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Sunday, March 03, 2024

Mouse

It has now been just over 2 weeks since my cat Mouse disappeared. I guess I'm finally starting to realize that he might not be coming back.

He first appeared in the yard in the fall of 2015 with his mother Misty. They were really afraid of me and it took a long time for Misty to trust me, but Mouse became friendly pretty quickly. He was small and gray and so thus his name.

I really miss him. I still hope he will reappear. I''ve been looking at the County's missing cats page, but no luck so far. He is not a spring chicken and he has a permanent limp, and I'm afraid something bad may have happened to him. Please say a prayer for Mouse.

Looting



ABC News segment tonight about the US air dropping aid in Gaza. Also shown is another aid truck in northern Gaza being looted by hundreds of Gazans, as reported a few days ago by the IDF ...

The extreme hunger on display today with hundreds once again surrounding an aid truck in northern Gaza ... the shortage of food means gangs are looting and reselling what valuable aid there is ...

Friday, March 01, 2024

Air deops



As Admial Kirby spoke of at the White House press briefing today (aboit 7 minutes in), the US is planning to do some air food drops into Gaza, due to the danger to aid ground convoys from mobs and looting.

This reminds me of the situation in the 90s in Somalia, in which the US did food drops due to food being stolen by warlords and criminals on the ground. Here's a bit from Wikipedia: 1992 famine in Somalia.

[...] In 1991, Somalia's formal economy collapsed after several years of decline. That same year and during 1992, southern Somalia was struck by an exceptionally harsh drought. Concurrently, traditional coping methods broke down as the civil war spread into the south and law enforcement disintegrated. The largest contributing factor behind the famine was the devastation inflicted on infrastructure and farmland by warfare in the agricultural inter-riverine regions.

[...]

In early 1992, as relief agencies initiated their operations, they encountered growing obstacles in delivering aid to the impacted inter-riverine region. The disintegration of Somali law enforcement paved the way for armed looters and criminals to steal food from storage sites and supply routes. In certain affected areas, armed banditry on these routes emerged as a significant concern. To safeguard their supplies, NGOs and relief agencies contracted Somali mercenaries or local gangs, equipped with improvised combat vehicles, to escort their convoys.

[...]

US aid airlifts to the Red Cross that began in August 1992 and gone on until December has been credited with saving around 40,000 lives ...


About the event in Gaza in which the aid trucks were stormed by a nob ... what actually happened is in dispute. It's depressing, though, that most people and news organizations prefer to believe the terrorists over the Israelis.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Trump's Court

Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.



Yep, at the end of the day, it will be up to us, the voters, to finally drive a stake through the heart of Trump's second presidency. We can't be too tired, we can't be too disillusioned, too complacent, too self-absorbed (Michigan voters) to vote against him again.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Michigan



As a Democrat, I find this 'abondon Biden' strategy just stupid and ultimately counterproductive.

Actually, the Biden administration has put a lot of effort into helping the civilians in Gaza, both before and during the war. These voters seem oblivious to the fact that it was Hamas terrorists who started the war with their attack on Israel, that American citizens were among those they murdered, and that American hostages are still being held prisoner in Gaza.

Refusing to vote for Biden will only make it more likely that Trump will win, and then we will see what an anti-Arab anti-Muslim president is really like.

Monday, February 26, 2024

SNL



Sad.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Women's role

In the news ...

Ahead of South Carolina primary, Trump says he strongly supports IVF after Alabama court ruling

Florida Republican Byron Donalds said IVF helps people 'breed great families' which the 'country desperately needs'

The Republican reaction to the latest pro-life victory in Alabama .... a judge declaring frozen embryos are children ... is beginning to show how dishonest their purported beliiefs are. Because, while ...

it is murder to destroy an embryo through abortion when a woman does not want to be a paernt ...

it is fine to destroy an embryo through IVF when a woman does want to be a parent.

The pro-life movement doesn't actually care about embryos. What it cares about is defining women's purpose in life as babymakers.

Face the Nation



Prime Minister Netanyahu on Face the Nation today. He talks about the possible hostage deal in the worls, and explains about a plan to move the civilians in Rafah to a safe area before the IDF begins a ground campaign there to get rid of the last Hamas battalions.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ukraine



I think it's awful that Congress hasn't approved the military aid Ukraine needs. And why won't they? Because Putin-loving Trump has ordered his Republican slaves in the House to help the Russian dictator instead of the Ukrainians.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Persons



But this isn't just about IVF, it's actually about legally mandating fetal personhood ... a goal of the pro-life movement since its inception ... and it will affect everything from how a woman conducts her pregnancy to her access to abortion and contraception.

The acceptable parameters on this will not come from the majority of citizens in the US, but from the pro-life religiously extreme Christian judges in the Court system. Women will end up with less legal rights than fertilized eggs, and, as is already happening in Red states, their lives will be endangered.

This idea of legal fetal personhood is a construct that makes no sense. Its basis is not science, not law, not even common sense, but a minority religious view. To pretend that an egg or an embryo is entitled to the same legal rights as a person ... something that it may become in time but which it is not now ... is nothing more than a strategy to undermine women.

This isn't about logic or practicality or even about what is right. This is about the pro-life movement's dream, as lived out through the Republican party and their Supreme Court ... creating a theocracy in which women are reduced to subservient breeders.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Missing

We've had some extreme weather lately, and a couple of days after the really bad storm last week (not the night of the storm), almost all of the cats just seemed to disappear.

Over the last couple of days most of the cats have reappeared and they all seem ok, though sort of spooked. Hansel, for example, still spends most of her time on the roof now. And when she comes down to eat, she stares down the driveway at the street, scared.

But two of the cats still have not shown up: Mouse and Dina. Both of them have lived here since they were kittens and are now pretty old ... 10+ years ... and Mouse has a permanent limp. I'm afraid something has happened to them. Here are Mouse and Dina, who look a lot alike ...

I'm afraid some bad thing, person or animal, came down the driveway during the night, sacring all the cats, and did away with Dina and Mouse. There are a number of unsavory people hanging around in the neighborhood lately, and there have also been coyote sightings around here and they are known to have killed and eaten cats. I'm so worried about Mouse and Dina :(

Monday, February 19, 2024

Rain

It's been raining here forever! The cats are getting depressed. Me too. Where is the sun?



The company you keep

- Moscow received a Hamas delegation led by Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh, 13 September 2022 - Wikipedia

Palestinian factions to meet in Moscow as west rejects Hamas role in ruling Gaza after war

Western powers have rejected suggestions that Hamas as an entity can be allowed a role in governing Gaza at the end of the war, saying only that they recognise that Palestinian militancy will still exist.

Speculation that a weakened Hamas might be willing to form a partnership with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, and govern Gaza and the West Bank jointly, have been revived by a Russian invitation for Palestinian factions to meet in Moscow on 26 February.

The news of the meeting was confirmed by the Palestinian Authority prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, at the Munich security conference ...


Yep, as Putin does away with Navalny continues to invade Ukraine, and prepares to launch the Death Star into orbit, the Russian dictator plans a playdate with his buds in the Middle East ... Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. How do those who are pro-Palestinian not get who these guys are?

See Russia–Hamas relations

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Best laid plans

- Rafah is at the southern end of the Gaza Strip - Rafah

Rebuffing Biden, cabinet rejects unilateral Palestinian state as ‘reward for terrorism’

Israel’s cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved a declaration rejecting “international diktats” seeking to push Palestinian statehood, in the wake of reports that the US and several Arab partners were preparing a detailed plan for a comprehensive peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that includes a “firm timeline” for a Palestinian state.

“Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians,” the cabinet decision read. “A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.

“Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” the motion added. “Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would foil any future peace settlement.” ...


I think people in the Biden administration have lost all perspective on this subject. This shouldn't be about getting Biden re-elected by smoothing over the Israeli problem with his pro-Palestinian base, and I say this as a lifelong liberal Democrat.

A few things ...

- It may be convenient to cast Netanyahu as the bad guy ... that way you can say that you aren't against the Israeli people, just their misguided leader .... but the truth is, most of the Israeli Cabinet and most of the Israeli people do not now, mere months after a horrific terrorist attack, want to think about a 2 state solution.

- It may be convenient to set up the continuing war ... a ground offesive in Rafa ... as impossible. Then, of course, all that's possible is an end to the war. Last night on The PBS Newshour, one of their reporters said "There is no place for the civilians in Rafah to go". But that is not true. It's been reported in the news thar rhe Israelis are working on a plan to create a safe space on the coast or in the area between Rafah and Khan Yunis for civilians, with safe corridors to travel there.

- It may be convenient to skip to the end and say that the best solution is to end thr war and give everyone some goodies .... a state for the Palestinians, Arab allies for the Israelis, money and power for the Saudis ... but it's not just about goodies, it's about murdered loved ones, hostages still in captivity, religious extremism, betrayals and long lasting hatreds.

- And it may be just tedious to wait wait wait for Israel to accomplish its goal of getting rid of Hamas, but it's only been months since the war began. Imagine us a few months after 9/11 .... if the other countries of the world told us to get over it, what would we have done? We didn't get over it, we went around the world and started a war that lasted 20 years, actually getting other countries to join and help us. I'm not saying that was a good thing, just that it happened. See US War in Afghanistan Fast Facts

- I don't think Israel will stop the war until it gets rid of Hamas. We may try to threaten them, we may stop giving them weapons, but we can't actually stop them from fighting. So we should help them instead. Help make it safer for the civilians, help the weapons to be more precise, help the goal to be accomplished as soon as possible. Then figure out what to do on the day after on the day after.

The Wall Street Journal: Taking Rafah Is Essential to Defeat Hamas

Friday, February 16, 2024

RIP: Alexei Navalny



As Tucker Carlson worshipfully interviews Putin in Moscow, as Republican politicians deny Ukraine the money they need to save their country from Putin, and as Trump voices his support for Putin over our NATO allies, we learn that the main Russian critic of Putin, Alexei Navalny, has died in the Polar Wolf prison in the Arctic Circle.

Putin foe Alexei Navalny dies in jail, West holds Russia responsible

Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin's most formidable domestic opponent, fell unconscious and died on Friday after a walk at the "Polar Wolf" Arctic penal colony where he was serving a three-decade sentence, authorities said.

The death of Navalny, a 47-year-old former lawyer, robs the disparate Russian opposition of its most courageous leader as Putin prepares for an election which will keep the former KGB spy in power until at least 2030 ...


Very sad. And it shows what Putin-loving Trump and his Republican thralls truly are.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Super Bowl ad

I don't watch the Super Bowl, but I do look at the ads. My favorite one this time was an ad for Google's phone camera ...



This is like me and this is what I do. Only much less well. I have an old digital camera with an auto-focus, and I point it at the fuzzy things I can't really see (eye disease), take a bunch of photos, and hope one of them will turn out to be in focus and in frame. That's how I can actually see (kind of) the things I'm looking at :)

Monday, February 12, 2024

Hostage rescue



Do the right thing



Yes, Trump again displays his love for Putin and his disdain for our allies. And yet, he is more popular than Biden in the polls.

It is the voters who will decide if we end up with that monstrous gas-bag ruling over us. And I've got to say I'm really worried. Because it's not just Republican voters who want to vote for Trump, despite (or brcause of) the fact that he's a rapist, a liar, a crook, a psychopath, and a wanna-be dictator.

There are Democrats who plan to vote for Trump as well, or at least who plan not to vote for Biden, which will result in a Trump win.

One example - American Arabs and Muslims, who are angry that Biden has supported Israel: Michigan’s Arabs and Muslims push to defeat Biden in critical state

Another example - young voters who think Biden hasn't forgiven enough of their loans, hasn't done enough for climate change, hasn't somehow brought back Roe, and worst of all, hasn't magically stopped being old: The Memo: Trump gets surprise boost with young voters amid Biden disillusionment.

Another example - racial minorities, for reasons I just cannot fathom: Trump hits new poll highs with Black, Hispanic voters. What to make of it?

I wish I could say to those Democrats ... 'You dopes! You're not just going to doom yourselves by helping Trump win, you're going to doom the rest of us as well. Suck it up and do the right thing!'

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Brigades

So, when the news says there are a number of Hamas "battalions" in the city of Rafah, what does that mean?

Wikipedia actually has a page on the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (abbreviated as IQB); ...  'Battalions of martyr Izz ad-Din al-Qassam'; often shortened to Al-Qassam Brigades, named after Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, is the military wing of the Palestinian organization Hamas. Currently led by Mohammed Deif and his deputy, Marwan Issa, IQB is the largest and best-equipped militant group operating within Gaza today ....

The forces are mainly divided into five brigades, divided geographically. Each brigade is divided into multiple battalions, with 30 total battalions. Each battalion is associated with a major settlement ....

During the 2023 Gaza war, the IDF published its intelligence about the Hamas military in the Gaza Strip. They put the strength of the Qassam Brigades there at the start of the war at 30,000 fighters, organised by area in five brigades, consisting in total of 24 battalions and c. 140 companies. Each regional brigade had a number of strongholds and outposts, and included specialised arrays for rocket firing, anti-tank missiles, air defenses, snipers, and engineering ....


As always, to see more and to see the footnotes and sources, go to the Wikipedia page.

What lies beneath

- Secretary Blinken Meets With UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini

Worries about an Israeli ground attack on the Gazan city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. The IDF believes four or five Hamas battalions are in the city. At the same time, the city is full of refugees from the north and middle of the territory. Netanyahu says there will be an evacuaton of civilians before the ground assault ... Reuters: Palestinians brace for Rafah assault, Israel promises evacuation

But meanwhile, more about UNRWA ...

From The Wall Street Journal - Hamas Military Compound Found Beneath U.N. Agency Headquarters in Gaza

Hidden deep below the headquarters of the United Nations’ aid agency for Palestinians here is a Hamas complex with rows of computer servers that Israel’s armed forces say served as an important communications center and intelligence hub for the Islamist militant group ...

I can't read the Journal, but there is more about this in The Times of Israel, with photos - Deep Beneath UNWRA's Gaza headquarters, IDF uncovers top secret Hamas data center

Beneath the Gaza Strip headquarters of the controversial United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known commonly as UNRWA, the Hamas terror group hid one of its most significant assets, the Israeli military has revealed.

The subterranean data center — complete with an electrical room, industrial battery power banks and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers — was built precisely under the location where Israel would not consider looking initially, let alone target in an airstrike ...