Connect with us

Substacks

This Way for the Genocide, Ladies and Gentlemen Chris Hedges

Published

on

This Way for the Genocide, Ladies and Gentlemen – by Mr. Fish

Subscribe now

I have been in urban warfare in El Salvador, Iraq, Gaza, Bosnia and Kosovo. Once you fight street by street, apartment block by apartment block, there is only one rule — kill anything that moves. The talk of safe zones, the reassurances of protecting civilians, the promises of “surgical” and “targeted” air strikes, the establishment of “safe” evacuation routes, the fatuous explanation that civilian dead were “caught in the crossfire,” the claim that the homes and apartment buildings bombed into rubble were the abode of terrorists or that errant Hamas rockets were responsible for the destruction of schools and medical clinics, is part of the rhetorical cover to carry out indiscriminate slaughter.

Gaza is such a small area — 25 miles in length and about 5 miles wide — and so densely populated that the only outcome of an Israeli ground and air assault is the mass death of those Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant calls “human animals” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls “human beasts.” Israeli Knesset member Tally Gotliv suggested dropping “doomsday weapons” on Gaza, widely seen as a call for a nuclear strike. Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Friday dismissed calls to protect Palestinian civilians. “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible … this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved, it’s absolutely not true,” Herzog said. “They could’ve risen up, they could’ve fought against that evil regime that took over Gaza in a coup d’etat.” He added, “We will break their backbone.”

The demand by Israel that 1.1 million Palestinians — nearly half of Gaza’s population — evacuate northern Gaza, which will become a free fire zone, within 24 hours, ignores the fact that given the overcrowding and sealed borders there is no place for the displaced to go. The north includes Gaza City, the most densely populated part of the strip, with 750,000 residents. It also includes Gaza’s main hospital and the Jabalia and al-Shati refugee camps. 

Israel, by employing its military machine against an occupied population that does not have mechanized units, an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, not to mention a U.S. commitment to provide a $38 billion military aid package for Israel over the next decade, is not exercising “the right to defend itself.” This is not a war. It is the obliteration of civilians trapped for 16 years in the world’s largest concentration camp. Gaza is being leveled, flattened, destroyed, reduced to rubble. Hundreds of thousands of its impoverished residents will be killed, wounded or left homeless without food, fuel, water and medical help. Nearly 600 children are already dead.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been forced to close 14 food distribution centers leaving half a million people without food relief. Gaza’s only power plant has run out of fuel. The United Nations says 12 of its staff have been killed by Israeli air strikes, 21 out of 22 UNRWA health facilities in Gaza have been damaged and hospitals lack basic medicines and supplies.

Israel, as it has in the past, will block the dissemination of independent reporting and images once some 360,000 soldiers launch a ground assault. It cut internet service in Gaza on Saturday. The brief glimpses of Israeli atrocities that make it out will be dismissed by Israeli leaders as anomalies or blamed on Hamas. 

The West refuses to intervene, as 2.3 million people, including 1 million children, are deprived of food, fuel, electricity and water, see their schools and hospitals bombed and are butchered and rendered homeless by one of the most advanced military machines on the planet.

Subscribe now

The gruesome images of Israelis gunned down by Hamas is the currency of death. It trades carnage for carnage, a macabre dance that Israel initiated with the massacres and ethnic cleansing that allowed for the creation of the Jewish state, followed by decades of dispossession and violence meted out to the Palestinians. The Israeli army, before the current assault, had killed 7,779 Palestinians in Gaza since 2000 including 1,741 children and 572 women, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. This figure does not include Gazans who died due to drinking contaminated water or being denied access to medical treatment. Nor does it include the rising number of Gazan youth who, having lost all hope and struggling with deep depression, have committed suicide.

I spent seven years reporting on the conflict, four of them as the Middle East Bureau Chief of The New York Times. I stood over the bodies of Israeli victims of bus bombings in Jerusalem by Palestinian suicide-bombers. I saw rows of corpses, including children, in the corridors in Dar Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. I watched Israeli soldiers taunt small boys who in response threw rocks and were then callously shot in the Khan Younis refugee camp. I sheltered from bombs dropped by Israeli warplanes. I climbed over the rubble of demolished Palestinian homes and apartment blocks along the border with Egypt. I interviewed the bloodied and dazed survivors. I heard the soul crushing wails of mothers keening over the corpses of their children.

I arrived in Jerusalem in 1988. Israel was busy discrediting and marginalizing the secular, aristocratic Palestinian leadership of Faisel al-Husseini and driving Jordanian administrators from the occupied West Bank. This secular and moderate leadership was replaced by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Yasser Arafat. But Arafat, very likely poisoned by Israel, and the PLO were also ruthlessly pushed aside by Israel. The PLO was replaced by Hamas, which Israel openly fostered as a counterweight to the PLO. 

The escalating savagery of Israel against the Palestinians is reflected in the escalating savagery of the Palestinians. The resistance groups are Israel’s doppelgängers. Israel believes that with the eradication of Hamas the Palestinians will become docile.  But history has shown that once one Palestinian resistance movement is destroyed, a more virulent and radical one takes its place.

The killers feed off each other. I saw this in the ethnic wars in Bosnia. When religion and nationalism are used to sanctify murder there are no rules. It is a battle between light and dark, good and evil, God and Satan. Rational discourse is banished. 

“The sleep of reason,” as Francisco Goya said, “brings forth monsters.” 

The Jewish extremists, fanatic Zionists and religious bigots in the current Israeli government need Hamas. Revenge is the psychological engine of war. Those targeted for slaughter are rendered inhuman. They are not worthy of empathy or justice. Pity and grief are felt exclusively for one’s own. Israel vows to eradicate a dehumanized mass that embodies absolute evil. The maimed and dead in Gaza, and the maimed and dead in Israeli towns and kibbutzim, are victims of the same dark lusts.  

“From violence only violence is born,” Primo Levi writes, “following a pendular action that, as time goes by, rather than dying down, becomes more frenzied.”

The Biden administration has promised unconditional Israeli support and weapons shipments. The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group has been deployed to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to “deter any actor” who might widen the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The carrier group includes the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford; its eight squadrons of attack and support aircraft; the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy; and the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney and USS Roosevelt, according to a Pentagon statement.

The U.S., as in the past, ignores the far greater death and destruction, as well as the illegal occupation, meted out by Israel to the Palestinians or the periodic military campaigns — this is the fifth major military assault by Israel on Gaza in 15 years — against civilians. 

Israel says it recovered 1,500 bodies of Hamas fighters after the incursion. This is a number greater than the 1,300 Israeli victims. Nearly all the dead Hamas fighters, I suspect, were young men born inside the Gaza concentration camp who had never seen the outside of the open-air prison until they burst through the security barriers erected by Israel. If Hamas fighters possessed Israel’s technological arsenal of death, they would be able to do their killing more efficiently. But they do not. Their tactics are cruder versions of those Israel has used against them for decades. 

I know this disease, the exaltation of race, religion and nation, the deification of the warrior, the martyr and violence, the celebration of victimhood. Holy warriors believe they alone possess virtue and courage, while their enemy is perfidious, cowardly and evil. They believe they alone have the right to revenge. Pain for pain. Blood for blood. Horror for horror. There is a fearsome symmetry to the madness, the abandonment of what it means to be humane and just. 

T.E. Lawrence calls this cycle of violence “the rings of sorrow.”

Once these fires are lit they can easily become a conflagration.

Israeli tanks and soldiers, to thwart an attack by Hezbollah in support of the Palestinians, have been deployed to the border with Lebanon. The Israeli forces killed fighters from Hezbollah, as well as a Reuters journalist, which saw Hezbollah fire a salvo of rockets in retaliation. Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir announced he would distribute 10,000 assault rifles to Israeli settlers, who have carried out murderous rampages in Palestinian villages in the West Bank. Israel has killed at least 51 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since Hamas launched its attack on October 7.

