Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Media: Save us from the shallow, uninformed liars

Common sense is in short supply these days.  That was clear all last week.


For example, MAY DECEMBER.  Friday, it debuted on NETFLIX after a limited release.  It's a prestige project -- limited release in theaters, straight to streaming and then, hopefully, Academy Award nominations.  

We understand the process.  Why didn't Natalie Portman?

The critics darling always seemed a bit suspect to us.  For example, she was a pretty girl in BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.  Girl.  And the adult obsession (largely male) with her was off putting.  She's since spoken of various off putting things that took place while she was working in the business before she was 18.

As an adult, she's struggled to find roles that showcased her talents.  V FOR VENDETTA BLACK SWAN and LUCY IN THE SKY were three films in the last two decades that she really delivered.  Sadly, she made a lot more than three films during that time period. In fact, she's been in 45 films released since the start of 2003.  

She has talent, so what's the problem?

Watching in her in MAY DECEMBER, it was clear that she doesn't work very hard.  She learns her lines and sometimes she identified with a character enough to cover for the fact that she's never developed her craft.  She doesn't do work for a role ahead of filming.

That's a sad reflection on how she sees acting -- child actors with a gift sometimes fail to develop once they become adults.  

MAY DECEMBER reteams Julianne Moore with director Todd Haynes.  Most actresses knowing that they would be acting opposite Julianne Moore?  That alone would be enough to make them seek out an acting coach to prepare for the role.  Julianna is more than an Academy Award winner, she's a force of nature who repeatedly steals films going back to the start of her career.  Between Julianne and Rebecca De Mornay, the third actress in THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, the supposed lead, was left being "Annabella Who?

Julianne's gifts shine in film after film.  However, the ultimate pairing is Julianne with Todd Haynes.  They first paired on 1995's SAFE and they worked together on 2007's I'M NOT THERE, 2017's WONDERSTRUCK and, our all time favorite, 2002's FAR FROM HEAVEN.

Again, most actresses would grasp that they needed to get to work before filming to hold their own with Julianne in a Todd Haynes film.  Natalie Portman drifts through the film as though developing a character never entered her mind.  At 42, she should grasp that there are a lot of other actresses who can be hired and she can't get by on her looks anymore.  

Female teachers sleeping with their male (underage) students has been a news staple for decades now.  MAY DECEMBER is about a woman (Julianne) who slept with her male student (Charles Melton) and now is preparing for (a) their children to graduate from high school and (b) an actress (Natalie) coming to her town to observe her for a forthcoming film about the illegal affair.  

Julianne delivers a complex performance that's both touching and repellent.  As the actress studying her, our sympathies should be with Natalie but Natalie never registers as complex or layered and the one dimensional character she produces comes off like a user with no redeeming qualities.

In the script, which we read before viewing the film, there are moments for Natalie's character.  She apparently recognized the story in the script, if not the nuances.  The scripts notes that Natalie's character begins picking up on mannerisms from Julianne's so Natalie does that.  She's very good at doing what the script says -- she was good at that as a child actor.  She's just not an artist and can't expand and create a role.

Let's look at some other women in the news. Let's start with Buffy Sainte-Marie. 


The singer-songwriter has written many songs over the year. Disclosure, one of us knows her (C.I.) and has never trusted her word. That may seem like a premonition these days. A few weeks ago, the CBC did an investigative piece and concluded that despite her claims to be Native American, she is not Native American. They argue she was born in the US and was not adopted. 


Is it true? 


They seem to think they have demonstrated that it is. Let's say it is, why the money spent on the investigation into an 81-year-old woman's life? She may be telling the truth. We don't believe the US family and wouldn't for reasons we'll go into in a second. But let's note that she emerged at the same time as Bob Dylan. Bob lied about his life as well. He got exposed, in the sixties. Today, everyone forgets that. Bob wasn't the only one. That group of people, of that era, often lied. They often had privilege and wanted to deny it. 


Now why we're not exclaiming, "The CBC is right!" includes the fact that they didn't prove anything. If Buffy was taken from a Native American family in Canada, we're not trusting US record keeping from the 1940s. B-b-but her uncle, in the 60s, wrote a letter to a newspaper saying she wasn't Native American. 




It might have been embarrassing to a family that presented an adopted, Native American child as their own biological child. That would explain the letter. Later, in the 70s, her brother -- from her adopted family or her biological family -- told PBS that Buffy wasn't Native American. And? Why would we believe him? The one thing (one of us who knows Buffy) has always believed she was truthful about was that her brother molested her. So this brother who molested her (he's dead now) said she wasn't Native American and his daughter (whom Buffy has never met) says the same. So what? We're not taking his word over Buffy's word. He has every reason to lie. 


And being molested? 


 It gives Buffy reason to lie as well. That's what's bothered us so much by various people who have attacked Buffy -- like the aggrieved Native American woman who keeps popping up to call Buffy a "Pretindian." 




You're a piece of crap. You think that's funny?  Because all we're hearing is that you've made a rhyme with Indian and Buffy's not from India. We thought we'd all moved 


on from using the term "Indian" to refer to Native Americans. 


All you really are is a bully bitch glaring down at Buffy when you yourself are standing on a mountain of hypocrisy.


Buffy was molested, we believe her. Guess what, being molested by a member of your own family? Not anything fun. And being molested as a child f**ks with your head. We've never heard Buffy addressed this in therapy. So what's the most likely outcome for a woman who's molested by a family member as a child? To do anything to lessen the betrayal. 


 So she could say her "adopted brother" molested her, for example. It wasn't her actual family. As bad as what happened was, it wasn't her actual family. Because facing the truth means acknowledging that your biological brother did molest you which honestly means your family knew about it. Being molested is not a minor thing. It is hateful and it is destroying. And when it's done by your own family, you may grab onto anything -- even a lie -- to lessen the devastation that you feel. So Buffy may be lying about being Native American. She may not be. But you want to be the one to determine that she's lying and you want to base that on the remarks of the man who molested her? 


If you don't understand how hurtful that is, we feel sorry for you and encourage you to learn about this topic. 


At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what the CBC considers Buffy or what some idiot woman who thinks she speaks for all Native Americans considers Buffy. She was adopted by Native Americans in 1964 and is a member of the Cree Tribe. That's really the end of the story. Unless you want to note the many years she has given to Native American causes. She's 82 years old. We wish she'd gone into therapy. But she didn't. And she may or may not be Native American by birth (she clearly is by adoption and has been for over five decades now -- adopted by the Cree nation). But if she lied about her birthright, we can certainly understand why a woman who was molested as a little girl by a family member would want to do everything she could to deny any blood ties to that family.  Grasp that molestation is bad, wrong and evil 

but what's worse than that is incest. 


We have sympathy for Buffy. We have none for idiots and liars like Julianna Margulies and Mayim Bialik. Disclosure, we did our part to get hideous Mayim's CALL ME KAT cancelled. We did two dinners with two FOX execs. We noted that the third season saw even further audience erosion, that the show had lost Leslie Jordan, that when the suits suggested Vicki Lawrence's one-shot as Jordan's mother should be expanded into a recurring role or even part of the permanent cast, this struggling show refused to take the 'note' ('hint'), that the people behind this awful show didn't seem to understand what a sitcom was (a sitcom does not, in one season, announce that regular cast members' character is going blind, does not make the love interest a drunk with an alcoholic problem, does not . . .). We made the case and we made it effectively. It was past time for FOX to cut their losses and Mayim's on set behavior was addressed as well (we knew of it from two directors of CALL ME KAT episodes) but we played dumb at the dinners and said, "Really? Wow, she really doesn't appreciate all that FOX has done for her." 


Mayim is garbage as she demonstrated recently whining about a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit from decades ago. Mayim, you haven't gotten better looking with age. The reality that you were an ugly girl shouldn't have been shocking to you. It's shocking to us that, last week, Mayim again tried to lie and shame others. 


