Pro-Palestinian protest

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.

Freedom Plaza
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 good.

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.

I 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 then raided 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 US President.


A buddy of mine sent me a film clip 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 tossed aside the 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 the consequences of human-caused climate change and concludes that it includes, among other things, the lack of 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!

long flag

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!

tv screen

little girl
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.