Psychologist Rollo May writes:

At the outset of every war…we hastily transform our enemy into the image of the daimonic; and then, since it is the devil we are fighting, we can shift onto a war footing without asking ourselves all the troublesome and spiritual questions that the war arouses. We no longer have to face the realization that those we are killing are persons like ourselves.

The killing and torture, the more they endure, contaminate the perpetrators and the society that condones their actions. They sever the professional inquisitors and killers from the capacity to feel. They feed the death instinct. They expand the moral injury of war. 

Israel taught the Palestinians to communicate in the primitive howl of hatred, war, death and annihilation. But it is not Israel’s assault on Gaza I fear most. It is the complicity of an international community that licenses Israel’s genocidal slaughter and accelerates a cycle of violence it may not be able to control.

Share

The Chris Hedges Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Substacks

These Republicans use violent rhetoric. They are featured speakers at the RNC. Judd Legum

Published

on

By

A view of the convention floor before the 2024 Republican National Convention on July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

In the wake of the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, his top political aides and allies are blaming Democrats for inciting the horrific attack. The co-manager of Trump’s campaign, Chris LaCivita, wrote that “for years, and even today, leftist activists, democrat donors and now even Joe Biden have made disgusting remarks” about Trump and it’s “high time they be held accountable for it.” (LaCivita later deleted the post.) “This isn’t some unfortunate incident,” Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) said. “This was an assassination attempt by a madman inspired by the rhetoric of the radical left.” Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) flatly asserted that the Biden campaign’s rhetoric “led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.” 

Authorities have not determined the motive of the shooter, who was registered as a Republican.

The Republicans’ concern about violent and extreme rhetoric is a new phenomenon. This is a party that nominated Trump, who has spent his political career advocating and encouraging violence. Here are just a few examples:

At an event in 2017, Trump encouraged the police to rough up protesters. “Please don’t be too nice,” Trump said.

In 2018, Trump praised then-Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for assaulting a reporter. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type!” Trump said. “You know, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” Gianforte pled guilty to misdemeanor assault.

During the protests following the killing of George Floyd in 2020, Trump tweeted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The phrase was used by notorious segregationist George Wallace and others to justify police brutality. 

In a September 2020 presidential debate, Trump refused to denounce the Proud Boys, a militant far-right organization, telling the group to “stand back and stand by.”

After he was indicted for fraud in New York in March 2023, Trump warned of “potential death & destruction” that “could be catastrophic for our country” if he was convicted. 

In an interview with Time Magazine earlier this year, Trump was asked if he was concerned about “political violence” following November’s election. “[I]f we don’t win, you know, it depends,” Trump responded. “It always depends on the fairness of an election.”

This week, the Republican National Convention features numerous speakers who have used violent and extremist rhetoric.  

Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake: “Strap on a Glock”

After Trump’s conviction for falsifying business records to cover up payments to Stormy Daniels, Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake (R) suggested that she and other supporters would fight the verdict with firearms. In a video, Lake said, “If you want to get to President Trump, you’re gonna have to go through me and you’re gonna have to go through 75 million Americans just like me, and I’m going to tell you … most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA.” Lake continued to say that it was “not a threat,” but “a public service announcement.” She later defended her comments, posting on X, “I meant what I said.” 

Lake also encouraged her supporters to arm themselves during an April campaign event. “They’re coming after us with lawfare. They’re going to come after us with everything. That’s why the next six months is going to be intense,” Lake said. “We are going to put on the armor of God. And maybe strap on a Glock on the side of us just in case.” 

North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson: “Some folks need killing”

In June, North Carolina Gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson (R) promoted the murder of “socialists,” “wicked people,” and other perceived enemies. “Some folks need killing,” Robinson said. “It’s time for somebody to say it. It’s not a matter of vengeance. It’s not a matter of being mean or spiteful. It’s a matter of necessity.” 

