Lazy Saturday Reads

Guernica, by Pablo Picasso

Guernica, by Pablo Picasso

 

“My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. In the picture I am painting — which I shall call Guernica — I am expressing my horror of the military caste which is now plundering Spain into an ocean of misery and death.”  — Pablo Picasso

 

Good Afternoon!!

I’m experiencing some kind of paralysis today, so I don’t know what this post is going to consist of. I’m just going to take it moment to moment. First thing this morning, I read List of X’s long comment on Dakinikat’s Friday reads.  I hope everyone will go read it. I think that could lead to our having a serious, productive discussion on Israel/Palestine. For now, I’m just going to put up the latest stories I can find on the conflict.

NPR: Gaza Update: Fate Of Israeli Soldier Unknown; Death Toll Surpasses 2009 Level, by Bill Chappell.

A day after they were to begin a cease-fire, Israel and Hamas are still firing at one another, in a conflict that has killed at least 1,650 Gazans, 63 Israeli soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians, according to tallies from the respective sides.

Those numbers surpass the estimated fatalities from the last major Gaza conflict, which raged for around three weeks from 2008-2009.

Hamas, which has been condemned for breaking a temporary peace and capturing an Israeli soldier, said Saturday that it has lost contact with the group that conducted the ambush that killed two soldiers and resulted in Lt. Hadar Goldin’s capture.

The military wing of Hamas released a statement today, NPR’s Emily Harris reports, in which it said that after an Israeli bombardment, “the Hamas fighters are believed to be dead and if there was a soldier with them, he probably is too.”

At the link, read a brief synopsis of events in the conflict as of this morning. Other headlines:

Haaretz: Israel seeks to end Gaza operation unilaterally,  by Barak Ravid.

Israel’s security cabinet decided after a five-hour meeting Friday night that Israel will no longer seek a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip via negotiations with Hamas, senior Israeli officials said. Therefore, Israel does not intend to send a delegation to the Cairo truce talks as previously agreed in the course of the last cease-fire, before it was violated by Hamas.

The senior officials said that ministers were unanimous in the cabinet meeting in their position that there is no point in pursuing cease-fire negotiations after Hamas violated the previous one by capturing an IDF soldier on Friday. According to the officials, the ministers also agreed that the captured soldier will not change Israel’s overall strategy. In other words, the IDF will continue its operations to destroy the tunnels and the ground operation will not be significantly expanded at this stage.

The cabinet also decided that instead of efforts to reach a cease-fire through negotiations, Israel will focus on restoring Israel’s deterrence against Hamas. The senior officials said that in light of the failed cease-fire efforts, Israel will consider ending the operation and unilaterally leaving Gaza, relying on deterrence.

“We think there is still enough international legitimacy for an operation in Gaza,” said a senior Israeli official. “In the coming days the destruction of the tunnels will be complete, and then a decision will be made as to how to continue from there.” The official added that “if we feel that deterrence has been restored, we will leave the [Gaza] Strip on the basis of the ‘quiet for quiet’ principle. If we feel deterrence has not yet been achieved, we will continue the operation inside the Gaza Strip or exit and continue with the aerial bombardment.”

The Washington Post: A view of Gaza from the sea: How Israel’s navy patrols the coast, by Ruth Eglash.

For the war-weary group of international journalists struggling to find their sea legs, the patrol offered a rare insight into Israel’s navy, which over the past four weeks has acted as a strategic support to Israel’s ongoing military operation against Hamas in Gaza and served as a deterrent against militants attempting to infiltrate Israel via the sea.

“We were not surprised by Hamas’s attempt to infiltrate into Israel from the sea. They have used many different measures to attack us,” said Cmdr. Z, one of the Keshet’s two commanders who spoke on the condition of anonymity in accord with standard Israeli military protocol.

He was referring to an incident on July 8 when members of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, attempted to attack an Israeli military base that sits on the coast just north of the Gaza Strip.Israeli surveillance cameras picked up on the infiltration early, and five Hamas militants were subsequently killed in the attack. Hamas later revealed that it had been training a naval commando unit for sea-related combat.

The Christian Science Monitor: What could be done to break the Israeli-Palestinian revenge cycle?, by Kristen Chick, correspondent, and Christa Case Bryant, staff writer.

In the battered Gazaneighborhood of Shejaiya, Ataf Ettish surveys what was once her home. An Israeli bomb ripped off the outside of the three-story building, exposing the blue and pink inner walls of her daughter’s bedroom.

The building next door is gone, replaced by a crater, the 80-year-old owner buried beneath the rubble. Ms. Ettish now lives in a United Nations shelter, sharing a single toilet with 1,000 people. 

“This is not a war – this is destruction of humanity,” she says. “I’ve lived through two previous wars here, but this is the worst.”

In the Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Aza, just across the border but a world away, Mark Joffe agrees it’s getting worse.

“Each time it happens … the rockets are bigger, the threats are bigger,” says Mr. Joffe, who says residents fear Hamas will infiltrate the border community (“Aza” is the Hebrew word for “Gaza”). “If we’d done the right thing five to six years ago, it would have been a lot less costly.”

Now many Israelis’ belief that an extended, harsh crackdown on Hamas will bring lasting peace is being put to the test. On Friday, a conflict that has cost 1,600 Palestinian lives and seen a quarter of Gaza’s population displaced from their homes looked set to enter a dangerous new phase after an apparent Hamas capture of an Israeli soldier.

Read the rest at the link.

Would this work?

 

Solution1

As if.

U.S. News

Back in Washington DC, another intractable conflict continues in Congress between crazy ultra-right-wing Republicans and semi-sane right wing Republicans. Here are the latest stories about that.

Reuters: U.S. House passes border-security funding bill to speed deportations, by David Lawder and Richard Cowan.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to crack down on Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children, who are flooding to the U.S. border with Mexico, as lawmakers passed a $694 million border security bill.

 

The 223-189 vote came one day after conservative Republicans balked at an earlier version of the measure, exposing a deep rift between Tea Party activists and more mainstream Republicans.

In passing the retooled bill, the Republican-led House ignored a veto threat from the White House. But with the Senate already on a five-week summer recess, this measure will advance no further at least until September.

Isn’t that just ducky? And this will lead to suffering for real people, not that most people in DC really give a sh*t.

House Democrats complained that the legislation would too speedily return children to dangerous conditions in their home countries. President Barack Obama called the Republican bill “extreme” and “unworkable.”

Later on Friday, the House also passed a separate bill reversing Obama’s 2012 policy suspending deportations of some undocumented residents who were brought to the United States as children years ago by their parents.

The measure also would bar Obama from expanding this policy, possibly to parents of children who already qualify.

The tougher language in the twin bills would make it easier to deport migrant children and add money to deploy National Guard troops at the border with Mexico.

Dana Milbank opines: An upending of reason in the House.

After conservatives on Thursday brought down House Speaker John Boehner’s bill to address the border crisis, the new House Republican leadership team issued a joint statement declaring that President Obama should fix the problem himself.

“There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action,” the leadership quartet proclaimed, “to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.” ….

Just the day before, House Republicans had voted to sue Obama for using his executive authority. They called him lawless, a usurper, a monarch, a tyrant — all for postponing deadlines in the implementation of Obamacare. Now they were begging him to take executive action to compensate for their own inability to act — even though, in this case, accelerating the deportation of thousands of unaccompanied children coming from Central America would likely require Obama to ignore a 2008 law.

This was not a momentary lapse but a wholesale upending of reason.

Read the rest at the Washington Post.

ABC News: Pelosi Chases Republican Tom Marino Across House Chamber

(Ed. note: after he rudely insults her.)

In an unusual breach of decorum, even for the divided Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chased Rep. Tom Marino across the House floor, taking offense at comments by the Pennsylvania Republican during debate on the border funding bill Friday night.

“We don’t have law and order,” Marino began as he wrapped up his comments on the border supplemental. “My colleagues on the other side don’t want to do anything about it.”

“You know something that I find quite interesting about the other side? Under the leadership of the former Speaker [Pelosi], and under the leadership of their former leader [Rep. Steny Hoyer], when in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed,” he continued. “They didn’t have the strength to go after it back then. But now are trying to make a political issue out of it now.”

Off-mic, Pelosi then approached Marino, crossing the aisle in view of cameras, and apparently challenged Marino’s assertion that Democrats did not do anything about the issue when they had majority control.

“Yes it is true,” Marino replied directly to Pelosi, who was House speaker in those years. “I did the research on it. You might want to try it. You might want to try it, Madam Leader. Do the research on it. Do the research. I did it. That’s one thing that you don’t do.”

John Parkinson of ABC apparently had no issues with what Marino said, just shock that Pelosi responded.

After Marino concluded his remarks and as many Republicans applauded their colleague, Pelosi crossed the chamber again in view of cameras, enraged, pointing and sticking her finger at Marino.

She then followed Marino up a Republican aisle, gesturing and arguing with him. Lawmakers on the GOP side gathered in dismay as one spoke out to tell the chair that the House was not in order, in an effort to halt the bickering.

H/T to Fannie for this video:

What sane person could blame her? But sanity is at a premium in U.S. politics and journalism today.

 

Other News Stories of Possible Interest

No one else her probably cares except Pat, but the last-place Red Sox completely blew up the team and then they beat the Yankees last night.

Boston Globe: New-look Red Sox drop Yankees.

U.S. News: Last-place Red Sox trade 5 veterans 9 months after winning World Series.

SF Gate: In shocking trade, A’s deal Cespedes for Red Sox’s Lester.

More Headlines:

HuffPo: Eric Garner’s Death By Police Chokehold Ruled A Homicide.

NYT: Explosion Kills Dozens at Eastern China Plant.

Christian Science Monitor: Why 400,000 people in Ohio can’t drink the water.

Reuters: New Libyan parliament meets far from city battlegrounds.

Reuters: American aid worker stricken with Ebola en route to U.S.

NPR: Big Data Firm Says It Can Link Snowden Data To Changed Terrorist Behavior.

LA Times: Russia keeps fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden in legal limbo.

Raw Story: Conservative KY judge says black defendant in Obama t-shirt ‘lucky to get out of here alive.’

LA Times: 911 calls about Facebook outage angers L.A. County sheriff’s officials.

Technicolor Guernca, by Loui Jouver

Technicolor Guernca, by Loui Jouver

I hope you’ll share your thoughts and links in the comment thread.


24 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    The horrors of war are getting to me.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    T-Bogg: American media faking a series of ragegasms for Israel to prove their love is real.

    Featuring footage of Wolf Blitzer exploring “tunnels of terror.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/31/american-media-faking-a-series-of-ragegasms-for-israel-to-prove-its-love-is-real/

  3. bostonboomer says:

    David Harris Gershon: Israel Has Lost the Gaza “War.”

    Israel has decided to unilaterally end its Gaza operation without a diplomatic agreement or a substantive change in its hostile relationship with Hamas and Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. It has decided to cease talking, and instead will rely on its “deterrence” capabilities – missile strikes and a continued blockade of Gaza – moving forward.

    Meaning: Israel has officially lost a tragic ‘war’ it did not need to begin, a war Hamas did not want but in the end fully embraced as well, making both parties culpable for all that now remains. Or no longer remains. Israel’s loss is the worst possible outcome for all parties involved, from Palestinians in Gaza to Israelis in Tel Aviv and beyond. All that’s left is the continuation of an unsustainable and dangerous status quo, the reverberations of unspeakable suffering, and an even more intense and stratified conflict. Nothing has been gained. Everything has been lost.

    Again.

    Only this time, the costs are far greater, and will persist far longer.

    On the surface, it might not appear as though Israel has lost this war given how one-sided of a military affair it’s been – given the tunnels and missile caches it’s destroyed. However, that’s only because Israel’s loss marks a simultaneous loss for innocent Palestinians and for Hamas, a loss it may not accept given the humanitarian catastrophe, the price people have paid, with no long-term improvement in their lives to show for it.

    • dakinikat says:

      I love that so many American Jewish intellectuals–rabbis, scholars, artists–are speaking out.

    • dakinikat says:

      http://truth-out.org/news/item/25338-if-not-now-when-jewish-american-peace-activists-organize-to-oppose-war-on-gaza

      “If Not Now, When?” Jewish-American Peace Activists Organize to Oppose War on Gaza

      Over the past few weeks as the Israeli offensive in Gaza brings more and more tragic consequences for Palestinians, there have also been large solidarity demonstrations throughout the world calling for an end to the occupation of Palestine.
      Among the youngest and most remarkable of these groups protesting against the destruction in Gaza is If Not Now, When? After only making its debut on social media last Wednesday, the group marked the beginning of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish period of mourning for the difficulties the Jewish people have endured, by reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, for all Palestinian and Israeli victims of the war so far. They also read the names of the victims in front of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations last Monday July 28th.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Times of Israel

    US must ‘never second-guess me again’ on Hamas, Netanyahu tells Shapiro

    WASHINGTON — In a phone call with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about the breakdown of the short-lived UN- and US-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vented his anger, according to people familiar with the call

    Netanyahu told Shapiro the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation. Netanyahu added that he now “expected” the US and other countries to fully support Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to those familiar with the call. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name.

    Kerry and Obama strongly backed Netanyahu, blaming Palestinian side. I guess we know who’s boss now.

  5. dakinikat says:

    I just want to remind every one of this too ..

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/eliseknutsen/2013/01/28/israel-foribly-injected-african-immigrant-women-with-birth-control/

    Forcibly sterilizing Jews coming from Africa.

    This weekend, a report revealing that African women immigrating to Israel were subjected to mandatory contraceptive injections, effectively amounting to forced (if temporary) sterilization made global headlines.

    Some 130,000 Ethiopians, most of them Jewish, live in Israel. The community experiences higher poverty and unemployment rates than the rest of the country’s Jewish population. In the past decade, the birth rate among Ethiopian-Israelis has declined by at least 20 percent. Advocacy groups now claim this decline is the result of a birth control regimen forced upon Ethiopian immigrant women.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Shockingly sleazy GOP governors: “Knaves, scoundrels, extremists and panderers”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/08/02/shockingly_sleazy_gop_governors/

  7. dakinikat says:

    Alright, weirdness break

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    Bibi has essentially told the US to kiss his butt while at the same time accepting all the money and ammunition he can lay his hands on.

    Why does the Arab world hate us so much? Because we keep giving into Israeli demands over and over again while those within its borders suffer under the yoke of tyranny.

    How better to rid oneself of a population sharing proposal then to shut off water, food, power supplies and reducing medical access to a minimum? Where do these people go after this particular conflict is over?

    There will never be peace in the mideast because frankly nobody seriously wants it. Both sides are dug in and have been for decades. Religious fanatics on both sides are leading the charge. Ultra right lunacy is advancing and this latest carnage only deepens it further.

    Bibi has shown his disdain for Obama from the outset of his presidency when Obama suggested and end to all those unlawful settlements that just kept appearing regardless of any treaties or promises.

    It’s hopeless over there. That much is certain.

    • RalphB says:

      Obama should publicly tell Bibi to go pound sand! What’s he gonna do? Refuse our money and weaponry. please.

      • joanelle says:

        I agree, the cartoonist’s solution is the best solution in my opinion.

        The Mideast is tribal in nature and only a ‘tribal’ solution will work. They just don’t seem to understand the word ‘negotiate’

  9. dakinikat says:

    and our own homeground terrorists….
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/kkk-immigration-shoot-to-kill

    KKK Leader Offers Way To Handle Border Crisis: ‘Shoot To Kill’

    Whey do we finally get over this tribal crap of shooting every on that doesn’t look like us or believe the same crap we do? Why do people get so hung up on such worthless shit as skin color and myth preference?

  10. Fannie says:

    If you don’t say it’s wrong, then you’re saying it’s right

  11. RalphB says:

    More spoilers in the linked review. IMHO ‘Scarlett Johansson Walks’ would make a damn good movie.

    Pando: Lucy: A loony utopian fantasy of smartening up the human race

    Scarlett Johansson is, of course, up to the demands of the role. What a star! Lately we’ve had a cycle of films that attest to her amazing beauty, charisma, and aplomb when doing the simplest things: call it the Scarlett Johansson Walks series. As Black Widow in The Avengers, as the alien in Under the Skin, and now as Lucy, we watch her walk, deadpan, bent on some mission of her own.

    Under the Skin, the glacially slow, artily erotic sci-fi thriller from earlier this year, took the fascination of Scarlett Johansson Walks as far as it could go, varying it with long sequences of Scarlett Johansson Drives a Van. (The Spike Jonze film Her concentrates on her husky alto voice alone: Scarlett Johansson Talks.) No other female actor working today could have sustained such a filmic experiment. She’s become the go-to star for representing the hypnotic Future Woman at an advanced stage of evolution, her DNA seemingly combined with lethal higher mammals, interstellar space aliens, and the sleekest computer technology

    Necessarily in an action-fantasy film, brainpower improves everything, including physical strength and fighting skills. At a mere 20% Lucy achieves a state of completely centered, focused calm that is perfect for the performance of martial arts and the efficient breaking of an opponent’s limbs. As she moves up the scoreboard her memory recovers everything that ever happened to her, she can hear the thoughts of others, she can see the energy animating trees, and she achieves psycho-kinesis, pre-cognition, and the selective suspension of the laws of gravity.

    As these are all personal goals of mine, it’s pretty thrilling to watch.

    …The film’s a loony utopian fantasy of smartening up the human race, and some people—actually, it turns out, a lot of people—crave that sort of thing.

    • bostonboomer says:

      When are you going to see it? Speaking of loony fantasies, I’m going to see Guardians of the Galaxy today.

      • janicen says:

        I went to see “A Most Wanted Man”, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last film, and it was excellent. I’m sure he’ll get some award nominations for his performance.

  12. RalphB says:

    In the ‘Scarlett Johansson Walks’ genre…