yet another attempt to stabilize the status quo, which is massively unfavorable to the Palestinians and which will only lead to more suffering for everybody concerned. That is an idealistic position perhaps, but I don’t think that anybody who has any sense of how this is likely to develop would say anything different, frankly.

AMY GOODMAN: Rashid Khalidi, we want to thank you for being with us, Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, author of a number of books, including The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine. We’ll link to your New York Times op-ed, “The U.S. Should Think Twice About Israel’s Plans for Gaza.”

Coming up, we speak with the United Nations special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Back in 30 seconds.

While Joe Biden embarrasses himself in Israel and enflames the situation, there is pushback in the US government. 

And it's not just talk on a phone call for one State Dept official,  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

  A U.S. State Department official announced his resignation Wednesday over the Biden administration's decision to send more arms to Israel as it carries out a massive assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, killing more than 3,400 people, decimating the enclave's civilian infrastructure, and strangling the population with an unlawful blockade.

"I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse, and which I wholeheartedly endorse: a world built around a rules-based order, a world that advances both equality and equity, and a world whose arc of history bends towards the promise of liberty, and of justice, for all," Josh Paul, who spent 11 years as director of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, wrote in his resignation letter.

Paul helped oversee the transfer of U.S. weaponry to allies, a position that he acknowledged "was not without its moral complexity and moral compromises."

"I made myself a promise that I would stay for as long as I felt the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do," Paul wrote. "In my 11 years I have made more moral compromises than I can recall, each heavily, but each with my promise to myself in mind, and intact. I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued—indeed, expanded and expedited—provision of lethal arms to Israel—I have reached the end of that bargain."

Paul's resignation came hours after U.S. President Joe Biden embraced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and "reiterated his steadfast support for Israel" even as United Nations experts, human rights organizations, and international law scholars accuse the country of committing egregious war crimes—including genocide. 

Three members of Congress are pressing the State Dept for answers.  Jake Johnson reports:

   A trio of House progressives on Wednesday criticized the U.S. State Department for failing to provide members of Congress with a substantive update on its efforts to protect civilians in Gaza, including the hundreds of Palestinian Americans who are trapped in the enclave as it faces a massive assault from Israeli forces.

In a letter, Democratic Reps. Delia Ramirez (Ill.), Summer Lee (Pa.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) called on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to brief members of Congress on the status of civilians in Gaza and provide specific information about efforts to evacuate Palestinian Americans, attempts to free hostages, and negotiations to allow humanitarian aid to enter the occupied territory.

The lawmakers wrote that while they attended a classified briefing provided last week, they remain "concerned about the lack of meaningful information provided by the department on the status of civilians, particularly those in Gaza and the West Bank, and the status of American citizens in Palestine."

Ramirez said in a statement Wednesday that she is "disappointed we still don't have clear information on what our government is doing to protect civilians in Gaza."

"That is why I've formally requested the Department of State to provide a clear response on the situation in Gaza and the status of Palestinian-Americans in Gaza," said the Illinois Democrat. 

Nora Barrows-Friedman has been reporting on these issues for decades.  Yesterday, she spoke with PROJECT CENSORED.

Let's wind down with Cher.  John Russell (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Cher is sounding the alarm about the unprecedented number of anti-trans bills that have been introduced by Republicans in state houses across the U.S. this year.

While promoting her first-ever holiday album, Christmas, out this Friday, the “Believe” singer seemed aghast when asked about the GOP’s anti-trans crusade ahead of the 2024 election.

“It’s something like 500 bills they’re trying to pass,” she told The Guardian.

In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking 501 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced, and in some cases passed into law, across the country during the 2023 legislative session. Those include bans on gender-affirming care for trans young people and laws restricting which bathrooms trans people can use and the sports teams on which they can compete.

“I was with two trans girls the other night – and of course my own child,” Cher continued, referring to her son, Chaz Bono, who is trans. “I was saying, ‘We’ve got to stand together.’ I don’t know what their eventual plan is for trans people. I don’t put anything past them.”

The following sites updated: