Saturday, December 23, 2023

Idiot of the Week

Let's do Idiot of the Week.  I've got a new one to 'honor.'  He's been an idiot for a long time; however, I don't think he's ever picked the prize.  And he had tough competition this week -- including the idiot Cornel West.  But he managed to eek out the win.  The award for Idiot of the Week goes to . . .

Little Junior.  Micro-tiny meat come on down.  Yes, Robert F. Kennedy Junior.

Little Junior continues to take his case for votes to right-wing media.  And even propped up by sycophants there, he can't answer questions and he can't stop embarrassing himself.

He was asked to name a current member of the Supreme Court whose views line up with his own.  And he couldn't and he wouldn't.  "I couldn't answer that."  Asked if he lined up more with Elena Kagan or Clarence Thomas, he replied, "I don't know."  Then he added, "I wouldn't answer that."

He wants to be president?  This is him running for president?

Asked who he would pick as the justice most aligned with him of all time, he really scraped the bottom of the barrel and revealed how stupid he actually is.

Earl Warren.

The right-winger asking the questions immediately hissed that Warren stopped school prayer.  Junior then replied, "This is why I don't want to pick a particular justice.  I'm telling you what I would look for in a justice but I'm not going to endorse every decision.  So I can see the trick here, which is I name a judge and you're going to pick a decision that I would not endorse."

Okay, that's bad.  He's for forcing kids to pray in school.  He's such a damn loser.

But do you get what a huge loser he is?

The issue isn't school prayer.  If I wasn't a big fan of ANNIE HALL, I might have been as dumb as the interview -- but no one can be as dumb as Junior.  

Allison: I'm sorry.  I can't go through with this.

Alvy: I can't get it off my mind, Allison.  It's obsessing me.

Allison: I'm getting tired of it.  I need your attention.

Alvy: But it doesn't make any sense.  He drove past the book depository . . . and the police said conclusively that it was an exit wound. So how is it possible for Oswal to have fired from two angles at once?  It doesn't make sense!

Allison: Alvy --

Alvy: I'll tell you this.  He was not marksman enough to hit a moving target at that range.  But if there was a second assassin . . .  That's it!

Allison: We've been through this.

Alvy: They recovered the shells from that rifle.

Allison: Ok, what are you syaing now?  Everybody on the Warren Commission is in on this conspiracy, right?

Alvy: Well, why not?

Allison: Yeah?  Earl Warren?

Alvy: Hey, honey, I don't know Earl Warren.

Allison: Lyndon Johnson?

Alvy: Lyndon Johnson is a politician! You know the ethics those guys have.  It's like a notch underneath child molester.

Allison: Then everybody's in on the conspiracy?  The FBI and the CIA and J Edgar Hoover and oil companies and the Pentagon and the men's room attendant at the White House?

Alvy: I would leave out the men's room attendant.

Allison: You're using this conspiracy theory as an excuse to avoid sex with me.

And Junior's used his dead uncle throughout the campaign.  Invoking his name constantly.  Insisting that the US government killed his uncle.  But his favorite justice on the Supreme Court -- of all time -- is Earl Wilson who headed the inquiry into his uncle's assassination?

Warren was personally involved in several aspects of the investigation.  He supervised four days of testimony by Lee Harvey Oswald's widow, Marina Oswald, and was widely criticized for telling the press that, although her testimony would be publicly disclosed, "it might not be in your lifetime."[169] He attended the closed-door interview of Jacqueline Kennedy[170] and insisted on participating in the deposition of Jack Ruby in Dallas, where he visited the book depository.[171] Warren also participated in the investigation of Kennedy's medical treatment and autopsy.[172] At Robert Kennedy's insistence, Warren handled the unwelcome task of reviewing the autopsy photos alone.[173]  Because the photos were so gruesome, Warren decided that they should not be included in the Commission's records.[174]

Warren closely supervised the drafting of the Commission's report. He wanted to ensure that Commission members had ample opportunity to evaluate the staff's work and to make their own judgments about important conclusions in the report.[175] He insisted that the report should be unanimous and so he compromised on a number of issues to get all the members to sign the final version. Although a reenactment of the assassination "produced convincing evidence" supporting the single-bullet theory, the Commission decided not to take a position on the single-bullet theory.[176][177] The Commission unanimously concluded that the assassination was the result of a single individual, Lee Harvey Oswald, who acted alone.[178]

The Warren Commission was an unhappy experience for the chief justice. As Willens recalled, "One can't say too much about the Chief's sacrifice. The work was a drain on his physical well-being."[179] However, Warren always believed that the Commission's primary conclusion, that Oswald acted alone, was correct. In his memoirs, Warren wrote that Oswald was incapable of being the key operative in a conspiracy, and that any high-level government conspiracy would inevitably have been discovered.[180] Newsweek magazine quoted Warren saying that, if he handled the Oswald case as a district attorney, "I could have gotten a conviction in two days and never heard about the case again."[181] Warren wrote that "the facts of the assassination itself are simple, so simple that many people believe it must be more complicated and conspiratorial to be true."[182] Warren told the Commission staff not to worry about conspiracy theories and other criticism of the report because “history will prove us right.”[183]

Remember that the next time grifter Junior is smearing himself with JFK's blood in order to get your sympathy and vote.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, December 22, 2023.  Still no vote by the UN Security Council, is anything changing in the assault on Gaza?

We have to start with John Schneider -- Who?  Exactly.  A TV star of a dopey show in the 70s who got into his head that the way to handle minor success was to walk out demanding more money has shown that you can get even more dumb than that.  Dominic Patten (DEADLINE) reports:

John Schneider may now be insisting he never threatened the life of President Joe Biden, but the Secret Service beg to differ.

The federal agency charged with protecting POTUS, the Vice President and their immediate families, as well as major political candidates and high level government officials, have opened a probe into statements the former Dukes of Hazzard star made online against the President and his son Hunter Biden earlier today, Deadline has learned.

Hours after publicly coming up short in the Season 10 finale of The Masked Singer, vocal conservative Schneider called for the hanging of the president, whom he accused of “treason,” and his criminally-indicted offspring. In a now deleted post (yep, he erased it pretty fast), the longtime Biden critic and Smallville actor made no secret of his feelings about POTUS – as a screen grab of that now-delated post on X/Twitter reveals:    

Schneider Tweeted to Joe, "Mr. President, I believe you of treason and should be publicly hung. Your son too. Your response is..? Sincerely, John Schneider."

As Betty's already pointed out ("Little bitch John Schneider"), the term is "hanged."  Unless John Schneider's is lusting after Joe and Hunter, "hung" really doesn't enter into it.

I can't even get through the e-mails in the public account because there are over 100 on the above event.  If there's something of value in there (another topic or an article we should highlight), you picked the wrong day to e-mail it because I'm not going to continue to try to read any of the rest.

So legal and realistic are what we're focused on.

Did John make a threat on the president's life?

No, I don't believe he did.  The wording doesn't qualify as a threat of "I will physically harm you."  Leave out the treason charge and the sentence is "I believe you should be publicly hung."  

So, no, I don't believe he made a threat to publicly harm Joe Biden or Hunter Biden.

Some of the e-mails I managed to get through were convinced that John was being railroaded.

I don't believe that either.

The Secret Service is tasked with protecting the life of the president.  

They have to look at every incident.

They have to do an assessment -- is ____  a risk to the president's life?

That's what they're now doing.  

You're dealing with an actor -- who killed Lincoln? -- who has very low impulse control, isolates, has issues with booze, became a widower this year, etc, etc.  

They're going to look through all that and they would be remiss if they did otherwise.

Some are saying that Johnny Depp and Madonna -- some in e-mails -- got away with threats against Trump.  What do you mean got away with?

The remarks they made resulted in assessments by the Secret Service.

They didn't go whining to the press immediately the way I Need Attention John Schneider did.

I agree with Betty's assessment ("little bitch") because he said it and was so proud of himself and then immediately deletes and then goes whining to the press.  

He made a controversial remark that summoned violence at a time when the nation's already heated enough.  Overheated in fact.

This is not something minor.

His own actions have caused this and anything that follows. 

If next October, he were to make an attempt on Joe's life, the public reaction would be: What were you doing after you saw his Tweet!

Their job is to make an assessment and determine whether or not he is a risk.  

They're doing their job.

And he's being a little bitch.  He runs to the press to whine.  Have you once heard him say it was poor judgment to Tweet what he Tweeted?


So let's move on to a new topic.  Over this past weekend, we were told that the United Nations Security Council would be voting on a cease fire on Monday.  Then, due to the US government, the vote was pushed to Tuesday, then to Wednesday, then to yesterday.  And it didn't happen yesterday.

The UN Security Council is moving closer to a vote on humanitarian aid for Gaza after the US expressed support for the latest draft resolution.

The vote, now delayed until Friday, had been in limbo after the US voiced "widespread concerns" with a draft.

Washington had said it was concerned the resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, could "actually slow down" aid into Gaza.

The latest announcement from the US comes after some two weeks of talks.

All week, the Security Council has repeatedly postponed the draft resolution aimed at bringing in some form of ceasefire, as wrangling continued over the language.

The slaughter continues.  PRB notes, "The West Bank, approximately the size of Delaware, is bordered by Israel to the west and Jordan to the east. Gaza (also called the Gaza Strip) is approximately twice the size of Washington, D.C., and shares a border with Israel to the north and east and Egypt to the south."  So with us all grasping how small Gaza is,  , Allegra Goodwin, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Nima Elbagir (CNN) report:

In the first month of its war in Gaza, Israel dropped hundreds of massive bombs, many of them capable of killing or wounding people more than 1,000 feet away, analysis by CNN and artificial intelligence company Synthetaic suggests.

Satellite imagery from those early days of the war reveals more than 500 impact craters over 12 meters (40 feet) in diameter, consistent with those left behind by 2,000-pound bombs. Those are four times heavier than the largest bombs the United States dropped on ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, during the war against the extremist group there.

Weapons and warfare experts blame the extensive use of heavy munitions such as the 2,000-pound bomb for the soaring death toll. The population of Gaza is packed together much more tightly than almost anywhere else on earth, so the use of such heavy munitions has a profound effect.

“The use of 2,000-pound bombs in an area as densely populated as Gaza means it will take decades for communities to recover,” said John Chappell, advocacy and legal fellow at CIVIC, a DC-based group focused on minimizing civilian harm in conflict.   

I haven't seen a figure on how many people have  been displaced in Gaza this week.  But last week, the number was 1.9 million -- and Gaza has 2.3 million people.  

This is horrific and you would have thought that with a holy day for many around the world (Christmas) approaching (December 25th), the US government would be doing everything possible to create a pause if not a cease-fire.  (An immediate cease-fire is what is needed.)

Let's move over to a discussion on yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: The United Nations Security Council has for the third time this week postponed a vote on a resolution calling for a halt to the fighting in Gaza and for Israel to allow shipments of food, water, fuel and medicine into the besieged territory. Several Security Council members have expressed frustration with the United States for repeatedly delaying votes and for threatening to once again veto any resolution.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, serves as an international adviser for Jewish Voice for Peace. Phyllis has written a number of books, including Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, her recent piece for In These Times headlined “The Christmas Truce of 1914 and the Demand for a Cease-Fire in Gaza.”

As we went to air today, Phyllis, there is no resolution at this point at the U.N. One is expected today, but we said that Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday. If you can talk about what’s going on there? And then we can talk about that Christmas truce, as we move into the weekend.

PHYLLIS BENNIS: This is, in some ways, a very old story. The United States refuses to accept a globally demanded ceasefire in the context of Israeli assaults, particularly on Gaza. And we’ve seen it before; we’re seeing it again now. The U.S. is refusing to allow the term “cessation of hostilities.” They certainly will not allow the term “ceasefire” to be used. They want to talk about a suspension of hostilities, meaning just a temporary pause, like we saw two weeks ago, to allow in a certain amount of aid, reduce the pressure on Israel, get some of the hostages released, and then go back to the Israeli assault and kill more thousands of Palestinians presumably.

So what we’re looking at is the question of whether the other members of the Security Council will be able to persuade the U.S. — and I think this is very doubtful — to change their position and allow decent language about a real cessation of hostilities or a ceasefire. And if they don’t, will the council go ahead and force the United States to use its veto, something the U.S. does not like to do, or will it essentially collapse under its own pressure and simply withdraw the resolution and say, “Well, we couldn’t get the U.S. on board, so we’re not going to go forward”? The issue then becomes whether you’re letting the U.S. off the hook by saying, “We will simply” — excuse me — “We will simply withdraw the resolution,” or do you force the U.S. to use its veto, which then has consequences, including sending the resolution off to the General Assembly, where it passes under very particular conditions that can make it much more influential and, by some arguments by legal scholars, perhaps enforceable, like a Security Council resolution would be? So that’s where the council is right now.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Phyllis, so, if you could explain that? Because normally a General Assembly vote is not legally binding in the way that a Security Council vote is —


NERMEEN SHAIKH: — which is why there’s so much emphasis on what the Security Council does.

PHYLLIS BENNIS: The particularity here, Nermeen, is that when the U.S. or any other of the five permanent members of the council actually uses a veto, a new regulation at the U.N., that was passed a couple of years ago, requires that the General Assembly then meet within 10 days to take up that same issue. You know, ordinarily, this is very closely held. The Security Council deals with threats to peace and security around the world. The General Assembly can deal with everything else. But when one of the five permanent members — in this case, of course, the United States — uses its veto on an issue of peace and security, under those conditions, the General Assembly is required to hold an emergency session. And it’s held under what’s known in the U.N. as “Uniting for Peace” precedent. This was something the U.N. was forced to accept back in 1951 at the instigation, ironically, of the United States. It’s how the U.S. got the United Nations to endorse its war in Korea. And under those conditions, the decisions made by the General Assembly, which officially are considered nonbinding, not enforceable, take on additional power, because it’s derivative of United Nations Security Council power. So, the decisions are uncertain, whether it’s really enforceable, but it’s a much stronger resolution in the General Assembly if it follows a veto in the Security Council. That’s one of the big reasons why the United States does not like to use its veto, if it can avoid it.

The other reason, of course, is that it shows the world just how isolated the United States now is. The U.S. and Israel stand alone. The vote in the General Assembly on a very similar resolution was 153 countries, out of 193, who voted “yes,” and only 10 countries, including the U.S. and Israel, voted “no.” And under those circumstances, it really demonstrates the isolation of the U.S. And that’s not something that the Biden administration is eager to be showing up again.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, if you could say, Phyllis — I mean, talk about the significance of U.S. support. Explain why it’s so strident, despite what’s happening in Gaza, and also the fact that when Biden did lightly criticize Israel for its indiscriminate bombardment, saying that it was losing international support, the Israeli foreign minister very quickly said that Israel would continue, quote, “with or without international support.” Your response to that?


NERMEEN SHAIKH: I mean, is that accurate, you think?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: Right. Well, I think what is true is that the United States has made a number of polite requests of the Israeli government. They have said, “Please stop killing so many people. What you’re doing is OK. Using massive bombardment is OK. But try and pull back a little bit. Maybe change the tactics of the ground invasion so that you’re not killing quite so many civilians. It doesn’t look good.” But there are no consequences when the Israeli response, as you just said, from Prime Minister Netanyahu or others is simply, “No, we’re going to continue what we’re doing.”

There’s no way that Israel feels compelled to respond to that until the request become requirements, and the requirements come with conditions that make a difference, so that when the United States says, “You’ve got to stop bombing Gaza. You’re killing civilians, and it’s illegal under international law. You’ve got to stop,” and Israel says, “Nope, we’re going to continue,” then the next sentence out of the mouth of President Biden or Secretary of State Blinken, or whoever is relaying that message, is, “OK. Then, you know those billions of dollars we send to your military every year? You can kiss that goodbye. And you know how we’ve been protecting you at the International Criminal Court so you’re never held accountable for war crimes? We’re not doing that anymore.” So, those are the kinds of things that will begin to have a real impact on Israel. As long as the Israelis are clear that the Biden position of what we might call bear hug diplomacy, where the symbolism of his embrace, physically and politically, of Netanyahu and the Israeli state is “We have your back. We will protect you no matter what, but please make a few amendments,” they have no reason to take that seriously —

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn —

PHYLLIS BENNIS: — because the U.S. doesn’t express it seriously.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, speaking Wednesday in D.C. at a State Department briefing.

SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: I hear virtually no one saying — demanding of Hamas that it stop hiding behind civilians, that it lay down its arms, that it surrender. This is over tomorrow if Hamas does that. This would have been over a month ago, six weeks ago, if Hamas had done that. And how could it be — how can it be that there are no demands made of the aggressor and only demands made of the victim?

AMY GOODMAN: Phyllis Bennis, your response?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: You know, it’s ironic that the secretary of state of Israel’s biggest supporter, the provider of 20% of its entire military budget, among other things, will move forward to say that it’s — that there’s the need for the people of Gaza — because this war is against the people of Gaza. It is not just against Hamas. That’s simply not the case. The notion that the U.S. is saying that the demand should be made on Hamas, when it’s been the United States’ backing of Israel that has allowed Israel to impose a siege on Gaza for 17 years? We should be clear: This siege did not begin on October 7th. It was escalated after the atrocities that were committed on October 7th, for sure. But this had been going on for 17 years, harshly enough that 20% of all children in Gaza were stunted by the age of 2 because they could not get sufficient food necessary for children to thrive. That was way before October 7th. So, we have to look at this in the context of the ongoing war that Israel has been waging in Gaza, against Gaza, against the people of Palestine. And it’s a war that has become genocidal in its impact. So, this notion that Secretary of State Blinken, who is desperately trying to divert the focus of U.S. outrage, global outrage at Israel and at the United States for enabling the Israeli war crimes to continue, he’s using every possibility that he can.

The negotiations are underway between Israel and Hamas in Cairo, with Egypt and Qatar as interlocutors. There’s other negotiations underway, of course, at the United Nations, as we’ve been discussing. But the bottom line is that Israel has killed 20,000 people, 70% of them children and women. And that doesn’t even count the thousands of people that have been killed under the rubble when Israeli bombs have destroyed buildings and homes over people’s bodies. So we’re looking at something that has never happened at this scale in this century. And that has to be our focus. That’s why we need a ceasefire. You’re not going to be able to protect the hostages and bring them home without a ceasefire. You’re not going to be able to bring in sufficient aid to make it possible to stop what is now real starvation in Gaza. We have not seen that before, even under the siege. We have not seen actual starvation. And now the United States — sorry, the United Nations World Food Programme is saying that more than half of the families in Gaza are starving and that 90% are food insecure. That doesn’t exist anywhere in the world right now, where 50% of a population is starving. And that’s what has to stop. And that’s why we need a ceasefire, to end those realities.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And finally, Phyllis, we just have a minute. If you could respond to The New York Times/Siena poll that was released earlier this week, where it’s clear that the majority of Americans are opposed to the Biden administration’s policy, but, in a perplexing finding, a number of them say that they would, in the 2024 election, vote for Trump instead as a result?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: I can’t explain it. I don’t know exactly what the question was that they asked, and that’s always a key part of how they get answers like this. But I think what’s key is the first thing you said, Nermeen. There is massive opposition in this country to what the Biden administration is doing. Eighty percent of Democrats, President Biden’s own party, want a ceasefire now. We’re seeing massive opposition within the State Department, within the White House. The White House interns, these young ambitious students, high school and college students, the youngest of the federal workforce, came out publicly and said, “We are not the leaders of today, but we aspire to lead in the future, and we cannot stand by and watch this genocide being perpetuated by Israel with our support.” That’s extraordinary. That’s never been seen before in this country. And that’s why we say that not only is the U.S. isolated at the United Nations, but the Biden administration, on this issue, is massively isolated within the United States itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Phyllis Bennis, we want to thank you for being with us, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, international adviser for Jewish Voice for Peace. We’ll link to your new piece in In These Times, “The Christmas Truce of 1914 and the Demand for a Cease-Fire in Gaza.”

Coming up, we look at the Colorado Supreme Court’s historic decision to bar Donald Trump from the Colorado primary ballot over his role in the January 6th insurrection, and then his increasingly extreme rhetoric talking about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the nation. Back in 20 seconds.

Gaza is under assault.  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 now well over 18,000. NBC NEWS notes, "The vast majority of its 2.2 million people are displaced, and an estimated half face starvation amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis."  ALJAZEERA notes, "On Friday, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said that 20,057 Palestinians have been killed and 53,320 wounded in Israeli attacks since October 7, when the current conflict broke out."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And 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."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

Joe Biden has married himself to the assault on Gaza.  Kate Plummer (NEWSWEEK) reports on how Joe is losing the support of young voters:

Now, a new poll by the New York Times/ Siena College has found that nearly 75 percent of a sample of young voters aged between 18 and 29 disapprove of how the Democrat is handling the conflict. The same proportion believe Israel isn't doing enough to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza and 44 percent said Israel should end its military campaign even if Hamas is not defeated, to 39 percent who said it should continue.

It also found that 27 percent of young people sympathize with Israel while 47 percent sympathize with Palestinians.

The poll was conducted from December 10 to December 14, 2023. The sample size was 1,016 registered voters nationwide and the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The poll found that Biden's Republican rival and GOP front runner Donald Trump is attracting the support of 21 percent of young people who voted for Biden in 2020, who sympathize more with Palestine than Israel.

Overall, it found Trump leads the incumbent president among young voters by 49 percent to 43 percent, and has a 46 percent to 44 percent lead among registered voters overall.

Newsweek has contacted representatives of Biden for comment.

A Quinnipiac University poll released in November found that those under 35 are more likely to disapprove of Israel's response to the attack with 66 percent reporting so.

More than 40 interns who work at the White House and other branches of the executive office called for Biden to support a ceasefire in Gaza, accusing him of having ignored the "pleas of the American people" by not calling for an end to the war.

 Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) writes this morning of public opinion:

+ Even with nearly the entire political and media establishment in the US backing Israel’s genocidal rampage in Gaza, public support for US military aid to Israel has continued to fall, especially among the youth of Biden’s own party, a demographic he’s always been indifferent to and patronizing towards, now at his own (and the country’s) peril

Support more military aid to Israel?

Oct 17
All Voters: 64-28 (+36)
Dems: 59-29 (+30)

Nov 2
All Voters: 51/41 (+10)
Dems 49-43 (+6)

Nov 17
All Voters: 54-39 (+15)
Dems: 45-48 (-3)

Dec 20
All Voters: 45-46 (-1)
Dems: 36-58 (-22)

The generational gap is profound.

Opposition by age bracket:

18-34: 72%
35-49: 53%
50-64: 36%
65+:     28%

Source: Quinnipiac.

+ Hannah Arendt: “The bourgeoisie’s political philosophy was always ‘totalitarian’; it always assumed an identity of politics, economics and society, in which political institutions served only as the fa├žade for private interest.”


More journalists have been killed in the first 10 weeks of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year, according to CPJ data. By December 20, 2023, at least 68 journalists and media workers had been killed since the October 7 start of the conflict. Of those 68, 61 were Palestinian, four Israeli, and three Lebanese.

CPJ is particularly concerned about an apparent pattern of targeting of journalists and their families by the Israeli military. In at least one case, a journalist was killed while clearly wearing press insignia in a location where no fighting was taking place. In at least two other cases, journalists reported receiving threats from Israeli officials and IDF officers before their family members were killed.  

CPJ is investigating in more detail the circumstances of all 68 deaths. This research is hampered by the widespread destruction in Gaza, and, in a number of cases, the fact that the journalists were killed along with family members who typically are sources for such information.  

“The Israel-Gaza war is the most dangerous situation for journalists we have ever seen, and these figures show that clearly,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “The Israeli army has killed more journalists in 10 weeks than any other army or entity has in any single year. And with every journalist killed, the war becomes harder to document and to understand.”

More than half the deaths – 37 – occurred during the first month of the war, making it the deadliest single month documented by CPJ since it began collecting data in 1992.

In Iraq, the only country to approach this toll in a single year, 56 journalists were killed in 2006. CPJ determined that 48 were killed in connection with their work but was unable to confirm the circumstances in eight other deaths. With the exception of the Philippines, where 33 of the 35 journalists and media workers killed in 2009 were murdered in a single massacre, the countries with the highest number of journalists killed for their work in any given year – Syria (32 killed because of their work in 2012; five still under investigation); Afghanistan (15 of 16 killed in 2018 died because of their work); Ukraine (13 of 15 deaths in 2022 confirmed to have been work-related); and Somalia (12 of 14 work-related in 2012) – were in a state of war or insurrection during the years in review.

The Israel-Gaza war deaths have taken place against a backdrop of growing censorship of media in the region, including at least 20 arrests as well as physical and online harassment of journalists. Media facilities have also been damaged or destroyed. 

In May, CPJ published “Deadly Pattern,” a report that found members of the Israel Defense Forces had killed at least 20 journalists over the past 22 years and that no one had ever been charged or held accountable for their deaths.

“Journalists are civilians and must be treated as such under international humanitarian law,” said Mansour. “It’s imperative we see independent, transparent investigations into the latest pattern of killings. In addition, the Israeli army must end its muzzling of international media by allowing them to report from Gaza, stop its harassment of journalists in the West Bank, and allow the free flow of information and humanitarian aid into Gaza,” Mansour added.

Repeated communications blackouts and a lack of fuel, food, and housing due to the bombardment and limited humanitarian assistance has severely stifled reporting in Gaza, where international journalists have had almost no independent access for most of the war. Palestinian journalists report a desperate need for assistance to be able to continue reporting, including in the West Bank where some funders have cut funding for long-standing partners.

CPJ on Thursday published a series of calls to Israel and the international community.

The main recommendations are:

  1. Protect the lives of journalists: 

– Facilitate immediate access to humanitarian aid and basic supplies to Gaza and the safe delivery of personal protective equipment – such as helmets and flak jackets – to journalists in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. 

– Ensure media credentials and press insignia are respected, and that all parties follow international humanitarian law and do not target or harm journalists. 

  1. Provide access and the ability to report: 

– Grant international news organizations access to Gaza and halt the practice of communications blackouts. 

– Repeal new regulations that allow for the shutdown of news organizations and end the “administrative detention” of journalists, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

  1. Investigate attacks and end impunity: 

– End the longstanding pattern of impunity in cases of journalists killed by the IDF. The international community should act to ensure swift, transparent, and independent investigations are conducted into all journalist deaths since the October 7 start of the Israel-Gaza war.

Notes on CPJ methodology and its documentation of deaths in the Israel-Gaza war

  • CPJ defines journalists as people who cover news or comment on public affairs through any medium — including in print, online, via broadcast media, or photographs and video. We take up cases involving staff journalists and freelancers. We do not include journalists if there is evidence that they were acting on behalf of militant groups or serving in a military capacity at the time of their deaths. CPJ also documents the deaths of media support workers in recognition of the vital role they play in news gathering. These include translators, drivers, guards, fixers, and administrative workers. 
  • CPJ researchers investigate every journalist’s death to determine whether they were killed in relation to their work. We interview families, friends, colleagues, and authorities to learn as much as possible about the circumstances of each case. Details we investigate include whether the journalist was on assignment at the time of the killing, whether they had received threats, and whether they had published work that might have attracted the anger of government authorities, militant groups, or criminal gangs.
  • CPJ’s focus is on press freedom violations, so we distinguish between those we are reasonably certain were killed because of their journalism [motive confirmed] and those who may have been killed for journalism or for another reason [motive unconfirmed]. In situations of war such as Israel-Gaza and Ukraine, CPJ documents all journalists whose deaths and journalistic credentials we are able to verify as “confirmed” while we investigate the circumstances of their killing.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Health officials in Gaza say the death toll from Israel’s 10-week bombardment has now topped 20,000, including more than 8,000 Palestinian children. Officials in Gaza say the death toll also includes 97 journalists and 310 healthcare workers.

On Wednesday, the political leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials about a possible new ceasefire and the exchange of captives. Israel believes about 129 Israeli hostages are still being held in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under increasing pressure to secure the release of more hostages, after Israeli forces mistakenly shot dead three Israeli hostages who managed to escape captivity in northern Gaza. The three men, who were all shirtless, were shot as they cried for help in Hebrew while holding up a white flag.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by the Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham. His latest article for +972 Magazine and Local Call is headlined “'The hostages weren't our top priority’: How Israel’s bombing frenzy endangered captives in Gaza.”

Yuval, if you can start off by talking about exactly what you understand happened? Now there is apparently a GoPro on a dog that captured what took place. The reaction of the Israeli public, and then what this means about the Netanyahu administration and how they’re dealing or prioritizing, or not, hostages?

YUVAL ABRAHAM: Yeah, sure, of course. So, these are three hostages — Yotam, Alon and Samir — one of them is a Palestinian Israeli, two of them Jewish Israelis — who somehow managed to escape their captivity. We don’t know how. And they roamed around Gaza for a few days. They have written in Hebrew on buildings, “Help,” in Hebrew, “Hostages are released.” They have, as you said, communicated the fact they were Israeli captives to a dog that — an army dog that had a GoPro camera.

And they were, I mean, essentially, executed by soldiers. One of them held a white flag. They took off their — they approached soldiers. They took off their clothes to show that they were not wearing any explosives. And soldiers opened fire at them, immediately killing two of them. The commander on the scene realized that they were perhaps Israelis, and told soldiers to stop firing. The third captive managed to run back to a building. And when he came out, soldiers shot at him again, killing him.

And yeah, I mean, I’ve heard — I mean, it’s being reported as a mistake that soldiers have made. I think that it was not a mistake when they thought they were Palestinians. I mean, clearly, you do not, you know, accidentally shoot at somebody who is holding a white flag. And, of course, it becomes a mistake when they realize they’re Israeli hostages.

And it shocked Israeli society. It triggered protests calling on the Netanyahu government to reach a deal with Hamas to release more captives and hostages. But currently, from the way I am reading both the political situation and the public situation, such a deal seems unlikely for now.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Yuval, could you explain why you think such a deal is unlikely? And then tell us what the intelligence sources you spoke to for your piece, what they told you about the concerns that hostages had, the fact that you write in this piece that Israeli hostages often said that they were more afraid of being killed by Israeli airstrikes than they were by Hamas.

YUVAL ABRAHAM: Yeah, of course. So, I think it’s unlikely, because I think Netanyahu politically is not going to be willing to pay the price that Hamas is asking, which is to reach a more substantial ceasefire, or perhaps a permanent ceasefire, and to release a lot of Palestinian prisoners, including people like Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat, who are considered to be Palestinian leaders, including many Palestinians who are serving, you know, long prison sentences in the occupation jails, some of them for killing Israeli civilians. And this will, you know, ruin Netanyahu politically, even more than he’s already ruined, which I think is why he will not do it and why he is making it clear publicly that he plans to continue the war for months.

And this relates to our investigation at +972 Magazine, because we have basically spoken to Israeli intelligence sources who have described how during the first weeks of Israel’s onslaught in Gaza, the military knowingly carried out a striking policy, relentless bombardment policy, that not only decimated Gaza and killed thousands and thousands of Palestinians, but also endangered Israeli captives and hostages. And sources have told me, in intelligence, that at the time, they had very little intelligence as to where these captives were being held and that the general atmosphere was, in the top military commanders, is that the hostages are just not a priority, that their safety is relegated in favor of carrying out this bombardment campaign.

And as you said, you know, in the end of November, when captives were released from Gaza for the first time, many of them have described being hit by Israeli airstrikes or attacks, describing a fear, you know, this sort of traumatic fear, of feeling that the power that is supposed to supposedly protect you is actually a very, very, very big threat to your life, you know, talking about really being on the verge of death. And we know that in some cases hostages were hit by these Israeli attacks. Now, the conditions in the captivity of Hamas were horrific for some hostages, as well. We also cover that in the report. We also talk about testimonies of released captivities and sources inside the military of sexual assault against some of the captives. But a recurring theme in many of the testimonies of the captives is really being terrified from the Israeli airstrikes. And again, it seems that, at least for the first few weeks of the war, this was done knowingly, in a sense, by the military.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I mean, quite rightly, there has been a lot of emphasis on the Israeli hostages. But at the same time — you mentioned earlier Palestinian activist and politician Mustafa Barghouti — speaking to the BBC this morning, he talked about how Palestinian prisoners are not so much the focus of discussion. Some who were released from a detention center in northern [sic] Israel earlier, they said that they were — that they were tortured, and some died as a result. He was speaking to the BBC on Thursday.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: They told me they were kept, more than 1,000 people, in detention or concentration camp near Beersheba, and they were beaten badly. They were tortured with different methods. Some people were hit with electrical shocks. They also used drowning their heads in the water while they were interrogating them intensively for hours. They are kept in a place which is very cold. They don’t have enough clothes. And the food they are given is very little. But the most important thing, that a number of prisoners that they witnessed died because of the beating and torture. Some of them were old people who had diseases, like heart diseases.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, that’s Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, speaking earlier today to the BBC. And just a correction: The detention center where the Palestinian prisoners were held was in southern Israel, not northern. Yuval, your response?

YUVAL ABRAHAM: Yeah, it’s appalling. And I’ve seen these testimonies. I’ve also seen live testimonies of these Palestinians being released from Israeli interrogation. And honestly, to me, it reminded me of scenes that I saw of Jews in Eastern Europe, you know, in the '30s and ’40s. You see their hands are filled with bruises. They were handcuffed for hours. Some of them have died. They spoke about being electrified by soldiers, being beaten by soldiers, really torture. I mean, you could see on their faces. I mean, it's horrific.

And I think that — you know, you said at the start of the show that now it’s more than 20,000 Palestinians who were killed in Gaza, roughly 1% of the population. That’s unimaginable numbers. I mean, just to put it in some sort of proportion for audiences in the United States, 1% of the population in the U.S. is 3.3 million people being killed in 75 days.

And yeah, I agree with you that, in a way, I’ve heard Israeli journalists using the term “war crimes” for the first time after the three Israeli hostages were killed by soldiers. And obviously — obviously — soldiers thought that they were Palestinians, which is why they felt comfortable, it seems, to shoot somebody who was holding a white flag in their hand. And to me, it’s really outrageous how there is like two completely different sets of ways we look at the world, not according to the crime, but according to the victim of the crime. Because, you know, how many Palestinians were executed by Israeli soldiers? And how often does that happen without any response from journalists, without using words like “war crimes”? And I think, really, at the heart of a lot of what is going on is this disparity between having some people whose lives have meaning and other people whose lives have no meaning for so many people on the West and in Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: Yuval, I wanted to ask you about the number of prisoners being taken by Israel on the West Bank. We’re talking about something like 4,000 just since October 7th. Do you have the sense that they are just rounding up people because, as they negotiate a prisoner exchange, they’ll have more to give back? That’s one question. And the other is about Human Rights Watch’s report released today, “Meta’s Broken Promises: Systemic Censorship of Palestine Content on Instagram and Facebook,” people being systemically knocked off of Facebook and Instagram if they are posting about what’s happening to Palestinians.

YUVAL ABRAHAM: Yeah. So, you know, Israel has a long-standing policy of these mass arrests. We’ve seen them happening in the previous Gaza bombardments, also in 2021. Many of these — I think thousands of these Palestinian prisoners are held without trial, without charges being pressed against them. Even when charges are pressed, the system of the military occupation and the military judicial system is extremely unjust. Ninety-nine-point-four percent of the cases end up in indictment.

I’m not sure — I mean, I think part of it has to do with getting numbers. It seems very logical. I don’t have any inside information about it, but what you suggested seems logical. Again, I think that for the next prisoner exchange, Hamas will insist on releasing much more prominent Palestinian prisoners. So, unlike the last time, when, really, you know, you saw Palestinian prisoners being released after they spent a short time in prison, I think if — for a next hostage deal to take place, they will need to have more substantial Palestinian prisoners.

And, I mean, there is repression online. I know that there are Israeli ministries that are constantly working with Meta, with Facebook, with X, as well, and with Instagram to aid in this process. There have been reports about sort of this mass scanning that Israel does of social media to find posts to flag, in a way, for these international social media organizations. And yeah, the repression is taking place, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Yuval Abraham, I want to thank you for being with us, journalist based in Jerusalem who writes for +972 Magazine and Local Call. We’ll link to your new article, “'The hostages weren't our top priority’: How Israel’s bombing frenzy endangered captives in Gaza.”

Coming up, on Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council forced to postpone a vote for the third time on Gaza due to U.S. opposition. We’ll speak with Phyllis Bennis. Back in 20 seconds.


AMY GOODMAN: “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd. The artist announced earlier this month he would be directing $2.5 million to meals for Palestinians in Gaza.

ADDED: Everything below this until "The following sites  updated" was added after this published -- added 12:54 pm EST 12/22/23

The snapshots are dictated.  They go long.  After it's dictated and before it publishes, I'll say "Pull the part on ____" if it's way too long.  This snapshot lost an LGBTQ+ issue that I'm about to put in.  It also lost the section on Donald Trump and Colorado.  On the Trump section, Elaine's covering that due to MTG so I'm handing her that section that never made today's snapshot.  Sometimes scraps make it back in, sometimes they don't.  Since she can use it later today, she can have it.  But while going in to grab that for her, I saw the LGBTQ+ portion and it needs to go up this week so I'm adding it here.

The growing number of book bans in the US are using a so-called parental rights movement as cover for a wide-ranging attack on civil rights in America, a Democratic congressman has warned.

Earlier this month, a new study by PEN America revealed that there had been at least 5,894 book bans in US public schools from July 2021 to June 2023, with more than 40% of them in Florida, birthplace of a rightwing parents group called Moms for Liberty.

The books targeted are frequently those which tackle issues like racism, gender or LGBTQ+ rights.

“Book bans are a baseless attack on our civil rights and civil liberties under the guise of parental rights,” warned Florida congressman Maxwell Frost, who introduced the Fight Banned Books Act earlier this month.

“If the arts and literature our students read are getting attacked, what will happen next?” Frost told the Guardian in an interview.

On 5 December, alongside Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and Congressman Jamie Raskin, he unveiled the planned legislation and vowed to take a stand against censorship by providing grants to school districts to fight them.

“We found that one of the real problems in Florida after the book gets officially taken off the shelves is that school boards do not have the resources necessary to battle the book bans and get the books back on the shelves,” Frost said.

The GOP group Moms For Bigotry are a hate group dedicated to attacking people of color, LGBTQ+ people, democracy and basic human rights.  Despite this -- or because of it -- the group and fiction writer Naomi Wolf have glommed onto one another -- interfaced with one another?  Wolf once wrote books like THE END OF AMERICA calling out Nazis but today she embarrasses herself rolling around in bed with Moms For Bigotry.  "Entangled in embraces that God will never see," as Carly Simon once wrote ("The Three Of Us In The Dark").  

And if you're not getting how destructive Moms For Bigotry are, refer to Ariana Lee's article for THE NATION:

It has been 70 years since the Lavender Scare, when thousands of gay people in the US government were fired or forced to resign from their jobs. Now, this same discrimination is driving modern-day legislation. “We’re talking about the systematic, intentional targeting of queer people,” says Jay Jones, the first openly transgender vice president of the Howard University Student Association.

In May of 2023, the Human Rights Campaign tallied over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in state legislatures, along with 70 laws ranging from bans on gender affirming care for transgender youth to the censorship of school curriculum.

A staggering two-thirds of LGBTQ+ youth report that potential state or local laws banning the discussion of queer topics in education has made their mental health “a lot” worse. Acts passed by governments in red states, such as Florida’s controversial HB 1557, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill, contest queer inclusion, mirroring the mass hysteria of the Lavender Scare and contributing to the stigmatization of queer youth and educators nationally.

“I think it’s scary. I’m not even gonna lie,” says Jones of legislation methodically targeting LGBTQ+ youth. She explains that she sees Florida’s legislation as a “test,” gauging how far anti-LGBTQ+ legislation can expand as other states adopt similar laws. In June, Jones’s home state of Texas signed into law Senate Bill 17, making it the second state to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at public universities. According to the Human Rights Watch, Texas is also responsible for more than 20 percent of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced nationally.

“It’s a scary thing, not only for LGBTQ youth, but also for folks who aren’t knowledgeable and can easily fall into this indoctrination,” says Eshe Ukweli, a transgender digital creator and journalist.

Although southern states have gained the most scrutiny for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, “it’s occurring everywhere,” according to Matthew Juarez, a queer student activist and executive director of StudentsActNow.

Introduced in early 2023, Pennsylvania’s HB 216 calls for gendered sports teams to be expressly designated by biological sex, ostracizing transgender athletes and students. On March 8, the bill was referred to the Committee on Education, leaving transgender youth fearful for their future in their respective sports.

What Moms for Bigotry and other hate merchants don't get is that the world has moved on.  We've grown, we've stretched, we've learned.  The hate merchants resort to lies and distortions to scare people.  They can't be honest because honesty doesn't scare or alarm.  Young people, especially, look at the nonsense spewed by Moms For Bigotry and roll their eyes.  Hate merchants die and they take most of their hatred with them to the grave.  They don't leave much behind because they don't have much to offer in the first place.

The following sites updated: