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Monday, October 30, 2023

Shani Louk dead

Shani Louk, 23-year-old kidnapped by Hamas from music festival, found dead, Israel says

A 23-year-old German-Israeli woman who was kidnapped from the Nova music festival by Hamas militants on October 7 has been found dead, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

“We are devastated to share that the body of 23 year old German-Israeli Shani (Louk) was found and identified,” the ministry posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday ....

Louk was kidnapped at the festival and “tortured and paraded around Gaza by Hamas terrorists,” the foreign ministry statement said, adding that she “experienced unfathomable horrors.” ...

I remember reading about her in the news because she was a tatoo artist. And I remember also seeing that video from the Wall Street Journal which shows her semi-naked body being paraded through Gaza in the back of a truck, people screaming and hitting her with sticks.

Newsweek: Shani Louk Beheaded by Hamas, Israel Says

Sunday, October 29, 2023


In 2024 it will be 30 years since I became a Catholic. In all that time nothing ....nothing ... has changed for the better on issues like LGBTQ people and their relationships, divorced people and communion, celibate vs married priests, or women as deacons and priests. Oh, and then there's the lack of change in how the child sex abuse problem is being dealt with (or not dealt with).

This is why I haven't considered myself a Catholic in a very long time. The church won't change. It's not that it can't change - it has changed on some things, like usury. It's that it refuses to change. Pope Francis likes things the way they are.

Vatican Deems Bigger Church Role for Women ‘Urgent,’ but Postpones Major Issues

A monthlong meeting convened by Pope Francis to determine the future of the Roman Catholic Church ended Saturday night with a document that said it was “urgent” that women have a larger role but postponed discussion of major issues such as ordaining women as deacons and failed to address outreach to L.G.B.T.Q.+ Catholics.

Vatican officials instead sought to emphasize common ground during the meeting, which was characterized by liberals and conservatives alike as a potential culmination of Francis’ 10-year pontificate and the vehicle through which he might make changes.

Instead, it echoed another characteristic of Francis’ tenure: kicking the can on major issues ...

The great "thinkers" of the church believe that something that is immutable is superior. It's hard to pretend you speak for God, hard to pretend you're infallible, if you keep changing your mind. But in the real world, living things change to meet the reality of the moment. Those that can't or won't ... they die.

PS - if we can believe the NT, Jesus was able to change his mind.

Thursday, October 26, 2023


US-Israelis travel to Washington to plea for family’s release from Hamas

You can watch it all on C-SPAN ...

I keep seeing in the news that other countries are condemning Israel for "targeting civilians". Well, they are not doing that. But let's not forget, Hamas did and still is.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

New Speaker

Republicans finally elected a Speaker of the House. He is, of course, a Trump toady who did all he could to help overthow Biden's presidential win. Let's not pretend anymore that there are any "normal" Republicans left in the House. Mike Johnson and his mates have but one task, one dream ... to facilitate the Second Coming of their Lord and Master, and to be at his side as his glorious dictatorship begins.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


We're hearing a lot about Qatar in the news since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel. Partly that's because they have helped with hostage negotiations. How can they do that? Well, by being all things to all men.

Here's a bit about the relationship between Qatar and Hamas, from Wikipedia ...

Qatar is a key financial backer and ally of the Palestinian militant organization Hamas. Qatar has transferred more than $1.8 billion to Hamas. Since 2012, Qatar has hosted the Hamas politburo when Hamas head Khaled Meshal relocated from Syria to Qatar. The current head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has resided in Doha since 2016 ...

You can read more here: Qatar and state-sponsored terrorism

At the same time, the US has military bases in Qatar, and it's considered a major ally to the US (Qatar–United States relations).

I only started noticing Qatar back when Jarid Kushner got involved in a real estated scheme with them ...

Timeline on Jared Kushner, Qatar, 666 Fifth Avenue, and White House Policy

The heart of the case involving President Donald J. Trump and Ukraine was the claim that the president pressured a U.S. ally, weakening the security of that country, to extract a personal benefit for himself. Several commentators have said that the president’s action toward Ukraine fit a pattern of his calling on foreign governments to interfere in US elections. But does it also fit a pattern of trading off the security interests of the United States and foreign partners for personal benefit to himself and his family? We don’t answer that question here. We instead provide a timeline of events surrounding an earlier incident at the Trump White House involving Qatar and the Kushner Companies. We leave it to readers and further investigation to reach any conclusions — whether this was a shakedown of a foreign partner motivated or clouded by personal financial interests or something quite innocent. At a minimum, we believe it raises important questions and concerns that deserve further scrutiny ...

With this Israel/Hamas war, I think people will start to pay more attention to Qatar. Here's a recent article from The Atlantic ...

The Reckoning That Is Coming for Qatar

As Israel and Hamas sink deeper into conflict, Doha finds itself in a delicate position. As a long-standing backer of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar has huge influence over the movement’s Palestinian affiliate, Hamas. That offers a significant opportunity in the short run. Doha’s deep connections with the Gaza-based Islamist group make Qatar a central player in the current diplomatic game. But for exactly the same reason, Doha faces the looming risk of being called to account over its record of support for such radical Islamist groups, and especially for Hamas.

Doha has a long history of serving as a broker, and in the past, this has often worked well for the Gulf state. By allowing the Taliban to establish a Doha office, Qatar provided the U.S. with a channel for negotiations with the group. Doha thus facilitated the agreement to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan concluded under the Trump administration and carried out by President Joe Biden in 2021.

Qatar hopes to play a similar role now ...

Monday, October 23, 2023

More released

Aaron David Miller, a Middle East analyst and negotiator at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, comments on the release of two more hostages.

I hear people on the news saying that this is being done for "humanitarian" reasons. That is not true. These are the people who tied up children and burned them alive, who cut off living people's limbs, who raped women and shot babies in their cribs. If they really were humanitarian, they would release all the hostages now. In fact, they would never have kidnapped them.

Hamas is releasing some hostages, a few at a time, to save their own skins. They want to delay so that the families of the hostages will put pressure on the Israeli government to delay a ground war and stop air strikes. They want to delay while protests build in other countries, hoping political pressure from abroad will make the Israelis give up on a militray solution.

From The Atlantic today: A Record of Pure, Predatory Sadism

This afternoon, at a military base north of Tel Aviv, the Israel Defense Forces held a grisly matinee screening of 43 minutes of raw footage from Hamas’s October 7 attack. Members of the press were invited, but cameras were not allowed. Hamas had the opposite policy on cameras during the attack, which it documented gleefully with its fighters’ body cams and mobile phones. Some of the clips had been circulating already on social media in truncated or expurgated form, with the footage decorously stopped just before beheadings and moments of death. After having seen them both in raw and trimmed forms, I can endorse the decision to trim those clips. I certainly hope I never see any of the extra footage again.

It was, as IDF Major General Mickey Edelstein told the press afterward, “a very sad movie.” Men, women, and children are shot, blown up, hunted, tortured, burned, and generally murdered in any horrible manner you could predict, and some that you might not ...

Sunday, October 22, 2023


One of the things that will make an Israeli ground attack on Gaza so perilous will be the tunnels Hamas has dug under the city. Israel can bomb them but they are built under civilian structures, including homes, hospitals, churches, etc. And if the Israelis want to find the hostages, they will have to search those tunnels in person.

Wikipedia has a great article on the tunnels under Gaza, with some videos, animations, and photos of them ... Palestinian tunnel warfare in the Gaza Strip

This reminds me of the Vietnam war ...

The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military presence ... - Củ Chi tunnels. And also Vịnh Mốc tunnels

More: What to know about Hamas' tunnel system beneath Gaza

General McCaffrey

I've been listening to retired general Barry McCaffrey on the Israeli/Hamas war. I've been watching him for some years on MSNBC and really like him. His list of medals/awards is amazing.

I agree with his belief that, after the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, the Israelis have no other choice but to go into Gaza to destroy Hamas and rescue the hostages. But it will be awful for all concerned.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Hostages released

On Deadline: White House today, they discussed the release of the two American hostages, mother and daughter.

Guests were Jeremy Bash, chief of staff at the CIA amd the Dept. of Defense during the Obama administration ...

And the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, Frank Figliuzzi ...

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Gazans and the hostages

I had wondered about the autistic girl taken hostage. Now we know she is dead, along with her grandmother.

Part of the problem of getting the Israeli and American hostages back will be that it was not just the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who took hostages from Israel. It was also Gazan citizens.

From The Washington Post ...

Gazan civilians also took hostages on their own, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing a senior Hamas official and Egyptian officials.

The more I learn, the sicker I feel.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Jim Jordan

The Republican death spiral continues.

Jim Jordan actually got less votes for speaker than Hakeem Jeffries. News pundits wonder if the Republicans in the House will finally realize that their voters want them to actually govern instead of posture.

