Wednesday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Book about book bans banned by Florida school board

    A book about book bans has been banned in a Florida school district. Ban This Book, a children’s book written by Alan Gratz, will no longer be available in the Indian River county school district since the school board voted to remove the book last month.

    Gratz’s book, which came out in 2017, follows fourth-grader Amy Anne Ollinger as she tries to check out her favorite book. Ollinger is told by the librarian she cannot, because it was banned after a classmate’s parent thought it was inappropriate. She then creates a secret banned-books library, entering into “an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read”, according to the book’s description on Gratz’s website.

    In a peculiar case of life imitating art, Jennifer Pippin, a parent in the coastal community, challenged the book. Pippin’s opposition is what prompted the school board to vote 3-2 in favor of removing it from shelves. The vote happened despite the district’s book-review committee vetting the work and deciding to keep it in schools.

    Indian River county school board members disagreed with how Gratz’s book referred to other works that had been taken out of school, and accused it of “teaching rebellion of school-board authority”, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

    Oh… Well… We can’t have that.

    In a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, Gratz noted the irony of his book being banned.

    “They banned the book because it talks about the books that they have banned and because it talks about book banning,” he said. “It feels like they know exactly what they’re doing and they’re somewhat ashamed of what they’re doing and they don’t want a book on the shelves that calls them out.”

    I don’t think they’re ashamed, mainly because I don’t think they are capable of shame. I think they are just a bunch of thin skinned shit weasels who can’t handle any kind of criticism.

    I also think they are fragile little fascists.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Timothy McBride

    So is committing a crime, because a convicted felon, a requirement to be running mate?

    Aaron Rupar
    JD Vance says Trump’s VP vetting materials include a question about whether any of the prospective candidates have “committed a crime” or lied. The irony!

    Irony is dead.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve been musing about how a certain segment of Trumpers can be thought of as “vassals”. Hear me out. A vassal exists in a culture where there is one overarching lord with seemingly (at least to the vassal) absolute authority. Everyone’s worth is measured by their proximity and loyalty to the lord and you would think a vassal, being the farthest, would be the lowest, but there is yet another group – the outsiders. Those are automatically the enemy because they do not swear fealty to the all powerful lord.

    A vassals self esteem is tied up with that of their lord, and specifically the perceived power of that lord. Did the lord do something duplicitous but got away with it? That demonstrates power. Did he lie to someone’s face brazenly, with everyone knowing it, but face no repercussions? Another demonstration of power. And while the vassal may dread any contact with the lord’s soldiers or sheriff’s men, they know (or think they know) that those dread beings act completely at the whim of the lord. The idea that those minions could act against the lord himself makes no sense, it’s a violation of universal laws. It’s as if the lord’s hand developed free will and starting punching him in the face.

    So challenging a vassal with the perfidy of the lord has the opposite effect intended. As long as the lord gets away with it, it’s just another demonstration of his power. And if he doesn’t get away with it? The only explanation must be traitors. In order to preserve their sense of worth a vassal must believe their lord cannot fail, but only be failed. If the lord ends on the gibbet for his crimes, the vassal will never see that as justice, but rather just slink away, resentful that the Others have once again disrespected them, by disrespecting their lord.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How Britain became a food bank nation

    There are 850 cinemas in Britain today and three times as many food banks. There are 1,200 hospitals and twice as many food banks. There are more food banks than there are public libraries.

    The food bank has become such a fixture in our national life that we have almost forgotten that food banks barely existed until very recently. A mere 35 were provided by the Trussell Trust in 2010 and they had to increase twentyfold to 650 in 2013 and then double again to 1,300 in 2019. With the addition of independent food banks, today’s 2,800 food banks and emergency food suppliers are now as recognisable a feature of the British landscape as the local secondary school. Food banks are opening as fast as high street banks have been closing down.

    Their existence is of course a testimony to the human decency and heroic endeavours of thousands of fellow citizens who feel the pain of others and believe in something bigger than themselves. But the fact that food banks have had to come into existence in one of the richest countries in the world is a scar on our collective conscience and a permanent stain on our country’s character.
    What makes things worse is that the food banks and other charities that have had to take over from the welfare state as a safety net for the poorest citizens are themselves running short of money. Charities may soon have to cut back on helping the hungry so they can save the starving, for they are facing a cost of giving crisis. Many donors to food banks who have little themselves, but have generously given to help those who have nothing, are now finding they have nothing more to give.

    Safe to say we will never have the problem of too many food banks on this side of the pond.

  5. Jax says:

    Elon has officially ruined Twitter for me. I used to take great pleasure in blocking or muting or clicking “not interested in this ad.” They’ve now taken away the ability to get away from the ads at all without a subscription. I absolutely refuse to pay that man for anything, so I’m pretty much done using Twitter at all.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: But but but… He’s a genius!

    I have a twitter account but I’ve never posted anything, favorited anything, retweeted anything, etc etc etc. I have no followers and I like it that way. Nobody cares what I have to say anyway. I go there to check in with the usual suspects and I have an ad-blocker that allows me to do so ad free. He’s never made a penny off of me and it’s going to stay that way.

    If it ever comes about that I am no longer able to do that, I’ll be gone in a NY second.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Donald Trump fundraiser in London ‘already has $2m’ day before event

    They’re standing in line to underwrite his crime spree.

  8. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And they don’t want any kids getting the same idea about creating a banned-book library

  9. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan: So you’re saying that Rudy Giuliani isn’t a villain, he’s merely a villein?

  10. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I first heard of food banks as a teenager in 1960-mumble. We already had too many a half century before Britain opened its first.

  11. mattbernius says:

    I hate to say this out loud, as they may one day figure it out, but ads don’t appear in lists.

    I find the feeds absolutely useless. So I curate lists of folks I want to read based on subject area. It, in my opinion, is the best way to use Xter.

  12. DeD says:

    Their only response to every question should be, “It’s a New York City matter. Mind your own business.”

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: I see where you are going with this. So who’s the village idiot?

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Millions of US voters lack access to documents to prove citizenship

    My wife misplaced her naturalization papers a while ago. I had been on her to get new ones and she finally did about a year ago. It wasn’t certified, it was just a copy.

    “Honey, this won’t work.”

    So I’ve been on her to get a certified copy ever since, and she still hasn’t done it. So right now the closest thing she has to proof of citizenship is an expired US passport. I’m worried some busybody will show up at our small rural polls, take one look at her name, and challenge her right to vote. Even tho we’ve been voting there for almost 15 years.

    Hope I don’t end up in jail.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: Heh, I do the same. I’d say, “Great minds…” and all that but in this case you might want to worry. 😉

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The fundraising numbers are “according to organizers”. What credibility do they have? They are, literally, Trump supporters and therefore have no problem with saying anything that comes into their heads and branding it “truth”.

  17. Kathy says:

    Heads up, an investment fund bought a couple of billion dollars worth of Southwest stock, and want to expel the current management and change the company, naturally to increase shareholder value.

    Southwest has tons of problems, currently and in the past*. It also has a distinct identity and business model. Right now, low cost carriers are in a slump for various reasons. That’s why first Frontier and then JetBlue tried to buy Spirit, why Frontier adopted bundles, etc. But before the trump pandemic, they were thriving. Things have changed, and no doubt things will change gain.
    Adapting to current conditions ins’t the wrong move, but may not necessarily be the right move.

    In this case, though, it seems the investors are out to make a quick buck and leave, if not an outright pump and dump play. You know, they oust the management, they reform the board, the stock rises, they sell and are never heard from again (not in connection to Southwest).

    *Its not just the infamous winter meltdown. Southwest lags behind in support tech for flight operations. Long before the meltdown, they had to buy airTran in order to set up international flights (really).

  18. DeD says:

    Umm, I was on the job for 24 years. You’re barking up the wrong tree, once again demonstrating you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    Nice. One so seldom sees medieval homonym humor.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’d imagine that’s mostly Russian money.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    One so seldom sees medieval homonym humor

    Too true! Really seems to have fallen off in the last four or five hundred years…

  22. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I genuinely do not understand this. US law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to US campaigns at any level.

    Notably, it’s also ILLEGAL for a campaign to SOLICIT funds from foreign nationals.

  23. Kathy says:

    Is “fun” what we call not being bored?

    No. But I think it’s close.

    Consider going through a lot of stuff at work. depending on what you do, it’s likely tedious, hard, stressful, etc., and decidedly not fun. But you won’t be bored doing it.

