Sunday, March 31, 2024

Funny in the Kitchen

Wasn't planning on posting this weekend and then saw Matteo's video which made me laugh and I thought was worth sharing.  


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, March 29, 2024.  We look at the sad and depressing world of US presidential campaigns.

Yesterday, in NYC, it was a gathering of presidents as President Joe Biden was joined by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for a big fundraiser.  That's a single sentence and does not have enough interest for me to include it in the snapshot  -- let alone open with it.  What makes it news to me?  , and CNN) report:


The event was interrupted at least four times by protesters, with at least three calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“That’s alright. Let them go. There’s a lot of people who are very, very — there are too many innocent victims, Israeli and Palestinian. We’ve got to get more food and medicine, supplies into the Palestinians,” Biden said, according to journalists in the room, following one interruption. “But we can’t forget, Israel is in a position where its very existence is at stake. You have to have all those people. They weren’t killed. They were massacred. They were massacred.”

Ahead of the fundraiser, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Midtown Manhattan to protest Biden’s support for Israel amid its war in Gaza and call for a ceasefire. Biden has called for a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas.     

How embarrassing.  That's like a Hillary Clinton visits a college campus appearance.

Jeff Mason (TIMES OF ISRAEL) adds:

“Shame on you, Joe Biden!” one yelled.

Obama and Clinton offered a presidential perspective of the Gaza crisis that stressed the political realities of being in the White House.

A president needs to be able to support Israel at the same time as fighting for Palestinians to have more access to food, medical supplies and a future state, they said.

“It’s a lonely seat,” Obama said. “One of the realities of the presidency is that the world has a lot of joy and beauty, but it also has a lot of tragedy and cruelty.”

Boo!  Boo!  Let's all boo that from Barack!  Poor, little president, such a rough job.  What could be worse?

Uh, try living in Palestine right now for starters.

This was a fundraiser.  They're getting heckled at a fundraiser.  That's how deeply unpopular the US government's embrace of the assault on Gaza is.

The whole thing was a nightmare.  And that includes the visuals.  Who decided, for example, that the three men -- at a pricey fundraiser -- should all go tieless?  Did they think that made them look like regular people?

It didn't work for any of them but especially not for Bill.  He needed that tie to avoid people wondering if he'd stolen one of Hillary Clinton's pant suits for the night.  

There are other campaigns taking place.  Marianne Williamson, for example, relaunched her campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination not to secure the nomination -- Joe Biden has it -- but to raise important and needed issues.

Marianne Williamson:  Ten years ago, if I was, after I'd seen a patient and I told the patient what medicine or what treatment I wanted, ten years ago the question would have been, "What are the side effects?"  Today, the question is often -- more often, "How much will it cost me?"  You have 18 million Americans who cannot afford to pay for the prescriptions that their doctors give them.  And I don't believe that incremental changes are going to fix this.  We are already in crisis mode.  And if Washington doesn't see it, the average American does see it. People are living with-with the silent emergencies of poverty.  The silent emergencies of hunger.  You know we talk about COVID being an emergency.  COVID was what's called a screaming emergency.  Once the president declared that it was no longer an emergency and millions of people were thrown off Medicaid and SNAP benefits.  People were basically just told "Go back to life as you were living it" which was already an emergency -- a constant emergency.  The emergency of poverty.  The emergency of hunger.  The emergency of having to work two or three jobs just to put food on the table.  And I'll tell you something, at this point, what we should see as the emergency of hopelessness.  We should not talk about this mental health crisis as anything other than an emergency of hopelessness. and despair. 

Last Saturday, Democratic Party primaries were held in Louisiana and in Missouri.  Joe won both, no surprise.  In Louisiana, Marianne came in second with 4.7% of the vote and in Missouri she came in third with 1.6% of the vote -- second place went to "Uncommitted" which received 11.7% of the vote. 

Outside the Democratic Party?  That's where you'll find Robert Kennedy Junior.  Filip Timotija (THE HILL) reports:

A super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential bid said it raised over $2 million following the candidate’s official announcement of his running mate.

American Values 2024, the main outside group supporting Kennedy’s White House bid, raked in $2.1 million at a fundraiser on Tuesday, right after the official announcement of tech attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan joining his 2024 ticket, PAC head Tony Lyons shared first with The Hill.

Around 60 donors attended the outside group’s cocktail party, Lyons said.

Hmm.  I'm reminded of a Whitney Houston song.

Friday night you and your boys went out to eat, uhhh
Then they hung out
But you came home around three, yes you did
If six of y'all went out, ah
Then four of you were really cheap, yeah
Cause only two of you had dinner
I found your credit card receipt
-- "It's Not Right But It's Okay," written by Whitney Houston, LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, Isaac Phillips and Toni Estes, first appears on Whitney's MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE


So if each of the sixty donated the same amount -- and each donated -- that would be $35,000 a piece.

Like Whitney sang, "It's  not right but it's okay."  Con artist Junior gets further and further from pretending to be the common person concerned about the little people.  Team Junior thought that two million was impressive.  But then came Joe's $25 million night.  Again, the question is, what's the real difference between Junior's 'independent' campaign and one from the duopoly?

The supporters?  It's the crazy and the selfish supporting Junior.  Jeremy B. White (POLITICO) reports:

The new Kennedy voters scattering through the cavernous venue have traveled a long way from Camelot. Talking to them, it’s clear their misgivings about powerful institutions — what they see as a panoply of venal politicians, an untrustworthy media, Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Tech — has led many of them to embrace fringe theories. A shared aversion to vaccines hardened during the Covid-19 pandemic. They worry about chemicals and monoculture crops eroding public health. They’re weary of grinding foreign wars. They admire Kennedy’s history of challenging powerful corporations.

But above all else, they believe the American political system is fundamentally broken and that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will perpetuate its disrepair. They’re ex-Democrats, former Republicans and newly active independents — and they all talk about feeling both a profound disillusionment in the state of the nation and a deep optimism that Kennedy would lead them to something better.

“The other two candidates promote the division that is plaguing our country,” says Sarah Morris, a former “party-voting Democrat” who felt “ostracized by the left” for not wanting to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Some people “weaponize the idea of being a conspiracy theorist,” she says, so she decided to “wear it as a badge of honor.”

Literally: She showed up sporting a gray baseball cap with the words “Tin Foil” written on it.

We'll note THE DAILY SHOW on Junior's fans not embracing his v.p. choice.

We'll also note Leslie Jones from THE DAILY SHOW on Donald Trump.

On the GOP side, last Saturday only Louisiana held a primary.  Donald garnered 89.8% of the vote.  Nikki Haley came in second with 6.8%.

We got two more to cover.  Cornel West and Jill Stein.

Jill Stein is garbage.  She's lying about Cornel now proving she's garbage.  But we made the call that Jill was garbage in 2012 when Ava and I wrote "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.):"

Jill Stein.

As feminists, we wondered six weeks ago, what do we do?

