4 Oct 2023
Freedom Plaza, Washington DC - Pro-Palestinian protest. We were told
the march was so
packed, we had people stretching all the way back to the White House.
A whole set of cool posters on the way to the protest.
Rally at Freedom Plaza. I wasn't clear on the schedule when I made
train reservations, so I arrived long
before the march began and I was scrambling to make the train on time
while the march was in progress. Made it to the station as the train was loading.
Situation in Gaza, not
Two more major hospitals in Gaza closed to new patients on Sunday, with
staff saying that Israeli bombardment plus lack of fuel and medicine
meant more babies and others could die.
drew a distincton betwen collateral damage and outright murder to
discriminate between what Hamas did to Israeli citizens on October 7th
and what Israel was doing in Gaza. With increasing damage done to
hospitals and supplies of basic items like fresh water and fuel for
electricity dwindling, that distinction is hard to defend.
The actress Alyssa Milano, like many millions of others, is
torn. She fully and completely recognizes
the horrors of October 7th and the worldwide rise of antisemitism,
but is also quite concerned about Palestinians, expecially children,
caught in the crossfire between the Israeli military and Hamas.
After the Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest, reported that they were
extremely short on diesel fuel and therefore lights and water, Israel
and occupied the hosptal. "Hamas blames Biden, as well as Israel,
for Al-Shifa storming" because of course they blamed Biden as he's the
A buddy of mine sent me a film
where a fellow said that the US pursues "liberal hegemony," an attempt
to make everyone just like us. So Russia, an authoritarian state with a
highly centralized government and an economic dependence on fossil
fuels, is encouraged to want to change over to a liberal democracy that
uses wind, solar, etc. What Russia wants at this point (and the Soviet
Union desired this in the late 1930s and again after the defeat of Nazi
Germany in World War II) is "buffer states." States or countrie that
would take an enemy attack first, so that the Soviet Union/Russia could
meet the enemy there and fight on non-Russia soil.
Chants and tunes.
So what does it mean to be a buffer state? I had an on-line discussion
with a libertarian a few weeks ago on Twitter/X. I
remarked that Russia's promises were worthless as Russia simply
1994 Budapest Memorandum.
Unfortunately, Russia has broken
virtually all the commitments it undertook in that document. It
used military force to seize, and then illegally annex, Ukraine’s
Crimean peninsula in early 2014.
Now, the libertarian felt that as Ukraine had radically changed its
government from a pro-Russian one to one that was hostile to Russia,
that Russia was justified in throwing aside the Memorandum.
So what does this mean for Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia as Russia
considers them all to be buffer states? It means they don't have
independent governments that can make their own policy choices. Why
would anyone choose for their state to play such a role? Seems pretty
clear to that no one would and that they'd all struggle to shuck off
their role as buffer states. A Russian TV coommenter remarks that the
West is offering the prospect that Ukrainians probably will not live as
well as the French or Germans if they join the EU, but at least as well
as the Czechs or the Slovaks, which
would be an improvement over their current standard of living.
A special incentive would be to keep the world from getting too warm.
As I said, Russia is very heavilty dependent on fossil fuels. What is
the burning of fossil fuels doing to the planet? The safest numbe of
parts per million (PPM) of carbon
in the atmosphere is 350.
The average, according to fossil records, is about 280 ppm. The 70 ppm
the world has gained since the Industrial Revolution began (about 1750)
is no big deal, but every point gained since then increases the danger.
Right now (13 Nov 2023), NASA
records the world's ppm as 419.
So yeah, cool. If you're a buffer state for Russia, well hey! Russia
can give you
a discount for purchasing their planet-killing fossil fuels!
The European Commission examines
of human-caused climate change and concludes that it includes, among other
things, the lack
fresh water for plants, animals and humans (also, flooding of salt
water, as opposed to fresh water, is much more
corrosive), river flooding (increased
flooding from rivers in Europe), more
intense cloudbursts (Hurricane
Harvey in 2017 dumped over 60 inches of rain on Houston, TX). So
yeah, fossil fuels are not helpful to the future of humankind.
Back in 2010, the Freedom Caucus proved that they couldn't govern. From
2010 to 2017, the House voted
to repeal Obamacare 100 times. There was apparently nothing else
that needed doing. During Trump's first two years, they
passed a tax cut to help the wealthy that was estimated to add $1
to $2 trillion to the federal debt and that's about it.
And now, Speaker Johnson has already made himself unpopula by using
Democratic votes to prevent a government shutdown. In his podcast, Steve
Bannon made it clear that he's completely ready to toss Johnson out
and start another three-week
search for a new Speaker!
A very short time ago (November 5th) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
insisted that the Russian war against Ukraine was not in a state of stalemate. As of much less time ago,
Ukraine seems to be making progress down South, on the East bank of the
Dnipro River opposite Kherson. Ukraine hasn't established a pontoon
bridge yet as they want to wait until their forces push Russians back
until tube artillery (as opposed to rocket artillery) is unable to
reach the bridge that they will then build.
How's the arms situation for Ukraine? It's okay. Russia supplies much lower quality equipment to its forces, but sher quantity does matter!
Yeah, it's tough to be a young person in a crowd that's mostly grown-ups!
NPR says the march consisted of "tens of thousands" of people.