Friday, November 3, 2023

Last Call For Israeli Getting Serious Out Here, Con't

Two wild post-Gaza invasion stories from Team WIN THE MORNING this week, first, that the US Senate is looking at a peacekeeping force in Gaza "after it falls".

Talks are underway to establish a multinational force in Gaza after Israel uproots Hamas, two senators confirmed Wednesday, the clearest sign yet that the U.S. and its partners are seriously weighing deploying foreign troops to the enclave.

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told POLITICO that there’s early, closed-door diplomacy over establishing a peacekeeping force in Gaza, though it was not likely to include American troops.

“There are ongoing conversations regarding the possible composition of an international force,” Van Hollen said, refusing to go into specific detail. “They are very preliminary and fragile.”

“I do think it’d be important to have some kind of multinational force in Gaza as a transition to whatever comes next,” he continued.

Hamas, the militant group that killed 1,4000 people in Israel on Oct. 7, has ruled Gaza for more than 15 years. Israel launched a retaliatory military operation after the attack to end Hamas’ rule, including a massive bombing campaign, ground invasion and siege that has killed more than 8,000 people.

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg News first reported that the United States and Israel were in discussions about establishing a peacekeeping force to maintain order in the enclave. In a statement to Bloomberg, NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson denied that “sending U.S. troops” to be part of the coalition was under discussion.

Blumenthal said the congressional delegation that he traveled with to Israel last month discussed the possibility of having Saudi Arabian troops in the force. He noted, however, that he hadn’t heard of U.S. troops heading to Gaza as part of the deliberations.

“There certainly has been discussion with the Saudi about their being part of some international peacekeeping force if only to provide resources, and, longer term, supporting Palestinian leadership and a separate state, obviously. Reconstruction of Gaza will require a vast amount of resources, which the Saudis potentially could help provide,” he said.

“I’m not sure how active the conversation is about U.S. troops,” Blumenthal continued. “I would think that maybe an international force could be mustered without U.S. troops.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who traveled to the Middle East with Blumenthal, said lawmakers discussed with Israeli officials how aid and security would be administered in Gaza after the war. He said he favored the idea of a multinational force, but said sensitivities in the region to U.S. troops would prevent them from being a major part of any such force.

“It’s got to be credible, it’s got to provide security, and it has to involve the surrounding states that believe in a two-state solution,” Cardin said.
I can't believe for a moment that there would be any GOP support for a single US soldier as part of said Gaza peacekeeping force, especially in an election year.  If the Bonesaw Boys in Riyadh want to handle it, well, we've certainly provided enough weapons to the House of Saud for a force, but all of this seems...pretty damn grim, even for the pragmatism of Senate Dems.

On the other hand, that brings us to story two, where the White House doesn't seem to think Netanyahu is going to survive politically anyway, and they're probably right.

Joe Biden and top aides have discussed the likelihood that Benjamin Netanyahu’s political days are numbered — and the president has conveyed that sentiment to the Israeli prime minister in a recent conversation.

The topic of Netanyahu’s short political shelf life has come up in recent White House meetings involving Biden, according to two senior administration officials. That has included discussions that have taken place since Biden’s trip to Israel, where he met with Netanyahu.

Biden has gone so far as to suggest to Netanyahu that he should think about lessons he would share with his eventual successor, the two administration officials added.

A current U.S. official and a former U.S. official both confirmed that the administration believes Netanyahu has limited time left in office. The current official said the expectation internally was that the Israeli PM would likely last a matter of months, or at least until the early fighting phase of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip was over, though all four officials noted the sheer unpredictability of Israeli politics.

“There’s going to have to be a reckoning within Israeli society about what happened,” said the official who, like others, was granted anonymity to detail private conversations. “Ultimately, the buck stops on the prime minister’s desk.”

The administration’s dimming view of Netanyahu’s political future comes as the president and his foreign policy team try to work with, and diplomatically steer, the Israeli leader as his country pursues a complicated and bloody confrontation with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza and attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
This of course all depends on how the Gaza ground invasion goes. If things get as bad as I think they will, the backlash could end Netanyahu's war government quickly.
But if the US gets sucked into Yet Another Middle East Quagmire™ all bets are off, and it's not Netanyahu's political shelf life we'll be talking about, but Biden's.
Luckily Biden is smarter than that, and so are the people surrounding him on foreign policy. Biden's decades of foreign policy experience in the Senate is exactly what we need now.

Just Another Day In Gunmerica


To the members of the gun community, the danger to democracy is a feature, not a bug. Gun absolutists don't want to live in a society where people who disagree with them -- on guns or on most other issues -- wield enough power to enact laws they don't like. Outside of blue states and big cities, gun absolutists have democracy right where they want it: Large majorities of Americans support tighter restrictions on gun ownership, but the vast majority of white people always vote Republican, so it's next to impossible to tighten gun laws.

Gun absolutists want some citizens to be intimidated. They say they just want criminals to be fearful (as well as the government), but they know that many of the people they detest are unlikely to own guns, and the power inequality is precisely what they're after. They want liberals and LGBTQ people and feminists to feel like second-class citizens. They want the option of intimidating protesters they disagree with, in a potentially deadly version of the hecklers' veto. And, obviously, they want to scare off anyone who might support laws making it harder to obtain and brandish weapons. Hey, what do you think "Try That in a Small Town" was all about? It sure as hell wasn't about democracy or upholding the First Amendment right to protest.

It's possible to imagine a society in which everyone lives the way gunners say they want everyone to live -- every law-abiding citizen across the political spectrum might accept our gun culture as unchangeable and might decide that it's necessary to own weapons, and to wear them in public at all times wherever that's legal. Liberals might reluctantly do this. Feminists and queers might do this. In theory, even gun control advocates might do this, telling themselves that while an extremely armed society is bad, it's clear that we already live in one, and until that changes, it's suicidal to go unarmed.

But the gunners wouldn't like that. They like the advantage they have over the rest of us. They enjoy our fear.
Adding, if you're Black or brown, owning a gun gets you killed even faster. Police don't bother to check if you're a law-abiding citizen practicing your Constitutional Second Amendment rights for home ownership of a firearm, legal concealed carry, or god forbid, open carry. You'd get executed on the spot.
Firearms are a privilege afforded to white Americans only. Everyone else gets murdered. This is why I don't own a firearm. It would make no positive difference to increase my survivability rate as a Black man in America, and in fact it would massively increase my odds of being shot and killed by law enforcement. 

Nobody with a firearm would ever see a Black civilian as a "good guy with a gun". Ever. A group of armed Black people practicing open carry in an open carry state would be butchered by police.

Think about that really hard.

In Republican red state America, in 2023, your rights are solely determined by your race (and gender, when we talk about women also being second-class status.) Your "inalienable" rights are provisional depending on the situation and person, and that includes the right to bear arms.

Spare me the whining about your Second Amendment rights, and talk about mine for once.

Sam Bankman-Fried Fried For Fraud

The jury in the fraud trial of cryptocurrency king Sam Bankman-Fried took less than a day to return a guilty verdict on seven counts involving billions of dollars stolen from investors.

Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on Thursday for his role in the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.

After 15 days of testimony and about four and a half hours of deliberations, jurors returned a verdict that found him guilty on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Bankman-Fried looked sunken as the verdict was read out. After the jury was released, he stood, head bowed and shaking as his lawyer spoke in his ear. A few feet behind him, his parents stood watching. As Bankman-Fried was escorted out of the room, he turned back and smiled at his parents. His father, Joe Bankman, put his arm around his wife’s shoulders. As their son left the room, Barbara Fried broke down in tears.

In remarks outside the Manhattan courthouse on Thursday, US Attorney Damian Williams lauded the jury’s verdict, saying the government has “no patience” for fraud and corruption.

“These players like Sam Bankman-Fried might be new, but this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time,” he said.

But Bankman-Fried’s attorney said they were “disappointed.”

“We respect the jury’s decision. But we are very disappointed with the result,” said lead defense attorney Mark Cohen in a statement. “Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”

The sentencing hearing date will be March 28, 2024. He faces up to 110 years in prison.

Bankman-Fried was found guilty of stealing billions of dollars from accounts belonging to customers of his once-high-flying crypto exchange FTX. He was also found guilty of defrauding lenders to FTX’s sister company, the hedge fund Alameda Research, which held FTX customer funds in a bank account.

During his trial, Bankman-Fried said he learned in 2020 that FTX customer funds were held by Alameda but he did not take action to safeguard them.

When he later discovered in the fall of 2022 that Alameda owed $8 billion to FTX, no one was fired.

Other charges Bankman-Fried was found guilty of include defrauding investors in FTX and a money-laundering charge.

“Sam Bankman-Fried thought that he was above the law. Today’s verdict proves he was wrong,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a statement. “This case should send a clear message to anyone who tries to hide their crimes behind a shiny new thing they claim no one else is smart enough to understand: the Justice Department will hold you accountable.”

Sam here is facing decades in prison, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving little carbuncle of a man. It was a scheme from the start, and people lost tens, if not hundreds of billions in the collapse of his pyramid.

This is a guy who needs to be put in a box until the 22nd century. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails