Monday, November 27, 2023

Donald is wearing out his welcome

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.  Some people did not as Tom Boggioni notes:

Donald Trump's appearance at the South Carolina/Clemson football game on Saturday was greeted with a loud chorus of boos and, on Sunday, a brutal review by McClatchy columnist Isaac Bailey who dropped the hammer on the former president and the "cowards" who invited him to take the field.

In a column published on Sunday by South Carolina's "The State," Bailey wrote that the game, which he described as "a quasi-religious holiday in the Palmetto State," now carries the "stench" of a Trump appearance.

Aspart of his brutal brutal appraisal of the former president, whom he called "a 91-time indicted and credibly-accused sexual abuser," the columnist also blasted South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) who accompanied the former president, writing the governor "should be ashamed. But you’d have to possess a shred of integrity for shame to be even a possibility, so I get why he isn’t."

"The University of South Carolina should be ashamed. But it is apparently run by cowards comfortable bending the knee to an obviously-compromised governor, and an even more compromised presidential candidate who inspired a violent attack at the heart of our democracy just a couple years ago," he wrote before adding, "Whoever signed off on that pathetic Trump parade should be fired, though I suspect given how far we’ve fallen from any sense of decency, they may have already received a raise."


He really should not have been there.  He is getting booed more and more.  And it is effecting his support.  Many have stayed with him in the race for the GOP's presidential nomination just because they thought he was popular.  Every day, his popularity gets a little less.  

Has anyone ever been further up someone's butt than U.S. House Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green is up the former president's butt?  THE DAILY BEAST notes:

Outspoken MAGA Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) came to Donald Trump’s defense Sunday, after the former president was seen being booed by a large segment of the football fans at South Carolina’s tilt against Clemson over the weekend. It’s the state's biggest sporting showdown of the year.

Footage from the historic rivalry game on Saturday was posted across social media, and while Trump fans can still be heard cheering for the 77-year-old, others can be seen visibly booing. Trump was appearing on the home turf of rival 2024 Republican candidate Nikki Haley, who did not attend. Trump was was invited as a guest of Governor Henry McMaster, who has also endorsed him for president.

[. . .]

On Sunday, Greene, an outspoken Trump supporter, appeared to deny that anyone had objected to the former president’s presence at the event.

“Trump is WINNING and the people love him!” she wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, alongside video of Trump at the event.

“Joe Biden couldn’t stay up late enough to go to a football game let alone have this massive cheering crowd for him. If Joe had gone to the game, it would have been FJB!”

She truly is a non-stop liar and kiss-up.

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

Monday, November 27, 2023.  The pause continues as does the violence.

A salvo of machine gun fire, customary during funerals, illuminated the night sky as dozens of men converged in a dimly lit, unpaved alley on the edges of the sprawling slums of Sadr city to pay their respects. A giant picture of Ali Hassan al-Daraaji had been erected outside the family home in north-east Baghdad to announce his “martyrdom” in this week’s US airstrikes on Iraqi armed groups.

The series of strikes left nine fighters dead, including Daraaji, the first Iraqi fatalities linked to the Israel-Hamas war. Even as a tenuous truce takes hold in Gaza, the pace and intensity of clashes in Iraq has picked up, highlighting the risk of spillover in a country that has long been mired in conflict.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the US targeted fighters it believed were responsible for dozens of attacks carried out on American troops in Iraq and Syria. The operations have been claimed under the banner of the so-called Islamic Resistance in Iraq in response to “the crimes committed by the enemy against our people in Gaza”, according statements released on its Telegram channel.

The Pentagon said it acted in defence of its troops, who returned to Iraq in 2014 to help the Iraqi government fight Islamic State. But the Daraaji family, whose history is steeped in fighting the 2003-11 US occupation of Iraq, sees the latest events as a continuation of a long history of unjust American policies in the Middle East, and as a sign that two decades after its invasion, the US is still treading on Iraqi sovereignty.

Reticent and defiant, many of the men at the funeral were members of Kataib Hezbollah, the secretive group believed responsible for the bulk of the latest attacks. Some had joined when it first formed during the early days of the occupation. Others, like Ali and his uncle Dholfaqar al-Daraaji, followed suit in 2014, when Kataib Hezbollah ostensibly merged into the state security apparatus under the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an umbrella of Shia paramilitaries that received Iranian support to fight IS.

Anti-American sentiment runs deep in this community, which has reeled from loss after loss. “The people don’t want the Americans. They are the ones responsible for the destruction of Iraq,” Dholfaqar said. Ali, aged 32 at the time of his death, was the seventh family member killed in the intermittent spasms of violence that have gripped Iraq since 2003. Ali’s mother, two siblings and an uncle died in the sectarian bloodletting that followed the invasion, while two young cousins lost their lives when a mortar hit the family home in 2008.

Images of dead Palestinian children being pulled from under the rubble have brought those painful memories back to the surface and revived anger at the US, seen as a party to the conflict because of the diplomatic cover and military aid it provides to Israel. “America is responsible for the killing of children in Gaza,” Dholfaqar said. “All Iraqis stand with Gaza, not just the resistance factions, not just the PMF. Every time there is a war, we unite.”

Let's once again point out that Joe Biden's actions have painted a target on the back of every US service member in Iraq.   PRESS TV notes:

The leader of an Iraqi resistance group says the American occupation forces have no intention of leaving the Arab country and justify their illegal presence under the pretext of fighting the now-defunct Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

Qais al-Khazali, secretary-general of Iraqi resistance movement Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq which is part of Iraq’s anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, made the statement in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language al-Ahad television network on Friday.

“The Americans do not want to leave Iraq, and when there is a government intention to expel them, they send threatening political messages,” Khazali said.

"Successive governments hesitate to remove foreign forces because of American pressure, and they justify their presence by fighting the terrorist [ISIS]," he added, stressing that, "Everyone knows that Iraq declared its victory over the terrorist group in 2017."

The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group said there were “only 700 [ISIS] terrorists on Iraqi soil," and that the primary goal of the US-led military coalition was to “protect American national security, which is linked to the Zionist entity."

The images of hostages and prisoners being reunited with their families are almost too hopeful to absorb. Even as Israeli authorities explicitly try to suppress Palestinian “expressions of joy” at the return of their prisoners, the fact that they were released, and that some Israeli hostages are now safe and reunited, signals some small promise. But even if the wildest hope is realised – a lasting ceasefire – what has already unfolded over the past 52 days will be hard to forget.

There is a short video, posted on social media a few weeks ago, that I cannot get out of my head. In the clip, a man in Gaza is holding two plastic bags that carry the body parts of a child, presumably his. There are other details. The look on the man’s face. The way those around him avoid eye contact once they realise what he is carrying. I see these details often now, sudden and unbidden. The emotional and psychological impact of the war on those outside Gaza – no matter how intense – is a sort of privilege, happening, as it is, only on our screens. But there is something lasting about these images. Others I know are haunted too, by different visions. By the doctor who came across her husband’s body while treating bombing victims. By the father stroking and rocking a dust-covered baby on his chest one last time.

In the course of everyday life and in my social media feeds, I see people who say they feel they are going mad. That there are things they will never unsee. That they can’t sleep, that their interactions with the children in their lives have become tinged with a sort of queasy guilt. The feeling seems to be not just grief, but bewilderment at the fact that it has all carried on for so long. But they keep watching. To stop looking is to admit that you are helpless. It means you have resigned yourself to the fact that there is nothing you can do, and that you will eventually succumb to that enemy of justice – a fatigue that seems already to be setting in.

The truth, too hard to accept, is that there is nothing you can do. You can write to your MP, you can march, you can protest. And the killing continues. As that happens, a jarringly bloodless account of the conflict is given by political leaders in countries like the US and UK, one that seems to omit the sheer fact and number of the deaths and resorts instead to an almost surreal language that calls for “every possible precaution” to protect civilian life. UN officials, not known for intemperance, now lose their cool and use the strongest terms possible, in what seems to be a direct result of this weird insistence on not calling reality what it is. The day before the truce, Gaza authorities put the death toll at 14,532.

That’s where the sense of losing your mind comes from: the fact that it seems, for the first time that I can think of, western powers are unable to credibly pretend that there is some global system of rules that they uphold. They seem to simply say: there are exceptions, and that’s just the way it is. No, it can’t be explained and yes, it will carry on until it doesn’t at some point, which seems to be when Israeli authorities feel like it.

We are lied to repeatedly, over and over.  There is no cease-fire currently.  At best, it would have been a pause.  But the reality is that it hasn't been much of a pause to begin with. 

Saturday, CNN noted:

Three boys were shot and wounded with live ammunition near Ofer prison earlier Saturday evening, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

A CNN team on the ground near Beitunia crossing, which is about 200 meters away from the Israeli prison, had witnessed many Palestinians waiting in the area for the expected release of the prisoners. The team heard three gunshots over the course of an hour and witnessed three boys being carried away on a stretcher over the same time period.

The Red Crescent said two of the boys were 17, and one was 16.

Also Saturday, ALJAZEERA reported:

The UN office for humanitarian affairs (UNOCHA) has said that Israeli forces are reportedly arresting people moving from north and central Gaza towards the south through a checkpoint that Israel is describing as a “corridor”.

According to UNOCHA, people are being made to pass through an “unstaffed checkpoint” where they are asked to:

  • Show IDs
  • “Undergo what appears to be a facial recognition scan”

In one case in the last week, the UN says a child was left to pass through the checkpoint alone after his father was arrested at the checkpoint.

The UN is also raising concerns about the need for more child protection services to assist unaccompanied children.

Sunday? REUTERS noted, "A Palestinian farmer was killed and another injured on Sunday after they were targeted by Israeli forces in the Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of Gaza, the Palestinan Red Crescent said.  The incident occurred on the third day of a four-day truce between Israel and the Palestinian militant faction Hamas."  CNN notes, "Eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank over the course of 24 hours, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement Sunday. CNN has asked the Israel Defense Forces for comment about the killings."   ALJAZEERA reported:

Several videos posted on social media and verified by Al Jazeera’s Sanad news agency showed Israeli forces carrying out more nightly raids across the occupied West Bank, even as the exchanges of Hamas captives and Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons continue.

We have received reports that an ambulance was prevented by Israeli forces from reaching the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho to help injured Palestinians.

There was no other immediate information about the injured inside the refugee camp.

Israeli forces also reportedly stormed the village of Jaba in Jenin located in the northern part of the occupied territory.

NBC NEWS noted, "The Israeli military has urged civilians who fled to southern Gaza not to return home and warned that it is preparing for the next phase of the war once the pause ends."

Israeli forces have arrested at least 60 people from the West Bank since yesterday evening, including former prisoners, the Commission for the Affairs of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners and the Palestinian Prisoners Club said this morning.

The arrests were mostly concentrated in the town of Hebron and Ramallah, it said, adding a total of more than 3,260 arrests that have been made since the Oct. 7. attacks by Hamas.

"During the arrest campaigns, the occupation forces continue to carry out widespread acts of abuse, severe beatings, field investigations, and threats against detainees and their families," it said in a statement.

CNN noted, "Eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank over the course of 24 hours, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement Sunday. CNN has asked the Israel Defense Forces for comment about the killings."   ALJAZEERA reported:

Several videos posted on social media and verified by Al Jazeera’s Sanad news agency showed Israeli forces carrying out more nightly raids across the occupied West Bank, even as the exchanges of Hamas captives and Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons continue.

We have received reports that an ambulance was prevented by Israeli forces from reaching the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho to help injured Palestinians.

There was no other immediate information about the injured inside the refugee camp.

Israeli forces also reportedly stormed the village of Jaba in Jenin located in the northern part of the occupied territory.

NBC NEWS notes, "The Israeli military has urged civilians who fled to southern Gaza not to return home and warned that it is preparing for the next phase of the war once the pause ends."

Around the world, people protest the assault on Gaza.  

BBC NEWS reports:

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators have marched through central London calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

It was the first London march since Armistice Day, when more than 100 counter-protesters were arrested.

Police said 15 people had been arrested at the march, though the "overwhelming majority" protested lawfully.

The protest coincided with a four-day pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas. 

At least 300,000 people marched for Palestine in London on Saturday, a magnificent turnout that underlines the determination to win justice.

It’s not surprising that the march was smaller than last time—but it was still huge. On most occasions it would be rightly seen as  historic.

Some people will hope the pause in the Israeli assault will become a full ceasefire and that will lead to some sort of  settlement. But those marching in London do not accept that’s going to happen. They are a very large, active and knowledgeable core of a bigger movement.

They rightly think Israel is highly likely to renew its brutal attacks when the four-day pause ends on Tuesday. Even if the pause is extended, most marchers do not believe Palestinian liberation is coming as a result of this present process.

Demonstrator Reshna said, “The temporary halt in the fighting is not the justice the Palestinians need. There has been 75 years of oppression, the siege of Gaza, the repeated assaults in Gaza—what the Israelis have called ‘mowing the lawn’.

“None of that has come to an end. Apartheid is still in place. Today there might not be bombing, but it could start again very soon.

“The demonstrations and other solidarity actions mean people are waking up. This is what we need to increase the pressure.”

Everywhere there was anger against Keir Starmer for his failure to call a ceasefire and to break from the US-Tory position of unflinching support for Israel. Amy told Socialist Worker that she remembered being on the streets to demonstrate against the Iraq War 20 years ago when she was a child.

“I remember the protests and I remember how great they were. But I also remember being so disappointed in the Labour Party and how they still went to war.

“Today they are doing the same thing. At the moment we’re still being ignored by Starmer and Labour. I don’t think I could vote Labour again. I’ll vote for the Green Party instead.”

Some 400 demonstrators marched and rallied Saturday at the steps of the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing to demand a halt to the US-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza and call for justice for the Palestinian people.

Facing the Capitol steps lined with dummies wrapped in winding sheets soaked in fake blood, the crowd angrily chanted the now-familiar, “Biden, Biden you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The latter chant has been attacked by politicians in both capitalist parties—Democrats as well as Republicans—as implying the eradication of Israeli Jews, but speakers explained, with the demonstrators’ support, that what is envisioned in the chant is an end to the apartheid conditions that now prevail, with freedom and equality for the Palestinians.

The crowd exemplified the shock and horror of workers, students and young people of all races and nationalities expressed at anti-genocide demonstrations that have mobilized millions of people all over the world, as the Zionist regime of the gangster Benjamin Netanyahu, with the full support of the US and imperialist governments internationally, bombs densely populated neighborhoods, destroys hospitals, and withholds water, fuel, food and electricity in a calculated campaign of mass murder and ethnic cleansing. This is being done in broad daylight before the entire world, shattering the claims of Washington and its European allies to be waging war against Russia in Ukraine and threatening war against China in defense of “democracy” and “human rights”—not to mention the wars of the previous 30-plus years against Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Mali.

WSWS also notes, "For the seventh consecutive week, mass protests were held across Australia in opposition to the Gaza genocide. Over 30,000 attended in Melbourne, some 10,000 or more in Sydney and thousands of others in Perth and Brisbane."

Let's wind down by noting yesterday's FACE THE NATION (CBS).


CINDY MCCAIN (Executive Director, World Food Programme): Well, thank you for having me.

First of all, the - the bottom line here is that we need to get more aid in, as – as has been said. We are looking at possible – possibly being on the brink of famine in this region. This is something that's not only terrific, but it will spread. And - and with that comes disease and - and everything else that you can imagine.

Bottom line, we need more trucks in, we need more aid in, we need to be able to have more access to be able to distribute the aid. And - and, you know, hopefully maybe a longer time to do that, not just four days. We look forward to - to making sure that we can work with all of our partners on the ground and in the area to make sure that this can happen. And I want to thank the Egyptians for being so helpful in all of this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: UNICEF also said approximately 30,000 children under the age of five in Gaza had stunted growth. And this was even before the war began.



CINDY MCCAIN: Well, I – the access for aid, again, prior to the war and then, of course, since the war has been an issue all along. And the ability to make sure that these children get the proper nutrients, not just food, but the proper nutrients in this. It's a terrific situation. It's a - it's - it is - it is a massive, catastrophic event that is occurring, and it will cross regions as it happens. We have got to be able to get in there. And not only that, we have to make sure that we can safely have access to be able to feed the people that we need to feed. So far we've fed about 110,000 since the - since the ceasefire, but we need to do a lot more than that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: For the next generations, no doubt.

I know you are looking at the entire globe here, and there is a lot of need right now. I read that the World Food Programme had to cut off 10 million people in Afghanistan. In Africa you've announced you'll have to end food aid for more than a million people in Chad, suspend aid in Nigeria, in Carr (ph) and Cameroon. How do you possibly prioritize need and how do you decide who to cut off?

CINDY MCCAIN: Oh, it's - it – Margaret, it's something that keeps me awake at night. And I - I - that - that's the honest truth. It's very difficult to do. But the - the problem is - is - is not - is not just the ability to not be able to feed, but it's – the problem is the world needs to step up and help us. We – cutting off 10 million people, primarily women and children, in Afghanistan is – it's deadly. It will - it will kill the country. So, we've got to be able to make sure that we can get aid in. And, more importantly, we need our countries around the world, not just the United States, but every country in the world to step up and help us, to feed people who cannot feed themselves.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The last time we spoke you emphasized that some countries could provide technology, advice on how to do it if they don't want to kick in money. China, of course, is one of those countries that's been pressed to do more here. Are you seeing anything more?

CINDY MCCAIN: Well, I'm seeing other countries, yes, step up and offer things and begin to work with us on a daily basis to see how we can better improve. Not just - not just what we - we give, but how it's grown and - and can be grown with less water, more technology. It's a - it's a series of things to try to combat not only climate change but the effects of Covid as well as conflict. It's a long-range prospect, but we do need the technology.

To narrow the above down, let's note that Olafimihan Oshin (THE HILL) reports:

Cindy McCain, director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), said Sunday that Gaza, a strip controlled by the militant group Hamas, is “on the brink of famine” amid the militant group’s war with Israel. 

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” moderator Margaret Brennan mentioned recent information published by UNICEF, the U.N. children agency, that a life-threatening form of malnutrition in children could increase by nearly 30 percent in the territory. 

“First of all, the — the bottom line here is that we need to get more aid in as — as has been said, we’re looking at … possibly being on the brink of famine in this region,” McCain told Brennan. “This is something that … will spread. And with that comes disease and — and everything else that you can imagine.”

McCain, who is the widow of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also said that her agency needs more humanitarian aid trucks entering Gaza. She noted that children in Gaza receiving access to proper aid has been an issue for years prior to the war. 

“It’s … a massive, catastrophic event that is — is occurring, and it will cross regions as it happens. We have got to be able to get in there. And not only that, we have to make sure that we can safely have access to be able to feed the people that we need to feed,” McCain added. “So far, we’ve fed about 110,000 since the — since the cease-fire, but we need to do a lot more than that.” 

Also appearing on FACE THE NATION was the the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees Phillippe Lazzrini. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, Philippe Lazzarini.

Welcome back to Face the Nation.

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI (Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand you're joining us from Amman, Jordan, this morning.

Roughly 108 of your staff members in Gaza have been killed, according to your reports. That's the highest number of U.N. workers killed in the history of the United Nations. We are very sorry for your loss.

I'm wondering, given that you are sharing your location coordinates with both parties, why is there still such a high death toll?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: Yes, Margaret, this is definitely devastating news. And the United Nations never, ever lost as many staff in such a short period in the conflict.

Now, it is also true, Margaret, that about 70 of our location sheltering more than one million people have been hit since the beginning of the conflict. And we had about 200 people who have been killed, plus 100 injured, and this despite the fact that we are constantly deconflicting and notifying the Israeli authorities, but also the de facto government of Hamas about our location.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, who is hitting these locations?

I have seen your own U.N. reports that say you discovered some UNRWA schools have been used for military purposes, Israeli tanks nearby. You have also seen weapons storage in some of these facilities. Is that Hamas?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: We will definitely need to have investigation about all these allegations.

For the time being, we are in no position to determine who has been behind each of the incidents we have reported until now. But, clearly, here, this has been a blatant disregard of international humanitarian law, a blatant disregard of the U.N. premises, and a blatant disregard of a civilian population.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The White House says Israel's combat operations in South Gaza should not happen until there are assurances about protecting civilians in the south of Gaza.

Have you given – been given any kind of assurances here? Are you confident you can operate there safely?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: Well, therefore, we are not confident, because there haven't been any safe place until now in the Gaza Strip.

But people were initially asked to move from the north to the south. And we have seen that a number of people have been killed in the south. So there haven't been. any safe place yet.

That – having said that, we have this week reached more than one million people, more than half of the displaced people in the Gaza Strip being sheltered in U.N. premises. And we will continue to ask that the Israeli authorities and the warring parties to make sure that these places be respected in line with their obligation with international humanitarian law.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How dire is the humanitarian situation?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: Listen, I went back last week to Gaza for the second time.

The situation is much worse than what I saw the first time. Just to give you an example, I visited the vocational training center of UNRWA. We are sheltering 35,000 people there. I met a father with his five children. They live in a four-square-meter makeshift – basically sleeping on the floor, no mattress, no blanket.

Winter is coming. And, all of a – suddenly, he's bursting into tears and saying: "Well, my dignity has been stripped."

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