Get the story the New York Times wants. By any means necessary.

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
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.

The question has never been whether individual acts of sexual assault may have occurred on October 7. Rape is not uncommon in war, and there were also several hundred civilians who poured into Israel from Gaza that day in a “second wave,” contributing to and participating in the mayhem and violence. The central issue is whether the New York Times presented solid evidence to support its claim that there were newly reported details “establishing that the attacks against women were not isolated events but part of a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” — a claim stated in the headline that Hamas deliberately deployed sexual violence as a weapon of war.[2]

Let’s just say the New York Times fucked up. Badly. Unacceptably badly. There is, in fact, extremely limited evidence that Hamas fighters raped women on their October 7 rampage. But the Times wanted a story that Hamas fighters had systematically raped women. So it got one. By any means necessary, including uncritically relying on false and discredited sources, and twisting what little evidence it had to support the desired narrative.[3] Everyone involved in this story should be fired. I don’t care how many Pulitzer Prizes any of them won. Fire them all. Now. And publish all their names so nobody ever hires them again.

One Times reporter said colleagues are wondering what a balanced approach might look like: “I am waiting to see if the paper will report in depth, deploying the same kind of resources and means, on the United Nations’ report that documented the horrors committed against Palestinian women.”[4]

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/

Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/

Aaron Blake, “Four takeaways from the Michigan primary,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/4-takeaways-michigan-primary/

Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html

John Cassidy, “Michigan’s “Uncommitted” Democrats Send a Message to Biden,” New Yorker, February 28, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/michigans-uncommitted-democrats-send-a-message-to-biden

Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/

Caleb Ecarma, “Why Michigan’s Protest Vote Could Change Joe Biden’s Calculus: ‘There Will Be Political Consequences,’” Vanity Fair, February 28, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/michigan-vote-change-joe-biden-calculus

Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799

Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary

Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Grim, and Daniel Boguslaw, “The Story Behind the New York Times October 7 Exposé,” Intercept, February 28, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/02/28/new-york-times-anat-schwartz-october-7/


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Coup attempt

2024

Fig. 1. Cartoon by Ben Jennings, January 24, 2024, via the Guardian,[5] fair use.

John Fritze, “Supreme Court to decide Trump immunity claim, further delaying election subversion trial,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/28/politics/trump-supreme-court-immunity/index.html

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, “Want Some Good News? Another State Has Booted Trump From the Ballot,” New Republic, February 29, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179400/good-news-illinois-trump-ballot


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Grim, and Daniel Boguslaw, “The Story Behind the New York Times October 7 Exposé,” Intercept, February 28, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/02/28/new-york-times-anat-schwartz-october-7/
  3. [3]Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Grim, and Daniel Boguslaw, “The Story Behind the New York Times October 7 Exposé,” Intercept, February 28, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/02/28/new-york-times-anat-schwartz-october-7/
  4. [4]Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Grim, and Daniel Boguslaw, “The Story Behind the New York Times October 7 Exposé,” Intercept, February 28, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/02/28/new-york-times-anat-schwartz-october-7/
  5. [5]Ben Jennings, “Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s progress along the Republican nomination trail – cartoon,” Guardian, January 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2024/jan/24/ben-jennings-on-donald-trumps-progress-along-the-republican-nomination-trail-cartoon

Spilling an open secret

Imperialism

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[1] fair use.

Olaf Scholz said on Monday that he would not deliver the Taurus [missile], Berlin’s equivalent of the Storm Shadow, as it would require soldiers assisting on the ground, citing the UK and French approach with their own systems. Mr Scholz argued that following the UK would make Germany a “participant in the war”.

The comments were seen as endangering British military and diplomatic personnel on the ground.[2]

I’m assuming this was an open secret that British soldiers are helping fire Ukraine missiles.[3] Meanwhile, the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, has echoed[4] comments made earlier by Emmanuel Macron warning that western troops might yet be sent to Ukraine.[5]

While most other EU countries ruled out sending troops to Ukraine — including major players such as Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. — Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Wednesday he was grateful for the debate that [Emmanuel] Macron had initiated, adding “nothing can be taken off the table, no option can be rejected out of hand.”

Moscow reacted angrily to Macron’s remarks, warning that deploying Western troops to Ukraine would inevitably lead to conflict between Russia and NATO.[6]

(I am trying to ignore the sentence construction that appears to include the United States in the European Union.)

What I think we are seeing here are the drumbeats of war. That doesn’t necessarily mean war itself. But it means Vladimir Putin now must weigh more seriously the possibility of a wider war—which I have inferred as his original intention, albeit one his forces were plainly ill-prepared for,[7] and which I have further inferred would go nuclear.[8] (Vladimir Putin has, just today, repeated the latter threat.[9])

I’m tempted to suggest that Putin should have been more careful what he wished for. He wanted to rebuild the Russian Empire, styling himself as Peter the Great.[10] He stumbled—badly—in Ukraine, making a laughingstock of his wider ambition. But now he faces the possibility of the war that wider ambition would certainly spark regardless.

What I think, however, is that European leaders are trying to send an intentionally ambiguous message to Putin. Some leaders warn of possible western involvement. Others dismiss that anything like that is imminent.[11] Which, taken together, admits a possibility of later involvement. How much later? Sorry, no clue, but crucially, Putin doesn’t have that clue either.

If this is indeed an attempt to influence Putin, I think it will fail. I think Putin has already demonstrated a certain patience of taking things one step at a time. I think he will infer that he can proceed in Ukraine as he wishes for now without worrying about a wider war. Tomorrow may be another day. But he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it. And not one moment sooner.

Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba

Laura Kayali and Claudia Chiappa, “Russia: Conflict with NATO certain if Western troops go to Ukraine,” Politico, February 27, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-conflict-with-nato-inevitable-if-western-troops-go-to-ukraine/

Joe Barnes and James Rothwell, “British soldiers helping fire Ukrainian missiles, Olaf Scholz reveals,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/02/28/british-soldiers-help-ukraine-fire-missiles-olaf-scholz/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Foreign troops in Ukraine? They’re already there,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/28/foreign-troops-ukraine-theyre-already-there/

Anne McElvoy and Claudia Chiappa, “‘Everything’ on table to help Ukraine beat Putin, Estonian PM says,” Politico, February 29, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-russia-war-help-estonia-prime-minister-kaja-kallas/

Denis Levin, “Putin threatens NATO with nuclear strike if it sends troops to Ukraine,” Politico, February 29, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-new-speech-ukraine-war-transnistria-nato/

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 2. 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,[12] fair use.

I had a resident come before a council meeting who said that 80 of his family members had been killed in Gaza. I think you’re gonna have a tough time telling him that things could be worse [under Trump].[13]

I heard from people in the White House who said, ‘Hey, they’re really scared of this ‘uncommitted’ thing. We sat down with those officials and those officials admitted to us that President Biden and this White House had failed to talk about Palestinians and their lives as inherently valuable.[14]

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/

Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/

Aaron Blake, “Four takeaways from the Michigan primary,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/4-takeaways-michigan-primary/

Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html

John Cassidy, “Michigan’s “Uncommitted” Democrats Send a Message to Biden,” New Yorker, February 28, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/michigans-uncommitted-democrats-send-a-message-to-biden

Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/

Caleb Ecarma, “Why Michigan’s Protest Vote Could Change Joe Biden’s Calculus: ‘There Will Be Political Consequences,’” Vanity Fair, February 28, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/michigan-vote-change-joe-biden-calculus

Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799

Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary


Illiberalism

Gilead

Abortion, reproductive freedom and health


Fig. 3. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Geoff Mulvihill, “About as many abortions are happening in the US monthly as before Roe was overturned, report finds,” Associated Press, February 28, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/abortion-survey-wecount-telehealth-ban-e3c7c9539462eb924ad92f30c624f311


  1. [1]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  2. [2]Joe Barnes and James Rothwell, “British soldiers helping fire Ukrainian missiles, Olaf Scholz reveals,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/02/28/british-soldiers-help-ukraine-fire-missiles-olaf-scholz/
  3. [3]Joe Barnes and James Rothwell, “British soldiers helping fire Ukrainian missiles, Olaf Scholz reveals,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/02/28/british-soldiers-help-ukraine-fire-missiles-olaf-scholz/
  4. [4]Anne McElvoy and Claudia Chiappa, “‘Everything’ on table to help Ukraine beat Putin, Estonian PM says,” Politico, February 29, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-russia-war-help-estonia-prime-minister-kaja-kallas/
  5. [5]Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba
  6. [6]Anne McElvoy and Claudia Chiappa, “‘Everything’ on table to help Ukraine beat Putin, Estonian PM says,” Politico, February 29, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-russia-war-help-estonia-prime-minister-kaja-kallas/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, November 16, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, August 17, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/
  9. [9]Denis Levin, “Putin threatens NATO with nuclear strike if it sends troops to Ukraine,” Politico, February 29, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-new-speech-ukraine-war-transnistria-nato/
  10. [10]Julian O’Shaughnessy, “I’m reconquering just like Peter the Great, insists Vladimir Putin,” Times, June 10, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/president-putin-creates-police-department-to-impose-martial-law-xqhlt79fn
  11. [11]Joe Barnes and James Rothwell, “British soldiers helping fire Ukrainian missiles, Olaf Scholz reveals,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/02/28/british-soldiers-help-ukraine-fire-missiles-olaf-scholz/; Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba; Laura Kayali and Claudia Chiappa, “Russia: Conflict with NATO certain if Western troops go to Ukraine,” Politico, February 27, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-conflict-with-nato-inevitable-if-western-troops-go-to-ukraine/; Anne McElvoy and Claudia Chiappa, “‘Everything’ on table to help Ukraine beat Putin, Estonian PM says,” Politico, February 29, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-russia-war-help-estonia-prime-minister-kaja-kallas/; Ishaan Tharoor, “Foreign troops in Ukraine? They’re already there,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/28/foreign-troops-ukraine-theyre-already-there/
  12. [12]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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  13. [13]Abdullah Hammoud, quoted in Caleb Ecarma, “Why Michigan’s Protest Vote Could Change Joe Biden’s Calculus: ‘There Will Be Political Consequences,’” Vanity Fair, February 28, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/michigan-vote-change-joe-biden-calculus
  14. [14]Abbas Alawieh, quoted in Caleb Ecarma, “Why Michigan’s Protest Vote Could Change Joe Biden’s Calculus: ‘There Will Be Political Consequences,’” Vanity Fair, February 28, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/michigan-vote-change-joe-biden-calculus

Joe Biden’s approach to Gaza may not be ‘sustainable’

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
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.

The Democrat, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely, said that [Joe] Biden’s current policy stance on Gaza wasn’t sustainable going forward. Particularly among young progressive activists, feelings on the issue “are still incredibly intense,” the Democrat said, and Biden’s efforts to bring about another temporary ceasefire hadn’t assuaged them. In 2020, Biden’s “genius” had been to build a broad Democratic coalition, by inviting in many of Bernie Sanders’s supporters, but that hadn’t happened in this instance. The person went on: “I think they have been hoping that Biden’s considerable achievements on the economy will carry them through with young progressive voters, but I am concerned that it won’t.”

Before the votes came in, the Biden campaign had done some preëmptive spinning, pointing out that Democrats voting uncommitted is nothing new in the Wolverine State. In each of the past three primaries—2012, 2016, and 2020—about twenty thousand people did it. And yet, in the 2012 election, Barack Obama carried Michigan by nearly ten points, and in 2020 Joe Biden carried the state by a narrower margin of 2.8 points. (In 2016, Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton.) . . .