Robinson has also said that he owns semi-automatic rifles in case he needs to use them against the government, the Charlotte Observer reported. “I’ll tell anybody, I got them AR-15s at home and I like to go target shooting and all that. That’s not what they’re there for,” Robinson said in May. “I’m not ashamed to say it, I’m probably not supposed to say it, but I’m gonna say it anyway — I got them AR-15s in case the government gets too big for its britches. Cause I’m gonna fill the backside of them britches with some lead.”

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene: Nancy Pelosi deserves to be executed

In response to the attempted assassination of Trump, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) posted on X that Democrats were “the party of pedophiles, murdering the innocent unborn, violence, and bloody, meaningless, endless wars.” Although the shooter was a registered Republican, Greene said that the “Democrat party is flat out evil, and yesterday they tried to murder President Trump.”

A 2021 CNN investigation found that Greene “repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress.” In one instance, Greene liked a comment calling for the execution of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with “a bullet to the head.” Greene later claimed that staff members ran her account. But in 2019, Greene “created a White House petition” to impeach Pelosi for “crimes of treason,” for supporting immigration policies that Greene opposed. “[I]t’s a crime punishable by death is what treason is,” Greene said. “Nancy Pelosi is guilty of treason.” 

Senator Tom Cotton: Throw pro-Palestine protesters off the Golden Gate Bridge

In April, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) encouraged people to respond to pro-Palestine protesters on the Golden Gate Bridge with violence. “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands to get them out of the way. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense,” Cotton posted on X. On Fox News, Cotton was more explicit, saying that he would support throwing protesters off a bridge. “If something like this happened in Arkansas, on a bridge there, let’s just say I think there would be a lot of very wet criminals that had been tossed overboard not by law enforcement, but by the people whose road they’re blocking,” Cotton said. “If they glued their hands to a car or the pavement, well, probably pretty painful to have their skin ripped off but I think that’s [how] we would handle it in Arkansas.” 

Congressman Matt Gaetz: We should “hunt down” Black Lives Matter protesters

In 2020, during the Black Lives Matter protests, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) posted, “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?” The post was flagged as violating X’s rules because it promoted the “killing of fellow Americans.”

Former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson: Democrats are seeking a “one-party state”; Republicans should not “give up your AR-15s”

In March 2023, after Trump was indicted in the Stormy Daniels case, Tucker Carlson said that Democrats were involved in a “political purge” and are “pushing the population to react.” He described the charges as a test to see if Trump’s supporters were “demoralized and passive.” After a guest asserted that Democrats were pursuing “a one-party state and authoritarian government,” Carlson advised that it was “not the best time to give up your AR-15s.”

Senator Ted Cruz: “Grab a battle axe and… go fight the barbarians”

In a 2022 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) described the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress as “power hungry, abusive totalitarian nitwits.” He said his job as a Senator was to “grab a battle axe and… fight the barbarians.” He said that the conservative activists at the conference should think of themselves as “dangerous radicals… like those who died at the Alamo.”

 

Continue Reading

Substacks

Who Is J.D. Vance? Plus. . . Oliver Wiseman

Published

on

By

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot going on. On The Front Page today, we bring you reporting, analysis, and commentary on the ongoing fallout of Trump’s brush with death; another prime time Biden interview; the dismissal of the Trump classified documents case; and much more. 

But first: the Hillbilly running mate. 

Donald Trump’s selection of J.D. Vance as his running mate is remarkable in more ways than one. There is Vance’s journey from the broken home in a poor, rural Ohio he wrote about in Hillbilly Elegy, to the Marines, to Ohio State, then to Yale Law School and to the Senate, and now a presidential ticket. Also remarkable is his transformation from a prominent “Never Trumper”—who once called his now–running mate “America’s Hitler” and an “opioid for the masses”—to an enthusiastic Trumpist in the vanguard of the New Right. 

For some, Vance’s journey is simple enough to explain: it’s the story of a smart and ambitious “sellout” and an “angry jerk,” as one of his (ex-) friends from law school put it on X yesterday. To this crowd, Vance is only the most extreme example of a familiar story of Republicans kowtowing to the man who took over their party. 

But Vance is a much more complicated—and interesting—figure than that. 