Women's groups, she Tweeted, have not called out the rapes of Israeli women by Hamas. 


What rapes? 


We'll come back to that. But who the hell is Mayim to talk about other women abandoning rape victims. Or have we all forgotten her bitchy remarks to women in the US -- the country she was born in, lives in and has made a life in? As #MeToo was getting attention, Mayim decided the country needed a column from her. THE NEW YORK TIMES stupidly published it. Mayim has not been raped or harassed. Why? Because, as she wrote, she didn't flirt with men and she only dressed modestly. In other words, rape and assault victims were actually begging for it. 


Survivors rightly rebuked her and her garbage.


One strong example?  Maisha Z. Johnson's "How Survivors Feel Reading Words Like Mayim Bialik's Victim Blaming" (MEDIUM):


 Which means it’s all the more dangerous that Mayim doesn’t “get it” at all — she just has a platform to share her opinions. Those opinions can reach far, influence a lot of people… and make women and other people who have been targeted by sexual harassment or violence feel really terrible about themselves.

I know this because of my work around abuse. I know this because I’m a survivor of sexual violence.

Many of us know that Mayim’s approach to these issues amounts to victim-blaming. But I know some people will be skeptical about the criticism of her approach. What’s the big deal? They’ll say. Isn’t she just talking about how women can use common sense to avoid harassment?

There’s a lot I could say about Mayim’s assertion that women who aren’t conventionally attractive, and who don’t make an effort to look a certain way, can avoid being targeted. But right now, I just want to speak for myself as a survivor — and maybe I can bring some more understanding to what other survivors go through.

Because if you have opinions on how women can protect themselves from sexual assault, coercion, or harassment, but you don’t actually know about how cycles of abuse and self-blame work, then guess what? You have an uninformed opinion.

And here’s the impact of spreading those opinions far and wide. Here’s what survivors and people who have been harassed might say to themselves as they read Mayim Bialik’s piece.

Here’s the real impact of those opinions that some see as a simple matter of common sense.

I’m so stupid.”

Mayim seems to believe in a false dichotomy of sexy or smart. There are the pretty women who men target for harassment, and then there are the smart ones, who have priorities other than being pretty, and who avoid getting harassed as a result.

So where does that leave the people who have been targeted? Many are left beating themselves up for being “too dumb” to avoid it. If only we could all have PhDs in neuroscience like Mayim — surely then, men would take us seriously instead of treating us like sexual objects, right?

The high rates of harassment in STEM fields suggests otherwise.

Making smart choices is no guarantee for protection, because we’re not the ones who choose to be targeted. The person who makes the choice to harass or abuse a victim is the only person responsible for that choice.

Was I flirting?”

Mayim writes that she makes choices every day that she thinks of as “self-protecting and wise.” For example, “I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”

I wonder how many women have the same policy, but end up cornered by men anyway. How many of us have set boundaries with men, only to be met with something like: “But I know you want me.”

It’s enough to make you second-guess yourself, no matter how clearly you set your boundaries. I used to think that men harassed me relentlessly because I was “too nice.” Even if I told a man I wasn’t interested, he’d take any possible sign of friendliness — a polite smile, for instance — as an opportunity to persist.

We wonder, “Did he target me because I was flirting?” even when the obvious answer is hell no.

And even when we do flirt, that’s no excuse to violate our consent. But the idea that not flirting means not getting assaulted can lead us to blame ourselves, as if simply existing as free beings in this world means we’re asking for trouble.

Is this why no one believes me?”

Mayim’s piece has a big focus on appearance. She writes, “As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms.”

From her perspective, it’s the traditionally pretty women who have to deal with these problems, while the others get overlooked.

If this were true, we’d be able to identify entire groups of women who are supposedly free from sexual violence — the women of color, fat women, disabled women, gender non-conforming women, and more who fall outside of Hollywood’s narrow ideal of a “perfect ten.”

But in reality, many of these women can’t escape gendered violence, no matter how they look. This myth that someone could be a target simply because of their appearance or clothing contributes to the inaccuracy of the public’s ideas about sexual violence.

Harassment and sexual assault do not happen simply because a perpetrator finds someone attractive. But this idea helps cover up the truth. It helps cast doubt on real, everyday victims who have to convince others they that, too, experience sexual violence — even without the plastic surgery.


Grasp that Mayim now wants to talk rape?  She should be banned forevermore from the topic because of the very real damage she's already done.


Instead, this hag  wants every US woman and woman's group to be up in arms over the mythical rapes Hamas carried out on October 7th. If you missed it, her gal-pal Bari Weiss is also repeating the lie. That is why we took down Mayim's show -- her gal pal Bari. Bari is a transphobe. When Mayim felt the need to get cozy with Bari and promote her on Mayim's bad podcast, that's when we decided we were taking her lousy show down.

Back to the mythical rapes. As THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA noted yesterday, there is no documentation or poof of any rapes.

Sorry, uninformed Mayim, we'll always trust Nora Barrows Friedman over you.  Nora's worked on delivering the truth for decades now and we've been fans since she was on KPFA's FLASHPOINTS. 

This is from the MONDOWEIS article mentioned in the video:


On November 18, 2023, CNN aired a report by journalist Jake Tapper. The report claims to provide testimonies on “rape crimes” against Israeli women that allegedly took place on October 7, 2023. Within a few hours of the publication of the CNN report, an international media campaign by Israel and pro-Israeli groups was launched. Other media outlets, including The Washington Post, based their reporting on CNN’s report. Feminist activists and groups who have been calling for a ceasefire in Gaza were also targeted as part of this campaign. Samantha Pearson, the director of the Sexual Assault Centre at the University of Alberta in Canada, was fired from her job a few hours after the airing of the report. She had signed a letter on October 25 that stated that the accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence remains “unverified.” The letter did not say that sexual violence did not occur but that there was no sufficient evidence yet to support these accusations. 

The CNN report represents a serious breach of professional conduct, which we detail in this piece. The most concerning aspect of the report is the fact that every single witness and “expert” in the CNN report proves to either be lacking in credibility or have ties to Israeli government officials and institutions. A deeper examination of the CNN report shows a series of manipulations and professional failures, including the fact that all witnesses that CNN claims to have “found” were featured in previous reports pitched and coordinated by the Israeli government, calling into question how much original reporting or fact-finding went into the CNN report. CNN’s failure to adhere to professional and ethical standards of responsible journalism also raises questions regarding CNN’s possible complicity with a political campaign orchestrated by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office to perpetuate unverified claims of mass rape, and a larger effort to dehumanize Palestinians in order to justify the ongoing genocidal campaign in Gaza.

The CNN report begins with an interview with Cochav Elkayam-Levy. She is identified as an “expert in human rights law who organized a civil committee to document evidence.” The speaker is indeed an expert, but not of human rights law. In her former positions, including a post for the Israeli government’s Attorney General’s Office in the International Law Department, she provided the legal justification for Israeli officials committing human rights violations against Palestinians. She had previously published a “guidance for policymaking, government officials and legal advisors in the management of hunger strikes.” There, she provided a detailed legal manual to “standardization through legislation and regulation” for forced feeding – a brutal act of torture used to break political prisoners. In the same year, Israel legalized and regulated the “forced feeding” law to oppress and torture Palestinian prisoners protesting their administrative detentions through hunger strikes. 

Yet, CNN considered it appropriate to bring her as a human rights expert. In her interview, which opens the CNN report, Elkayam-Levy presents nothing but justifications for the absence of evidence and facts. While Elkayam-Levy claims to speak under the auspice of the “civil committee,” CNN hides the tight connections between her and the National Security Council for the Israeli Prime Minister. Elkayam-Levy is also the founder and director of the “Dvora Institute,” which works as a close advisory body to the Israeli prime minister’s “National Security Council.” The advisory committee for the Dvora Institute includes a former director of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, and three former officials in the National Security Council.

The report then claims that CNN “found witnesses to the atrocities.” The report then presented a video of an Israeli soldier, showing his back only, identified by the letter “G,” claiming to be a paramedic of unit “669” – the Israeli Air Force Special Tactics rescue unit. 

In his testimony, the soldier says that during a search in the houses of “Kibbutz Be’eri,” during combat, he opened a door of a bedroom to find the bodies of two girls aged between 13 and 15, both killed, one of them naked with semen remains on her lower back.

Upon examining the names of all the girls killed in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 71 to match the facts, no pair of Israeli teenagers meeting that description were found dead together.


 It's not been verified.  And the current Israeli government has a real problem when it comes to be seen as credible on the topic of rape.  Let's just look at three things.  WIKIPEDIA notes:


Moshe Katsav (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה קַצָּב; born 5 December 1945) is an Israeli former politician who was the eighth President of Israel from 2000 to 2007.[1] He was also a leading Likud member of the Israeli Knesset and a minister in its cabinet. He was the first Mizrahi Jew to be elected to the presidency, and second non-Ashkenazi president after Yitzhak Navon.

The end of his presidency was marked by controversy, stemming from allegations of rape of one female subordinate and sexual harassment of others. Katsav resigned from the presidency in 2007 as part of a plea bargain.[2] Katsav later rejected the deal with prosecutors and vowed he would prove his innocence in court.[2] In an unprecedented case,[3][4] on 30 December 2010, Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape,[5] obstruction of justice, and other charges.[3][4] On 22 March 2011, in a landmark ruling, Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison. Katsav appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of Israel. On 10 November 2011, the Supreme Court affirmed Katsav's conviction and punishment.

On 7 December 2011, Katsav arrived at Maasiyahu Prison in Ramla to begin serving his seven-year sentence.[2] He was released under restrictive conditions on 21 December 2016, having served five years of his sentence.



Wow.  He committed rape while he was the President of Israel.  Not real sure, Mayim, how the mythical wowie of the Israeli government impresses you.


Judah Ari Gross (TIMES OF ISRAEL) reported May 27, 2016 the reaction to Netqnyahu attempted to politicize a woman's rape:

In response to Netanyahu’s first post, Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich said the prime minister should “be ashamed of yourself” for having “zero empathy for rape victims until there’s a window of opportunity to incite” hatred between Jews and Arabs.

Yachimovich accused the prime minister of ignoring issues of sexual violence thus far.

“We never heard a word from your mouth in the case of the rapist Katsav [Israel’s eighth president currently serving a seven-year prison term for rape], no moral statement on the horrifying investigation [into assault accusations against the late IDF general and right-wing politician Rehavam] ‘Gandhi’ [Ze’evi], no comment on the fate of the raped, harassed and persecuted each day and every hour… or on sexual harassment in the IDF,” she accused.

“All of a sudden you take an interest in rape victims?” she asked. “When the rapists are Palestinians. And when there’s an opportunity to exploit the rape for purposes of incitement.”

July 12, 2016, THE TIMES OF ISRAEL reported:


Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot on Monday nominated a rabbi who once appeared to condone rape during wartime to take over as the IDF’s chief chaplain. Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim has also maintained that it is “entirely forbidden” for women to serve in the military for reasons of modesty and has opposed female singing at army events.

Karim was embroiled in controversy in 2012 for his response to a question posed to him (Hebrew link) on the religious website Kipa, asking in the light of certain biblical passages if IDF soldiers, for example, were permitted to commit rape during wartime despite the general understanding that such an act is widely considered repugnant.

In his response, Karim implied that such practices, among several others that were normally prohibited — including the consumption of nonkosher food — were permitted during battle.


Karim now heads the Military Rabbinate of the Israel Defense Forces. And, Lie Mouth Mayim, do you want to share what he said about women? No?  Suddenly the cat has your tongue?  Because you don't want to explain to US women's group that Karim -- a part of the Israeli government to this day -- has said women shouldn't serve in the Israeli military and that they shouldn't sing in public at military events.  We could do a dissertation on Karim and Netanyahu and their true policies and their actual remarks about girls and women.  Go whore somewhere else, you dirty piece of trash.  Don't you have kids not to vaccinate and other lies to spread?

Whores like Mayim are never surprising because War Hawks love to lie. Babies tossed out of incubators. Remember that one? Yellow cake uranium sought from Africa. Remember that one?

We're not as stupid as Mayim. And we're not as hateful as faded actress Julianna Margulies who went on a podcast while November was winding down to make racist, homophobic and transphobic statements as she threw a hissy fit that some in the US wouldn't blindly follow the Israeli government the way she did.

For Julianna -- simple minded fool -- the Israeli government and the Jewish people are one-in-the-same.  At one point, during the podcast, she can be heard accusing African-Americans ("the Blacks") of being brainwashed for not standing with her (Israel) after all Israel did during The Civil Rights Movement.  Idiot, Israel and the Israeli government didn't do a damn thing to help African-Americans during The Civil Rights Movement.

That I.Q. challenged fool wants African-Americans to stand with the government of Israel because of all it did for them.  It didn't do s**t.  Have you been brainwashed or are you just a natural born liar? 

Unlike Julianna, we actually had a college education. (Art history, English and theater don't really strike us as a college education -- certainly not a well rounded one.) Which is why we have said over and over for two decades online that a government is not a people. The US government, for example, did not represent the American people when it attacked Iraq. The American people were opposed to that -- even with all the lies that were told to try to get people on board. Donald Trump didn't represent us when he was president.

Unlike Julianna, we grasp that's true for others as well. We also grasp that there's something very sick about killing children. And we grasp that targeting hospitals? War Crime. Legally defined War Crime.

These thoughts don't enter Julianna's mind. She's too busy raging against African-Americans and the LGBTQ+ community. For Julianne, as for most whores, everything is transactional.

She did a public service announcement, she declared on the podcast, (in 2012) for marriage equality and, therefore, every LGBTQ+ person in the US owes her and should be standing up for the Israeli government.


We support marriage equality as well -- and it is the law of the land. But we are aware that some LGBTQ+ Americans don't and don't think it's all that important. (Most of them are lucky enough to have been born post-AIDS epidemic and not grasp what is was like to be told to leave a partner's hospital room because you weren't "immediate family.")

Julianna's unaware of that. She's, in fact, unaware of everything.

For example, she had a hissy fit with THE GOOD FIGHT. It was a spin-off of THE GOOD WIFE. She wanted to do a guest spot. But then the producers refused to pay her the immense amount of money she was making per episode. So she wanted to be paid approximately $180,000 for every episode she appeared in (the plan was three). When her greed was exposed, she insisted that they would have done that for any male actor.

No, they wouldn't have.

She's so deeply, deeply stupid. Her rule of thumb is George Clooney. She's had panties in a wad that he got more money than she did when they both returned to the show for one episode in the final season of ER. She's been hissing ever since.

Both were stars of the show. In addition, George Clooney had gone on to become a film actor -- one nominated (at that time) for three Academy Awards for acting (and he'd won one of the three). That meant he was now an Academy Award winning actor returning to a show he'd left some time ago. He'd also won two Golden Globes since leaving the show. And, since leaving ER, he'd been in the films PERFECT STORM, OCEAN'S 11, OCEAN'S 12 and OCEAN'S 13 -- each of the four was a blockbuster, each sold over $300 million in tickets and he'd been in BURN AFTER READING which made over $165 million in ticket sales. Yes, he was going to get more than Julianna who'd left the show and come up with nothing in terms of success. WHAT'S COOKING was a Julianna film and it made almost $2 million at the box office. Another film she was in, THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS, did just a little better making $2 million in ticket sales. EVELYN doubled that with $4 million. That's huge for Julia but, no, it doesn't make for a hit film. With GHOST SHIP, she brought in $30 million in ticket sales domestically and another $38 million overseas. No, that doesn't make for a hit either. SNAKES ON A PLANE dropped down to $62 million worldwide (and she played a flight attendant). And CITY ISLAND, released months before she showed up for her one-episode ER return, only made $7 million. At no point did she ever appear -- let alone star -- in a film that made at least $100 million or more. But she honestly believed that for a brief scene she deserved to be paid the same as George Clooney.

THE GOOD FIGHT was made on a shoe string budget and part of the failed streamer CBS ALL ACCESS. But, in Julianna's mind, they owed her $180,000 an episode for three episodes if they wanted her to appear. Even though the final season of THE GOOD WIFE had seen a huge drop in the ratings and CBS had made the decision the show because it was no longer profitable. And she wasn't as popular -- the nonsense she'd pulled with Archie Panjabi hurt the way viewers saw her. She's still not popular. Nominations for The Critics Choice Awards were announced today and though Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup and Nicole Beharie received nominations for their acting on THE MORNING SHOW, whiney Julianna received nothing.

She'd do very well to think before she speaks again.  She is a deeply stupid and uneducated person.  Her offensive remarks should have made clear exactly who she is.  See Ann's "Bald headed Karen Julianna Margulies is also a racist" and Mike's "Idiot of the week" for more on the idiot Margulies.  Common sense is in short supply these days.  Violence?  It's not in short supply.  Instead of creating and inventing claims that can't be verified, how about we focus on stopping the actual violence that we know is taking place?

A note to our readers

Hey --

Tuesday  night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with? 

Ava and C.I. take on everything in this piece.

Repost of Elaine's piece on War Criminal Henry Kissinger


 Ava and C.I. talk to Trina about a book she's reviewed.


List of notable deaths this year.

Repost of Roland Martin.

Books reviewed by the community so far this year.



-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.




Somewhere in hell, a demon just got his horns

Elaine covers the long awaited death of War Criminal Henry Kissinger:

Somewhere in hell, a demon just got his horns

I've been very busy today and had no idea what I was going to write about.  So I pull up GOOGLE NEWS and, goodness, someone died.

War Criminal Henry Kissinger has died.  Proving Billy Joel right ("Only The Good Die Young"), Killer Kissinger was 100 years old.  

Sadly, his many victims were not so fortunate.  

Vietnam, Chile, East Timor . . .  He transformed the entire world into a killing field.

By the way, sluts.  I will slut shame and I don't care if someone's offended.  Numerous sluts let Kissinger stick it in them -- Candy Bergan, I'm looking at you.  A lot of people were shocked how, in the early '00s, she started in with her b.s. of Dan Quayle was right.  Dan The Idiot was not right.  (He had attacked her fictional character Murphy Brown in the 90s.)  But that's Candy Bergen, pretending to be left and pretending to care and just driving Bert Schneider crazy with her her constant cavings.  A real fake ass.  That's what you had to be to bed down with Henry -- right, Gloria Steinem?  Don't ever pretend to care about the world if you've been underneath Henry Kissinger.  You're just a slut and a slut with really bad taste in men.  Need another example of that?  Failed actress Jill St. John.

Not only did his judgments and policy manuevers leave children and adults dead across the world in real time but these evil actions had long term implications.  Let's note the Kurds.  This is from 2014, C.I.'s "Little ditty 'bout Iraq and Iran:"

Meanwhile there is the matter of the oil deal between the Kurdish Regional Government and the central Iraqi government out of Baghdad.  The deal has received much praise, but David L. Phillips points out at CNBC:

  U.S. officials heralded the agreement as a victory for the unity of Iraq. It is a positive, but they should not rush to judgment. The agreement must be enshrined in Iraq's budget bill and passed by the Iraqi parliament. If the agreement is authorized, it must then be implemented—both sides must deliver.
The Baghdad Agreement defers decisions on important issues. It is silent on "disputed internal boundaries." The central government stills claims Kirkuk and Khanaqin, where Kurds predominate. Successive Iraqi governments ignored article 140 of the constitution, which requires a referendum on Kirkuk's status.

The agreement will be in force for just one year. Negotiations will resume before the ink is dry, pre-empting a period of confidence-building. 

Those are very important points and everyone should have been more skeptical of the announcements regarding the deal.

Everyone includes me.

I should have been much more cautious in my remarks. That was my error.

Here, we noted it in terms of the Kurds exercising their power.

And certainly, they did that to get the deal announced; however, a deal means nothing until it's implemented.  Look at all the starts and stops to Nouri's weapons deal with Russia not all that long ago, for example.

And this week, there has been muttering from Hadier al-Abadi's staff (to the Iraq press) about the deal which makes the question mark a little bolder.

But the biggest lesson is and remains the Pike Report.  As that Congressional report documented, the US government (Nixon was President, Henry Kissinger was the go-to for the issue) deliberately encouraged the Kurds to stand, pledged support and much more only to then pull all support without a second thought since the whole thing had been a con and the Kurds were used as a pawn.

 For those late to the party, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

The arrogance, the disdain for human life and human rights.  That is the hallmark of Kissinger's work.  There's nothing to take pride in.  He damaged the world.  Millions are dead because of him.

While the US refused to admit it, he was a War Criminal.  That is why, for the last decades, he wasn't able to travel freely.  He would have been arrested in certain countries.

In 2014, The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights posted this by Wolfgang Kaleck:


“Arrest Kissinger!” read the ads that ran in 2012 in the Tagesspiegel, Berliner Zeitung and taz, the three daily newspapers in Berlin. A collaborative art event by the Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar and us, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. Along with German and English versions, the ads also appeared in Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Portuguese and Timorese dialects, i.e. the languages of the people living in countries where the population endured great suffering under former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s realpolitik. And for these policies he is still lauded by many today.

World renowned artist Jaar’s piece focuses primarily on his home country and the Pinochet dictatorship. It begins with a date: 11/9/1973, the day coup fighters began bombing the Moneda Palace in Santiago de Chile. A date that still carries a terrible significance for Chile, for Latin America as a whole and for the Left movement everywhere. It marks the moment when the states of the West made it clear that they were unwilling to accept a democratically elected socialist – Salvador Allende – as president of Chile.

Since then, the 11th of September has been etched in the Latin American consciousness as a reminder of the USA’s ultimate act of dominion. After 11th of September 2001, the date has of course come to be associated with the Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. And so it is an aching example of imperialist language usage when people in Latin America now hear the 11th of September 1973 being referred to merely as Once de Septiembre chico: the little 11th of September.

In “Searching For Mr. K” Jaar quotes from a recorded dialogue between Kissinger and President Richard Nixon on 16th of September 1973 about the putsch which had taken place in Chile five days earlier:

P: Hi Henry.
K: Mr. President.
P: Where are you. In New York?
K: No. I am in Washington. I am working. I may go to a football game this afternoon if I get through.
P: Good. Good. Well it is the opener. It is better than television. Nothing new of any importance…?
K: Nothing of very great consequence. The Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.
P: Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something?
K: I mean instead of celebrating, in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.

The results of the military coup, which was supported by the calculated assistance of the USA: thousands dead, many, many thousands more tortured and exiled, the destruction for decades of democracy in Chile. “Nothing of very great consequence”, was the summary of events from Kissinger, a man who continues to be held in high regard, honored at countless gala events and most recently in Germany by Der Spiegel.

The University of Bonn and the German Ministry of Defense have gone one step further. In March 2014 they named a university professorship after this war criminal. Yes, those are the words I use to describe this man, even if by law he has not been found guilty. Kissinger continues to go unpunished and largely free from any prosecution. The laws in place at the time his crimes were committed did not allow for universal jurisdiction in criminal cases, as would be possible today. No investigations into his criminal contributions were held anywhere. In the USA, criminal proceedings against powerful political figures remain largely off-limits.

“Arrest Kissinger!” is thus more of a symbolic plea. But things are quite different for the Kissingers of today, as shown by the decision against former Liberian president Charles Taylor, whose active support of the rebel army in Sierra Leone saw him face charges at a UN tribunal for his role in human rights violations.

He was a disgusting person.  He killed millions and should have rotted in jail.  Now he's most likely going to rot in hell and he more than deserves it.  Remember, America, every time a War Criminal dies, a demon in hell gets his horns.

Before I forget . . .

"Media: They tried to destroy the parade and they failed" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

You better watch out.  When One Million Moms for Bigotry issue marching orders they mean business and . . . no one listens to them.


It's not like the idiots of Moms For Bigotry would have known that if they hadn't read it.  Second, they were not doing Ted Talks.  Third, they were performers from Broadway plays who would be on with other members of the cast singing and dancing.

This was too much for the bigots.  They demanded a boycott -- and they didn't just want their tiny membership to watch something else, they wanted everyone in the country to watch something else. 

The hate merchants power has peaked.  It only too government officials asking certain individuals about these mythical protests to send the big money hidden trash running.  They can't manipulate the stock market again and get away with it.  That was made clear to them by US officials -- it's a shame that you have financial reporters at various media outlets and they didn't figure out what was going on and it's a bigger shame that even when the government 'reminded' certain people of the law, the financial reporters still couldn't find the story.

But their power has peaked.


In part, this happens with most groups.  Eventually, the average person sounds like Mitch and Cam from MODERN FAMILY ("Patriot Games," season six, episode 22, written by Vali Chandrasekara) and state that they don't have the time to follow every issue and turn out for every protest.  It also happens when a pack of liars get exposed for what they really are: Hate merchants.  The United States, as a whole, does not support the restriction of freedoms.  It was only a matter of time before these bigots overplayed their hands.

And we're now at that moment.

Which is how Macy's got great ratings this year.

Christmas came early for NBC: The network’s annual telecast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade delivered the biggest ratings ever.

The 97th annual parade was seen by 28.5 million viewers and earned a hefty 7.2 rating in the 18-49 age demo. Both numbers are up 6 percent from last year’s parade. It was also the highest-rated entertainment program of the year in both categories across all of broadcast and cable.

The record is particularly impressive at a time when even major live events have witnessed ratings erosion in recent years.

It is very impressive.  Good for Macy's and NBC.

That is impressive.  The bigots spent two weeks trying to get people to boycott watching the parade.  The bigots lost.  

Let me also point out who reported it: Ava and C.I.  Always. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, November 29, 2023.  The slaughter continues, the attempts to enforce a silence continues.

The BBC thought editing out support for Palestinians would make it go away.  Instead, it only demonstrates that while they forever try to curry favor with the Israeli government, they don't care if they're caught being biased against Palestinians.

In Glasgow, Scotland, the BBC has been accused of censorship after the network edited calls for a Gaza ceasefire out of its coverage of an awards ceremony. This is BAFTA-winning director Eilidh Munro, who won for her short film “A Long Winter” but had her acceptance speech cut from BBC’s edited version of the ceremony posted online.

Eilidh Munro: “We have got a responsibility to elevate the world’s most important stories, and we want to take this opportunity tonight to say that we stand in solidarity with everyone in Palestine.”

As ABC NEWS noted, "There has also been a surge in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have killed at least 239 Palestinians in the territory since Oct. 7, according to Palestinian health authorities."   The pause has not protected Palestinians outside of Gaza.  THE GUARDIAN notes:

Two Palestinian children were killed on Wednesday by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Reuters reports the Palestinian health ministry said.

Al Jazeera reports, citing the Palestinian Wafa news agency, that Israeli forces seized an injured person from an ambulance while he they being transported to the hospital.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society has shared on social media a video which it claims shows “Israeli occupation forces prevent Palestine Red Crescent Society paramedics from reaching a besieged neighbourhood in Jenin refugee camp, despite the presence of injured persons who need help and whose life is threatened.”

The international president of Doctors Without Borders, Christos Christou, said access to a hospital in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp had been blocked by the Israeli military. In a video posted late Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter, Christou said that he and other members of the medical organization had been “trapped” at Khalil Suleiman Hospital for 2½ hours while the Israeli army conducted an operation that he said was hindering its ability to offer lifesaving services.

“There is no way for any of the injured patients to reach the hospital, and there’s no way for us to reach these people,” Christou said. In the video, he said two Palestinians “died of wounds while ambulances could not reach them.” He also said “Israeli military vehicles blocked the entrance of the hospital and the road, preventing ambulances from leaving.”

As for Gaza,  CNN explains, "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."  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."  ABC NEWS notes, "In the Gaza Strip, more than 15,000 people have been killed and over 36,000 have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas Government Media Office."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And 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."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces. "

REUTERS notes, "Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Israel must be held accountable in international courts for what he called war crimes it committed in Gaza, the Turkish presidency said."

The world has had enough.  The hypocrisy is on full display.  US President Joe Biden suffers in one poll after another because he's lied -- he's repeated propaganda put out by the Israeli government even when White House advisors have warned him that it can be verified -- and his 'hugging' of the Israeli government has not delivered any real results although he keeps pretending it has and keeps knocking Barack Obama for the way Barack handled the Israeli government in his second term as president.

From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW! let's note this -- especially pay attention to Jeremy Scahill regarding the issue of context.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Israel is continuing to detain the head of Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza. Last week, the Israeli military detained Muhammad Abu Salmiya as he was evacuating patients south from Gaza City.

Israel raided Al-Shifa, claiming Hamas ran a command and control center under the hospital, but Israel has yet to provide any hard evidence to back that up. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak recently spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. He admitted Israel built the bunkers decades ago underneath Al-Shifa.

EHUD BARAK: It’s already known for many years that they have in the bunkers, that originally was built by Israeli constructors underneath Shifa, were used as a command post of the Hamas in a kind of a junction of several — several tunnels, part of this system. I don’t know to say to what extent it is a major. It’s probably not the only kind of command post. Several others are under other hospitals or in other sensitive places. But it’s for sure had been used by Hamas even during this conflict.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, when you say it was built by Israeli engineers, did you misspeak?

EHUD BARAK: No, no. Someday, you know, decades ago, we were wanting the place, so we held them. It was decades, many decades, ago, probably five, four decades ago, that we helped them to build these bunkers in order to enable more — more space for the operation of the hospital within the very limited size of this compound.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, that was the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

We’re joined now by Jeremy Scahill, senior reporter and correspondent at The Intercept, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army and Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. One of his most recent pieces for The Intercept is headlined “Al-Shifa Hospital, Hamas’s Tunnels, and Israeli Propaganda.” Jeremy is joining us from Germany.

Jeremy, can you talk about what he just said?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah. Well, first of all, Amy, the Al-Shifa Hospital, originally, going back to the years of the British Mandate in the 1940s, it was a British military barracks, and then it was converted into a hospital, under both the Israeli and the Egyptian occupations of that area. And then, in the 1980s, the Israelis began to do extensive construction on it. In fact, I was looking at the Israeli Architecture Archives that were set up, and you can go back and look at [inaudible] from that era, and two Tel Aviv architects oversaw the expansion of the Al-Shifa Hospital. And by 1983, they had finished the construction of underground facilities at the hospital.

Now, we should also say, it’s not uncommon for hospitals the world over to have underground facilities for a variety of reasons. But when you’re in an active war zone, it’s very common. In fact, Israel has many underground facilities at its hospitals throughout Israel and has been using them since October 7th, certainly. They’re considered more secure places to hold vulnerable patients.

