Must-Reads and What I'm Worried About This Week

Must-Reads and What I'm Worried About This Week

Your weekly list of must-reads is here. From Trump supporters threatening violence to AI-generated images cluttering news about Gaza, here are some of the most important stories I’ve read this week.

Revealed: Israeli spy chief ‘threatened’ ICC prosecutor over war crimes inquiry by Harry Davies. “The former head of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, allegedly threatened a chief prosecutor of the international criminal court in a series of secret meetings in which he tried to pressure her into abandoning a war crimes investigation, the Guardian can reveal.”

'I'll Take Up Arms If He Asks': Violent Supporters Rush to Trump After Guilty Verdict by Julia Conley. “As supporters of Donald Trump flood right-wing platforms with threats against the jurors and judge following guilty verdicts Thursday in his criminal case regarding hush money payments, fears are growing that the influence the Republican presumptive presidential nominee has over his supporters will soon lead to violence.”

Indigenous People of Guam Are Fighting US Militarism and Environmental Ruin by Sara Mar. “As we close out Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month, we must stand behind the Indigenous people of Guam and other Pacific Islanders living in the U.S. territories in their fight against the ongoing militarization of their occupied homeland.”

Kids sickened by training at nearby S.F. jail may have ingested decades-old chemical weapons by Megan Cassidy. “One adult and 20 children at Portola Elementary School on Amador Avenue experienced irritated eyes, throats and noses after the chemicals wafted approximately a half-mile, officials said.”

All Eyes on Rafah’s Virality Creates Market for AI Spam About Palestine by Jason Koebler. “As each of these variations and spinoffs go viral, it becomes harder to find real media of the real death and destruction that is happening to people in Gaza. Each new spinoff or variation adds a further level of abstraction to what is actually happening, and, like all AI content, makes it harder to find real information.”

Texas will continue its ban on abortions in medical emergencies, state Supreme Court rules by Shefali Luthra. “Texas will continue enforcing bans on performing abortions even when pregnancies develop serious complications, following a decision issued Friday by the state Supreme Court.”

Biden Admin Scrambling to Dispute Gaza Aid Pier's $320M Price Tag by Ken Klippenstein. “That the government seeks to change the narrative says a lot about the Biden camp’s priorities, but it should also be a reminder: If the Pentagon builds it, it will often cost double, triple, or ten times the original estimate, a truth that is plain to any thinking American.”

‘Did You Tase Him in the Face!?’ Inside ‘Goon Squad’ Deputies’ Group Chat by Nate Rosenfield, Brian Howey and Jerry Mitchell. “An encrypted WhatsApp group chat obtained by The New York Times and Mississippi Today provides a yearslong record of the day-to-day conversations of a patrol unit involved in terrorizing residents across a central Mississippi county for a generation.”

Oklahoma Gives Incarcerated Survivors of Domestic Violence A New Chance at Freedom by Victoria Law. “The Oklahoma Survivors’ Act mandates sentencing reductions for people who are convicted and can prove that domestic violence or sexual abuse was ‘a substantial contributing factor in causing the defendant to commit the offense or to the defendant’s criminal behavior.’ The act also allows survivors who have already been convicted and imprisoned to petition a judge for resentencing and release under the new sentencing guidelines.”

“In the Middle of Fighting for Freedom We Found Ourselves Free” by June Jordan (introduced here by Alexis Pauline Gumbs). “In the middle of our fighting for freedom, we found ourselves fighting against hatred that would kill us if it could: hatred of us as Black folk and as Women folk, both. In the middle of our fighting for freedom we found ourselves daring to try for love across racial and sexual lines of vigilant taboo. In the middle of our fighting for freedom we found ourselves free beyond fear and beyond capitulation.”

Final Thoughts

My mind is busy today as I prepare next week’s episode of Movement Memos for publication and work on a piece about Trump’s 34 felony convictions. It looks like that Trump piece will be published in Truthout on Monday, but you will also be able to find it here on Organizing My Thoughts. I talked to my friend Sarah Kendzior as I drafted that piece, and I plan to quote her in the final version, but she said a lot more than I’ll be able to squeeze in, so I will be publishing her full remarks in a bonus piece here on Tuesday. Sarah’s analysis is always worth checking out, and I wouldn’t want my newsletter readers to miss a word. 

I want to thank everyone who reached out to express solidarity when I talked about my mental health last week. Some of you have asked if I am feeling better. The answer is not yet, but I’m working on it. 

Since I have a reflection on the Trump situation slated for publication Monday, I won’t rant about that much now, but I will say that the phrase “no one is above the law” drives me up the fucking wall. Can people actually believe such things? The presidency is built to insulate powerful men from the consequences of their actions, and Trump is only faced with a conviction now because of the unfathomable extremity of his hubris. Some people are pretty much above the law, but sometimes, even those people manage to clown their way into a consequence or two. It remains to be seen whether Trump will face any substantive consequences for his actions, and the truth is, I doubt it. 

In the meantime, I remain focused on what’s happening in Gaza, where untold suffering continues. In our conversation next week on Movement Memos, Lewis Raven Wallace and I will talk about the parallel between coverage of Israel’s violence in Gaza and coverage of police violence in the United States. Understanding these parallels is important because if we want to tell stories that fuel transformative change, we must understand how atrocity is being laundered and how consent is being manufactured in popular narratives. 

I am also deeply concerned about the state of healthcare in the United States and elsewhere–including Gaza, where people are dying horribly in the absence of medication and proper equipment. This week, I read a piece that explained that increasing temperatures due to global heatwaves will cause millions of babies to be born prematurely. The State Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that the state’s restrictions on abortion, which require a patient to become dangerously ill before an abortion can legally be performed, even if the fetus is not viable, will stand. Many clinics around the country that provide primary care services, hospice care and behavioral health services are in danger of being shuttered due to the mass disenrollment of over 22 million people from Medicaid. Following a two-year freeze on disenrollments that was enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have begun “unwinding” their Medicaid rolls, removing people who they say no longer meet eligibility requirements–though the vast majority are being removed due to paperwork issues, such as missed deadlines or changes of address. 

As our lives become more dangerous and our options get slimmer, I am thinking about the kind of changes we need to be fighting for. What kind of demands are needed during these perilous times, and what level of organization do we need to shake the system until those demands are met? Simply rejecting what we do not want, such as a Trump presidency, will not be enough to save us. We are all a disaster or a few bad breaks away from ruin, and the destruction of our healthcare system, along with the criminalization of homelessness, have us all poised for a steep fall. We need to recognize that harder times are coming and fight for a world in which we are all cared for. Right now, we are being promised very little by an incumbent president whose strongest argument for reelection is that he is not Donald Trump. How will he salvage our reproductive rights, reel in a rogue Supreme Court, provide for our medical needs, or address the horrors of climate change? The truth is, there’s just not much on the table right now, and we need to fight for so much more than either party has any interest in providing.

What does that look like? Well, let’s talk about it. 

Much love,