I'm afraid the news pundits don't get it. Republican voters didn't send their representatives to the House to govern. They sent them there to make Democrats cry. They are failing at that too :)

You are not alone

Joe Biden at Israel's war cabinet.

Monday, October 16, 2023

80% tortured

Israel-Hamas war: Recovered bodies show 'bloodthirsty' gunmen 'took time over torture' - and that Hamas has changed

We've been travelling to the many different scenes where Hamas fighters carried out their terror attack on Israel this week, and it is becoming clear that their tactics and levels of brutality changed from location to location ....

The testimony of the people charged with recovering the dead is disturbing and difficult to listen to, but they want everyone to understand just how horrific it was .... Yossi Landau is the boss for the southern region - he has been doing this work for 33 years all over the world ....

"We saw women with no clothes and hands tied to the back," he says. "We saw families... over here in this kibbutz I saw families with hands tied to the back, sitting parents and children, sitting one against the other, tortured.

"We could see the bodies were telling the stories.

"You know they can't talk but they were telling us their stories, they were crying together with us."

He continued: "In Kfar Aza and Be'eri, we are talking about a total of 280 bodies, 280 casualties.

"I would say 80% were tortured, and you're talking children, adults...

"You're talking a pile, two piles - when we found them in Be'eri, two piles of 10 children each were tied to the back, burnt to death…" ...

More: >a href = "">Israeli civilians were tortured, raped, and abused by Hamas fighters says forensic teams, Reuters reports

Sunday, October 15, 2023

I'm Just Pete

I need a mental health break.!

Remember Ken's song, I'm Just Ken, from the Barbie movie? ...

On SNL, it's Pete Davidson who is feeling unappreciated when he returns to the show :) ...

Wednesday, October 11, 2023


Ari Melber has Anne Applebaum on his show, talking about her recent article in The Atlantic - There Are No Rules.

Listening to excuses given for those celebrating what Hamas did in Israel make me feel queasy. They say it's too bad about the torture/murder, but it's "war" and that kind of stuff is ok in war.

This is just BS. What Hamas did ... the rape, torture, murder, and kidnapping of civilian men, women, children, and babies .... that is not war. War actually has rules. What Hamas did is terrorism.

There is a reason why, during the Vietnam War, when US troops raped and murdered civilians (My Lai massacre) it was deemed a war crime. There is a reason why, when more recently, Russian troops raped and tortured and murdered civilians in Ukraine, it was deemed war crimes (War crimes in the Russian invasion of Ukraine).

Raping and torturing and murdering civilians isn't war. That's just an excude, of course, for those who believe but don't want to admit that anything is permitted to reach your goals, and that the ends always excuse any means.

The Daily

From The Daily at The New York Times, Steven Erlanger on Israeel's decision to destroy Hamas.

Monday, October 09, 2023

The siege

Israel-Gaza live updates: Israel mobilizes a record 300,000 reservists; Gaza under ‘complete siege’

It should come as no surprise that Israel will want to occupy Gaza - it has to get its hostages back as soon as possible, and that will mean searching every basement and tunnel in that area.

The Israelis have plenty of experience with their people being taken hostage. A couple of past events come to mind ...

The Munich massacre ...

a terrorist attack carried out during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, by eight members of the Palestinian militant organization Black September, who infiltrated the Olympic Village, killed two members of the Israeli Olympic team, and took nine others hostage .... all of the hostages were killed ...

The Israelis spent years
hunting down the people responsible.

The Entebbe raid ...

was a 1976 Israeli counter-terrorist mission in Uganda. It was launched in response to the Palestinian-led hijacking of an international civilian passenger flight (an Airbus A300) operated by Air France between the cities of Tel Aviv and Paris ...

In that 1976 operation, Benjamin Netanyahu's brother was killed.

Hamas knew all of this when they kidnapped more than 100 Israeli women, children, and elderly citizens.

Sunday, October 08, 2023


More on the Israeli conflict from retired general Barry McCaffrey ...

Can't help thinking about the hostages. Among those taken are civilians: women, the elderly, children. And some Americans too. Freedom fighters don't take hostages, terrorists do.


From last night on the PBS NewsHour ...

And from MSNBC this morning ...

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Bye Kevin

Kevin McCarthy lost his speakership, in part because Democrats wouldn't save him. Don't feel sad. The idea that someone worse than Kevin will take his place is questionable ... he was a liar and an obsequious Trump-toady.

Of course, someone like Jim Jordan becoming speaker is an awful idea, but awful is what we should expect. The Republican party is in its death throes. It won't be a pretty process.