Just so you know, the sky is red

Illiberalism

Gilead

Abortion, reproductive freedom and health


Fig. 1. 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.

Understand that I am highly disinclined to credit Donald Trump with any intelligence whatsoever. His time in the presidency was marked not only by the black hole of sheer hatred he perhaps still has us spiraling into, but in which it is impossible to conceive of a human intelligence saying the things he says and therefore, that anyone saying them must somehow be deficient in humanity or intelligence, perhaps both. But even he seems to have figured out that the abortion issue has fairly reliably been kicking Republican ass.[1]

So with that “No shit, Sherlock” revelation, we do still have to ask about much of the rest of the Republican Party, which has apparently decided the sky is red.

Tara Palmeri, “Midnight at Mar-a-Lago,” Puck, April 11, 2024, https://puck.news/trump-choice-for-vp-could-come-down-to-abortion/


Imperialism

Israel


Fig. 2. John Bolton and Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference. Office of U.S. National Security Advisor, August 20, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Andrew England and James Shotter, “Is time starting to run out for Benjamin Netanyahu?” Financial Times, April 12, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/ce0de70e-461a-4279-9a15-df45be1c0785

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,[2] fair use.

A promised surge in aid into Gaza that Benjamin Netanyahu promised Joe Biden a week ago has so far failed to materialise, aid workers say, as the US aid chief confirmed that famine is beginning to take hold in parts of the besieged coastal strip.

The increase in the number of truck crossing into Gaza claimed by Israel conflicts with UN records and already appears to be faltering.[3]

Dov Lieber, Rory Jones, and Margherita Stancati, “Israel Says Troops Lacked Grounds for Strike That Killed Aid Workers in Gaza,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/israel-to-allow-more-aid-into-gaza-after-biden-warning-over-u-s-support-49bc42e4

Michael Tomasky, “Is Biden Really Going to Let Netanyahu Lose Him the Election?” New Republic, April 5, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/180481/biden-israel-netanyahu-lose-election

Lazar Berman, “Israel’s begrudging approach to humanitarian aid could cost it the war in Gaza,” Times of Israel, April 6, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-begrudging-approach-to-humanitarian-aid-could-cost-it-the-war-in-gaza/

Karen DeYoung, “Six months into Gaza war, Biden confronts the limits of U.S. leverage,” Washington Post, April 6, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/06/gaza-israel-biden-war/

Emanuel Fabian, “IDF chief says withdrawal of troops from Gaza doesn’t mean war is close to end,” Times of Israel, April 7, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-chief-says-withdrawal-of-troops-from-gaza-doesnt-mean-war-is-close-to-end/

M. J. Lee, “Inside President Biden’s pointed phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu,” CNN, April 7, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/06/politics/biden-netanyahu-israel-gaza-war-phone-call-details/index.html

David Horovitz, “Israel’s major ground war in Gaza is over; the state of war inflicted by Hamas is not,” Times of Israel, April 8, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-major-ground-war-in-gaza-is-over-the-state-of-war-inflicted-by-hamas-is-not/

Katie Polglase et al., “Dying for a bag of flour: Videos and eyewitness accounts cast doubt on Israel’s timeline of deadly Gaza aid delivery,” CNN, April 9, 2024, https://edition.cnn.com/2024/04/09/middleeast/gaza-food-aid-convoy-deaths-eyewitness-intl-investigation-cmd/index.html

Times of Israel, “US Sen. Warren: World Court has ‘ample evidence’ to find Israel guilty of genocide,” April 9, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-sen-warren-world-court-has-ample-evidence-to-find-israel-guilty-of-genocide/

Guardian, “Netanyahu making a ‘mistake’ on Gaza, says Biden, as he urges Israel to push for ceasefire,” April 9, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/10/benjamin-netanyahu-joe-biden-gaza-mistake-ceasefire-israel-war-palestine

Asaf Elia-Shalev, “Israeli academics face backlash after signing letter accusing Israel of ‘plausible genocide’ in Gaza,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 10, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/04/10/israel/israeli-academics-face-backlash-after-signing-letter-accusing-israel-of-plausible-genocide-in-gaza

Matt Lebovic, “Has the term ‘antisemitism’ been overused – or overblown – beyond usefulness?” Times of Israel, April 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/has-the-term-antisemitism-been-overused-or-overblown-beyond-usefulness/

Jacob Magid, “Biden urges Israel ‘to just call for’ 6-8 week ceasefire, slams PM’s handling of Gaza war,” Times of Israel, April 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-urges-israel-to-just-call-for-6-8-week-ceasefire-slams-pms-handling-of-gaza-war/

Julian Borger, “Aid ‘still not reaching Gaza’, as top US official warns famine has started,” Guardian, April 11, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/11/aid-still-not-reaching-gaza-as-top-us-official-warns-famine-has-started


Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh


Fig. 4. The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the “Golden Triangle” and downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph by author, October 15, 2023.

It’s a real mess out there.

Jeff Himler and Renatta Signorini, “Much of Western Pa. remains under flood warning,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 11, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/flash-flooding-closes-allegheny-county-roads-triggers-warnings-throughout-region/

Laura Esposito and Benjamin B. Braun, “Torrential rain triggers dangerous flash flooding in Allegheny County,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 12, 2024, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/weather-news/2024/04/11/tornado-watch-pittsburgh-region-1/stories/202404110126


  1. [1]Tara Palmeri, “Midnight at Mar-a-Lago,” Puck, April 11, 2024, https://puck.news/trump-choice-for-vp-could-come-down-to-abortion/
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  3. [3]Julian Borger, “Aid ‘still not reaching Gaza’, as top US official warns famine has started,” Guardian, April 11, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/11/aid-still-not-reaching-gaza-as-top-us-official-warns-famine-has-started

Even some Israeli academics agree the war on Gaza is genocide

I had to reach up to get this shot, so it’s poorly aimed, but here it is:

This is the robin’s nest built on what I had thought was an impossible location, on the light by my front door. It looks like I have neighbors, with, um, more on the way.


Pennsylvania

Erie


Fig. 1. Lake Erie, from Presque Isle State Park. Photograph by author, April 3, 2021.

The issue of official-looking badges to higher-ups in the Erie County bureaucracy sounds like a flawed response to a real problem. Brenton Davis’ complaint is that in some cases some people, including white supremacist gangsters, fail to recognize him or his authority. So he issued badges that look like law enforcement badges to himself and some other top-level county officials. They are not actually law enforcement badges and do not carry that authority. It’s an unusual solution and the problem with it lies in the potential for confusion.[1]

I don’t expect this to go well for Davis. But I do recognize the problem he’s trying to solve. In my experience, white supremacist gangsters (sometimes called ‘police’) are control freaks: They perceive a threat in any situation they do not control and it is my understanding that they are trained accordingly.

There are times when that’s a problem. It is certainly foreseeable that white supremacist gangsters will reject even appropriate authority. Hell, the Pittsburgh gangsters are ignoring a city ordinance that forbids secondary traffic stops.[2] They haven’t sued: Courts have not weighed in on an ordinance the gangsters object to. The gangsters just ignore it.

And when we talk about “trained law enforcement,” a good deal of the notion of “defunding the police” is about training that is in no way sufficient to the problems of what sociologists broadly term “deviant” behavior and about diverting resources to people who do have the necessary training,[3] which in my judgment would entail at least a Master’s degree in social work, psychology, or a closely related discipline (no, human science will not do), and frankly, I’d prefer to see doctoral-level folks out there and with actual authority over the gangsters.

I don’t know what the solution is here. I think Davis is well-intentioned. I think he has a real problem. But this problem has roots which reach deeply into our system of social organization’s reliance on white supremacist gangsters, a reliance which is beyond challenge.

A. J. Rao, “Erie County Executive Brenton Davis uses police-like badge to ID himself. Is it appropriate?” Erie Times-News, April 11, 2024, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2024/04/11/erie-pa-county-executive-brenton-davis-uses-police-like-badge-to-id-himself/73272067007/


Imperialism

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,[4] fair use.

Regev Nathansohn, who teaches communications at Sapir College, is one of two dozen Israeli academics who have signed a petition calling for the United States to stop arming Israel in its war with Hamas. The petition, which more than 1,000 academics from around the world have signed, characterizes Israel’s conduct as a “plausible genocide.”

“President Biden, do not let the United States go down in history as the enabler of genocide,” said the petition, which has more than 1,000 signatories, from a group called Academics4Peace. “Respect the US’s obligation under international law and basic morality. The only way to stop the starvation of two million people, including 100+ Israeli hostages, is to end this war.”

Sapir is located on the Gaza border near the town of Sderot, which was one of the sites attacked in Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of Israel. . . .

Nathansohn, who earned his doctorate at the University of Michigan, is one of at least five Israeli signatories who have faced intense backlash from students, according to the petition’s organizer, Shira Klein, an Israeli American history professor at Chapman University in California. She said the others are Eran Fisher of the Open University of Israel, and three scholars at Beersheba’s Ben Gurion University: Michal Givoni, Maor Zeev-Wolf and Uri Mor. Klein pointed to posts from students denouncing them on social media and in an online petition, as well as, in one case, a campus protest.

In total, more than 20 Israeli academics have signed the letter, among more than 1,000 overall. Outside of Israel, signatories include two Nobel laureates and numerous scholars of the Holocaust and Jewish history. Klein is an expert on the Holocaust and has studied contemporary antisemitism.[5]

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Matt Viser, “Biden rebukes Israel over aid workers, but his Gaza policy is unchanged,” Washington Post, April 3, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/03/biden-world-central-kitchen-tough-statement-israel-policy/

Hafiz Rashid, “‘Unacceptable’: White House Cancels Event as Biden Struggles on Gaza,” New Republic, April 3, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/180409/white-house-cancels-event-gaza-outcry

Haroon Siddique, Eleni Courea, and Patrick Wintour, “Former supreme court judges say UK arming Israel breaches international law,” Guardian, April 3, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/03/former-supreme-court-judges-say-uk-arming-israel-breaches-international-law

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s ‘unintentional’ strike on aid workers stirs global outrage,” Washington Post, April 3, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/03/israel-strike-world-central-kitchen-aid-workers-global-outrage/

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Matt Viser, “Biden warns Netanyahu the situation in Gaza is ‘unacceptable,’” Washington Post, April 4, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/04/biden-warns-netanyahu-situation-gaza-is-unacceptable/

Trinidad Deiros Bronte, “The unpunished deaths of other civilians question Israel’s willingness to clarify the attack on WCK,” El País, April 4, 2024, https://english.elpais.com/international/2024-04-04/the-unpunished-deaths-of-other-civilians-question-israels-willingness-to-clarify-the-attack-on-wck.html

Michael R. Gordon and Nancy A. Youssef, “Biden Ties Support for Israel to Civilian Protection in Gaza, ” Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-set-to-talk-as-gaza-aid-worker-deaths-add-to-pressure-on-israel-9dee3793

Jacob Magid, “Senior Israeli official warns of growing ‘shoot first, ask later’ culture in IDF,” Times of Israel, April 4, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/senior-israeli-official-warns-of-growing-shoot-first-ask-later-culture-in-idf/

Kate Sullivan, “Trump says Israel needs to ‘finish what they started’ and said war with Hamas is ‘taking a long time,’” CNN, April 4, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/04/politics/trump-israel-comments/index.html

Adam Taylor, “Biden’s ‘red line’ on Gaza is nowhere to be found,” Washington Post, April 4, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/04/biden-wck-world-central-kitchen-israel-policy-change/

Dov Lieber, Rory Jones, and Margherita Stancati, “Israel Says Troops Lacked Grounds for Strike That Killed Aid Workers in Gaza,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/israel-to-allow-more-aid-into-gaza-after-biden-warning-over-u-s-support-49bc42e4

Michael Tomasky, “Is Biden Really Going to Let Netanyahu Lose Him the Election?” New Republic, April 5, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/180481/biden-israel-netanyahu-lose-election

Lazar Berman, “Israel’s begrudging approach to humanitarian aid could cost it the war in Gaza,” Times of Israel, April 6, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-begrudging-approach-to-humanitarian-aid-could-cost-it-the-war-in-gaza/

Karen DeYoung, “Six months into Gaza war, Biden confronts the limits of U.S. leverage,” Washington Post, April 6, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/06/gaza-israel-biden-war/

Emanuel Fabian, “IDF chief says withdrawal of troops from Gaza doesn’t mean war is close to end,” Times of Israel, April 7, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-chief-says-withdrawal-of-troops-from-gaza-doesnt-mean-war-is-close-to-end/

M. J. Lee, “Inside President Biden’s pointed phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu,” CNN, April 7, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/06/politics/biden-netanyahu-israel-gaza-war-phone-call-details/index.html

David Horovitz, “Israel’s major ground war in Gaza is over; the state of war inflicted by Hamas is not,” Times of Israel, April 8, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-major-ground-war-in-gaza-is-over-the-state-of-war-inflicted-by-hamas-is-not/

Katie Polglase et al., “Dying for a bag of flour: Videos and eyewitness accounts cast doubt on Israel’s timeline of deadly Gaza aid delivery,” CNN, April 9, 2024, https://edition.cnn.com/2024/04/09/middleeast/gaza-food-aid-convoy-deaths-eyewitness-intl-investigation-cmd/index.html

Times of Israel, “US Sen. Warren: World Court has ‘ample evidence’ to find Israel guilty of genocide,” April 9, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-sen-warren-world-court-has-ample-evidence-to-find-israel-guilty-of-genocide/

Guardian, “Netanyahu making a ‘mistake’ on Gaza, says Biden, as he urges Israel to push for ceasefire,” April 9, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/10/benjamin-netanyahu-joe-biden-gaza-mistake-ceasefire-israel-war-palestine

Asaf Elia-Shalev, “Israeli academics face backlash after signing letter accusing Israel of ‘plausible genocide’ in Gaza,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 10, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/04/10/israel/israeli-academics-face-backlash-after-signing-letter-accusing-israel-of-plausible-genocide-in-gaza

Matt Lebovic, “Has the term ‘antisemitism’ been overused – or overblown – beyond usefulness?” Times of Israel, April 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/has-the-term-antisemitism-been-overused-or-overblown-beyond-usefulness/

Jacob Magid, “Biden urges Israel ‘to just call for’ 6-8 week ceasefire, slams PM’s handling of Gaza war,” Times of Israel, April 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-urges-israel-to-just-call-for-6-8-week-ceasefire-slams-pms-handling-of-gaza-war/


  1. [1]Ben Metzner, “Trump’s Bond Is So Weak, Letitia James May Still Seize His Assets,” New Republic, April 10, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/180590/trump-bond-weak-letitia-james-seize-assets
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  3. [3]Jacob Magid, “Biden urges Israel ‘to just call for’ 6-8 week ceasefire, slams PM’s handling of Gaza war,” Times of Israel, April 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-urges-israel-to-just-call-for-6-8-week-ceasefire-slams-pms-handling-of-gaza-war/
  4. [5]Jacob Magid, “Biden urges Israel ‘to just call for’ 6-8 week ceasefire, slams PM’s handling of Gaza war,” Times of Israel, April 10, 2024, April 2024
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