    On the other hand, listening to a lecture on exoplanets, or Egyptian funerary practices, or scouring airline sites for fares, or looking up activities and sites for your vacation, may not be “fun” in the sense most people mean, but it is for anyone interested in such things, who are definitely not bored.

  24. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: For a moment, I thought that tweet was from Timothy McVEIGH. Like, asking if he could have the job. And he’d be just about the perfect running mate for Trump!

  25. Kathy says:


    I think he’s too dead to carry out the duties, such as they are, of the VP office.

    On the other hand, maybe der Kleineorangefuhrer likes his VPs dead.

  26. CSK says:


    I tend to divide activities into four categories:

    Useful but boring.
    Interesting but useless.
    Interesting and useful.
    Pointless and boring.

  27. Kathy says:


    My go to assumptions in fields I don’t know well, is that those who know the field better may just know what they are doing; and sometimes so do those reporting on it.

    Take this latest “I’m too rich and blonde to be locked up” note. In particular this part:

    Amy Saharia, Holmes’ lawyer, told a three-judge panel of the ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco that the Theranos founder believed she was telling the truth when she told investors that Theranos’s miniature blood testing device could accurately run a broad array of medical diagnostic tests on a small amount of blood.

    It seems to me this is a question of fact, which has been decided by the jury. Appeals, as far as I know, do not look at the facts of the case, but at matters of law. Unless there’s new evidence not available at the time of trial. So it seems like something that’s pointless to bring up.

    And yet, would a lawyer waste her and the courts’ time if this were the case? It’s more likely my knowledge on the matter is incomplete. Besides, there’s this:

    The assistant US attorney Kelly Volkar, arguing for the government, … also said that “it was not really contested that the device did not work”.

    So, the DA is not arguing the question of fact, if that’s what it is, has no place in the appeal process.

    So, I don’t know.

  28. Joe says:


    So you’re saying that Rudy Giuliani isn’t a villain, he’s merely a villein?

    @Michael Reynolds: I like to think of this more as, equally rare, etymological humor.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: I didn’t read the article, but FWIW it’s not unusual to have fundraisers amongst US Expats in a foreign country.

    If it turns out that it is actual foreign nationals donating then it is illegal. I wonder if it would have to be enforced by the FEC, in which case Republicans would have to approve enforcement.

  30. Kathy says:


    Pointless and boring.

    Sounds like my job.

  31. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: I did read the article, and while expats were mentioned, the piece noted the involvement of people like Nigel Farage and others who should absolutely not be involved in fundraising. (I worked in politics and am very familiar with the foreign nationals prohibition–it’s a super-clear section of the statutes.)

    When Trump sent out a mass email soliciting funds during his first campaign in 2016, it hit a bunch of email inboxes of foreign officials. I noted then that his campaign was breaking the law by even sending the email asking for contributions (IIRC, his campaign purchased a list and the whole thing got swept under the rug.)

    ETA: I lived abroad and know that US Dems Abroad and US Republicans Abroad do fundraising events. The involvement of people in the host country is what is raising my eyebrows. It seems sketchy AF but then again look at who we’re talking about…

  32. DeD says:

    In contrast, Trump has considerably less experience in politics. He claims that he can make intuitive decisions in a field where he lacks knowledge by using “common sense” and still be more accurate than knowledgeable experts. This claim contradicts the research showing that extensive job-specific experience and knowledge is necessary for intuitive decisions to be consistently effective.

    Trump is unfit — apart from the blaringly obvious — due to his lack of experiential knowledge, an a priori database from which to make proper and appropriate decisions. The current GOP is unfit because its goal, and the means and methods it uses to achieve that goal, is naked political power, ostensibly to legislatively force Americans to live by THEIR rules. Neither has America’s interests as their prime motive.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    It looks as if the UN, the US and Israel are all ready for a ceasefire. Only Hamas is rejecting it.

    I await the storm of criticism of Hamas’s decision to hold out for still more innocent Palestinian deaths – the deaths they accidentally admitted to favoring.

  34. @Michael Reynolds: Gee, Michael, it is as if your goal in these conversations is just scoring points rather than argumentation to persuade.

    At any rate, I condemn Hamas for not agreeing to a cease-fire. (Which still doesn’t change my general criticisms of how Israel has prosecuted this entire action. But then again, I never supported Hamas).

  35. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: America?

  36. just nutha says:

    @Jen: Can Farage et. al. claim they are fundraising exclusively for his criminal defense and the two processes are simply conflated (which they are)?

  37. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @MarkedMan:

    You guys should get hold of a copy of A C Mery Talys aka A Hundred Merry Tales aka Shakespeare’s Jest Book.

    Ninety-five percent of the jokes are filthy. They’re also hilarious, particularly when rendered in late Middle English.

  38. just nutha says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: When one doesn’t have persuasive arguments available, scoring points is the only game. I tend to think that self-justification plays a primary role in perceiving a need to score points but I’m not an expert.

  39. DK says:

    The potted plants of Hamas, moving the goalposts again:

    “Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table” for a permanent ceasefire and release of hostages still held in Gaza, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday…

    While much of Blinken’s trip — his eighth to the region since October 7 — had been centered on ratcheting up pressure on Hamas to take the proposal, it was also focused on developing plans for when a ceasefire is put into place.

    “In the coming weeks, we will put forward proposals for key elements of the ‘day after’ plan, including concrete ideas for how to manage governance, security, reconstruction,” the top US diplomat said Wednesday, without providing further details.

    Blinken now travels to Italy to attend the G7 summit alongside US President Joe Biden.

    Antony Blinken is a hardest-working man in showbiz. God bless that man.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I thought of that too. My assumption is that the money is going to a PAC. The rules are different for them, not that I have any idea of how different.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Michael, it has long been known that Hamas does not give a rat’s ass about civilian deaths and in fact recruits off them, something the conservatives in Israel have long been all too happy to oblige Hamas with by providing them.

  42. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t think that matters. PACs that spend money on US elections cannot take donations from foreign nationals.

    Where things get murky are the donations to “social welfare” organizations that are a different part of the tax code. This is how the NRA accepted Russian money, IIRC.

    ETA: I am not a lawyer, obviously, and would love to hear from someone who practices election finance law.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Thanx much for the clarification. You may not know as much as a lawyer in election finance law, but you know more than I.

  44. Kathy says:


    He’s doing a bang-up job ruining space travel for me.

    Choice quote: Wednesday’s lawsuit accuses SpaceX and Musk of retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of California law, and further accuses the company of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    I don’t know why I even bother to try to make sense out of events like this.

    Messengers (voting representatives to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis) have failed to approve the Law Amendment, named after Pastor Mike Law.
    The Law Amendment is in bold below:

    The Convention will only deem a church to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention, and sympathetic with its purposes and work (i.e., a “cooperating” church as that term is used in the Convention’s governing documents) which:
    Affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.

    If you care to hear Pastor Law expound on how allowing women Pastors in the church will lead to Homosexual and Transexual Pastors see this link.
    What is nonsensical about the defeat of the Law Amendment is that the same Messengers had earlier voted to expel the First Baptist Church of Alexandria. Not because that church has a woman Pastor. No. The congregation of the Alexandria church just thinks it’s a good idea.

    The Alexandria church is currently led by a man, Robert Stephens, but the church has made clear it believes women can serve as senior pastors, too.

  46. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jen: @OzarkHillbilly:

    The donations to the event(s) are limited to U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents only. Biden is having a fundraiser in Britain on the same day, limited to the same class of people.

  47. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I await the storm of criticism of Hamas

    I kinda thought that criticism (if not outright loathing) of Hamas was taken as read. I keep hearing about people allegedly defending Hamas or taking pro-Hamas positions, but I’ve never actually met or seen one. I guess I don’t hang out in the right places.

    For the record: I will explicitly denounce pretty much any Hamas action or position you wish me to go on record about. Including rejecting a cease-fire.

  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    No, Steven, I just get cranky when people take my analysis, conflate it with cheerleading, and use it as a launch pad for attacking me for things I never said and don’t believe. And I have a particular dislike for hypocrisy and sanctimonious moral posturing, particularly from people who know nothing about the topic at hand.

    A billion words condemning Israel, against some few reluctant admissions that Hamas are bad people. Like that’s just priced-in. Hey, whaddya gonna do, man, they’re like, bad. Let’s not spend any energy suggesting that they have agency, that they might change their behavior, that maybe Qatar should expel the thieving psychopaths, or Iran be blamed. No time for that, let’s get back to shitting on Israel, which, by the way, absolutely deserves some of that shit.

    And we must never ask why college campuses erupt over Gaza, which has no effect on their lives, while remaining quiet on trans rights or women’s rights or democracy itself, three topics that will have a great deal of impact on a lot of American lives. The country’s coming down around our ears, we may be approaching the end of American democracy, and what are our brave college kids on about? Bibi Netanyahu, 10,000 miles away, in a place they know nothing about and lack the intellectual curiosity to try to understand.

    All the loud performative breast-beating from people who have no plan, no realistic end-state to propose, nothing but fantasies and slogans, mostly from people who just discovered the Middle East seven months ago and couldn’t find Gaza on a blow-up wall map.

    We really could have used some college kid energy on issues that actually matter to the American people. They went AWOL. They abandoned their supposed allies. But I’m sure they’ll show up in Chicago to blame Joe Biden and wave their Palestinian flags and help to bring about the very results they claim to oppose. 1968, all over again.

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s equally read-in that Israel would be tough, even brutal. And it’s read-in that war in a dense urban space will mean civilian deaths. And it’s read-in that Netanyahu and his settler pals are shitty people. And just as read-in that Israel was not going to stop just because we asked them to. And it’s read-in that no matter what happens, nothing will be solved because there is no solution.

    Every aspect of this has been long-established. There have been zero surprises. But still we spend an enormous mount of time denouncing just one side in this war.

  50. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Thoughtcrime is the real crime. Doubleplusungood.

  51. steve says:

    I have condemned and denounced Hamas multiple times and glad to do it again. I hope Israel kills all of them (but doubt that they can). Should that be added to every discussion about Israel and its war in Gaza?


  52. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: That Hamas doesn’t seem interested in a cease fire shows how much of a mistake the Israeli war on Gaza was — Hamas is winning.

    Not in a simple military who-holds-the-most-area way, but in getting closer to their goals without a cost that they care about.

    An outcome which a lot of people anticipated on October 8th, rather than being excited that Israel was hitting back hard while defending it with claims that Israel had no choice. People who value Palestinian lives about as much as Hamas does.

    (To be clear: Israel had no choice in that they had to respond, but they had lots of choices of how to respond)

    Hamas wanted Israel to declare war on Gaza. Not sure why anyone thought that giving Hamas what they wanted was a good idea.

  53. Jen says:

    @Neil Hudelson: OK, but I am still not understanding Farage’s involvement. Is he just the scheduled entertainment?

  54. CSK says:


    Farage is currently a presenter for GB News, so perhaps he’s just another civilian, though he is standing for Parliament.

  55. Kathy says:

    Work is rather light at the moment for some reason. I’ve been looking up tourist info on Pompeii and Herculaneum. I really need to see them in person.

    Anyway, I got to thinking about cities and other settlements near volcanoes. There are plenty. Why? Because the soil around volcanoes is very fertile. Why? For the same reason soil along floodplains is very fertile: it concentrates nutrients from other places. Also there tend to be abundant mineral resources and water.

    So, I wondered, might there be some other cities or villages that were accidentally preserved as a result of nearby volcanic activity? Ones that were forgotten for a very long time, and haven’t been rediscovered?

    It’s not that far fetched. Pompeii and Herculaneum were forgotten for about 1700 years, after all, and were discovered by accident (sources vary between the digging of a well, or foundations for a palace).

    In fact, there are two such sites in Mexico City: Copilco and Cuicuilco. I recall having visited the latter on a school trip decades ago. The former is all underground, and closed to the public. They’re not as well preserved as the sites in Italy, but they show what Vesuvius did was not a one-off incredibly improbable rarity.

    I assume professional archaeologists know this things, and have looked or know how to look for other such sites. But ti would make for an interesting setting for a science fiction story. Suppose some young, brilliant archaeologist devises some menas for looking deep underground in large areas around volcanoes, and eventually she finds a very well preserved, very ancient, and very forgotten site.

    Of course, just finding some forgotten human city would be nice, but kind of a dry ending for a story. No, she’d also find the remains of a few alien scientists who’d been studying the local inhabitants when the volcano unexpectedly erupted. And their ship looks like new…

  56. SenyorDave says:

    I know its a cliche, but words fail me:

    Watch “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani call Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis a “ho,” and the Christian audience at the ReAwaken America tour go wild for it last night.

  57. dazedandconfused says:


    Some problems have no good solutions. I will say that going into Gaza without a coherent plan to end the existence of HAMAs was not a good idea though.

    There are multiple works by experts on how one can approach fighting guys like HAMAs, deeply embedded within a population and welded to a territory are very difficult conditions to beat. Not going to separate them from the population so you need to engage the population, or some portion of it, in the fight. This is the basis of “Clear and Hold”, which the IDF doesn’t believe in, but is nonetheless about the only way.

  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Thanx. I appreciate the efforts of pedants everywhere more interested in minutiae than I.

    😉 😉 😉

  59. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But still we spend an enormous mount of time denouncing just one side in this war.

    I don’t bother denouncing rats; I just exterminate them. When I can do it without killing a bunch of my neighbors, that is. Hamas are rats — but that doesn’t mean I stop caring about the neighbors.

    The government of Israel gets denounced precisely because they are not (we hope) merely rats.

  60. @Michael Reynolds: I can’t speak for the whole of humanity, but only for myself. I hold alleged liberal democracies to a higher standard than I do terrorist organizations. The is not because I condone terrorist organizations. It is because I would prefer that liberal democracies not create humanitarian crises.

  61. Dawn says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    How many ceasefire proposals has Israel rejected? Several.

    How many UN ceasefire proposals has the United States vetoed? Several.

    Now that Hamas has proposed amendments which Israel and the United States have either rejected or will continue to negotiate, you blame Hamas for the impasse – and without noting the number of times Israel and the US have done so simply harks back to “it’s always the Palestinians’ fault” that there’s no perpetual peace between the peoples. Jesus.

    Hamas has always made it clear that it would not consider any proposal that did not require Israel to completely withdraw from Gaza and, due to more recent events, that such withdrawal includes the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi corridor. That Israel and the US find this “unworkable” only serves to prove Hamas’s point.

    You have repeatedly stated the danger to Israel if it were to withdraw; that is, continued rocket fire from Hamas. You fail to state at all that the danger from Israel to Gazan Palestinians is much, much greater. Israel has attested that it wishes to commit “total war” on Gaza – it has used the Dahiya Doctrine to great effect already – and it will not stop, ceasefire or no. Hamas knows this very well, and it seeks to limit Israel’s ability to do so as much as possible.

    Total war is Israel’s choice. Yes, Hamas knew that the Gazans would pay the price, but, in its eyes, they’ve been paying a heavy price from Israeli sieges and blockades and continual incursions and airstrikes regardless of what Hamas chooses to do or not do. Israel is the sole perpetrator of the horrific death toll and devastation, with focused intent on breaking the resistance of the people, not so much the eradication of Hamas. It’s not working, and both Israel and the US, with an age-old mindset, are too blind to see it.

  62. Dawn says:


    Hamas began as a charitable organization in Gaza that became an armed paramilitary resistance to a long-term colonial military occupation during which the occupier has wholly ignored international humanitarian law regarding such occupations for several decades. Destruction and dispossession of homes and land; “population transfer” to make room for illegal settlements which are now filled with radical right-wing settlers who get their kicks by harassing, injuring and killing Palestinians as well as destroying their homes and olive trees, all with the acceptance and support of the military forces; the terror of night raids and the kidnapping of people who disappear into military “administrative detention” in which inhumane treatment is meted out, including torture, sexual abuse and rape; and so much more.

    I do not know these things because I suddenly became curious; I know them because I’ve been studying Israel and the occupation for more than 40 years.

    Hamas makes distinctions between civilians and settlers, a distinction I reject since it appears that its terroristic atrocities – bombings, suicide bombings, and the massacres of October 7 – always, to Hamas, represents the killing of settlers, which is okay, and not civilians, which is not. Hamas does not get a pass from me on its actions and methods, and I fully condemn the horror it inflicts on victims and survivors. I simply understand its larger purpose.

    Hamas militants are not rats, and it’s rather bigoted to describe them as such while giving Israelis a pass for the horrors it has committed against the Palestinians.