Saturday, November 18, 2023

Idiot of the week

Before we get to the good news, let's do idiot of the week.

It's obvious.  Michael Rappaport.  He's the failed actor.  He's also known for beating women.  This week, he joined other abusers onstage in DC to beg for more killing of innocents in Gaza.  Now the faded nobody is insisting that he will vote for Donald Trump in 2024 if Joe Biden doesn't do more to combat 'antisemitism' by which he means criticism of the Israeli government.

He's a dumb ass, the Ike Turner of the failed actor set.

 I do love it when Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis gets mocked publicly:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was ruthlessly mocked on Friday by former Republican strategist turned Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson, for latching onto culture war issues that voters moved on from years ago.

"I am going to bring a reckoning to these agencies for what they did to this country during COVID," wrote DeSantis on X. "Why? Because if we don’t hold them accountable, they are going to try to do it again — and we can never let this happen in our country again."

"The horse is dead, Ron. Stop beating it," wrote Wilson in a reply. "You’ve already lost, you know it, and this is one last desperate, sweaty, and pathetic attempt to stoke the antivax loons."

Another story I like?  Marc Caputo (THE MESSENGER):

Ron DeSantis has made the endorsement of Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds so central to his presidential campaign that he’s featuring her in his only TV ad and touring the first-in-the-nation state with her.

But a new Iowa State University poll, as well as a survey from a super PAC backing Donald Trump, show that the high-profile endorsement did nothing to change the primary’s dynamics in favor of the Florida governor.

“Non-existent,” Dave Peterson, who coordinated the Iowa State Poll, told The Messenger when asked to describe Reynolds’ effect on the race.

Little Doo-Doo, swirling around the toilet bowl, could be flushed for good at any moment.  This is David Jackson (USA TODAY):

A new poll shows Nikki Haley is rising in New Hampshire, leaving Ron DeSantis trailing in the 2024 GOP primary field that continues to be dominated by Donald Trump.

While Trump stands at 46% in a Washington Post/Monmouth University poll released Friday, Haley is in a solid second at 18% - and DeSantis is in fifth.

The Florida governor is at 7%, behind former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (11%) and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (8%).

Fifth place in New Hamshire!  I love it.  

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 17, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues, where's Joe?

CNN's Lauren Kent in London and Abeer Salman report this morning:

Communications services remained down in Gaza on Friday, with the UN saying the blackout was due to a lack of fuel to run generators.

CNN has been unable to reach its stringers and other contacts on the ground in the Gaza Strip.

Telecommunications services shut down on Thursday afternoon due to the fuel used to operate generators running out, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update on Thursday night. 

The repeating Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza are beyond my own comprehension.  For at least 10 of the last 40 days, missiles have rained down on the most densely populated refugee camp in all of Gaza.

And it is not just the days; it is also the nights. The bombing is done in the dark, when the power is off and the only light is from the fires that burn. It is done when the internet is cut, when the journalists are shot dead, to hide their crimes, the burning of children.

I have a long history and strong connection to the people in this camp. My friends, former coworkers, patients, and people I have known for decades through my work as a doctor at Gaza’s Al-Awda hospital are living in this camp. There are the children who grew up coming to the library I founded in Jabalia, who are now young men and women, who have their own children, their own families. There are my beautiful neighbors and friends and patients, who are not my relatives but are my family. They are generation after generation of refugee families living in one of the most crowded places on earth.

After the latest massacre, I cannot reach any of them.

I see these same families in the video sent to me of my neighbors pulling children from the rubble.  I see them in my memories as we lived and struggled under dual occupations, and Israeli bombings and apartheid.  I hear what it sounds like in the aftermath when women and children, the overwhelming majority of those living in, injured, and killed in Jabalia, scream and mourn in anguish and wake up to do it again. I can taste the chemicals, the poisons that linger in the air for hours and days after these indiscriminate explosions. I can smell the acrid odor of white phosphorus, used by Israel in Gaza and caked on the walls of burning buildings and bodies.  I can feel the collective hunger: for food and for justice and for all of it to stop.

Those in Gaza risk starvation given the lack of food and water, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.

“Supplies of food and water are practically non-existent in Gaza and only a fraction of what is needed is arriving through the borders. With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of clean water, civilians are facing the immediate possibility of starvation,” the program's Executive Director Cindy McCain said in a statement.

The organization said the amount of food supplies that have entered Gaza since the beginning of the war only accounts for 10% of what's needed. The only passage into and out of Gaza at Rafah isn't enough and McCain pushed for the opening of another way to get supplies into Gaza. 

ALJAEERA notes, "The head of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency has warned of a 'deliberate attempt to strangle' its operations in the Gaza Strip and said it risks shutting down all its humanitarian work because of a lack of fuel."  As the assault continues, the world watches.  And they're not watching in silence.  Protests are taking place around the world, leaders in other countries are calling this assault out. Lili Bayer (GUARDIAN) notes:

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is travelling to Germany today, amid tensions over the war between Israel and Hamas.

Earlier this week, Erdoğan called Israel a “terror state”. The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, meanwhile, has repeatedly defended Israel’s right to defend itself, saying “the charges being brought against Israel are absurd”.

The Turkish leader will meet with Scholz and the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

When the Israeli defence minister declared on 9 October a “complete siege” in which “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” would be allowed into blockaded Gaza, and called its 2.3 million inhabitants “human animals”, there was not a single protest from an official in a western capital. It is easy to see Palestinians as standing alone against Israel’s military onslaught. Egypt and Israel, at peace since 1980, jointly blockade Gaza. In recent years, the region’s US-backed authoritarian governments such as the United Arab Emirates have been signing a series of accords to normalise relations with Israel without any gains for the Palestinians. The widespread support that Palestinians received from Arab governments five decades ago has virtually evaporated.

Yet looked at on a global scale, there is overwhelming support for Palestinian self-determination, and condemnation of Israel’s latest attack on Palestinians in Gaza. Currently, 139 out of 192, or 72%, of UN member states recognise Palestine, against the express wishes of the US and Israel. This constitutes almost the entirety of Asia, Latin America and Africa, along with several European countries such as Sweden. Recent additions include Mexico, which broke with decades of fealty to the US by recognising Palestine in June.

[. . .]

Israel’s current war on Gaza has become another example of the stark gap that has emerged between the G7 and the rest of the world. Israel is unlikely to benefit from its longstanding association with former imperial powers. If the current crisis has driven Israel and the G7 even closer together, it has also increased the sense of alienation that the vast majority of the world’s population feels towards the small elite that claims for itself the power to rule the world. The untrammelled support of powerful states for Israel as it commits what a former UN official called “a textbook case of genocide” in Gaza has contributed to a growing sense that the current international order lacks legitimacy. At the UN last Tuesday, the Indonesian representative said that the world was heading towards an “international law abyss”.

Where is US President Joe Biden?  Where is his leadership?  Andrew Solender (AXIOS) reports, "Dozens of House Democrats led by their Jewish colleagues are calling for the Biden administration to press Israel to allow fuel shipments to Gaza, Axios has learned. [. . .]  The letter's 48 signers range from leading progressives like Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Progressive Caucus, to more moderate members like Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Susie Lee (D-Nev.)."

Where is Joe?

This is not an Onion headline, apparently, but an apt description of Biden’s entire political strategy on everything from Gaza, Ukraine, climate change, health care, the border wall and student loan forgiveness …


"Democratic Staffers Told To Let Constant Calls For Cease-Fire 'Got To Voicemail'."

Since Israel’s complete siege on Gaza began, Hazem Saeed Al-Naizi, the director of an orphanage in Gaza City, had been gripped with fear, worried about when food, water and other basic necessities might run out for the dozens of children and young people in his care, most of whom are living with disabilities.

When a strike hit a mosque near the Mabarat Al-Rahma orphanage on October 27, blowing out windows, scattering the building with debris, igniting a fire and filling the air with smoke, Al-Naizi said he was confronted with the agonizing decision of whether to evacuate the children and young people.

“There was chaos in the place, children crying, and smoke and fire spread,” Al-Naizi told CNN, sharing videos of the aftermath. “We quickly moved the children to a safe place and extinguished the fire to get rid of the smoke that almost killed us all.”

For Palestinians trying to escape the fighting in Gaza, living with a disability can be its own effective death sentence.

People who are deaf or blind are less likely to know about evacuation orders and cannot hear or see the strikes, disability advocates and aid organizations told CNN.

Others with intellectual disabilities may be unable to communicate their whereabouts to relatives or rescue workers, while people with physical disabilities who rely on wheelchairs and other assistive devices are unable to navigate rubble, let alone walk miles south.

Where's Joe?

Progressives in Congress and Jewish advocates for Palestinian rights were among those applauding Thursday as U.S. Rep. Becca Balint became the first Jewish federal lawmaker—and the first representing Vermont—to support a cease-fire in Gaza.

Balint (D-Vt.) reversed her earlier position, writing in the VTDigger that the anguish she has felt since Hamas killed about 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped 240 people "has only grown" in the past month as Israel's "ensuing siege has killed thousands of civilians in Gaza who were already struggling under Hamas rule and Israeli blockade."

Echoing 31 other members of Congress who have demanded the Biden administration call for a cease-fire—an action that would likely put a swift end to the deadly bombing of hospitals, refugee shelters, and homes in Gaza—Balint strongly condemned Hamas and said stopping the bombardment could facilitate the return of hostages.

Where's Joe?

 A group of Palestinian Americans on Thursday urged a federal court to issue a preliminary injunction barring the Biden administration from providing any additional weaponry or diplomatic support to the Israeli military as it carries out mass atrocities in Gaza.

The "urgent motion" comes days after the group, represented by the U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), sued President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a federal court in California, arguing that the top officials are "failing to prevent an unfolding genocide where they have influence over the state of Israel to do so, and directly abetting its development with weapons, funds, and diplomatic cover" in violation of international law.

Where's Joe? 

Yesterday, DEMOCRACY NOW! spoke with a Middle East expert, Ruth Ben-Artzi who teaches political science at Providence College and who is the niece of the prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

We spend the rest of the hour with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s niece, a Providence College political science professor and Middle East expert. She’s the niece of Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu. This month she was one of the signatories to a letter from Jewish and Israeli residents of Rhode Island that asks the state’s federal delegation to support ceasefire in Gaza.

In March, Ruth Ben-Artzi spoke out about distancing herself from all contact with the prime minister’s family. When asked by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz why she chose to speak out, she said, quote, “The answer is that I am ashamed, sad and angry. Ashamed that my relatives have no shame. That they are in a position of power that promotes and encourages violence, racism, nationalism and fascism. These are not the Jewish values I absorbed and to which I feel connected. Israel could remain a country in which Jews find a safe and free haven of equality and partnership with all the population groups within the state’s borders.”

Well, professor Ruth Ben-Artzi joins us now, again, a Providence College political science professor and Middle East expert. She’s an Israeli and U.S. citizen.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Thank you so much for being with us. Your voice has so much power because you are the prime minister’s niece. Can you speak directly to him, to the people of Palestine and Israel and the world about what you want to see happen right now, Ruth Ben-Artzi?

RUTH BEN-ARTZI: So, I, first of all, speak as an Israeli citizen, as an American citizen, as a person who is observing everything that is happening, with my experience having grown up in Israel, and also as a political scientist who studies and researches these issues for many, many years now. From all of those different perspectives, I come to this realization, or that we came to this decision that a ceasefire is really the only way that any solution can ever be achieved.

I think that any — the continued violence that begets violence that begets violence is only going to bring us further away from a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And, you know, it’s really important to remember that we’ve been hearing also from policymakers, from American policymakers and even from Israeli policymakers, military experts, that there’s no military solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And if there’s no military solution to the conflict, there is no military way to eradicate Hamas, as well. The more harm that we’re inflicting, the more violence that is occurring, whatever anybody wants to — as a backdrop to either justify it or to explain it, does not make sense for the future. It only brings us further away from finding that solution, from being able to move toward that political solution.

And it’s clear that the day that this war is over is going to be the day that a political solution is going to have to start to be implemented. The occupation in the West Bank, the siege in Gaza that happened until October 7th, all of these kind of — what we typically call status quo, what we traditionally call status quo, but it’s not really status quo because things are changing. People are — the population is changing. The demographics are changing. The infrastructure is changing over all of these years of occupation. That can’t continue. The management of the conflict that has been the policy of the Israeli government at least since 2009 isn’t — it was never going to work. And it has no long-term prospects. The ceasefire is the only — we’re seeing the number of innocent civilians who are caught in the crossfires, the number of those who are victims of this war grow every single minute. And that is in addition to the humanitarian — to all the humanitarian concerns that — and the experts that you had on the show before me, the legal concerns, in addition to that, that also bring us further away from being able to implement the kinds of policies that we need to implement the day after the war.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Professor Ben-Artzi, you’ve also, like many, of course, expressed concern about the well-being of the hostages who are in Gaza still, about 240 of them. If you could talk about how you think a ceasefire might make it possible for their safe return? I mean, it was just reported that Israel and Hamas appear close to an agreement whereby 50 women and children, Israeli civilians, would be released in return for 50 Palestinian women and children prisoners being freed. So, if you could talk about the impact a ceasefire may have on the release of the Israeli civilian hostages in Gaza?

RUTH BEN-ARTZI: Right. So, in Jewish tradition, we have a tradition that is called pidyon shvuyim, which means that the release of the hostages comes first and at all costs. And that is to save lives. The bombing of Gaza — those hostages are in Gaza. When Gaza is being bombed, when we are — when we don’t know where those hostages are, it puts them in danger, too. There is going to be a day, or already, there’s a judgment for Hamas and for those who have inflicted the horrible violence on Israel on October 7th. But right now the focus has to be the release of those hostages. And the bombing, that is clearly not very specifically targeted and is putting those hostages in harm’s way, is only exacerbating the situation and putting the — I think, is putting the — and not just myself, but including the Rhode Islanders who signed this letter. I’ve also joined hundreds of political scientists who signed a letter to demand immediate ceasefire, for some of those same strategic reasons, humanitarian reasons, and also for what is for me in the front of my mind, the release of the hostages.

We buried today a peace activist who was murdered on October 7th, who was — who had spent decades in activism trying to help to bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and continuing that tradition. There’s Israelis who are continuing that tradition. There’s Israelis in Israel now and abroad. There’s organizations, both Palestinian and Jewish organizations, that are working towards that solution, to find a peaceful solution.

And to bring the hostages back, we have to have those negotiations. And if the negotiations have to — they have to happen with the group, with the terrorist group, that is holding those hostages. There is no other way. There is no other — there’s no other solution for this. Get the hostages out. This is what the families of the hostages are demanding. And then we can continue the political work of rehabilitating Gaza, removing Hamas from power, and finding a political solution, which is really the only way that the roughly 7 million Jews and 7 million Palestinians who live between the river and the sea will ever be able to find peace.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Ben-Artzi, we just have 30 seconds, but as the niece of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have the two senators from Rhode Island spoken to you, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, or Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo, the congressmembers?

RUTH BEN-ARTZI: As Rhode Islanders, we speak to our delegation all the time. Our group that signed this letter and that sent them this letter spoke to our delegation. We’re in contact all the time. We have various connections in our small state. And I think that we have a listening ear to all the different voices —


RUTH BEN-ARTZI: — that are part —

AMY GOODMAN: — we have to leave it there. We thank you so much, Providence College political science professor Ruth Ben-Artzi, niece of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

Bigotry and hate can be found around the world.  But Moms For Bigotry are a unique homegrown threat to democracy.  Fortunately, Americans are fighting back -- wise people like the man in the video below.

During an MSNBC "Morning Joe" panel discussion on recent pivotal losses at the polls by Republicans and conservatives, co-host Joe Scarborough and guest Molly Jong-Fast pointed the finger at the extremist Moms for Liberty as the main culprit when it comes to saddling Republicans with the "crazy ideas" contributing to defeat.

Noting setbacks in recent elections that have Republicans worried about the 2024 November general election, the Jong-Fast claimed the GOP is at the mercy of their base which is demanding more and more extreme policies.

"I mean, the book bans, Moms for Liberty had a really bad night. All of this stuff is because Republicans cannot control their base. Their base runs the show, and so you have these crazy ideas being shopped, and Republicans are losing on these ideas and, quite frankly, they should."

"They're morally reprehensible," she added. "You know, it's overreach. people don't want the government in their bedroom and in their schools and in — I mean, they want them in the schools but ..."

"Yet, and yet, there's actually an outfit called Moms for Liberty who support freedom being taken away from their daughters," Scarborough interrupted.


We're all sick of Moms For Bigotry.  Paige Skinner (HUFFINGTON POST) notes:

LeVar Burton hosted the 74th National Book Awards on Wednesday and during his opening speech, he took a jab at the right-wing group Moms for Liberty.

“Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house?” Burton asked, while the New York audience laughed. “Moms for Liberty? No? Good. Then hands will not need to be thrown tonight.”

Burton, who hosted the children’s show “Reading Rainbow” for over two decades, has been outspoken about his disgust for Moms for Liberty. The extremist group has described itself as defending “parental rights” in government while also seeking to have books removed from libraries. During last week’s U.S. elections, Moms for Liberty set out to take over various school boards but ultimately wasn’t successful.

In an Esquire interview published Wednesday, Burton said he was “thrilled” that “hardly any candidates backed by Moms for Liberty won their races.” 

“These are people who would rather children not know the truth,” Burton told Esquire. “Those kids will never know what they’re missing, but it’s our job to stand up for them, to be their voices and their advocates. That’s what being an elder in this society means to me.”

During a 2022 appearance on “The View,” Burton said it’s “embarrassing” that people are trying to ban books in America.

Moms For Bigotry are Ronald DeSantis in drag.  Scary, isn't it?  They don't want American children to know about African-Americans or LGBTQ+ or women's rights.  Strange, isn't it?  How these 'submissive' women are everywhere but in their homes cooking and cleaning all day.  Pink's not standing for it:

Pink has partnered with PEN America to advocate for LGBTQ+ and free speech rights in Florida.

Earlier this week, during Pink’s TRUSTFALL Tour in Miami and Sunrise, Florida, she gave her first 1,000 fans new copies of the frequently banned books, courtesy of the partnership with PEN America.

Pink has selected books addressing racial and sexual identity themes for the giveaway, including titles like Todd Parr’s picture book “The Family Book,” a Girls Who Code series book for middle-aged readers, Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved,” and Amanda Gorman’s poetry book “The Hill We Climb.”

The Pop star’s partnership coincides with Florida’s recent laws limiting free speech in education.  The Individual Freedom Act, passed in July 2022, restricts teaching about systemic racism, while Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill last year, aiming to limit LGBTQ+ topic discussions in schools.


The hate Moms For Bigotry keeps spreading poisons our entire culture.  And those who enable Moms For Bigotry like Naomi Wolf who is also now co-signing with Libs of Tick-Tock.  The hate you spread is impacting our country and we can't afford your nonsense.  Brooke Migdon (THE HILL) reports:

More than 700 incidents of violence and threats targeting LGBTQ people have occurred over the past year, including murder, harassment, assault and vandalism, according to an updated tally released Thursday by GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

At least 26 transgender people since November 2022 have been killed in crimes motivated by an anti-transgender bias, according to Thursday’s count, released three days before the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting carried out at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs.

Five people — including two transgender people — were killed and 18 were injured in the Nov. 19 attack, which came on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, recognized each year on Nov. 20 to honor the lives of transgender people killed in acts of anti-transgender violence.

The shooter, 23-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in June after pleading guilty to five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder. 

“It’s been one year, one heartbreaking year since Daniel, Kelly, Ashley, Derrick, and Raymond were killed, and more than a dozen were injured, in the unthinkable attack in Colorado Springs,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said Thursday, using the victims’ first names. “When GLAAD spoke out in the hours after the devastating violence last November, we had one plea for elected, media and corporate leaders: stop the spread of anti-LGBTQ disinformation, which incites violence.” 

Politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Ronald DeSantis and Mike Johnson must have misheard the plea and thought GLAAD asked for everyone to 'spread anti-LGBTQ disinformation and incite violence.'  That's the only excu -- Wait.  There is no excuse.  None at all.  These are people's lives. Rachel Levine is a woman doing her job.  Does Marjorie Taylor Greene have a problem with Dr Levine's job performance?  Because calling her crazy and lying that she's a "groomer" and all the rest?  There's no excuse for any of it.  And shame on the Republican Party and everyone who enables them.  This is not the behavior of elected officials.  Their peers in Congress should be holding them accountable.  Rachel is a doctor, a sixty-six year old woman.  There's no excuse for lying and calling her a "groomer." 

Is there anything worse than Marjorie?  Her equal is Mike Johnson who has 'gay face' and rumors of past male lovers.  Is that why he attacks LGBTQ+ people?  I have no idea.  I do know he's coming off like Tallulah Bankhead in DIE! DIE! MY DARLING!  Tim Dickinson (ROLLING STONE) reports:

In an October prayer call hosted by a Christian-nationalist MAGA pastor, Rep. Mike Johnson was troubled that America's wickedness was inviting God's wrath.

Talking to pastor Jim Garlow on a broadcast of the World Prayer Network, Johnson spoke ominously of America facing a "civilizational moment." He said, "The only question is: Is God going to allow our nation to enter a time of judgment for our collective sins? … Or is he going to give us one more chance to restore the foundations and return to Him?"

The segment was filmed Oct. 3, just weeks before Johnson's unexpected rise to become speaker of the House. Garlow pressed the clean-cut Louisiana congressman to say "more about this ‘time of judgment' for America." Johnson replied: "The culture is so dark and depraved that it almost seems irredeemable." He cited, as supposed evidence, the decline of national church attendance and the rise of LGBTQ youth - the fact, Johnson lamented, that "one-in-four high school students identifies as something other than straight." 

He sounds like a raving closet queen.  And that's probably what he is.  People like that refuse to come out of the closet and hate those who have. 

The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request by Florida officials that would have allowed the state to enforce prohibitions on drag shows for now.

The case deals with a law aimed at restricting drag shows where children are present. An Orlando bar called Hamburger Mary’s sued over the law, asserting it violated the First Amendment.  

The following sites updated:

Friday, November 17, 2023

Doo-Doo DeSantis and other idiots

I think everyone knows I'm waiting for the day when Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis drops out of the race.  I plan to laugh and dance.  And I really hope that day comes.  But Tom Boggioni made me even happier today:

Any hope Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) might have had that he could beat Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican Party's presidential nomination appears all but dead — and that could mean his political future will meet the same fate, according to a report.

The report from NPR states that a substantial number of Florida Republican voters have been repulsed by his decision to challenge the former president, and now he faces being termed out as governor with nowhere to go in 2026.

As NPR noted, DeSantis has seen his star dim since he used his landslide victory over Charlie Crist as a launching pad to run for president which, in turn, infuriated some of the people who have been his biggest supporters.

"Despite winning a landslide election in the state two years ago, DeSantis hasn't been able to win over enough base GOP voters, " NPR's Ashley Lopez wrote, offering a quote from Florida voter Sally Maltais who recently attended a Trump rally in Hialeah.

Wouldn't it be great if that were the case.  Doo-Doo DeSantis had dug his political grave with this campaign?  That would be wonderful.  I would laugh.  And laugh.  For days.  And I was already prepared to laugh just for him dropping out.  But now the joy is just endless.  

Gov. Ron DeSantis is falling even farther behind President Donald Trump among Republican voters in Florida.

Trump is 41 percentage points ahead of DeSantis, a Florida Atlantic University/Mainstreet Research/PolCom Lab poll released Thursday found — double the Trump advantage from July, when the former president was 20 points ahead of the Florida governor.

It gets worse:

Voter approval for DeSantis’ performance is also slipping in the state he governs. The poll found 50% of all voters approve of his performance, with 49% disapproving. In July, 54% of Florida voters approved of his performance, with 43% disapproving.

During the last four months, he went from a net positive of 11 percentage points to a net positive of 1 point.

A year ago, DeSantis won a stunning reelection victory, finishing 19.4 percentage points ahead of Democrat Charlie Crist.

DeSantis has been hammered by Trump for months, and more recently by Haley. And many Floridians have been complaining about being squeezed by ever increasing costs of windstorm insurance, a problem Democrats have assailed DeSantis for failing to fix.

Views of the governor are largely partisan, with 91% of Democrats disapproving of his performance and 90% of Republicans approving.

Independent voters are more negative than positive, with 38% approving and 58% disapproving of DeSantis’ performance.

Yea!!!!  He's a loser.  Rachel Tucker (WFLA) reports:

A central Florida congressman is demanding a meeting with Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss concerns over the state’s property insurance crisis.

Rep. Maxwell Frost, a Democrat, held an “emergency roundtable” discussion with his Orange and Osceola County constituents this week and now he wants to bring their stories directly to the governor.

“We want to have this conversation with the governor, a really good faith conversation about the stories and figure out how can we move together as a state to solve this problem,” Frost told NBC affiliate WESH.

In a letter to DeSantis on Wednesday, Frost decried the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature for not addressing the crisis during last week’s special session, which DeSantis called to pass legislation largely in support of Israel. The governor lauded his involvement in the session on the presidential debate stage, as well as on the campaign trail.

“Last week you called an emergency special session of the Florida Legislature,” Frost wrote. “However you did not use that time to deliver legislative solutions to solve the decreasing coverage and rising costs of property insurance hundreds of thousands across our state are facing.”

Unless you reside in the state that elected him, there’s a very good chance you’d never heard of Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma until he told a man to “stand your butt up” and challenged him to a fight during a Senate committee hearing.

Sean O’Brien, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was testifying at that Nov. 14 hearing, but Mullin was all up in his feelings over mean things O’Brien had said about him on social media. And the best way for a Republican lawmaker in 2023 to handle this disagreement, Mullin decided, was to invite O’Brien to throw hands.

That same day, Republican Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee claimed GOP Representative Kevin McCarthy intentionally elbowed him in the back — “a clean shot to the kidneys,” as Burchett put it — as he passed Burchett in a US Capitol hallway. Yelling back and forth, the two men publicly squabbled like children stuck in the back seat of the family car on a long trip. A smirking McCarthy denied poking Burchett, but later told reporters, “If I kidney punched someone, they would be on the ground.”

And some say women are too emotional to be leaders.

If you want to see the much-discussed crisis in masculinity in action, look no further than elected Republican men who are ferociously waging their uncivil wars. From a deadly insurrection to voter suppression, Republicans are down for anything when it comes to amassing power. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, November 16, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues, Joe Biden looks like a lame duck with each passing day as he continues to go along with the slaughter, we continue to look at the DC hate rally, and much more.

Joe-Joe's turning himself into LBJ.  He doesn't get it.  He needs to shut his damn mouth and listen to the people in his administration who are trying to get the point through to him that a cease-fire is a must.  

Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?

It's going to be a chant like that.  

On Tuesday night, after two weeks of constant bombardment that killed dozens of doctors, patients and refugees, Israeli forces entered Al-Shifa hospital and raised the Israeli flag over it. 

Just hours before, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre asserted that “Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al-Shifa, and tunnels underneath them to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages.” 

The US media went even further, with Fox News describing Al-Shifa as a “hospital used as Hamas underground terror HQ.” 

These claims proved to be a complete lie. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) produced no hostages, no underground bunker. After searching a sprawling hospital complex that at one point housed 60,000 people in the middle of an active war zone, the IDF could only show a few assault rifles and two flak jackets as “evidence.”

The real reason Al-Shifa was attacked was symbolic. The hospital’s medical workers, subject to continuous bombardment and sniper fire, defied orders by the IDF to leave, saying they would rather die than abandon their patients. Their courage and defiance in the face of Israel’s genocide won the solidarity and support of millions of people all over the world.

The First and Second Geneva Conventions of 1949 stipulate that hospitals and other medical units must not be attacked and should be protected at all times. This includes civilian and military hospitals. Attacking hospitals and medical personnel is a war crime under international criminal law.

  • International responses: Qatar condemned the Israeli military for raiding the hospital, an action it described as “a war crime and a blatant violation of international laws.” The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned Israel’s raid, which it described as a "storming." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a terrorist state.
  • Humanitarian crisis: "Grave violations" against children are occurring in Gaza, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said Wednesday, one day after her visit to the territory. The main United Nations relief agency operating in Gaza warned Wednesday that its "entire operation is now on the verge of collapse." And the UN's humanitarian agency chief said "carnage in Gaza reaches new levels of horror every day" and called for a ceasefire.

  • Joe is out of touch and he's also wrong.  There is no different thing.  Hospitals are not to be attacked in war.  There is no different story, you're a deluded elderly man who doesn't know what the F**K you are doing and are proving, in front of the whole country, that you're too damn old to govern.  It's not 1960.  EXODUS didn't just play at the local theaters -- propaganda passed off as history.  This is not 'growing pains.'  This is decades of targeting Palestinians, this is decades of seizing their land, ,of tearing down their homes.  

    You're an old fool who can't learn.  That's why you're too old to be president.  You need to get in front of the microphone and say you're not running for re-election because right now you are burying the Democratic Party.

    This is not leadership.  This does not speak to courage or strength.  You look like a dazed, confused idiot who is allowing and taking part in the slaughter of a people.  And you look that way because that's what you are.

    Hundreds of demonstrators in Los Angeles shut down a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon in a protest demanding Joe Biden and US lawmakers call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

    In the heart of Hollywood, along the palm tree-lined streets near Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the Walk of Fame, protesters waved Palestinian flags and held signs – “not in our name” and “let Gaza live”. More than 1,000 people gathered in the rain, including a group that staged a sit-in at the intersection with flowers in hand and shirts reading “Jews say ceasefire now” as tourists watched.

    “We demand an end to the killing and the return of the hostages,” one speaker said. “Ceasefire now.”

    Jewish protesters and supporters were arrested Monday night after occupying the Ron V. Dellums Federal Building in downtown Oakland for hours, demonstrating in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.

    The protest started around 4 p.m., when hundreds of people streamed into the federal building, filling the rotunda and hallways, and climbing up to the top level. Wearing shirts that said “Not in our name” and “Ceasefire now,” they chanted, danced, and sang Jewish songs. 

    Their calls were aimed at Rep. Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden, who’s in San Francisco this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland, recently expressed support for a ceasefire, joining a small cohort in Congress.

    The assault on Gaza is a tragedy and a humanitarian crisis.  If Joe can't stand up to it for those reasons, you'd think he'd at least stand up to it to save his political career.  

    Like David Axelrod, I'm getting very tired of DNC party leaders not breaking down some hard truths to Joe.  It's past time they had a come-to-Jesus moment with him.

    Nearly 70% of Americans think that Israel should call a cease-fire in its attack on Gaza, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday has found.

    Around 68% of respondents answered that they agreed with the statement that "Israel should call a cease-fire and try to negotiate," Reuters reported. When broken down by party, around half of Republicans and three-quarters of Democrats backed this view, meaning President Joe Biden is acting against the will of the majority of his party as he refuses to urge Israel to stop its assault.

    "The majority of Americans oppose this massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, so why is Biden still supporting it?" Justice Democrats asked on social media.

    While Joe looks like a dithering idiot on stage, even Justin Trudeau finds some iota of strength.  REUTERS reports, "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said the 'killing of women, of children, of babies' in the besieged Gaza Strip must end, in his sharpest criticism of Israel since war against Hamas broke out over a month ago. [. . .] The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop."

  • Out of 35 hospitals, only nine are partially functioning; the rest are out of service.
  • Palestinian death toll as of November 15 stands at 11,470, of whom 4,407 are children. More than 29,000 people are injured.
  • In al-Shifa Hospital, 40 patients including three premature babies have died since November 11, due to a lack of fuel.
  • Medical teams cannot move between departments and buildings at al-Shifa Hospital, as an Israeli drone shoots at anyone who moves inside or around the complex.
  • Among the killed are 202 medical staff members and 26 members of the civil defense. More than 200 health personnel have been wounded.
  • Internally displaced people fleeing from the north are reporting the presence of dead bodies on the streets. As of November 15, more than 3,640 civilians are missing, including 1,770 children who are presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble.
  • More than 58 percent (almost 276,000) of housing units have been destroyed.
  • More than 60 ambulances were attacked; 55 are damaged and out of service.   

  • AMY GOODMAN: We begin the show in Gaza, where Israel is conducting a military raid on Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge or medical treatment. The Palestinian Authority has decried the raid as a violation of international law. There are reports Israeli troops have ordered all young men on the hospital grounds to surrender. Many Palestinian men are already being interrogated, some while being held naked and blindfolded. Israel has accused Hamas of placing a command center below Al-Shifa, but Hamas and hospital officials have denied the claim. Israeli tanks are now inside the hospital complex.

    This is Dr. Ahmed al-Mokhallati, a plastic surgeon at Al-Shifa.

    DR. AHMED AL-MOKHALLATI: And understand we can’t look through the windows or doors. We don’t know what’s happening. We have tanks moving within the hospital. We can hear continuous shooting, and right now. But again, it’s totally risky, the situation.

    REPORTER: So, what are these sounds, Doctor? I’m hearing sounds.

    DR. AHMED AL-MOKHALLATI: It’s continuous shooting from the tanks. We don’t know what to do. We are within the building. Israel within the building. They are in. We can’t go between the hospital buildings at all for food. So, we are with each other, with the patients, with the civilians within the hospital. And it’s totally risky, the situation.

    AMY GOODMAN: Doctors in Al-Shifa are struggling to keep patients alive, including dozens of premature babies, amidst a lack of fuel and the ongoing Israeli military raid.

    AL-SHIFA DOCTOR: [translated] I am standing here at the ICU at Al-Shifa medical complex. The department is suffering after the shutdown of electricity due to the lack of fuel. The Health Ministry warned about the lack of the fuel. This department today at dawn was struck directly by the Israeli occupation forces. Here also, the ICU and these children, who were on life machines and artificial respiration, were taken into the corridors of the ICU department. These people here were denied life support devices. They face the loss of their lives because there are no support machines or artificial respiration devices. Around 29 patients are facing this tragedy.

    AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by Dr. Mads Gilbert, Norwegian physician who’s worked in Al-Shifa for years, just spent weeks in Cairo getting — trying his best to get into Gaza. He’s a professor at University Hospital of North Norway and the Arctic University of Norway who’s worked with Palestinians since 1981, was in Gaza there during the major Israeli bombardments of 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014. Dr. Gilbert, where are you right now?

    DR. MADS GILBERT: Right now I arrived this early morning in Johannesburg in South Africa. I will be on an invited speaking tour here on Gaza and Palestine, but with —

    AMY GOODMAN: We just — we just have a few minutes, but I know that you’ve been speaking to people within Gaza, in Al-Shifa. Can you talk about the scene that we just described? What do you understand is happening there?

    DR. MADS GILBERT: If I should choose today between hell and Al-Shifa, I would choose hell. I got a report yesterday from the minister of health that 20 out of the 23 ICU patients had died. Seventeen other patients died because of lack of supplies, oxygen and water. And three, if not five, of the 38 premature newborns have died because of this slow suffocation that the Israeli occupation army is exposing all the hospitals to by cutting electricity, oxygen and medical supplies. And it’s — you know, it’s beyond description. I’m out of words to describe this systematic, man-made slaughtering of patients in civilian hospitals.

    And when I heard the crowd in the United States shout, you know, “No ceasefire,” I think that’s the only place on Earth where people are supporting Israel. And the other streets of the world are supporting a ceasefire, a human solution, a lift of the siege and a support for the people of Gaza. So this is a deeply divided world, and the lies are flying around like never before in any war.

    And I think we need to keep our heads and our hearts calm now and understand that what we are seeing is an unprecedented attack on a civilian society, occupied by one of the most brutal and ruthless armies in the world, exercising a systematic attack on civilian healthcare, completely against international law and the standards that we want to apply, and being back-patted all the time by the U.S. president.

    I mean, we’re in the darkest time in modern history now. So far, if you look at the U.N. numbers, the U.N. numbers that are coming out every day in their fact sheets, 40,000 Palestinians have been killed or are missing under the rubble or have been injured for four weeks. Forty thousand. Six thousand of the killed and missing are children. When did that become defense of a country? When did it become decent to drag neonates out of their incubators and kill children? You know, the only explanation for this is a deep-rooted and very frightening racism, because you don’t do these things to people you consider your equal. I’m extremely disturbed. I’m extremely upset. And I blame the European leaders and your president for this bloody bloodshed of people who are being completely defenseless.

    And I talked to a colleague in Mustashfa Al-Aqsa in the south yesterday. He told me they were seeing influx of patients coming, walking from the north, having followed the Israeli command to leave the north, and they were being shot in the legs. And they were treating gunshots in the legs from people trying to escape the north. Forty percent —

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Dr. Gilbert —

    DR. MADS GILBERT: — of the [inaudible].

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Dr. Gilbert, I wanted to ask you what — the Israeli government continues to insist that Hamas is using the hospitals in Gaza as command centers and as underground headquarters storing weapons and even hostages. What is your response to these claims?

    DR. MADS GILBERT: Twofold. Why are you in the media conveying these false claims continuously and taking the attention away from what is the real problem — namely, the continuous bombing and killing of people in Gaza? There is absolutely no proof, so far, that I know of, neither from U.S. intelligence nor from the Israeli intelligence, and we’ve heard these accusations for 16 years. Show us the proof. Show us the evidence. And don’t forget that the Geneva Convention, the Fourth Convention, is telling the fighting parties to make both distinction and precaution. If it’s a mixed military and civilian target, the civilian precaution takes priority over the military again. And they have been bombing not only Shifa and al-Quds, but lots of hospitals, with even bothering to claim that there is any military activity in that hospital. They bombed the Turkish. They bombed Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital. And we’ve all seen these ridiculous videos where they say, “Oh, here are Pampers in a pediatric hospital. It’s got to be the terrorists.” So I think this is a big sham, and I’m a bit worried that you in the media so easily are conveying these unsubstantiated accusations. And regardless, they don’t have the right to bomb hospitals. That’s very clear.

    And now it’s not only Al-Shifa. Now the al-Quds Hospital is being evacuated with all the patients and all the staff. And it is really a convoy of shame to the Western world and to the United States to see these hospitals, the last resorts in a dramatic assault on the civilian population in Gaza, who have done nothing wrong other than being born Palestinians in Gaza. And this convoy of misery is the result of a lenient attitude to the Israeli violations of international law through many, many years. The Israeli impunity has reached a new level, and we are all sinking into that abyss of the disregard for human life and humanity, as we are seeing this going on without anybody trying to stop the Israeli army.

    AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mads Gilbert, we thank you for being with us, Norwegian physician who’s spent decades working in Gaza, attempted to get in to go back to Al-Shifa but wasn’t able to, now speaking to us from Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Coming up, Peter Beinart, editor-at-large of Jewish Currents.

    We noted two protests in the snapshots a few minutes ago.  Yesterday, we noted a hate rally in DC.  Martha and Shirley counted over 250 e-mails griping about that.  We have been astroturfed.  The basic gist is: If it's for the Palestinians, you praise it, if it's against Israel, you attack it.  Actually, you're a stupid liar -- all over 250 of you.

    There have been many pro-Israel rallies, I've not attacked them.  I'm not really that concerned with them.  

    The DC rally?  I was kind in my comments and I will continue any rally where I see five men on stage who beat women -- five men that I know for a fact beat women.

    You're never going to find peace or calm or a better world with men like that on the stage.  And I will always, as a feminist, call such a rally out.

    I said what I said and I stand by it.  But since there's some sort of organized effort with regards to this topic, let's go ahead and note some more truths about that hate rally.  Dave Zirin (THE NATION) notes:

    “Final estimated headcount at the pro-Israel rally in DC: 290,000 people. Makes this the largest Jewish gathering in history since Mount Sinai.” So chortled Trump’s former ambassador to Israel David Friedman about the March for Israel gathering held Tuesday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Although Friedman’s numbers appear to be inflated, I saw a massive turnout. It was a political event like nothing I’ve seen in two decades of covering rallies in this town. In the incessant calls to keep bombing Gaza, it was a celebration not just of war but of war crimes. Friedman’s joy over such a showing is not surprising. What turned the stomach was watching the leadership of the Democratic Party -- Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Hakeem Jeffries -- join in the revelry just hours before Israel Defense Forces captured Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, and it came amid another round of killing civilians and targeting journalists trying to show these horrors to the world. 

    When it comes to supporting the Israeli government, it’s not a shock to see Democratic Party leaders in lockstep with Trumpists like Friedman and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, whose hand they held on stage in honor of Israel. It’s not just that the Democratic leaders said nothing about the evangelical Christian speakers with histories so anti-Semitic that they would give Donald Trump pause. (Make no mistake: People in the anti-Jewish Christian Zionist community made up a significant portion of the crowd.) Or that they failed to remark on the racist handmade signs attendees created for the occasion. It’s that their presence was a slap in the face to the 80 percent of Democratic voters who want a cease-fire. It’s that they are openly hostile to the generation of youth whom they need to stay in office; a generation that inconveniently believes that Palestinian life matters. It’s that they are contemptuous of Jews like me who say to Israel that their genocidal attacks must not be pursued in our name. It’s that they are in the process of handing the next election to a fascist anti-Semite who, in the words of The Washington Post, is echoing Hitler by calling their opponents “vermin.”

    Schumer, Pelosi, and Jeffries would rather stand with a pro-war mob that shouted down an over-his-head Van Jones calling for peace. Speaker after speaker slammed the idea of a cease-fire and slandered the cease-fire protests as “pro Hamas.” Celebrity C-listers like Debra Messing and Michael Rapaport backed a message whose only logic is bigotry and bombings. But the coup de gras was when they cheered a video speech by Israeli President Isaac Herzog who has said that civilians in Gaza are legitimate targets, that “it is an entire nation out there that is responsible.” This was not just a rally supporting a war. This was a rally supporting a war crime. 

    The defenders of yesterday’s shanda will say that it was a mass gathering “against anti-Semitism.” But what kind of rally against “anti-Semitism” features John Hagee, the Christian Zionist evangelical leader who has said Hitler was brought by God on a divine mission to “create” the state of Israel? You bring Hagee out of his crypt only to send a message that this is not about making sure that Jews are safe. It’s about showing solidarity with Israel, no matter the allies.

    What kind of rally against anti-Semitism includes racist signs calling for more war, more bombings, and the end of not just Hamas but Palestine itself? Or as one sign held by a masked protester read, “From the river to the sea, Israel is all you will see.” 

    I think Chuck Schumer  needs to be censured for their participation at the hate rally that called for the eradication of all Palestinians.  

    AMY GOODMAN: We were going to bring in a second guest to join you, Rabbi Alissa Wise, and to talk more about the Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, who once said God had, quote, “sent Hitler to help Jews reach the Promised Land.” This is part of what he said at Tuesday’s march in Washington.

    JOHN HAGEE: Israel is the shining city on the hill. Israel said — God says of Israel, “Israel is my first-born son.”

    CROWD: Yeah!

    JOHN HAGEE: Jerusalem is the city of God. Jerusalem is the shoreline of eternity. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, today and forever.

    AMY GOODMAN: Other high-profile speakers at Tuesday’s protest included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the new House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has ties to the Christian Zionist movement.

    SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON: As Prime Minister Netanyahu says so well, this is a fight between good and evil, between light and darkness, between civilization and barbarism.

    AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re, in addition to Rabbi Alissa Wise, joined by Sarah Posner, who has long covered Christian Zionists and is the author of Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind. She’s an MSNBC columnist, her recent piece titled “The dispiriting truth about why many evangelical Christians support Israel.”

    If you can talk about that, Sarah, and also specifically talk about John Hagee addressing these tens of thousands of people, and then the House speaker?

    SARAH POSNER: So, Hagee has long walked this line between seeming like he — or, pretending to a Jewish audience like he’s really only interested in policy and what’s happening in the present. He walks this line, but then, when he goes into a church to preach about his theology, what he says is really quite different. He didn’t say on Tuesday that he expects, according to biblical prophecy, that one day Jesus will return and fight a very bloody battle, which, as the rabbi said, will result in Jews either converting or dying — and Muslims, too, by the way. He didn’t say that. He didn’t say that he believes that at the end of that, Jesus will rule the world from his throne on the Temple Mount. He didn’t say that everything is playing out according to biblical prophecy. And so he has basically hoodwinked many Jews into believing that he actually supports Israel, but what he really supports is his claim that Bible — Israel is just a pawn, really, in this Bible prophecy, which at the end of which — at the end of which Jesus will rule the world as basically a theocrat.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Sarah Posner, you’ve noted that, quote, “At the heart of Christian Zionism is not a love for Israel but rather Christian nationalism.” But what does Israel and its staunchest defenders get from this alliance?

    SARAH POSNER: Well, what Israelis and American Jews who embrace Hagee’s support get is a huge movement, much larger than the number of Jewish Americans, that has the ear of the Republican Party, that is enmeshed in the Republican Party. And so, it’s much more than CUFI has juice — CUFI is Hagee’s organization, Christians United for Israel — has juice on Capitol Hill or in the White House, when a Republican is in the White House. It is more than that. It is so common among evangelicals, even if they’re not members of CUFI, to share these ideas about Israel and Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus. And so, what they do is they bring this huge constituency to Republicans, many of whom, like Speaker Johnson, believe all of this themselves.

    And so they have morphed together this idea of supporting Israel with being a good American Christian. They believe that God has commanded America as a country, not just them as Americans, to, quote-unquote, “support Israel.” But in their minds, supporting Israel involves supporting the occupation, supporting the Israeli military, no matter what it does. It doesn’t mean supporting Israel from the standpoint that some day, perhaps, Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace. That’s not part of the equation.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play another clip. In 2008, John McCain rejected Pastor John Hagee’s endorsements, after the pastor said God sent Hitler to help Jews get to Israel. This is a clip of Hagee’s sermon.

    JOHN HAGEE: Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.

    AMY GOODMAN: Sarah Posner?

    SARAH POSNER: So, this is part of Hagee’s overriding theology, that all of history can be sandwiched into his view of what the Bible prophecy is about: the return of Jesus. So, basically, what he’s saying is — what he’s saying there, and what he’s essentially saying in other much more recent statements than that, is that God has punished or disciplined the Jews throughout history as part of his plan to get them to return to Israel, which is a precondition of Jesus’s return. So he’s not trying to make it happen on a faster timetable. He will say that it’s all going to happen on God’s timing. But what he’s saying is any world event that’s occurring now or has occurred in the past is part of what has been prophesied in the Bible, and God is directing traffic here. And one of God’s intentions is to get Jews to return to Israel, because that is a precondition of Jesus’s return. He says that — he claims this is all laid out in the Bible, and this is just Bible prophecy playing out.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’d like to bring Rabbi Alissa Wise back into the conversation. Your response to this whole issue of the extreme Christian right in the United States lining up in support of Israel for its own religious purposes?

    RABBI ALISSA WISE: Yeah. As Sarah mentioned, you know, CUFI boasts more members — 10 million, they claim, which surpasses the total number of Jews in the United States. So one thing that’s really critical is that white Christians need to be mobilizing just as American Jews are. American Jews are getting arrested by the hundreds, as you mentioned. Christians who oppose this vision that Christianity — that Hagee is proliferating need to, likewise, be stepping out. The influence of Christian Zionism on U.S. foreign policy is way understated. The Jewish pro-Israel lobby is dwarfed in comparison to what the Christian Zionist lobby is doing to promote U.S. foreign policy.

    But I think the most important piece here is that all of this is making Jews less safe in the world. Israel’s actions in Gaza, but also not just now but for generations — when Palestinians are not free, Jews are less safe in the world. And that is the crux of the matter. There is no way for Jewish safety to be found when others are being oppressed. That’s just the simple truth of it. And organizations that seek to distract from those of us that are trying to realize freedom, democracy, equal rights — it’s simple. It’s equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis. Those people claim that we are antisemitic, when, in fact, their actions at aiding and abetting genocidal violence in Gaza now, but apartheid and occupation for generations, that is what is making Jews less safe in the world.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to put this question to Sarah Posner, author of Unholy. You have written about Mike Johnson, the new House speaker’s Christian nationalist track record. Can you talk about his views and when you first encountered him in 2007 working on a story about the Alliance Defense Fund’s ambitions to gut the separation of church and state? Explain what that all this.

    SARAH POSNER: So, the organization is now called Alliance Defending Freedom. It’s a major Christian right legal organization that sees itself as a Christian counterweight to the ACLU. It is behind many Supreme Court cases, including Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade; Masterpiece Cakeshop, involving the anti-gay baker. And Johnson was working for them at the time that I interviewed him.

    And he laid out for me the organization’s ambition to eviscerate the separation of church and state at the Supreme Court and to create a legal framework in which conservative Christians could object to things like LGBTQ rights in the name of religious freedom. Everything he said to me back in 2007, ADF has pretty much done and accomplished or is well on its way to accomplishing — undermining church-state separation, elevating the religious freedom of conservative Christians who oppose LGBTQ and reproductive rights. And that is the framework and the ideology that he brings to Congress.

    He also believes that God created civil government and that the government should be run from what Christian nationalists would call a biblical worldview. So, his entire ideology and framework and way of looking at the world and way of looking at government, in particular, is very classic, to the T of the Christian right, of Christian nationalists, whatever you want to call it, believing that their biblical worldview is what should dictate law and policy in the United States.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’m wondering: Is this phenomena of the Christian Zionism largely centered in the United States, or have you seen similar movements in other advanced industrial countries, especially in Europe, as well?

    SARAH POSNER: Sure. It’s worldwide. There are organizations that bring together Christian Zionists from different countries, that, in particular, bring together Christian Zionist legislators from different countries. So it’s definitely a worldwide movement. But Hagee is probably the world’s foremost and most well-known Christian Zionist, in part because of his decadeslong preaching on the question, but also because of his founding of CUFI in 2006.

    AMY GOODMAN: Sarah Posner, we want to thank you for being with us, author of Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind. And thank you to Rabbi Alissa Wise of Rabbis for Ceasefire and former co-executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace.

    That does it for our show. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, for another edition of Democracy Now!

    THE MAJORITY REPORT notes how one of the speakers is so toxic that John McCain had to publicly break with him years ago.

    Jared Ball had an important discussion about the Gaza crisis with Davy D  that just went up online an hour ago.

    The following sites updated: