Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Observations of Trump

Let us dip into the sewer that is The River Trump.  Conrad Dias (MEAAW) reports;


Court records indicate that the valet and co-defendant of Donald Trump in their federal confidential documents case was reportedly told that he would be granted a pardon if the former president is elected to a second term in office, according to the New York Post.

Notably, a cooperating witness in the case allegedly told the FBI about the purported pardon pledge in November 2022, one year before a Florida grand jury indicted Trump and Walt Nauta for concealing confidential White House documents.


The FBI's heavily redacted notes from an interview with a former Trump White House employee, identified as 'Person 16', stated, "Nauta was told by [Trump's] people that this investigation was not going anywhere, that it was politically motivated, and ‘much ado about nothing'."

The witness informed the bureau, "Nauta was also told that if even if he gets charged with lying to the FBI, [Trump] will pardon him in 2024."


It is as though he plays with a sticker gun and has a tag sale on everything.  I half expect to hear that he offered the Constitution to China for $50,000.  He is mopey through the trial -- and, per Kyle Kulinski, apparently farting.









After hours in the courtroom with Donald Trump on Monday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow described what she saw as the former president’s criminal hush money trial got underway. 
Reporting from Manhattan, Maddow noted that Trump’s back was toward observers, but from what she could see, “he seemed basically inert.”

She said his shoulders were slumped, and at times throughout the proceedings, he did not appear “particularly animated.”

“I’ve seen him in person in my life a few times. I would say, seeing him go up and down the aisle — I was sitting on the aisle — and seeing him walk right past me, in the aisle, in and out of the courtroom several times, including the recess, I would say that he seems thinner than I have seen him in the past, he seems considerably older, and he seems annoyed. Resigned, maybe angry.”

“He seems like a man who’s miserable to be here,” she continued. “I’m no body language expert, this is just my observation, but he seemed old and tired and mad.” 


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:


Tuesday, April 23, 2024.  The US sees a crackdown on campus actions -- actions that are necessitated by the US government's inability and refusal to do its own job.  The students should be celebrated and praised but instead are under attack.


No one in charge knows a damn thing.  That's becoming clear in the US on various campuses.  Frances Vinall (WASHINGTON POST) reports this morning:

Students protesting the Israel-Gaza war continued to be confronted by police on Monday night, as a New York University encampment was cleared by the NYPD and students barricaded themselves inside a building at California State Polytechnic University at Humboldt, following dozens of arrests at Yale University.

College campuses across the country have seen an uptick in antiwar demonstrations in recent days, including students in tents encampments. Some of those, including at Columbia on Thursday and NYU on Monday night, were cleared by police called in at the request of the institutions.


College deans and presidents in the sixties couldn't have responded in more ignorant manner.

Crazy John Fetterman has attacked the integrity and the motivation of the protesters and has also said Columbia's dean (an equally erratic personality) should, "Do your job or resign."  Interesting words from the US senator who was unable to due his job in January of 2023, in February of 2023, in March of 2023 . . . 


Other elected crazies are also foaming at the mouth.  Apurva Chakravarthy (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) reports

Columbia has come under increasing national scrutiny as the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” approaches its one week mark. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have both called on Biden to break up protests.

“The nascent pogroms at Columbia have to stop TODAY, before our Jewish brethren sit for Passover Seder tonight,” Cotton wrote in a X post on Monday. “If Eric Adams won’t send the NYPD and Kathy Hochul won’t send the National Guard, Joe Biden has a duty to take charge and break up these mobs.”

In a separate X post also on Monday, Hawley shared similar sentiments.

“Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock,” Hawley wrote in an X post on Monday. “It’s time for Biden to call out the National Guard at our universities to protect Jewish Americans.”


I am going to assume that it's difficult for someone as deeply closeted as Josh Hawley to see things clearly but "Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock" not to throw students out of school but to deal with the racist bullies -- probably a lot of them were in Josh's family and probably still are -- who were trying to prevent students from going to school.  



The ruling class has responded to the rapid spread of protests with a growing police state crackdown. By Monday morning, Yale University police had arrested 47 protesters and charged them with criminal trespass. On Monday evening, NYPD riot police descended upon the NYU protest encampment at Gould Plaza outside the Stern School of Business and arrested dozens of student and faculty protesters. Live-streamed videos of the arrests are circulating widely on social media. According to social media reports, at least 300 people marched to the nearby police precinct to demand the release of the students and faculty members arrested. NYPD officers have occupied Gould Plaza. As of this writing, hundreds were protesting the arrests.

The crackdown was clearly coordinated at the highest levels of the state, with the Democratic Party and far-right Republicans. On Sunday, Joe Biden and the White House issued statements backing the assault on free speech on campuses. On Monday, New York state Governor Kathy Hochul gave a duplicitous video address outside of the main Columbia campus which was accompanied by the statement that “[t]he recent harassment and rhetoric is vile and abhorrent. Every student deserves to be safe.” 

Repeating the slanderous equation of anti-genocide protests with “antisemitism” that now forms the basis for the persecution of anti-war protesters, many of whom are Jewish, Hochul implied the issues at play on the Columbia campus were that of religious persecution. She said, “this is a country founded on people searching for religious freedom, fleeing religious persecution elsewhere. No one here on college campuses should feel that they are being persecuted because of their religious beliefs.”

The real antisemites are now being mobilized and promoted by the Democratic Party and figures like Hochhul in the campaign to abolish free speech. Last December, immediately following the McCarthyite House Committee on Education and the Workforce Committee hearings led by the fascistic Republican New York Representative Elise Stefanik which ousted University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Liz Magill, Hochul praised the hearings and threatened to withdraw funding from public universities which did not similarly crack down on pro-Palestinian speech. 


Entitled and overbearing members of Congress seem unable to grasp the fact that these are not their campuses.  Spoiled and entitled members of the House of Representatives and the Senate fail to grasp that the students are allowed to protest and that the students are taking part in a democratic action that is providing an education and sharpening their civic skills that they will utilize for the rest of their lives.  The attack on the students is an attack on the democratic process itself.


A range of student groups are behind the protests. At Columbia, the so-called “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” has been organised by the student-led coalition, Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.

The protesters are calling for Columbia to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s war on Gaza. The CUAD website lists additional demands, calling for more financial transparency about Columbia’s investments, and the severing of academic ties and collaborations with Israeli universities and programmes. The groups are also calling for a complete ceasefire in Gaza.






AMY GOODMAN: We begin here in New York, where Columbia University has canceled in-person classes today as campus protests over Israel’s war on Gaza enter a sixth day. Classes will be held online today. The protests have swelled after the arrest last week of over 100 students who had set up an encampment to call for the school to divest from Israel. Organizers say at least 50 students have been suspended from Barnard, 35 from Columbia. A growing number of Columbia and Barnard alumni, employees and guest speakers have also publicly condemned or announced they’re boycotting the prestigious institutions.

Over the weekend, solidarity protests and encampments also began on other college campuses here in New York City at NYU, at The New School, as well as across the country, including at Yale, MIT, Tufts, Vanderbilt and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

We’re joined right now by two guests. In a moment we’ll speak with Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani, who addressed students participating in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on Columbia’s campus multiple times last week. But we begin with Jude Taha, Palestinian Jordanian journalist and journalism student at Columbia University Journalism School. She’s on Columbia’s campus here in New York, where the student-led Gaza Solidarity Encampment is still underway. She’s joining us from her school at Columbia Journalism School right now.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Jude. Can you lay out what’s happened over the weekend, what are people’s demands, and the fact that today, the president — who all this happened a day after she testified before Congress — has shut down the university for in-person classes, all online today?

JUDE TAHA: Thank you for having me.

Right now what we’re seeing at Columbia is an unprecedented act of solidarity, set up by students who initially set it up on the South Lawn and then faced violent arrests and a lot of repression from administration and ended up moving to the opposing lawn. And what we’re seeing right now is just swaths of people, initially without tents, sleeping on the ground, in sleeping bags, some of them without sleeping bags, on grass, outside in the cold, under the rain.

And what we’re seeing is just they have three solid demands. The first is divestment. The second is for Columbia to disclose their financial investments and the financial records, especially in relation to their workings with Israel. And the third is amnesty toward students. The students have been very clear in the fact that they are not moving, that they are very set in their demands.

Some negotiations are happening, from what I’ve heard from organizers at the encampment. However, nothing has been announced yet. I know there are a few things that came up yesterday that were a bit surprising, which was the repitching of the tents. Organizers have said that the administration is aware of the tents; however, that does not necessarily mean that they agree. Organizers held a town hall last night where they emphasized that, obviously, with an act of solidarity and act of protest as large as this, to take over the space in the lawn comes a level of risk. And they are very comfortable in that. They are making sure everyone is aware. There is transparency, and there’s just a community being built. And they are very clear in their demands. They have three top demands, first and furthermost which is divestment.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Jude, if you can talk about the whole progression of what happened, from Shafik, President Shafik, testifying before Congress to these, I won’t say “unprecedented,” arrests — over a hundred students were arrested — but since, I think, 1968, the protests against the Vietnam War?

JUDE TAHA: I think what had happened initially was students showed up at the lawn at around 4:30 a.m. They are members of a solidarity group called Columbia University Apartheid Divest, which is made up of many student groups. And they had been planning this for months, according to my interviews with organizers. They studied the 1968 protests. They studied the tactics used. And they were prepared to go. Initially, we did not know this as outsiders. The tents were set up, and a lot of people were caught off guard. But this has been something that the organizers have planned for, especially in relation to Minouche Shafik’s hearing. But what happened is, after they set up tents, we quickly saw an outpour of support. Picket lines were forming. Students were joining from outside. And initially what I saw to be like 40 to 50 students is now, on the opposite lawn, nearly a hundred to a hundred students coming in and out of the encampment.

The arrests were shocking. However, what was truly inspiring to see is that students did not let that deter them. Shortly after the arrests were carried out and after protests were surrounding the lawn where the original encampment was at, students starting jumping into the opposing lawn and pitching up tents there. And this is a reaction not only to Columbia’s silencing of students and the fact that students feel unheard, uncared for and not represented well by the institution that they attend, but this is also, very much so, focused towards the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the way the students are feeling, seeing the massacres happen every day, with nearly over 30,000 people have been killed. Their frustration is that they are complicit in this and their university is complicit in this. And they want to make sure that their voices are heard. And they want to make sure that what they’re asking is met. And so, this is inspired by the 1968 protests. They just decided to follow course.

AMY GOODMAN: So, something unusual was tweeted on Friday. You’re speaking to us from the Columbia J School, from the Columbia Journalism School.

JUDE TAHA: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: I had just been at the protest after the arrests, the encampment on Thursday night. To say the least, it was not easy for anyone to get in who did not have a student ID. Even that won’t get you in right now. It was a true lockdown. And the next morning, at about 10:00, where you are, the Columbia J School tweeted, “Columbia Journalism School is committed to a free press. If you are a credentialed member of the media and have been denied access to campus, please send us a DM. We will facilitate access to campus.” This is a direct rebuke of the president, of President Shafik?

JUDE TAHA: I cannot — I cannot speak to that. I do know that our dean, Jelani Cobb, is very committed to having a space where freedom of press can thrive. And I know that Dean Cobb has been incredibly supportive of the students who have been reporting on this and is very interested in ensuring that media has access and that information is being transferred clearly and accurately. Whether it is a direct rebuke, that is unfortunately not something I am aware of.

However, I will say that since then, facilitating entrance has been increasingly challenging. I am not sure of the dynamics of the journalism school. I have been speaking with multiple journalists who are coming in to cover the encampment, and increasingly it’s been harder and harder to try and get them in. There has not been really any clear guidelines that I can share about what does that entail for the journalism school to facilitate, but what I have also been seeing is people are believing that the facilitation through the journalism school means access to the encampment. And I would like to emphasize the encampment is not facilitating with the journalism school. It is an entity that is functioning on its own. And it is a living space as much as it is, you know, a private space within the university. Students are very vulnerable there. They’re also very hesitant to speak to media. But while they do believe that the media presence is important, there has been this notion of belief that the journalism is facilitating access into the encampment, which is not true. The journalism school is helping facilitate entrance into campus for credentialed press.

AMY GOODMAN: And if you also can talk about what the police chief said in response to the Columbia president? New York Police Chief John Chell said President Shafik identified the demonstration as a “clear and present danger,” but that officers found the students to be peaceful and cooperative, Shafik warning all students participating in the encampment would be suspended. And the level of suspensions, Jude, if you can talk about that, both at Columbia and even more at Barnard, and what exactly this means? Students are locked out of their rooms almost immediately and lose their meal cards in addition to everything else?

JUDE TAHA: Yeah. To be quite honest, we have — me and a few other journalists have been reporting on this for months now. We are familiar with these students. We are familiar with these demands. And we were present from day one, from nearly 6:00 in the morning, in the original encampment. And there was no instance of violence that I am able to report. The protesters were incredibly peaceful. Their demands are largely focused on divestment. And they have community guidelines that they are asking everyone who is entering the encampment to abide by. And the community guidelines are to ensure safety, are to ensure that everyone feels comfortable in the space and to ensure that Gaza is being centered first.

In relation to what the police chief said, I have to agree that I was not able to identify any violence or any danger that is present from these students, especially right now in the second encampment, where there is a thriving community, where people are bringing food, blankets. Students are leaving their belongings, their personal belongings, for hours with no worry that they will be taken. There is no fear amongst them.

Therefore, it is truly an intimidation tactic, and the response that we have seen from President Minouche Shafik has been incredibly disheartening toward students. Students have been evicted. An organizer that I’ve spoken to yesterday is terrified. They are not comfortable walking out alone. They had to leave the state. They are being given 15 minutes to access their belongings. They are being suspended, with waiting for an appeal or waiting for a meeting with administration to understand the grounds of the suspension or what that entails. They are leaving students in limbo. The students do not feel supported. They do not know where they’re going. And it is incredibly disheartening and terrifying, for some are 18-, 19-year-olds, to be deserted by their campus.

And another thing is that the organizers have made it clear that this is an intimidation tactic by the administration, and especially in relation to President Shafik’s email that was sent at 1 a.m. last night. The organizers have stated that this is an intimidation tactic to try and scare people who are in the encampment out of their solidarity with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment and with the demands of the movement. But a lot of students are learning these risks, and they’re banding together and they’re standing together to demand amnesty. It is unclear why this is happening or the levels of suspension. Students who have been suspended but have not been evicted are concerned about when are they going to lose access to their housing. And students who have lost access to their housing were not given any clear instructions, as far as I know, for where to go next. So it is just this great limbo. And these students are sacrificing a lot for the movement and for the demands that they are asking for, but they are not being met with any support from administration or guidance. And it is unclear what President Shafik is citing when she says “danger.” And therefore, that is leaving a lot of organizers confused as to what is actually happening.

AMY GOODMAN: And among those arrested was Congressmember Ilhan Omar’s daughter, Isra Hirsi, both suspended and arrested. And finally, very quickly, before we go to professor Mamdani, the J school speaker for May 15th — and this is a long time away, so we’ll see what happens — is the Haaretz Israeli reporter Amira Hass, deeply critical of the occupation, of the war on Gaza, lived in Gaza, the only Israeli Jewish journalist to have lived there for years. Is that right?

JUDE TAHA: Yep, that is correct. As far as we know, that has not been changed. The speaker has been chosen for quite a long time now. And as far as I know, that has not been changed.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jude Taha, I want to thank you for being with us.


That was yesterday.  This morning, James FitzGerald & Bernd Debusmann Jr , (BBC NEWS) report:

Protests over the war in Gaza have taken hold at a handful of elite US universities as officials scramble to defuse demonstrations.

Police moved to break up an encampment at New York University (NYU) on Monday night, making a number of arrests.

Dozens of students were arrested at Yale earlier in the day, while Columbia University cancelled in-person classes.

The wave of demos has been marred by alleged antisemitic incidents, which have been condemned by the White House.




A pro-Palestinian protest at New York University resulted in multiple people being taken into custody on Monday night, the NYPD said.

The big picture: The latest incident of a university cracking down on demonstrations related to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza came hours after police arrested 45 people at Yale and Columbia University canceled in-person classes due to pro-Palestinian protests.

  • Since New York City police arrested over 100 Gaza war protesters at Columbia last week, pro-Palestine encampments have also emerged at other campuses including Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Emerson College and Tufts University.

Details: Police could not immediately share how many people had been arrested or issued with summonses because the situation was ongoing, a New York City Police Department spokesperson told Axios over the phone.


Why are the students protesting?  

Because people like do-your-job-or-resign John Fetterman won't do their job.  

REUTERS reports, "U.N. rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday that he was 'horrified'" by the destruction of the Nasser and Al Shifa medical facilities in Gaza and reports of mass graves containing hundreds of bodies there, according to a spokesperson."


That?  That's Senator John Fetterman's job.  But he's too busy lying for the Israeli government to do his job.  And he might also be having another psychotic break and might need to be back in a hospital for another four months or so.



             A mass grave with more than 300 bodies has been uncovered at a hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, Gaza Civil Defense workers said, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area earlier this month.

Col. Yamen Abu Suleiman, Director of Civil Defense in Khan Younis told CNN that 35 bodies had been discovered at the Nasser Medical Complex on Tuesday, bringing the total to 310. Some 73 bodies had been discovered on Monday, Suleiman said.

Suleiman alleged that some of the bodies had been found with hands and feet tied, “and there were signs of field executions. We do not know if they were buried alive or executed. Most of the bodies are decomposed.”     

   
Instead of serving his big money donors, Crazy John Fetterman should have serving the country -- let me clarify that for him, that would be the United States.  If you want to serve Israel, move there.  He's a failure and American students have had to step up as a result of the many governmental failures.  Missy Ryan and Michael Birnbaum (WASHINGTON POST) report:

The State Department’s annual human rights report cited several reported rights violations committed in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in 2023 by parties including the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas militants before and after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks plunged the Middle East into heightened instability and violence.

The resulting conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has had a “significant negative impact” on the human rights status in Israel, the report said. It cited credible reports of “unlawful killings” by both Hamas and the Israeli government.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the State Department was continuing to assess allegations from human rights groups that Israeli forces have violated international law in Gaza but said Israel had shown it would hold its own people and institutions accountable.

“This is what separates democracies from other countries — the ability, the willingness, the determination to look at themselves,” he added.


The US government also failed when it cut off funding to UNRWA based upon the claims of the Israeli government -- a government that has lied repeatedly in the last six months.  The US should have launched its own investigation and then determined an action.  But the government doesn't do its job -- again, that's why American college students are having to take action. Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

Countries that have continued to suspend their funding of the United Nations' top relief agency in the occupied Palestinian territories were left with "no room" to justify their decision, said critics on Monday as an independent investigation into Israel's allegations against the organization revealed Israeli officials have ignored requests to provide evidence to support their claims.

Catherine Colonna, the former foreign minister of France, released her findings in a probe regarding Israel's claims that a significant number of employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were members of terrorist groups.

Nearly three months after U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres commissioned the report, Colonna said Israel "has yet to provide supporting evidence" of its allegation that "a significant number of UNRWA employees are members of terrorist organizations."

Colonna's findings were bolstered by an investigation led by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Sweden, the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, which separately sought evidence from Israel.

"Israeli authorities have to date not provided any supporting evidence nor responded to letters from UNRWA in March, and again in April, requesting the names and supporting evidence that would enable UNRWA to open an investigation," said the Nordic groups.

The reports come nearly three months after Israel made its initial allegation that 12 UNRWA employees took part in the October 7 Hamas-led attack on southern Israel, a claim that prompted the United States—the largest international funder of the agency, which subsists mainly on donations—to swiftly halt its funding. Israel also claimed that as many as 12% of UNRWA's employees were members of terrorist organizations.

As Common Dreamsreported at the time, Israel's announcement came hours after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a preliminary ruling that found Israel was "plausibly" committing genocide in Gaza by relentlessly striking the enclave and blocking almost all humanitarian aid to its 2.3 million people. 


The Israeli government lied.  And what's worse than that is that the US government didn't do their own work, they just ran with the lie.   Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan have returned to funding UNRWA.  The US government should as well.

But it can't.  

With no investigation at all, our lazy, half-assed Congress passed a funding bill that including the provision that no money can go to UNRWA before 2025.  

Again, crazies like John Fetterman belong in institutions -- but not legislative bodies.  Those who are mentally unable to serve in Congress should not be in Congress.


This morning, ALJAZEERA reports:

The US State Department says there’s no way to safely evacuate hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Rafah as the Israeli military prepares a ground invasion.

“We don’t want to see Palestinians evacuated from Rafah unless it is to return to their homes. And we have made that quite clear to the government of Israel,” said spokesman Matthew Miller.

“We don’t think there’s any effective way to evacuate 1.4 million Palestinians. There’s no way to conduct an operation in Rafah that would not lead to inordinate civilian harm and would severely hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance. And that’s the point that we continue to make to them.”


Gaza remains under assault. Day 200 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL notes, "Gaza's death toll rose to 34,183 on Tuesday morning after 32 people were killed in the previous 24 hours, the enclave's Health Ministry announced.Another 59 people were wounded, taking the total number of injured to 77,143."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

 



April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."
 

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."





The following sites updated:



Monday, April 22, 2024

That's why the con artist is a Trump

 Donald Trump.  I need hazard pay for all the trips to the sewer I have to take in order to cover the former president.  Nick Mordowanec (NEWSWEEK) reports:


Former President Donald Trump's support among Jewish Americans in New York dropped about 15 points between February and April, according to new polling.

[. . .]

Trump's support among Jews in New York is also slipping, decreasing from 53 percent in a February poll by Siena College to 38 percent in a poll conducted between April 15 and 17—right as protests began escalating at sites like the Ivy League institution.

The poll asked 806 statewide registered voters whether they would support Biden or Trump, and 45 percent said Biden. Another 8 percent of Jewish respondents said they wouldn't vote in that scenario, while 8 percent refused to respond.


Does not surprise me one bit.  The knee-jerk response to identify with Israel is not the big thing FOX "NEWS" and others promote it as.  If it were, The People's Republic of Brooklyn would have done away with Amy Goodman years ago.  However, most of them feel similar to Ms. Goodman.  Mr. Trump is a racist and is not very good at figuring out what other races and ethnicities think.  Actually, he does not care enough about others to see them as individual people and just stamps his own opinion on them. 

Many are fretting that the Trump-packed and Crooked Supreme Court and many includes Liz Cheney.  CNN reports:

Former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said Monday if the Supreme Court does not resolve the issue of presidential immunity “quickly and decisively,” it will have a “profoundly negative impact” on the country.

In a New York Times Op-Ed, Cheney argues that, “If delay prevents this Trump case from being tried this year, the public may never hear critical and historic evidence developed before the grand jury, and our system may never hold the man most responsible for Jan. 6 to account.”

Her message comes before the high court is set to hear arguments later this month in the blockbuster case over whether Trump may claim immunity from prosecution in the federal election subversion case.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the criminal charges, has sought to speed up the proceedings over Trump’s immunity claim so that he can bring the matter to trial as quickly as possible.

Trump, however, has told the justices that if they were not willing to grant him full immunity from Smith’s election subversion prosecution, they should send the case back to lower courts for more proceedings – a move that would push off a trial for many months – to determine whether any partial theory of immunity would apply in his case.





In a New York Times  opinion column published on Monday titled "The Supreme Court Should Rule Swiftly on Trump's Immunity Claim," Cheney discusses Trump's presidential immunity claim as she warns the Supreme Court to conclude their decision on the issue with no delay, adding if Trump's election interference case is delayed the public may "never hear critical and historic evidence."

"The justices should also recognize the profoundly negative impact they may have if the court does not resolve these issues quickly and decisively. If delay prevents this Trump case from being tried this year, the public may never hear critical and historic evidence developed before the grand jury, and our system may never hold the man most responsible for Jan. 6 to account," Cheney wrote.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, Arpil 22, 2024.  The death toll in Gaza passes 34,000, a mass grave is discovered, protests continue on Columbia University's campus and spreads to other American campuses, Joe Biden mischaracterizes and lies about the protesters, and much more.


Today The Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia University continues into week two.  From Friday's DEMOCRACY NOW!


AMY GOODMAN:  Here in New York, riot police moved in on a peaceful student protest encampment, arresting at least 108 people at Columbia. Columbia University President Minouche Shafik called the NYPD to clear the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on the campus’s South Lawn, where Columbia and Barnard students had set up one day earlier to demand university leadership divest from Israel. New York Police Chief John Chell said Shafik identified the demonstration as a “clear and present danger,” but that officers found the students to peaceful and cooperative. Shafik warned all students participating in the encampment would be suspended. At least three suspensions of Barnard students were confirmed Thursday before the arrests, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Congressmember Ilhan Omar.

Thursday’s showdown with the NYPD was the largest arrest on the Columbia campus since 1968, when police arrested over 700 students protesting the school’s ties to the Vietnam War and its plans to expand in Harlem by building a gymnasium there.

Following the arrests yesterday, students gathered on the campus throughout the night as large protests continued and are ongoing. Students got support from many Columbia faculty online and a visit in person from Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West, just nearby, who is also a 2024 presidential candidate. Democracy Now! spoke to professor West after he climbed a fence to visit with the encamped protesters.

CORNEL WEST: Well, you know, in light of our stand in deep solidarity with our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters who are undergoing vicious genocide, wrestling with apartheid conditions for so long and still being ethnically cleansed, we want the world to know that their suffering does not have the last word. There is resilience, and there’s a willingness to fight.

And Columbia president ought to be shame on herself that she cannot zero in on an actual genocide taking place before our very eyes, and be concerned about a potential and possible call for genocide of Jews. Nobody here is calling for the genocide of Jews. Nobody is here calling for annihilation. We’re calling for the end of an actual genocide and the end of an actual annihilation.

How sad that Columbia University could teach so many courses on the canonical texts of Western civilization and can’t listen to Diderot or Karl Marx. They can’t listen to a Martin Luther King Jr. They can’t listen to a Muriel Rukeyser. Most importantly, they can’t listen to the cries of our precious Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

So, I’m in deep solidarity with these students. They represent the best, not just of Columbia, not just of the American empire, but the human spirit, fighting in the face of domination and occupation and subjugation, and doing it with tremendous determination.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s presidential candidate and Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West speaking to Democracy Now! at Columbia University in the midst of the protest. Special thanks to Hana Elias. President Shafik called in the New York police a day after she testified in the U.S. Congress.


Over the weekend, Sarah Huddleston and Shea Vance (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) reported:

 

As the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” entered its fourth day on Saturday, dozens of protesters prepared for the University’s second admitted students weekend of the semester by establishing a “People’s University Student Fair” and an “alternative tour” committee.

The encampment remained on South Lawn two days after University President Minouche Shafik ordered a massive police sweep of the demonstration during which the New York Police Department arrested 108 individuals. All individuals had been released from custody as of late Thursday evening.
Spirits remained high on South Lawn throughout the day as protesters intermittently repeated chants like “Minouche Shafik, you’re a clown, we demand that you step down,” and “Say it out, say it clear, liberation is here” while waving small Palestinian flags. Students lounged on the lawn on top of blue tarps, chatting among each other or working on laptops. Toward the north end of the lawn, food and blankets lay in protected piles.


As the action continued over the weekend, so did the increase in support for it.  Chimen Keys and Surina Venkat (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) report:


 Over 50 people congregated on Sunday in front of the 115th Street and Broadway entrance to “stand with students and a liberated Palestine” following three protests that drew around 150 people outside of Columbia’s campus along Broadway on Saturday.


Coordinated by People’s Forum NYC, New York City chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement, PAL-Awda NY, and ANSWER Coalition, the protest coincides with the fifth day of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

Protests led by community members began on Friday after University President Minouche Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to sweep the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” resulting in the arrests of over 100 students.

Sunday’s protests followed the Within Our Lifetime’s “Flood Columbia for Gaza” protest, Uptown for Palestine’s “March Against Displacement,” and the “Stand with the Students” demonstration that took place on Saturday.


While people supported it, officials did not.  Instead, officialdom attacked the students. From high offices, they attacked them verbally. Jesse Thomas and Daniel de Vries (WSWS) explain:


Amid a mass mobilization of New York City riot cops and surveillance teams, Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, a former cop, attacked pro-Palestinian protestors on Sunday, issuing a statement that ominously warned:

We will not be a city of lawlessness, and those professional agitators seeking to seize the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to sow chaos and division will not succeed.

President Joe Biden added his voice to the increasingly strident, bipartisan attack on the right to protest against war and mass murder, based on the lie that the campuses have become centers of antisemitism. Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s chief arms supplier and accomplice, issued a statement on Sunday saying:

Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous — and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.

In their statements, Democratic officials falsely implied that pro-Palestinian demonstrators were instigating violence. Meanwhile, the Democrats joined with Republican fascists in the House of Representatives to pass a series of bipartisan bills providing $95 billion to continue funding the US/NATO war against Russia in Ukraine, increase the supply of weapons for Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and step up preparations for war against China. 

The statements of Biden and Adams make clear that the attack on students at Columbia is not simply a matter of overreach by a university administration, but part of a coordinated political attack aimed at criminalizing and suppressing opposition to the policies of US imperialism. 

Last week’s arrest of over 100 Columbia and Barnard students who were carrying out a peaceful encampment to protest the Gaza genocide marked a major escalation in the assault on democratic rights not only in New York, but across the country and internationally.

University President Minouche “Nemat” Shafik first suspended the students and then called the NYPD to remove them for supposedly “trespassing.” Students have reported being held by the police in zip ties for over seven hours.


Protesting a genocide is not attacking Jewish people.  Netanyahu, who is Jewish, is carrying out the murders but a protest against him is not a protest against Jewish people.  Nor is charging him with corruption -- as the Israeli government has done -- charging Jews around the world with corruption.  It's a distinction that's easy to make unless you're just interested in lying and using your lie to silence the truth. 


ALJAZEERA reports:


The public opinion poll by Israel’s Yediot Ahronoth media outlet and The Institute for Freedom and Responsibility of Reichman University suggests 85 percent of Israelis have little or no trust in their government.

About 64 percent of Israelis believe their country faces an existential threat, and 65 percent have not been sleeping well since the outbreak of the war, it said.

At least 73 percent of Israelis have grown anxious in the past six months.


So what's the White House response to that?  To have Joe Biden attack the Israeli people for 'anti-semetic' sentiment that he sees in the polling results?  Where does the nonsense end?


As the White House, US President Joe Biden and the mayor of New York attacked the student activists,  support spread across other campuses.  Saturday, ALJAZEERA reported:


Students at three prestigious universities in and near the US city of Boston have set up protest camps, demanding that their institutions cut off ties with Israel, according to campaigners.

The universities are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Emerson and Tufts, the National Students for Justice in Palestine said.

The moves came after students at the Columbia University in New York  launched a Gaza Solidarity Encampment at their campus. That protest is now in its fifth day. Some 100 students were arrested there on Friday.




As the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia enters its fifth day, students at over a dozen universities across the country—and the globe—have begun protesting in solidarity with the encampment after 108 affiliates were arrested on campus by the New York Police Department on Thursday.

Protests ranged from walkouts to marches to encampments in solidarity with the Columbia efforts, garnering anywhere from 50 to hundreds of protesters. At Yale University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students started encampments in solidarity with the Columbia “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

In a Friday evening Instagram post, the national chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine called on all chapters to follow Columbia SJP’s lead and pressure their administrations to divest from Israel.

“Our universities have chosen profit and reputation over the lives of the people of Palestine and the will of their students,” the national SJP chapter wrote in the post. “President Minouche Shafik’s cowardly testimony to Congress heralds an unfortunate shift: university administrators have capitulated to the pressure of the Zionist lobby and allied Right Wing, selling out the Student Movement for Palestinian liberation to save face in the eye of the state.”

“In the footsteps of our comrades at … Columbia SJP, we call on all SJPs across the nation to seize the university and force the administration to divest, for the people of Gaza!” the post continues.

Carrie Zaremba, a member of the national SJP chapter, said that the support from other universities across the country is “absolutely unprecedented.”

This morning, Alysha Palumbo (NBC's 10BOSTON) reports:


A large group of students were gathered Monday in an encampment that blocked Boylston Place alley on Emerson's campus. They're part of the non-affiliated student organization "Students for Justice in Palestine."

Boston police were also on site, but they say there have been no arrests at this time.

There were also student encampments at MIT and Tufts as well. These protests began at 7 p.m. Sunday and continued throughout the night.

These students say this is an act of solidarity with 100 pro-Palestinian protestors arrested at Columbia University in New York last week.


And Boston's WCBA filed this video report.



In other news, THE INDEPENDENT notes this morning:


Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to fight any impending US sanction on the Israeli military amid a slump in bilateral ties following the Israeli military onslaught in the Gaza Strip.

President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to sanction a unit of the Israeli military after a ProPublica investigation claimed that the State Department sat for months on evidence of serious human rights abuses

The investigation published on Wednesday revealed that an internal State Department investigation had, months ago, identified several Israeli police and military units facing credible accusations of violating human rights, including allegations of torture.

Meanwhile, an Al Jazeera has reported bodies being recovered from a mass grave inside the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza’s Khan Younis.

“In the hospital courtyard, civil defence members and paramedics have retrieved 180 bodies buried in this mass grave by the Israeli military. The bodies include elderly women, children and young men,” the outlet reported, quoting its reporter and Palestinian emergency services from Khan Younis. 


Olivia Rosane (COMMON DREAMS) adds:


  Palestinian civil defense discovered hundreds of bodies buried by Israeli forces in a mass grave inside the complex of Khan Younis' Nasser Medical Complex on Saturday.

Rescue workers said they had removed at least 200 bodies as of 12:00 pm local time on Sunday, and they estimated that at least another 200 remained, Middle East Eye reported.

"We found corpses without heads, bodies without skins, and some had their organs stolen," the director-general of the Government Media Office said in a statement shared by Quds News Network.

"Following the mass graves at Al-Shifa hospital, it looks like Israel is a voracious death machine turning hospitals in Gaza into graveyards."

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from Khan Younis on April 7. While they occupied the city, they stormed the Nasser Medical Complex in February, arresting several doctors, damaging the structure with shelling, and rendering it unable to function as a hospital.

Al Jazeera reporter Hani Mahmoud said the bodies found in the Nasser grave included children, young men, and older women. Rescues said that some of the bodies they found had been buried with their hands tied behind their backs, according to Middle East Eye.  

 

On Saturday, the death toll in Gaza passed the 3400 mark.  Earlier this month, the assault passed the six month mark.  There appears to be no end in sight.  And the answer from the White House?  Attack US college students.  


And that helps how?

  
Sunday, Mohammad Jahjouh and Samy Magdy (AP) reported, "Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight killed 22 people, including 18 children, health officials said Sunday, as the United States was on track to approve billions of dollars of additional military aid to Israel, its close ally."  18 children killed.  And the White House pretends this is about October 7th?  It's about eradicating the Palestinians, it is a genocide.  Saturday, the Israeli government killed an ambulance driver.  THE NATIONAL noted::

The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has called for humanitarian and medical workers to be protected after a volunteer paramedic was killed in the occupied West Bank on Saturday.

Mohammed Allah Musa was the 18th member of the Palestine Red Crescent to be killed since the war began in October. 

"How many more?" asked Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the IRFC.

"I cannot stress this enough: Humanitarian and healthcare workers must be respected and protected. It is a moral and legal obligation."



The rate of attacks per month on healthcare in Gaza since the beginning of the war has been higher than in any other recent conflict globally, standing at an average of 73 attacks each month, according to new analysis by Save the Children.   

There have so far been at least 435 attacks on health facilities or personnel across Gaza in six months of conflict between 7 October 2023 and early April 2024 – equivalent to 73 attacks per month of war, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  This number exceeds the number of attacks per month in all other war-torn countries since 2018, including Ukraine who have the second highest number at 67 attacks per month, and the Democratic Republic of Congo with an average of 11 attacks per month.  

Attacks on healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory haven’t been limited to Gaza, with 369 attacks also reported in the occupied West Bank in the last six months. These include 302 obstructions to health access, and the use of force within health facilities.  

 

The WHO classifies an attack on health care as any instance of violence against or any obstructions that interfere with delivery or access to, health services during emergencies, including psychological threats and intimidation of patients and workers. 

Six months of constant bombardment, siege and obstruction of aid deliveries have annihilated the health system in Gaza. Only 11 hospitals out of 36 are partially functioning and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported that some 350,000 people suffering from chronic diseases in Gaza are unable to access vital medicines, supplies, and services.  

Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit are currently assisting children through a field hospital recently established by a partner in Rafah that offers primary health care to over 200 people a day, 40% of them children.  

 

The corpses pile up but Joe Biden's answer is attack college students.  


Gaza remains under assault. Day 199 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL reports, "The death toll in Israel's war on Gaza rose to 34,151 on Monday afternoon after 54 people were killed in the previous 24 hours. About 104 others were wounded, taking the total number of injured to 77,084, according to the latest update from the enclave's health ministry.Intense air strikes and shelling were reported across Gaza overnight, particularly in central and southern areas."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

 



April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."
 

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

And ALJAZEERA reports:


“We believe that the response has been fully disproportionate and has also been, in our view, a breach of humanitarian law in terms of the destruction of Gaza and also in terms of the killing of civilians, innocent men, women and children,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin says.

“The population of Gaza has been collectively punished because of the activities of Hamas, that’s not acceptable,” he said ahead of a EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

Martin said Ireland and Spain are calling for a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which is based on trade relations with Israel.

Ministers will discuss a proposed Gaza peace plan, the recognition of a Palestinian state, and humanitarian aid issues, he added.


Let's wind down with this:


Shellenberger and Musk are working hand in hand, and I’m sure their goal is to be players in the US elections, and that’s why they have joined the international far right. Obviously they have chosen Brazil because it is also an important player in the international far right. They have taken advantage of all this discourse about regulating social media, which Musk obviously opposes. But I think their immediate goal is to attack the established powers in Brazil.

Our far right was completely isolated, because its main leader is Bolsonaro and he couldn’t lead, because he was cornered: the criminal investigations against him for crimes that have been proven, thanks to very robust investigations by the Federal Police. He was powerless, because the whole coup plot has been uncovered by the Federal Police. He really tried to implement a coup d’état, together with military leaders, and there were direct actions, like the attack on the Federal Police headquarters the day Lula arrived in Brasilia to sign documents in preparation for his inauguration.

This attack was very serious, but some people seem to have already forgotten it. I was there. I personally witnessed a car full of jerry cans filled with gasoline parked in front of a gas station, and later jerry cans full of gasoline were found in the hotel where Lula was staying. There was an attempted bombing in Brasilia airport on Christmas, which only failed to explode because the detonator didn’t work. Then we had the attack on January 8, which was also very serious.

So at the moment when were were managing to finally hold the main leaders of this attempted coup accountable, Elon Musk and Michael Shellenberger came onto the scene to attack the institutions that are prosecuting them, to usurp their power so they can’t convict them anymore. That was clearly their short-term goal, and in the long run, Elon Musk obviously wants to be a player in the international far right, and interfere in elections around the world, especially in the US.

 

That's Estela Aranha speaking to Brian Mier (FAIR) about the lies that are The Twitter Files.



Kat's "Kat's Korner: The tortured lyrics (not poetry) of Taylor Swift" went up Sunday.  The following sites updated: