Is it really deja vu for the Speaker of the House of Representatives?



Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2023-2024

Fig. 1. Photograph credited to Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, date inconsistent with title but given as November 9, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I’m sure we’re all going to learn something from all this. I just haven’t the faintest idea what it might be.

What I can say, as if zillions of others before me hadn’t prognosticated it already, replacing Kevin McCarthy even with Mike Johnson didn’t solve the fundamental problem, which is simply that you have a minority committed to burning it all down even when they do get their way, and then you have, well, just about everybody else.

Tina Nguyen, “Johnson Gets the McCarthy Treatment,” Puck, January 10, 2024,




Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

I’ve been thinking more about the politics surrounding South Africa’s case against Israel in the International Court of Justice.[2]

I have seen comment—I’m failing to remember where—that South Africa is vying to be a leader of the Global South—often formerly colonized nations. The international courts have been criticized repeatedly and stridently for a supposed bias against the Global South; it is said that cases brought before the courts are disproportionately against Global South politicians. Where, for example, is the case against George W. Bush? Where was the case against Henry Kissinger? A failure to find against Israel will be perceived as yet another case of Western favoritism and by bringing the case, South Africa may be hoping to bring relief for Gazans but willing to settle for—I speculate—leading a Global South rebellion against international institutions, arguing that they are in fact remnants of colonial rule.

David Cohen, “Israel’s president says expelling Palestinians not the plan,” Politico, January 7, 2024,

Wafaa Shurafa, Jack Jeffery, Bassem Mroue, “Israeli strike kills an elite Hezbollah commander in the latest escalation linked to the war in Gaza,” Associated Press, January 8, 2024,

Julia Ioffe, “‘Blood Libel?’: On the Question of Genocide in Gaza,” Puck, January 9, 2024,

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, “ADL Officially Admits It Counts Pro-Palestine Activism as Antisemitic,” New Republic, January 10, 2024,

Barbara Moens, Jacopo Barigazzi, and Eddy Wax, “South Africa’s genocide case against Israel lays bare Europe’s feeble power,” Politico, January 11, 2024,

  1. [1]Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018,
  2. [2]Julia Ioffe, “‘Blood Libel?’: On the Question of Genocide in Gaza,” Puck, January 9, 2024,; Ron Kampeas, “Israel faces charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice. Here’s why, and how Israel will respond,” i>Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 4, 2024,

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