Roseanne had already imploded.  (Cindy Sheehan has a story to tell and then some.)  She couldn't and wouldn't campaign, she apparently wouldn't pay workers she hired for her campaign, she was an embarrassment.

And so was Jill Stein.

As feminists, do we call it as it is?

We debated that for three days.  Jill wasn't going to win the presidency.  In fact, it was obvious she was running off the limited votes she did have a shot at.

But did we tell the truth on that?  Did we call her out?

We crossed the line on gender with the decision -- a feminist one (not "the" feminist one) -- that she was running for public office and therefore had to be treated the same as anyone else would even if, in the closing weeks, we were going to tear her apart.

But . . .

Having dealt with the feminist issue, we still had the issue of third parties.

Was it really fair to beat up on a third party candidate?

Adding to the problems, one of us (Ava) is involved with a lifelong Green (Jess), has a child by him, has made a home with him.

And Jess was very clear that Jill Stein was "a f**king idiot but the Greens need to be on ballots."  And they were.  Texas, for example.  We heard from Billie who early voted for Jill Stein.  She was so excited because Jill Stein was on the ballot.  She didn't have to write her in.  Right there on the Texas ballot was the Green Party.

What do we do?

In the end, we decided, "We don't promote her.  We don't mention her.  That's true here, that's true at Third."

So we bit our tongues.

As she ran a stupid campaign.  As she made a fool of herself and the Green Party.  (Granted, it's a party that loves to make a fool of itself.)

She -- and others -- did a debate with Larry King.  A debate that did not include all.  A new hurdle was invented.

Green Party members, you know what a hurdle is, right?  It's what keeps your candidate out of the so-called presidential debates every four years.  Why the hell would you take part in a debate that did not invite everyone who made it onto a state's ballot as a presidential candidate?

Because hypocrisy is a charge you live to embrace?

Maybe so.

Supposedly the Green Party is opposed to war.

So when Tim Arango reported the White House was negotiating with Nouri to send more troops back into Iraq, Jill Stein should have led on that.

But she's a politician which is just a whore without the desire to please a customer.

So Jill ignored it.

She ignored a lot.

Six weeks ago, in fact, after Barack cratered in the first debate, she and her campaign began going after Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.


You're a Green.  You're on the left.  The high profile left vote getter just imploded on national TV.  It's the perfect time for you to pick up some of his voters.

But you refuse to try.  You rush to go after Romney and Ryan instead.

Why is that?

Because you are not a real party.

Because you will forever be the little sister of the Democratic Party.

Because every four years, you start off with promise and end up revealing just how craven and disgusting you are.

If we are offering commentary four years from now, please note, being a Green will not save you.  Being third party will not save you. 

I'm not a Cornel West defender.  I don't think he should be running for president.  I don't think he put the time into it before deciding to run and I don't think he's put the time in it for a campaign.  

Jill Stein seems to think she can attack Cornel and get away with it.

To a degree, she's right.  She can get away wit it because there are a lot of whores out there.  The two whores that host THE VANGUARD for example.

"Gavin you called it, no Zac you called it, scratch my nuts boyfriend!"

I'm so sick of those damn liars.  They get something 1/4 right and they claim they called it -- ignoring the 3/4s they got wrong.  But worse is how they just outright lie.

They brought on Jill recently.  And you know what, some people had been pimping Cornel's campaign and -- Wait?

Some people?

You two freaks pimped the campaign.  You lied and you whored.  You're worse than anything on FOX "NEWS."  And let's remember, I called out Marianne Williamson many times.  But I especially called out her nonsense of not pushing back on Bill Mahr's transphobia in the one-on-one interview they did.  

What did freaky stoners do on THE VANGUARD?

Whored like the cheapest street walkers you'll ever meet.  I had to live through the garbage claims that when Barack was selling out, he wasn't selling out!  He was playing three dimensional chess!

THE VANGUARD boys pulled that this year and claimed that Marianne's refusal to pushback was great strategy and was this and was that.

No, it was embarrassing and the only thing more embarrassing than what she did was watching THE VANGUARD BOYS try to spin it for her.

I don't like whores.

There are many reasons I hate fat ass stalker and fake feminist Katha Pollitt.  But one of the biggest reasons after Abeer (Katha refused to cover the gang-rape and murder of the Iraqi girl and then, under real pressure and facing real backlash, she devoted one single sentence to Abeer) is that Katha thought Sarah Palin gave a great opening speech but wrote the opposite in her piece for THE NATION.  As her leaked journolist contribution made clear.  So she's paid to write an opinion piece and she can't even be honest in it?  That's a cheap whore.

And that's what THE VANGUARD boys are.

I'm not giving credit to anybody in the following for a number of reasons including whoring.  If you got it right about Jill months ago and you're now fawning over her -- BLACK POWER MEDIA, I'm looking at you --I'm not in the mood.  I'm not your Mommy.  I don't have to applaud your baby steps.  Equally true, if you're such a whore -- BPM's Jared Ball, I'm looking at you -- that you won't even stand up for the scoop you got, it's not my job to applaud you or to kiss your boo-boo and tell you to go back outside and play.

So many damn whores and we wonder what it's so hard to get the left motivated.

So here's reality.  

Cornel West did not wake up in January 2023 thinking he wanted to run for president.

A college professor, motivational speaker and writer of books for non-readers, he had plenty on his hands already. 

But Chris Hedges wanted to run for office.  The journalist wanted to run for office in years prior but would have had to give up RT at that time so he decided not to.

Chris was very close with the disgraced People's Party.  He presented himself and Cornel as a package deal.  They were set to announce the ticket.


Chris' wife told him that he was not running for vice president.

So Cornel was the only one announced.

This is where the real lies begins and where you should be seeing the whores.  Various YOUTUBE programs and online outlets allowed Chris to lie.  He wrote a piece -- that he talked about on one YOUTUBE program after another -- about how he was interviewing Cornel during a car ride and learning about Cornel's decision to run and --


Chris recruited him.  Chris brokered that nomination.

And Chris lied.  

And whores let him lie.

To his credit, Cornel didn't lie -- didn't realize he was supposed to be lying -- and early on in a few interviews (including with Jared Ball), spoke openly about this and how he and Chris were originally supposed to be running mates.

Chris doesn't live in the real world.  He lives in a world of lies.  Imagine that, a serial plagiarist living in a world of lies.  And he had no idea the reality with which others saw the People's Party.

Dripping in all of his Whitness, Chris Hedges did not realize how much damage running as the People's Party's presidential candidate would do to Cornel West.

But Cornel quickly found out.

That's why he announced he was no longer their candidate.

Behind the scenes -- and if I know this and documented this forever and a day in real time, whores like Katie Halper knew it too, they just lied to you while begging for your trust and money -- Chris told Cornel to chill, Chris was on it.  

Chris gets with Jill Stein and they tell Cornel he can be the Green Party's presidential nominee.

Jill will make it happen.

Oops.  That's not how the Green Party works.  And membership doesn't like Jill.  She's already a twice failed candidate for president and one who left the party deep in debt -- again BPM, if you'd own up to your reporting, I'd gladly insert your videos here.

And there is immediate pushback to Jill's scheme.

I keep writing daily here about how Cornel is not the nominee and ignore the YOUTUBE whores and Jill Stein and Chris Hedges.

Cornel was lied to.

When he says he was betrayed by Jill, he's telling the truth.

And when THE VANGUARD boys bring on Jill and let her claim she did nothing to Cornel, THE VANGUARD is just whoring again, using your money, betraying your trust.

Jill flat out lied to Cornel.  His very real disappointment and hurt is valid.  

I have not rushed to rescue or enable him.  I'm not doing that now.  But I haven't whored and I'm not going to start now.  Jill's garbage and I hope Cornel reflects on his experience in a book that would be a real book worth reading -- not sloganeering passed off as research and writing.

Jill is now likely to become the Green Party's presidential nominee this summer.  In part because the party's rank-and-filed had to mobilize to stop Cornel from being imposed on the party.  That took a lot of work and I will applaud the rank and file for that.  They stopped their party from selling out the process.  But now they have no one left but loser Jill.

Three times?  This will her third time running for president.  Donald doesn't need to run this third time and neither does Jill Stein.

She's a fake ass and she's a liar and we won't pretend otherwise.

Let's move over to DEMOCRACY NOW! yesterday:

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

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A State Department official working on human rights issues in the Middle East resigned Wednesday in protest against U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. Annelle Sheline worked as a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for a year, before publicly resigning.

In an op-ed published in CNN, she wrote, quote, “For the past year, I worked for the office devoted to promoting human rights in the Middle East. I believe strongly in the mission and in the important work of that office. However, as a representative of a government that is directly enabling what the International Court of Justice has said could plausibly be a genocide in Gaza, such work has become almost impossible. Unable to serve an administration that enables such atrocities, I have decided to resign from my position at the Department of State,” she wrote.

AMY GOODMAN: Annelle Sheline is the most significant protest resignation over U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza since the resignation in October of Josh Paul, the senior State Department official involved in arms transfers to foreign governments.

Annelle Sheline joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Annelle, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you tell us further about the decision you made?

ANNELLE SHELINE: Thanks so much for having me and for your coverage of this issue.

I hadn’t initially planned to resign publicly. I hadn’t been at State for very long, and I didn’t think it would necessarily matter. But I decided to go public because when I started to tell colleagues that I was planning to resign over Gaza, so many people’s response was, “Please speak out. Please speak for us.” Many people are not in a position where they feel they could resign, or they are trying to do what they can on the inside. There’s still a lot of important, crucial work the State Department does. And so I decided I would go ahead and go public.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you told — Annelle, you told The Washington Post that you tried to raise concerns internally with dissent cables and at staff forums. So, what was the result of that? And how are other people within State, as you said, trying to speak out within the State Department to change policy?

ANNELLE SHELINE: Yes, many people are extremely horrified by the U.S. government’s position on this horrific conflict and the actions of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments. There is the dissent channel inside the State Department. I was in — I co-wrote a cable and signed other cables. There have been forums for State Department employees to speak out. I spoke with supervisors. I was able to speak with a senior official about my resignation. I think, at the end of the day, many people inside State know that this is a horrific policy and can’t believe that the United States government is engaged in such actions that contravene American values so directly. But the leadership is not listening.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to the State Department spokesperson Matt Miller being questioned by a reporter about the internal dissent channel within the State Department and employees raising concerns over the policies.

HUMEYRA PAMUK: What is the point of the whole channel? And, like, I mean, the secretary listens, and we’ve all reported about various listening sessions between mid-level or, like, more senior officials with the secretary, more junior officials. If it’s not — if it’s being heard, but if it’s not taken into account in the policy at all —


HUMEYRA PAMUK: — then don’t you think it’s a little bit pointless?

MATTHEW MILLER: So, I would disagree with that completely. It is taken into account in the policy-making process. The secretary has heard things in those meetings that he takes on board and that he — that influence his thinking and that he brings to bear in making policy decisions. Now, if what you mean is, are we going to execute a complete reversal of the policy that —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: No, that’s not what I mean. That’s not what I mean.

MATTHEW MILLER: — hold on — we implemented, or are you going to — are we going to implement exactly some of the policies that the people in these meetings have called for —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: No, not at all.

MATTHEW MILLER: — that’s not how —


MATTHEW MILLER: Hold on. That’s not how this process works. That’s not how government works. And that’s —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: No, I don’t think that’s anyone’s expectation.

MATTHEW MILLER: And that’s — let me just say, that’s not how any organization works. I daresay any of the media organizations in this room, if reporters go to their bosses and offer feedback, and the bosses say, “Well, that’s a good point. We’re going to take that to bear. But on the larger policy, this is the decision that we have made,” that’s how — that’s how leadership —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: You’re doing a long rant about something that I didn’t suggest.

MATTHEW MILLER: That is how leadership works.

HUMEYRA PAMUK: But do you have any examples on, you know, any changes —

MATTHEW MILLER: Yeah. I will — I will say —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: Like, I’m genuinely curious.

MATTHEW MILLER: I will say, with respect to any number of issues, with respect to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, we have heard good ideas from people inside the building who have come and offered constructive feedback, and we have implemented those.


MATTHEW MILLER: Now — now, there are people that when you say if — like, if the idea is that — to the United States to cut off support for Israel, that’s just a fundamental policy disagreement. So, when you see people who offer interviews that say, “We want the United States to stop supporting Israel’s right to defend itself,” that’s not something the secretary agrees with, it’s not something the president agrees with, and ultimately they are the ones who have the responsibility of making those decisions.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Annelle Sheline, if you can respond to the State Department spokesperson Matt Miller?

ANNELLE SHELINE: You know, I think American law is quite clear here, in terms of the Leahy laws, for example, that when a foreign military is credibly accused of gross human rights violations, the law is that the U.S. will no longer provide weapons to those units, or 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, that a government that is blocking American humanitarian aid is no longer eligible for U.S. military assistance. These laws are not being applied.

So, I think this is not only having a horrific effect on the people of Gaza, but in terms of America’s standing in the rest of the world, this administration came in pledging to reestablish American moral leadership, reengagement with the international community, uphold the law and the so-called rules-based liberal international order, and I think it’s just become clear that this administration is not, in fact, conducting — carrying out any of those pledges. And, you know, my work was on human rights, which is very important work that the State Department does. But I think, on this issue in particular, the political calculus has been that U.S. support for Israel is a better political move. But I think what the administration may be starting to see is they may have made the wrong decision on that politically.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Annelle, can you explain whether there’s any distinction made — there’s a blanket statement about U.S. support for Israel. But is there no distinction within discussions at the State Department between different forms of U.S. support for Israel? So, for instance, obviously, in this instance, the most important question is that of military aid to Israel at this moment.

ANNELLE SHELINE: There, I should be clear that, you know, my area of focus, I was not — Israel and Palestine were not part of my portfolio. I was focusing primarily on North Africa, so I can’t speak directly to some of those conversations. I do think, you know, at the end of the day, the U.S.-Israel relationship is considered of such political importance that decisions regarding it are made at the very top. And so, while there are other processes and certainly discussions going on inside State, inside other parts of the government about some of those nuances you were discussing, I don’t think we’re likely to see any public shift on any of that until those decisions come from the top that they’re ready to reimagine the U.S.-Israel relationship.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to another clip of the State Department spokesperson Matt Miller, saying the Biden administration has not found Israel’s actions in Gaza to be a violation of international law. This is some of what he said.

MATTHEW MILLER: We have not found them to be in violation of international humanitarian law, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or when it comes to the provision of humanitarian assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: That was this week, Annelle Sheline, either violation of international law or when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance. And yet President Biden says he is building a port because the Palestinians cannot get enough aid.

ANNELLE SHELINE: Exactly. I think that the evidence speaks for itself. We’ve had, you know, not only the ICJ’s ruling, not only the U.N. Security Council ruling. Clearly, the administration is unwilling to admit to reality. And again, I just want to reiterate, I think this is not only obviously devastating for the lives of people in Gaza, but is doing incredible damage to America’s standing on the international stage. It is incredibly demoralizing for people inside the State Department, many of whom believe very deeply in what America says it stands for. So, I’m trying to speak on behalf of those many, many people who feel so betrayed by our government’s stance.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Annelle, could you explain the effect that the massive protests across the United States have had within the State Department, what discussion there was of them, and then, of course, the “uncommitted” vote?

ANNELLE SHELINE: So, within the State Department, you know, civil servants are very committed to their role of being nonpolitical, of following the instruction that they receive. You know, within State, people are aware of what’s going on outside. But, you know, this is not the first time that people have been involved or had to carry out policies they perhaps did not agree with, and it is something that many of these people have signed up for. This is the role of carrying out America’s foreign policy.

On this issue, I think, because it has been so horrific and because we are seeing such growing political pushback from the American public, people are increasingly frustrated. You know, many other people with whom I spoke said they’re considering resigning. But again, it is challenging for someone to — you know, it’s not easy to not have a job in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to quote further what you’ve said in explanation of why you’re resigning. You said you’re “haunted by the final social media post of Aaron Bushnell, the 25-year-old US Air Force serviceman who self-immolated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington on February 25.” You quote him: “Many of us like to ask ourselves, 'What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?' The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.” If you can explain what that meant to you and how people have responded to you?

ANNELLE SHELINE: Sorry. You know, that post, I think, spoke to me and many people, who had to really look at what they were doing and whether — you know, for me, I have a young daughter. And I thought about, in the future, if she were to ask me, you know, “What were you doing when this was happening? You were at the State Department.” I want to be able to tell her that I didn’t stay silent. And I know many people who are deeply affected by those words that Aaron Bushnell posted. And I do think people are trying to do what they can. There is still very important work being done inside the State Department. But I do think, until our top levels of leadership are ready to make a change, there’s very little that the rank and file are able to do.

AMY GOODMAN: Annelle Sheline, we want to thank you so much for being with us. Annelle has just resigned from the State Department in protest of U.S. support for Israel’s war on Gaza. She worked as foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. She’s also the first State Department official to publicly resign since Josh Paul did months ago.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we speak to the spokesperson for UNRWA. President Biden just signed off on a bipartisan bill, turning it into law, which says that UNRWA will not be funded by the U.S. government for the next year. Stay with us.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 175 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 NATIONAL notes, "The total number of people killed since October 7 has increased to 32,623, with 75,092 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." 

This morning ALJAZEERA reports:

The International Court of Justice’s order for Israel to provide the unhindered delivery of aid is not likely to increase the amount of assistance flowing into Gaza unless a ceasefire is reached, analyst Marc Owen Jones has told Al Jazeera.

“After the last ICJ provisional measures [in January], the amount of aid entering Gaza actually decreased,” the Middle East expert at Hamad Bin Khalifa University said. “Just because the ICJ have put this ruling forward doesn’t necessarily mean Israel is going to comply.”

About one third of the aid that was required in Gaza before the war is currently reaching the bombarded territory. “The only thing that will result in a spike in aid is a ceasefire,” he said.

“Otherwise, I’m afraid Israel’s response will just be rhetoric.”

+ I’ll never forget the irate call we got from an Obama senate staffer when we reported that Lieberman was Obama’s mentor in the Senate during his first year in office. “He didn’t have a f**king choice about it, man!!!!!!!” Sure.

+ When Joe Lieberman arrived in the US Senate in 1989, Strom Thurmond greeted him by saying, “I understand we think a lot alike in the way we do things.” “Yes, sir, I think we do,” admitted Lieberman. Strom probably learned about this reassuring profile of Lieberman’s center-right political beliefs from his weekly lunch date in the Senate cafeteria with Joe Biden who, like Lieberman, was one of the founding nowhere men of the Democratic Leadership Council, whose mission was to keep the Democratic Party from ever again straying to the Left of Michael Dukakis…

+ Al Gore’s Harvard mentor (and later political promoter at the New Republic) Martin Peretz convinced Gore to put Lieberman–the most obnoxious senator in a chamber full of them–on the ticket in 2000 for the express purpose of winning Florida by courting the Jewish and the Cuban exile vote in Miami-Dade, even they didn’t like him.

+ Political piety was Lieberman’s calling card and, like McCain, this pretense of recoiling from the dirty work of politics won him many friends in the mainstream press. In reality, Lieberman was a censor and a prude. He supported labeling hip-hop and heavy rock records and restricting the sale of video games to minors. He censured Bubba for having consensual sex and publicly denounced him for it. Gore’s pick of Lieberman meant that Bill Clinton, still enormously popular, couldn’t campaign for this ticket featuring two of the stiffest politicians in American history, likely costing the pair the election.

+ After the 2000 elections, Lieberman played an entirely malicious role in American politics. He spread lies about WMDs in Iraq, championed the wars on terror, condoned torture and campaigned against universal health care, successfully severing the public option from ObamaCare and gutting the planned extension of Medicare to people 55 or older.

+ Lieberman: “Every day Saddam Hussein remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States.” September 4, 2002.

+ Petulant and vainglorious, Lieberman couldn’t handle being defeated by the progressive Ned Lamont in the CT primary, largely over his support for the Iraq War, and waged a nasty independent campaign backed by many in the GOP to narrowly win in the general elections. Then he endorsed McCain over Obama in 2008. He served as a model for figures such as Manchin and Sinema, who practiced a kind of political extortion against their own party. 

+ Lieberman was one of the chief architects of the post-911 police state in the US, working side-by-side with the Bush administration to construct the new Department of Homeland Security, lending it vast new powers not only to harass immigrants, especially those from Muslim countries, but to invade nearly every aspect of the lives of American citizens in the name of “security.”

+ No defender of civil liberties, Lieberman was no defender of civil liberties, Lieberman was a supporter of the Patriot Act and backed nearly every variety of government surveillance.  He authored the so-called Kill-Switch Bill, which would have given the President to assume complete control of the Net.

+ Lieberman was one of the first, if not the first, prominent politicians to advocate prosecuting Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, and introduced a bill in Congress to expand the law with that explicit purpose. Lieberman’s vendetta against Wikileaks included convincing (extorting?) Amazon, Visa, MasterCard and Pay Pal to stop servicing payments to the independent media organization.

+ Long an advocate of privatizing education, Lieberman testified before the Senate Education Committee in 2017 in favor of Betsy DeVos’ nomination to become Trump’s Education Secretary, telling the committee: “I know that some people are questioning her qualifications to be secretary of education, and too many of those questions seem to me to be based on the fact that she doesn’t come from within the education establishment. But honestly, I believe that today, that’s one of the most important qualifications you could have for this job. She has many others. She’s a mother and a grandmother. She cares about children more generally, and she has been involved in education, like so many parents and local citizen school board members across America for almost 30 years.”

+ Lieberman’s one benign contribution to the Republic was in helping to defang the federal government’s toxic posture toward homosexuals…but then so did Lynne and Dick Cheney. 

The following sites updated:

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Hamburger Stew in the Kitchen

Tammy Pearson e-mailed to note Salt and Lavender's Hamburger Stew recipe:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 sticks celery chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth + more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 Russet potatoes peeled & diced
  • 4 medium carrots peeled & sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Add the oil, onion, and celery to a soup pot and sauté over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the beef to the pot and cook, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, until it's browned (about 8 minutes).
  • Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes (stirring often).
  • Stir in the tomato paste.
  • Add in the broth, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, potatoes, and carrots. Increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and cook, covered (with the lid slightly open), stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the flavors have had some time to build. Add more broth if the stew starts to get too thick, and if you want it thicker, cook it for longer with the lid off.
  • Stir in the frozen peas and season with salt & pepper as needed.

Tammy writes, "Child of the eighties who grew up in Texas which means I grew up on Heart's 'Crazy On You,' ACDC's 'Big Balls' and ground beef.  I probably cook too many things with ground beef today but the kids always love it and they love this hamburger stew recipe."

Thank you, Tammy, for sharing it.  I'm sure others will enjoy it because it's an easy to follow recipe that produces a good and filling meal.  

During Holy Week, Christians remember the final hours before Jesus’ arrest, when he and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane and he asked them to stay awake and alert as he prayed — perhaps so he would not be alone in his darkest hours.

To Christ’s dismay, the disciples repeatedly fell asleep. “Could you not keep awake one hour?” he lamented.

Two millennia later, too many Christians are still falling asleep and abandoning Jesus, turning their backs on his teachings of love, truth and peace and instead embracing the cruelty, conspiracy theories and Jan. 6-style violence of far-right Christian nationalism. Others are closing their eyes as our faith is hijacked, and sleeping while this ideology threatens both American freedom and the church itself.

Three years after the Jan. 6 insurrection, common-good Christians cannot give in to complacency or to believing that, because former President Donald Trump has been indicted, all will be well. Trump’s support among white evangelical Christians is surging. Indeed, it was a key piece of his swift victory to become the Republican presidential nominee.

The insurrection was a far-right Christian nationalist affair, waged under crosses and Christian flags with the blessing of some conservative pastors. A study released last month by PRRI further indicates that religious groups most associated with the Republican Party —especially white evangelical Protestants — are the most likely to hold Christian nationalist views, which include viewing “political struggles through an apocalyptic lens of revolution and violence.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s supporters, unlike Jesus’ followers in the garden, have certainly stayed alert. While many Americans focus on holding Trump accountable for past actions, his allies and lieutenants have been hard at work preparing for a return to office. 

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday:

Wednesday, March 27, 2024.  The horrors continue to mount -- in Robert Kennedy Junior's campaign and in Gaza. 

Starting in the US with political races.  Robert Kennedy Junior remains the nag in the race despite getting media attention yesterday.  Junior couldn't even pull that off right.

For those who missed it, around 3:00 pm EST yesterday, Junior announced who he had selected for his running mate --  a vigorous process that found him almost giving his rose to Aaron Rodgers -- eye roll, please, Nicole Shanahan.

For those who missed it?

It was over four and half hours later before 'Team Kennedy' shared the news with donors in an e-mail entitled "BREAKING NEWS: Kennedy's VP Choice" -- an e-mail that again begged for money.  

Like his nonsense remarks about COVID vaccines and everything else, it was a lie.  Four and a half hours after it's been reported on, something is not "Breaking News."  (Post corrected to four and a half from three and a half -- e-mail went out at 8:30 pm EST.)

Junior's the biggest liar in the world.  But let's take a look at that running mate.

The message of Junior's vice presidency pick?  "Any seat at my table can be bought and is for sale."  Nicole Shanahan has no experience in government.  She's never held elected office. Nor has he.  That's a balanced ticket?   Her sole talent apparent to the naked eye is the ability to marry well and divorce better.  The marriages leave her rich which is how she was able to pay for Junior's Superbowl commercial this year.

She's 38 years old -- we always knew Junior liked them young -- and has no real skills or accomplishment.

'She started a company!'  Yes, she did.  After she married wealthy Jeremy Asher Kranz.  Two years later, she divorced him.  And married the wealthier Sergey Brin.  Where she got her real big money.  And that marriage lasted nearly five years so I guess that was work -- or what passes for it for Nicole.

No accomplishments on her own.  Her business work used her husbands' money and connections.

Since the collapse of marriage number two, she's left the tech world to pretend she's a documentary film maker.

In the 70s, lazy women who lived off the money of others pretended to be 'photographers.'  They'd take photos of chairs and try to get their wealthy boyfriends (single or married) to pay for a showing at a gallery.  These days lazy women who sponge off others pretend to be documentary film makers.

During the Renaissance, women like Nicole  were called courtesans.

In the mid-90s, I didn't pretty it up when I told Pamela Beryl Harriman to her face that she might be the aged belle of DC but she was still nothing but a whore.  I meant it with Pamela, I mean it with Nicole.

I'm the first to applaud any woman when she accomplishes something.  I don't agree with, for example, Patricia Heaton's politics, but her performance as Frankie on THE MIDDLE was applause worthy and I had no problem saying so.  She did that, she created a character and brought her to life.  I applaud that.  I applaud those who work.

I don't appalud anyone -- male or female - who sleeps their way to the top -- or at least the top of a pile of money.

She's kind-of, sort-of on marriage number three.  She and Jacob Strumwasser had a hand-fasting last year at her request.  Not familiar with that?  Sure you are.  In Oliver Stone's THE DOORS, drunken Jim Morrison participates in one with Patricia Kennealy-Morrison.  Not sure how that Druid ceremony is going to play with Junior's right-wing base. 

But, hey, she's 38, can't she be married three times?  Especially when it's how she makes her money?  She's a career girl every time she walks down that aisle.

And that tells you what Robert Kennedy Junior, the old man taking testosterone injections, thinks of women.  He knows qualified women.  He grew up with strong and qualified women.  Instead, he chooses an inexperienced gold digger.  

There are people who have experience, there are women who have experience.  Junior sold the spot on his ticket to the highest bidder.  Remember that when you wrongly think he's someone who would fight for the little person.  She's bought her seat at any table for sale and Junior's just the latest example.

I guess we can all take comfort in the fact that there is worse than being inept and unfit, there's being 100% evil and Junior dodged that bullet by not selecting Tulsi Gabbard -- whom Trina has dubbed Trashy Garbage. 

Another person on the campaign trail is Marianne Williamson.  This was not a good media appearance. 

Marianne is not going to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee and she knows that.  She got back in the race to raise issues. 

And the media appearance above might have seemed like a good idea.  It's not one.

She never should have gone on with Bri-Bri.  They are not friends.  Bri already distorted her weeks ago when Bri brought on Sabby and the two of them lied about her appearance on RBN.  

That was the real warning.

Marianne is the target of sexism - and that includes from Norman Finklestein.

Bri has never helped another woman in her life and the closest she's ever come to a feminist discussion on a program was when she devoted herself to the SEX IN THE CITY reboot.  

So, no, she's not going to point out that in an hour interview about people who matter and mattered, Norman Finklestein only mentioned one woman -- Angela Davis -- and was about how hot she was back then.  

She's not going to call out Norman.  Even Jared Ball called out Norman and his White man whiny status that people need to be interviewing him (Norman) about the state of Black America because he's White so he's entitled to it.

Marianne wrongly thought they'd have a discussion and she could raise some issues.

Instead, Bri did another of her verbal masturbations.

And it didn't just hurt Marianne.

Marianne wants a cease-fire, she wants an end to the attack on Gaza.

That's something that many of us want.  

Instead of building on that -- at a time when its needed and the death toll continues to climb -- Bri wants to get lost in one side issue after another.  She was showing off and her showing her ass.  But she wasn't helping the Palestinians.

It's amazing how her 'friend' Marianne gets held accountable for this and that but her buddy Congressman Ro comes on her show and repeats lies and then lies that the UN Secretary-General has said what he's saying and Bri just moves on past it.

It's amazing until you grasp that bitches like Bri rarely stand up to men but they will walk over any woman.

Oh, wait.  I'm assuming Bri wants to stop the violence aimed at the Palestinians -- but she doesn't.  She doesn't care about solutions, she's just an angry kid who wants to break her toy.  That's all it is to her, a game.  

I understand that Marianne needs to be seen to get issues discussed but Marianne needs to choose much better in future media appearances.

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

Israel is continuing to attack Gaza despite a vote Monday by the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire during the remaining two weeks of Ramadan and calling for the release of hostages in Gaza. Fourteen of the 15 nations on the U.N. Security Council voted in support of the resolution, which was drafted by the nonpermanent members of the council. The United States abstained, ignoring a request by Israel to veto the ceasefire resolution. The U.S. had previously vetoed three other ceasefire resolutions.

Israel denounced the U.N. vote, as well as the U.S. decision to abstain. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by canceling a visit to Washington, D.C., by a high-level delegation this week to discuss Israel’s plans to attack Rafah.

At the United Nations, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour praised the ceasefire resolution.

RIYAD MANSOUR: This must be a turning point. This must lead to saving lives on the ground. This must signal the end of this assault of atrocities against our people. A nation is being murdered. A nation is being dispossessed. A nation is being displaced — for decades now, but never at this scale since the Nakba.

AMY GOODMAN: Israel has vowed to ignore the resolution. In a post on social media, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said, quote, “The State of Israel will not cease firing. We will destroy Hamas and continue fighting until the very last hostage has come home,” he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is at odds with the U.N. over whether the resolution is binding or not. Deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said U.N. Security Council resolutions are, quote, “as binding as international law.” But on Monday, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., described the resolution as nonbinding.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We appreciated the willingness of members of this council to take some of our edits and improve on this resolution. Still certain key edits were ignored, including our request to add a condemnation of Hamas. And we did not agree with everything in the resolution. For that reason, we were, unfortunately, not able to vote yes. However, as I’ve said before, we fully support some of the critical objectives in this nonbinding resolution. And we believe it was important for the council to speak out and make clear that our ceasefire must — any ceasefire must come with the release of all hostages. Indeed, as I’ve said before, the only path to a durable end to this conflict is the release of all hostages.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Craig Mokhiber, international human rights lawyer who formerly served as the director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, where he worked for more than three decades as a human rights official. He resigned in October over the U.N.'s failure to adequately address large-scale atrocities in Palestine and in protest of Israel's assault on Gaza.

Craig Mokhiber, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you explain the significance of this U.N. Security Council resolution, the U.S. abstaining, and whether or not this is binding?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, thank you, Amy and Juan. Nice to be with you again.

It is significant — you’ve picked the right adjective there — because this was a draft that was put forward by the nonpermanent members, the elected members of the Security Council, the so-called E10. And these 10 members include representatives from around the world, including some key allies of the United States, which created, I think, a degree of political pressure that added to hopes that the resolution would not be vetoed in this case.

I have to say that it follows just a few days after the council rejected a rather cynical draft that was submitted by the United States, the text of which, I have said, is a kind of an anti-ceasefire resolution. It didn’t order a ceasefire, but effectively set out Israel’s conditions for ceasing its violations of international law. And that was a real problem, because a lot of U.S. media outlets were reporting on that resolution as a ceasefire resolution, when it was anything but.

But yesterday’s resolution was an actual ceasefire resolution — a rather weak one, which I will comment on, but it is a ceasefire resolution. It calls for a brief ceasefire, for access for humanitarian aid at scale, for lawful treatment of prisoners, including Palestinian prisoners, and for release of hostages. And it’s important because, you know, we’re in the midst of a genocide. And you have this nearly moribund Security Council that has failed for six months, that is finally succeeding at least in demanding a temporary ceasefire. Any pause will save lives. And any aid that gets in as a result, during an imposed starvation, will make a difference, no doubt about it. It’s also important because it’s a signal, again, of the very broad consensus across the global community against Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, and it will be another legal tool that can help in holding perpetrators accountable after the provisional order of the World Court on Israel’s genocide.

But, you know, unfortunately, while it contains some hopeful, aspirational language that may lead to a lasting ceasefire, it only demands a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, which will end in just over two weeks. So it is a very short pause during this genocide. And we know that one of the U.S.’s conditions for not vetoing the resolution was the deletion of the word “permanent,” which of course changes the substance of the resolution very significantly.

So, despite all of this talk about tensions in U.S.-Israeli relations and this rare instance of the U.S. not vetoing a resolution on Israel’s behalf, the U.S. is clearly continuing to run interference on behalf of Israel at the U.N. And as you say, this is made all the more clear by the statements of the U.S. immediately after the adoption of the resolution, in which the U.S. has claimed — entirely falsely, by the way — that the ceasefire demand is conditional on the release of hostages and, secondly, that the resolution itself is nonbinding. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., made these claims in the session of the Security Council after the adoption of the resolution. Both of these claims are completely false and have no legal grounding. The U.N. Charter in its Article 25, subsequent decisions of the International Court of Justice have made this undisputable. Security Council resolutions are binding on all member states. And this is black-letter law in the Charter that says that all members of the United Nations are bound to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council, as I say, subsequently affirmed by the International Court of Justice.

And the claim that the ceasefire is to be conditioned on other factors like the release of hostages, this is completely false, as well. This was a key, central focus of the negotiations, was to make sure that these things were not conditioned one on the other, but they are separate demands of the Security Council. The United States knows this, but it is cynically distorting the record in order to, on the one hand, be able to claim that it has gone along or not blocked an international move toward a ceasefire, because of pressure from domestic and international constituencies, and, on the other hand, making sure that nothing really changes on the ground. It shows how the U.S. — how committed the U.S. has been to undercutting the resolution even before the ink was dry. So, if you look at the process, the U.S. used its power to water down the text during negotiations. It still did not vote in favor, only abstaining, and then immediately and falsely declared that it’s nonbinding and conditional.

And in the end, I have to say, we also know that Israel is unlikely to respect any of the terms of this resolution. They’ve already declared that they will not do so. And they have continued all of their military offensives and genocidal assaults on the Gaza Strip since the adoption of the resolution. We also know that the United States is very unlikely to use any leverage to compel Israel to comply with the resolution. And their language now on trying to claim that it’s nonbinding is evidence that that is their intent. So, the killing continues. Forced starvation continues. Genocide continues unabated.


CRAIG MOKHIBER: And I think that may be the — yes, go on.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Craig Mokhiber, what would be the — what would be the potential actions of the United Nations to a member state that does not adhere to a binding resolution of this type? And also, what is your response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s canceling of the Israeli delegation to the U.S. over this vote?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think Israel’s intentions have been made clear. If you listen to the statements of the prime minister and other cabinet ministers and military leaders, they have been clear from the beginning that they will not relent in their assault on the Gaza Strip until they’ve effectively accomplished the destruction of the entire strip. And their attacks now on Rafah, in particular, show that the last refuge, the last piece of the Gaza Strip that hasn’t been effectively destroyed, is not only in their sights, but already under their bombs. So Israel never has had any intention. In fact, Israel has the world record for violating Security Council, General Assembly, Human Rights Council resolutions in the United Nations. And that is unchanged.

But this resolution can make a difference. On the one hand, there is an opportunity, if Israel is in breach of the resolution, to bring a resolution for enforcement under Chapter VII. Now, of course, as we’ve said, the United States is likely to block, to veto that resolution, to prevent any enforcement, just as they will continue to block any enforcement of the decisions of the International Court of Justice regarding genocide in Palestine. In this case, because the U.S. has not vetoed it, they have, in effect, blocked action in the General Assembly under the Uniting for Peace resolution, where you could have seen some real meaningful action. You could have seen a resolution with teeth, with substance, resolution that included diplomatic, military, political, economic sanctions — not the enforcement of those sanctions, but the call for those sanctions — the deployment of a protection force, the establishment of a tribunal, the establishment of permanent mechanisms, as was the case within the United Nations during apartheid in South Africa. So, there are actions that could be taken here, but the nonveto has slowed action in the General Assembly, while at the same time allowing the United States to claim that, yes, the resolution passed, but somehow it’s not binding.

In the end, this all comes down to the — first, to the political will of member states across the organization, which already, after the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice, are obliged to be taking action to rein in Israel’s assault on Gaza — few have done so, but I think there is pressure building — and then, secondly, the obligation on all of us in civil society to make sure that we keep up the pressure, again, as was the case in South Africa, on our own countries to make sure that there are appropriate sanctions imposed on Israel to force it to comply and to end its genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Kamal Qasim. He’s a displaced Palestinian in Gaza, responding to the U.N. Security Council vote in New York.

KAMAL QASIM: [translated] We hope that the decision is implemented and that it is taken seriously, because we know that Israel is stubborn and doesn’t pay attention to the Security Council or any Western countries or Arab countries. And you can see what the situation is like, and the life that we are living is very, very difficult, with big massacres and genocides — not just one genocide — and the situation is very, very hard. And we hope a ceasefire comes quickly and that the decision is implemented.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Craig Mokhiber, I’m wondering if can you respond to that. And also, we’re getting all sorts of reports on whether the Qatar talks are continuing, those negotiations. Majed al-Ansari, a spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, tells reporters negotiations on a truce are still ongoing. He rejected Israeli claims that the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire had an immediate impact on the talks. The Times of Israel said Israel has cut off Gaza truce talks in Qatar as a result. Your response and where you see this all headed at this point? I mean, even as we talk about whether Israel is going to launch a full-scale invasion, I think in the last 24 hours since the U.N. Security Council resolution was passed, something like 80 to 100 Palestinians were killed, most of them in Rafah.

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Yeah, absolutely. And this is the challenge of enforcement. It’s clear that as long as Israel’s principal sponsor — I’d say its co-belligerent — the United States of America, is not committed to reining in Israel’s assaults, those assaults are going to continue, regardless of what the International Court of Justice or the Security Council or other legal mechanisms at the international level rule. They are blocked by the power of the United States in actually giving force to the decisions that they take. And unfortunately, that’s what we’re seeing on the ground.

This is an opportunity. Right? It provides a diplomatic tool and a legal tool to press for at least this two-week-plus pause on the ground. But the clock is already ticking. Nothing has changed so far. Israel has been explicit in its rejection of the resolution, and the United States has been explicit in its position that the resolution is nonbinding, and therefore, if it’s nonbinding, it doesn’t make any sense for them to take action to try to enforce it.

The key element of the U.S.'s engagement on this was to try to keep the Security Council, and the United Nations generally, at arm's length so that all the center of gravity would remain with them and their diplomatic — so-called diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, together with the Egyptians and the Qataris. Those talks have not borne fruit. Israel has repeatedly boycotted portions of those talks.

You know, an opportunity for a two-week pause that this resolution provides is disappearing with each passing day. And so are the opportunities to try to turn that two-week pause, as is suggested in the resolution, into something that is more lasting. The U.S. refused to allow the word “permanent,” but something more lasting. So the pressure is going to have to come from elsewhere. It’s not going to come from these key pressure points. It’s going to have to come from civil society. It’s going to have to come from private actors. And again, as I said before, it’s going to have to come from all of us.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Craig Mokhiber, I wanted to ask you — there’s been, for years now, efforts to restructure the United Nations, especially the Security Council, precisely because of the overwhelming power that the old European major powers exercised over the Security Council. Do you think that this war and the inability of the U.N. to act to end it will now further fuel the move to reform the U.N.?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, one can hope, Juan, I have to say. I mean, I think what this genocide has done is it has revealed the weaknesses, the political compromises, the moral failings of the United Nations and other international institutions. It has shown itself to be wholly inadequate, wholly unable to respond to a genocide being committed with Western sponsorship, with the sponsorship of powerful Western states. If this were happening in a developing country in Africa or Asia, you would see a very different response. But when the perpetators, the co-perpetrators are the United States, the United Kingdom, European powers, the United Nations has shown itself unable to act.

You see that even in the language of the Security Council resolution. We’re talking about a situation of massive war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Because the Security Council is not set up to deal effectively with that, especially when one of its permanent members or two of its permanent members, at least, are implicated in that genocide, it’s forced to dust off language about conflict as if this were a war between two states rather than a campaign of annihilation by a heavily armed occupying power against a besieged civilian population. And that is not going to get the job done. You get a resolution that calls for a ceasefire — even ceasefire language is not appropriate to a genocide, as the World Court itself has determined — and you get, you know, no language in here that condemns the perpetrators, that moves for accountability of perpetrators, that deals with the deployment of protection of the exposed civilian population, none of the things that would actually make a difference.

And it’s not just the Security Council. The political offices of the United Nations that have been set up to deal with issues like genocide, like sexual violence, like children in armed conflict, they have all failed miserably, because they are politically compromised, politically controlled. Unlike the independent human rights mechanisms, that have done a terrific job, and the humanitarian aid workers, that have done a terrific job in the U.N. system, these political offices and intergovernmental bodies have shown themselves to be wholly ineffective.

So it certainly has increased the demand for reform. Whether there will be a willingness amongst the member states, and in particular amongst the P5, the most powerful member states of the United Nations, who sit with special rights on the Security Council, in a mechanism that belongs in a Cold War museum, their lack of political will for change is what obstructs this. I still believe that demand from the ground can make a change. We saw it happen with apartheid in South Africa. We can see it happen, as well, if we work for it, for reforms in the U.N., which I think have to happen — we need the United Nations — and, on the other hand, for action against Israel’s genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: Craig Mokhiber, we just have 30 seconds, but the question of U.S. stopping military sales to Israel, an issue that certainly Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Merkley and others have called for, do you think that would make a difference?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, it would make a tremendous difference, as I’ve said before. The United States is not just tolerating this genocide. It is, in legal terms, complicit in the genocide because of its provision of military support, of weapons, of economic support, of diplomatic cover, of intelligence support, and of, as I’ve said, the use of its official podiums to disseminate propaganda for genocide on behalf of the Israelis. Any piece of that puzzle that is removed, and especially discontinuing the provision of military aid during the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, will make a very significant change and, in fact, a much more significant change than any international resolution could hope to make.

AMY GOODMAN: Craig Mokhiber, international human rights lawyer, formerly served as the director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, where he worked for more than 30 years as a human rights official, resigning in October over the U.N.'s failure to adequately address the Israel-Palestine conflict and Israel's assault on Gaza.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 173 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." ALJAZEERA notes, "The number of people killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7 has risen to 32,490, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.  Israeli attacks on Gaza have also wounded at least 74,889 people.."  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 NEW YORK TIMES is yet again trying to obscure one of their damning lies that should have never made it into print.  Click here and go to THE SEATTLE TIMES for the NYT story.  Let's start with the opening:

Amit Soussana, an Israeli lawyer, was abducted from her home Oct. 7, beaten and dragged into the Gaza Strip by at least 10 men, some armed. Several days into her captivity, she said, her guard began asking about her sex life.

Soussana said she was held alone in a child’s bedroom, chained by her left ankle. Sometimes, the guard would enter, sit beside her on the bed, lift her shirt and touch her, she said.

He also repeatedly asked when her period was due. When her period ended, around Oct. 18, she tried to put him off by pretending that she was bleeding for nearly a week, she recalled.

Around Oct. 24, the guard, who called himself Muhammad, attacked her, she said.

Early that morning, she said, Muhammad unlocked her chain and left her in the bathroom. After she undressed and began washing herself, Muhammad returned and stood in the doorway, holding a pistol.

“He came towards me and shoved the gun at my forehead,” Soussana recalled to The New York Times. After hitting Soussana and forcing her to remove her towel, Muhammad groped her, sat her on the edge of the bathtub and hit her again, she said.

He dragged her at gunpoint back to the child’s bedroom, she recalled.

“Then he, with the gun pointed at me, forced me to commit a sexual act on him,” Soussana said. 

Did this happen to Amit?  I don't know.  I don't see anything to dispute in her story.  Has she told it in front of a camera?  If she has, I'll weigh in on that.  I remember the first time Susan Smith went on camera with NBC claiming to be a mother mourning.  I was at a friend's house and there were probably 30 people in the room.  I said, "She killed her kids."  And I got attacked for it.  How could a feminist blame a mother in mourning!!!  Because I am a feminist and I believe in truth and it was clear that Susan Smith was lying.  And I was right, she did kill them.  So unless I see the woman on camera and detect lying, I believe Amit.  It most likely happened.

And I've never argued that it couldn't or wouldn't.  NYT is trying to use this to justify their lies about October 7th.

October 7th doesn't play.  It will never play.  We've noted repeatedly that rape's not taking place out in the open in the middle of an attack.  But a woman in prison or held hostage?  Yeah, there are risks of rape.  What happened to Amit only strengthens what we've said all along.  

And NYT needs to stop trying to lie about mass rapes on October 7th that no one believes happened -- no one in their right mind.  

As a rape survivor, my sympathies and prayers for Amit.  

It's a shame her government didn't broker a deal to get her home safely before the rape took place.

ALJAZEERA notes, "The Israeli military says an Israeli woman’s firsthand account of sexual assault while captive in Gaza requires international 'pressure' on Hamas to free the remaining captives."  I'm not in the mood for the lies of the Israeli military or Israeli government.  For months, Tel Aviv and other areas have seen large protests where Israeli citizens have demanded that the government focus on bringing the hostages home, on making a deal to bring the hostages home.  The Israeli government has refused.  Repeating, "It's a shame her government didn't broker a deal to get her home safely before the rape took place."  They could have done so and they can do so now for the remaining hostages.

Desperate conditions and extreme crowding have rendered Rafah “unrecognizable,” with roughly one toilet available for every 850 people and one shower for every 3,600, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said Tuesday.

“This is a hellish disregard for basic human needs and dignity,” he added in a statement, describing the southern Gazan city as a place overtaken by tents for displaced families and where people are sleeping on the streets.

More than 1.4 million people are estimated to be crowded into Rafah, which was once designated as an evacuation site from the intense fighting. Israeli officials have said they plan to launch a ground offensive in the city, where they say Hamas militants are hiding alongside remaining hostages — a move that several U.N. agencies, humanitarian groups and top U.S. officials have warned against.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated American “opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah” in a meeting in Washington with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the State Department said in a readout. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged Israel to abandon plans for the offensive. Israeli officials have made clear that they will enter Rafah and said they would direct civilians to “humanitarian islands” in central Gaza ahead of the offensive.

The following sites updated: