Looming Terror in Rafah - The Friday AM Quickie 2/16/24

There's a lot of cooking in my future this weekend. I'll try to have the dishes washed by the time Jacob finishes Monday's newsletter. - Corey

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Israel Risks Bringing Egypt Into War With Rafah Assault

The situation in Gaza remains unremittingly grim. A million and a half Palestinian people, having been displaced multiple times by Israeli bombardment and ground assault, are now crowded into the Strip's southernmost city, Rafah – "a place of last resort" that Israel is preparing to invade against the wishes of its key ally, the United States. The announced Rafah assault, which some hope or believe may turn out to be a bluff, will result in what the Washington Post calls "civilian bloodbath" and collapse what remains of the humanitarian aid pipelines into Gaza. And what then?

Determined to keep Palestinians in Gaza, Egypt has fortified the Rafah border crossing with soldiers, dozens of tanks and armored vehicles, and new fences. At the same time, they are building what the Wall Street Journal describes as an 8-square-mile camp filled with tents and surrounded by concrete walls that could contain more than 100,000 people should Israel force them across the border. Egypt warns that any Israeli military incursion on the border would bring the 1979 peace accord between the two countries to an end.

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have joined the U.S. in urging Israel against attacking Rafah. Biden personally delivered that message to far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call last night, per CNN. But Netanyahu doesn't seem to take Biden very seriously. Netanyahu's office has publicly rejected the latest U.S. peace plan, which included a timeline for the creation of a Palestinian state, saying "now is not the time to be speaking about gifts for the Palestinian people." Israeli forces yesterday stormed the largest hospital still functioning in Gaza, killed at least one patient and a doctor, and forced "more than 460 staff, patients and their relatives to move into an older building in the compound that isn't equipped to treat patients," the Associated Press reports. And the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 72 of the 99 journalists killed worldwide last year were Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. These are not the words and actions of a government that fears losing support from allies or cares about international opinion, much less international law.

Dodgy FBI Informant Central to GOP Conspiracy Theories About Biden Charged with Lying to the Bureau

Sick F*ck Donald Trump has called on his flunkies in Congress to impeach President Joe Biden twice in less than than 24 hours, seeing it as a way to get even for his two impeachments and to distract from the criminal cases that are complicating his presidential campaign. But the Republicans' impeachment inquiry targeting Biden has floundered due to an utter lack of evidence. And it's not going to get any easier for them now that the same Justice Department special counsel who has been investigating Biden's son Hunter, David Weiss, has brought charges against the FBI informant central to Republican fantasies about the "Biden crime family." The informant, 43-year-old Russian-speaking businessman Alexander Smirnov, was arrested in Las Vegas on Wednesday and charged with lying to the bureau about bribes the Bidens supposedly sought in Ukraine. Although it's rare for the feds to prosecute one of their own sources, the Washington Post suggests that crackpot House Republicans left the Bureau with little choice, as "FBI officials were repeatedly forced to answer politicians' questions about Smirnov's claims and faced accusations from conservatives that the FBI itself may be corrupt." The Deep State strikes again!

Trumpdates: More Compliments from Putin

  • 'Lies, Lies, Lies': Prosecutor in Georgia Racketeering Case Hits Back at Conflict of Interest Claims "These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I'm not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told defense lawyers who questioned her under oath yesterday about her relationship with a subordinate. via the Washington Post, the Associated Press and the New York Times.
  • First Criminal Trial Date Set for Trump in New York Hush Money Case When Trump lawyer Todd Blanche complained the trial schedule would interfere with the Sick F*ck's campaign schedule, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan responded, "That is not a legal argument. See you on March 25th." via the Washington Post.
  • SEC Green-Lights Merger That Will Bail Out Failing Truth Social, Which Lost More Than $50 Million Last Year Trump will hold up to 69 percent of the shares in the post-merger company, a stake worth nearly $4 billion -- at least on paper, as analysts point out the company's valuation bears no relation to its financial performance. via the Post and Politico.
  • New York Fraud Trial Verdict Expected Today "Trump could be hit with millions of dollars in penalties and other sanctions in the decision by Judge Arthur Engoron, who has already ruled that the former president inflated his wealth on financial statements that were given to banks, insurers and others to make deals and secure loans." via the Associated Press.


  • Russia Reports Right-Wing Putin Critic Aleksei Navalny Dead in Prison Authorities say the 47-year-old "lost consciousness on Friday taking a walk in the Arctic prison where he was moved late last year." via the New York Times.
  • Key Biden Ally Rep. Jim Clyburn, 83, to Resign from Democratic Leadership Clyburn still plans to run again for his South Carolina seat; Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse, 39, seeks to replace Clyburn as Assistant Democratic Leader. via NBC News.
  • Venezuela Kicks Out 'Colonialist' United Nations Human Rights Office State television this week "harshly criticized comments by the UN's special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, who [said] the government food program does not tackle the root causes of hunger and is susceptible to political influences." via the Guardian.
  • California Tightens Rules on Workplace Lead Exposure, Sparing Thousands of Workers from Heart Disease and Early Death The new rules approved yesterday by the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board are still not as strict as experts recommend, but staff decided against following the science "because the costs for businesses would be much higher." via the Los Angeles Times.
  • Biden Will Expand Student Loan Relief to Borrowers Experiencing Financial Hardship The Education Department has proposed "a one-time debt relief program that would automatically cancel debt in circumstances where its data suggests that borrowers are at least 80 percent likely to default on their debt within the next two years." via Politico.



That's how many workers in the U.S. went on strike last year, an increase of 141 percent from 2022, according to Cornell University's Labor Action Tracker. Alexander Colvin, the dean of Cornell's School of Industrial Labor and Relations, says the increase "indicates a union resurgence that is shifting the balance of power back toward labor."


2/16: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma speak with political commentator Olayemi Olurin to round up the week in news.


Why Americans Elect So Many Lunatics

It isn't all the lead poisoning?

Rubio Still a Spineless Coward

He's come a long way from correctly calling Trump a "con artist."


"We live in America. We love our guns more than we love ourselves. Or our children."

-- Elbert Wiltz, a retired construction worker in Kansas City, Missouri, speaking to the Washington Post about the mass shooting Wednesday at the Chiefs Super Bowl victory celebration, which killed one person and wounded at least 22, half of them children under 16 years old. Police had two teenagers in custody yesterday and said the shooting seems to have started during an argument.

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