And so, what we know about Israel’s construction is that they at least built an underground operating room. They built a network of tunnels. And, in fact, during some of the construction, the son of one of the Israeli architects who designed the underground facility said that when Israel was building these in the 1980s, they hired people from Hamas as security to guard the construction project to ensure that it wouldn’t get attacked.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Jeremy, could you talk also about the thousands of prisoners that Israel has been holding, many of them without any trial for extended years, and yet the Netanyahu government refers to all of them as “terrorists”?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah. I mean, Juan, I went through — and this connects also to the narrative around Al-Shifa. But just to directly answer your question, Israel released a list of 300 names that it said were fair game for a hostage-prisoner handover because of the truce with Hamas. And I went through all 15 pages of those names. I read each of the individual dates of birth, the dates of arrest, what the nature of the charges were — if there were any charges. Some of them don’t even list any actual charges against them. And what I discovered is that of the 300 names, 233 of these prisoners — most of them are teenage boys, some are — there’s a teenage girl who’s 15 years old — the 233 of 300 have not been convicted of anything. They haven’t been sentenced for anything. And Israel is the only country in the so-called developed world that tries children in military courts.

And so, you know, the Israeli narrative is that these are all hardened terrorists, because Palestinians are not allowed to have any context. Palestinians are not treated as full human beings. So, when a child — maybe his brother was killed by the Israeli forces, maybe his mother was killed by the Israeli forces — throws a rock at a soldier, their houses are often then raided at night. They’re snatched. They’re taken to interrogation without the presence of a parent or a lawyer. And then they’re pressured into pleading guilty under threat of spending years in a military judicial process.

Now, I say this relates to Al-Shifa because the colonial narrative always — and you can look at the British with the IRA, you can look at the position against Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress — is that those who are victims of the occupation have no rights to legitimate struggle. And so, the prisoners that Israel are holding, overwhelmingly, are people that are accused of committing political acts of violence. And that context also bleeds into Israel’s narrative about Al-Shifa: Al-Shifa is not really a hospital.

Al-Shifa — look, I don’t know if you guys have the video, but if you do, you should play it. Israel puts out a video to justify the siege of Al-Shifa Hospital, the most important hospital in Gaza, where you had dozens of children that needed incubators. Israel had knocked out the power supply. You had the most vulnerable patients there. They put out a video, the Israeli Defense Forces, that is this high-tech three-dimensional rendering, they said, of an underground, what I just call a Hamas Pentagon, and they imply that this is where — this is the central facility where Hamas is planning its terror operations.

When Israel finally then lays full siege to it, with the backing of the Biden administration and Biden himself — they co-signed all of that. They said that hostages had been held under the hospital. They said that it was used as a command and control center. When Israel finally starts to access the hospital, they take embedded journalists on these propaganda tours. And what they found was essentially nothing of any major significance. They go in, and they say, “Oh, look, we found these rifles behind an MRI machine,” which is ridiculous for anyone who knows the technology of an MRI machine and the magnetism of it. They’re all conveniently placed, neatly arranged. There’s one Hamas vest with a Hamas logo on it. So that gets ridiculed, and skepticism is expressed even by corporate media outlets that historically print Israel’s propaganda as just established fact.

So, then they finally gain access to a tunnel in the area. They go down there, and they say, “Oh, this tunnel is X number of meters long, and there’s a blast-proof door that has a hole so that the Hamas terrorists can fire at us. So we need to take some time before we blow it open. And then on the other side is going to be this command and control center.” So, finally, then, last week, they blow the thing open. They go in there. And what do they find? They find three rooms, basically. One looks like a kind of very old-school, 1980s-style exam room from a hospital. There’s a sink somewhere in there. There’s two toilets. And then you have this utter clown from the IDF who has been made a fool of himself by doing these tours. It’s like Geraldo Rivera looking for Al Capone’s vault. He’s running around, saying, “Aha! There’s electricity in here. This is a Hamas command center. Aha! They had an air conditioner in here.” You know, the pipes are rusty. Many of the electrical wires aren’t even connected.

Now, I don’t know for a fact that Hamas guys weren’t under there. It wouldn’t shock me if at some point Hamas did have people under there. But we were told this was like a Hamas Pentagon and that it was so dangerous that it justified laying siege to a hospital filled with the most vulnerable people. This is akin to sort of the George H.W. Bush administration lies about the Iraqis pulling babies from incubators. It’s an utter lie that was co-signed and promoted by President Joe Biden and his administration, and they should be made to answer for this, because it wasn’t just Al-Shifa. They did it at the Indonesia Hospital. They did it at other hospitals. Of course Hamas has networks of tunnels underneath Gaza, 150 to 300 kilometers, by some estimates. Israel is waging a targeted assassination campaign against them, and they live in a confined area waging a guerrilla war. That’s not news. But Israel tried to rebrand something that anyone who’s followed this already knows, and tried to make it seem like it’s a smoking gun. And, in fact, it was a lethal lie.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, we want to thank you for being with us, senior reporter, correspondent at The Intercept. We’ll link to your pieces on Al-Shifa and Palestinian prisoners at

Coming up, we remember the life and legacy of Pablo Yoruba Guzmán, who co-founded the New York chapter of the Young Lords. Back in 20 seconds.

And as bad as the destruction has been, it will get worse.  As Tina Turner sang, "You can't stop the pain of your children crying out in your head/They always said that the living would envy the dead."

The World Health Organization also said that only a “trickle” of aid was reaching Gaza, even during the pause in fighting. “It’s barely registering,” said Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the organisation. The scale of displacement meant needs were growing daily, even when there were no new war injuries.

The UN estimates 1.8 million people in Gaza have fled their homes, nearly four in five residents, with children making up half of those crowded into shelters, given shelter by relatives, or living in tents or cars.

“It is not just the hospitals, everybody everywhere has dire health needs now, because they are starving, because they lack clean water, they are crowded together, they are in terror so they have massive mental health needs. And there is a continuing rise in outbreaks of infections disease,” Harris said. 

“Eventually, we will see more people dying from disease than we are even seeing from the bombardment, if we are not able to put back this health system and provide the basics of life. Food, water, medicines and of course fuel to operate hospitals.”

Diarrhoea increased by 45 times compared with the same period last year, and other communicable diseases, from respiratory infections to hygiene issues such as lice, have risen, she said, but people had little hope of getting treatment.

Almost three-quarters of hospitals in Gaza and two-thirds of primary health care clinics have shut down because of damage from hostilities or lack of fuel, the WHO says. The north of Gaza is even more critical, with hospitals “almost entirely shut down”.

Even with simple illnesses where parents understood how to protect their children, such as providing hydration to those with diarrhoea, they were powerless because of a lack of food or clean water.

On Monday, the World Health Organization issued a dire warning: Even after the relentless Israeli bombing that has left over 20,000 Gazans dead or missing, the death toll from infectious disease in the period ahead is likely to be even higher. 

“We will see more people dying from disease than from bombardment if we are not able to put back together this health system,” Margaret Harris, a spokesperson for the WHO, said at a briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

For two months, Israel has systematically targeted Gaza’s hospital system for destruction. To date, 207 health personnel have been killed, and 56 ambulances have been attacked. Twenty-six hospitals and 55 health centers have ceased operations.

In the latest horrific scene, footage has emerged of premature babies being left to die and decompose in hospital beds at Al-Naser Hospital after Palestinian medical personnel were forced at gunpoint to abandon them.

“We were subjected to a direct targeting operation by the Israeli forces after strangling the health system on the first day of the aggression by cutting off medical supplies, fuel and electricity,” said Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra.

The destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system compounds the catastrophic consequences of the starvation and dehydration of the population by Israel’s blockade of food, fuel and water, and the mass displacement of nearly three-quarters of the population.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Burlington, Vermont, where three Palestinian college students were shot on Saturday as they were walking to dinner at the home of one of the students’ grandmothers, who lives near the University of Vermont. Two of the men were wearing keffiyehs, and they were speaking Arabic at the time of the attack. The young men have been identified as Hisham Awartani, a Brown University student; Kinnan Abdalhamid, of Haverford College; and Tahseen Ahmad, a student at Trinity College. They were all 20 years old — they’re all 20 years old and graduates of the Ramallah Friends School in the occupied West Bank. Two of the students remain hospitalized. Hisham Awartani, who was shot in the spine, has reportedly lost feeling in the lower part of his body and may never walk again.

Authorities have charged a 48-year-old white man named Jason Eaton with three counts of second-degree attempted murder. He’s being held without bail. He pleaded not guilty on Monday. He reportedly shot the students from his porch as they walked by. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI is investigating whether the shooting is a hate crime.

The shooting comes just weeks after a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was stabbed to death near Chicago by his landlord.

Tamara Tamimi, the mother of one of the students, Kinnan Abdalhamid, told ABC News, quote, “To us, it’s decades of dehumanizing policy and rhetoric from U.S. leaders towards Palestinians and Arabs, including from the Biden administration, which has caused our children to be in the situation that they’re in,” unquote.

On Monday, relatives of the men shot in Vermont joined local authorities at a news conference at Burlington City Hall. This is Rich Price, the uncle of the Brown student, Hisham Awartani.

RICH PRICE: We speak only on behalf of the family because the family can’t be here. I want to say that these three young men are incredible. And that’s not just a proud uncle speaking, but it’s true. They are — they have their lives in front of them. …

I moved here 15 years ago, and I never imagined that this sort of thing could happen. And my sister lives in the occupied West Bank, and people often ask me, “Aren’t you worried about your sister? Aren’t you worried about your nephews and your niece?” And the reality is, as difficult as their life is, they are surrounded by incredible sense of community. And “tragic irony” is not even the right phrase, but to have them come stay with me for Thanksgiving and have something like this happen speaks to the level of civic vitriol, speaks to the level of hatred that exists in some corners of this country. It speaks to a sickness of gun violence that exists in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Rich Price, the uncle of Hisham Awartani, one of the three college students of Palestinian descent who were shot Saturday in Burlington, Vermont. And this is Kinnan Abdalhamid’s uncle, Radi Tamimi.

RADI TAMIMI: Kinnan grew up in the West Bank, and we always thought that that could be more of a risk in terms of his safety, and sending him here would be, you know, the right decision. And we feel somehow betrayed in that decision here. And, you know, we’re just trying to come to terms with everything.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined by two guests. In Burlington, Vermont, Wafic Faour is with us. He’s a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon, has lived in Vermont for years. He’s a member of Vermonters for Justice in Palestine. And in Bethesda, Maryland, Joyce Ajlouny is the former director of the Ramallah Friends School, the school where all three of the students shot in Vermont graduated from. She’s now the general secretary of the international Quaker social justice organization American Friends Service Committee. She herself is Palestinian American.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Wafic, you’re in Burlington. Let’s begin with you. Where were you on Saturday when you got the news that three young Palestinian students, all 20 years old, best friends, visiting one of their grandmothers for Thanksgiving, were shot?

WAFIC FAOUR: I was at my house in Richmond. Thank you, Amy, for inviting us. I was at my house. We were organizing many activities and rallies because of what is happening on Palestine and this genocide war against our people over there. Definitely, I was shocked. And our community here are terrified and angry.

But, Amy, we should talk about what brought this atmosphere of hate. And this is a hate crime, and we should call it as is. From the federal level, the actions of Biden administration’s and Secretary of State Blinken and the defense secretary, they’re supporting Israel unconditionally and talking about the Palestinian victims and questioning the numbers of the Palestinian Health Ministry. This is on the federal level. And here in Vermont, for the past two years we have living under siege, too, from attacks from institutions here. When we brought resolution to talk about Palestinian rights, human rights and the protection of the Palestinian people, we found attacks from administrations in UVM, University of Vermont in Middlebury, and, unfortunately, from many faith-based institutions. And they called us antisemitic. And this atmosphere will bring to the American public that if you talk about Palestinian rights, you’re going to be called “terrorist.” If you wear a keffiyeh like this, you’re going to be called “terrorist.” And this is what brought this crime. And it is hate crime. Unfortunately, our leaders here in Vermont didn’t call it as is. And we should call it as is and use the right words.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Wafic, specifically at the press conference that was held on Monday by law enforcement, what do you believe should have been said but was not?

WAFIC FAOUR: Well, I mean, when state attorney Sarah George mentioned it’s a hateful event, but it is not hate crime. I mean, if it happened to another community, it would have been called hate crime immediately. And now they are questioning of the mental capacity of the attacker, when it is — believe me, we feel here if the name of the attacker is an Arab name or a Muslim name, he will be called “terrorist” immediately by the media, and the media will have a field of describing that person. Now the attacker is a white supremacist, and because of the atmosphere and racism against the Muslims, the Arabs and the Palestinians here, in this state and all across United States, we don’t call it as is.

At the same time, the mayor of Burlington, who opposed and he promised to reject and to veto any resolution in our progressive city that calls for Palestinian human rights and our rights as a Palestinian American citizen and our solidarity groups to call — to use our First Amendment and to call for the right of BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanction. And that happened a year and a half ago. You cannot have a double standard that attack us because we are activists for the rights of the Palestinians, at the same time when something like this, you just bring sorrow and mourning and defend yourself and where you stand. You have to stand with people justice regardless, and you have to be the mayor of all the citizens.

And I call for the Burlington councilmembers to bring a stronger resolution, and mainly for ceasefire now. You know, the Palestinians are dying. And we are working to stop this genocide over there. And we have — our local leaders, they have responsibility to support our solidarity group and the people in Vermont and Burlington.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you — the mother of one of the injured young men, Hisham Awartani, his mother, Elizabeth Price, has been trying to leave Ramallah and travel to the U.S. to see her son. Is there any news about whether she’ll be able to come?

WAFIC FAOUR: I don’t know. I heard that she’s coming. I saw a statement about that. I don’t know if she’s on her way already. I know a sister, and her husband, of another victim is here. I am in contact with the stepfather of another victim, and he told me his health is improving now.

But we have to take this crime as example of what we feel and what we are experiencing here. We stand by those victims. But at the same time, I have to talk to you about the fear and the anger of our community here in Vermont, the Palestinian and the Arab Muslim community in particular, and our solidarity groups and young students who getting attacked by UVM administrations and a year and a half ago from Middlebury administration, too.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to get to that, but I want to bring in Joyce Ajlouny into the conversation, former director of the Ramallah Friends School, the school where all three boys went to school in Ramallah. She’s now the general secretary of American Friends Service Committee, joining us from Virginia [sic]. Can you talk about where they went to school? These were three best friends, now 20 years old. I think you’re muted.

JOYCE AJLOUNY: Terribly sorry.


JOYCE AJLOUNY: Yes, Amy. Thank you for having me.

As you were speaking to Wafic, I received a message from Ali Awartani and Elizabeth Price. They’re saying they’re on their way to America — just to answer your question about if they are planning to come. They are en route, traveling to be with Hisham.

AMY GOODMAN: And I should correct that you’re in Bethesda, Maryland. Sorry, I said Virginia.


AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead.

JOYCE AJLOUNY: No worries. That’s close enough.

Yes, the Ramallah Friends School was established in 1869 by Quaker missionaries. It’s a phenomenal place. I’m a graduate of the school myself. My grandmother, who was a Palestinian Quaker, graduated from there in the 1920s. So, this is a proud place for many of us. And not that it’s educationally and academically superior than IP education, kindergarten through 12th grade, but it’s also the Quaker values and the foundations of peace and nonviolence and teaching tolerance and service and integrity, conflict resolution, emphasizing dialogue and inquiry. That is what the school is about. And the track record is phenomenal when we look at our graduates and what they are up to. I think graduates say that they are who they are because of the Ramallah Friends School. So it is a phenomenal place that has transformed the lives of many throughout generations. So I know that Hisham, Kinnan and Tahseen are proud alums.

And, you know, I think that they’re getting together as most of us are, Palestinian Americans here. I also want to share that three of them are Palestinian Americans. And so, sometimes that’s dropped from the news, that two of them are actually American citizens. And so, they are gathered. They gather together to provide solace for each other and just vent sometimes, and it’s therapy to come together. And unfortunately, they have witnessed this horrific, horrific crime in the midst of them coming together to comfort each other. And I think that is what has happened, unfortunately, this time.

AMY GOODMAN: You posted on Facebook their poems, Tahseen’s poem, as well as Hisham. I’m wondering if you could read them for us? How old were they? Like in sixth grade?

JOYCE AJLOUNY: They were in sixth grade. I had the privilege of being the head of school when they were in middle school. And so, the librarian, actually, dug those up. And I will read Hisham’s poem, sixth grade Hisham, who now goes to Brown — by the way, brilliant students, all of them, accomplished, top-notch, value-driven.

I wanted to say, maybe, Amy, before I read his poem, that’s how selfless our students are. You know, Hisham wrote to his professor at Brown — and I want to quote him — he said, “It’s important to recognize that this is part of the larger story. The serious crime did not happen in a vacuum. As much as I appreciate and love every single one of you here today, I am but one casualty in a much wider conflict.” And then Hisham goes on to say to his professor that “This is why, when you say your wishes and light your candles today, you should mind — your mind should not just be focused on me as an individual, but rather a proud member of a people being oppressed.” And so, these are his words since the shooting.

When he was in sixth grade in 2015, he wrote — that’s Hisham Awartani:

“Hope dwells in my heart
It shines like a light in darkness
[This] light cannot be smothered
It cannot be drowned out by tears and the screams of the wounded
It only grows in strength
This light can outshine hate
This light can outshine injustice
It outshines segregation and apartheid
As of Greek legend, Pandora opened a box
And when she did that, all the evil escaped
But luckily, Pandora closed the jar before hope could escape
And as long as hope stayed in that jar
Hope would never escape
So I ask you one thing, learn from that story
Learn to never give up hope
Learn to let hope give power
In the darkest of times
And let the light shine.”

AMY GOODMAN: Wow! Hisham in sixth grade.


AMY GOODMAN: And how about Tahseen?

JOYCE AJLOUNY: Tahseen, there are two poems. I want to read one, which depicts where our students are coming from, that they are coming from living under a brutal occupation apartheid system that agonizes them, that traumatizes them day in and day out, children, sixth-graders. So, Tahseen writes:

“My ears are pounding
Children dying
Mothers crying
Authorities lying
My ears are pounding
My ears are pounding
Missiles destroying
Bombs exploding
Bullets killing
My ears are pounding
Press careless
Dreams traceless
Lands ownerless
My ears are pounding
Kids without mothers
Beds without covers
Palestine without others
My ears are pounding
My ears are pounding
There is one sound I heard
Not from a breeze or a bird
The sound of darkness
My ears are pounding
My ears are pounding
I’d rather be deaf.”

So, that says a lot. That says a lot about where we are at today in the story of the Palestinian struggle, which is often depicted as that this all started on October 7th. And so, this is 2015. And they are — when you read this poem, you feel like you’re reading it about today, about our people in Gaza and what they are going through, and yet this was eight years ago. So, the struggle continues.


JOYCE AJLOUNY: Yeah. Go ahead.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Joyce, I wanted to ask you if you could comment on the tragic irony that the families of the victims have said in various interviews that they thought that the U.S. would be a safer place for their children than the West Bank, and then to have this terrible tragedy occur here.

JOYCE AJLOUNY: Yes, of course. I mean, I think that is the absolute truth. You know, I know that a large number of Palestinian students from the Ramallah Friends School attend U.S. colleges. And they’re actually very sought after. And when they come here, the parents know that they are keeping them away from being subjected to violence from not just the Israeli military but the Israeli settlers. I have a 31-year-old son there now, and I worry about his safety. The settlers have been emboldened, and there’s violence there every day. And you wonder. You know, you send them here, and then they — this keffiyeh has now become a symbol, instead of our struggle, instead of a symbol of our tradition, our traditional dress and our struggle, this is now being painted and tainted as a symbol of violence. And so, I have another son in Washington, D.C. He doesn’t leave home without his keffiyeh. I worry about him, too. So, that is where we’re at right now.

And I can’t but agree with Wafic about the dehumanization that has been taking place. And this is not new. You know, Palestinians are — you know, even in our grief, we are depicted as Palestinians “dying” — right? — while Israelis are being “killed” and “massacred.” So language really matters. And I think that is what we have seen time and time again. You know, 47 children died on the West Bank between January and August of this year, way before this war started. And I wonder, like, who cried for them. Who mourned them? Where was the U.S. mainstream media talking about them? And so, it’s not just the language. It’s also the framing — right? — that this is the worst attack since the Holocaust, painting Palestinians as Jew haters, as that this is a religious struggle rather than a people seeking freedom, seeking liberation from a settler colonial system, and remembering, you know, that Palestinians of all faiths are in the same struggle, as well, and they have not been offered the humanity and the dignity that they deserve. And so, I think this is all — this is manifest due to the continued dehumanization, not only by the media but by our government, you know, as Wafic said, that they continue to turn a blind eye. They’re not calling for a ceasefire. They continue to embolden the Israeli atrocities by sending more aid, doubling their aid, and supporting the genocide of our people. And so, that is truly the reason why this is happening.

I just wanted to also take the opportunity, you know, we’re doing the — there’s this exchange of hostages. And when they talk about that, they talk about Israelis released the children — the Israelis released are “children,” while the Palestinians who are released are “teenagers,” so children versus teenagers. You know, in my book, they’re all hostages. The fact that the media is not talking about the 3,000 Palestinians who have been kidnapped, basically, since October 10th and put in Israeli jails, and they’re calling them — they’re not prisoners. To them, they are bargaining chips — right? — that they will use in exchange. But, to us, they are hostages, just like the hostages that are held in Gaza. And so, that is the narrative that is being talked about day in and day out. And people who have sentiments that are anti-Arab, anti-Muslim are emboldened by all of that and take action, like Jason Eaton, who felt emboldened because no is portraying Palestinians as human beings that deserve the dignity and the respect that everyone else should be — that everyone else is granted.

AMY GOODMAN: Jason Eaton, of course, is the alleged shooter —


AMY GOODMAN: — of the three Palestinian young men. I want to thank you, Joyce Ajlouny, the former director of the Ramallah Friends School, where they all went to school in the occupied West Bank, all three students shot in Burlington, Vermont, on Friday. Joyce is also now the general secretary of the American Friends Service Committee. And I want to thank Wafic Faour, a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon, member of Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, speaking to us from Burlington.

And this final note: Speaking about the Vermont representatives, you have Becca Balint, who is the first Jewish congressmember to call for a ceasefire. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has not called for a ceasefire but has called for conditions on U.S. aid to Israel. He said, quote, “While Israel has the right to go after Hamas, Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government does not have the right to wage almost total warfare against the Palestinian people.”

Coming up, we speak to prize-winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill about Israel’s propaganda war over Al-Shifa Hospital and what’s underneath it. Who built what’s under Shifa Hospital? Back in 20 seconds.

If it was a hate crime -- and it looks like it was -- Joe Biden needs to ask himself what he did in the last weeks that encouraged this to happen.  He is the leader of this country and his actions with regards to the Palestinians has not just been disappointing, it has been disgraceful.

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