THE BIG NEWS
Iowa Caucus-goers Set to Vote for Trump
It's election day – the first of dozens in what promises to be an interminable primary season, so don't feel too much relief. Today Republicans in Iowa will brave frigid weather to crown Donald Trump their MAGA godking. He's expected to coast to an easy victory, with Nikki Haley primed for a distant second. Ron DeSantis is likely to come in third, though of course none of this matters as long as Donald Trump is breathing and not in a jail cell. There is almost no way, it seems, he can lose support of rank-and-file Republicans.
Despite the forecast of an easy victory, Trump made sure to tell his Iowa constituents that they must go vote, no matter what. "If you're sick as a dog...even if you vote and then pass away, it's worth it," Trump said to a crowd of laughing admirers in Iowa. He might be little more than an insult comic, but this kind of material is apparently what inspires the cold hearts of middle America's suburban reactionaries. That alone is a bit terrifying.
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100 Days of Carnage in Gaza
Israel's brutal military campaign in Gaza marked its 100th day over the weekend. More than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of the population of Gaza has been displaced, and whole neighborhoods have been bombed into nothing, leaving a moonscape in its place. Besides the spiraling humanitarian disaster in Gaza, the world has been following South Africa's effort to bring Israel to account for genocide at the International Court of Justice. Between the facts on the ground, Israeli leaders' own statements, and numerous videos on Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, there's plenty of evidence of what seem like obvious war crimes.
The debate over the ICJ trial has essentially pit the global south against Israel and its western allies. Namibian President Hage G. Geingob excoriated Germany for its defense of Israel, offering a reminder that Germany committed the 20th century's first genocide against Namibia's Herero and Nama people. "Germany cannot morally express commitment to the United Nations Convention against genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibia, whilst supporting the equivalent of a holocaust and genocide in Gaza," said Namibia's government in a statement.
In the United States, progressive politicians like Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley are calling for a ceasefire and "a massive increase in humanitarian aid immediately," but the Biden administration is either unwilling or simply doesn't want to stop the bloodshed. "The situation sucks and we are stuck. The president's patience is running out," a brave anonymous US official told Axios. Only a Democratic president could make the United States seem helpless in this situation, rather than being the sole global hegemon underwriting Israel's war. It could stop with a phone call. Just ask the spirit of Ronald Reagan.
- Pentagon Investigating SecDef's Hospitalization The Defense Department inspector general is looking into Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's hospitalization, which was disclosed to almost no one, including the White House. Austin is reportedly working again but remains hospitalized. via ABC News and BBC News.
- Winter Storms Affect 100 Million Americans Large parts of the country are experiencing arctic temperatures, dramatic snowfalls, and dangerous weather conditions. From canceled air travel to frozen pipes, the storms are expected to have wide effects. via The New York Times and Associated Press.
- Texas Prevented Federal Agents From Rescuing Migrants According to the Department of Homeland Security, Texas law enforcement officers prevented federal agents from rescuing three migrants who eventually drowned. Texas has employed other deadly methods, like buoys ringed with razor-wire, to keep migrants out. via Associated Press.
- Controversial Middle East Hand Shaping White House Israel Policy Brett McGurk, a longtime White House advisor and national security official, has been pushing a plan to end Israel's invasion of Gaza and normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Among many issues with the plan: it seems to leave almost no political role or sovereignty for Palestinians. via HuffPost.
That's how many consecutive days New York City has gone without one inch of snowfall, which is almost twice as long as the previous record. While swathes of the country are experiencing severe blizzards, overall, the world is suffering from something like a snow shortage. The story is the same as ever: climate change, tipping points, unpredictable weather, and big trouble for humans and the biosphere.
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Destroying people's homes and forcing them to "voluntarily migrate" to another country sure sounds like a war crime.
This guy fell off hard and fast.
"We will restore security to both the south and the north. Nobody will stop us – not The Hague, not the axis of evil and not anybody else."
-- From a tweet by the Israeli Prime Minister's official account. South Africa has been leading a trial at the International Court of Justice, in the Hague, accusing Israel of perpetrating genocide in Gaza.