Let's Fix This Country


Trump Targets a Cable Network but the Media Sleepwalks

Just days into his presidency in 2017, Donald Trump said that the press was the “enemy of the American people”, invoking the same phrase that Twentieth Century dictators had used — Stalin, Hitler, Mao — against their critics. This went well beyond dismissing uncomfortable news accounts as "fake news" and it wouldn't be the only time he used the phrase.

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Trump never acted on his accusations, at least not publicly. But in a second term all bets are off. When The Washington Post reported that the former president and his allies "have begun mapping out specific plans for using the federal government to punish critics and opponents", they knew that was about his plan to use what will be his wholly-owned Justice Department to prosecute and imprison reporters.

There was a foretelling of that a week ago when 13 minutes into "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell", the prime-time show on MSNBC, Trump posted on Truth Social this tweet, or as they call it over there, a "truth":

(Double-click to expand and play video. Press ESC to close.)

O'Donnell picked up on that in the following night's show…

the constitution

Will the Courts Say Trump Can’t Be President Again? They Should.

In a number of states, activist groups have sued to keep Donald Trump off their ballots in the 2024 election for reason of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from holding political or military office those who have sworn to uphold the Constitution but have then fomented insurrection .

Courts in a few states have so far sidestepped the issue or turned away the suits. A Florida judge ruled that the plaintiff lacked standing. The Minnesota supreme court left Mr. Trump on that state's ballot saying it might take up the case only should he be confirmed as the Republican candidate. A Michigan judge stated that because Mr. Trump had qualified under state law to be on the ballot, the court could not remove him. Lawfare, a non-profit, non-partisan publication that keeps score, says more than a dozen more challenges are pending.

This month, a Colorado court was the first to base its ruling on the merits of the case and on Trump's conduct on January 6, 2021. The 14th Amendment states that:

Anyone who "as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State" has taken the oath to uphold the Constitution but then "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion" cannot "hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State".

Denver District Court Judge Sarah Wallace concluded that…

"Trump acted with the specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol with the purpose of disrupting the electoral certification…engaged in an insurrection on January 6,…


Newly Minted Speaker Flubs Israel Aid. Is Government Shutdown His Next Act?

Newly elected House Speaker, Louisiana's Mike Johnson, stumbled badly in his first attempt at legislation by pandering to his far right extremists with a bill for aid to Israel that stood no chance of passage by an irate Senate.

Johnson chose to sever aid to Israel from another desperately needed tranche for Ukraine and, as one who prior to becoming Speaker said he was against further Ukraine aid, that suggests he intends to block any support of the embattled country's fight to prevent annexation by Russia.

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Perhaps we will someday be apprised of how Biden and the House arrived at $14.3 billion as the just right amount and why it is that the American taxpayer is to pay for Israel's war when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignores Biden's entreaties to slow down his evisceration of Gaza at a cost of (today's estimate) some 10,000 lives, more than 3,600 of them children according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. But for now we'll stay with Mr. Johnson and his opening blunder.

Unlike the norm of emergency funding, Johnson tied strings to the $14.3 billion allotment by taking the equal amount from the $80 billion funding of the IRS in last year's Inflation Reduction Act. Republicans have already wrested $20 billion from the original amount in their campaign to weaken IRS ability to collect taxes on income kept hidden by the their wealthy donors. By treating the IRS appropriation as a slush fund ripe for grabbing, Johnson claimed the Israel aid would be budget neutral. “We’re not just going to print money and send it overseas", he says.

But the IRS is the sole branch of government that makes money. For every dollar the agency spends auditing someone in the top .1%…

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Israel’s Justification for Besieging Hospitals and Schools Hits a Snag

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have long held that Hamas uses hospitals and schools for their command centers, they being off limits for attack or bombing according to the rules of war. That provides the military with justification for besieging hospitals and schools.

In past conflicts with Hamas, Israel countered their rocket strikes with bombing but not with invasion, so it lacked on-the-ground proof of Hamas using civilian facilities. When a week ago the IDF attempted to expose Hamas's commandeering of hospitals, particularly Gaza's largest, Al-Shifa, it got major media attention.

It did not go well. The military may be relieved now that the headlines have shifted to the hostage exchange, because the attempted proof of their theory was something of a bust.

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Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital complex.

An IDF photo showed an entrance to a tunnel on the grounds of Al-Shifa but no one went below out of fear of booby-traps, so there was no proof of tunneling beneath the hospital nor the underground rooms that would be needed for a command center.

In a video, a soldier showed a small cache of weapons and a laptop found behind an MRI machine. That a Hamas militant would so offhandedly leave weapons about in so odd a choice of place suggested a plant. After three days at the hospital, the military refused press requests to tour the hospital, maintaining that a hospital active with patients, doctors, nurses was somehow not yet secure. When the press was finally allowed in to see… Read More »

  foreign policy

Will Israelis Finally Get Rid of Netanyahu?

The attacks on Israel have exposed the true nature of Hamas. In previous attacks, Hamas barrages of low-grade and homemade rockets did little damage and few Israelis were killed. In retaliation, Israel shattered Gaza with airstrikes killing vast numbers of civilians to earn accusations of war crimes from human rights groups for their disproportionate slaughter. In the 2008-09 Israel-Gaza War, the death toll was an estimated 1,166-1,417 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. In 2014 it was 2,205 Palestinians, at least 1,483 of them civilians according to the U.N., and 71 Israelis, almost all soldiers.

It was a vastly different outcome for Israel this time, 1,300 Israelis savagely killed at this writing by a Hamas that revealed themselves to be bloodthirsty barbarians who have article illustration
The mother and immediate family of a 23-year-old daughter
killed at Kibbutz Be’eeri near the Gaza border.

proved themselves to be even more evil that ISIS. The list of their atrocities is unspeakable; we've seen depravity beyond anything one could have imagined that needs no repeating here.

Israeli retribution will be worse this time. Ostensibly to avoid killing civilians, Israel Defense Forces have called for half of Gaza's 2.1 million people to evacuate the northern half of the narrow 25 mile long strip with nowhere to go but to live in the streets of the southern half, penned in with neither means to escape nor find shelter. Israel has chosen to commit its own humanitarian atrocity by depriving the Palestinian citizenry of food, water, fuel, and electricity, creating the war crime of collective… Read More »

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