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

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