The Evening Blues - 12-4-23
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features jazz trumpeter and singer Hot Lips Page. Enjoy!
Hot Lips Page - The Blues in "B flat"
“The West's post-Holocaust pledge that genocide would never again be tolerated proved to be hollow, and for all the fine sentiments inspired by the memory of Auschwitz, the problem remains that denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.”
-- Philip Gourevitch
News and Opinion
Chris Hedges. As always worth a full read:
The skies over Gaza are filled — after a seven-day truce — with projectiles of death. Warplanes. Attack helicopters. Drones. Artillery shells. Tank shells. Mortars. Bombs. Missiles. Gaza is a cacophony of explosions and forlorn screams and cries for help beneath collapsed buildings. Fear, once again, is coiling itself around every heart in the Gazan concentration camp. By Friday evening, 184 Palestinians — including three journalists and two doctors — had been killed by Israeli air strikes in the north, south and central Gaza, and at least 589 injured, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Most of them are women and children. Israel will not be deterred. It plans to finish the job, to obliterate what is left in the north of Gaza and decimate what remains in the south, to render Gaza uninhabitable, to see its 2.3 million people driven out in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing via starvation, terror, slaughter and infectious diseases.
The aid convoys, which brought in token amounts of food and medicine — the first batch was shrouds and coronavirus tests according to the director of al-Najjar hospital — have been halted. No one, least of all President Joe Biden, plans to intervene to stop the genocide. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel this week, and while calling for Israel to protect civilians, refused to set conditions that would disrupt the $3.8 billion Israel receives in annual military assistance or the $14.3 billion supplemental aid package. The world will watch passively, muttering useless bromides about more surgical strikes, while Israel spins its roulette wheel of death. By the time Israel is done, the 1948 Nakba, where Palestinians were massacred in dozens of villages and 750,000 were ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias, will look like a quaint relic of a more civilized era.
Nothing is off limits. Hospitals. Mosques. Churches. Homes. Apartment blocks. Refugee camps. Schools. Universities. Media offices. Banks. Sewer systems. Telecommunications infrastructure. Water treatment plants. Libraries. Wheat mills. Bakeries. Markets. Entire neighborhoods. Israel’s intent is to destroy Gaza’s infrastructure and daily kill or wound hundreds of Palestinians. Gaza is to become a wasteland, a dead zone that will be incapable of sustaining life.
Israel began to bomb Khan Younis on Friday after dropping leaflets warning civilians to evacuate further south to Rafah, located on the border crossing with Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians had sought refuge in Khan Younis. Once Palestinians are pushed to Rafah, there is only one place left to flee — Egypt. The Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, in a leaked report, calls for the forcible transfer of Gaza’s population to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. A detailed plan to intentionally displace the Palestinians in Gaza and push them into Egypt has been embedded in Israeli doctrine for five decades. Already, 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza have been driven from their homes. Once Palestinians cross the border into Egypt — which the Egyptian government and Arab leaders are seeking to prevent despite pressure from the U.S. — Palestinians will never return.
This is not a war against Hamas. It is a war against Palestinians. ...
Israel’s attack is the last desperate measure of a settler colonial project that foolishly thinks, as many settler colonial projects have in the past, that it can crush the resistance of an indigenous population with genocide. But even Israel will not get away with killing on this scale. A generation of Palestinians, many of whom have seen most, if not all, of their families killed and their homes and neighborhoods destroyed, will carry within them a lifelong thirst for justice and retribution.
This war is not over. It has not even begun.
Yanis Varoufakis on the ongoing genocide in Gaza perpetrated by the State of Israel
More than 700 people were killed in the Gaza Strip in just 24 hours, the Health Ministry in the besieged territory said Sunday, as Israeli bombings escalated following a brief pause and wider evacuation orders stoke fears of wider displacement and carnage.
According to an Al-Jazeera dispatch:
Overnight and into Sunday, intense bombing was reported in Khan Younis, Rafah, and some northern parts targeted by Israel's air and ground attacks.
"Everywhere you turn to, there are children with third-degree burns, shrapnel wounds, brain injuries and broken bones," James Elder, UNICEF's global spokesperson, told Al Jazeera from Gaza.
"Mothers crying over children who look like they are hours away from death. It seems like a death zone right now."
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has been dropping evacuation leaflets across the south of Gaza in cities that include Khan Younis, Rafah, and others neighborhoods where many had been told to flee by Israel prior to the recent week-long pause.
The IDF is now using a wholly invented "grid system" to tell Palestinians in Gaza which sectors might be safe and which ones will not, leading to reports of widespread confusion on the ground for those trying to keep themselves and their families safe from the indiscriminate bombing.
"What Israel is doing in Gaza right now is one of the most cruel tactics of war I've ever seen," said Rohan Talbot, director of advocacy and campaigns for the U.K.-based Medical Aid Palestine, on Sunday. "This grid system effectively means people are being chased from square to square, in constant mortal fear. Bombing happens both inside and outside 'unsafe' areas. It's terrorism."
"And they say it's about protecting civilians! People in Gaza are saying they hope to die just to be free from the fear!" Talbot declared. "I use the word terrorism in its specific sense: using violence to intimidate civilians for political aims. Israeli leaders don't hide that this is what they are doing."
In a statement on Sunday, U.N. Human Rights Chief Volker Türk called for an end of the new wave of bombardents and a return to the talks that saw Israeli and Palestinian hostages freed and an increase in humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza.
"Silence the guns and return to dialogue—the suffering inflicted on civilians is too much to bear. More violence is not the answer. It will bring neither peace nor security," Türk said.
"As a result of Israel's conduct of hostilities and its orders for people to leave the north and parts of the south, hundreds of thousands are being confined into ever smaller areas in southern Gaza without proper sanitation, access to sufficient food, water and health supplies, even as bombs rain down around them,” he added "There is no safe place in Gaza."
Last week, it was reported that the Israeli military is using artificial intelligence to help generate bombing targets, a situation described as "dystopian" and the "first AI-facilitated genocide in history."
Horrifying scenes were evident across Gaza over the weekend as witnesses shared footage of children killed by the bombings along with the heartbreak and cries of survivors:
In the north, the Jabilia refugee camp, the largest in the Gaza Strip, was bombed again on Saturday.
"More than 100 Palestinians were killed Saturday in a new massacre committed by Israeli occupation forces in the Jabalia refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip," the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
The agency said an Israeli missile hit a residential building belonging to the "Obaid family in Jabalia camp" and that "dozens were injured, and many others are still missing under the rubble," in that strike alone.
Meanwhile, Medicin Sans Frontier/MSF doctors reported their rescue vehicles, despite being clearly marked, were targeted by Israeli tanks.
Jason Lee, the Palestine country director for Save the Children, who was in Rafah on Friday, told the Guardian newspaper that what's being witnessed is a fresh population transfer in a country where 1.7 million people—out of an approximate total of 2.3 million—have already been displaced, with most now frantically trying to find safety in the south.
"How is it possible for people to move again? For many, this is not their first evacuation. The scale and scope of this is unprecedented," he said.
The Israeli military said Sunday that its ground operations have expanded to every part of the Gaza Strip and vowed its assault on the south will be just as big as it was in the north.
“It will be no less powerful than [the operations in northern Gaza], it will have no less results,” said Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, according to The Times of Israel.
“We have the capabilities to do it in the most thorough way, and just as we did it with strength and thoroughly in the north of the Gaza Strip, we are also doing it now in the south of the Gaza Strip, and we also continue to deepen the achievements in the north of the Gaza Strip,” Halevi added.
Halevi’s comments came a few days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel and told Israeli officials to account for the civilians in south Gaza before expanding operations there. But Israel has continued to ignore US warnings about civilians, which ring hollow as the US is shipping 2,000-pound bombs to Israel while setting no red line for their use.
Israel continued with its intense bombing campaign across the north and south of Gaza for a third day since the end of the truce with Hamas, killing hundreds of Palestinians in a 24-hour period, according to local officials.
On Sunday night, the Israeli military also said it has expanded its ground operation to all of Gaza. “The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] continues to extend its ground operation against Hamas centres in all of the Gaza Strip,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv. “The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them.”
Earlier the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north was hit, with initial reports saying tens of people were killed and at least one residential block destroyed. Video footage showed people searching for bodies under the rubble.
About 300 people were reported to be sheltering in the vicinity of the latest strike, in a camp area that has been targeted repeatedly by Israel over the past month. It was not possible to verify exact casualty numbers.
Heavy bombing was also reported in the southern city of Khan Younis, increasingly the focus of Israeli attacks, while its military demanded further evacuation of civilians from areas of the city, telling them to head south to Rafah or to the west. On Sunday night there were reports of clashes between Hamas and Israeli troops a mile from the city.
700+ Dead As Gaza Bombing Resumes; Defense Sec Austin WARNS Israel Headed Towards "Strategic Defeat"
The Israeli military’s coming push into southern Gaza is driven by the belief that intelligence gleaned from hundreds of militants captured during the fighting in the north will allow them to find and kill leaders of Hamas. Israel’s politicians and generals believe that taking out top commanders – and leader Yahya Sinwar – is their best chance of forcing the collapse of an organisation that is deeply embedded in Gaza, after nearly two decades controlling the enclave.
Two serving military officials with knowledge of strategy for the next phase confirmed there would be an intense focus on using new intelligence to target Hamas leaders. Critics say the new strategy will do little to reduce the high cost in civilian lives in the campaign so far.
Hopes of a fresh truce, which had been kept alive by mediators from Qatar and Egypt as the fighting began, were fading over the weekend, even as French president Emmanuel Macron said he was heading to Doha to work on a new deal. Both sides, who had blamed each other for the collapse of the original agreement, publicly hardened their position.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a Mossad delegation to return from Qatar where it had been negotiating a possible second truce, saying Hamas “did not uphold its part of the agreement, which included the release of all of the children and women according to a list that was given to Hamas and approved by it”.
A senior Hamas official then told Al Jazeera there would be no more hostage releases unless there is a ceasefire and all Palestinian detainees in Israel are released. “Let the war take its course. This decision is final. We will not compromise on it,” said deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri.
As evidence of friendly fire killings on October 7 mounts, Israel plans to bury cars containing important forensic evidence which were burned in southern Gaza
It will shred the cars completely before burying them to "be as environment-friendly as possible" pic.twitter.com/V9prHiqVsn
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 29, 2023
If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d make sure to kill as many women and children as possible to eliminate the future generations of the people I was trying to wipe out. Come to think of it, I guess I’d basically do what Israel is doing in Gaza.
If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d deliberately target civilians, hospitals and civilian infrastructure to make it harder and harder for the undesirable population to survive. Actually, one good example of this would be what Israel is reportedly doing in Gaza today.
— Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) December 1, 2023
If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d make sure to target cultural centers to destroy the history and culture of the population I wished to remove, taking out their museums and ancient religious buildings. You know what? I suppose I’d do pretty much exactly what Israel is currently doing in Gaza.
Another thing I’d do if I were going to commit a genocide is make sure to kill all the best and brightest members of the population I was trying to exterminate — their doctors, lawyers, academics, journalists and thought leaders — in order to prevent any reconstruction of the civilization I was trying to stomp out. In other words I’d do what Israel is presently doing in Gaza.
MUST WATCH | Israel is Targeting Gaza's Brightest and Best pic.twitter.com/vumMHg506s
— Palestine Deep Dive (@PDeepdive) November 21, 2023
If I were going to commit a genocide, obviously I’d have to make sure all my main underlings were on board for the operation, so you’d probably see them spouting genocidal rhetoric all the time in support of those plans. Kind of like the way Israeli officials have been talking for the last two months when discussing their operations in Gaza.
If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d also want to have a plan to drive the undesirables who couldn’t be eliminated by mass murder off the land I wanted them removed from. You’d see people in my government frequently discussing plans for ethnic cleansing, in very much the same way you’re seeing such discussions over and over again among Israeli officials and thought leaders.
If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d keep attacking the undesirable population with extreme aggression while pushing them further and further toward a foreign border, eventually forcing other nations to either take them in or keep allowing them to be slaughtered as I rain military explosives upon their continually shrinking living space.
What they did to northern Gaza they’re doing to southern Gaza where they told civilians to flee. pic.twitter.com/Dhz6bxEZfg
— FREE PALESTINE (@missfalsteenia) December 2, 2023
Either way I get rid of the population I was trying to get rid of, and I can repopulate the land I seized with a more desirable sort of people. In other words I’d do exactly what Israel is clearly doing, in plain view of the entire world.
The Wall Street Journal published details about the White House’s secretive arms transfers to Israel since October 7. The US has provided Israel with 57,000 artillery shells and 15,000 bombs, including over 5,000 with 2,000-pound warheads.
According to a list of weapons obtained by the Journal, the US has shipped Israel “more than 5,000 Mk82 unguided or ‘dumb’ bombs, more than 5,400 Mk84 2,000-pound warhead bombs, around 1,000 GBU-39 small diameter bombs, and approximately 3,000 JDAMs.”
The US has additionally shipped 57,000 155 MM shells to Israel. NBC News previously reported in October that Washington sent Tel Aviv artillery rounds that are cluster munitions.
Mick Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and officer in the Marine Corps, described the weapons as those the US would use in non-urban areas. “They are kind of the weapons of choice for the fights we had in Afghanistan and Syria in open, non-urban areas,” he said. “The US may use them in more urban areas, but first it would do a lot of target analysis to make sure the attack was proportional and based on military necessity.”
By contrast, Gaza is about 140 sqare miles and home to 2.3 million people—one of the most densely packed regions on earth.
Three commercial vessels came under attack in international waters in the southern Red Sea, the US military said on Sunday, as Yemen’s Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area.
“Today there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea,” the statement from the US Central Command reads. “We have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.”
The Carney, a US destroyer, responded to distress calls and provided assistance following missile and drone launches from Houthi-controlled territory, according to US Central Command.
Yemen’s Houthi movement said its navy had attacked two Israeli ships, Unity Explorer and Number 9, with an armed drone and a naval missile. A spokesperson for the group’s military said the two ships were targeted after they rejected warnings, without elaborating. In a broadcast statement, the spokesperson said the attacks were in response to the demands of the Yemeni people and calls from Islamic nations to stand with the Palestinian people.
The US military said the Carney shot down three drones as it helped the commercial vessels. It was not clear if the warship was a target. ... Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the ships had “no connection to the state of Israel”. He said: “One ship was significantly damaged and it is in distress and apparently is in danger of sinking and another ship was lightly damaged.”
Muslim community leaders gathered on Saturday in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the US, to protest President Biden’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, reiterating that the president’s stance could affect his support in crucial swing states next year.
Jaylani Hussein, director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that Biden’s unwillingness to call for a ceasefire had damaged his relationship with the American-Muslim community beyond repair. (Cair-Minnesota is not involved in his work on the Abandon Biden effort, which the organization said Hussein is doing in his personal capacity.)
“We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes. And we will use that vote to save this nation from itself,” Hussein said. “Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars,” he added. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”
From behind a lectern that read “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now”, leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania issued similar warnings that the president could not afford to lose the support of the Arab-American community in states critical to his chances for re-election.
A recent poll showed Biden’s support among Arab Americans has plunged from a comfortable majority in 2020 to 17%.
One of the most emblematic human rights cases of Gen Augusto Pinochet’s bloody dictatorship is inching towards a conclusion, with the extradition from the US of a former soldier charged with the kidnapping and murder of folk singer Víctor Jara.
Late on Friday afternoon, a plane from Miami landed in Santiago with Pedro Barrientos aboard. Accompanied by a Chilean police escort, the former lieutenant was transferred to a helicopter and flown across the capital for processing at a police barracks.
“We want to draw a line under this case – and quickly,” said human rights lawyer Nelson Caucoto, who has represented the Jara family since 1998.
“Would anyone ever have thought that there would be justice for Víctor Jara?” he asked. “Of course not, only a decade ago nobody would have thought it possible. So in that sense, justice is being served.”
But activists warned that the pursuit of justice must continue unabated, as many of those accused of dictatorship-era atrocities continue to elude punishment.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that the alliance must be prepared for bad news about Ukraine and urged support for continuing the proxy war against Russia.
“Wars develop in phases,” Stoltenberg told the German broadcaster ARD. “We have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times. We should also be prepared for bad news.”
Stoltenberg acknowledged Ukraine has been unable to “move the front line” but claimed Ukrainian forces were still achieving “big victories.” He previously argued that Ukraine was having some success because it was inflicting heavy losses on Russia, although Kyiv is currently facing a serious manpower shortage.
Among the three richest people on the planet, mega-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos received some praise last week for announcing approximately $120 million in donations to a number of groups fighting the scourge of homelessness in the United States.
"It's a privilege to support these orgs in their inspiring mission to help families regain stability," Bezos wrote in an Instagram post touting the multiple grants to 38 individual nonprofits in 22 states.
But hold your applause.
Just days after word of the charitable gifts—a minuscule drop in the bucket compared to the estimated $170 billion fortune he possesses—a Bezos-controlled company called Arrived dropped $500 million of new investment in single-family homes with a venture fund that critics warn will make the nation's housing crisis even worse.
According to GV Wire:
Since its inception in 2021, Arrived has attracted nearly a half a million customers, operating as a fractional real estate investing platform. The company’s model is similar to buying a slice of the American pie, allowing investors to purchase shares of single-family rentals for as little as $100.
The fund itself—called the Single Family Residential Fund—allows investors to purchase portions of various homes and later trade, hold, or redeem their "chips" on a rolling basis like players at a casino.
While many Americans, especially younger people and working-class families, have been steadily priced out of homeownership by soaring costs and, more recently, higher interest rates, Arrived prays on that reality by selling the idea that owning a piece of a home as an investment is an "American Dream" akin to owning the home one lives in.
Speculative investors, however, are likely not among those struggling to make ends meet but this kind of investment behavior, warn critics, is certain to drive home prices even higher.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)—who has co-authored legislation to halt the rent-gouging and inflated home prices that result from such investment schemes—ripped Bezos' latest move.
"The last thing Americans need is a Bezos-backed investment company further consolidating single-family homes and putting homeownership out of reach for more and more people," Khanna tweeted on Friday. "Housing should be a right, not a speculative commodity."
The US House speaker Mike Johnson signaled on Saturday that Republicans are nearing holding a formal vote to launch an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.
“I think it’s something we have to do at this juncture,” Johnson said during a Saturday appearance on Fox and Friends Weekend.
Republicans have spent months investigating Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings, hoping to find improprieties they could use as the basis for impeachment. The full House has not yet voted to formally authorize an impeachment inquiry, as some Republicans have publicly expressed doubts about whether there is enough evidence to justify such action.
The White House has rebuffed GOP efforts to force it to turn over information in part by citing a 2020 opinion from the justice department’s office of legal counsel citing the need for a full House vote before a House committee could force the production of documents or interviews.
The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, has claimed there is “no science” indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global heating to 1.5C, the Guardian and the Centre for Climate Reporting can reveal.
Al Jaber also said a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves”.
The comments were “incredibly concerning” and “verging on climate denial”, scientists said, and they were at odds with the position of the UN secretary general, António Guterres.
Al Jaber made the comments in ill-tempered responses to questions from Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, during a live online event on 21 November. As well as running Cop28 in Dubai, Al Jaber is also the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, which many observers see as a serious conflict of interest.
Days after climate advocates applauded Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's signing of a package of clean energy bills that one campaigner said would "translate into better air, water, and health for everyone," state regulators took several steps back from a sustainable future as they approved a key permit for Enbridge's Line 5 expansion project beneath the Great Lakes.
In a 2-0 vote with one member abstaining, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved siting for the project, granting Canadian oil firm Enbridge permission to build a concrete tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac—which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron—to house a four-mile section of its 645-mile petroleum pipeline.
The company can't break ground on the project without approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which isn't expected to announce its decision until 2026, but Indigenous tribes and advocacy groups that have fought for years to stop the pipeline from being built expressed outrage that the commission approved the permit despite well-documented objections.
All federally recognized tribes in Michigan have passed resolutions opposing Line 5, which safety experts have warned puts the Great Lakes at risk for a massive explosion and oil spill.
"Today's decision is another notch in a long history of ignoring the rights of tribal nations," said Whitney Gravelle, president of the Bay Mills Indian Community. "We must act now to protect the peoples of the Great Lakes from an oil spill, to lead our communities out of the fossil fuel era, and to preserve the shared lands and waters in Michigan for all of us."
Tribes have said the project would violate their treaty rights and that Enbridge has not proven it can operate the tunnel safely. The company's Line 6B oil spill in 2010 contaminated nearly 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River.
"Disappointment isn't a big enough word," Rebecca Liebing, attorney for Bay Mills, told Michigan Bridge after the MPSC vote was announced. "There's no ambiguity regarding how the tribes feel about this matter... We're not done fighting."
The lakes hold 84% of North America's surface freshwater, and the Line 5 expansion would be the largest underwater hazardous liquids tunnel ever completed, said the coalition Oil and Water Don't Mix (OWDM).
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
The Blues Jumped The Rabbit
Hot Lips Page & His Band - Skull Duggery
Hot Lips Page - Last Call For Alcohol
Hot Lips Page - The Devil's Kiss
Hot Lips Page - Honeysuckle Rose
Hot Lips Page - Lafayette
Hot Lips Page & his Orch. - They Raided The Joint
Hot Lips Page - Gimme Gimme Gimme
Hot Lips Page - Long Gone Blues