Agree with him or not, he has undergone a sincere ideological conversion since 2016. That much was obvious to me when I followed him on the campaign trail in 2022. And it’s obvious from any speech or interview he gives. He is not someone who just parrots his party’s talking points. (He has also undergone an actual conversion: I recommend Rod Dreher’s interview with him on the day he was baptized and received into the Catholic Church in 2019.) 

In the Senate, he hasn’t just voted with the GOP herd but teamed up with Democrats on a range of bills that stake out new ideological territory for Republicans. He makes some of Trump’s donors uncomfortable. 

By picking Vance, Trump has made clear his project is about more than personality. The Republican presidential ticket now has a distinct ideological flavor. It has teeth. National Review’s Philip Klein called the pick “another nail in the coffin of Reagan Republicanism.” (This is not a compliment at that magazine.) Vance is a prominent critic of U.S. involvement in Ukraine (for more on his foreign policy views, I recommend this piece by my colleague Isaac Grafstein). 

He’s also economically unorthodox—and more relaxed about government involvement in the economy than many of his colleagues. He has backed a higher minimum wage and praised Lina Khan, Joe Biden’s FTC chair and a proponent of more robust antitrust policies. 

Did these ideological considerations clinch it for Vance? I suspect a bigger factor was that in Vance, Trump saw someone who was welcomed into the elite—as Trump never has been—but who turned his back on it.

How did the pick go down at the RNC in Milwaukee? Olivia Reingold was on the convention floor to find out. 

It’s just before 4 p.m. and everyone at the Republican National Convention is jockeying for a glimpse of Senator J.D. Vance. A woman kicks off her bedazzled heels, then stands on her seat barefoot to get a better view. A delegate tells me he just borrowed a woman’s lipstick to scrawl “VANCE” in capital letters on a white Trump sign.

Everyone is craning their necks toward the Ohio delegation, where Vance is shaking hands, posing for selfies, and gleefully fist-bumping attendees who pull away with a bewildered look, as if they can’t believe they just crossed paths with the future vice president of the United States.

“We love you, J.D.,” a man bellows through a rolled-up “Trump 2024” poster.

Vance—the man of the evening—pulls back for a second, as if to process the surreality of the moment, then shouts back: “I love you too, man.”

On Monday, Vance continued his ascent as the wunderkind of the Republican Party by becoming Trump’s 2024 running mate. In a statement released on Truth Social, the former president—and recent survivor of an assassination attempt—announced that 39-year-old Vance, who was elected senator of Ohio only two years ago, was “the person best suited to assume the position of Vice President of the United States.” Click for more from Olivia on the Trump critic turned Trump running mate.

A lot happened in American politics last night: the Biden interview, the Vance unveiling, Trump’s RNC entrance—his first public appearance since Saturday’s shooting. And there, to help you all make sense of it, was the Free Press team in our first-ever live video on X. To be honest, we weren’t sure how it was going to go. We were blown away by the response. 

There were some 350,000 of you watching this experiment, in which we had the kind of panel we wish were assembled on cable news, or as host Michael Moynihan put it: “the Traveling Wilburys of political panels.” 

Monday night’s supergroup included Newsweek editor and Free Press contributor Batya Ungar-Sargon, Puck correspondent Tara Palmeri, Red Scare co-host Anna Khachiyan (chain-smoking, of course), legendary pollster Frank Luntz, Manhattan Institute president Reihan Salam, author and Free Press contributor Rob Henderson, and journalist James Pogue. This is a group of people you just cannot find anywhere else.

If you missed it, catch up below. And stay tuned for more live! Follow The FP on X.

Doug Mills is the photographer who captured the remarkable image of Donald Trump and the bullet that clipped his ear on Saturday. Here he gives his first account of the shooting. “I probably did not do the smartest thing by running right at it, but that’s what [photojournalists do],” he said. (Fox News

In a New York Times/Siena survey conducted before Saturday’s shooting, Kamala Harris outperforms Joe Biden in two states: Pennsylvania and Virginia. The near assassination of Donald Trump has bought Joe Biden time in his fight to remain his party’s nominee. One Democratic insider said Sunday the shooting “probably saved Biden’s nomination” but also “doomed his reelection.” (New York Times

If any Democrats thought Joe Biden was their only problem, a new poll from NBC makes for a sobering read. It finds that the popularity of the Democratic Party has taken a dive and now matches its all-time low in the three-decade history of the survey. The party is the most unpopular figure or institution in the poll. (NBC

Trump once unified Democrats and divided Republicans. The shooting and the debate have turned the tables, writes Jonathan Martin. He reports that Nancy Pelosi, convinced that Biden will lose, has been “working the phones” since the debate looking for a “way to ease him off the ticket.” (Politico

Joe Biden agreed to extend Secret Service protection to RFK Jr. on Monday. The independent presidential candidate, whose father was assassinated on the campaign trail in 1968, has been asking for federal protection for months. After Saturday’s assassination attempt on Trump, the only question is: What took Biden so long? (Associated Press

Comparisons between Trump and nineteenth-century president Andrew Jackson are nothing new. But Walter Russell Mead argues that “Saturday’s events made America more Jacksonian and gave Mr. Trump an unbreakable hold on Jacksonian America.” (Wall Street Journal)

The system is out to get you, says Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie: “Our leaders have called for a cooling down of our political rhetoric, but unfortunately this is not a problem that can be solved by presidential decree. To change the conversation—not just its contents, but also its tenor and tone—we need to change the incentives of a system that has ensnared us in its addiction feeds.” (Substack Reads)

Forty-four percent of Ukrainians support starting peace talks with Russia, compared to 35 percent who say it is not time to negotiate yet, according to a new poll. Zelensky said he was open to a Russian delegation attending peace talks later this year. (Semafor

A French soldier was stabbed Monday in Paris, eleven days before the Olympic opening ceremony. The soldier was injured but is not in a life-threatening condition. (ABC

Rapper 50 Cent has been shot nine times. His song, “Many Men (Wish Death)” is an ode to cheating death. In Boston on Saturday night, he performed the song in front of a blown-up version of his album cover Get Rich or Die Tryin’, only Donald Trump’s face replaced that of the rapper. There is chatter that “Fitty” might perform at the Republican convention this week. (Vibe

As the dust settles after Saturday’s very nearly successful attempt on Donald Trump’s life that killed one person in the crowd and left two in critical condition, one of the many confounding questions that linger is: How did the Secret Service fail so badly? Some have noted the Secret Service’s DEI push under current head Kimberly Cheatle. Amid serious retention and recruitment struggles, she has said she is focused on “attracting diverse candidates.” Does this suggest an organization laser-focused on its purpose: ensuring the safety of its protectees? Or does it suggest a bloated and distracted bureaucracy in dire need of reform? Rupa Subramanya investigates. 

→ Trump’s classified documents case is thrown out—for now, writes Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld: In a legal stunner, Judge Aileen Cannon yesterday threw out Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents prosecution of former president Trump.

Contrary to early reporting, Judge Cannon’s dismissal of the case had nothing to do with the presidential immunity ruling recently announced by the Supreme Court in Smith’s other prosecution of Trump—the one dealing with January 6.

Instead, Judge Cannon ruled that Attorney General Merrick Garland had no constitutional authority to appoint Smith as special counsel in the first place. Because the appointment was unconstitutional, Smith had no power to bring a criminal case against Trump. So the whole case had to be dismissed. 

Boiled down, Judge Cannon’s key conclusion is that no statute authorizes the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor if the appointee is someone from outside the Department of Justice, as Smith was when he was appointed. But Judge Cannon faces a little problem in reaching her conclusion: the Supreme Court stated the opposite in 1974. 

In the landmark U.S. v. Nixon case, the Court ordered President Nixon to comply with a subpoena issued by Leon Jaworski, who had been named special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate scandal even though he was outside government at the time of his appointment. Citing the same statutes that Garland and Smith relied on, the court stated that Congress had “vested in the Attorney General” the power to make Jaworski a “Special Prosecutor with unique authority and tenure.” 

In the decades since, lower courts, including appellate courts, have considered this statement conclusive. But Judge Cannon held that the Court’s statement was mere “dictum”—a point of law assumed only by the Court, not actually ruled on, and therefore, not binding on her. 

This remarkable conclusion makes her ruling extremely vulnerable on appeal. 

In her favor is the fact that Justice Clarence Thomas, in the immunity case, strongly implied that he views Jack Smith’s appointment as unconstitutional. Against her is the fact no other justice joined Thomas.

Smith will undoubtedly appeal, but one consequence is certain. Just as the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity ruling guaranteed that Smith’s January 6 case against Trump won’t be tried before the election, Judge Cannon’s ruling has the same effect on the documents case. Given the appeals process, it will be a very long time before this case could ever be tried. And long before then, there may be an occupant of the Oval Office who sees to it that this case is dropped. —Jed Rubenfeld

→ Biden doesn’t lower the temperature: For Americans looking to see if President Joe Biden has changed his approach to the presidential election after an assassin nearly killed his opponent, Donald Trump, Monday evening’s interview on NBC will have been disappointing. 

Biden stuck to his talking points about lowering the rhetorical temperature in the nation. But he seems to believe this advice does not apply to himself. Holt asked the president about some of his own overheated rhetoric. “You called your opponent an existential threat,” Holt said. “On a call a week ago you said, ‘It’s time to put Trump in the bull’s-eye.’ ”  

Biden replied with confused defiance. “I didn’t say cross-hairs,” Biden said in response to a question about putting Trump in the “bull’s-eye.” When Holt corrected him and said he indeed did say “bull’s-eye,” Biden responded, “It was—it was a mistake to use the word. I didn’t mean—I didn’t say ‘cross-hairs.’ I meant ‘bull’s-eye.’ I meant focus on him. Focus on what he’s doing.” 

Biden recovered a bit after that, but still made the case that his calls for calm after Saturday’s shootings referred to Trump and his supporters and not his own side. “I’ve never seen a circumstance where you ride through certain rural areas of the country and people have signs there stand—big Trump signs with—middle—signs saying ‘F Biden’ and the little kid standing there putting up his middle finger,” he said. 

Apparently, Biden is unfamiliar with the last eight years of his party and supporters comparing Trump to Hitler and asserting that Trump is a Russian agent. Biden seems unaware of his own Twitter feed. On June 28, Biden’s X account posted, “Donald Trump is a genuine threat to this nation. He’s a threat to our freedom. He’s a threat to our democracy. He’s literally a threat to everything America stands for.” 

None of this is to absolve Trump for his own excessive rhetoric. Trump’s irresponsible speech is well-known because it has been covered extensively by the mainstream media since he announced his first bid for the presidency in 2015. 

But the excesses in countering Trump by the Democrats have been papered over. After Saturday’s near catastrophe in Butler, Pennsylvania, one might expect the leader of the Democratic Party to pull back and reassess. After Biden’s interview Monday evening, don’t hold your breath. —Eli Lake

→ Morning No: In the wake of Saturday’s near assassination of Donald Trump, everyone from elected officials to media bigwigs agrees it’s time to “lower the temperature.” At 30 Rockefeller Center, NBC executives decided that the only way they could ensure they were seen to calm things down was to turn the dial right down to zero in the studio of Morning Joe, MSNBC’s flagship breakfast news show. Per one report: “A person familiar with the matter told CNN that the decision was made to avoid a scenario in which one of the show’s stable of two dozen-plus guests might make an inappropriate comment on live television that could be used to assail the program and network as a whole.” 

Translation: At a crucial moment for the country—right after an attack on American democracy, as the RNC gathers to nominate Trump, and with Joe Biden fighting to stay in the race, we don’t trust the people we pay to bring you the news to bring you the news. It’s confirmation that so much of cable news exists for partisan entertainment, not to inform its audience. And next time you think of switching on MSNBC, ask yourself: If the network’s own executives don’t trust these people, why should I? —OW 

→ Who wants a Trump Got Shot tattoo? America’s great entrepreneurial spirit kicked into full gear over the weekend, after the attempted assassination of former and probably future president Donald Trump. A veteran of reality TV, Trump knows better than anyone how to play for the cameras, and he proved it this weekend. The bloodied face, the raised fist, the American flag in the background—it’s a hell of a picture, and now, it’s everywhere. You can buy it on t-shirts from former Trump assistant Sebastian Gorka, or right-wing commentator Candace Owens, or Etsy, or even from random boardwalk shops

Images of the bloodied, defiant Trump are also available on trading cards; a fake $2 bill that, perhaps criminally, advertises itself as “Genuine U.S. Legal Tender”; coffee mugs; and much more. People have already designed and administered tattoos of it. They vary in quality.

Is it in bad taste to profit from an act of political violence that left an innocent bystander dead? Yeah, probably. But do you think anyone wearing a politically charged graphic tee is worried about taste? This is America, a country where people go to museums and visit the gift shop first. There’s no version of our nation where this doesn’t happen, so if you’re on the fence about making your own Trump assassination merch, strike while the iron is hot. This is the American dream, and if you aren’t selling out, you’re buying in! —River Page

Oliver Wiseman is a writer and editor for The Free Press. Follow him on X @ollywiseman

To support The Free Press, become a paid subscriber today: 

Subscribe now

And if you’re enjoying The Front Page, consider forwarding it to someone else you think might like it. 

 

Continue Reading

Substacks

The Roots of the Assassination Attempt Bari Weiss

Published

on

By

As you now well know, at 6:11 p.m. on Saturday evening, shots rang out at a Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. One person, a 50-year-old man named Cory Comperatore, was killed. Two others, David Dutch and James Copenhaver, were gravely injured. Trump’s ear was grazed by a bullet.

Before the 45th president was whisked away by Secret Service, he emerged defiant with his fist pumping in the air, blood on his ear and face. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” he yelled at the crowd, to which they chanted back: “USA! USA! USA!”

As we would later learn, one of the bullets pierced the top of Trump’s right ear, flying just a hair’s breadth away from his head. One inch. One inch and we would be having a very different conversation. As Niall Ferguson wrote in The Free Press:

“An inch or two further to the left and the bullet that grazed Donald Trump’s ear would have penetrated his skull and very likely killed him. A slight gust of wind, a tremor of the assassin’s hand, an unexpected move by the former president—for whatever tiny reason, Trump lived to fight another day.”

Saturday’s attempted assassination has already shifted the course of this election. How will it shape our politics and our country? And was this violence the inevitable outcome of our painfully divided country, and who is responsible for those divisions?

Those are the subjects of today’s episode. This is an episode in two parts.

The first part is about the unspeakable events that took place on Saturday. Then in the second half, you’ll hear our initial conversation that took place last week about political brokenness, the crisis of trust between the American people and our elected officials—and how to fix it with some help from the Constitution. In light of what happened over the weekend, it feels even more poignant.

The guest in both halves of this episode is Yuval Levin, one of the greatest political analysts and explainers of our time.

Yuval has even been called the “the most important voice in the political culture.” He worked on domestic policy in the George W. Bush administration. He’s now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies Congress, the presidency, the courts, the Constitution, and American political life.

He’s the author of several books including The Fractured Republic and A Time to Build. And he just published American Covenant: How the Constitution Unified Our Nation—and Could Again. It gives us a road map to how the Constitution can bring the country together to solve our political troubles.

What I particularly love about Yuval is that when everyone around us seems to be taking the black pill, Yuval is clear-eyed. He’s neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Yuval is just realistic, informed by a deep sense of American history that gives him a perspective on what’s happening now while motivated by a true love for this country.

Header 6: The Free Press earns a commission from any purchases made through all book links in this article.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

 

Continue Reading

Shadow Banned

Copyright © 2023 mesh news project // awake, not woke // news, not narrative // deep inside the filter bubble