[A]s the night went on, it also became clear that the uncommitted vote was larger than expected, and that the antiwar Democrats had issued a powerful message to Biden and his political advisers. Statewide, the final tally of uncommitted voters was slightly more than a hundred thousand, about 13.3 per cent of the total. In Dearborn, it was fifty-six per cent, and in Ann Arbor it was nineteen per cent. Andy Levin, a former Democratic congressman from Michigan, who backed the uncommitted effort, pointed out that Biden’s winning margin over Trump in 2020 was a hundred and fifty-four thousand votes, and he called Tuesday’s result “historic.” Layla Elabed, the campaign manager for Listen to Michigan, which encouraged Democrats to vote uncommitted, said, “Our movement emerged victorious tonight and massively surpassed our expectations.” She added: “We don’t want a Trump Presidency, but Biden has put Netanyahu ahead of American democracy.” Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who represents Michigan’s Sixth District, and is a supporter of Biden, said that the large uncommitted vote didn’t surprise her. “It’s not just the Arab American and Muslim community,” Dingell told CNN. “It’s young people who want to be heard and have the same concerns.”[2]

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/

Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/

Aaron Blake, “Four takeaways from the Michigan primary,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/4-takeaways-michigan-primary/

Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html

John Cassidy, “Michigan’s “Uncommitted” Democrats Send a Message to Biden,” New Yorker, February 28, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/michigans-uncommitted-democrats-send-a-message-to-biden

Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/

Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799

Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Finances


Fig. 2. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers asked an appeals court judge to stay Engoron’s judgment, which they assailed as “unprecedented and punitive.” His attorneys also sought to post a $100 million bond rather than the fuller amount, which they suggested could top $500 million, and suggested that if a stay was not granted, the defendants could be forced to sell properties.

Associate Justice Anil C. Singh in the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division swiftly rejected the attempt to delay the judgment. Singh did not directly address the request to let Trump post the $100 million amount, but his brief decision declined to delay “the enforcement of monetary judgment,” which appears to mean Trump has to pay the full amount.

Singh granted a temporary stay to Engoron’s directive that blocked Trump and his company from seeking loans from financial institutions in New York for three years, which Trump’s attorneys had suggested was a hindrance to posting the full bond.

Singh’s actions Wednesday could be altered or undone in the coming weeks. A full panel is expected to review the case and issue a decision on March 18.[3]

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c

Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/trump-trials-money-fundraising/

Tori Otten, “Trump Has a Hilarious New Excuse for Why He Can’t Put Up Bond,” New Republic, February 27, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179308/trump-excuse-cant-post-bond-e-jean-carroll

Shayna Jacobs and Mark Berman, “Judge won’t delay Trump financial penalty but lets sons remain atop company for now,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/28/trump-new-york-supreme-court-judgment-appeal/

Coup attempt

2024

Fig. 3. Cartoon by Ben Jennings, January 24, 2024, via the Guardian,[4] fair use.

It’s hard to read any tea leaves into whether [the delay in accepting the case] makes the [Supreme Court] more likely to side with former President [Donald] Trump when it finally resolves his immunity claim, but it certainly means that, even in the worst-case scenario for Trump, the January 6 prosecution will be delayed for at least another 3-5 months. That’s a pretty big win for Trump even if he ends up losing this case.[5]

John Fritze, “Supreme Court to decide Trump immunity claim, further delaying election subversion trial,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/28/politics/trump-supreme-court-immunity/index.html


COVID-19 Pandemic


Fig. 4. Cartoon by Peter Brookes, October 3, 2020, via the Times, fair use.

The recommendation [for a second dose of the latest COVID-19 vaccination booster] applies only to those 65 and older. The additional dose should be given at least four months after a previous dose for healthy older adults, or at least three months after a coronavirus infection. It’s unclear whether those getting a second shot now will also need another shot for the 2024-2025 fall and winter season.

David Kaslow, a representative of the Food and Drug Administration who was sworn in as a temporary voting member for the meeting, said there may be a new vaccine approved for the 2024-2025 winter season. In that case, he said, it would not be optimal for people to get a second dose of a current vaccine later than June.[6]

So let’s see here. I’m not yet 65. Medicare doesn’t become effective for me until April 1 and I am uninsured until then but I won’t be 65 until April 29. I got my last dose on September 23, 2023, so the four month minimum has in fact, for me, already elapsed. So I guess I know what I’m doing for my birthday.[7] Yay.

Lena H. Sun, “CDC recommends older adults get 2nd updated coronavirus shot,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2024/02/28/covid-vaccine-booster/


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]John Cassidy, “Michigan’s “Uncommitted” Democrats Send a Message to Biden,” New Yorker, February 28, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/michigans-uncommitted-democrats-send-a-message-to-biden
  3. [3]Shayna Jacobs and Mark Berman, “Judge won’t delay Trump financial penalty but lets sons remain atop company for now,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/28/trump-new-york-supreme-court-judgment-appeal/
  4. [4]Ben Jennings, “Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s progress along the Republican nomination trail – cartoon,” Guardian, January 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2024/jan/24/ben-jennings-on-donald-trumps-progress-along-the-republican-nomination-trail-cartoon
  5. [5]Steve Vladeck, quoted in John Fritze, “Supreme Court to decide Trump immunity claim, further delaying election subversion trial,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/28/politics/trump-supreme-court-immunity/index.html
  6. [6]Lena H. Sun, “CDC recommends older adults get 2nd updated coronavirus shot,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2024/02/28/covid-vaccine-booster/
  7. [7]Lena H. Sun, “CDC recommends older adults get 2nd updated coronavirus shot,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2024/02/28/covid-vaccine-booster/

Why must there be poor people?

Electric vehicles


Fig. 1. “A Toyota bZ4X electric sport utility vehicle: EVs currently on the market are fitted with batteries that use liquid lithium-ion electrolytes.” Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota, n.d., via Financial Times, fair use.

Michael Acton, “Apple cancels secretive electric car project in shift to focus on AI,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/78bc9f62-8450-45c0-8c59-c5d87a122825


Human Science

Inquiry

Quantitative
Artificial intelligence idiocy


Fig. 2. Image credited to David Blaikie from Hampshire, UK, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Michael Acton, “Apple cancels secretive electric car project in shift to focus on AI,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/78bc9f62-8450-45c0-8c59-c5d87a122825


Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 3. 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.

The backlash over Gaza has also thrust foreign policy into the heart of the race for the White House, along with other top issues like immigration, the economy, the future of US democracy, and the character of the candidates.

At 1am Eastern time on Wednesday, with 69 per cent of Democratic votes counted across Michigan, Biden had won 81 per cent, while 13 per cent had picked “uncommitted”. Long-shot candidates Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson each had about 3 per cent.[2]

The 13 percent is a drop from the 16 percent earlier reported, I think shortly after 9 pm last night.[3] Having nonetheless attained ten times the votes the “uncommitted” campaign had set as a goal,[4] the question now will be whether the outcome will be sufficient to push Biden to stop Binyamin Netanyahu’s genocide.

Michigan, which has one of the highest state Muslim populations in the US, is also a key battleground for Mr Biden that he won by a margin of less than three percentage points in 2020.

Democrats will also be concerned by results in Ann Arbor, a university town, where about a third of votes were “uncommitted”, suggesting the backlash over Gaza was particularly strong among young voters.[5]

In the last two presidential elections, uncommitted voters have represented a fraction of Democratic primary voters in Michigan — 1.2 percent in 2020 and 1.79 percent in 2016, according to state data. An exception is 2008, when Hillary Clinton was the only major Democratic presidential candidate to appear on the primary ballot in Michigan and supporters of other candidates, including Barack Obama, used the same strategy to oppose her. Some 40 percent of Democratic primary voters voted uncommitted that year. During Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, 20,833 Democratic primary voters (10.69 percent) voted uncommitted. . . .

In Dearborn, Mich., described as the Arab capital of North America, more than 74 percent of Democratic primary voters voted uncommitted, according to initial results. Citing that number, Abed Ayoub, national executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, wrote on social media: “It’s not business as usual in Michigan. The experts and DC insiders are once again wrong.”[6]

[T]he Uncommitted movement, also called Listen to Michigan, had set a goal of drawing 10,000 votes — the margin by which Donald Trump won the state in the 2016 presidential election. By early Wednesday, with most votes counted, more than 100,000 people had voted Uncommitted.[7]

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/

Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/

Aaron Blake, “Four takeaways from the Michigan primary,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/4-takeaways-michigan-primary/

Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html

Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/

Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799

Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary

Lebanon


Fig. 4. “Sabra & Shatila Massacre 1982 Memorial in Sabra, South Beirut,” photograph by Bertramz, September 2009, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

Emanuel Fabian, “IDF strikes deeper in Lebanon than for years after Hezbollah shoots down military drone,” Times of Israel, February 26, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-shoots-down-idf-drone-over-south-lebanon/

Gianluca Pacchiani, “No longer afraid of sparking war, Israel takes gloves off against IRGC in Syria,” Times of Israel, February 27, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/no-longer-afraid-of-sparking-war-israel-takes-gloves-off-against-irgc-in-syria/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 5. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[8] fair use.

Russian President Vladimir Putin still casts the conflict as a proxy battle with the West that Moscow claims is propping up Kyiv. But Western governments have been at pains to maintain a plausible distance from the war, no matter their robust support for Ukraine’s defense. Leaked documents last year confirmed that some NATO countries — including the United States, Britain and France — had deployed small numbers of special forces and military advisers to Ukraine in unspecified roles probably related to logistical support work and training. The United States’ CIA has funded and partially equipped a sprawling network of spy bases across Ukraine that aid Kyiv’s efforts to track Russian troop movements and target the Kremlin’s prized military assets.

Whatever these footprints, the deeper reality of the war in Ukraine is that there already are plenty of foreign fighters on both sides. After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago, thousands of sympathetic volunteers — largely from the West and post-Soviet states — enlisted under Kyiv’s banner. The international legion that emerged has been deployed across the front lines and in some of the war’s most grinding battles. It comprises a motley cast of ideological die-hards, grizzled warriors and mercenaries for hire. Some have earned social media fame for their impassioned dispatches from the war zone. At least 50 American citizens — the majority former U.S. military veterans — have been killed in Ukraine.[9]

Ishaan Tharoor explains that a lot of the foreign forces in Ukraine are fighting not for Ukraine or Russia, but rather to put food on the table.[10] It’s a bit disingenuous. Emmanuel Macron was almost certainly talking[11] about government-level decisions to send in their militaries, not volunteers or mercenaries.


Fig. 6. An exemplar for poor kids. Statue in front of Sto-Rox High School in Stowe Township. Photograph by author, February 8, 2023.

But inadvertently, Tharoor effectively points out why there must be poor people: The elites need cannon fodder for their contests over which of them will control which bits of territory and the people and resources thereon. The desperate will fight because they need the money. Therefore, there must be desperate people.

The elites, by contrast, do not need intellectuals who will challenge these “King of the Hill” games. Therefore, we will emphasize physical, rather than intellectual, education. Therefore, we will valorize strength and brutality. Therefore, we will fight whenever our masters command it.

Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba

Laura Kayali and Claudia Chiappa, “Russia: Conflict with NATO certain if Western troops go to Ukraine,” Politico, February 27, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-conflict-with-nato-inevitable-if-western-troops-go-to-ukraine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Foreign troops in Ukraine? They’re already there,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/28/foreign-troops-ukraine-theyre-already-there/


Pennsylvania

Higher Education


Fig. 7. The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”). Photograph by “RealNordyNed,” December 17, 2015, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Bill Schackner, “Gov. Shapiro releases specifics of higher education restructuring plan in Pittsburgh visit,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 27, 2024, https://triblive.com/news/education-classroom/gov-shapiro-continues-to-push-higher-education-restructuring-in-pittsburgh-visit/


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799
  3. [3]Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/
  4. [4]Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary
  5. [5]Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/
  6. [6]Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/
  7. [7]Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary
  8. [8]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  9. [9]Ishaan Tharoor, “Foreign troops in Ukraine? They’re already there,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/28/foreign-troops-ukraine-theyre-already-there/
  10. [10]Ishaan Tharoor, “Foreign troops in Ukraine? They’re already there,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/28/foreign-troops-ukraine-theyre-already-there/
  11. [11]Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba

Breaking: (Yawn) Joe Biden wins Michigan primary, but it’s probably still too early to gauge the impact of a protest vote for ‘uncommitted’

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
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.

Yes, I’m covering U.S. 2024 electoral politics under the heading of Israeli Imperialism over Palestine. Because it’s generally acknowledged that Joe Biden is the only one who has the leverage to push Binyamin Netanyahu off his genocide. So how do you pressure Biden? In an election year?

This is probably premature, but:

[Joe] Biden overcame an activist-led push to lodge protest votes over his response to Israel’s war with Hamas, although the effort had surpassed 16% of the vote by 9 p.m. [Tuesday, February 27].[2]

From what I’ve gathered over the last several days, the concern has never been that Biden would lose the Michigan primary. It has, rather, been that the disaffected will either stay home or vote against him in the general. Michigan has significant Arab and Black populations and Biden’s support, while still strong, has dwindled, and between failures to keep promises to improve a number of issues especially important to many Black people, a perception that much support for Israel is racist, and Biden’s tolerance for Israeli genocide against Palestinians, the state was seen as a test of his support among these key groups. But in addition, I’ve seen several write that “it’s hard to see a path” for Biden to win the general election without winning Michigan.

So of course, this is the key question for those who like horse race coverage: Is Biden’s support for Israel losing him more votes than it wins?

Activists sought to send [Joe] Biden a message about the political costs of his support for Israel in a must-win state. Dearborn, in particular, is home to one of the largest Arab American communities in the United States.

In 2020, nearly 146,000 Muslim Americans voted in the general election in Michigan, according to an analysis by Emgage, a group working to grow Muslim Americans’ political power.

“This is not an anti-Biden campaign,” Palestinian American activist Layla Elabed recently told CNN. “It’s a humanitarian vote. It’s a protest vote. It is a vote that tells Biden and his administration that we believe in saving lives.”[3]

We’re just going to have to wait a bit longer to get a proper picture of this protest and its impact.

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/

Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 27, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 27, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html
  3. [3]Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 27, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html

The cost of doing business, U.S. Steel-style

Pennsylvania and surrounding areas

Pittsburgh, the Ohio Valley, and surrounding areas

Pollution


Fig. 1. Photographer unknown, circa 1940-1950, from Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1940-1950, AIS.1978.22, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh, via Bloomberg,[1] fair use.

I would, by no means, be the first to notice that clearly, U.S. Steel views these fines as the cost of doing business.

Laura Esposito, “U.S. Steel fined $1.9 million for emissions at Clairton Coke Works,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 27, 2024, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2024/02/27/u-s-steel-fine-clairton-coke-works/stories/202402270062


Illiberalism

Gilead

Migration


Fig. 2. Photograph credited to “ProtoplasmaKid,”, November 9, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Remember when Donald Trump separated migrant children from their parents?

The first hurdle the committee faced was the total disorganization with which “zero tolerance” had been implemented. “There was no intention of reuniting families, and so they didn’t design the system to be able to keep track,” Nan Schivone, Justice in Motion’s legal director, told me. The agencies involved — Customs and Border Protection, which took families into custody; [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], which oversaw their detainment; the [Office of Refugee Resettlement], which was responsible for the separated children — didn’t have a comprehensive system to share data with one another, nor did they always keep records linking parents with their children. If children were released from ORR custody into the care of family or friends, the government did limited follow-up. “We give you a luggage tag for your luggage,” said Gisela Voss, a former board member of Together & Free, which supports families seeking asylum. “We separated parents from their kids and didn’t give them, like, a number.” . . .

Out of more than 5,000 children separated from their parents by the Trump administration, as many as 2,000 still haven’t been reunited. These figures are estimates at best; three years into a new presidency, it appears likely the U.S. government will never be able to provide a thorough accounting of the policy’s victims.[2]

People have been trying to pick up the pieces, with support from the Biden administration. But tragedies have consequences and some of the reunions mean confronting distrust and anger.

A father broke down in tears telling me the first thing his child said to him when he was finally reunited was “Papa, why did you let them take me away?”[3]

For white Christian nationalists, cruelty is the point.

Antonio [Amador] still struggles to assign language to the feeling of watching through a window as officials forced his daughter’s hands above her head, patted her down, and took her away. It was like they had found his weak spot, like they were removing his own blood, he told me: “You feel defeated, useless, as though you had no arms, nothing to fight back.” Later, the guards taunted him, telling him that Maily [Amador] had been put up for adoption. He was deported, and Maily ended up being shuttled between aunts in California and Louisiana. For several years, Carolina [Amador] and Antonio’s parenting was limited to a daily video call on WhatsApp. Maily cried all the time. She said she hated the food in the U.S. — she wanted her mother to cook for her again. . . .

In December 2023, the ACLU and the federal government at last finalized a comprehensive settlement in the Ms. L. case. The government agreed to bar family separations for eight years and offer those affected by “zero tolerance” some measure of basic legal, housing, and medical assistance, including three years of humanitarian parole. The agreement also provides for a more favorable asylum-application process. But accessing these remedies will require enormous resources; Together & Free is helping to raise $3 million in private donations to help families obtain asylum lawyers.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Amadors can now close Maily’s immigration case and apply for asylum as a family, which would require the family to go before immigration officials to prove their need. Winning asylum would be the best possible outcome, but it feels so out of reach to Carolina that it may as well be the lottery. And if an application fails, it could leave the whole family vulnerable to deportation. The other option would be to try to renew their parole indefinitely. Here too there would be no guarantee. A change in administration would almost certainly jeopardize their chances of renewal. Trump has dissembled when asked if he’d reinstate “zero tolerance” should he be reelected, and any administration of his could decide to target separated families for removal. And while Biden, during his 2020 campaign, said that family separation “violates every notion of who we are as a nation,” the administration’s broader immigration policy has suggested a narrow interpretation of “never again.” Under Biden, immigration officials have continued to separate families. As the president faces a difficult reelection campaign, he has pushed a plan that would heavily fund ICE detention and restrict asylum, and he is reportedly considering employing his executive power to prevent people crossing the border from exercising their right to claim asylum.[4]

This was an unspeakable crime, one of many the Trump administration committed against migrants. But for all the charges Trump now faces, not one involves his migration policies.

Piper French, “Left Apart,” New York, February 27, 2024, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/separated-families-border-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration.html

Donald Trump


Fig. 3. Donald Trump, depicted in an orange jumpsuit, reportedly by the Drudge, date unknown, via Mediaite,[5] fair use. Apparently, no mugshot was taken when he was actually arrested over hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.[6]

The question of how Donald Trump will put together the money to post the bond for his legal appeals[7] lingers on:

It’s not clear what [Donald Trump is] going to do or even what options he has at his disposal. It’s also not clear what happens if the appeal is rejected and Trump loses that half-billion dollars for good. He would have to sell 890,000 pairs of his new gold sneakers to generate enough cash to pay the fine imposed by Engoron — not that he keeps all of the money from that branding deal.[8]

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c

Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/trump-trials-money-fundraising/

Tori Otten, “Trump Has a Hilarious New Excuse for Why He Can’t Put Up Bond,” New Republic, February 27, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179308/trump-excuse-cant-post-bond-e-jean-carroll

Finances


Fig. 4. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c

Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/trump-trials-money-fundraising/

Tori Otten, “Trump Has a Hilarious New Excuse for Why He Can’t Put Up Bond,” New Republic, February 27, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179308/trump-excuse-cant-post-bond-e-jean-carroll

Hush money


Fig. 5. Cartoon by Jesse Duquette, undated, via “Minneapple23” [pseud.] on Imgur, April 1, 2023, fair use.

Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/trump-trials-money-fundraising/

Tori Otten, “Trump Has a Hilarious New Excuse for Why He Can’t Put Up Bond,” New Republic, February 27, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179308/trump-excuse-cant-post-bond-e-jean-carroll


  1. [1]Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” Bloomberg, June 5, 2012, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-06-05/what-pittsburgh-looked-like-when-it-decided-it-had-a-pollution-problem
  2. [2]Piper French, “Left Apart,” New York, February 27, 2024, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/separated-families-border-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration.html
  3. [3]Lee Gelernt, quoted in Piper French, “Left Apart,” New York, February 27, 2024, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/separated-families-border-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration.html
  4. [4]Piper French, “Left Apart,” New York, February 27, 2024, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/separated-families-border-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration.html
  5. [5]Alex Griffing, “Drudge Puts Trump in an Orange Jumpsuit as Site Monitors His Potential Indictment,” Mediaite, August 29, 2022, https://www.mediaite.com/news/drudge-puts-trump-in-an-orange-jumpsuit-as-site-monitors-his-potential-indictment/
  6. [6]Sarah D. Wire and Alexandra E. Petri, “Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-04-04/donald-trump-alleged-hush-money-investigation-indictment-arraignment
  7. [7]Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/trump-trials-money-fundraising/; William D. Cohan, “Sussing the Trump Estate Sale,” Puck, February 21, 2024, https://puck.news/sussing-the-trump-estate-sale/; Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c; Joe Hernandez, “What to know about the debut of Trump’s $399 golden, high-top sneakers,” National Public Radio, February 20, 2024, https://www.npr.org/2024/02/19/1232438349/donald-trump-golden-high-top-sneakers; Aaron Katersky and Peter Charalambous, “Letitia James says she’s prepared to seize Trump’s buildings if he can’t pay his $354M civil fraud fine,” ABC News, February 20, 2024, https://abcnews.go.com/US/letitia-james-shes-prepared-seize-trumps-assets-pay/story?id=107381482; Jonathan O’Connell, “Hefty fines, penalties will rock Trump family’s business and fortune,” Washington Post, February 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/02/16/trump-verdict-civil-fraud-trial/; Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/; Tori Otten, “Trump Has a Hilarious New Excuse for Why He Can’t Put Up Bond,” New Republic, February 27, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179308/trump-excuse-cant-post-bond-e-jean-carroll; Tori Otten, “It Sure Looks Like Trump Can’t Pay the Bond in His Fraud Trial,” New Republic, February 22, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179203/trump-pay-fraud-trial-judgment-delay
  8. [8]Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/27/trump-trials-money-fundraising/

We are war criminals. Thanks, Joe Biden

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
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.

Ishaan Tharoor notes that Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan for Gaza flies in the face of what Arab governments, the U.S., and Europe (we can add the Palestinians themselves[2]) are all demanding. He’s right, of course, to say all that, but he also notes that Netanyahu “can justifiably argue that he’s in line with Israeli public opinion.”[3] This raises a larger problem, one not constrained to Netanyahu, in which I worry that as completely unrealistic as Netanyahu’s plan may be, it may be the only one on offer.

Getting past that would mean Joe Biden applying serious pressure to Israel. But even reversing Donald Trump’s policy deeming West Bank settlements as “legitimate”[4] amounts to ““a signaling to the international community that the [Biden] administration is unhappy, but not necessarily so unhappy that he’s willing to do anything about it.”[5] Genocide is not a deal-breaker for Biden. He continues diplomatic, financial, and military support to a government[6] that is thumbing its nose at him at every turn. That makes him and the U.S. complicit. We are war criminals.

Hunger and severe malnutrition are widespread in the Gaza Strip, where about 2.2 million Palestinians are facing severe shortages resulting from Israel destroying food supplies and severely restricting the flow of food, medicines and other humanitarian supplies. Aid trucks and Palestinians waiting for humanitarian relief have come under Israeli fire.

“There is no reason to intentionally block the passage of humanitarian aid or intentionally obliterate small-scale fishing vessels, greenhouses and orchards in Gaza – other than to deny people access to food,” Michael Fakhri, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, told the Guardian.

“Intentionally depriving people of food is clearly a war crime. Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. In my view as a UN human rights expert, this is now a situation of genocide. This means the State of Israel in its entirety is culpable and should be held accountable – not just individuals or this government, or that person.”[7]

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[8] fair use.

Emmanuel Macron has been an outlier among European leaders. Even well after it was clear that diplomatic efforts were foundering, he persisted in seeking a diplomatic solution. Now, he’s threatening to send in troops.[9] Whatever we think of the likelihood this actually happens—“‘It is not at all relevant right now,’ said Ulf Kristersson, Sweden’s prime minister, on Tuesday [February 27],”[10] and Russia responded with the bellicosity one should expect[11]—the war ain’t going away on its own, folks, it ain’t getting better, and the Republican politicians holding up aid to Ukraine should be arrested for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba

Laura Kayali and Claudia Chiappa, “Russia: Conflict with NATO certain if Western troops go to Ukraine,” Politico, February 27, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-conflict-with-nato-inevitable-if-western-troops-go-to-ukraine/


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump


Fig. 3. Donald Trump, depicted in an orange jumpsuit, reportedly by the Drudge, date unknown, via Mediaite,[12] fair use. Apparently, no mugshot was taken when he was actually arrested over hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.[13]

We still don’t know how Donald Trump is coming up with the money to appeal:[14]

[Donald] Trump’s notice of appeal doesn’t stop New York Attorney General Letitia James from seeking to enforce the judgment and its penalties. Trump is expected to ask a higher court to suspend enforcement of [Arthur] Engoron’s ruling while he pursues his appeal. Without a stay, he will have to post a bond worth upward of around half a billion dollars to prevent James from moving to collect. . . .

It is unclear how Trump would pay the judgment—and the roughly $100,000-a-day in interest that is being added on to it. His net worth has been estimated at around $3 billion, but the amount of liquid assets he has isn’t clear. In a deposition last year, he testified that he had $400 million in cash.[15]

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c

Finances


Fig. 4. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Ron Kampeas, “Will the US recognize a State of Palestine? The Biden-Netanyahu gap deepens over plans for Gaza’s future,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 23, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/23/politics/will-the-us-recognize-a-state-of-palestine-the-biden-netanyahu-gap-deepens-over-plans-for-gazas-future
  3. [3]Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/27/post-war-gaza-plan-netanyahu-israel-day-after-future-abbas/
  4. [4]John Hudson and Karen DeYoung, “White House reverses West Bank policy, calling Israeli settlements illegal,” Washington Post, February 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/02/23/israel-west-bank-settlements-illegal/
  5. [5]Trita Parsi, quoted in Ron Kampeas, “Will the US recognize a State of Palestine? The Biden-Netanyahu gap deepens over plans for Gaza’s future,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 23, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/23/politics/will-the-us-recognize-a-state-of-palestine-the-biden-netanyahu-gap-deepens-over-plans-for-gazas-future
  6. [6]Ron Kampeas, “Will the US recognize a State of Palestine? The Biden-Netanyahu gap deepens over plans for Gaza’s future,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 23, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/23/politics/will-the-us-recognize-a-state-of-palestine-the-biden-netanyahu-gap-deepens-over-plans-for-gazas-future
  7. [7]Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/27/un-israel-food-starvation-palestinians-war-crime-genocide
  8. [8]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  9. [9]Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba
  10. [10]Leila Abboud and Henry Foy, “Macron says sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out,” Financial Times, February 27, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/83b8a80d-ab22-47fc-bbbb-6b1fd9df68ba
  11. [11]Laura Kayali and Claudia Chiappa, “Russia: Conflict with NATO certain if Western troops go to Ukraine,” Politico, February 27, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-conflict-with-nato-inevitable-if-western-troops-go-to-ukraine/
  12. [12]Alex Griffing, “Drudge Puts Trump in an Orange Jumpsuit as Site Monitors His Potential Indictment,” Mediaite, August 29, 2022, https://www.mediaite.com/news/drudge-puts-trump-in-an-orange-jumpsuit-as-site-monitors-his-potential-indictment/
  13. [13]Sarah D. Wire and Alexandra E. Petri, “Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-04-04/donald-trump-alleged-hush-money-investigation-indictment-arraignment
  14. [14]William D. Cohan, “Sussing the Trump Estate Sale,” Puck, February 21, 2024, https://puck.news/sussing-the-trump-estate-sale/; Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c; Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/; Tori Otten, “It Sure Looks Like Trump Can’t Pay the Bond in His Fraud Trial,” New Republic, February 22, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179203/trump-pay-fraud-trial-judgment-delay
  15. [15]Jacob Gershman, Corinne Ramey, and James Fanelli, “Trump Appeals $355 Million Civil-Fraud Ruling,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/us-news/donald-trump-appeals-new-york-fraud-lawsuit-ruling-307cd30c

Palestine Authority government offers its resignation to Mahmoud Abbas, who should also resign

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
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 would like to inform the honorable council and our great people that I placed the government’s resignation at the disposal of Mr. President (Mahmoud Abbas), last Tuesday, and today I submit it in writing,” Shtayyeh said in a post on Facebook.

The resignation comes as the Palestinian Authority (PA) comes under intense pressure from the United States to reform and improve its governance in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The PA has long been seen as corrupt by US politicians and Palestinians themselves.[2]

Mahmoud Abbas’ resignation would also be in order.

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html

Lebanon


Fig. 2. “Sabra & Shatila Massacre 1982 Memorial in Sabra, South Beirut,” photograph by Bertramz, September 2009, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

Emanuel Fabian, “IDF strikes deeper in Lebanon than for years after Hezbollah shoots down military drone,” Times of Israel, February 26, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-shoots-down-idf-drone-over-south-lebanon/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 3. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[3] fair use.

Emily Rauhala, “Hungary approves Sweden’s NATO bid, unblocking historic expansion,” Washington Post, February 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/26/hungary-sweden-nato-vote/


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” Cable News Network, February 26, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/26/middleeast/palestinian-authority-prime-minister-resigns-intl/index.html
  3. [3]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

The fall of Donald Trump

Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump


Fig. 1. Donald Trump, depicted in an orange jumpsuit, reportedly by the Drudge, via Mediaite,[1] fair use. Apparently, no mugshot was taken when he was actually arrested over hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.[2]

It looks like the question is not so much, can Donald Trump come up with the money to pursue his appeals,[3] as it is, how much property he will have to sell or put in hock to post the bond for his appeals?[4] It is likely he does not have the cash available,[5] in part because he would need to maintain a certain amount of cash on hand to keep up operations and possibly to satisfy requirements on loans he already has. Time grows short[6] but you know, if all else fails, Leticia James has her eye on 40 Wall Street.[7]

Really, this is the point I made earlier about the factors in Trump’s situation combining to produce emergent difficulties. A factor in the decision-making of any entity prepared to advance Trump the money will be the possibility that they will need to collect from a sitting president (should he win this November).[8] We’ll see more and more of this sort of thing as Trump goes down.

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Finances


Fig. 2. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/

Hush money


Fig. 3. Cartoon by Jesse Duquette, undated, via “Minneapple23” [pseud.] on Imgur, April 1, 2023, fair use.

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/


Neoliberalism

Work


Fig. 1. The spectre of Death, in the form of a large skeleton, rises with the smoke and flames of the burning Asch Building during the Triangle fire, as people jump and fall to their death. Artist unknown, from International Ladies Garment Workers Union Photographs (1885-1985) at The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Stefan Stern does not address my complaint about human resources departments: I can’t get past one and into a job and haven’t been able to in 23 long years. Stern does, however, venture into some of the more idiotic aspects of corporate culture.[9]

Stefan Stern, “How to save HR from itself,” Financial Times, February 26, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/8cbbbd17-17bd-4966-80db-69865eb135db


  1. [1]Alex Griffing, “Drudge Puts Trump in an Orange Jumpsuit as Site Monitors His Potential Indictment,” Mediaite, August 29, 2022, https://www.mediaite.com/news/drudge-puts-trump-in-an-orange-jumpsuit-as-site-monitors-his-potential-indictment/
  2. [2]Sarah D. Wire and Alexandra E. Petri, “Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-04-04/donald-trump-alleged-hush-money-investigation-indictment-arraignment
  3. [3]William D. Cohan, “Sussing the Trump Estate Sale,” Puck, February 21, 2024, https://puck.news/sussing-the-trump-estate-sale/
  4. [4]Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/
  5. [5]Tori Otten, “It Sure Looks Like Trump Can’t Pay the Bond in His Fraud Trial,” New Republic, February 22, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/179203/trump-pay-fraud-trial-judgment-delay
  6. [6]Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/
  7. [7]Aaron Katersky and Peter Charalambous, “Letitia James says she’s prepared to seize Trump’s buildings if he can’t pay his $354M civil fraud fine,” ABC News, February 20, 2024, https://abcnews.go.com/US/letitia-james-shes-prepared-seize-trumps-assets-pay/story?id=107381482
  8. [8]Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/02/26/trump-money-bonds-engoron-carroll/
  9. [9]Stefan Stern, “How to save HR from itself,” Financial Times, February 26, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/8cbbbd17-17bd-4966-80db-69865eb135db

Surprise, surprise! Sanctions don’t work.

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
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.

It’s a start:

The decision [to declare West Bank settlements illegal] — which was also announced at the White House — was in immediate response to reports that the far-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was planning further settlement expansion, according to a U.S. official, one of several who discussed the decision on the condition of anonymity under administration rules.[2]

Mehul Srivastava, Neri Zilber, and Heba Saleh, “Israel unveils plan for complete postwar control of Gaza,” Financial Times, February 23, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/063495e8-645c-4cec-8b8e-290fdc32044f

John Hudson and Karen DeYoung, “White House reverses West Bank policy, calling Israeli settlements illegal,” Washington Post, February 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/02/23/israel-west-bank-settlements-illegal/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[3] fair use.

I’ve mostly stopped paying attention to the sanctions. Because they don’t work.

Russia has faced a historic slew of penalties from Washington, Brussels and beyond since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. The punishments, chiefly economic sanctions, were designed in large part to drain Russia’s coffers so it would struggle to fund its war. And more pain has been promised as both the U.S. and EU unveiled new sanctions against Russia this week, some tied to the death of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Yet, two years on, Russia’s economy has rebounded. Its factories are humming, its oil and gas sales are relatively strong and its people are at work in a system retrofitted to be all about the war. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, appears firmly in charge of the Kremlin, despite hopes that Russia’s elite would turn on him as the economic pressure grew.[4]

The claim is simply that I lack patience, that the tricks Moscow has pulled to keep afloat are unsustainable.[5]

But you know what? I’ve seen this movie before. A whole bunch of times. The targeted oligarchs may grumble,[6] but sanctions don’t work. The question for me is whether the West will ever get serious about Russia. Considering the difficulty in doing what it has done so far, I’m not holding my breath.

“Sanctions alone are not enough to carry Ukraine to victory,” Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters Thursday before new penalties were announced, adding that the “only way” the Ukrainian people will be successful “is if the House and if Congress provides them with the financial resources, but also the equipment they need to continue to defend themselves.”

Meanwhile, it’s anyone’s guess when the Russian economic machine will stop working, and there’s a question as to whether it is now incentivized to keep the war in Ukraine going.[7]

You shouldn’t be holding your breath either.

Nahal Toosi et al., “The West tried to crush Russia’s economy. Why hasn’t it worked?” Politico, February 24, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/24/russia-economy-west-sanctions-00142713


Pennsylvania

Cannabis

There is a glimmer of hope. Not much of one, but a glimmer.

Stephen Caruso and Kate Huangpu, “What to know about Shapiro’s pitch to legalize marijuana, its chances in the Pa. legislature and more,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 24, 2024, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/what-to-know-about-shapiros-pitch-to-legalize-marijuana-its-chances-in-the-pa-legislature-and-more/


  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, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]John Hudson and Karen DeYoung, “White House reverses West Bank policy, calling Israeli settlements illegal,” Washington Post, February 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/02/23/israel-west-bank-settlements-illegal/
  3. [3]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  4. [4]Nahal Toosi et al., “The West tried to crush Russia’s economy. Why hasn’t it worked?” Politico, February 24, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/24/russia-economy-west-sanctions-00142713
  5. [5]Nahal Toosi et al., “The West tried to crush Russia’s economy. Why hasn’t it worked?” Politico, February 24, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/24/russia-economy-west-sanctions-00142713
  6. [6]Catherine Belton and Greg Miller, “Cracks emerge in Russian elite as tycoons start to bemoan invasion,” Washington Post, April 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/29/russia-oligarchs-ukraine-invasion-dissent/
  7. [7]Nahal Toosi et al., “The West tried to crush Russia’s economy. Why hasn’t it worked?” Politico, February 24, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/24/russia-economy-west-sanctions-00142713