I wish I didn’t like Megan Herbert‘s commentary so much.
Advent calendars have become so commercialized that it’s not easy to find ones that just offer a small picture of a candy cane or something similarly of the season, hearkening back to a time when we were excited by the approach of Christmas but more easily satisfied with small surprises.
As she notes, there are few surprises this year, as we lurch towards the moment of that first Noel, watching our fellow People of the Book receive no tidings of comfort or joy.
Granted, Luke is the most folkloric of the Evangelists and there’s very little history in his nativity story, but he still incapsulates the aspirations not just of this time of year but of the overall message. You don’t have to accept the details to accept the hopes.
But peace on Earth is sure not happening, not very many places, and certainly not there.
Each day, we open another window, and find the same unwanted picture.
Pat Hudson‘s cartoon ran well before the recent friendly-fire killings of hostages, and refers to the advice for Gazans to evacuate to places where the bombs still fell.
But when holding up your hands, waving a white flag and calling out in Hebrew won’t keep you from being shot, the message is that no place is safe for anyone.
While Americans seem wrapped up in arguments over who is antisemitic and who is islamophobic, others are focusing more on the head of government than ethnic and religious matters, and Peter Schrank doesn’t pull any punches in his assessment of Netanyahu’s actions and policies.
The hundreds of Israelis who turned out in protest after the killings of hostages were not antisemitic but antiBibi, and his explanation that it happened because Hamas is so untrustworthy seems unlikely to satisfy anyone outside his immediate circle.
What is likely is that, as Pat Bagley says, his policies are sowing the dragon’s teeth for the next outbreak of violence. And they seem very much his policies. While Netanyahu heads a solid rightwing majority in the Knesset, no single party has individual strength and there’s a lot of speculation that he’ll be gone once the current gunfire dies down.
Which means it’s not as if the next government will roll back settlements on the West Bank or turn Gaza into an oceanfront resort area, while, given the increased resentment growing among the Arab population, there probably aren’t many possible steps that could undo what has already been done.
Meanwhile, what is true in all nations riven by asymmetric warfare is true in Israel: Treating all Gazans as Hamas followers becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was true in Algeria, in Indochina, in Kenya, in Ulster … how many examples do you want?
Juxtaposition of the Day
And that other wicked badman in Schrank’s cartoon is getting support from America’s Republican Party as he struggles to rebuild the Soviet Union.
Crowe accuses the Republicans of giving Putin strength, through omission but strength nonetheless, while Riddell points out that Russia has been anything but unscathed in the conflict, and the two visions of the bear are not all that inconsistent.
One supposition is that Putin is hurling missiles at Kyev so that, when Ukraine runs out of the surface-to-air missiles that have so far shielded them, Russia can pour in more attacks, not only doing damage to the city but knocking out the batteries so that they can’t simply be resupplied after the GOP hissyfit has ended.
Ramirez suggests that the lack of help is caused by the GOP’s lunatic fringe, the rebuttal to which is that the lunatic fringe is doing a good job of eliminating any mainstream members it can’t silence.
While, speaking of lunatic fringes, Peter Brookes points out how Viktor Orban has risen up to veto the EU’s offer both of help and membership for Ukraine. At least when the US vetoes a UN Resolution it does so as a major power. Hungary comes across more as a destructive vandal than a powerful bully.
Patrick Chappatte takes the historical perspective: While “General Winter” has always been one of Russia’s great allies against invasion, Ukraine has seen snow before.
But Russia has also won its wars through patience and sacrifice. There, too, Ukraine has a willingness to keep resisting, but there is a point at which the population differential favors the bear.
Meanwhile, the American tendency to whine “Are we there yet?” makes them dubious allies in a long term slugfest.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
A pair of seasonal commentaries on Texas’s war on women’s rights, both of which make good use of their holiday parallels: It is very much a case of Ken Paxton’s heart being two sizes too small, and of him being a busybody and tattletale.
Jeff Stahler (AMS) suggests that repressive states could spark a bonanza for travel agencies, but, in the case of Texas, this ignores the growing number of strict local ordinances against assisting pregnant women in escaping across the border for medical services.
The logical question for travel agent in any of the misogynist states being, “Will this be round-trip or one way?”
The other question is how long will there be any place to go? Mike Luckovich points out the usual pattern by which oppression happens because too many people assume it won’t.
It’s certainly true that it’s way too early to take polls seriously, but it’s not too early to take Donald Trump seriously, because he has said exactly what he plans to do if he is elected.
The idea that so many people are sure he’ll lose in the general election shows not just magical but utterly delusional thinking in a country where people were sure he wouldn’t win the first time, and, for that matter, were sure the Supreme Court wouldn’t overturn Roe v Wade.
Yes, thank god we’ve got the Supreme Court, that bulwark of defense for the Constitution.
Is Ann Telnaes the only person who wonders if “conflict of interest” has any meaning at SCOTUS?
Because they’re about to decide if Ginni’s hero has immunity from legal repercussions for inciting a coup, and if breaking into the Capitol is really against the law after all.
Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel. Then go vote.