…the more I know [DOT 19/11/23]

the less I understand...

…so…might have to take a different tack this morning…in the sense that it’s after midnight so it counts as morning even if sane people consider this very much the middle of the night…on account of I thought I knew how my weekend was supposed to go…but I failed to account for family…so instead of being able to do my usual thing of taking longer than I should once I get up & as far as coffee…to wind up with a post that’s probably longer than it should be…by the time this is due up I’m now due to be on the road

…on top of which…I know not everybody gets to take the day that way…but…some days

…you just…can’t…you know?

Is Israel’s Military Strategy to Eradicate Hamas Working? [NYT]

Israel says it will increase military offensive in southern Gaza [Guardian]

Biden tells two different stories about the Israel-Hamas war in letters to Americans [NBC]

Too many taking sides in this conflict miss the true nature of Hamas – and Netanyahu [Guardian]

The centuries-old scriptures made me think about what’s playing out before us today. Not just the Israel-Gaza war. But also this week’s March for Israel rally on the National Mall and this month’s Free Palestine march in D.C. for a cease-fire in Gaza. They made me think, too, of the war’s fallout on the campus of George Washington University, which shares space in Foggy Bottom with my St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Our 156-year-old historically Black landmark has seen wars come and go, but few have been as religiously and culturally divisive, and politically conflicted, as the one now causing strife at our doorsteps.

About two weeks after Hamas’s horrific Oct. 7 invasion and Israel’s thunderous response, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at GWU allegedly screened messages on the outer wall of the school’s Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library that read, “Glory to our martyrs,” “Divestment from Zionist genocide now” and “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

SJP has now been suspended by the university for 90 days on the grounds that the projected messages were antisemitic and violated school policy.

Builders of a post-Hamas Palestinian world must have a clearheaded understanding of what happened — and failed to happen — after the United Nations adopted the 1947 partition plan that sought to divide the territory of the British Mandate for Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Rebuilding Gaza will also be fruitless without knowledge of all that followed among Israel, Arab nations and Palestinians when the state of Israel was established in 1948. There’s a tortured 75 years of history that should inform any attempt to bring a lasting peace and justice to a region that has experienced anything but.

That undertaking must take place among governments and political leaders, especially those capable of contributing more than running their mouths.
Biblically speaking, we have been here before.

The way to answer extreme speech? It’s education, not censorship.

Texas: Republican-controlled school board votes against climate textbooks [Guardian]

Earth is taking a pounding from bigger ocean waves. Why this matters. [WaPo]

EU agrees to ban exports of waste plastic to poor countries [Guardian]

A new report details that ice sheets are melting quicker than expected and that the world will need to ramp up its climate efforts to avert disastrous sea level rise. [NBC]

US industry disposed of at least 60m pounds of PFAS waste in last five years [Guardian]


Cop28 host UAE breaking its own ban on routine gas flaring, data shows [Guardian]

…you’d think it would be comforting to know that someone was keeping an eye on things…but…on the other hand

If you think ‘bossware’ surveillance culture in the workplace is new, think again [Guardian]

Some of Trump’s own plans for governance really do sound like a terrible cable TV knockoff. For example, he’s devised a scenario in which he wins next year, goes back to the White House and then commits some of the top Biden Justice Department officials to … mental institutions.

Don’t know if Americans even saw anything that shocking on 1950s TV. Of course, we don’t think of our mental health system the way D.J.T. seems to. He recently predicted that officials like Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating him on several fronts, would be diagnosed as “suffering from a horrible disease, TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME (TDS!)” and “in a Mental Institution by the time my next term as President is successfully completed.”

Does this sound like a threat to you? Also, honestly, if we came to think of Trump derangement syndrome as a mental health problem, who do you think would be the first person diagnosed?

Always tough trying to figure out when to denounce our past-and-possibly-future president’s rantings and when to just ignore him. Ignoring would certainly bother him more. But there are some things it’s hard to overlook.

For example, his campaign recently expanded on the T.D.S. scenario, with a spokesman warning that when Trump is re-elected, people like Smith wouldn’t just get committed to a mental hospital: “Their entire existence will be crushed.”

Sounds sorta major-league threatening, doesn’t it? Well, you’ll be happy to know that the spokesman clarified that he was referring only to Trump’s enemies’ “sad miserable existence” and not ending “their entire existence.”

Trump’s Love-Hate Relationship With the World Is Mostly Hate [NYT]

…these people do not do well with “nuance”

Trump has other plans as well. As several of my Times colleagues reported last week, he hopes to institute a program of mass detainment and deportation of undocumented immigrants. His aides have already drawn up plans for new detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border, where anyone suspected of illegal entry would be held until authorities have settled the person’s immigration status.
Included in this effort to rid the United States of as many immigrants as possible is a proposal to target people here legally — like green-card holders or people on student visas — who harbor supposedly “jihadist sympathies” or espouse views deemed anti-American. Trump also intends to circumvent the 14th Amendment so that he can end birthright citizenship for the children of unauthorized immigrants.
In addition to Trump’s words, which we should treat as a reliable guide to his actions, desires and preoccupations, we have his allies, who are as open in their contempt for democracy as Trump is. Ensconced at institutions like the Heritage Foundation and the Claremont Institute, Trump’s political and ideological allies have made no secret of their desire to install a reactionary Caesar at the head of the American state.

As Damon Linker noted this month in his essay on these figures for Times Opinion, they exist to give “Republican elites permission and encouragement to do things that just a few years ago would have been considered unthinkable.”

Americans are obsessed with hidden meanings and secret revelations. This is why many of us are taken with the tell-all memoirs of political operatives or historical materials like the Nixon tapes. We often pay the most attention to those things that have been hidden from view. But the mundane truth of American politics is that much of what we want to know is in plain view. You don’t have to search hard or seek it out; you just have to listen.

And Donald Trump is telling us, loud and clear, that he wants to end American democracy as we know it.

Trump Wants Us to Know He Will Stop at Nothing in 2025 [NYT]

…& some responses are…more appropriate than others

Why are European governments clamping down on the right to protest? [Guardian]

…yeah…head-scratchers abound

Why do trees have differently shaped leaves? [WaPo]

…& you never know, they tell me

‘Shocking’ scale of UK government’s secret files on critics revealed [Guardian]

…don’t think they bother with the likes of us…but…you never know

All healthcare facilities in poorer countries could be electrified using solar energy within five years for less than $5bn, putting an end to the risk of life from power outages, experts will argue at Cop28 this month.


…or maybe you’d prefer something else entirely

Born in Barking in 1957, Billy Bragg is a musician, writer and campaigner. After an aborted stint training for the Royal Armoured Corps, he wrote his debut album, Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy. It launched his career as a grassroots activist, protest singer and author, a stance he has maintained throughout his 40-year career, most notably with his benefit gigs for the 1984 miners’ strikes and the formation of the leftwing music collective Red Wedge in 1985. The Roaring Forty – a box set celebrating his 12-album career – is out now, and he is on tour until 7 December. Bragg has a son called Jack with his partner, Juliet Wills.


What philosophical perception could you offer to someone who is tired of the capitalist world we live in? [r/askphilosophy Reddit]

Why is modern economics not philosophy when it makes (different) predictions about the same things as Marxist economics? [ibid.]

Under the guidelines issued in each department, including the departments of health, culture, media and sport, and environment, food and rural affairs, officials are advised to check experts’ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts. They are also told to conduct Google searches on those individuals, using specific terms such as “criticism of government or prime minister”.

‘Shocking’ scale of UK government’s secret files on critics revealed [Guardian/Observer] […& yes…that is from the thing I already dropped a link to]

…hmm…if I gave my opinion on that it looks like the odds of my having a file someplace probably go up a fair bit


…so…I might try looking elsewhere

How Tariq Trotter of the Roots built a life-affirming philosophy [WaPo] [& that’s “black thought”]

…which is probably a sign I ought to make with the music?



    • Only good thing is that MAGAts are mostly made up of fat idiots not combat hardened former NCOs with excellent German Army NCO training.

      Meanwhile, the NYT is proving to be the MSM fascist paper of “record”.

    • This is wonderful. I love that North Face has featured Patti Gonia in some ads. And gave zero fucks when conservatives threatened to cancel them. The outdoorist movement could desperately use more inclusivity. My daughter has been involved in efforts to make outdoor activities accessible for disabled people. It hasn’t been easy to convince organizers that disabled people enjoy nature. And when planning outreach events she’s often the only person suggesting they go to the inner city, ya know Black (insert eye roll here) schools and parks. Because white organizers overlook the fact that urban dwellers of all colors want to participate as well. Able-bodied cis white people are really gatekeeping the great outdoors.

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