Monday, November 6, 2023
Speaking of Which
Again, I swore off working on this during the week, which turned
out to pose more than a few problems. Finally opened the file up on
Saturday evening. I figured I'd just collect links, and not bother
with any serious writing. The supply of inputs seemed endless, and
it got late Sunday before I considered tidying up and posting. But
I couldn't, due to a computer problem which took several hours to
diagnose and about a minute to fix once I recognized it (DHCP tripped
me up). By then it was too late, so my posts are shifted back a day
Starting up today, I didn't go back to website I had previously
visited, but I did have a few more to look up. I also remembered
the Gabriel Winant piece at the bottom, so I dug it up, and wasted
a couple hours thinking about those quotes, before I scrapped what
little I had written.
Top story threads:
Israel: With more patience, these could have been grouped
into a half-dozen (maybe 8-10) subcategories, of which genocide
(both actual and imagined) looms large, with significant growth
in cease-fire advocacy and repression of anyone favoring cease-fire.
The short category is actual military news: Israel has conducted
ground operations in northern Gaza for a week, but what they've
achieved (or for that matter attempted) isn't at all clear, while
Palestinian casualties are continuing to increase, but I haven't
made much sense out of the numbers.
It does appear that I underestimated the ability of Hamas to
continue fighting after their initial suicidal attack was beaten
back. Not by a lot, mind you, but they've continued to shoot
occasional rockets (nothing you could describe as a "flood,"
and Israel regularly boasts of shooting 80-90% of them down, so
the effect is likely near-zero), and they're offering some degree
of ground resistance. Still, a unilateral Israeli cease-fire would
almost certainly halt the war, the killing, the destruction. Given
that continued punishment just generates future violence, Israel's
unwillingness to call a halt to this genocide -- and that's still
the operative term, even if Netanyahu hasn't convened his Wannsee
Conference yet -- signals only the intent to fight to some kind of
Endl÷sung ("final solution"). I might be tempted to ditch the Nazi
references, but they are ones that Israelis understand clearly --
and, one hopes, uncomfortably.
Some of the more purely partisan digs wound up in the sections
on Republicans and Democrats. Given that the entire American political
establishment is totally in thrall to Israel and their right-wing
donor cabal, there's little (if any) substance in these pieces,
just a lot of chattering nonsense.
Yuval Abraham: [10-30]
Expel all Palestinians from Gaza, recommends Israeli gov't ministry.
Ray Acheson: [10-17]
We must end violence to end violence.
Paula Andres: [11-04]
Israel bombs ambulance convoy near Gaza's largest hospital.
Jeremy Appel: [11-03]
Israel rabbi describes settler rampages across West Bank.
Michael Arria: [11-05]
The largest Palestine protest in US history shut down the streets of
DC: "An estimated 300,000 demonstrators in the largest Palestine
protest in United States history, calling for a ceasefire and an end
to the genocide in Gaza." Also note:
James Bamford: [11-02]
Why Israel slept: I don't care much for the metaphor here. There
will be recriminations for Israel's security lapses on Oct. 7, because
it's easy to pick on exposed flaws, but Israel's containment of Gaza
has been vigilant and remarkably effective for many years, and their
response to the breach was swift and decisive, and the damage, while
far above what they were accustomed to, was really fairly minor. They
could just as well be congratulating themselves, but would rather
channel the outrage into a far greater assault. But this article is
actually about something else: "Netanyahu's war inside the United
States." More specifically, "Netanyahu's move to counter the protesters
with lots of money to buy political power in Washington to create laws
making it a crime to boycott Israel." It may seem paradoxical that as
Israel has been steadily losing public support in America and Europe,
they've been able to lock political elites into even more subservient
roles. Bamford takes the obvious tack here: follow the money.
Ramzy Baroud: [11-03]
'Turning Gaza into ashes': Israeli hasbara vs the world.
