Progress in Gaza (We Hope), The Economy Is Strong, and Better - Full Stop, Lots of Hopium in Salon Magazine
Happy Thanksgiving All!/Hopium Taking A Few Days Off
We begin these days of reflection and thanks with gratitude for the emerging deal that will allow 50 hostages, including some Americans, to come home and for the fighting in Gaza to pause, even for a few days. Here’s our National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talking about the deal this morning, and the significant role President Biden played in getting us to this point:
Some notes here on the beginning of this conversation, where Sullivan discusses the escalating attacks on US forces and Israel coming from Iran and its proxies. This too is important “context” to what is happening now in Gaza:
Hamas is funded by and allied with Iran, which like Hamas and Hizbollah in Lebanon wants to kill all Jews and eliminate Israel (yes, genocide). Iran is supporting Russia in Ukraine, and Iranian proxy groups throughout the MENA region have been escalating their attacks on both US and Israeli targets. Hamas attacked Israel and continues to fire rockets into civilian areas in Israel daily, Iranian groups are attacking US bases and troops, and Iran is openly aiding Russia’s ongoing genocide in Ukraine. There is much more happening in this war than “freeing Palestine,” and that Hamas is openly allied with forces attacking US troops in the region and slaughtering Ukrainian civilians (as Hamas slaughtered Israeli and American civilians) means they have taken sides in conflicts against the United States and our Western allies, not just against Israel.
It is widely believed that Hamas struck in part to disrupt an impending Saudi-Israel peace deal, that would have allied the Sunni Gulf Arab states in a comprehensive regional peace agreement with Israel. Rather than warring with the Arab world, Israel was on October 6th at a moment of unprecedented peace and normalcy. As Shia, Persian Iran views the Sunni Gulf Arab states as their enemy, this broad Israel-Gulf Arab alliance was a significant regional threat to Iran, and this regional acceptance of Israel would make it far harder for the genocidal axis of Iran/Hamas/Hizbollah to eliminate Israel, as is their goal. Thus it was critical to them to blow up the peace deal before it was finalized, which is what the Hamas attack has done, for now.
Finally, no one wanted the world’s attention to move on from Ukraine more than the Putin-Iranian military alliance. The ongoing Hamas attack on Israel (rockets are being fired daily into Israel, the war against Israel was not a one day raid) not only serves Iran’s geopolitical interests, but was a dramatic and significant gift to Putin.
I write all this because today because what is happening on the ground now in the Middle East, and in Ukraine, is about far more than the historic Israel-Palestinian conflict. By aligning itself with two genocidal powers, Iran, a country in a cold war against other Arab states and Russia, who is committing genocide in Ukraine and attacking the West, Hamas, put their desire to kill Jews above the interests of the people of Gaza; and the people of Gaza are now paying a terrible price for Hamas’ fanaticism and geopolitical idiocy. For we know that Hamas doesn’t care about the killing of Gazans, for if they did they never would allied themselves with Iran and Russia or placed their military bases underneath civilian homes and communities, using the 2m people of Gaza as human shields and then conducting what was in essence an attack of national suicide against Israel.
If you haven’t read President Biden’s new oped on Hamas and Putin, or watched my interview with Israeli journalist Amir Tabon, try to get to both in the coming days. You can find both here. And let’s hope for ongoing progress in Gaza, and the broader Middle East, in the days ahead.
Lots of Hopium in Salon - I did a long sit down interview with Chauncey DeVega of Salon. Hope you will check in out in the coming days. An excerpt:
What does “winning” mean for the Democrats and the American people in the context of this democracy crisis?
Winning in a democracy matters, and for now, we're still operating largely under the rules of the old system. What's important about winning an election requires many different things to happen. That includes good candidates, strong arguments, the ability to raise money, and the ability to tactically execute one's plans. As shown by how the Democrats have been winning in every type of race across the country now for a year and a half, that is a sign of institutional and organizational strength. The Democratic Party is very strong right now. By comparison, the Republican Party is very weak institutionally.
It's divided. It's tactically behind the Democrats right now. Some of the state parties around the country are falling apart. Their candidates are having problems raising money. They're getting crushed on abortion. Abortion has become an enormous electoral and political albatross around the Republican Party's neck.
I believe that the central driving force of our politics, and it really has been since 2018, has been fear and opposition to the MAGA movement. The Republican Party's presidential candidate in 2024 is Mr. Super MAGA. That means that there is no way to scrub Trump, to put lipstick on the Trump pig, or to dress him up and make him something other than the most dangerous candidate in the history of American politics. And it just gives me hope that people have been voting against MAGA and the Republicans repeatedly, especially, in the battleground states. If we have a normal election the Democrats should win next year — even with Joe Biden and all of his limitations. But at the end of the day, he's been a good president. And he's got a strong case for reelection. I take your concern about whether this is going to be a straight-up election seriously. But if the Democrats win the election by eight to 10 points, none of the chicanery and trickery by the Republicans is going to matter. But we must win by a big margin.
Prices Are Coming Down, Congratulations Everyone! - See a great Thanksgiving chart, below, via Senator Chris Murphy. It’s a reminder that wages are up 4.4% over the past year, inflation has been 3.2% and groceries have risen only 2.1%. Last month inflation was zero - a remarkable thing. So workers’ incomes are beating inflation, and the bottom line here is that while COVID and the Russian invasion of Ukraine created enormous hardship for the American people, things are much better now, and we are getting to the other side. We have to stop giving into the everything is horrible sentiment - it’s just wrong, polemical, and at odds what is actually happening or even what people understand. Things were hard, and they are much much better now. Full stop. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise this Holiday season. We have much to celebrate, and be thankful for. Things are better now, far far better.
Tues, Nov 28th, 7pm ET - NC Dem Party Chair Anderson Clayton Joins The Hopium Community - Come meet the dynamic new chair of the most important 2024 battleground expansion state. Register here, and learn more about Chair Clayton here. Excited for this one! A video recording of our discussion will be posted on the site for those who can’t make it live.
Some recent posts and videos for your reading and viewing pleasure -
My 2023 Election Recap (Video)
Happy Thanksgiving all. I am deeply grateful for this community we are building together, and excited for all the good we are going to do in 2024.
Keep working hard (but rest this week!) - Simon