U.S. aid to Palestine is for show (just don’t look at the genocide behind the curtain)

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.

A little more than a week ago, Ann Wright criticized the pier built by the U.S. to help aid get to Gazans, calling it a Rube Goldberg design.[2] The Wall Street Journal is more charitable, writing that “[t]he maritime corridor is a cumbersome system with multiple potential bottlenecks.” So, unsurprisingly, the pier is indeed not working out so well.[3]

But in the first week of operations, only 820 tons of aid was delivered through the pier, of which around two-thirds reached distribution points within Gaza, the Pentagon said Thursday. That is roughly equivalent to 71 truckloads—far below the initial target of 90 truckloads a day, and about 15% of the estimated minimum daily need for a population of more than two million people facing crisis-level acute food insecurity.[4]

Put simply, this looks a lot more like an intentional boondoggle than a serious effort. The priority clearly isn’t getting necessities of life to Palestinians but military and financial aid to Israel and its genocide operation. It’s $320 million[5] against $300 billion annually in U.S. financial and military aid[6] for genocide. And it’s part of the lie in which Joe Biden pretends to rein in the Israelis.[7]

Prem Thakker, “The State Department Says Israel Isn’t Blocking Aid. Videos Show the Opposite,” Intercept, May 18, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/05/18/israel-blocking-aid-gaza/

Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

Ron Kampeas, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 20, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/20/israel/international-criminal-court-prosecutor-seeks-arrest-warrants-for-benjamin-netanyahu-and-hamas-leaders

Ivana Kottasová and Madalena Araujo, “ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war,” Cable News Network, May 20, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/20/middleeast/icc-israel-hamas-arrest-warrant-war-crimes-intl/index.html

Louisa Loveluck, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas’s Sinwar,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/20/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel ‘is stuck inside Gaza’ as Palestinian suffering deepens,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/20/israel-gaza-suffering-netanyahu-palestinian/

Alexander Ward, Erin Banco, and Lara Seligman, “Biden admin openly hammering Israel’s military strategy in Gaza,” Politico, May 21, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/21/biden-admin-hammering-israel-military-strategy-gaza-00159262

Washington Post, “Six experts weigh in on the ICC’s warrants on Israeli and Hamas leaders,” May 21, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/05/21/icc-arrest-warrant-israel-hamas-debate/

Lazar Berman, “Norway, Ireland, Spain move to recognize Palestinian state, drawing Israeli fury,” Times of Israel, May 22, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/norway-ireland-spain-move-to-recognize-palestinian-state-drawing-israeli-fury/

William Booth, “Norway, Ireland and Spain recognize Palestinian state; Israel condemns move,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/norway-ireland-palestine-state-recognition/

Kareem Fahim et al., “Israel’s latest offensives unleash ‘hell’ in Gaza, aid groups say,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/gaza-famine-aid-israel-hamas/

Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/

Jerusalem Post, “Could Oct. 7 attack have been prevented? IDF reveals Netanyahu received prior warnings,” May 23, 2024, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-802391

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s isolation deepens on the world stage,” Washington Post, May 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/23/israel-isolation-icj-ruling-gaza/

Louisa Loveluck and Ellen Francis, “U.N. court order deepens Israel’s isolation as it fights on in Rafah,” Washington Post, May 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/24/israel-rafah-invasion-icj-ruling/

Haroon Siddique and Lorenzo Tondo, “UN’s top court orders Israel to immediately halt Rafah offensive,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/icj-orders-israel-to-halt-rafah-offensive-new-ruling

Patrick Wintour, “US and UK to back Israel over ICJ ruling after blurring their Rafah red lines,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/us-and-uk-to-back-israel-against-icj-while-blurring-their-rafah-red-lines

Karen DeYoung, “U.S. silent as global condemnation of Israel’s Rafah offensive grows,” Washington Post, May 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/25/biden-gaza-rafah-international-law/

Stephen Kalin and Nancy A. Youssef, “The U.S. Built a $320 Million Pier to Get Aid to Gazans. Little of It Has Reached Them,” Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2024, https://apple.news/AE6vfFl5VS0Cs-jZgwST7Bw


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Ann Wright, “Why Did the US Spend $320 Million on a Rube Goldberg Pier For Gaza?” Common Dreams, May 16, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/us-military-pier-gaza
  3. [3]Stephen Kalin and Nancy A. Youssef, “The U.S. Built a $320 Million Pier to Get Aid to Gazans. Little of It Has Reached Them,” Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2024, https://apple.news/AE6vfFl5VS0Cs-jZgwST7Bw
  4. [4]Stephen Kalin and Nancy A. Youssef, “The U.S. Built a $320 Million Pier to Get Aid to Gazans. Little of It Has Reached Them,” Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2024, https://apple.news/AE6vfFl5VS0Cs-jZgwST7Bw
  5. [5]Stephen Kalin and Nancy A. Youssef, “The U.S. Built a $320 Million Pier to Get Aid to Gazans. Little of It Has Reached Them,” Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2024, https://apple.news/AE6vfFl5VS0Cs-jZgwST7Bw; Ann Wright, “Why Did the US Spend $320 Million on a Rube Goldberg Pier For Gaza?” Common Dreams, May 16, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/us-military-pier-gaza
  6. [6]Jonathan Masters and Will Merrow, “U.S. Aid to Israel in Four Charts,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 11, 2024, https://www.cfr.org/article/us-aid-israel-four-charts
  7. [7]Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

Binyamin Netanyahu gets away with it

Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Coup attempt

2024

Fig. 1. Donald Trump still has his fans. Photograph along Washington Road in Upper Saint Clair, Pennsylvania, by author, April 28, 2024.

Katelyn Polantz, “Special counsel asks judge for gag order in Trump classified documents case,” Cable News Network, May 24, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/24/politics/trump-gag-order-trump-classified-documents/index.html


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.

A momentous ruling from the International Court of Justice “order[ing] Israel to halt its assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah”[2] is getting relatively little attention in the mainstream media, which has buried it in their “live coverage.”

Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of law and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame, described the [International Court of Justice’s] ruling Friday as the clearest indication yet that the operation in Rafah might be unfolding in contravention of international humanitarian law.

“This order from the court, 13, including the judge of U.S. nationality, are all saying this offensive cannot go forward,” she said.

“That should be the final word that President [Joe] Biden needs to order the immediate cessation of weapons delivery,” she said. “We have a statute in the United States that we cannot deliver military assistance to a country that’s violating international humanitarian law. You can’t get a clearer decision or ruling on that being the case than this judgment.”[3]

But no. It’s already clear that the U.S. and the United Kingdom, weaseling out of their “red lines,” can be expected to block any enforcement in the United Nations Security Council.[4]

But [Andrew Mitchell] persisted, saying: “What we said is that we do not think an operation in Rafah should go ahead without there being a proper plan, and that we have seen no such plan, and therefore our position remains that, without seeing that plan, it should not go ahead.”

The select committee chair, Liam Byrne, cited the movement of 800,000 people: “If that is not significant, then what is?”[5]

This is bullshit. Pure bullshit. Binyamin Netanyahu defied Joe Biden’s “red line” and has gotten away with it.

Loveday Morris et al., “What Israel’s strategic corridor in Gaza reveals about its postwar plans,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/17/gaza-israel-netzarim-corridor-war-hamas/

Prem Thakker, “The State Department Says Israel Isn’t Blocking Aid. Videos Show the Opposite,” Intercept, May 18, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/05/18/israel-blocking-aid-gaza/

Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

Ron Kampeas, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 20, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/20/israel/international-criminal-court-prosecutor-seeks-arrest-warrants-for-benjamin-netanyahu-and-hamas-leaders

Ivana Kottasová and Madalena Araujo, “ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war,” Cable News Network, May 20, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/20/middleeast/icc-israel-hamas-arrest-warrant-war-crimes-intl/index.html

Louisa Loveluck, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas’s Sinwar,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/20/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel ‘is stuck inside Gaza’ as Palestinian suffering deepens,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/20/israel-gaza-suffering-netanyahu-palestinian/

Alexander Ward, Erin Banco, and Lara Seligman, “Biden admin openly hammering Israel’s military strategy in Gaza,” Politico, May 21, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/21/biden-admin-hammering-israel-military-strategy-gaza-00159262

Washington Post, “Six experts weigh in on the ICC’s warrants on Israeli and Hamas leaders,” May 21, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/05/21/icc-arrest-warrant-israel-hamas-debate/

Lazar Berman, “Norway, Ireland, Spain move to recognize Palestinian state, drawing Israeli fury,” Times of Israel, May 22, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/norway-ireland-spain-move-to-recognize-palestinian-state-drawing-israeli-fury/

William Booth, “Norway, Ireland and Spain recognize Palestinian state; Israel condemns move,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/norway-ireland-palestine-state-recognition/

Kareem Fahim et al., “Israel’s latest offensives unleash ‘hell’ in Gaza, aid groups say,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/gaza-famine-aid-israel-hamas/

Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/

Jerusalem Post, “Could Oct. 7 attack have been prevented? IDF reveals Netanyahu received prior warnings,” May 23, 2024, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-802391

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s isolation deepens on the world stage,” Washington Post, May 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/23/israel-isolation-icj-ruling-gaza/

Louisa Loveluck and Ellen Francis, “U.N. court order deepens Israel’s isolation as it fights on in Rafah,” Washington Post, May 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/24/israel-rafah-invasion-icj-ruling/

Haroon Siddique and Lorenzo Tondo, “UN’s top court orders Israel to immediately halt Rafah offensive,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/icj-orders-israel-to-halt-rafah-offensive-new-ruling

Patrick Wintour, “US and UK to back Israel over ICJ ruling after blurring their Rafah red lines,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/us-and-uk-to-back-israel-against-icj-while-blurring-their-rafah-red-lines


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Haroon Siddique and Lorenzo Tondo, “UN’s top court orders Israel to immediately halt Rafah offensive,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/icj-orders-israel-to-halt-rafah-offensive-new-ruling
  3. [3]Louisa Loveluck and Ellen Francis, “U.N. court order deepens Israel’s isolation as it fights on in Rafah,” Washington Post, May 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/24/israel-rafah-invasion-icj-ruling/
  4. [4]Patrick Wintour, “US and UK to back Israel over ICJ ruling after blurring their Rafah red lines,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/us-and-uk-to-back-israel-against-icj-while-blurring-their-rafah-red-lines
  5. [5]Patrick Wintour, “US and UK to back Israel over ICJ ruling after blurring their Rafah red lines,” Guardian, May 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/24/us-and-uk-to-back-israel-against-icj-while-blurring-their-rafah-red-lines

What happens when the International Court of Justice finds Israel guilty of genocide?

Twas a nice little unexpected $700 bill at the dealership today. It was all routine service—I hadn’t expected to need to do the rear brakes quite this soon—with the only thing I hadn’t heard of before being a “throttle service.”

Apparently gunk accumulates in the throttle assembly and needs to be cleaned out from time to time. I’d never had this recommended, let alone done, before. But assuming this is a mechanical part, jamming would be bad. Very bad. We do not want throttles jamming, nosirreee!!!!!

The rest of it, which I had planned for, were air filters (both engine and cabin) and an annual state inspection (the rear brakes were actually still legal for the inspection).

The car is nearly three years old (I took delivery on July 14, 2021). I’ve had to repair two sensors—these were on the order of $1,000 each—in 181,206 miles. This was the first rear brake service. I had the first front brake service at 120,282 miles. (Most of the braking load on this car is taken up by regenerative braking.) I’m probably on my fourth set of tires. So far, it looks like Toyota is upholding its reputation.

And now that I’m no longer driving for Uber, I’m mostly on far better roads that worry me far less, with less toxic masculinity in the driving. So I’m reasonably hopeful the car will last through the six-year payment plan.


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.

This growing isolation, on one hand, could strengthen an embattled [Binyamin] Netanyahu. Along with his allies, the prime minister has long derided the supposed anti-Israel bent of agencies within the United Nations and cast Israel as a victim of global antisemitism.

“This really strengthens the narrative which we have been hearing since day one of this war that in the end, we can only depend on ourselves,” Yonatan Freeman, an international relations specialist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told Reuters. “And I think that this can even assist the Israeli government’s explanation and description of what it’s doing in this war.”

But it also reflects a certain myopia within Israel’s political establishment and perhaps its broader society, which has failed to grasp the depth of outrage over their country’s actions in Gaza. It isn’t just a “matter of squandering the international credit Israel was afforded after being cruelly attacked on October 7, with its leaders possibly finding themselves criminally indicted for war crimes,” wrote Haaretz’s Amos Harel. “The unfolding of events illustrates the global standing and diplomatic skills of Netanyahu himself. The man with pretensions of being an uber-statesman is incapable of advancing the strategic goals he set for this war, embroiling Israel in trouble that will haunt the state and its citizens for many years, beyond the direct corollaries of the massacre perpetrated by Hamas.”[2]

Ishaan Tharoor approaches an issue that has troubled me for a while now, that Zionists generally—not just the Israeli government—refuse to acknowledge that they are committing genocide, labeling any such accusation as “blood libel” or “anti-Semitism.” Any resolution to this conflict will require Israelis (and the U.S.) to face that very simple, incontrovertible fact.

But most Israelis, like white Christian nationalists, are choosing their alternative “facts” that support their preferred narrative of an anti-Semitic world bent on genocide against Jews. I look at this absolute arrogance toward Palestinians and can only wonder how much this resembles how Jews have treated their neighbors in the past and how much this narrative and these relationships have to do with the anti-Semitism that has in fact existed and the many pogroms against Jews that have in fact occurred. We now must revisit these episodes more critically: How have Jews historically gotten on with their neighbors? Why are they so often scapegoats? Were they the only people in Europe and colonized North America of a variant religion? (Of course, people kill over religion, which itself generally forbids killing. But the history of anti-Semitic pogroms far outlasts the tensions that arose, for example, in the wake of the Protestant Reformation or in, in another example, the contest between Catholics and Muslims for Spain.) I’m thinking there might be more to this story than Jews as perpetual victims.

Already the prevailing narrative generally omits that Israel’s ethnic cleansing project began with Nakba—Arabic for ‘catastrophe’—with the country’s founding, that Palestinians were uprooted even from much of the territory internationally recognized as Israel, that many continue to live in refugee camps that are decades old. Israelis and Zionists tell themselves lies about all this; we must not listen and any support we give makes us complicit.

That, of course, will be even clearer when (if, but I think increasingly likely) the International Court of Justice renders a guilty verdict in the charge of genocide. The U.S. and Israel will unavoidably be rogue states in the international order. Of course, it won’t be the first time.

Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

Ron Kampeas, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 20, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/20/israel/international-criminal-court-prosecutor-seeks-arrest-warrants-for-benjamin-netanyahu-and-hamas-leaders

Ivana Kottasová and Madalena Araujo, “ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war,” CNN, May 20, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/20/middleeast/icc-israel-hamas-arrest-warrant-war-crimes-intl/index.html

Louisa Loveluck, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas’s Sinwar,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/20/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel ‘is stuck inside Gaza’ as Palestinian suffering deepens,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/20/israel-gaza-suffering-netanyahu-palestinian/

Alexander Ward, Erin Banco, and Lara Seligman, “Biden admin openly hammering Israel’s military strategy in Gaza,” Politico, May 21, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/21/biden-admin-hammering-israel-military-strategy-gaza-00159262

Washington Post, “Six experts weigh in on the ICC’s warrants on Israeli and Hamas leaders,” May 21, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/05/21/icc-arrest-warrant-israel-hamas-debate/

Lazar Berman, “Norway, Ireland, Spain move to recognize Palestinian state, drawing Israeli fury,” Times of Israel, May 22, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/norway-ireland-spain-move-to-recognize-palestinian-state-drawing-israeli-fury/

William Booth, “Norway, Ireland and Spain recognize Palestinian state; Israel condemns move,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/norway-ireland-palestine-state-recognition/

Kareem Fahim et al., “Israel’s latest offensives unleash ‘hell’ in Gaza, aid groups say,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/gaza-famine-aid-israel-hamas/

Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s isolation deepens on the world stage,” Washington Post, May 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/23/israel-isolation-icj-ruling-gaza/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s isolation deepens on the world stage,” Washington Post, May 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/23/israel-isolation-icj-ruling-gaza/

May you pass gently into the night, Rabbi Michael Lerner


Illiberalism

Gilead

Competitive authoritarian regime project


Fig. 1. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Clarence Mitchell during signing ceremony of the voting rights act. Yoichi Okamoto, August 6, 1965, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Patrick Marley and Ann E. Marimow, “Supreme Court allows disputed South Carolina voting map, a win for GOP,” Washington Post, May 23, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/23/supreme-court-ruling-south-carolina-voting-map-gerrymander/


July 4th is a good day to die . . . for Tories

Illiberalism

Gilead

Migration


Fig. 1. Photograph credited to “ProtoplasmaKid,”, November 9, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Matthew Smith, “A century ago, anti-immigrant backlash almost closed America’s doors,” Conversation, May 21, 2024, https://theconversation.com/a-century-ago-anti-immigrant-backlash-almost-closed-americas-doors-228589

White Christian nationalism


Fig. 2. If one weighs by geography rather than population, Pennsylvania is very much a white Christian nationalist kind of place. Photograph by author, January 5, 2023.

On Wednesday, the New York Times was forced to put another incendiary, far-right flag photo from another Alito household on its home page. This was an “Appeal to Heaven” flag flown at his vacation home in New Jersey that that the Times described as being a sign of “a religious strand of the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign” and showed it appearing in photos from January 6, 2021. The first was the upside-down American flag flown at his home in Virginia in the aftermath of January 6, 2021, that had also been, the Times reported, used as a “Stop the Steal” symbol.

I say the Times was forced to do this because we should not be here, and it is a problem that we are.[1]

Chris Geidner, “Sam Alito is a problem,” Law Dork, May 23, 2024, https://www.lawdork.com/p/sam-alito-is-a-problem

Heather Cox Richardson, “May 22, 2024,” Letters from an American, May 23, 2024, https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-22-2024-ac2


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,[2] fair use.

We are at a pivotal moment for the rules-based international order that the United States tried to build for 70 years. The question much of the world is asking is do the laws and processes the United States built apply to everyone equally, or are the United States and its friends exempt?[3]

Judging from the U.S. reaction, threatening sanctions against the International Criminal Court,[4] we would seem to have an answer to that question. And we know why: “If they do this to Israel, we’re next,” said Lindsey Graham,[5] alluding to the many war crimes, that of course the U.S. does not acknowledge are war crimes, committed by the U.S. in its endless imperialist wars.

Jessica Corbett, “’Most Thorough Legal Analysis’ Yet Concludes Israel Committing Genocide in Gaza,” Common Dreams, May 15, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/news/genocide-gaza

Emanuel Fabian, Sam Sokol, and Lazar Berman, “ Gallant to PM: Reject Israeli military, civil rule of Gaza after Hamas; I won’t allow it,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallant-to-pm-reject-israeli-military-civil-rule-of-gaza-after-hamas-i-wont-allow-it/

Ezra Hess, “What Israel’s Political Landscape Says About the Course of the War in Gaza,” Council on Foreign Relations, May 15, 2024, https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/what-israels-political-landscape-says-about-course-war-gaza

Sanjana Karanth, “Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy,” HuffPost, May 15, 2024, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jewish-american-biden-appointee-resigns-protest-gaza_n_6644fb92e4b0411bd6ffae0f

Jeremy Sharon, “ICJ’s urgent hearings over IDF’s Rafah operation spell more trouble for Israel,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/icjs-urgent-hearings-over-idfs-rafah-operation-spell-more-trouble-for-israel/

Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, “The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel,” New York Times, May 16, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/16/magazine/israel-west-bank-settler-violence-impunity.html

Karen DeYoung and Shane Harris, “U.S. officials see strategic failure in Israel’s Rafah invasion,” Washington Post, May 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/16/biden-rafah-intelligence-netanyahu-strategy/

Ron Kampeas, “Lily Greenberg Call, Jewish staffer who quit Biden administration over Israel policy: ‘There are so many of us who feel this way’,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 16, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/16/israel/lily-greenberg-call-jewish-staffer-who-quit-biden-administration-over-israel-policy-there-are-so-many-of-us-who-feel-this-way

Ann Wright, “Why Did the US Spend $320 Million on a Rube Goldberg Pier For Gaza?” Common Dreams, May 16, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/us-military-pier-gaza

Loveday Morris et al., “What Israel’s strategic corridor in Gaza reveals about its postwar plans,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/17/gaza-israel-netzarim-corridor-war-hamas/

Prem Thakker, “The State Department Says Israel Isn’t Blocking Aid. Videos Show the Opposite,” Intercept, May 18, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/05/18/israel-blocking-aid-gaza/

Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

Ron Kampeas, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 20, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/20/israel/international-criminal-court-prosecutor-seeks-arrest-warrants-for-benjamin-netanyahu-and-hamas-leaders

Ivana Kottasová and Madalena Araujo, “ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war,” Cable News Network, May 20, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/20/middleeast/icc-israel-hamas-arrest-warrant-war-crimes-intl/index.html

Louisa Loveluck, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas’s Sinwar,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/20/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel ‘is stuck inside Gaza’ as Palestinian suffering deepens,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/20/israel-gaza-suffering-netanyahu-palestinian/

Alexander Ward, Erin Banco, and Lara Seligman, “Biden admin openly hammering Israel’s military strategy in Gaza,” Politico, May 21, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/21/biden-admin-hammering-israel-military-strategy-gaza-00159262

Washington Post, “Six experts weigh in on the ICC’s warrants on Israeli and Hamas leaders,” May 21, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/05/21/icc-arrest-warrant-israel-hamas-debate/

Lazar Berman, “Norway, Ireland, Spain move to recognize Palestinian state, drawing Israeli fury,” Times of Israel, May 22, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/norway-ireland-spain-move-to-recognize-palestinian-state-drawing-israeli-fury/

William Booth, “Norway, Ireland and Spain recognize Palestinian state; Israel condemns move,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/22/norway-ireland-palestine-state-recognition/

Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/


(dis)United Kingdom

Prime minister


Fig. 4. President Reagan on the South Lawn during the arrival ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. U.S. Government photograph, November 16, 1988, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Matt Honeycombe-Foster, “UK’s Rishi Sunak calls snap July election,” Politico, May 22, 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/uks-rishi-sunak-calls-snap-july-election/


  1. [1]Chris Geidner, “Sam Alito is a problem,” Law Dork, May 23, 2024, https://www.lawdork.com/p/sam-alito-is-a-problem
  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]Dylan Williams, quoted in Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/
  4. [4]Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/
  5. [5]Ishaan Tharoor, “The ICC’s battle with Israel is a test of the international order,” Washington Post, May 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/22/icc-international-order-criminal-court-israel-war-crimes/

The game is up

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.

Israel has reached a dead end:

The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the October 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, the court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Monday.

Khan said the ICC is also seeking warrants for Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as two other top Hamas leaders — Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, the leader of the Al Qassem Brigades and better known as Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ political leader.[2]

The [International Criminal Court] is the only permanent international court that wields power to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its announcement Monday was historic: Although Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, upon which the court was founded, the arrest warrants nonetheless shroud the country’s senior leaders with deep stigmatization.

Figures with outstanding ICC arrest warrants include Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the crime of unlawful deportation and population transfer from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, and the deposed president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and genocide.

A panel of ICC judges will now consider Khan’s application Monday for new arrest warrants.[3]

It’s the end of the road for Joe Biden as well. He can use the full power of his administration and probably the U.S. Congress to deny what, as Mohamad Bazzi notes, is apparent to the whole world.[4] But because it is apparent to the whole world, the whole world knows what Biden is doing when he denies it.

Funny, I only see him in a suit and tie or, perhaps, a polo shirt. I wonder what that’s like down in the cesspool. (Honey! I can’t get the smell of shit out of this tie!)

On a related note, most of the updates to recent blog posts also appear here. That didn’t happen today (May 20, 2024), so for more, see the updates, most recently today, to my recent blog post, “On Joe Biden versus Binyamin Netanyahu, watch much more what they do, much less what they say.”

Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

Ron Kampeas, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 20, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/20/israel/international-criminal-court-prosecutor-seeks-arrest-warrants-for-benjamin-netanyahu-and-hamas-leaders

Ivana Kottasová and Madalena Araujo, “ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war,” Cable News Network, May 20, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/20/middleeast/icc-israel-hamas-arrest-warrant-war-crimes-intl/index.html

Louisa Loveluck, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas’s Sinwar,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/20/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel ‘is stuck inside Gaza’ as Palestinian suffering deepens,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/20/israel-gaza-suffering-netanyahu-palestinian/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Ivana Kottasová and Madalena Araujo, “ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war,” Cable News Network, May 20, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/20/middleeast/icc-israel-hamas-arrest-warrant-war-crimes-intl/index.html
  3. [3]Louisa Loveluck, “ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas’s Sinwar,” Washington Post, May 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/20/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestine/
  4. [4]Mohamad Bazzi, “Biden wants progressives to believe he’s reining in Israel. He isn’t,” Guardian, May 20, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/20/biden-weapons-israel-gaza-war

It isn’t just that Joe Biden should know better. It’s that he actually does.

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 New York Times has been faulted for its alleged pro-Israel bias.[2] It partly redeems itself with a long story about how the ultra-right wing took over Israel. It blames this ultra-right wing for many of the present problems, including incited Palestinians.[3]

I recommend reading the article, but it fails to explain why Israeli politicians failed to rein in the ultra-right wing, even after an ultra-right wing lunatic assassinated a prime minister. In essence, it appears, though this is not explained, that the ultra-right settlers had already captured the Israeli government. The blame for this cannot be limited to the ultra-right: They took advantage of the opportunity they had. Blame must also extend to all who allowed them that opportunity and, in apparent conformance with its alleged pro-Israel bias, the New York Times generally fails to do this.

That said, there’s important reporting here. Joe Biden’s criticism of West Bank settlements dates way back; his warning to Israeli officials that the settlements were weakening U.S. public support for Israel at the time was taken as evidence that however much the U.S. may criticize or threaten Israel for its behavior in the Occupied Territories, the U.S. will not actually take action against Israel for it and will continue to support Israel financially and militarily regardless.[4]

That’s a playbook Biden follows to this day,[5] even as he has to have seen that it produced no improvement in Israeli behavior and cannot be expected to do so now. The New York Times reporting shows that even decades ago, Biden knew that Palestinians enjoyed increasing sympathy in the U.S.,[6] and therefore can hardly claim to be surprised by campus unrest now. This, then, is collaboration, with only the barest of fig leaves. As I suspected, however they may feel about it, Binyamin Netanyahu and Biden have an understanding that transcends their rhetoric,[7] though the New York Times omits mentioning this. And Israel resembles its vigilante settlers who defy even Israeli law just as Israel defies international law.

This is the tell in the New York Times coverage: It lays out the evidence for government collusion with illegal settlers that must have long preceded the rise of the right in Israel but fails even to question this. It even repeats genocidal remarks without noting that they are evidence of genocidal intent. It bends over backwards to portray innocent and honorable Israel as having been captured by these horrible (well, they are actually horrible) ultra-right wingers. But it fails to draw an obvious analogy that long predates October 7.

John Hudson, “U.S. says Israel may have violated humanitarian law using American weapons,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/10/biden-israel-gaza-us-weapons/

Toluse Olorunnipa and Jacqueline Alemany, “Biden’s isolation grows as Gaza report both criticizes and clears Israel,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/10/biden-israel-human-rights-report/

Times of Israel, “Report: State Department set to confirm Israel not breaking international law in Gaza,” May 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/report-state-department-set-to-confirm-israel-not-breaking-international-law-in-gaza/

United Nations News, “UN General Assembly presses Security Council to give ‘favourable consideration’ to full Palestinian membership,” May 10, 2024, https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/05/1149596

Brett Wilkins, “Biden ‘Moving the Goal Post’ With Threat to Withhold Bombs from Israel,” Inter Press Service, May 10, 2024, https://www.ipsnews.net/2024/05/biden-moving-goal-post-threat-withhold-bombs-israel/

Jason Burke, Lorenzo Tondo, and Malak A. Tantesh, “Terrified families flee Rafah as Israel set to open all-out assault,” Guardian, May 11, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/11/leaflet-families-rafah-israel-assault-gaza-palestinians-biden

Richard Luscombe and Edward Helmore, “‘Strategic and moral mistakes’: US politicians step up condemnation of Israel,” Guardian, May 12, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/12/us-politicians-criticize-israel-gaza-war

David Remnick, “An Israeli Newspaper Presents Truths Readers May Prefer to Avoid,” New Yorker, May 12, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/05/20/an-israeli-newspaper-presents-truths-readers-may-prefer-to-avoid

Ishaan Tharoor, “Why Spain will recognize a Palestinian state,” Washington Post, May 13, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/13/palestine-statehood-recognize-spain-united-nations/

John Hudson, “Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/14/biden-israel-weapons-gaza-rafah/

Jessica Corbett, “’Most Thorough Legal Analysis’ Yet Concludes Israel Committing Genocide in Gaza,” Common Dreams, May 15, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/news/genocide-gaza

Emanuel Fabian, Sam Sokol, and Lazar Berman, “ Gallant to PM: Reject Israeli military, civil rule of Gaza after Hamas; I won’t allow it,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallant-to-pm-reject-israeli-military-civil-rule-of-gaza-after-hamas-i-wont-allow-it/

Ezra Hess, “What Israel’s Political Landscape Says About the Course of the War in Gaza,” Council on Foreign Relations, May 15, 2024, https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/what-israels-political-landscape-says-about-course-war-gaza

Sanjana Karanth, “Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy,” HuffPost, May 15, 2024, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jewish-american-biden-appointee-resigns-protest-gaza_n_6644fb92e4b0411bd6ffae0f

Jeremy Sharon, “ICJ’s urgent hearings over IDF’s Rafah operation spell more trouble for Israel,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/icjs-urgent-hearings-over-idfs-rafah-operation-spell-more-trouble-for-israel/

Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, “The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel,” New York Times, May 16, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/16/magazine/israel-west-bank-settler-violence-impunity.html

Karen DeYoung and Shane Harris, “U.S. officials see strategic failure in Israel’s Rafah invasion,” Washington Post, May 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/16/biden-rafah-intelligence-netanyahu-strategy/

Ron Kampeas, “Lily Greenberg Call, Jewish staffer who quit Biden administration over Israel policy: ‘There are so many of us who feel this way’,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 16, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/05/16/israel/lily-greenberg-call-jewish-staffer-who-quit-biden-administration-over-israel-policy-there-are-so-many-of-us-who-feel-this-way

Ann Wright, “Why Did the US Spend $320 Million on a Rube Goldberg Pier For Gaza?” Common Dreams, May 16, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/us-military-pier-gaza

Loveday Morris et al., “What Israel’s strategic corridor in Gaza reveals about its postwar plans,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/17/gaza-israel-netzarim-corridor-war-hamas/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Grim, “Leaked NYT Gaza Memo Tells Journalists to Avoid Words ‘Genocide,’ ‘Ethnic Cleansing,’ and ‘Occupied Territory,’” Intercept, April 15, 2024, https://theintercept.com/2024/04/15/nyt-israel-gaza-genocide-palestine-coverage/
  3. [3]Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, “The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel,” New York Times, May 16, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/16/magazine/israel-west-bank-settler-violence-impunity.html
  4. [4]Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, “The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel,” New York Times, May 16, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/16/magazine/israel-west-bank-settler-violence-impunity.html
  5. [5]Yasmeen Abutaleb, “Biden says Israel’s military conduct in Gaza has been ‘over the top,’” Washington Post, February 8, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/08/biden-israel-gaza-speech-netanyahu/; Yasmeen Abutaleb, “Biden says he will cut off offensive weapons if Israel invades Rafah,” Washington Post, May 8, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/08/biden-threatens-suspension-military-aid-israel/; Yasmeen Abutaleb, John Hudson, and Tyler Pager, “Biden moving closer than ever to a breach with Netanyahu over war in Gaza,” Washington Post, February 11, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/11/biden-netanyahu-closer-to-a-breach/; 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/; 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/; Zack Beauchamp, “Are Biden and the Democrats finally turning on Israel?” Vox, March 8, 2024, https://www.vox.com/politics/2024/3/8/24093748/biden-israel-democrats-state-of-the-union-gaza-port; David S. Cloud, and Summer Sai, “Israel’s Netanyahu Rejects U.S. Plan for Postwar Gaza,” Washington Post, December 12, 2023, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/israels-netanyahu-rejects-u-s-plan-for-post-war-gaza-d60fc0c3; Susie Coen, “Joe Biden considers going public with frustration over ‘a–hole’ Benjamin Netanyahu,” Telegraph, February 12, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/news/2024/02/12/joe-biden-going-public-frustration-benjamin-netanyahu/; Susie Coen, Nataliya Vasilyeva, and Nick Gutteridge, “US moves to stop Israel’s invasion of Rafah,” Telegraph, February 19, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/02/19/us-use-un-force-israel-halt-rafah-invasion-hamas-idf/; Stephen Collinson, Caitlin Hu, and Shelby Rose to Meanwhile in America list, “A momentous twist in US-Israel relations,” Cable News Network, March 14, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/newsletters; Karen DeYoung, “Biden’s support of Israel could come at a cost to U.S. foreign policy,” Washington Post, December 16, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/12/16/biden-netanyahu-israel-support-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/; Karen DeYoung, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Toluse Olorunnipa, “Biden-Netanyahu rift grows, as Israel cancels delegation visit,” Washington Post, March 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/03/25/biden-netanyahu-un-delegation-rift/; Karen DeYoung and Shane Harris, “U.S. officials see strategic failure in Israel’s Rafah invasion,” Washington Post, May 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/16/biden-rafah-intelligence-netanyahu-strategy/; Jonathan Freedland, “In defying Joe Biden, Benjamin Netanyahu is exposing the limits of US power,” Guardian, March 22, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/mar/22/joe-biden-benjamin-netanyahu-israel-gaza-donald-trump; Lauren Gambino, “Top senator calls on Biden to ‘use all levers’ to pressure Israel over Gaza,” Guardian, March 16, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/mar/16/biden-senator-chris-van-hollen-israel-gaza-aid; Gershom Gorenberg, “Why Biden and Bibi Are Tangling, and Why Biden Could Win,” New Republic, March 15, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/article/179736/biden-netanyahu-feud-gaza; Liz Goodwin, “Schumer calls for ‘new election’ in Israel in scathing speech on Netanyahu,” Washington Post, March 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/03/14/israel-elections-netanyahu-charles-schumer/; 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; Guardian, “US highlights ‘gap’ in Israel’s commitment to protect civilians in Gaza,” December 7, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/08/us-israel-hamas-war-gaza-civilian-protection-anthony-blinken; 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; John Hudson, “U.S. floods arms into Israel despite mounting alarm over war’s conduct,” Washington Post, March 6, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/03/06/us-weapons-israel-gaza/; John Hudson, “U.S. signs off on more bombs, warplanes for Israel,” Washington Post, March 29, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/03/29/us-weapons-israel-gaza-war/; John Hudson, “U.S. says Israel may have violated humanitarian law using American weapons,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/10/biden-israel-gaza-us-weapons/; John Hudson, “Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/14/biden-israel-weapons-gaza-rafah/; David Ignatius, “In the West Bank, I saw how peace will require confrontation with Israel,” Washington Post, December 16, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/12/16/west-bank-settlers-violence-peace/; Ron Kampeas, “Biden slams Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in CNN interview,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 9, 2023, https://www.jta.org/2023/07/09/israel/biden-slams-israel-and-the-palestinian-authority-in-cnn-interview; Ron Kampeas, “US officials deny pressing Israel for a war ‘deadline,’ but differences between the two are emerging,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, December 8, 2023, https://www.jta.org/2023/12/08/united-states/us-officials-deny-pressing-israel-for-a-war-deadline-but-differences-between-the-two-are-emerging; Ron Kampeas, “Biden administration, Reform Jewish leader slam Smotrich and Ben Gvir for calling for Palestinians’ removal from Gaza,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 2, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/01/02/politics/biden-administration-reform-jewish-leader-slam-smotrich-and-ben-gvir-for-calling-for-palestinians-removal-from-gaza; Ron Kampeas, “Calling Israel’s response in Gaza ‘over the top,’ Biden conditions defense aid on allowing humanitarian assistance,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 9, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/09/politics/calling-israels-response-in-gaza-over-the-top-biden-conditions-defense-aid-on-humanitarian-assistance; 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; Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Patrick Kingsley, “A Blinken Visit Puts U.S.-Israeli Tensions on Full Display,” New York Times, February 9, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/08/world/middleeast/blinken-netanyahu-gaza-negotiations.html; M. J. Lee, “Inside President Biden’s pointed phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu,” Cable News Network, April 7, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/06/politics/biden-netanyahu-israel-gaza-war-phone-call-details/index.html; Matthew Lee, “The Biden administration once again bypasses Congress on an emergency weapons sale to Israel,” Associated Press, December 29, 2023, https://www.vox.com/world-politics/23972967/river-to-sea-palestine-israel-hamas; Kevin Liptak and Jeremy Diamond, “Biden tells donors Israel is losing support, Netanyahu must change his government,” Cable News Network, December 12, 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/12/politics/biden-israel-losing-support-netanyahu/index.html; Richard Luscombe and Edward Helmore, “‘Strategic and moral mistakes’: US politicians step up condemnation of Israel,” Guardian, May 12, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/12/us-politicians-criticize-israel-gaza-war; Eric Lutz, “Joe Biden’s Delicate Dance With Netanyahu Can’t Go on Forever,” Vanity Fair, March 11, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/joe-biden-benjamin-netanyahu-rift; Eric Lutz, “Will Biden’s “Immediate Ceasefire” Resolution Actually Change Netanyahu’s Calculus?” Vanity Fair, March 21, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/will-bidens-ceasefire-resolution-change-netanyahus-calculus; Jacob Magid, “Biden: ‘Indiscriminate’ bombing costing Israel support, Netanyahu ‘has to change,’” Times of Israel, December 13, 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-indiscriminate-bombing-costs-israel-support-netanyahu-has-to-change/; 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/; Jared Malsin and Nancy A. Youssef, “Biden Weighs More Than $1 Billion in New Arms for Israel,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/AYrD2jUG7Td29aUfmEPUWSw; Dion Nissenbaum and Vivian Salama, “Biden-Netanyahu Relationship at Boiling Point as Rafah Invasion Looms,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024, https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/biden-netanyahu-relationship-at-boiling-point-as-rafah-invasion-looms-b893bec5; Toluse Olorunnipa and Jacqueline Alemany, “Biden’s isolation grows as Gaza report both criticizes and clears Israel,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/10/biden-israel-human-rights-report/; Alon Pinkas, “Netanyahu has been spoiling for a fight with the US. He may not survive this one,” Guardian, March 26, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/mar/26/benjamin-netanyahu-joe-biden-un-security-council-resolution-ceasefire-gaza; James Politi and Felicia Schwartz, “Biden’s troubled Gaza strategy: ‘the US looks feckless,’” Financial Times, December 22, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/edebf6ef-155e-4aad-a41b-7e31016cad96; James Politi and Neri Zilber, “Biden says Israel must have plan to avoid civilian casualties in Rafah,” Financial Times, February 11, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/b00a8dcc-f8e3-4da6-a65b-280bb2289f5f; Barak Ravid, “Schumer’s anti-Netanyahu speech stuns Israel,” Axios, March 14, 2024, https://www.axios.com/2024/03/14/schumer-israel-netanyahu-speech-reaction; Noga Tarnopolsky, “The Biden Plan to Ditch Netanyahu,” New York, March 9, 2024, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/the-biden-plan-to-ditch-israels-netanyahu.html; Adam Taylor, “Biden has huge leverage on Israel. He hasn’t really used it yet,” Washington Post, March 12, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/03/12/israel-united-states-military-aid-leverage/; 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/; Ishaan Tharoor, “Biden muddles along with Israel as West Bank violence spirals,” Washington Post, July 7, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/07/israel-us-biden-west-bank-violence-status-quo/; Ishaan Tharoor, “It’s the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are radical on Israel,” Washington Post, July 19, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/19/israel-republican-democrat-partisan-racist-state/; Ishaan Tharoor, “Biden’s rift with Netanyahu grows wider,” Washington Post, March 5, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/03/05/biden-netanyahu-gantz/; Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s war on Hamas brings famine to Gaza,” Washington Post, March 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/03/19/gaza-famine-aid-warn/; Ishaan Tharoor, “The U.S. and Israel have a ‘major credibility problem,’” Washington Post, March 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/03/25/israel-united-states-credibility-confrontation/; Ishaan Tharoor, “U.S. allows U.N. ceasefire vote, but it’s too late for many in Gaza,” Washington Post, March 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/03/26/united-states-united-nations-veto-israel-ceasefire-gaza/; Ishaan Tharoor, “The delusions behind Biden’s plan for Middle East peace,” Washington Post, May 1, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/01/middle-east-peace-biden-plan-delusions/; Times of Israel, “White House ups pressure on Israel to end ‘high-intensity’ fighting in Gaza soon,” December 15, 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/white-house-ups-pressure-on-israel-to-end-high-intensity-fighting-in-gaza-soon/; Times of Israel, “‘Very senior’ Israeli official accuses US government of seeking to oust Netanyahu,” March 12, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/very-senior-israeli-official-accuses-us-government-of-seeking-to-oust-netanyahu/; Times of Israel, “Biden hails ‘good speech’ by Schumer criticizing Netanyahu, says many Americans agree,” March 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-hails-good-speech-by-schumer-criticizing-netanyahu-says-many-americans-agree/; Luke Tress, “Chuck Schumer calls for new elections in Israel, says Netanyahu has ‘lost his way,’” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 14, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/03/14/israel/schumer-calls-for-new-elections-in-israel-says-netanyahu-has-lost-his-way; Washington Post to 5-Minute Fix list, “The 5-Minute Fix: What’s behind Biden’s steadfast support for Israel?” November 27, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/the-fix/; Brett Wilkins, “Biden ‘Moving the Goal Post’ With Threat to Withhold Bombs from Israel,” Inter Press Service, May 10, 2024, https://www.ipsnews.net/2024/05/biden-moving-goal-post-threat-withhold-bombs-israel/; Aime Williams and James Shotter, “Joe Biden calls out ‘extreme’ elements within Israel’s government,” Financial Times, July 9, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/6c91f5df-58ce-4fe2-b4f3-de12f565eac2; Patrick Wintour, “Biden in a bind as Netanhayu ready to flout any US attempt to rein in Israel,” Guardian, December 15, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/15/biden-in-a-bind-as-netanhayu-ready-to-flout-any-us-attempt-to-rein-in-israel
  6. [6]Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, “The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel,” New York Times, May 16, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/16/magazine/israel-west-bank-settler-violence-impunity.html
  7. [7]David Benfell, “On Joe Biden versus Binyamin Netanyahu, watch much more what they do, much less what they say,” Not Housebroken, May 15, 2024, https://disunitedstates.org/2024/03/23/on-joe-biden-versus-binyamin-netanyahu-watch-much-more-what-they-do-much-less-what-they-say/