Nicolas Camut: [11-05]
Israel minister suspended after calling nuking Gaza an option:
"Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu's statements 'are not based in
reality,' Prime Minister Netanyahu says."
Christian Caryl/Damir Marusic: [11-02]
Should Israel agree to a ceasefire? Commentators weigh in.
Starts with Yossi Beilin, who was the only successful negotiator in
the Oslo Peace Process, disappoints with "a humanitarian pause, but
no more." He never negotiated with Hamas, and never will, which may
be why the deals he came "so close to" never materialized. If you
refuse to negotiate with your fiercest enemies, you'll never settle
James Jeffrey says no, insisting that Israel is fighting an
"existential war" with Hamas, placing it "within a larger struggle
involving its enemy Iran instigating conflicts in Lebanon, Syria
and Yemen as well as Gaza -- a world war scenario he sees as like
Yaakov Katz insists "a cease-fire would be a victory for Hamas."
That's hard to see, even if the ceasefire took place immediately
after Israel repelled the attacks and resealed the breach: Hamas
depleted most of their missile supply, and lost 1,000 or more of
their best fighters (about 2.5% of the highest estimate I've seen
of their force), in a surprise attack that will be many times harder
to repeat in the future. And that was before Israel killed another
10,000 Palestinians in fit of collective punishment, suggesting
their real intent is genocide.
Lawrence Freedman and Matt Duss have more doubts about what Israel
can do, and more worries for Israel's reputation, and a better grasp
of the larger picture. Palestinians Ahmed Alnaouq and Laila El-Haddad
are the only ones who actually sense the human dimensions of the
Isaac Chotiner: [11-01]
The Gaza-ification of the West Bank: Interview with Hagai El-Ad,
Fabiola Cineas: [10-31]
"History repeating itself": How the Israel-Hamas war is fueling hate
against Muslims and Jews: "There's a surge in reports of assaults,
vandalism, harassment, and intimidation." Two points that should be
stressed more: one is that Zionism has always been predicated on, and
fed by, antisemitism, and as such, Israel has often worked to incite
antisemitism to motivate Jews to immigrate (the pre-Israel Zionist
International negotiated with antisemites, especially in England, to
sponsor "a Jewish homeland," and with Nazi Germany to relieve them
of their Jews; after independence, Mossad ran various operations in
Arab countries to panic Jews into emigrating); in constantly blaming
any and all criticism of Israel on antisemitism, Israel is taunting
its critics into false generalizations. Author has a section called
"Antisemitism was already on the rise." This combines two different
things: the classic European prejudice (whether Christian or racist),
which became more public with Trump's election; and naive reaction
against Israel's inhumanity to Arabs (Jewish and/or leftist critics
of Israel are usually careful not to generalize Israelis or Zionists
with non-Israeli Jews). Neither is excusable. But it's much easier
to educate the naifs than to deprogram the Nazis. Also note that
most classic antisemites are enthusiastic supporters of Israel.
Steve Coll: [10-30]
The plight of the hostages and the rapidly escalating crisis in
Gaza: "Never before has Israel sought to rescue so many hostages
from a territory where it is also waging an unbridled aerial war."
Hostage negotiations are always fraught with overtones, but a big
factor here is that Israel's leaders are much more into the air
(and now ground) war, which they control, than the hostages, which
require some measure of empathy, tact and compromise (characteristics
they pride themselves in not showing, especially when geared up for
war). A hostage family member asks: "Why this offensive? There is
no rush. Hamas wasn't going anywhere." But any pause to the war
risks derailing it, letting the fever cool, and the madness be
reflected upon. They can't quite admit it, but Israel's leaders
would be happier if Hamas just killed all the hostages. That they
could spin into more war.
Jonathan Cook: [11-03]
Mounting evidence suggests Israel may be ready to 'cleanse' Gaza.
The "Greater Gaza" plan has been kicking around for a while, at least
since 2014, and the "Jordan is Palestine" idea goes way back.
Ryan Cooper: [11-03]
A one-state solution could work in Israel: "But the end of South
African apartheid demonstrates it would take an Israeli commitment to
peace that is nowhere in evidence." Could work, sure, but any chance
is long off, and receding as the right-wing has become more obviously
genocidal. One problem is numbers: shedding Gaza would help there, a
single-state for the rest is probably where you'd wind up, but it is
a long ways toward equal rights. The bigger problem is that Israel is
not just a garden-variety white (racist) settler state. It has a lot
of trauma-and-hubris-induced psychological baggage that will take ages
Alex De Waal: [11-03]
How the Israel-Hamas war is destabilizing the Horn of Africa.
Rajaa Elidrissi: [11-01]
The Gaza Strip blockade, explained.
Richard Falk: [11-03]
Israel-Palestine war: Israel's endgame is much more sinister than
Lynn Feinerman: [11-03]
The left as Israel's sacrificial lamb: "One of the tragic ironies
of this is the vast majority of the casualties were kibbutzim and the
people at this outdoor concert. And people who live in kibbutzim and
people who go to raves tend to be the more left-wing, secular Israelis
who oppose Netanyahu." But the dead are now martyrs for the far right,
which isn't just ironic. Socialism built Israel into a strong, cohesive
community, but the doctrine of "Hebrew Labor" was the rotten kernel at
their heart, which grew the apartheid war-state of today.
Gabriella Ferrigine: [11-01]
Graham declares "no limit" of Palestinian deaths would make him question
Laura Flanders: [10-30]
"Why I resigned from the State Department": Interview with Josh
Paul, who had worked in the section that oversees transfers of military
equipment and support.
[I cited another interview with Paul last week, from Politico. The
title bears repeating:
'There are options for Israel that do not involve killing thousands
Robert Givens: [11-02]
Block to block in Gaza: What will an Israeli invasion look like?
Michelle Goldberg: [11-04]
When it comes to Israel, who decides what you can and can't say?
Jonathan Guyer: [11-04]
Will an Israel-Hamas ceasefire happen? The reasons and roadblocks,
Benjamin Hart: [11-04]
Egypt's puzzling role in the Israel-Hamas war: "The country that
used to control the Gaza Strip is helping Palestinians -- but only
up to a point." Interview with Steven Cook, a Foreign Policy
Amira Hass: [11-01]
Amid the mourning, Israel's settlement enterprise celebrates a great
victory: "The soldiers are accompanying the settlers on their
raids -- or even finishing the job for them."
Michael Horton: [10-30]
Houthi missile launches at Israel risk reigniting war in Yemen.
Scott Horton/Connor Freeman: [10-31]
Netanyahu's support for Hamas has backfired: Nah! He's got Hamas
right where he wants them. If your goal is to destroy every last vestige
of Palestine, the first thing you have to do is to make Palestinians
unsympathetic. Israel never feared Palestinian violence, because that
they could meet in kind, plus an order of magnitude. Israel's great
fear was (and is) Palestinian civility.
Ellen Ioanes: [11-04]
Iran could determine how far the Israel-Hamas war spreads.
I rather doubt this. Since the revolution in 1979, Iran has attempted
to increase its political influence among Shiite factions in Arab
countries, with some success in Lebanon and Yemen, but not in Saudi
Arabia or the Persian Gulf states, nor in Iraq until the US busted
the country in 2003. But at least up to 1990, Iran maintained a cozy
relationship with Israel, having never shown any particular interest
in Palestinian groups (which were either too secular, or in Hamas,
too Sunni). It was Israel that pivoted to being anti-Iran, most
likely playing on American prejudices going back to the hostage
crisis. Since then, Iran has been a convenient whipping boy for
Israel, but despite all the nuclear talk, they never have been a
serious threat to each other. As for Hezbollah, Iran does support
them, but there's no reason to think Iran calls the shots. Even
if they did, attacking Israel makes little sense. The upshot of
the 2006 war was that Israel can do serious air damage to Lebanon,
well beyond Hezbollah's stronghold in the south, but Hezbollah can
still fend off a ground invasion. And Israel has better things to
do than that. Of course, if such a war was a serious consideration,
the simplest solution would be for the US to normalize relations
with Iran. But who in Washington can get Israel's permission to
do that? Also on Hezbollah:
Nicole Narea: [11-03]
Hezbollah's role in the Israel-Hamas war, explained. Key point
is that while Hezbollah was formed to fight Israel's occupation of
southern Lebanon (1982-2000), it has since become a mainstream
political party, with a stake in the government of Lebanon. While
part of their credibility is their ability to defend against Israel,
it would be silly to risk that by having to fight again. The option
of moving into mainstream politics has made Hezbollah less of a
terror threat. Hamas was denied that option: when they ran for
office, and won, they were denied recognition, so in Gaza they
fought back and took control, only to be blockaded. The result is
that the only way Hamas could act was by force, hence the military
wing took charge. And Israel did that deliberately, because they
don't fear Hamas militarily, but they do fear Hamas politically.
They want Palestinian "leaders" who will do their bidding, who
will keep their charges in line, and line their own pockets, and
let Israel do whatever Israelis want to do.
Ali Rizk: [10-31]
Why Hezbollah doesn't want a full-scale war. Yet.
Ellen Ioanes: [11-05]
Israel hits civilian infrastructure as ceasefire calls grow.
Arnold Isaacs: [11-02]
War in a post-fact world. Or: "War, crimes, truth, and denial:
unthinkable thoughts and false memories."
David D Kirkpatrick/Adam Rasgon: [10-30]
The Hamas propaganda war: "Across the Arab world, the group is
successfully selling its narrative of resistance." Hard for me to
gauge, as Hamas has no respect or legitimacy here -- even though a
narrative of devout patriots fighting back against overwhelmingly
powerful alien oppressors would strike chords many Americans would
sympathize with. (One might think of Red Dawn, or maybe just
Star Wars.) But elsewhere, the story is bound to resonate,
especially among people (and not just Arabs or Muslims) who have
directly felt the heavy hand of imperialism. Even if Israel is
amazingly successful in their campaign to obliterate Gaza, the
most likely future scenario is a return to 1970s-style terrorist
disruption (the desperation of a not-quite "utterly defeated
people" and a few others who romanticize their struggle).
Keren Landman: [11-01]
The death toll from Gaza, explained: Not very well, I'm afraid. The
link to Btselem's database says "Data updated until October 5."
The number of Palestinians killed is similar to the number killed
since Oct. 7. The number of Israelis killed is rather less than the
1,400 on or shortly after Oct. 7. I still haven't been able to find
a day-by-day accounting --
Wikipedia offers some totals to whenever the file was updated,
and some detail, especially on foreign nationals on the Israeli
side. Given that fighting outside Gaza ended by the second day --
Israel claimed to have killed all of the Palestinian attackers
(counting over 1,000), and the breach was resealed -- virtually
all subsequent deaths have been due to Israeli bombardment of
Chris Lehman: [11-02]
American evangelicals await the final battle in Gaza.
Louisa Loveluck/Susannah George/Michael Birnbaum: [11-05]
As Gaza death toll soars, secrecy shrouds Israel's targeting process.
Branko Marcetic: [11-03]
A tidal wave of state and private repression is targeting pro-Palestinian
voices. Probably enough on this for a whole section, but a cluster of
pieces landed here together:
Aaron MatÚ: [11-02]
In Gaza, Biden is an equal partner in Israel's mass murder.
Harold Meyerson: [11-02]
The co-dependency of Bibi and Hamas: Some false equivalency here,
followed by a plea for ye olde two-state solution that is certain to
fall on deaf ears. Sure, Netanyahu and Hamas are ideal enemies for each
other, especially relative to other factions in their constituencies.
But there is a big difference: Israel is winning, at least within the
narrow confines of war, while Hamas is losing -- and Israel hopes,
bad enough to sink all Palestinians.
Fintan O'Toole: [10-31]
No endgame in Gaza: "After weeks of bombardment and thousands of
deaths, what are Netanyahu's political and ethical limits?" I'll be
surprised if Netanyahu has any.
Paul R Pillar: [11-01]
With world's focus on Gaza, West Bank conflict brews: "Settlers
there appear freer than ever to commit violence against Palestinians,
risking a new intifada -- which was already a possibility before Hamas's
Oct. 7 attack."
Nathan J Robinson: [11-03]
What every American should know about Gaza: "We are complicit in
the bombing of Palestinian civilians and have an obligation to pressure
our government to push for a cease-fire."
Natasha Roth-Rowland: [10-28]
When 'never again' becomes a war cry: "In an Israeli war that
has been retrofitted onto a Holocaust template, it is obscene that
a plea to stop further killing is now read as moral failure."
Sigal Samuel: [11-01]
Israel's crackdown on dissent will only hurt it: "Silencing
criticism makes it harder for Israel's leaders to think clearly."
Note that most of the examples of repression are in America.
"America would have benefited from listening to dissenters after
9/11; instead, it silenced them."
Dahlia Scheindlin: [11-03]
Here's the least bad option for Gaza after the war ends:
"Reoccupation by Israel? Putting the Palestinian Authority in charge?
A Kosovo-style international intervention would be less bad than both
of those." This is similar to the scheme I wrote up
except mine offered a cleaner break from Israel -- which would, I think,
be better both for Gaza and for Israel, whereas Kosovo is still saddled
with Serbia's claim on the territory. (The same problem of competing
claims affects other de facto breakaway territories, especially in the
former Soviet Union.) The UN has (well, most plausibly) the legitimacy
and the skills to organize an interim government in Gaza, assuming no
significant party opposes them. Israel would initially have to agree
to this, and honor that (although I allowed them to retaliate for any
post-truce strikes, since they think they're entitled to do that anyway;
my guess is that if Israel is out of the picture, that scenario ends).
Then the "militants" in Gaza would have to agree to let the UN come in
and take over. I expect they would do that because: (a) doing so would
allow aid to flow in; (b) they couldn't be prosecuted for anything they
did before the truce; and (c) the intent would be for the UN-established
government to hold and honor democratic elections in short order. There
are more possible angles to this, but one advantage Gaza has over Kosovo
is that there is no internal ethnic or religious conflict to settle.
So, once Israel is willing to relinquish its claims and interests --
and let's face it, Israel has no good ideas of its own here -- this
sort of thing might not be so hard to do.
Tali Shapiro/Jonathan Ofir: [11-05]
Israeli doctors urge the bombing of Gaza hostpirals.
Oliver Stuenkel: 
The West can't defend international law while also supporting genocide:
I wasn't aware that the US took any interest in international law any
Liz Theoharis: [11-05]
A cycle of escalating violence.
Nahal Toosi: [11-04]
The U N is in disarray over the Israel-Hamas war.
Zeynep Tufecki: [10-31]
Past lies about war in the Middle East are getting in the way of the
truth today. Colin Powell is the poster boy here. Old news but
But if the U.S. response after Sept. 11 is a model, it is as a model
of what not to do.
After the attacks, the United States received deep global sympathy.
Many Muslims around the world were furious about this blemish upon
Islam, even if they opposed U.S. policies: Citizens held vigils,
politicians condemned the attacks and clerics repudiated them in
mosque sermons. (The idea that Muslims widely celebrated the attacks
has been repeatedly shown to be false or traces back to a few instances
of dubious clarity.)
But, instead of mobilizing that widespread global sympathy to try
to isolate the extremists, the United States chose to wage a reckless
and destructive war in Iraq, driven by an impulsive desire for vengeance
and justified by falsehoods about weapons of mass destruction.
Edward Wong/Patrick Kingsley: [11-05]
U.S. officials fear American guns ordered by Israel could fuel West
Oren Ziv: [10-31]
Risking arrest and assault, Israelis begin protesting Gaza war.
Mairav Zonszwin: [11-01]
Israel and Palestine's existential war: Given that "genocide" is
so actively bandied about, the existential risks for Palestinians are
obvious. For Israel, the threat is harder to gauge. Israel could have
done essentially nothing after the first day's repairs, and would still
be as secure as ever behind their "iron walls." What Hamas hurt was
their ego, their sense of power. But since they can kill and destroy
with impunity, that's reason enough for them. Nothing existential to
it, unless you think maybe they have a soul to lose?
Trump, and other Republicans:
Lauren Aratani: [11-04]
Trump family on trial: five takeaways from a week in the New York
Isaac Arnsdorf/Josh Dawsey/Devlin Barrett: [11-05]
Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second
term: "Advisers have also discussed deploying the military to quell
potential unrest on Inauguration Day."
Dan Froomkin: [10-26]
As Republicans embrace theocratic authoritarianism, the political
media is tongue-tied.
Greg Grandin: [11-01]
The Republicans who want to invade Mexico.
Sarah Jones: [11-02]
Republicans for war crimes.
Cameron Joseph: [11-03]
Is Tommy Tuberville the most ignorant man in DC?
Daniel Larison: [10-31]
Ron DeSantis's foreign policy speech was a real dud: "He wants to
invoke a weariness of war and anti-neocon sentiment, but ends up
promoting the policies of both." This sounds like garden-variety
Republican gibberish: Democrats weak and feckless, me tough, China
bad, but will cower when faced with real American resolve, and even
more ridiculous "defense" spending.
Michael E Mann: [11-05]
Trump 2.0: The climate cannot survive another Trump term.
Heather Digby Parton:
Robert Reich: [10-27]
No Labels is a front group for Donald Trump: I rarely bother with
Reich, but this title hit my extremely literal brain head on. Suppose
that's exactly what it is: a backup plan to put Trump on the ballot if
he doesn't get the Republican nomination. How else can Trump manage to
get on enough state ballots late in the cycle? The result would be a
bloodbath split with the official Republican nominee, much like 1912
between Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, but Trump would see that
as a totally justifiable price if the Republicans betrayed him, and
could use it as a threat to keep it from happening.
Joseph Solis-Mullen: [10-23]
Republican solutions would destabilize Central America, not fix
Adriene Mahsa Varkiani: [11-03]
House Republicans introduce bill to expel Palestinians from the
Li Zhou: [11-02]
The House Israel aid bill is a reminder that Trump-aligned Republicans
are now in charge: "Now they've passed an aid package tailored to
their goals." For more on those goals, and more on their author:
Biden and/or the Democrats:
Nick French: [09-01]
If Democrats want to win elections, they should bring back the Covid
welfare state: "By many measures, Bidenomics is working great --
but most Americans are still down on the economy. That's in large
part because the U.S. government let its temporarily generous social
safety net unravel."
Melvin Goodman: [11-03]
Biden endorses the "indispensable nation" notion: Sorry, couldn't
help but edit that title a bit (for clarity, you understand). Biden's
words were: "American leadership is what holds the world together.
American alliances are what keep us, America, safe." Then he worked
in "beacon to the world" and explicitly cited "my friend Madeleine
Robert Kuttner: [11-01]
Biden's Nakba: "The catastrophic effects of the president's
indulgence of Netanyahu." This seems like a fair description of
Netanyahu's proposition (and its odds):
Netanyahu's notion that first Hamas can be destroyed at acceptable
cost, and then someone else can be found to govern Gaza, and then
some kind of regional settlement can be achieved is lunacy. This
has become Biden's war. Now it has to be Biden's peace, starting
with much tougher constraints on Israel.
Ahmed Moor: [11-01]
I can no longer justify voting for Joe Biden in 2024.
Holly Otterbein: [11-05]
Dem fears mount amid Biden's polling slump and Israel backlash:
I tried to ignore the chatter about Sunday's
New York Times/Sienna College Poll (which they've since played
updates and analysis, with more by
Nate Cohn), but I figured I could (and should) kick him again
over Israel. Also, while it's easy enough to explain this poll away,
some skeptics are using it to question the wisdom of "staying the
Now do you believe me?).
Pamela Paul: [11-02]
The Democrats are their own worst enemies: Lots of ways one can
play that title -- I'm tempted to quote a country song, "if you don't
stand for something, you'll fall for anything at all" -- but I don't
have time to sink here. Suffice it to note that this is a review of
the new John B Judis/Ruy Teixeira book, Where Have All the Democrats
Gone? You probably don't remember their 2002 book, The Emerging
Democratic Majority, which Paul initially remembers as "hugely
influential" then dismisses as "failed prophecy."
Legal matters and other crimes:
David Dayen: [10-18]
The NIH's 'how to become a billionaire' program: "An obscure company
affiliated with a former NIH employee is offered an exclusive license
for a government-funded cancer drug."
Ethan Iverson: [10-30]
Louis Armstrong's last word.
Paul Krugman: [10-31]
The military-industrial-complex: He has a chart arguing that as
a share of GDP, military spending is down since Eisenhower's speech,
a long-term trend with bumps for Vietnam, Reagan, and Iraq, as well
as blips when spending held steady while the economy crashed (2008,
2020). For a counterpoint, see William Hartung: [11-03]
What Paul Krugman gets wrong about the military industrial complex.
It seems to me that Eisenhower's concern wasn't the money per se, but
the evolution of arms industries from mere suppliers to a political
force that would make wars more (not less) likely.
Damon Linker: [11-04]
Get to know the influential conservative intellectuals who help explain
GOP extremism: Well, you don't really want to know them, but let's
drop a few names you can try to avoid:
Costin Alamariu ("Bronze Age Pervert"),
Michael Anton (The Flight 93 Election; The Stakes),
Patrick Deneen (Why Liberalism Failed; Regime Change),
Rod Dreher (Crunchy Cons; Live Not by Lies),
John Eastman (indicted Trump lawyer),
Stephen Wolfe (The Case for Christian Nationalism),
Curtis Yarvin ("Dark Enlightenment").
Also mentioned in passing:
Thomas Klingenstein (Claremont funder),
Patrick Ruffini: [11-04]
The emerging working-class Republican majority: "The coalition
that elected Donald Trump in 2016 was no one-off." No point filing
this in the top section on Republicans because no real Republicans
were involved in the spinning of this fantasy -- adapted from the
author's new book, Party of the People: Inside the Multiracial
Populist Coalition Remaking the GOP. Interesting that he takes
Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? as a pivot,
arguing that twenty years later "the villain of the story has
switched sides." But his evidence is thin, and doesn't remotely
approach policy: what's changed since Kansas is that the
gullible GOP base are demanding more blood in their red meat --
the diet of bigotry and fear-mongering the Party tempts them
with -- but on a practical level, Republicans are still every
bit as dedicated to serving oligarchy by rendering government
incompetent and corrupt. It's worth noting that in his later
books, Frank turned on Democratic supplicants to the rich --
especially in 2016's Listen, Liberal!, which was harsh
on the Clintons (but also Obama, Cuomo, Deval Patrick, etc.) --
but many (most?) Democrats shifted their policy priorities to
actually help and expand the middle class. Sure, Trump railed
against the corrosive jobs effect of trade deals, but Biden
came up with policies to build jobs, and to give workers the
leverage to get better pay. Trump talked infrastructure, but
Biden is building it. There is still much more to be done,
not least because Republicans -- no matter how populist they
claim to be -- are obstacles wherever they have any leverage.
The Republicans' only response is to ramp up the demagoguery
Jeffrey St Clair: [11-03]
Roaming Charges: Shrinkwrapped, how sham psychology fueled the Texas
Hadas Thier: [11-04]
Sam Bankman-Fried was guilty, and not even Michael Lewis could save
him. As someone who regards all of crypto as criminal conspiracy,
I was a bit surprised at how quickly and definitively this trial
turned, but here it is.
Sean Wilentz: [10-23]
The revolution within the American Revolution: "Supported and largely
led by slaveholders, the American Revolution was also, paradoxically, a
profound antislavery event."
Gabriel Winant: [10-13]
On mourning and statehood: A response to Joshua Leifer: "How to
grieve, what meaning to give those tears, is cruelly a political
question whether we like it or not." Leifer's original piece was
Toward a humane left, and he later wrote
A reply to Gabriel Winant. I'm not here to argue with Leifer
(nor with Eric Levitz, whose similar position elicited much more
of my thinking in recent weeks), other than to note again that
morality is a luxury most enjoyed from a distance, and can easily
be used as a cudgel against people who circumstance has deprived
of such options. But sure, no complaints here about making the
left even more humane (and not just the left, needless to say).
But I do want to quote some things Winant said, because I've had
similar thoughts but haven't quite found the words:
One way of understanding Israel that I think should not be controversial
is to say that it is a machine for the conversion of grief into power.
The Zionist dream, born initially from the flames of pogroms and the
romantic nationalist aspirations so common to the nineteenth century,
became real in the ashes of the Shoah, under the sign "never again."
Commemoration of horrific violence done to Jews, as we all know, is
central to what Israel means and the legitimacy that the state holds --
the sword and shield in the hands of the Jewish people against
reoccurrence. Anyone who has spent time in synagogues anywhere in
the world, much less been in Israel for Yom HaShoah or visited Yad
Vashem, can recognize this tight linkage between mourning and
This, on reflection, is a hideous fact. For what it means is that
it is not possible to publicly grieve an Israeli Jewish life lost to
violence without tithing ideologically to the IDF -- whether you like
it or not. . . . The state will do -- already is doing -- what it does
with Jewish grief: transmute it into violence. For the perpetrator,
the immediate psychic satisfactions of this maneuver are easy enough
to understand, although the long-term costs prove somewhat more
It is this context -- the already-political grief at the core of
the Zionist adventure -- that makes so many on the left so reticent
to perform a public shedding of tears over Hamas's victims. They are,
we might darkly say, "pre-grieved": that is, an apparatus is already
in place to take their deaths and give them not just any meaning,
but specifically the meaning that they find in the bombs falling
on Gaza. . . . Its power, in turn, is such that the most ringing
dissents calling instead for peace and humane mourning for all --
like Eric Levitz's and Joshua Leifer's -- nevertheless resonate only
as whimpers of sentiment. Whatever the noble and admirable content
of such humane efforts, their form is already molded. They are
participating, presumably without intent, in a new Red Scare being
prepared not against stray callous advocates of Hamas, but against all
who defend the right of Palestinians to live, and to live as equals.
The Israeli government doesn't care if you, a principled person,
perform your equal grief for all victims: it will gobble up your
grief for Jews and use it to make more victims of Palestinians,
while your balancing grief for Palestinians will be washed away
in the resulting din of violence and repression. The impulse,
repeatedly called "humane" over the past week, to find peace by
acknowledging equally the losses on all sides rests on a fantasy
that mourning can be depoliticized. If only it were so -- but this
would be the end of Zionism, after all. More tragically, the
sentiment of those who want peace and justice for all and express
this by chastising those in the West whom they see to be reacting
with insufficient grief and excessive politics have only given
amplification to the propaganda machine that is now openly calling
for the blood of the innocent and the silence of doubters.
No time for me to start unpacking this, let alone building on
it, but much more could be said.
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