Thursday, June 20, 2024


While we await the Supreme Court’s decision on Donald Trump’s claim that he enjoys presidential immunity from prosecution, let me run through the various forms of disingenuousness to be on the look out for when the ruling eventually comes down. That could be as soon as this morning, or as late as early July. If the court’s slow-rolling of the case thus far is any indication I would expect it later than sooner. But your guess is as good as mine.

Before we get to the fun stuff, it’s important to acknowledge that while Trump’s claim of more or less absolute immunity is completely bogus and detached from the reality of the Constitution, history, and legal precedent, some form of lesser immunity for the president is not on its face ridiculous or absurd.

What gets tricky in the Trump case is that the more the Supreme Court decides to explore and weigh in on lesser forms of immunity (rather than saving that for another day given that immunity for unlawfully remaining in office past the end of the president’s term is out of the question), the greater the chance that it creates insurmountable obstacles to holding a Trump trial before the election. It already has made such a trial nearly impossible. So while in the abstract, a fulsome exploration of presidential immunity could be warranted, it also runs the risk of being a smokescreen.

I was watching someone . . . Chris Hayes.  I had to check THE COMMON ILLS.  C.I. posted this video yesterday at her site.

So in that video, Mr. Hayes is talking about the time it took for the Supreme Court to resolve the immunity issue with Tricky Dick Nixon.  And that was a little over two weeks.  As opposed to the months and months that the current Court had dragged this issue out.  We have a crooked and corrupt Court.  And we need to get serious about fixing it.

Lie to the Senate at your confirmation hearing?  Automatic removal from the bench.  Do not care if you are left, right, what have you. 

Term limits imposed immediately.  I would argue that 20 years is too long.  I would rather see 10 but I could support fifteen years.  One term on the Court only.  

An ethics policy needs to be imposed immediately.

No gifts from people who appear before the Court.  None.  That includes those filing an amicus brief.

"We're friends!"

Then you friend should understand that to preserve the integrity of the Court no one can ever again look like Clarence Thomas.

Speaking of corrupt, you know we have to touch on pedophile Robert Morris. Samyarup Chowdhury (KNEWZ) reports:

The alleged sexual abuse victim of Robbert Morris, the founder of Gateway Church, has come forward and asserted that the Texas megachurch was aware of his crime and demanded a search for more victims. has learned that the noted pastor, who served as the "spiritual advisor" to former President Donald Trump, announced his resignation on Tuesday, June 18, following the scandal.
The Gateway Church wrote while announcing Morris's resignation that they had no idea about his alleged crimes.

However, Cindy Clemishire, the victim, responded by saying that the church leadership was aware of the incidents as she wrote an email directly to the pastor's Gateway Church mail address in 2005.

Oh, my goodness.  Mr. Morris lied and -- AND -- the church lied.  I do not get this.  Greed is not faith.  And lying is not faith.  And embracing a pedophile is not faith.

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

Thursday, June 20, 20224.  Jonathan S. Tobin competes with Ben Stiller in the battle of the nitwits, Green Peace supports a cease-fire, and much more.

Not sure what to say but I guess: Hats off Jonathan S. Tobin.

We were all fooled.  Everyone but him.  As the neocon 'reveals' in his just published JEWISH NEWS SYNDICATE piece, there's no starvation in Gaza.  No.  We all got it wrong.  The UN, aid agencies, medical workers, journalists, news consumers, we all got it wrong.

Suicide non-eaters!  Slapping my forehead as I realize, they were suicide non-eaters -- those children who are dead now.  They killed themselves.  Jonathan's figured it all out!

What do we do with this nonsense?  

Is he an idiot?  


Is he lying?


How does anyone arrive at that point where they are so willing to lie?  I don't get it.  

If I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.  I don't paint myself into a corner.  But where do you go if you're Toobin now?  When you're denying the starvation going on in Gaza?  When you're ignoring the deaths of children in Gaza from starvation?  

How do you think you come back from that?

And I also don't get how you think you look like an American?

That's not say that Americans don't lie, we lie all the time.

That is to say that Tobin's not lying for his country.  Wouldn't make the lie more acceptable if he was but he's lying for another country.

I wonder about people like that.  You know when Bully Boy Bush was pushing the Iraq War, where would someone like Toobin be?  What do you think he would have been focusing on?

Oh, wait, we don't have to wonder.  

Isn't that cute, how he always has the government of Israel's back.

So is Tobin an American as he likes to bill himself or is he someone with dual citizenship who's actually an Israeli-American?

He may be worse than the right-wing Cuban exiles in Florida.  

If you've missed him so far, you've been so lucky.  Since October alone, he's called for street action and push back against any efforts at peace and he's 'explained' that sympathies and support for the Palestinian people (not, Hamas, the Palestinian people) is just someone who hates Jewish people (here for his column that someone's reposted in full on LINKED-IN -- byline is at the end of the column).

Today, The Idiot Tobin pushes past everyone else on the face of the planet to advance from village idiot to global idiot.  Wear the crown well, Jonathan, wear the crown well.

Maybe loan it to Ben Stiller?

The acting career ended long ago and he's seen about as current today as Burt Reynolds was in the 90s but all that time freed from an actual acting career (yes, he produces a show on APPLE+ -- no, that's nothing to brag about) led him to write a piece for TIME.  He's upset, people, Ben's upset.

What a time we are all living through. Like so many people, I have been watching the awful events happening in the Middle East over the last year and trying to determine how to react. I have been seeing the brazen antisemitic incidents in my own city and feeling a mix of anger, fear, and astonishment that we are at this place in our country. Saying nothing at this point feels like I am betraying my own conscience. But what do you say? How does one express the complicated and very real feelings in this scary world of social media, where it seems any sentiment opens you to online vitriol from one side or another? The issues we are dealing with are so nuanced and complicated that short statements cannot in any way express fully what I want to say from my heart. As a public advocate for refugees, I’ve been struggling to reconcile my silence with that work. Please bear with me as I explain. And to be clear, what I say here is my personal view, not that of any organization–it’s just how I feel.

Is Ben in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town?

Yesterday it rained in TennesseeI heard it also rained in TallahasseeBut not a drop fell on little old me'Cause I was in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shooShoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town

Wow, Ben, the Iraq War, didn't register on you, did it.  No, not one drop fell on little old you but now you're concerned about an event.

And you don't realize how you are the problem.

You blather on about Israel over and over and whine like you've always whined throughout your adult life -- your inability to find a backbone goes along way towards explaining why audiences turned on you -- and then you write this:

I also see a troubling conflation in criticism of the actions of the Israeli government with denunciations of all Israelis and Jewish people. And as a result, we are seeing an undeniable rise in global antisemitism. I am seeing it myself, on the streets of the city I grew up in. It isn’t right and must be denounced.

Antisemitism must be condemned whenever it happens and wherever it exists. As should Islamophobia and bigotry of all kinds. There is a frightening amnesia for history in the air. We must remind ourselves that we can only manifest a more hopeful, just, and peaceful future by learning from the past.

You're the one conflating the two: The Israeli people and the Israeli government.

That's you and one single sentence in your excessive essay doesn't change that reality.

You're a piece of garbage sexist and we all know it in the industry and we've always known it. People who harm women are people who are deluded and your delusions are on full display.

A frightening amnesia?  You mean the one that denies decades of oppression of the Palestinian people by the government of Israel?  

He writes that he has to stand against terrorism?

Okay, Ben, do so.  Call out the War Crimes being carried out by the Israeli government.

Oh, that's right, you won't do that.  

And the world sees that.  And so don't pretend you are not responsible for any public mental merger of the state of Israel with the people of Israel.  

You are 100% responsible and it's all there you awful column -- a 1143 word column that only uses the term Palestinians twice.  

Yeah, let's pretend like you really give a damn about the Paletinian people.

And before we close on your stupidity and lies, stop lying about your father: "My dad served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II."  That sentence is dishonest and you damn well know it.  Your father is not someone who fought in WWII.  Gary Susman (VANITY FAIR):

Stiller enlisted in the Army during World War II but wasn’t sent overseas until after the fighting was over; as he recalled, he spent most of his stint in Italy playing football. Through the G.I. Bill, he enrolled at Syracuse University, where he was one of the school’s first-ever drama majors. After graduation, he returned to New York City and spent years in bit parts on Broadway and TV.

The humanitarian situation in southern Gaza is “quickly deteriorating” as people have been crammed in a “highly congested area along the beach in the burning summer heat”, the UN said.

Active conflict and lawlessness in the area have made it “near impossible” for the World Food Programme and its partners to meet the surging demand, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said in its latest situation report issued on Wednesday.

There is also a critical lack of milk and formula for babies and nutritional supplements for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, Ocha said.

“Many households report having only one meal every day, with some having one meal every two or three days, relying mostly on bread, food sharing with other families and rationing stocks,” it said.

WFP deputy executive director Carl Skau spent two days in Gaza this month. “The situation in southern Gaza is quickly deteriorating," he said.

"A million people have been pushed out of Rafah and are trapped in a highly congested area along the beach in the burning summer heat. We drove through rivers of sewage.”

More than one million people have been forced out of the southern city of Rafah since Israel began a ground operation there on May 7, the UN said.

Israel's chief army spokesman has appeared to question the stated goal of destroying the Hamas militant group in Gaza in an apparent rare public rift between the country's political and military leadership.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the face of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) daily war briefings and military videos, made the comments during an interview on Israeli TV on Wednesday. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Israel will pursue the fight to "destroy Hamas", the group running the besieged Gaza Strip, until its military and governing capabilities in the Palestinian territory are eliminated.

But with the war now in its ninth month, frustration has been mounting with no clear end or postwar plan in sight.

"This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear — it's simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public," Mr Hagari told Israel's Channel 13 TV.

Reporting from Amman, Jordan, Al Jazeera’s Hamdah Salhut said Netanyahu’s office was “fuming” at Hagari’s remarks.

“This just gives you an idea of what Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies are in this war, and the army on the ground saying it is actually not realistic,” she added.

Netanyahu’s office responded by saying that the security cabinet, chaired by the prime minister, “has defined the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities as one of the goals of the war. The Israeli military, of course, is committed to this.”

War Criminal Netanyahu is supposed to address the US Congress next month.  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said late Tuesday that Democratic and Republican leaders should withdraw their invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak at a joint meeting of Congress next month after he released a video attacking the Biden administration for "withholding" weapons from Israel's military.

"This man should not be addressing Congress. He is a war criminal," Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote on social media. "And he certainly has no regard for U.S. law, which is explicitly designed to prevent U.S. weapons from facilitating human rights abuses."

"His invitation should be revoked," she added. "It should've never been sent in the first place."

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) formally invited Netanyahu to address a joint meeting last month, roughly two weeks after the Biden administration all but acknowledged what leading human rights organizations had been saying for months: that Israeli forces have used American weaponry to commit war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

The invitation also came roughly two months after Schumer criticized Netanyahu in a speech on the Senate floor, accusing the prime minister of being "too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza" and calling for new leadership in Israel.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 258 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, "The death toll in Gaza has increased to 37,431, the enclave's Health Ministry said on Thursday.  It added that 85,653 had been injured since the war began on October 7.  More than 35 were killed and 130 injured in the last 24 hours, the ministry said."    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."

Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) reports on a new development in calls for a ceasefire:

As part of its quest for "a green and peaceful future," Greenpeace International on Tuesday urged the Israeli government and Hamas to "unequivocally agree to support and abide by" a recent United Nations Security Council resolution and declare "an immediate and permanent cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip.

"We call for the bullets and bombs to be silenced so that the growing voices for peace can be heard," the environmental advocacy group said in a statement that acknowledges "the horrific events" of October 7—in which Hamas-led militants killed more than 1,100 people in Israel and took around 240 hostages—and the over 37,000 Palestinians who Israeli forces have slaughtered since.

In addition to the rising death toll and at least 85,523 Palestinians injured by the war, "the majority of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes," Greenpeace highlighted. "Much of Gaza has been reduced to rubble, famine and disease are rife, nowhere and no one is safe. Sanity and humanity must be restored in the face of this unfolding genocide."

"Beyond the urgent need to end the civilian suffering and ecological devastation, all parties must resume peaceful negotiations."

The organization pointed to South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice as well as a U.N. commission's report from last week that concludes the Israeli government and Palestinian militants have committed war crimes.

"We call on Hamas to immediately release all hostages," Greenpeace said. "We call for the Israeli government to immediately end the blockades on the supply of food, water, medicine, and fuel to the people of Gaza and release all illegally detained civilians."

"Violence is never the answer, it only brings more violence," the group emphasized. "Beyond the urgent need to end the civilian suffering and ecological devastation, all parties must resume peaceful negotiations towards a lasting peace built on safety, justice, and equal rights for all. International law must be upheld."

The United States and European countries that are arming Israel have faced international pressure to use their leverage to halt crimes by its forces. Greenpeace called for "a global embargo on all arms sales and transfers that could be used to further increase the toll of war crimes to be answered by both sides once this war and conflict ends."

"Greenpeace recognizes the deep historic roots that need to be discussed and negotiated if a permanent peace is to be established," the group said. "Greenpeace calls for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine. Greenpeace supports the UNSC resolution ambition that 'Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders, consistent with international law and relevant U.N. resolutions."

The Greenpeace statement was released the same day that the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) published a preliminary assessment of the "environmental impact of the conflict in Gaza," which features three main sections. The first part addresses the state of the environment and natural resources in the Hamas-governed enclave before October 7.

The second section discusses topics including water, wastewater treatment, and sewage systems; solid waste collection and treatment; destruction of infrastructure and related debris; energy, fuel, and associated infrastructure; marine and coastal environments; terrestrial ecosystems, soil, and cultivated lands; and air pollution.

The third section focuses on chemicals and waste associated with armed conflicts as well as construction, destruction, and flooding of tunnels in Gaza—which, as the report notes, "is a small, densely populated coastal area, the environment of which has been affected by repeated escalations of the decadeslong conflict, unplanned urbanization, and population growth."

"We urgently need a cease-fire to save lives and restore the environment."

Inger Andersen, UNEP's executive director, said in a statement that "not only are the people of Gaza dealing with untold suffering from the ongoing war, the significant and growing environmental damage in Gaza risks locking its people into a painful, long recovery."

The following cites updated: