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Karen Greenberg, On Trial (Never?)

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He’s always there!  Right? And you know exactly who I mean. I just Googled him and the latest news at this very second, though undoubtedly not 30 seconds from now, is that he’s asked the New York judge in the civil fraud trial he recently lost — a mere $355 million judgment for inflating the value of his properties (full cost $454 million), a sum rising by $87,502 a day until he pays — to delay the enforcement of that judgment for a month. Oh, and while he was at it, he started comparing himself to the dead Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. “It is a form of Navalny,” he insisted, speaking about his situation. And then, focusing on himself, of course, not the Russian dissident, he added: “And it’s a horrible thing. But it’s happening in our country too. We are turning into a communist country in many ways. And if you look at it, I’m the leading candidate, I got indicted… I got indicted four times, I have eight or nine trials… all because of the facts that I’m in politics.”

You undoubtedly didn’t know that Joe Biden and crew were commies (and they probably didn’t either), but now you do (even if they don’t).  And perhaps you know, too, that a group of 154 American historians and presidential experts recently ranked The Donald as the worst president in American history, a singular honor when you think about it.  No middle of the pack like Biden (#14) for him!  And imagine this: the worst president in our history, the man who, on December 19, 2020, tweeted “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” and then announced a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th” and invited his fans to Washington (“Be there! Will be wild!), is today leading in numerous polls for the 2024 presidential election.

Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up.  It would be too absurd.  And yet perhaps all of this would be different if, unlike his civil cases in New York, the American criminal justice system, state and national, worked just a tad better. As TomDispatch regular Karen Greenberg points out today, when it comes to criminal justice, delay is the name of the game and not just in regard to our former president. All too sadly, it could add a distinct “in” to justice, American-style. Tom

Trump’s Justice

Justice Delayed Is Democracy Denied

In 1868, British Prime Minister William Gladstone famously said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The phrase has often been repeated here in the United States, most famously by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who echoed it in his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail”: “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Sadly enough, justice delayed (and possibly denied) is once again front and center in America as we face the specter of Donald Trump and his insistence on eternally evading the reach of the law. What's at stake isn't just the fate of the former president, but an essential aspect of democracy.

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Andrea Mazzarino, War’s Cost Is Unfathomable

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Consider it strange that the cost in lives, in wounds, in illness — the actual numbers or at least estimates when it comes to Israel’s nightmarish campaign in Gaza in response to Hamas’s horrifying October 7th assault — are so much a part of the news these days. I mention this only because while you can now sit at home and read or hear about the estimated 29,000-plus dead Gazans, including more than 12,000 dead children, and the more than half a million Gazans facing “catastrophic hunger,” when it came to our own country’s devastating wars in response to al-Qaeda’s nightmarish 9/11 attacks, you could read no such thing in our mainstream media. The numbers from what came to be known as the war on terror were largely unavailable, which meant that there was no way to truly take in the horror of what our country was doing in distant lands like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen.

Or at least that was true until, in 2010, today’s author, Andrea Mazzarino, co-founded the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. Since then, that remarkable project has put some numbers on this country’s war on terror campaigns, ranging from their cost to us (at least $8 trillion) to the deaths they’ve caused (almost a million direct deaths, including more than 430,000 civilians, and as many as 3.8 million indirect ones), and the number of refugees they’ve created (at least 38 million).

Still, I’m struck that, while we already have that estimated (and, all too sadly, ever-increasing) number of children slaughtered in Gaza, there’s no known equivalent number for the American wars of this century. Were such figures available, they would undoubtedly be shocking. In that context, let TomDispatch regular Mazzarino compare American reactions to the present nightmare in Israel and Gaza to those about our own never-ending global wars. Tom

The October 7th America Has Forgotten

And the War Deaths We No Longer Protest (or Even Think About)

We Americans have been at war now since October 7th, 2001. That was when our military first launched air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan in response to al-Qaeda's September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. That's 22 years and counting. The "war on terror" that began then would forever change what it meant to be an Arab-American here at home, while ending the lives of more than 400,000 civilians -- and still counting! -- in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the days after those September 11th attacks, the U.S. would enjoy the goodwill and support of countries around the world. Only in March 2003, with our invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, would much of the world begin to regard us as aggressors.

Does that sound like any other armed conflict you’ve heard about recently? What it brings to my mind is, of course, Israel’s response to the October 7th terror assault by the Islamic militant group Hamas on its border areas, which my country and much of the rest of the world roundly condemned.

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William Hartung, False Job Claims Fuel Massive Pentagon Budgets

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Imagine for a moment that I told you Congress was suddenly teetering at the edge of passing a $95-billion bill to give many more Americans reasonable health care. No, it really doesn’t sound likely, does it? Okay, then, how about Congress teetering at the edge of passing just such a bill to further arm Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan with American weaponry of all sorts? Oh wait, it may be to arm those countries further, but it’s also to fund the giant all-American arms-makers, those key components of the military-industrial-congressional complex, since money for weaponry meant for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan will actually go directly to them, as TomDispatch regular and Pentagon expert William Hartung explains today.

Oh, and just imagine for a moment that, should those arms companies get such near-record funding anytime soon, some of that money — count on it — will be poured into endless cost overruns and distinctly dysfunctional weapons systems. You want an example? Take Boeing, which should be considered the poster child for such a reality right now. If you’ve been watching the nightly news, I’m sure you’ve noticed those Boeing 737 Max 9 commercial jets that were discovered to be missing door bolts after a door plug from one of them fell 16,000 feet into an Oregon backyard.

What’s been far less noticed is that Boeing has an unnervingly similar record when it comes to building military aircraft. Take, for instance, the new Boeing aerial refueling tanker, meant to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of such planes. It simply doesn’t work. At the cost of a genuine fortune, it’s years behind schedule, plagued by major deficiencies, way over cost, and still not fully ready for use. Similarly, in early December, after a crash near Japan killed eight airmen, the Pentagon grounded its full fleet of Boeing CV-22 Ospreys (which have experienced 10 fatal crashes that have killed 57 people over the last 23 years). And that’s just to list the problems of two Boeing aircraft.

With that in mind, let Hartung explore an all-American world in which taxpayer dollars continue to pour into the military-industrial complex and how efficiently that “arsenal of democracy” responds by delivering ever less to Americans. He offers, in fact, a shocking vision of where our tax dollars are really going and why that’s bad for us. Tom

War Is Bad for You — And the Economy

Biden Touts the Alleged Benefits of the “Arsenal of Democracy”

Joe Biden wants you to believe that spending money on weapons is good for the economy. That tired old myth -- regularly repeated by the political leaders of both parties -- could help create an even more militarized economy that could threaten our peace and prosperity for decades to come. Any short-term gains from pumping in more arms spending will be more than offset by the long-term damage caused by crowding out new industries and innovations, while vacuuming up funds needed to address other urgent national priorities.

The Biden administration’s sales pitch for the purported benefits of military outlays began in earnest last October, when the president gave a rare Oval Office address to promote a $106-billion emergency allocation that included tens of billions of dollars of weaponry for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. MAGA Republicans in Congress had been blocking the funding from going forward and the White House was searching for a new argument to win them over. The president and his advisers settled on an answer that could just as easily have come out of the mouth of Donald Trump: jobs, jobs, jobs. As Joe Biden put it:

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