Category Archives: Disasters

Biden In Crisis: What Did Jim Clyburn Say? (And What about Bernie?)

AP News: Clyburn’s discussion of a ‘mini-primary’ fuels more talk of whether Biden should end his campaign.

[NOTE: My first post on the great debate fallout freakout (After the Debate: Keep Calm. Chill the [Bleep] Out. Head Down, Beat Trump.) was posted on June 29.

That was less than a week ago, but it seems like a month or two. The  key question that came up for me in the immediate aftermath was simple:

What Will Jim Clyburn say?

Clyburn, the senior Black member of the U.S House, essentially saved Biden’s campaign in 2020. Would (and could?)  he do it again?

His first comment was staunchly supportive: On the morning after the debate debacle, he compared Biden’s performance to “strike one” in baseball; not good, but not yet a “strikeout.” He told people to “chill out.” Sounded like he was on board, and I think he was.

But Clyburn didn’t get to be where he is by blind loyalty; his input may be crucial, but it’s not the only factor in a fast-moving political upheaval. He, like other insiders, was watching to see what happened on several other fronts:

Continue reading Biden In Crisis: What Did Jim Clyburn Say? (And What about Bernie?)

Three Timely Reports from Gwynne Dyer, from Ireland, Sudan, Gaza, Haiti & England

Gwynne Dyer remains one of my go-to reporter/analysts on the international scene. Here he brings three recent, revealing and concise snapshots.

Three famines: Gaza, Sudan, and Haiti

Gwynne Dyer

Irish Potato Famine

There are three incipient famines in the world today, and politics is at the root of all of them.

That’s not unusual, actually: Famines are almost always political events.

My family is descended from the Catholic Irish diaspora, and when I was a boy in Newfoundland we would sometimes play the game of “potatoes and point” at the dinner table. We’d point at the potatoes (there was always a bowl of boiled potatoes with the main meal) and say, “May I have a slice of beef” or “I’ll have some more carrots, please.” Continue reading Three Timely Reports from Gwynne Dyer, from Ireland, Sudan, Gaza, Haiti & England

CNN: “It’s Complicated”— Why Israel’s peace activists are reevaluating their position on the war

CNN: Why Israel’s peace activists are reevaluating their position on the war

By Tara John and Lottie Beilin

Sun Dec 3 2023

Tel Aviv (CNN) — When human rights activist Ziv Stahl was awakened to the booms of rocket fire on October 7, while staying at her sister’s home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, she did not for a moment anticipate the scale of the terrorist attack unfolding around her. Nor did she imagine the horror she would feel when she later called the police, who “basically told me no one is coming.”

That day saw Hamas militants murder her sister-in-law and several prominent peace activists living in the kibbutz, one of the communities that bore the brunt of the attack on Israel. Continue reading CNN: “It’s Complicated”— Why Israel’s peace activists are reevaluating their position on the war

More Melancholy Wisdom on Israeli-Hamas War Myths

[NOTE: I agree with just about all that Nick Kristof says here. But his roster of myths  is incomplete. He overlooks a fourth “myth” that gets in the way of his humane insight and hope like the piles of rubble that mark this war on every front. More on that below.]

New York Times:

What We Get Wrong About Israel and Gaza
Nov. 15, 2023

By Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist

With the bilateral slaughter in the Middle East unleashing poisons that are worsening hatred worldwide, let me outline what I see as three myths inflaming the debate:

The first myth is that in the conflict in the Middle East there is right on one side and wrong on the other (even if people disagree about which is which).

Life isn’t that neat. The tragedy of the Middle East is that this is a clash of right versus right. That does not excuse Hamas’s massacre and savagery or Israel’s leveling of entire neighborhoods in Gaza, but underlying the conflict are certain legitimate aspirations that deserve to be fulfilled. Continue reading More Melancholy Wisdom on Israeli-Hamas War Myths

On Israel/Hamas: Many Conflicting “Truths”, Or Convictions

Friends,

Kudos this week to the Christian Century (CC) magazine, for its statement on the Hamas/Israeli war.  They were not quick to run to the pundit barricades; when Hamas attacked, despite their shock, they grabbed their knees and kept them from jerking. They thought and struggled about it; their struggle likely continues.

And their considered editorial answer was –for me at least — clarifying. In sum, they said: the situation is complex as hell. (That’s my paraphrase.) More precisely:

From “Bearing Witness to Multiple Stories” (11/6/2023):

“Every conflict involves competing stories, but often one story clearly embodies far more truth than the other. Not in this case. Each of the two stories sketched out here [Palestinian & Israeli] is factually sound, historically informed, and morally compelling. Both stories are true.

And they are heartbreaking and tragic. Both are stories of people who love the land and deserve to live there in peace. Peace has long been stymied by political missteps, cycles of violence, and interventions by those who can only see one story’s truth. For US Christians, bearing witness to this conflict begins with recognizing that it contains more than one true story.”

Continue reading On Israel/Hamas: Many Conflicting “Truths”, Or Convictions