Saturday, March 23, 2024


Book review time.

Benjamin Kelly is a chef and you can find him online here. He is the author of THE FIVE-INGREDIENT COOKBOOK FOR MEN.  The cookbook is available everywhere.  We have KINDLE UNLIMITED -- AMAZON's book feature where you pay a monthly subscription fee and you can read books for free.   

The goal of his book is to teach more guys to cook.  

He fails.  Even allowing for him being Canadian and not American, the book has too many ingredients and recipes that are not going to appeal to non-cooking males.  They'll probably be more discouraged by the book, in fact, when they come across ingredients that they've never heard of.

If you're doing a cookbook trying to teach men how to cook -- men who feel it's too much for them to cook -- you need to keep it simple.  You'd think five ingredients would do that, however, by not including salt and pepper.   You're just giving readers an excuse to put the book down.


"Not Your Grandma's Porridge," for example.

Who the hell eats porridge?  Goldilocks?  And what grown man is rubbing his belly saying, "Man, I could go for some porridge"?  


"Creme Brulee"?  What man that's not already cooking is going to have a kitchen blowtorch?

It's an epic fail.  There's a need for a book about cooking geared towards male readers but this isn't it.  Too many recipes were over my head and not only can I cook, I learned from the best -- my mom

In the book's opening, Benjamin Kelly writes, "If you take anything away from this book it should be this: Cooking is a form of connection."  I agree that cooking is a form of connection.  I just don't believe that Kelly backed that up in his book.

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

Friday, March 21, 2024.  Jonathan Turley tries to incite his mob against another professor, talk of a deal for Julian Assange, Gaza remains under assault, and much more.

We have to start with stupidity -- and if it's campus stupidity, chances are we're talking fish-eyed, oily skinned crack-a-toa smelling Jonathan Turley.  The Sweetheart of The Federalist Society is an idiot.  He is a dangerously under-educated person who always thinks he knows everything but he usually doesn't.  This week, he hit on "mendacity" and thought he was capturing Tennessee Williams' CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.  No, you uneducated hick, Big Daddy is taught about mendacity by Brick -- his bisexual son -- though Turley wouldn't know that either because a theater masterpiece, an American classic play exists in his tiny mind only as a film.  He's just so damn stupid.  

And I've had to hear about all week from friends unlucky enough to be professors at the same college.  Crack-a-toa.  Your colleagues wish you would learn to wash your ass.  Your crack stinks and nobody wants to walk behind you, Turley.  Use some soap and water.

But what has them ticked off with him this week is his attack on another professor.

As one of his Turley's (male) colleagues asked me, "Is he trying to be Libs of TikTok?" 

It would appear so.  

Before we go further, let me note the first sentence of his article -- not his Tweet:

George Mason Professor Bethany Letiecq is at the center of a firestorm of controversy over his article in the Journal of Marriage and Family declaring that the institution of marriage plays a key role in white supremacy.

Now I know he had Tweeting problems this week after he was puffing out his chest and pretending he knew something and insisted, "US District Judge William Henry Pauley III slammed Michael Cohen today in saying that he" -- No, he didn't. Pauley died in 2021.  And the attacks on Letiecq is just another example of how he doesn't know what he's talking about.  Over and over.

For starters, Bethany Letiecq is not a "he" and never has been a "he" so there is no "his article." In his first sentence of a piece he wrote and posted March 16th, he misgenders the person he's attacking.  In the first sentence.

And why he is attacking her.  She wrote a scholarly piece.  He apparently doesn't like it.  We all get that right, how his pretense of being for free speech is really just for speech he agrees with -- he's made that clear in the last three years with his attacks on LGBTQ+ people and his silence when they're free speech rights are violated.  

Doctor of Jurisprudence

Bethany has a doctorate.  Jonathan?  Not really.  He's got the legal equivalent of a doctorate (a doctor of jurisprudence -- basically a tech degree in law -- a very limited field of study).  But Bethany has a doctorate and she's not writing for a legal journal.  I don't think the idiot Turley understands the social sciences.  Her article would attract agreement pieces, disagreement pieces, pieces arguing you're-half-right-but-you're-half-wrong.  He doesn't understand the periodicals or for that matter a family studies symposium.   He understands nothing.  

A classic in Bethany's field (family studies)  is Stephanie Coontz' THE WAY WE NEVER WERE: AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THE NOSTALGIA TRAP.  I love that book -- I agree with it but I love it because of all the conversations it has inspired.  Some, like me, agree with Coontz, some feel she's 100% wrong, some find sections to build on and continue the conversation -- Bethany's continuing the conversation.  Turley doesn't know that because he doesn't know anything about family studies, about feminism, about anything but here he is pretending because he's got a small dangling Y chromosome, he's an expert on everything.

Turley knows nothing about the social sciences, knows nothing about what gets published and what doesn't in family studies periodicals, he doesn't know anything -- again, he doesn't even know to wash his own ass leading his co-workers to complain about his crack odor. (Disclosure, I labeled it crack-a-toa.  His peers complained to me about his stinky ass, I labeled it crack-a-toa.)

He doesn't even know enough, six days after posting his attack on Bethany, to change "his article" to "her article."

Grasp as he attacks a professor for a piece she wrote -- a piece that is not in his area of expertise or even his area of rudimentary comprehension -- that he has still refused to write one word about all of Clarence Thomas' many ethical scandals revealed in the last 12 months.  This huge Supreme Court news but 'legal scholar' Turley won't say a word against his beloved.  

But he will take the time to attack a woman who wrote a scholarly article that makes an argument he disagrees with.  He's trying to incite people against her -- 'She's the reason that others don't get published!'  He is trying to stir up an attack on her.  He's done that repeatedly as the advance man for FOX "NEWS" over the years.

He's hated on campus.  And I'll be really shocked if he's not told to narrow his scope because his attack on this professor has everyone appalled.  And they should be.  

He concludes his attack on Bethany with this:

My disagreement with the paper of Professor Letiecq does not mean that I do not believe that it should have been published. It is provocative and challenging. My concern is the dominance of such scholarship in academia with the declining number of conservative or libertarian voices on faculties. These publications are far less likely to publish a work by an academic espousing the value of a traditional family unit. The result is a new type of orthodoxy and intolerance in higher education.

What a weasel.  He has no proof that her piece getting published silenced others.  But isn't that the FOX "NEWS" way -- make charges that attack others without backing them up.  There is no backing for his claim that people were silenced because Bethany was published.  But his lie fuels the wallow-in-victimhood status that too many conservatives in the US embrace as their safety blanket.  'I'm a scared, I'm a scared, the mean old world is out to get me.'  

The paper was published over a month ago but the conservative mob just got started attacking it recently which is why Jonathan's on board.  It's like when he tried to turn a mob on Target, remember?  There's nothing controversial about noting that marriage was property rights (for the male) historically or that slavery existed in the US and legal marriage was denied in most cases to slaves.  

But butt hurt babies like Jonathan Turley need to get their cranky rage out so they throw a tantrum and attack a writer.  

Bethany's now on "The Professor Watchlist" and all the butt hurt babies like Turley are gunning for her.  What a great way to pretend you support free speech.

I really understand why a professor (male) at Turley's campus says, "Every time I see that prissy face of his, I just want to punch him out."  He does bring out that "This Waitress" vibe.

So I want to kill this waitressShe's worked here a year longer than IIf I did it fast you know that's an act of kindness
But I believe in peaceI believe in peace, bitchI believe in peaceI believe in peaceI believe in peace, bitchI believe in peace

-- "The Waitress," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her UNDER THE PINK.

Since we believe in peace, we'll just hit Jonathan with a reading list --  a brief one --  and the hope that someone will read the books to him:




Changing topics, late Wednesday afternoon,  Aruna Viswanatha (WALL STREET JOURNAL) reported:

The U.S. Justice Department is considering whether to allow Julian Assange to plead guilty to a reduced charge of mishandling classified information, according to people familiar with the matter, opening up the possibility of a deal that could eventually result in his release from a British jail.

Assange, the divisive WikiLeaks founder, is fighting a drawn-out legal battle with the British government to avoid being extradited to the U.S. to face trial for publishing thousands of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables around 2010. A U.K. court is currently considering whether to allow a last-ditch appeal by the 52-year-old. After U.S. prosecutors charged him in 2019, U.K. law-enforcement officials apprehended him, and he has been in a London prison ever since.

Justice Department officials and Assange’s lawyers have had preliminary discussions in recent months about what a plea deal could look like to end the lengthy legal drama, according to people familiar with the matter, a potential softening in a standoff filled with political and legal complexities. The talks come as Assange has spent some five years behind bars. U.S. prosecutors face diminishing odds that he would serve much more time even if he were convicted stateside.

The discussions remain in flux, and talks could fizzle. Any deal would require approval at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, said he has been given no indication that the department will take a deal. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.


Citing the report yesterday on DEMOCRACY NOW!, Amy Goodman noted, "Assange has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison since 2019 awaiting possible extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes."


Turning to Gaza, the editorial board of THE NATIONAL notes:

In learning that the US tabled a draft UN Security Council resolution on Wednesday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, some may be tempted to think: “Better late than never.” But the human cost of this war – The Nationalreported on Thursday that more than 800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of Ramadan – makes clear the lethal consequences of diplomatic failure.

Security Council resolutions may be legally binding, but several countries – including Israel – have ignored them in the past. Many people who want to see an immediate halt to the bloodshed will understandably wonder what practical benefit such a resolution would have for the 2.3 million Gazans living in fear of their lives. Nevertheless, the fact that it is the US, Israel’s main backer, which is now endorsing calls for a ceasefire is significant, particularly when one looks at the wider pressure being exerted on Israel’s bellicose leadership.

There is increasing divergence between the White House and the Israeli government. US President Joe Biden has publicly described an Israeli military assault on the overcrowded Gazan city of Rafah as a mistake. One of Mr Biden’s political supporters, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – a senior pro-Israel figure in Washington – recently described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace. Washington has also held talks with one of Mr Netanyahu’s main political rivals, Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz.

But pressure on the Israeli government is coming from other quarters, too. Canada's decision this week to suspend future arms exports to Israel may not be a major move in terms of weaponry – Ottawa is not a major supplier to Israel’s armed forces – but it was a significant warning shot from a long-term western ally. Elsewhere, Israel appears to be losing control of the narrative as prominent international actors make clear their objections to the Gaza war.

Losing control of the narrative.  Peter Oborne (MIDDLE EAST EYE) explains:

Forensic. Sober. Clear-sighted. Scrupulous. Al Jazeera’s investigative unit has produced a film that tells the story of what really happened on 7 October.

This authoritative documentary does not flinch from detailing the atrocities and war crimes carried out by Hamas. But it shows beyond reasonable doubt that many of the lurid accounts that emerged from Israeli sources were false. 

Deeply inflammatory stories, whether concerning allegations of mass rape or the beheading and burning of babies, were either unsupported by evidence or straightforward lies. Yet, they prepared the way for the murderous savagery of the ensuing Israeli assault on Gaza, which has been described by the International Court of Justice as a plausible genocide.

Al Jazeera painstakingly analyses how these accounts entered the public domain. This involves a sustained look at Zaka, Israel’s emergency response unit of trained paramedics who handle terrorist episodes and homicides.

Al Jazeera shows how Zaka gave details of atrocities that never happened, including of burned and beheaded babies, which made headlines around the world and were used for maximum propaganda effect by Israel to gain sympathy.

One Zaka employee, Yossi Landau, told reporters that Hamas burned to death “two piles of 10 children each” in a house in Kibbutz Be’eri. 

This account was pounced on by the media, and a version was repeated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a conversation with US President Joe Biden: “They took dozens of children, bound them up, burned them and executed them.”

But as Al Jazeera shows, these accounts were untrue. An examination of the list of the dead showed that two 12-year-old twins were tragically killed when police and soldiers stormed the house in Be’eri, but there were no other children at that location, the documentary notes.

More generally, the list reveals that two babies died on 7 October. One was killed when a bullet was fired through a door, while the other died following an emergency caesarean section after the mother was shot. Neither was burned or beheaded.

Let's drop back to yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We look now at a new report published by the research group Forensic Architecture, which counters Israel’s argument at the International Court of Justice that it followed humanitarian policies to safeguard civilian life in Gaza. South Africa argued in January before the ICJ that Israel was guilty of genocide during its war on Gaza. The report argues that what Israel says are humanitarian evacuations in Gaza actually amount to the forced displacement of Palestinians, which is a war crime.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined in London by Eyal Weizman, a British Israeli architect born in Haifa. He’s founder and director of Forensic Architecture, a professor of spatial and visual cultures at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. He’s the author of several books, including Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation and The Least of All Possible Evils: A Short History of Humanitarian Violence. He’s also a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and of the Center for Investigative Journalism.

Eyal, welcome to Democracy Now! As we come to air right now, the United States has presented a resolution to the U.N. Security Council for a temporary ceasefire. I’m wondering if you could respond to that and Netanyahu only speaking with Republicans, behind closed doors — now he might be addressing a joint session of Congress, if the House speaker decides to invite him — saying that Rafah invasion will happen.

EYAL WEIZMAN: Yeah. If a Rafah invasion will happen, we will see the humanitarian disaster, the man-made humanitarian disaster imposed on Gaza, just aggravated to levels that we haven’t yet experienced. In Rafah, we have a huge part of the Palestinian people evacuated to living in inhumane conditions where there are famine and lack of basic humanitarian provisions, in something that is called a “safe zone.” And I think that it’s important to understand that there is no safe place in Gaza. Although Israel is designating part of the Strip as so-called safe areas and ordering the population to evacuate to them, it continuously imposes on these areas conditions that amount to unlivable conditions and in continuation of its genocidal policies.

So, what we need to — my comment to that is, rather than allowing any or entertaining any specific plans and provisions, you know, that the U.S. is discussing now with the Israelis about allowing them to attack Rafah under certain conditions, we need to see immediate ceasefire across the board in all places of Gaza, in order to allow for the rebuilding of the Strip, in order to allow for humanitarian provision to reach each and every Palestinian in the north and in the south.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Eyal Weizman, the proposal that the U.S. has put forth — this is before we turn to your report. The proposal that the U.S. has put forth for a temporary ceasefire is reportedly for the release of Israeli hostages and allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza. You wrote in a piece — I want to ask you about a piece you wrote for the London Review of Books in November in which you document — the piece is headlined “Exchange Rate,” where you document the change in Israel policy with respect to its hostages. So, if you could talk about the way that that’s played out? You wrote the piece in November. If you could talk about the way that’s played out, and how you think that might affect what happens now, going forward, with respect to the hundred or so hostages who remain, who are reportedly still alive?

EYAL WEIZMAN: I think that what you see in all negotiations around the captives and the Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli prisons, some of them on administrative detentions without charge, thousands of them, is that Israel has been creating and enlarging its bank of prisoners in order to create — in order to allow it to change the exchange rate. The title of that piece in the LRB was “Exchange Rate,” and it was looking at the history of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation through the capture of captives, from — really, from the famous airplane hijacks of the '70s all the way to the present, the way in which Palestinians forced Israel into — the only way that Palestinians could actually affect and release their prisoners is through capturing Israeli captives. Over the years, the exchange rate has changed favorably to the Palestinians. And what you're seeing is that Israel is now arresting people in order — Palestinians, again, and holding them in administrative detention, in order to beef up its bank of captives.

More than that, you could see that in the reports on the negotiation, the fate of those people that have been purportedly evacuated into safe areas is being brought into the equation. One way of thinking about it is to say, of course, Hamas or Palestinian factions in Gaza are holding over 100 Israeli captives, and Israel is holding close to 2 million Palestinian captives and bargaining for their return home in exchange for its prisoners. And that is obviously patently illegal, according to international law. And the fact that even that is being brought into the negotiation testifies that that was the intent of holding them away from their home as a bargaining chip towards that. So, you have an exchange rate now that is 200 million Palestinians displaced — sorry, 2 million Palestinians displaced, 100 Israeli captives, and this is really where the negotiations are going.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Eyal Weizman, let’s turn to your report, the Forensic Architecture report, which is headlined “Humanitarian Violence in Gaza.” If you could begin just by explaining — the two words don’t normally come together, “humanitarian” and “violence.”


NERMEEN SHAIKH: If you could explain what you mean by that? Of course, you’ve also written a book on this. And then lay out the three phases of mass displacement that you document in the report.

EYAL WEIZMAN: Yeah. So, you know, we think about humanitarian principles — and part of them is international humanitarian law, so-called the laws of war — as being there to protect civilians. But a certain manipulation of international humanitarian law allows you to have operational advantage, or, in this case, advantage in negotiation over the captives in this particular way. So, there is a principle, an accepted principle, in international — in humanitarianism that if you want to evacuate a population into a safe zone, that safe zone needs to have several conditions. There needs to be proper medical care. There needs to be proper food and housing in these areas. Israel has evacuated — ordered the evacuation of Palestinians from within Gaza and from the north to the south into areas that were repeatedly under attack, into areas with no housing, no medical care, and now that we see no food is being provided in it, or very little, or not sufficient levels of aid within that. So, that is, firstly, you know, the kind of the principle of using a humanitarian principle that is purportedly used in order to save, in order to treat civilians and take them out of harm’s way, in order to achieve Israel’s operational objectives in this attack on Gaza, and that is to exercise pain on the civilian population to generate levels of destruction and harm that would deter Palestinians from ongoing resistance to the Israeli occupation.

And it’s becoming more and more clear that the harm, that the levels of destruction that we’re seeing, that the level of displacement that we’re seeing, are not the byproduct and not the collateral effects of this conflict, but really the only thing that Israel has achieved during that war. It hasn’t achieved any of its tactical aims. It hasn’t dismantled Hamas as an operative force. It hasn’t captured the Hamas leadership. It hasn’t freed hostages, except of in very rare situations. What it has done is create an equation in which the civilian population is being put in harm’s way in order to bargain against their return back to the north, to north of Gaza, in order to effectively achieve what tactically Israel has not achieved.

So, in relation to the stages, a week or so after the October 7th attack, Israel has given the entirety of the north of Gaza an evacuation order. They were ordered to leave the north of Gaza, home to over a million Palestinians, the center of Palestinian political, cultural life, was actually ordered to cross Wadi Gaza, which divides, according to them, Gaza into north and south. That was the first stage. And after the ceasefire, the temporary ceasefire in which some prisoner exchange was happening at the beginning of December, what Israel has done is releasing an interactive map online, dividing Gaza into kind of a gerrymandered 623 zones. It was very difficult, with people that we spoke to in Gaza, to understand whether they are in zone number 546 or 547. The map was extremely confusing. It was released online at a time of very frequent internet and power cuts, or it was communicated via leaflets that were unevenly distributed. It was an incredibly confusing system that led to the ongoing displacement of Palestinians from one zone to the other. So, when they were — after they were ordered to all move into southern Gaza, from different parts in the southern part of Gaza, they were ordered to go into different places.

And what the report is showing is the systematic and ongoing use of these evacuation orders were meant to achieve that population displacement and that people were continuously being put in harm’s way. The routes, the so-called safe routes, along which Palestinians were ordered to evacuate were attacked. Areas where they went to had no provisions and very often were attacked themselves. So, we cannot see that humanitarian policy, so-called humanitarian policy, of the Israeli forces — and the argument that the Israelis put forward in The Hague that, you know, they are not in violation of the Genocide Convention because they apply humanitarian principle, but we cannot see it as anything else but part of the genocidal campaign that is actually inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: And now, of course, if Netanyahu does succeed in a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah, they will go back to all these places they were forced to flee. And they talk about, “No worries, Palestinian civilians will be protected in these humanitarian zones.” Eyal Weizman, if you could respond to that? And also, just for people to understand, your organization is so unusual, and it also operates in several different countries, you yourself born in Haifa. If you could explain how you do what you do? We are also showing a series of maps, where you show the stages, one, two, three. You’ve done so many different investigations, from who killed Shireen Abu Akleh, the great Al Jazeera Arabic reporter — when Israel was saying caught in crossfire, you proved the opposite: She was killed by an Israeli sniper — among other things. Can you talk about what Forensic Architecture does, and what you, as an Israeli British architect, are doing in this kind of analysis — an architect?

EYAL WEIZMAN: Yeah, thank you for asking that. Of course, the nature of the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, and throughout Palestine complete, makes use of architecture as part of the violence applied on Palestinians. So, starting from the location of settlements on hilltops in a way that divide the Occupied Territories, surveys it, bisect Palestinian-built fabric, the design of roads, the provisional infrastructure, you could say that settler colonialism is architecturally enacted.

In Gaza, obviously, we had settlements in Gaza up until 2005, when they were evacuated, but after that, the Gaza envelope is a system of civilian and military infrastructure that included a number of fences and earth berms and military facilities, as well as kibbutzim and moshavim. These are agrarian settlements that are part of what Israel always called its regional defense.

Of course, all that system was attacked on October 7th. So you could see how architecture is mobilized as part of the system of control and occupation of Palestinians. You could see why Palestinians would attack that system of infrastructure — and this is without commending and, of course, not supporting the killing and abduction of civilians.

But I think that architecture is a key part of that, of understanding the conflict, the long history of Israel’s settler colonization, and also understanding what is happening in Gaza now. It is happening in urban environment. And one has to understand what this urban environment, that has been created over the years of — you know, since, really, the Gaza Strip was created as a historical anomaly in 1948, when it was carved out as a kind of concentration area for refugees, becoming one of the densest parts of the world, most densely inhabited part of the world. How do you control population centers? And a lot of thinking was done from the Israeli side in terms of thinking about the control of Palestinians as an urban problem.

And what we see now happening in Gaza is the shaping of Gaza for, you know, the day after. Would it come now? Would it come in weeks, in months? We do not know. But what we see is Israel actually shaping the built fabric, destroying all homes and agricultural areas in a huge buffer zone along the border, creating east-west routes, not only the famous one that we know, around Deir al-Balah, but all throughout that very long and thin strip of territory, the Gaza Strip, we see it being truncated, almost cut like salami, with routes and military infrastructure that would be there in order to isolate and divide different parts of the Gaza Strip, if resistance continues, from the Palestinian parts.

And so, architecture — if architecture is really the means by which Israel exercises control, we, architects, and the organization that I run, Forensic Architecture, is — you know, has many architects working with us, but also open-source investigators, journalists, lawyers, etc. — we are monitoring things from a cartographic, spatial and architectural perspective. We work very closely, and we have a partner organization in Ramallah, the Al-Haq Forensic Architecture Unit, because we understand that working in Palestine, like working anywhere else in the world — Forensic Architecture has also got offices in Mexico, in Bogotá; now we’re starting one in Istanbul, in Athens, in many other places in the world. But understanding the lived reality, understanding the way that architecture is used as an oppressive mechanism requires also the lived experience — understanding the lived experience of people there. And therefore, when we’ve done that report that you mentioned, we’ve been in touch with — we’ve been in touch with Palestinians on the ground, we’ve been in touch with medical professionals, with doctors, in understanding the conditions in the so-called safe zones. And as I say, there are no safe areas in Gaza.

We’ve tried to understand the spatial logic of that campaign. And we could see that one of the main strategic tools for Israel to control and afflict that pain on Gaza is through the evacuation orders, and that they have been spatially designed — initially, again, dividing north Gaza from south Gaza, and then dividing it into 600 Tetris parts, if you like, in which, you know, you would get very a confusing order in which your number would come up, and you would be told to go from that number zone into another number zone. Do you get this message? Do you understand it? And also, on the way, you’d be attacked. And the zone in which you’re being evacuated to is itself unsafe and unlivable.

So, here what we see is the abuse of humanitarian principles to further Israeli genocidal campaign. And this is why we call that report “Humanitarian Violence.” We need to be very, very wary when we are speaking about humanitarian principles in war, because very often militaries — not only the Israeli militaries, but, you know, Western, Northern, global — militaries from the Global North, when they engage in urban warfare in parts of the Global South, they are applying humanitarian principles — they’re playing international law in a particular way that does not contain violence, that actually amplifies it.

I’ll give you another example for that: warnings. You know, you could think that to warn a population is actually something that could be very, very helpful. It could save lives. But, actually, the aims of these warnings, or what is implied in them — and sometimes explicitly mentioned — is that if you do not heed the warning, you would be considered potentially part of the armed resistance in a particular area. That means you get redesignated from a protected civilian to a nonprotected either voluntary human shield or part of a resistance, if you do not heed the warning. So, in a sense, with one legal tool, you created the redesignation of a big part of the population, and you basically let the blood in that way. So, humanitarianism, when it — those principles, when they’re using in such a brutal campaign, it could be actually part of the problem, rather than something that is moderating and defending civilians.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Eyal Weizman, if we could talk a little bit more about that? The scale, just to point out, just to give us a sense of the scale of the crisis of mass expulsions, at the moment, almost 70% of the total area of the Gaza Strip has been issued evacuation orders. If you could say, very quickly, in terms of the International Court of Justice ruling, what does your report suggest about the defense that Israel presented?

EYAL WEIZMAN: Yeah, that the defense is completely inapplicable. We will show how — and we have shown how — Israeli military, the occupation forces, when they maneuver through — if you look at things in relation to each other, if you look at military maneuver, you look at areas that have been bombed, as we have, through speaking to people, through analyzing videos, through looking at satellite imagery, we have a good understanding, we have a good map of what are the areas that have been bombed. Overlay that with the so-called safe zones, overlay them with Israeli military maneuver, and what you see is, A, civilians are being evacuated into areas that have been bombed, that have no facilities, and are continuously bombing — they are still being bombed as Israel has ordered civilians into them. And you see, in some cases, Israeli military maneuver, Israeli invasion into the area it itself designated as safe zones.

So, in a sense, you see those categories operating in relation to each other as part of an overall strategy, rather than you’re seeing humanitarian principle pushing against military violence and moderating it. You see it has become one of the tools in the Israeli campaign toolbox to generate that level of destruction in Gaza. So, you know, you’re speaking about 70% of the area is being displaced. And the proportion —

AMY GOODMAN: Eyal, we have 10 seconds.

EYAL WEIZMAN: The proportion of people displaced is much higher, and the proportion of civilian infrastructure destroyed is almost complete. So, look at those things together and understand the militarization of humanitarian principles.

AMY GOODMAN: Eyal Weizman, we clearly have so much to talk about. We’d like to ask you to stay, and we’ll post Part 2 online at Eyal Weizman is a British Israeli architect, founder and director of Forensic Architecture. We’ll link to the new report, “Humanitarian Violence: Israel’s Abuse of Preventive Measures in Its 2023-2024 Genocidal Military Campaign in the Occupied Gaza Strip.”

 Gaza remains under assault. Day 168 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  AFP notes, "The health ministry in Gaza said today that at least 31,988 people have been killed in the territory during more than five months of war."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

We need to wind down.  Let's close with this from Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman's latest NYT report on Crooked Donald:

The threat from President Donald J. Trump to his vice president, Mike Pence, was clear and direct: If you defy my effort to overturn the 2020 election by certifying the results, your future in Republican politics is over.

“Mike, this is a political career killer if you do this,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Pence by phone on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, according to the White House valet who was with the president for much of the day and told Congress he had overheard the conversation.

The testimony of Mr. Trump’s valet, provided to the now-defunct House Jan. 6 Committee in 2022 but not previously released publicly, offers a rare firsthand look into the former president’s behavior in the hours before, during and after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol seeking to halt the certification of President Biden’s victory.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Joe Manchin throws another tantrum

First up, BURN IT DOWN WITH KIM  BROWN from earlier today.

So the man got killed -- murdered by the cop -- for sleeping in his car?  What world do we live in?

About this morning's post, no, Liza, I'm not moving to morning posts.  :D  I actually did not post that.  I wrote it.  I thought I posted it.  C.I. was done dictating the snapshot and the guy she was dictating it too tells her, as he's copying the posts that published last night into the snapshot, "Mike didn't post."  C.I. knew I was going to write about James Bond so she said hold on.  She got on her laptop and saw it hadn't been posted and posted it.  Elaine told me about it (and C.I. has my password for that reason -- she can also post any live thing she wants there -- like when Marianne Williamson was giving a live speech on YOUTUBE a few weeks back -- I posted that but if I hadn't been available, she has permission to post anything here).  

Now for news.  Joe Manchin has been indulged for far too long.  CNN reports on the big baby's latest tantrum:

Sen. Joe Manchin, a critical swing vote in the closely divided Senate, said Wednesday that from now on, he will only vote to confirm nominees who have the support of at least one Republican senator.

“I’m going to be very honest with everybody, if my Democratic colleagues and friends can’t get one Republican vote, don’t count on me. You can’t make it bipartisan, don’t count on me,” said the West Virginia Democrat who has announced his retirement that will begin in January 2025.

Joe, no one in the Democratic Party could ever count on you.  You're ridiculous and you're a joke and we're all thrilled you're leaving the Senate. 

He'd do the world a favor if he'd take Michael Moore with him.  I am so tired of wishy-washy Michael Moore.  He is a joke.  I thought that for years -- going back to his insisting that the Democrats should nominate Oprah Winfrey for president back in 2004.  He is not serious.  He makes ridiculous remarks that make us all sound stupid.  And he looks like Janet Reno.  He's whining again.  The polls!  The polls!  I'm so sick of him.  I'll never forget, 2004, him getting down on his knees on a talk show, in front of Ralph Nader, and begging Ralph not to run for president.  He's just a joke.  

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his rumored potential vice presidential candidate, New York Jets football quarterback Aaron Rodgers, are infamous for casting doubt upon COVID-19 vaccines. But recently unearthed footage suggests that Kennedy blames plastic pollution for turning people gay, and Rodgers thinks that AIDS was “created” by corrupt pharmaceutical companies.

In a recent interview with Surfer, a website for surfing enthusiasts, Kennedy discussed the environmental problem of plastic pollution in the ocean. He also mentioned microplastics, small plastic fragments ingested by fish and humans.

[. . .]

 In a recently unearthed interview, Rodgers compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s and ’90s. He implied that both were “created” to financially benefit “corrupt” pharmaceutical companies. The video was originally recorded sometime between March 2020 and December 2020, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The gameplay was made in the ’80s: create a pandemic with a virus that’s going wild,” Rodgers said. “[Infectious diseases government official Dr. Anthony] Fauci was given over $350 million to research this, to come up with drugs, new or repurposed, to handle the AIDS pandemic — and all they came up with was AZT.” AZT was the first antiretroviral medication used to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. Its long-term, high-dose side effects could negatively impact the blood, heart, and muscle tissue.

“That was the game plan back then: create an environment where only one thing works. Back then, AZT. Now, remdesivir, until we get a vaccine — which, by the way, Anthony Fauci had a stake in the Moderna vaccine, and we know Pfizer is one of the most criminally corrupt organizations ever,” Rodgers claimed.

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

Thursday, March 21, 2024.  Marianna Williamson continues her political campaign, the Kennedy family shows support for their candidate, the assault on Gaza continues and includes attacks on journalists and medical professionals, and much more.

Starting in the US, this week saw primaries on Tuesday.  In Arizona, Marianne Williamson received 3.5% of the vote coming in second to Joe Biden who got 89.5%.  In Illinois, she got 3.6% -- also coming in second.  She was not on the ballot in Ohio but she came in third in Kansas with 3.4% -- second to Joe there went to "None of the Names Shown" which got 10.3%.

Marianne continues on the campaign trail.  Yes, Joe has gotten enough pledged delegates to claim the nomination.  But issues are not being addressed and a conversation is not taking place.  That's why Marianne unsuspended her campaign a few weeks ago and got back into the race. 

NBC NEWS reported this week on Marianne's campaign.

Click here for the text version of the NBC NEWS report but, from both, let's note this:


Imran, Sisa and the rest of Vote Ceasefire AZ have set an attainable symbolic goal for Williamson on Tuesday. 

“We believe reaching 10,000 would be making a strong statement,” Imran said, because it’s roughly the size of Biden’s margin over former President Donald Trump in Arizona in 2020. 

A strong statement would be 10,000.  So did they make it?


They surpassed it -- Marianne got 14,229 votes.  Repeating.

“We believe reaching 10,000 would be making a strong statement,” Imran said, because it’s roughly the size of Biden’s margin over former President Donald Trump in Arizona in 2020. 

Marianne's got an event tonight and one tomorrow -- both in New Orleans:

In other campaign news, Joe's supporters are registering their support.  Such as over the weekend where various people assembled at the White House during the Saint Patrick's Day events.  There was Kerry Kennedy . . . 

And Rory . . . 

And Amy . . . 

In fact, there was a huge number present.  Virginia Chamlee (PEOPLE) reported:

 It was a Kennedy family affair at the White House over the weekend, as President Joe Biden hosted more than a dozen members of the family in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, shared a photo of the family at the White House on Sunday, captioning the image with a quote she attributed to Biden: “It’s not enough to wish the world were better, you must make the world better."

"President Biden, you make the world better. Happy St. Patrick’s Day," she added, tagging other members of the family also pictured, including Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo (her daughter with former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo) and sister Rory Kennedy.

But there was one notable absence that could hardly be ignored.

A White House visit Sunday by dozens of family members of President John F. Kennedy did not include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent against Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

Poor Junior, he's become the Billy Carter of the family.

Israeli forces detained Palestinian journalists and health workers, blindfolded them and stripped them down to their underwear in Al-Shifa Hospital, in northern Gaza, according to eyewitness accounts shared with CNN.

Palestinian reporters and hospital staff described scenes of humiliating interrogations where colleagues had been undressed and left outside in the cold, after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) laid siege to the largest hospital in the enclave in the early hours of Monday. One man who was detained told CNN Israeli forces released him without his ID or mobile phone.     

[. . .]

             CNN also received an account from Dr Marwan Abu Saada, head of surgery at Al-Shifa. Abu Saada was not at the hospital when the Israeli raid began on Monday. He said on Tuesday that colleagues who had been permitted to leave the hospital reported Israeli troops breaking into most of the hospital buildings.

He said male medical staff were forced to strip and left “for hours in the cold,” an assertion made by other men who have been released from the area. “They scanned their faces with a camera and took them one by one for humiliating investigation,” he said in the account, shared with CNN by a colleague.

“Many were arrested and were taken to an unknown place, some were forced to leave the hospital and displaced to the south half naked, and others were ordered to go back to the hospital,” added Abu Saada.

“Soldiers assaulted and violated our medical staff and workers in Al-Shifa Hospital, left them without food or water for two days, taking into consideration that this is the month of Ramadan and they are fasting.”     

Let's drop back to Saturday to note this:

Netanyahu also has problems in the US.  CNN reports, "US President Joe Biden described Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s floor speech criticizing Netanyahu as “good,” saying the New York Democrat “expressed serious concern” that is shared by many Americans. Biden said Schumer had contacted his senior staff beforehand to let the White House know he’d be making the speech."  And Lauren Gambino (GUARDIAN) reports:
Joe Biden should use his leverage and the law to pressure Israel to change how it is prosecuting the war in Gaza, the Democratic senator Chris Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, is among a group of senators urging Biden to stop providing Israel with offensive weapons until it lifts restrictions on the delivery of food and medicine into Gaza, where children are now dying of hunger and famine looms.

“We need the president and the Biden administration to push harder and to use all the levers of US policy to ensure people don’t die of starvation,” Van Hollen said in an interview on Friday.

This week, Van Hollen and seven of his colleagues sent a letter to the president arguing that Israel was in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act, a section of which prohibits the sale and transfer of military weapons to any nation that restricts the delivery of US aid.

Amy Goodman spoke with Van Hollen on yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

In Gaza, the Israeli military’s brutal attack on Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, is continuing for the third day. Dozens have been killed, others forced to evacuate amidst intense bombardment and shelling on the hospital and surrounding area. Tens of thousands of wounded and displaced Palestinians have been seeking shelter at Shifa. The Israeli army said in a statement it had, quote, “eliminated” 90 people at the hospital and detained 300. Among those arrested was Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Eliwa. His arrest comes two days after another Al Jazeera journalist, Ismail al-Ghoul, was beaten, stripped naked and detained in the cold for 12 hours before he was released.

Elsewhere in Gaza, 24 people were killed in an Israeli attack at the Kuwait Roundabout, where Palestinians had gathered for aid. Another 27 were killed in an Israeli attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. Among those killed yesterday was Raed al-Banna, the director of police investigations in northern Gaza, responsible for securing and facilitating the entry of aid trucks into northern Gaza. His death comes one day after Israeli forces killed another senior police officer in Gaza, Faiq Mabhouh, who was in charge of coordinating aid distribution in the north. This comes as the World Health Organization warned Tuesday many infants in Gaza are on the “brink of death” due to the lack of food.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his determination to invade Gaza’s southernmost town, Rafah, where some 1.4 million people from across Gaza have been forcibly displaced. On Monday, Netanyahu agreed in a phone call with President Biden to send a team of Israeli officials to Washington to meet with Biden administration officials, after Biden urged him to find an “alternative approach” to a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah. But on Tuesday, Netanyahu told a parliamentary committee that while he would listen to U.S. proposals “out of respect” for Biden, he said, quote, “We are determined to complete the elimination of these Hamas battalions in Rafah. There’s no way to do this without a ground incursion,” he said.

The official death toll in Gaza is approaching 32,000, with over 74,000 people wounded.

For more, we’re joined by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. In January, he traveled to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing. He’s joining us from Kensington, Maryland.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, welcome back to Democracy Now! Thank you so much for joining us. Can you talk about Netanyahu’s threat to launch a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah, and what you want Biden to tell him?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, Amy, it’s good to be with you.

Since my visit to Rafah in January, things have gotten even worse. The situation — the humanitarian situation in Gaza is even more catastrophic. And now, as you said, Prime Minister Netanyahu has said he’s going to ignore President Biden’s requests and launch a full-scale invasion of Rafah.

You know, President Biden was right, in my view, to say that that would be a red line, that you can’t cross it. And so, now it’s going to be very important that the president and the Biden administration back that up and make it clear that they will hold the prime minister accountable.

As you know, the Netanyahu government is going to be sending some officials to Washington this week to discuss how they might go about this Rafah invasion. And I’m very worried, Amy, that the Biden administration will simply get dragged into the planning of this, something that is bound to go terribly wrong, based on what’s happened already in the months of war in Gaza, and then somehow become complicit in Netanyahu’s actions in Rafah. So, I would warn the administration not to get sucked into this, because we’ve seen time and again that at the end of the day, Prime Minister Netanyahu simply ignores the president of the United States. And so we need to do more to make Netanyahu accountable for our requests.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to play some of what you said on the Senate floor in February about the withholding of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Kids in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food. In addition to the horror of that news, one other thing is true: That is a war crime. It is a textbook war crime. … And that makes those who orchestrate it war criminals.

AMY GOODMAN: So, are you clearly calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a war criminal?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, Amy, I’m calling those who are responsible for these actions, having committed a war crime. And at that moment, it was the moment that we first learned — I learned from Cindy McCain and others — that kids had gone from being on the verge of starvation to having died of starvation. And Smotrich, who is the finance minister, was holding up thousands and thousands of pounds of flour at the Port of Ashdod, flour that could reach starving kids and others in Gaza. Ben-Gvir was calling on, you know, folks down at Kerem Shalom, protesters, to continue to protest, and saying that the police officials should not intervene, and allow the blockage to continue.

So, ultimately, my view is that we’re going to have to look into all of this, but for now we just need to do what President Biden has said needs to be done, which is, for goodness’ sakes, lift these restrictions that are in place that are creating this humanitarian disaster in Gaza. We just learned yesterday that the highest number of people facing catastrophic hunger at any time, at least in recent history, are in Gaza today.

AMY GOODMAN: In February, the Senate passed a bill that includes $14 billion for Israel’s assault on Gaza, along with $60 billion for Ukraine, $8 billion for Indo-Pacific allies like Taiwan. The bill also strips U.S. funding for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. You have been very critical of that, yet you voted for the bill. Why?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, in my view, Amy, we desperately need to get the Ukrainian people the weapons that they need to rebuff Putin’s assault. And this was the only way forward to accomplishing that. That bill also included $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for people around the world, including $1.4 billion for humanitarian assistance to help those suffering in Gaza.

The UNRWA provision is incredibly problematical. But in that bill, which was a supplemental one-time bill, it would not have disrupted the annual U.S. appropriations for UNRWA, which are actually being discussed and debated as we speak with respect to the foreign operations bill for this month.

So, in my view, that bill, the supplemental bill, was necessary in order to make sure that we got weapons to help the folks in Ukraine repel Putin’s brutal assault, and we could revisit, as we are now, the UNRWA issue. Now, I am very worried, as we speak, that Republicans have insisted that in the current appropriations bill, that we no longer fund UNRWA. This would be a huge mistake.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to — well, you have independent Senator Bernie Sanders opposing the bill, joined by two other Democratic senators who broke ranks with the party: Jeff Merkley, who went with you to the Rafah border crossing, and also the other Vermont senator, Peter Welch. This is Welch on the floor of the Senate.

SEN. PETER WELCH: I voted against the supplemental for one key reason: I cannot, in good conscience, support sending billions of additional taxpayer dollars for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s military campaign in Gaza. It’s a campaign that has killed and wounded a shocking number of civilians. It’s created a massive humanitarian crisis with no end in sight. It’s inflamed tensions in the Middle East, eroding support among Arab states that had been aligned with Israel. And, of course, it has severely compromised any remaining hope — almost all remaining hope — for the two-state solution, that we all know is ultimately essential for peace in the Middle East.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Chris Van Hollen, do you disagree with your fellow colleague? You have been so outspoken on this issue, as well, though took a different stance on voting for the bill.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: I don’t agree — I don’t disagree with what Peter said about the situation. But, as I said, if the Senate had not passed this piece of legislation, Ukraine would fall to Putin. So, you know, these are difficult choices that we made. I think that allowing Ukraine to fall to Vladimir Putin would be a historic mistake.

So, what I’ve done, Amy, is focus on making sure that we try to hold up — excuse me — hold up the arms transfers at the time they are noticed by the Biden administration, until the Netanyahu government meets requirements with respect to allowing humanitarian assistance in and other criteria, which is why a group of us, including Peter and others, wrote to President Biden just a little while ago, saying, “Mr. President, please enforce current law, which is the Humanitarian Aid Corridors Act, which says that if a country is essentially preventing or restricting humanitarian assistance from getting in, then you have to, Mr. President, not allow offensive weapons to be provided, as long as that situation continues.” So, there are other mechanisms we have that we should be using right now to address that situation.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m wondering if you can respond to Donald Trump, the former president, who was speaking on Sebastian Gorka’s podcast and also put out a statement. He’s facing widespread criticism. This is part of what he said.

DONALD TRUMP: When you see those Palestinian marches, even I, I’m amazed at how many people are in those marches. And guys like Schumer see that, and, to him, it’s votes. I think it’s votes more than anything else, because he was always pro-Israel. He’s very anti-Israel now. Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion, they hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

AMY GOODMAN: He called Democrats antisemitic. Also, his son-in-law, former adviser Jared Kushner, I want to turn to what Jared Kushner just said. Jared Kushner is talking about weighing in on Israel’s war on Gaza, saying Israel should move Palestinians out of Rafah, which he said contains valuable waterfront property. Your responses to what many are saying is the front-runner in the presidential race right now, Donald Trump, and his son-in-law, who was one of his top advisers?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, Amy, this is — here we go — Donald Trump again. Donald Trump thinks you cannot be pro-American without being pro-Donald Trump. He equates the two. In his mind, it’s heresy if you don’t believe and say you want Donald Trump leading our country. In the same way, you know, he thinks if you don’t support all the policies of Netanyahu and Smotrich and Ben-Gvir sometime, you’re opposed to Israel.

The reality, as we all know, is you can be very pro-American without supporting Trump policies. In fact, I would argue that it’s a duty of ours as Americans to make sure that we defeat Trump’s heinous policies here at home. Similarly, you can be pro-Israel and the people of Israel and understand the trauma after the atrocious October 7th attacks, without supporting the policies of the Netanyahu government —

AMY GOODMAN: And yet — 

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: — of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich and this extreme right.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, Senator, many people are extremely frustrated, Democrats and progressives, with President Biden. You have expressed criticism. I mean, the fact that the Biden administration has approved, really secretly, just keeping it right under the threshold, over a hundred U.S. weapons sales to Netanyahu, to Israel, to carry out these attacks on Gaza that have killed at this point near 32,000 people, and have engaged in food drops from the air and building a pier, because Israel is using those very bombs to attack the people of Gaza, and that gets in the way of food trucks. Are you equally critical of President Biden and what he’s doing, and what your final words would be for him, as, increasingly, young people, people of color, Arab American population and many Jews are utterly frustrated with and say they won’t vote for the Democratic candidate for president, President Biden?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, Amy, you’re right. I’ve expressed my strong frustration with the Biden administration for, essentially, not backing up the president’s demands and insistence that the Netanyahu government change course with actions — for example, implementing the Humanitarian Aid Corridors Act or, right now, in the coming days, making sure they enforce the provisions of National Security Memorandum No. 20 with respect to the responsibilities of the Netanyahu government to allow aid into Gaza.

So, I do believe that the Biden administration needs to do a lot more. I have said that when you insist on the Netanyahu government doing one thing and then don’t back it up, it does weaken our credibility, and it essentially sends a message to others around the world that you can do what Netanyahu is doing, which is, you know, ignore American requests without any consequence at all. So, I have expressed that frustration.

I’m continuing to push the Biden administration to do more. And I really hope that the Biden administration will change course. Again, I hope, in the sense that I hope they won’t get sucked into a major invasion in Rafah. And I think that they need to make sure that in the coming days — and Sunday is the real deadline — that they will enforce the provisions of National Security Memorandum 20, because, in my view, there’s no way to determine with a straight face that right now the Netanyahu government is facilitating, and not arbitrarily restricting, directly or indirectly, humanitarian aid into Gaza. And we can see it with our own eyes. We can hear it from the people who are on the ground. So, it’s really important that the Biden administration enforce those provisions, or, in my view, their credibility will be — will be even more undermined.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Chris Van Hollen, we want to thank you so much for being with us, Democratic senator from Maryland. Thank you.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 167 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE HINDUSTAN TIMES notes, "The death toll in Gaza since Oct. 7 has surpassed 31,900, including at least 27 people who have died of malnutrition, according to the enclave's Health Ministry. Another 73,500 have been reported injured."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

The following sites updated: