Saturday, May 25, 2024

Little ever deters War Criminals


That's Cher performing "Superstar" which was written by Rita Coolidge, Bonnie Bramlett and Eric Clapton -- I've heard that from Rita and from Eric so don't e-mail me about the thief named Leon Russell.  Men love to steal credit from women for songs.  Long before John Phillips was having sex with his eldest daughter, he was claiming to have written "500 Miles" -- a song Hedy West actually wrote.  And on Cher's 3614 JACKSON HIGHWAY's expanded edition (the RHINO release a few years ago), we get not only "Superstar" but, before that, track 21 "Chastity's Song (Band Of Thieves) [Single Version]" and track 22 "Chastity's Song (Band Of Thieves)."  These two tracks were from the  1969 soundtrack for the film that Sonny Bono produced and wrote and that Cher starred in:  CHASTITY.  the film and the soundtrack bombed.  Elyse J. Weinberg wrote the song. But Sonny stole it and she didn't credit during the film's original release on the film credits or on the soundtrack album or on the single. The song Sonny 'wrote' had already appeared on Elyse's debut album ELYSE as "Band of Thieves."

Anyway, Cher and her album will come back into this entry.

As the people of Gaza have faced the threat of food shortages and now food shortages in the last month -- now actual food shortage -- the answer was supposed to be Joe Biden's pier to nowhere.  Yet despite him announcing it in his State of the Union presidential address, they took their sweet ass time building it and getting it up and running, didn't they?

So it's finally up and?  Emma Bowman (NPR) reports:

Four U.S. Army vessels supporting the humanitarian floating pier mission in Gaza became unmoored by rough seas, military officials said.

Two vessels are now anchored on a Gaza beach near the pier, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Saturday. The other two are beached further north, on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon.

Yes, the rescue effort is . . . in need of rescue,  Cue up Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need Of Love Today."  ALJAZEERA adds:

The construction of the $320m floating pier was completed in mid-May to provide aid to the Gaza Strip.

The pier has been criticised as a complicated and costly alternative that tries to deflect attention from demanding a much simpler solution – for Israel to fully open all land crossings to Gaza and to secure aid trucks going in.

But in March, US President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union that the pier would “receive large shipments carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelter”, a move largely seen as an attempt to appease his Democratic Party’s base as he runs for re-election in November.

"Experts say the pier is difficult to operate in rough seas," reports THE NATIONAL.  Zein Khali  (ANADULA AGENCY) notes, "The US army in mid-May announced it finished constructing a temporary floating pier off the coast of Gaza Strip meant to provide much needed aid to the blockaded enclave."  AL MAYADEEN adds, "The US floating pier in the Mediterranean Sea has faced significant challenges since its creation on May 15, questioning its efficiency in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian enclave."

Meanwhile, the Israeli government is ignoring the Friday ruling by the International Court of Justice.

Australia's ABC NEWS notes, "Israeli forces killed more than 30 people in new attacks in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics said on Saturday, the day after judges at the top United Nations court ordered Israel to halt its offensive on the southern Gazan city of Rafah."  A version of the same report appears at THE IRISH TIMES and notes:

Fighting has continued in Gaza despite the mediation and despite judges at the top United Nations court ordering Israel on Friday to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, where it says it is trying to root out Hamas fighters.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), or World Court, has no means to enforce its emergency ruling in case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide.

But the case was a stark sign of Israel’s global isolation over its campaign in Gaza, particularly since it began its offensive against Rafah this month against the pleas of its closest ally, the United States.

Neither outlet credits the article -- I'll assume it's PA (PRESS ASSOCIATION).  REUTERS notes, "While the International Court of Justice, or World Court, has no means to enforce its orders, the case was a stark sign of Israel's global isolation over its campaign in Gaza, particularly since it began its offensive against Rafah this month against the pleas of its closest ally the United States."   Bethan McKernan (OBSERVER) notes:

On Friday, the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ), which arbitrates disputes between nations, made its third intervention in the conflict so far, ordering Israel to immediately stop its Rafah operation. The court president Nawaf Salam said when announcing the 13-2 majority ruling, that Israel is obliged under the UN’s genocide convention not to inflict “conditions of life that would bring about [the Palestinian people’s] physical destruction in whole or in part”. But Israeli airstrikes on the south and eastern edges of Rafah appeared to escalate even as the ICJ delivered its decision, residents and medics said, as Israeli ground troops edge closer to the overcrowded city centre. Another 30 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the last 24 hours, Palestinian medics reported on Saturday; battles are also ongoing in northern and central parts of the Strip such as Jabalia and Zeitoun, where forces belonging to the Palestinian militant group Hamas have regrouped.

Raffi Berg (BBC NEWS) notes, "Following news of the ICJ ruling, the European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said the bloc's commitment to the rule of law and its support for Israel 'are going to be quite difficult to make compatible'."  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) reports on the ruling and the non-reaction from the Israeli government hereTom Carter (WSWS) points out:

The responses of US and Israeli officials to the ICJ ruling once again recall the words of US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in his opening statement at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals in 1945. Jackson said:

[T]hese men are surprised that this is the law; they really are surprised that there is any such thing as law …. any law at all was to these men simply a propaganda device to be invoked when it helped and to be ignored when it would condemn what they wanted to do.

The ICJ ruling massively discredits and exposes US-NATO imperialism, which has backed the Gaza genocide to the hilt while at the same time draping its war plans against Russia, China and Iran in the guise of “preserving a rules-based international order.”

Little ever deters War Criminals.  And it's actually worse than just the assault on Rafah.  The War Criminals are also attacking their own citizens and little brat of a War Criminal has taken to threatening should the slaughter stop.  CNN) reports, "Police and protesters clashed in Tel Aviv on Saturday night after a day of rallies calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for the return of all hostages, according to several videos posted on social media.  In the videos, horse-mounted police and water cannons can be seen in Tel Aviv’s Democracy Square attempting to disperse crowds refusing to leave, resulting in violent clashes."   THE GUARDIAN adds, "Some protesters in Tel Aviv carried photos of the female soldiers who appeared in a video earlier in the week showing them soon after they were abducted during the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October. Some held banners reading, Stop the war and Help. They called on the government to reach a deal to release the dozens of hostages still in captivity."  And the activists are calling for the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu.  Sara Khairat (ALJAZEERA) quotes an Israeli "whose daughter was killed on October 7th," declaring of War Criminal Netanyahu, "You are responsible for our terrible failure. Take responsibility."  Netanyahu is not a leader.  He's a teenager who refuses to take responsibility.

Take the shame?  Like Lauren, he just replies with, "Am I bovvered?"

We should all be bothered by Yair Netanyahu.  The soon-to-be 33-year-old slacker has used Daddy to fund his life -- he's a 'podcaster' -- having failed as an actor and, really, at every other thing in life.  The failure, as HAARATZ reports, is now posting a video of a supposed IDF reservist (wearing a mask) who insists that should someone stop Daddy Netanyahu's War Crimes, there are many reservists ready and waiting to stage a coup on the government.  

Wow.  I didn't realize that "Netanyahu" was Hebrew for "Trump."

Oh, we do need our humor in these cruel times.  Fortunately, for all of us, a joke has shown up.  Her name is Talia Carner.  The non-book selling typist is being pimped by THE NEW YORK POST -- with a story THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD -- rebranded as THE FORWARD -- carried back on January 17th.

Talia Carner is a physically repulsive woman who dresses like -- dresses today in the year 2024 -- like Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's Candace and Toni when they flashback to the 80s and how they met in the corporate world before creating the non-profit bookstore WOMEN AND WOMEN FIRST on PORTLANDIA.  

Talia hails from SAVVY -- a magazine for stocky women who need plentiful pantsuit options.  And that's about as close to fame as her bad typing will ever land her.  She's again insisting that the victims of the assault on Gaza aren't the dead children or the mothers trying to nurse newborns or even just raise their children in the horror that is taking place.  No, Talia wants you to know that the great horror is people are not buying her books.

It's apparently impolite to point to Talia that no one ever bought her books -- not now, not before October 7th.  No one wanted to read her dull, flat, predictable writing that read like watered-down HARLEQUIN romance books.

She's the victim, Talia insists.  There's a list -- and she's on it!  It's a blacklist!!!!  People are pledging not to buy her books!

She wants the world to know that this is "blatant anti-Semitism." 

No, it's people deciding they don't want to spend their money supporting careers of idiots who take joy in the murder of children.

She is, THE POST wants to insist, a victim of cancel culture.

She -- like the tabloid -- is deranged.

No book contract has been cancelled, no publishing house has dropped her.  People are just deciding not to buy her books (and no one really bought them before).

We are consumers, we can decide what to buy and what not to. 

The author of the piece,  Reuven Fenton, insists that the 'terrorists' have won in " our current world order:"  And his proof?  No one wanted to buy GOYHOOD?

I guess that's what he's claiming for proof.  Of course, the novel won't be released until Tuesday.  He insists that he had trouble getting a publisher.

I think actual authors suffer that problem as well, Reuven Fenton, and not only do they not have pretentious names, they're also not true crime writers.  He had difficulty landing a publisher for his debut as the writer of a comic novel.  

He landed SIMON & SCHUSTER for the publishers of his unneeded book.  But sure, play the victim, your whole damn life.

Talk about pathetic.  

Meanwhile, don't expect the professional victims to note the reality of Israeli forces burning books in Gaza.  THE NATIONAL reports:

The Israeli army said that it was investigating images showing what appeared to be an Israeli soldier in Gaza burning books, possibly including a copy of the Quran.

Footage of the book burnings, filmed by soldiers, was uploaded to social media, and recirculated by Palestinian accounts, Israeli media reported.

One video reportedly filmed in the Rafah area, apparently showed a soldier holding a Quran before throwing it into a fire.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa's social media account shared an image of what appeared to be an Israeli soldier posing in front of a fire at Al Aqsa University library.

"Israel has targeted all universities in the Strip, with some being completely destroyed," the office said.

Both the video and photo were broadcast on Israeli television.

And, of course, THE NEW YORK POST 'victims' have expressed no concern for scholars in Gaza.  Wafa Aludaini (MIDDLE EAST MONITOR) reports:

Throughout the 229 days of the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza, the Israeli occupation has deliberately targeted and assassinated dozens of Palestinian scholars, scientists, academics and researchers along with their families. All were targeted while at home with their families or seeking refuge with relatives. This week, the Gaza media office released a list containing the names of 100 Palestinian researchers who the Israeli occupation has killed, including scientists, university professors and doctors.

I had personally met a number of the now-slain, highly qualified academics and scientists before their assassinations, including Dr Khitam Elwasifi, Dr Refaat Alareer and Dr Sufyan Tayeh, all elegant and clever people whose work had very positive impacts on our society.

Dr Elwasifi was a physics professor and the deputy dean of the Faculty of Science at the Islamic University of Gaza. She authored some 50 published research papers on subjects such as the effect of mobile radiation on living tissue, slab waveguides and non-linear optics, among others. Dr Elwasifi was assassinated along with her husband, Dr Mahmoud Abu Daf, former dean of the Faculty of Education at the Islamic University, after an Israeli airstrike hit her home in Gaza City on 1 December, 2023.

Another loss for Palestine was Dr Alareer, a poet, writer and English literature professor at the Islamic University. An inspiring figure and teacher for many young people in Gaza, he co-founded several programmes and initiatives to train and support young activists and writers to express themselves and convey their stories to the world as oppressed people living under occupation, blockade and siege.

Dr Alareer was also a social media influencer and often received threats online and by phone from Israeli accounts for his efforts to expose Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. On 6 December, 2023, Dr Alareer was assassinated in a massacre along with his brother, sister and her three children in an Israeli airstrike that targeted his sister’s apartment in northern Gaza.

People are outraged by real violence and, no, 'victims' and NY POST, real violence is not consumers declining to purchase poorly written books.  

In the real world, THE GUARDIAN notes:

Netanyahu’s government has faced increasing pressure, both at home and abroad, to stop the war and allow humanitarian aid into the enclave that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, almost 80% of whom have been displaced. 

This week, three European countries announced they would recognise a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor for the international criminal court requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, along with Hamas officials.

And the response was for the Israeli government to withdraw their ambassadors.  It appears Netanyahu's government really struggles at engaging with the world.  

Let's note this from Friday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: The presidents of UCLA, Northwestern and Rutgers universities were grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday about pro-Palestine protests on campus. The hearing marked the fourth time in six months that the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce summoned school leaders to Washington for questioning about alleged antisemitism.

During the hearing, lawmakers reserved their heaviest questioning for the presidents of Northwestern and Rutgers, the two universities where Gaza solidarity encampments where voluntarily dismantled after protesting students negotiated deals with university administrators.

At UCLA, police violently raided the pro-Palestine encampment with flash grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas a day after pro-Israel counterprotesters attacked the encampment with fireworks and metal rods. Dozens were arrested.

Thursday’s hearing marked the first time the heads of public universities — UCLA and Rutgers — were brought to testify before Congress on the issue.

Our next guest, Steven Thrasher, is a professor of journalism at Northwestern University, an outspoken supporter of the Gaza solidarity encampments at Northwestern and other schools. In fact, Thrasher was singled out during Thursday’s hearing by Republican Congressmember Jim Banks of Indiana as he was grilling Northwestern President Michael Schill.

REP. JIM BANKS: Let me ask you about Steven Thrasher, who’s one of the goons in the photo behind me. He’s a professor of journalism at Northwestern. He and several of your faculty members locked arms. They scuffled with police officers, blocked the police officers on your campus from doing their job. Do they continue to teach students at Northwestern University after this embarrassing incident?

MICHAEL SCHILL: So, I will not comment on individual faculty members, nor on matters —

REP. JIM BANKS: President, is it — is it your decision, your decision alone, to allow those professors to continue to teach students on your campus?

MICHAEL SCHILL: We believe in due process at the — at Northwestern University.

REP. JIM BANKS: You believe in due process except for —

MICHAEL SCHILL: We will follow —

REP. JIM BANKS: — the decision that you made about Coach Fitzgerald.

MICHAEL SCHILL: We followed the contract. That was —

REP. JIM BANKS: Had your cake and eat it, too.

MICHAEL SCHILL: — due process. We had an investigation. But I don’t — I’m not going to go on and on about that.

REP. JIM BANKS: These — is it OK for faculty members at Northwestern University to scuffle with police officers, to lock — lock arms and present [sic] police officers from doing their job? You said — you said, in your opening statements, that this encampment was responsible for antisemitic behavior that made Jewish students feel unsafe to go to class. Is it OK for faculty members — do they — is it OK? Do they get away with that at Northwestern University?

MICHAEL SCHILL: I am not going to comment on ongoing investigations in faculty personnel matters.

REP. JIM BANKS: Unbelievable.

MICHAEL SCHILL: There is a rule at the university —

REP. JIM BANKS: Unbelievable, President Schill, that —

MICHAEL SCHILL: — that that is confidential.

REP. JIM BANKS: — that those faculty members would continue to have a job. Thrasher, by the way, is something of a professional prognosticator. In fact, he went to Columbia University to participate in their encampment, and you pay his bills. You’re responsible for Steven Thrasher’s activities, which is really, really crazy.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Republican Congressmember Jim Banks of Indiana questioning Northwestern President Michael Schill about professor Steven Thrasher.

Well, Professor Thrasher joins us now from Chicago. He’s the chair of social justice in reporting at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. He’s also a columnist at Literary Hub and the author of The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide. His latest column for Literary Hub is headlined “You Are Being Lied to About Gaza Solidarity Camps by University Presidents, Mainstream Media, and Politicians.”

Professor Thrasher, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you respond to the questioning and you particularly being singled out in this congressional hearing?

STEVEN THRASHER: Well, as a journalist, I’m not used to being the subject of the story. It was quite a terrifying experience. I don’t think that I’m a goon, and I’m certainly not a prognosticator, which I think means somebody who can tell the future.

But the point of all of this is something that I don’t take personally. I teach, actually, a video that you made, Amy, in most of my classes about manufacturing consent. And that’s what all of this is about. It’s supposed to scare everybody who supports Gaza. It’s supposed to scare everybody who’s against the genocide. It’s supposed to scare students who are righteously standing up against the killing that’s happening. And it’s supposed to scare faculty into not supporting our students, not protecting our students, not meeting our first responsibility, which is to make sure that they are safe, and our other responsibilities, which is to make sure that they have learning opportunities.

And what happened on these — in many of these encampments — I’ve had the opportunity to visit five of them. I was not a participant in the one at Columbia. I went there as a reporter for the piece that I wrote for Literary Hub and for ongoing research that I’m doing about protests in America. But one of the really amazing things about these spaces I’ve seen is they are dynamic learning — they are dynamic learning and pedagological spaces. It’s really beautiful seeing students experimenting with creating a different kind of society, not just accepting what they’re being handed in America, and — something that I’ve heard at multiple different encampments — thinking about what a free Palestine would look like. And one of those things that they are experimenting with is understanding that a free Palestine, like a free New York City or a free Chicago or a free Evanston, would be a place where people who are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Native American, or of any faith or no faith, would have equal rights and would have equal responsibilities and would live in peace and prosperity under the law, but where they would still hold onto their cultures and teach one another about them. And that’s been a really beautiful thing to see in the different camps.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Thrasher, you’re wearing a keffiyeh right now. What does that mean to you?

STEVEN THRASHER: To me, it makes me think of how I’ve been talking about this issue for five years. I feel a bit like I’m in Groundhog Day, because I talked about this issue at my graduation speech at NYU literally five years ago on Sunday, and then had a very difficult meeting a week afterwards, and then having a very, very intense meeting a week again this time.

But it really makes me think of a dear friend of mine whose name is Mohammed. In 2019, when I was going through it for speaking about this issue, for defending Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace on my campus as a graduating student at NYU, which of course is an issue now on hundreds of campuses around the country, a young man in Gaza named Mohammed wrote to me and told me how much he supported me and told me that the people in Gaza were sharing my speech and were really appreciative of somebody at an American university talking about it. And that’s a message I’ve seen happen at all these encampments, that people in Gaza are telling them what it means for them for students to stand up for them.

And so, Mohammed and I have been pen pals for these years. I was relieved to know that he had gotten married to a Palestinian Canadian partner, had moved to Canada, and so I was relieved to know that he was not going to be in danger when I heard everything that was happening in Gaza this fall. But he has suffered tremendous loss. Both his mother and his father were killed by snipers. Many people in his family have been killed. I also have Palestinian cousins through marriage to my aunt, and they have many relatives in the area that are in danger.

And so I wear this keffiyeh to remind myself that this is not an abstract talk about free speech. This is a matter of life and death for wonderful, beautiful, artisitic, political people who are losing their lives, young people, old people, more than 140 journalists, from my profession, who have been murdered, more than 15,000 children who have been killed.

And it’s also a reminder for me that there is love and beauty in this. After the comments that came from Representative Banks yesterday, I have never felt more loved and supported from people around the world. And it’s reminded me that when I see other people wearing keffiyehs, that we have a connection to one another. And it’s reminded me that there is so much love and beauty and connection. Even as people might face ostracization or they might face HUAC-style bad things happening to them in Congress, there is this connection that you find with people all over the world, and we’re all wanting a world that has more peace and love and justice. So that’s why I wear it.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Banks claimed you were filmed scuffling with police and that it was shown. We don’t see that in the film. We see the police hitting and pushing you and kicking you. It reminded me of professor Orleck at Dartmouth. She was the former head of the Institute for Jewish Studies there. And she, too, was body-slammed to the ground. Can you talk about how the police are dealing with these protests? But also during the congressional hearing, Northwestern President Schill defended his decision to negotiate an agreement with pro-Palestine student protesters who had set up the encampment. He was being attacked for doing that. And I’m just wondering if you can talk about what that agreement was all about.


AMY GOODMAN: Two questions.

STEVEN THRASHER: There is a great mischaracterization of what’s happening between protesters, faculty and police. I’ve been to five of these encampments. They are incredibly beautiful spaces. I find it hard to believe that ours was antisemitic in any way. I never heard of any complaints about that. What I did see were Jewish students, including some of mine, of whom I was very proud, leading the Passover prayers. Our encampment overlapped with Passover, three nights of it that I was there in the evening. There were sundown Passover prayers. I saw students teaching about Pesach, teaching about the foods that were being served, their connection to Judaism and how it called for them ethically to be involved in the issue for a free Palestine. And two of the moments that were most memorable for me were singing the song “Dayenu,” which was one of the first Passover songs that I learned when I first went to a Passover, and then they were literally passing around matzah to share with people. I received the matzah from my colleague Ricky, who is Jewish and was wearing a yarmulke. I’m a Christian. I took some of it, and I passed it on to somebody in a hijab. So, we were a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim all observing Passover together. So, I think the depiction that President Schill and other people have painted of the camps is wrong in saying that they are antisemitic.

I think the police are the element of violence. As you were talking about in the headlines, at UCLA, the camp was not violent until a Zionist group came and very violently attacked them, and the police let them, in a manner similar to how police used to let the KKK or other violent groups affect Black people. And then the police themselves are the violent element. And it’s not coincidental, including myself, that so many of the people you see being arrested are Black, queer, people of color, often untenured, many who are migrants or are here on visas, who are the most vulnerable people on campus, but who still feel it’s a calling for them to protect their students. At Northwestern, fortunately, the encampment ended without police violence. But it began with police violence.

I was on faculty support on the first morning, when the students asked for faculty to be there to help them. And I didn’t think the police would move in so quickly, but within just a few minutes, they did. So my colleagues and I formed a faculty defense line. And I feel it’s really important as the Daniel Renberg chair of social justice in reporting, as someone who’s teaching a class right now called “The Theater of Protest,” and as someone who teaches a lot about Martin Luther King and AIDS activists in groups like ACT UP, I knew that it was my responsibility to stand there and try to protect them, especially since we had seen such horrific violence the day before at the universities of Texas and UCLA. And as you can see in the video, we are not hitting the police. We’re not scuffling with them. We just hold onto each other. We take the blows. We’re hoping that we could take the blows so the students don’t take the blows. And we were successful. The police retreated. You can see in one of the videos that it’s — I think the police chief of the Evanston Police Department pulls them back. And so, we were able to create a safe space so that the students could express themselves. The encampment went on for five days.

I was not involved in any way in the negotiation for the ending. President Schill and other faculty and students came to an agreement that allows for a number of things, including questions about what the investments are at Northwestern University and, as he was questioned about extensively in front of Congress, about bringing Palestinian students and faculty to campus under very similar programs that exist to bring faculty and students from other war-torn places around the world, so there shouldn’t be much controversy about that.

President Schill and I don’t agree on a lot about the politics of Israel and Palestine. I do think that we — I did appreciate the way that he said that he would not talk about individual students and faculty, and that we should be allowed to have due process. We’ve seen horrific cases where people don’t get due process, including Mohamed Abdou at Columbia, who was very unceremoniously ended his — his employment was ended by the president of the university, Minouche Shafik, of Columbia University. But I do disagree with President Schill that these places were horrific places of antisemitism. I can only imagine, for him as a Jewish person, that it felt absurd being called an antisemite in front of Congress. And I think that it’s also absurd to call our many Jewish students, who are working in coalition with other students, antisemites just because they believe in a free Palestine.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, and the president of Northwestern, the descendant of Holocaust survivors. Well, Steven Thrasher, the way journalism works — and you know how it works, as a professor of journalism — perhaps what got the most attention this week was that picture of you that went viral. “What Is Violet Affleck Trying to Tell Us? Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s daughter was photographed with some pointed reading material.” She is holding your book, The Viral Underclass. I thank you so much for —


AMY GOODMAN: Yes, Steven.

STEVEN THRASHER: I’ve known about what was coming on Capitol Hill for about 10 days, so that was a very nice diversion. I found out that Violet Affleck is quite beloved in the disability community because she’s largely known as the only person in Hollywood who still masks at events. She also went out in a “free Palestine” T-shirt a few weeks ago. And so I was just really touched that she shared my book. And if I was going to be in the news around stuff happening in Washington, I was glad that people in Hollywood were also talking about my book. But I really, really appreciated the opportunity to just see somebody in a position of visual authority reminding people to keep masking in dense places and to keep taking COVID precautions, because in part of my life I’m a public health person, and COVID is not over, and we still need to — just as we do with our call for a free Palestine, we need to take care of one another, love one another and show community care for one another.

AMY GOODMAN: Steven Thrasher, Daniel Renberg chair of social justice in reporting at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, a columnist with Literary Hub. We’ll link to your most recent piece. His latest book, The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide.

Coming up, we go to Harvard. More than a thousand Harvard students walked out of their graduation in protest of 13 undergrads barred from graduating, taking part in the Gaza solidarity encampment. Stay with us.

In some of today's violence?  ALJAZEERA notes, "The Palestinian Red Crescent Society responded to calls about a bloodied man hit by an Israeli drone attack in Deir el-Balah." , and At least 10 people, including children, died in Gaza on Saturday after a drone strike hit the school they were sheltering in, according to local health workers.  The Al-Nazla school in Saftawy, on the outskirts of Jabaliya, was being used as a temporary shelter by people fleeing violence when the strike took place."

Gaza remains under assault. Day 232 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, "At least 35,857 Palestinians have been killed and 80,293 injured in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since October 7, the enclave's Health Ministry has confirmed."  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:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

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

We're finally back to Cher.

That's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You."  Maybe I should have posted "The First Time"?  Or "Just Enough To Keep Me Hanging On"?  I love all the tracks on the expanded edition of 3614 JACKSON HIGHWAY.

It's a great album.  At THIRD, for ten years, we pulled a quote (the "dig it" one) to run across the top of the site.  Currently, we've got a Tuesday Weld quote at the top.  

But it's a great album and it's one of Cher's great albums.  Certainly, her best album from the 60s.  I'd go with STARS for the 70s, HEART OF STONE for the 80s, IT'S A MAN'S WORLD for the 90s, LIVE: THE FAREWELL TOUR for the '00s  and CLOSER TO THE TRUTH for the '10s.

And the point of that?

A very depressed woman e-mailed the public account ( Friday night.  Between the latest Crooked Court scandal (Alito) and the continued genocide in Gaza, she's just really struggling.  I do understand.

Saturday's the only 'day off' I really get.  And there are nights (tonight!) where I wait until the last moment to post something here that I've written about what's going on in the world.  It is depressing as hell.  I get it.  But before doing that, I spent the day trying to avoid the news to relax.

On Saturdays, we note music here. Usually, every half hour on Saturday, starting at 6:00 am EST, is a video of music.  Two things there.  First:

  • tanya tucker delta dawn live on hee haw aged 13 1973
  • Tanya Tucker discussing her time with Glen Campbell

  • The Tanya and Glen headline is mine.  I posted it wrongly with the same title for both.  Didn't catch it until hours later.  At which point, I changed the title for the interview.  Didn't want to take a moment to find out what the actual title was.  I was back online just to post some more things.  I schedule those to post and I use two screens for BLOGGER -- two tabs, sorry -- and multiple for YOUTUBE.  So I'm just copying and pasting quickly and can get things wrong.


  • Diana Ross The Boss [Extended Remix]
  • UN's top court orders Israel to halt military oper...
  • NEWS: Congressman Greg Casar Claims Title of ‘Fast...
  • EVERLASTING - JODY WATLEY (Chef Craig's Chicago Ho...

  • So the way that worked, Jody went up on the half hour, then Greg Casar's press release went up on the hour and Diana went up on the half-hour.  But see that thing in between about the UN?

    That's when I learned (no surprise) that Friday's ruling had not made a difference on Saturday.  I got back online to do the second half of the day of posts.  I saw the UN story and posted it so Greg didn't get his full half-hour, sorry.  

    My point is, when it's too much, you have to walk away.  I have to walk away -- and should have -- about 30 minutes ago because I really can't see.  (I have tremendous vision problems besides just aging -- including glaucoma, macular degeneration and other fun things.)  

    But if it's depressing you more than you can handle -- the awful things taking place in the world -- you need to walk away for an hour or two.  I basically do all of Saturday.  News can pop up from conversations with friends or headlines on the hour on KPFA but otherwise I'm not going through the news on Saturday until it's time to write the Saturday night entry.

    If it's too much, do yourself a favor and step away.  Sadly, when you return, you'll find things have probably gotten worse.  

    For me, before I wrote tonight -- and I so did not want to look at the news tonight -- I listened to 3614 JACKSON HIGHWAY.  Not had it on the background.  Not listened while talking to friends or reading a book or working out.  (I listened to Jess Glenn's new album while working out today.)  I laid down on bed and listened to the album.  Closing my eyes because I am a pre-music video person and songs inspire colors and other images for me.  I just enjoyed a light show of sorts while listening (I didn't even sing along).  That's how I got rested enough to face the news.

    So, in reply to your question, there's nothing wrong with you.  We are just living in overwhelming times and it's okay to take a break and that doesn't make you frivolous or useless.  When you're able to come back, you'll probably be more focused.

    The following sites updated:


    Diana Ross - Count On Me (ft. Rhonda Ross)

    Diana Ross - Do You Know Where You're Going To (Remastered Version 1975) HQ

    Brenda Russell Live at Anthology San Diego (Piano In The Dark)

    Rickie Lee Jones - Flying Cowboys (Live on The Arsenio Hall Show)

    Jess Glynne - Enough (Acapella)

    Ashford & Simpson - Nobody Knows (1980) Live Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert

    An exclusive interview with Miss Piggy after "Muppets" milestone

    Aretha Franklin - Don't Play That Song/Spirit In The Dark (live TV 1970)

    Christian Reporter Obliterates Tulsi Gabbard's Anti-War Scam With One Question

    Carole King - Sweet Seasons (Live at Farm Aid 1985)

    MIND MAGIC: Marianne Williamson talks to neurosurgeon Dr. James Doty about the art of manifestation

    Diana Ross - No One Gets The Prize (John Morales M+M Mix)

    Olay’s Big Day, Lolo’s Face & Baby Reindeer was NUTS | LOLO & OLAY

    Ladies of the Canyon - Annie Lennox (Joni Mitchell Cover) - Live - The Gorge Amphitheatre - 6/10/23

    Asleep At The Wheel: Roland BLASTS Black Leaders Inaction Amid Rise In Anti-Blackness, Anti-DEI, CRT

    Deniece Williams - Silly

    Rep. Steve Cohen: Justice Alito is 'acting more like a street lawyer'

    Cher - I Hope You Find It (Official Video)

    The Common Good vs. Trumpism | The Coffee Klatch with Robert Reich

    Klymaxx -- Meeting in the Ladies' Room (Official Video)

    Biden Admin to Team Up with GOP to Destroy International Law to Protect Netanyahu

    A Taste Of Honey Boogie Oogie Oogie

    LAPD Finally Arrests Counter Protester; Power Struggles and Rising Right-Wing Influences

    Janet Jackson - All For You

    News highlights on week 33 of Israel's genocide in Gaza, with Nora Barrows-Friedman


    Diana Ross The Boss [Extended Remix]


    UN's top court orders Israel to halt military operations in Rafah

    NEWS: Congressman Greg Casar Claims Title of ‘Fastest Man in Congress’


    NEWS: Congressman Greg Casar Claims Title of ‘Fastest Man in Congress’

    May 15, 2024

    Casar ends Republicans’ 15-year winning streak

    WASHINGTON – On this misty morning, freshman U.S. Representative Greg Casar (D-Texas) just became the fastest lawmaker in Washington.

    The 35-year-old Texas Democrat was the first member of Congress to finish the 42nd annual ACLI Capital Challenge 3-mile in Anacostia Park on Wednesday morning with a time of 19:33 — all while sporting a Cesar Chavez t-shirt. Casar beat Congressman Mike Gallagher’s (R-WI) 2023 time by more than 20 seconds.

    “Occasionally, ‘relative youth and inexperience’ serves you well in Washington,” joked Congressman Greg Casar (D-Texas). “This is a wonderful charity event, and we all had a lot of fun, even in the rain and the mud.”

    Casar is the first Democrat to win the competition since Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) in 2008. In 2016, fellow Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke placed second to Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Last year, Chris Pappas (D-NH) was outrun by Gallagher. 

    Casar was a high school runner, placing sixth at the Texas state championship

    1,600-meter race. His personal record is 4:18 for the mile run.

    Other political bigwigs that participated this year included U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (who won the fastest female member of Congress).

    Proceeds from the charity race benefit Junior Achievement USA

    . Learn more about the race here



    Congressman Greg Casar represents Texas’s 35th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which runs down I-35 from East Austin to Hays County to the West Side of San Antonio.  A labor organizer and son of Mexican immigrants, Casar serves as the Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 118th Congress. He also serves on the Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the Committee on Agriculture.

    EVERLASTING - JODY WATLEY (Chef Craig's Chicago House DUB 1)


    Jody Watley, a perennial figure in the music industry, continues to captivate audiences with her latest dance release, “EVERLASTING” The Remixes, which surged to the remarkable #2 position on the iTunes Top Dance Albums Chart. This accomplishment serves as another jewel in the crown of the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer’s illustrious career.

    Despite Jody’s extensive track record of contemporary dance hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Charts spanning multiple decades, this marks her premier Top 2 placement on the USA iTunes Dance Album Chart since her lauded “Midnight Lounge” album clinched the #1 spot in the Top Dance/Electronica Albums category back in 2003.

    Jody Watley - Live & Up Close Theatre 2024 Celebrating 'Larger Than Life 35” Anniversary


    Loleatta Holloway - Like a prayer

    Congresswoman Bush Statement Calls for Justice Alito to Resign

     May 24, 2024

    Congresswoman Bush Statement Calls for Justice Alito to Resign


    Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2024) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement calling for the resignation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. 

    “It is appalling that Justice Alito and his wife showed public support for the Stop the Steal movement in the days after the January 6th insurrection– while the Court was ruling on a 2020 election case–and as recently as 2023. This scandal is just the latest example of the longstanding corruption of the right-wing justices. The myth of the impartiality of these justices has been dealt yet another blow. At minimum, Justice Alito should recuse himself from all cases related to the 2020 election, the Senate Judiciary Committee should investigate, and depending on the facts, there should be an impeachment inquiry, as is true for Justice Thomas and his scandals. But both Justices Alito and Thomas can spare themselves, the federal judiciary, and our country from further humiliation by resigning now. 

    “The corruption of the Supreme Court affects all of us. In the next month, the Court—including its pro-insurrection wing—will rule on access to medication abortion, the rights of unhoused people, and Trump’s claims of immunity against prosecution in connection with January 6th. Their lack of neutrality has been so irrefutably documented that if Congress genuinely wants to restore public confidence in the judiciary, it must remove lawless justices, enact ethics reform, expand the Court, and institute term limits.”

    On May 16, 2024, it was revealed that an inverted U.S. flag flew outside the Virginia home of Justice Samuel Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, in the days after the January 6th insurrection. The inverted flag was a prominent symbol of support for Donald Trump’s discredited and unlawful attempt to overturn the 2020 election, and was displayed by rioters who stormed the Capitol. During the time the inverted flag was flown at Justice Alito’s home, the Supreme Court was considering whether to hear a 2020 election case; Justice Alito, along with Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, supported the position of Trump and the Pennsylvania Republican Party. 

    On May 22, 2024, it was revealed that an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was flown outside the New Jersey home of Justice Alito and Martha-Ann Alito in July and September 2023. The “Appeal to Heaven” flag was also a prominent symbol of support for Trump and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and was similarly displayed by January 6 rioters.

    The Supreme Court is currently hearing two cases directly related to Trump’s election subversion efforts, including whether he should receive immunity from prosecution.

    In April 2023, Congresswoman Bush called for the impeachment of Justice Clarence Thomas after a barrage of ethics scandals. Last year, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representatives Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Hank Johnson (GA-04), and Adam Schiff (CA-30), introduced the Judiciary Act of 2023, legislation that would expand the Supreme Court by adding four seats to create a 13-Justice bench.


    Blondie - Call me

    Baldwin Introduces Bill to Crack Down on Mergers that Result in Higher Prices and Fewer American Jobs


    Baldwin Introduces Bill to Crack Down on Mergers that Result in Higher Prices and Fewer American Jobs

    Legislation comes after unscrutinized Energizer merger led to higher battery prices for Americans and 600 layoffs in Portage and Fennimore

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced new legislation to protect Americans from layoffs and price hikes resulting from corporate mergers that significantly reduce competition, close American facilities, and outsource jobs. The Stopping Threats to Our Prices from (STOP) Bad Mergers Act comes after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the 2018 purchase of Wisconsin-based Rayovac by Energizer, which resulted in severely reduced competition in the battery marketplace, higher prices for consumers, and hundreds of layoffs for Wisconsin workers.

    “Too often when big companies consolidate, hardworking Americans pay the price. The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to protect Americans from mergers that reduce competition and lay off workers, but as we’ve seen in Wisconsin, that is not always the case,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m introducing legislation that will crack down on companies buying up their competition, sending jobs overseas, and jacking up prices because Wisconsin workers and families deserve better. Our bill ensures that the people who provide the company value, the workers, have a seat at the table when companies are considering these mergers.”

    In 2018, Energizer purchased Wisconsin-based battery company Rayovac. President Trump’s FTC approved the merger with unusual speed, even though the deal was expected to give Energizer 40 percent of the U.S. battery market, 60 percent of the world hearing aid battery market, and 85 percent of the total battery market. The resulting battery duopoly in the U.S. led to significant price increases for consumers.

    At the time of the merger, Rayovac operated two battery manufacturing facilities in the state: one in Portage and one in Fennimore. These facilities provided over 600 Wisconsin workers good union wages for decades because both manufacturing plants were represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But in 2023, Energizer announced it would be closing the two former Rayovac facilities in Wisconsin and moving the work to foreign countries, or to a non-union facility in North Carolina.

    Senator Baldwin criticized the Trump-era decision and raised concerns about the planned closures in a hearing with Teamsters’ President Sean O’Brien shortly after the announcement. Last year, she demanded answers from the FTC on why they allowed the merger to go through with such little scrutiny and called on the commission to investigate and conduct a retrospective analysis.

    Specifically, the STOP Bad Mergers Act:

    • Requires the FTC to continuously monitor previous mergers to determine if they have reduced competition, increased prices, cut wages, eliminated jobs, closed facilities, or outsourced to foreign countries. If the FTC determines a merger now violates antitrust laws, it retains the authority to take action to remedy the situation, including by requiring divestitures and breakups;
    • Enhances worker input of merger review, ensuring that labor organizations receive notification of merger filings and creates opportunities for labor organizations to submit documents in favor or opposed to a proposed filing;
    • Requires more information be provided to the FTC and Department of Justice to ensure they can properly evaluate the full effects of the merger on workers; and,
    • Requires Government Accountability Office studies on consolidation in the manufacturing sector and the effect of worker bargaining power in labor markets.

    "The Teamsters will fight any merger that threatens jobs or weakens working conditions," said Teamsters General President Sean M. O'Brien. "Workers need to be a top priority in all government reviews of harmful corporate mega-mergers. The STOP Bad Mergers Act will make sure this happens and that greedy corporations are held accountable. Thanks to Sen. Baldwin's leadership, this legislation will put the needs of working people front and center."

    "Senator Baldwin has always been a champion on behalf of the hardworking men and women of Wisconsin. Now, by authoring and introducing the STOP Bad Mergers Act, she has set the standard for leadership even higher,” said Larry Wedan, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 695. “For decades, Wisconsin communities have been devastated by harmful mega-mergers, as multinational corporations have gobbled up so many of the homegrown companies that once provided good-paying union jobs across our state, without much scrutiny from enforcers or regulators. Thanks to the STOP Bad Mergers Act, unions like ours and the working people we represent will be more empowered to challenge these kinds of reckless actions and engage with antitrust enforcers to stop bad deals in their tracks."

    “When corporate mergers result in plant closures, offshoring of jobs, and sweeping layoffs, the impacts to working people are disastrous. Labor impacts are too often a blind spot in the review of corporate mergers, leaving workers to fend for themselves,” said Lee Hepner, Legal Counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Senator Baldwin’s bill gives working people a seat at the table, and will help address mergers that harm workers, even if such harms become clear after a merger has been approved."

    “The Open Markets Institute applauds Senator Baldwin for seeking to protect workers from corporate mergers. Her STOP Bad Mergers Act would help identify mergers and acquisitions that have harmed labor and empower working people and their unions to participate in the merger review process and to share their industry and market knowledge with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission,” said Sandeep Vaheesan, Legal Director at Open Markets Institute.

    A one-pager on this legislation is available here. Full text of this legislation is available here.