I guess people are shocked that the U.S. Supreme Court is white Christian nationalist

Illiberalism

Gilead

White Christian nationalism


Fig. 1. If one weighs by geography rather than population, Pennsylvania is very much a white Christian nationalist kind of place. Photograph by author, January 5, 2023.

Justin Jouvenal and Ann E. Marimow, “Upside-down flag flew at Justice Alito’s house after neighbor dispute,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/17/justice-samuel-alito-wife-upside-down-flag/

Conover Kennard, “Justice Alito Tries, Fails Miserably To Explain Flag Scandal,” Crooks and Liars, May 18, 2024, https://crooksandliars.com/2024/05/justice-alito-tries-fails-miserably


Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh


Fig. 1. The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the “Golden Triangle” and downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph by author, October 15, 2023.

Rich Cholodofsky, “Westmoreland register of wills ordered pay about $500K in fees to county,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 17, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/westmoreland-register-of-wills-ordered-remit-about-500k-in-fees-to-county/

Brian C. Rittmeyer, “National Weather Service investigating 4 potential tornado sites; at least 2 reached the ground,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 17, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/regional/national-weather-service-issues-multiple-tornado-warnings-flood-warning/


It’s so-o-o-o hard being Binyamin Netanyahu

Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Hush money


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

Marianne LeVine, “New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan scolds Trump attorney,” Washington Post, May 9, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/09/judge-scolds-trump-lawyer-mistrial/

Patrick Svitek, Devlin Barrett, and Perry Stein, “Stormy Daniels’s testimony got heated. Here were the most intense exchanges,” Washington Post, May 9, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/09/stormy-daniels-trump-lawyers-testimony/

Sean O’Driscoll, “Judge Merchan hands Donald Trump major legal setback,” Newsweek, May 11, 2024, https://apple.news/AS7ez_QK0RimLYWitmDPECg

Kyle Cheney, Erica Orden, and Ben Feuerherd, “The reinvention of Michael Cohen,” Politico, May 13, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/13/trump-hush-money-trial-michael-cohen-reinvention-00157753

Politico, “Trump feared campaign ‘disaster’ if Daniels story got out, Cohen says,” May 13, 2024, https://www.politico.com/live-updates/2024/05/13/trump-hush-money-criminal-trial/trumps-small-crowd-outside-00157716

Washington Post, “Trump attorneys sharply question Michael Cohen in hush money trial,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/14/trump-hush-money-trial-michael-cohen-live-updates/

Tina Nguyen, “Johnson’s Courthouse Campaign,” Puck, May 15, 2024, https://puck.news/mike-johnson-courthouse-campaign/

Devlin Barrett et al., “Trump’s lawyer charges Michael Cohen lied to jury,” Washington Post, May 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/16/michael-cohen-trump-hush-money-trial/


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,[1] fair use.

[A]s Hamas returns to northern areas already cleared by the [Israeli Defense Forces], military occupation — once an unthinkable suggestion within Israel — is now being openly discussed.

“There is no other option,” said Michael Milshtein, former adviser on Palestinian affairs to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.[2]

It isn’t that Binyamin Netanyahu doesn’t have a plan for “the day after” in Gaza. It’s that he doesn’t want to admit what is increasingly obvious:

Israel insists it does not intend to permanently reoccupy Gaza, which its troops controlled for 38 years until withdrawing in 2005. But the construction of roads, outposts and buffer zones in recent months points to an expanding role for Israel’s military as alternative visions for postwar Gaza falter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released few concrete plans for the “day after” — a source of frustration for his generals and for Washington — but has repeatedly vowed to maintain “indefinite” security control over the enclave. In addition to conducting future raids from outside, Israeli troops may need to “be inside” Gaza to ensure the demilitarization of Hamas, Netanyahu said in a podcast interview earlier this week.[3]

This is a genocide project.[4] For Netanyahu to admit his plan is to stay in Gaza would be tantamount to an admission that his plan is—and always has been—genocide.

But there are problems, like how to avoid an election he is certain to lose.[5] Like how to limit genocide’s diplomatic ramifications, especially as the International Court of Justice seems increasingly likely to rule that Israel’s actions are at least tantamount to genocide.[6] Like how to sneak the surviving Gazan population into the Sinai Desert without Egypt noticing (to call such a feat unlikely is entirely too generous, but it becomes every so slightly less implausible with every Gazan the Israelis kill). Like how to defeat Hamas, a goal the U.S. doesn’t believe possible[7] (most experts have also, from the beginning, doubted this prospect[8]). Like how to finesse Joe Biden who desperately wants to support Netanyahu but is facing a tough re-election campaign in which many people are likely to withhold their votes because it is so painfully obvious that a vote for Biden is a vote for genocide and because it is overwhelmingly clear that for all their bellyaching about Donald Trump’s very real threat to ‘democracy’ constitutional oligarchy, Democrats generally continue to demonstrate overwhelmingly that they vastly prefer to sit in opposition where they can complain about Republicans but nobody expects them to actually accomplish a single damned thing.

John Hudson, “U.S. says Israel may have violated humanitarian law using American weapons,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/10/biden-israel-gaza-us-weapons/

Toluse Olorunnipa and Jacqueline Alemany, “Biden’s isolation grows as Gaza report both criticizes and clears Israel,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/10/biden-israel-human-rights-report/

Times of Israel, “Report: State Department set to confirm Israel not breaking international law in Gaza,” May 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/report-state-department-set-to-confirm-israel-not-breaking-international-law-in-gaza/

United Nations News, “UN General Assembly presses Security Council to give ‘favourable consideration’ to full Palestinian membership,” May 10, 2024, https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/05/1149596

Brett Wilkins, “Biden ‘Moving the Goal Post’ With Threat to Withhold Bombs from Israel,” Inter Press Service, May 10, 2024, https://www.ipsnews.net/2024/05/biden-moving-goal-post-threat-withhold-bombs-israel/

Jason Burke, Lorenzo Tondo, and Malak A. Tantesh, “Terrified families flee Rafah as Israel set to open all-out assault,” Guardian, May 11, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/11/leaflet-families-rafah-israel-assault-gaza-palestinians-biden

Richard Luscombe and Edward Helmore, “‘Strategic and moral mistakes’: US politicians step up condemnation of Israel,” Guardian, May 12, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/12/us-politicians-criticize-israel-gaza-war

David Remnick, “An Israeli Newspaper Presents Truths Readers May Prefer to Avoid,” New Yorker, May 12, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/05/20/an-israeli-newspaper-presents-truths-readers-may-prefer-to-avoid

Ishaan Tharoor, “Why Spain will recognize a Palestinian state,” Washington Post, May 13, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/13/palestine-statehood-recognize-spain-united-nations/

John Hudson, “Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/14/biden-israel-weapons-gaza-rafah/

Jessica Corbett, “’Most Thorough Legal Analysis’ Yet Concludes Israel Committing Genocide in Gaza,” Common Dreams, May 15, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/news/genocide-gaza

Emanuel Fabian, Sam Sokol, and Lazar Berman, “ Gallant to PM: Reject Israeli military, civil rule of Gaza after Hamas; I won’t allow it,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallant-to-pm-reject-israeli-military-civil-rule-of-gaza-after-hamas-i-wont-allow-it/

Ezra Hess, “What Israel’s Political Landscape Says About the Course of the War in Gaza,” Council on Foreign Relations, May 15, 2024, https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/what-israels-political-landscape-says-about-course-war-gaza

Sanjana Karanth, “Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy,” HuffPost, May 15, 2024, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jewish-american-biden-appointee-resigns-protest-gaza_n_6644fb92e4b0411bd6ffae0f

Jeremy Sharon, “ICJ’s urgent hearings over IDF’s Rafah operation spell more trouble for Israel,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/icjs-urgent-hearings-over-idfs-rafah-operation-spell-more-trouble-for-israel/

Karen DeYoung and Shane Harris, “U.S. officials see strategic failure in Israel’s Rafah invasion,” Washington Post, May 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/16/biden-rafah-intelligence-netanyahu-strategy/

Ann Wright, “Why Did the US Spend $320 Million on a Rube Goldberg Pier For Gaza?” Common Dreams, May 16, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/us-military-pier-gaza

Loveday Morris et al., “What Israel’s strategic corridor in Gaza reveals about its postwar plans,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/17/gaza-israel-netzarim-corridor-war-hamas/


Pennsylvania and surrounding areas

Pittsburgh, the Ohio Valley, and surrounding areas

Pollution


Fig. 3. 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,[9] fair use.

Kiley Bense, “Beaver County residents say Shell’s ethane cracker plant has become a ‘shockingly bad’ neighbor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, May 16, 2024, https://penncapital-star.com/energy-environment/beaver-county-residents-say-shells-ethane-cracker-plant-has-become-a-shockingly-bad-neighbor/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Loveday Morris et al., “What Israel’s strategic corridor in Gaza reveals about its postwar plans,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/17/gaza-israel-netzarim-corridor-war-hamas/
  3. [3]Loveday Morris et al., “What Israel’s strategic corridor in Gaza reveals about its postwar plans,” Washington Post, May 17, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/05/17/gaza-israel-netzarim-corridor-war-hamas/
  4. [4]Jessica Corbett, “’Most Thorough Legal Analysis’ Yet Concludes Israel Committing Genocide in Gaza,” Common Dreams, May 15, 2024, https://www.commondreams.org/news/genocide-gaza
  5. [5]Ezra Hess, “What Israel’s Political Landscape Says About the Course of the War in Gaza,” Council on Foreign Relations, May 15, 2024, https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/what-israels-political-landscape-says-about-course-war-gaza
  6. [6]Juan Cole, “Israel’s Reputation forever Besmirched by UN Court Injunction to Cease Genociding Palestinians,” Informed Comment, January 27, 2024, https://www.juancole.com/2024/01/reputation-besmirched-palestinians.html; Steve Crawshaw, “This momentous ICJ ruling may be brushed aside by Israel – but the US and UK can’t afford to ignore it,” Guardian, January 26, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/jan/26/israel-gaza-icj-genocide-ruling-the-hague; Just Security, “Top Experts’ Views of Int’l Court of Justice Ruling on Israel Gaza Operations (South Africa v Israel, Genocide Convention Case),” January 26, 2024, https://www.justsecurity.org/91457/top-experts-views-of-intl-court-of-justice-ruling-on-israel-gaza-operations-south-africa-v-israel-genocide-convention-case/; Ron Kampeas, “International Court of Justice rules that some allegations of Israel committing genocide are ‘plausible,’” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 26, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/01/26/politics/international-court-of-justice-rules-that-some-allegations-of-israel-committing-genocide-are-plausible; Emily Rauhala and Steve Hendrix, “U.N. court orders Israel to halt killings in Gaza, but no cease-fire,” Washington Post, January 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/01/26/israel-icj-ruling-decision-south-africa-gaza/; Kenneth Roth, “The ICJ ruling is a repudiation of Israel and its western backers,” Guardian, January 26, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/jan/26/icj-ruling-israel-western-backers; Jeremy Sharon, “ICJ’s urgent hearings over IDF’s Rafah operation spell more trouble for Israel,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/icjs-urgent-hearings-over-idfs-rafah-operation-spell-more-trouble-for-israel/
  7. [7]Karen DeYoung and Shane Harris, “U.S. officials see strategic failure in Israel’s Rafah invasion,” Washington Post, May 16, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/16/biden-rafah-intelligence-netanyahu-strategy/
  8. [8]Loveday Morris, “Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas. Yet the group remains largely intact,” Washington Post, December 5, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/12/05/israel-military-offensive-hamas-destruction-gaza/; Alon Pinkas, “Netanyahu is stuck as he battles Hamas: he can’t afford to lose, yet can’t find a way to win,” Guardian, November 30, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/nov/30/netanyahu-hamas-lose-win-israeli-public-us; Paul Rogers, “Israel is losing the war against Hamas – but Netanyahu and his government will never admit it,” Guardian, December 21, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/dec/21/israel-losing-war-against-hamas-netanyahu-idf; Jeremy Scahill, “This Is Not a War Against Hamas,” Intercept, December 11, 2023, https://theintercept.com/2023/12/11/israel-hamas-war-civilians-biden/; Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel is struggling to destroy Hamas, but it’s destroying Gaza,” Washington Post, December 20, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/12/20/israel-battlefield-gaza-defeat-hamas/
  9. [9]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

There’s a ‘red line’ coming for Joe Biden

Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Hush money


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

Kyle Cheney, Erica Orden, and Ben Feuerherd, “The reinvention of Michael Cohen,” Politico, May 13, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/13/trump-hush-money-trial-michael-cohen-reinvention-00157753

Politico, “Trump feared campaign ‘disaster’ if Daniels story got out, Cohen says,” May 13, 2024, https://www.politico.com/live-updates/2024/05/13/trump-hush-money-criminal-trial/trumps-small-crowd-outside-00157716

Washington Post, “Trump attorneys sharply question Michael Cohen in hush money trial,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/14/trump-hush-money-trial-michael-cohen-live-updates/

Tina Nguyen, “Johnson’s Courthouse Campaign,” Puck, May 15, 2024, https://puck.news/mike-johnson-courthouse-campaign/

Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2023-2024


Fig. 2. Photograph credited to Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, date inconsistent with title but given as November 9, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Tina Nguyen, “Johnson’s Courthouse Campaign,” Puck, May 15, 2024, https://puck.news/mike-johnson-courthouse-campaign/

Competitive authoritarian regime project


Fig. 3. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Clarence Mitchell during signing ceremony of the voting rights act. Yoichi Okamoto, August 6, 1965, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I didn’t understand the logic behind conservatives supporting an additional seat for Black people in the Louisiana voting map and liberals opposing it[1] yesterday. Today, I’ve read Chris Geidner[2] and I’m still confused. Sorry, not getting it. This doesn’t even begin to make sense to me.

Patrick Marley, Justin Jouvenal, and Ann E. Marimow, “Supreme Court restores Louisiana voting map with majority-Black district,” Washington Post, May 15, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/15/supreme-court-restores-la-voting-map-with-majority-black-district/

Chris Geidner, “Wednesday’s civil rights ‘victory’ at SCOTUS comes with caveats,” Law Dork, May 16, 2024, https://www.lawdork.com/p/scotus-louisiana-redistricting-congress-vra-epc


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.

Megan Swift, “If it seems like more tornadoes are striking Western Pa. — they are,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 14, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/regional/does-it-seem-like-more-tornadoes-are-striking-western-pa-they-are/


Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 5. 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,[3] fair use.

Utterly and pathetically unsurprisingly, Joe Biden’s “red line” on Rafah doesn’t amount to anything substantive at all.[4]

But I, too, have a “red line.” I cannot vote for war criminals (or fascists). This is a moral binary: I can’t do it. Simply can’t do it. There is no argument that can erase or even diminish the absolutely objective evil of supporting a war criminal (or a fascist). To do so would be completely unacceptable.

What I have learned from Jewish tradition is that every life is precious. That we are obligated to stand up for those facing violence and oppression, and to question authority in the face of injustice.[5]

What we’re seeing with resignations in the Biden administration is that I’m not alone.[6] And one thing you can take to the bank in the United States in 2024 is that this will only get worse for Biden unless and until he reverses course and does so substantively.

But the Democrats, being Democrats, will never understand this as they are too accustomed to running on “the other guy is worse.” They think, with some justification, that other issues—the same ones they’ve failed to deliver on—can be managed and that Donald Trump (the fascist I allude to parenthetically in the foregoing) is so awful that their campaign need only emphasize his awfulness. We saw how that worked out in 2016 and we also saw that Hillary Clinton remains, to this day, willing to blame everyone and everything but herself and her neoliberalism for her loss.

Their stupidity on this point is yet another reason to doubt their preparation to govern.

Yasmeen Abutaleb, “Biden says he will cut off offensive weapons if Israel invades Rafah,” Washington Post, May 8, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/08/biden-threatens-suspension-military-aid-israel/

Jordan Fabian and Galit Altstein, “US Pauses Arms Shipment to Israel Over Rafah Invasion Plans,” Bloomberg, May 8, 2024, https://apple.news/AxwraFLJGTjynJzZZSpfCVA

Jacob Magid, “US confirms holding up sale of heavy bombs it feared Israel would use in Rafah,” Times of Israel, May 8, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-confirms-holding-up-sale-of-heavy-bombs-it-feared-israel-would-use-in-rafah/

Barak Ravid, “Blinken report expected to criticize Israel, but say it isn’t breaking weapons terms,” Axios, May 9, 2024, https://www.axios.com/2024/05/10/israel-gaza-us-weapons-congress-report-blinken

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel puts Rafah in the eye of the storm,” Washington Post, May 9, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/09/rafah-gaza-city-palestine-history/

John Hudson, “U.S. says Israel may have violated humanitarian law using American weapons,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/10/biden-israel-gaza-us-weapons/

Toluse Olorunnipa and Jacqueline Alemany, “Biden’s isolation grows as Gaza report both criticizes and clears Israel,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/10/biden-israel-human-rights-report/

Times of Israel, “Report: State Department set to confirm Israel not breaking international law in Gaza,” May 10, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/report-state-department-set-to-confirm-israel-not-breaking-international-law-in-gaza/

United Nations News, “UN General Assembly presses Security Council to give ‘favourable consideration’ to full Palestinian membership,” May 10, 2024, https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/05/1149596

Brett Wilkins, “Biden ‘Moving the Goal Post’ With Threat to Withhold Bombs from Israel,” Inter Press Service, May 10, 2024, https://www.ipsnews.net/2024/05/biden-moving-goal-post-threat-withhold-bombs-israel/

Jason Burke, Lorenzo Tondo, and Malak A. Tantesh, “Terrified families flee Rafah as Israel set to open all-out assault,” Guardian, May 11, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/11/leaflet-families-rafah-israel-assault-gaza-palestinians-biden

Richard Luscombe and Edward Helmore, “‘Strategic and moral mistakes’: US politicians step up condemnation of Israel,” Guardian, May 12, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/12/us-politicians-criticize-israel-gaza-war

David Remnick, “An Israeli Newspaper Presents Truths Readers May Prefer to Avoid,” New Yorker, May 12, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/05/20/an-israeli-newspaper-presents-truths-readers-may-prefer-to-avoid

Ishaan Tharoor, “Why Spain will recognize a Palestinian state,” Washington Post, May 13, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/05/13/palestine-statehood-recognize-spain-united-nations/

John Hudson, “Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/14/biden-israel-weapons-gaza-rafah/

Emanuel Fabian, Sam Sokol, and Lazar Berman, “ Gallant to PM: Reject Israeli military, civil rule of Gaza after Hamas; I won’t allow it,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallant-to-pm-reject-israeli-military-civil-rule-of-gaza-after-hamas-i-wont-allow-it/

Sanjana Karanth, “Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy,” HuffPost, May 15, 2024, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jewish-american-biden-appointee-resigns-protest-gaza_n_6644fb92e4b0411bd6ffae0f

Jeremy Sharon, “ICJ’s urgent hearings over IDF’s Rafah operation spell more trouble for Israel,” Times of Israel, May 15, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/icjs-urgent-hearings-over-idfs-rafah-operation-spell-more-trouble-for-israel/


  1. [1]Patrick Marley, Justin Jouvenal, and Ann E. Marimow, “Supreme Court restores Louisiana voting map with majority-Black district,” Washington Post, May 15, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/15/supreme-court-restores-la-voting-map-with-majority-black-district/
  2. [2]Chris Geidner, “Wednesday’s civil rights ‘victory’ at SCOTUS comes with caveats,” Law Dork, May 16, 2024, https://www.lawdork.com/p/scotus-louisiana-redistricting-congress-vra-epc
  3. [3]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/
  4. [4]John Hudson, “Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions,” Washington Post, May 14, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/05/14/biden-israel-weapons-gaza-rafah/; Brett Wilkins, “Biden ‘Moving the Goal Post’ With Threat to Withhold Bombs from Israel,” Inter Press Service, May 10, 2024, https://www.ipsnews.net/2024/05/biden-moving-goal-post-threat-withhold-bombs-israel/
  5. [5]Lily Greenberg Call, quoted in Sanjana Karanth, “Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy,” HuffPost, May 15, 2024, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jewish-american-biden-appointee-resigns-protest-gaza_n_6644fb92e4b0411bd6ffae0f
  6. [6]Julian Borger, “State department official’s resignation highlights rifts over US Gaza policy,” Guardian, March 27, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/mar/27/state-department-resignation-gaza-biden-policy; Sanjana Karanth, “Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy,” HuffPost, May 15, 2024, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jewish-american-biden-appointee-resigns-protest-gaza_n_6644fb92e4b0411bd6ffae0f