Author Archives: Bob Lord

Gaza 2017: Incremental Genocide by an American Client State

It’s been ten years since Israel imposed its blockade on the Gaza Strip, in violation of international law.

It’s been three years since the close of Israel’s last murderous rampage in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge. In that so-called war, 1,473 Palestinian civilians, including 501 children, perished.

But those numbers only reflect the ones who died at the hands of Israeli weaponry.

Ultimately, those numbers will pale in comparison to the number of lives shattered by the ongoing blockade and the refusal of the United States, the one player on the world stage with the necessary power and influence, to end it. In all likelihood, they already do.

The casualty statistics, you see, don’t include those whose death is the indirect result of Israeli and American policy towards the people of Gaza. They don’t reflect, for example, the children who died from exposure in the unusually cold winter that followed Operation Protection Edge. They don’t include those who die from drinking dirty water. They don’t include those who die from inadequate medical facilities. The list goes on.

Unfortunately, we’ve likely not yet seen the worst of it. Continue reading

What’s in Trump’s Tax Returns He Doesn’t Want Robert Mueller To See?

We know from his public outbursts that Donald Trump doesn’t want Robert Mueller looking at his tax returns, but what information does he not what want Mueller to see?

My guess is it’s not just the information on Trump’s personal returns that worrying him. From my own experience as a tax professional, those returns, on their face, are unlikely to contain damning information. The information on a personal tax return isn’t specific enough. Yes, Trump’s tax returns will have many more pages than those of the average taxpayer, but the pages themselves largely will be a lot of numbers. The returns are unlikely to show, for example, who Trump’s lenders are, who his business partners are, who purchased property from him, and other facts that would indicate shady financial dealings.

They will, however, contain the names of some of the business entities in which Trump owns an interest. By itself, that’s not much. But Trump’s tax returns are not where Mueller’s investigatory powers end. It’s barely where they start. Continue reading

Collective Punishment Passes House: The Downward Spiral Continues

I’ve reached the point at which I’m less troubled by the outrages that are being reported than by those that are going unnoticed.

There’s been extensive coverage of the Republican health care proposal, and appropriately so. It’s an outrage that a major political party is pushing legislation that would place critical health care beyond the reach of millions in order to fund a tax cut for billionaires.

It’s chilling to see so many politicians willing to send Americans to avoidable death in order to confer additional wealth on a group of already very wealthy people. Chilling, yes, and perhaps more extreme than past measures, but it’s nothing new. For decades now, our leaders on both sides of the aisle have been all too willing to sacrifice the well-being of the many in an effort pamper the few.

Barely covered, however, was a House vote in favor of what really is a form of collective punishment, with many Democrats, including Kyrsten Sinema and Tom O’Halleran, joining the Republicans. That is an outrage of immense proportion. Yet most Americans are unaware. Continue reading

Book Review: Toxic Inequality

I just returned from an awesome family vacation in Peru. Although certainly not the highlight of the trip, six plane flights and two lengthy train rides made for a lot of reading. I finished Shattered, the inside look at the Clinton 2016 campaign, then read Locking Up Our Own, an analysis of how black leadership in Washington, DC, helped pave the way to mass incarceration of black Americans, and Toxic Inequality, by Thomas Shapiro, which, of all the books I’ve read on the subject of economic inequality, is one of the very best in terms of insightful analysis.

Each book was excellent, but Toxic Inequality is the most noteworthy. Continue reading

Jim Bunning: Should He Really Rest in Peace?

Leading obituary in today’s New York Times: Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame Pitcher Turned Cantankerous Senator, Dies at 85. In the online version, the Times changed “Turned Cantankerous” to “and Blunt-Spoken.” I like the print title better.

Should anyone from the general public be mourning Bunning’s passing?

Not in my opinion. Pissing on anyone’s grave is not an especially endearing act, so I’ll catch a few darts for this one, but I believe there should be a special place in hell for anyone lucky enough to make a fortune playing a sport who sees fit to deny poor people safety net benefits. Continue reading

Are Three Decent Republican Senators All it Would Take?

The refusal of Congressional Republicans to confront Trump is breathtaking.

By all appearances, they’re the last – and most critical – domino that must fall in order for Trump to be removed. Many in the conservative media no longer will defend Trump. Yes, Fox News still is hanging on, as is Rush Limbaugh, but conservative journalists as a group largely have given up. And some, Joe Scarborough for example, are among Trump’s harshest critics. The public has abandoned Trump as well. The latest poll on his approval rating, placing it at 36%, was taken before the Comey firing. And you don’t see many former Republican office holders flocking to Trump’s defense.

Yet, with few exceptions, Ryan, McConnell and the rest of the gang that control both houses of Congress have barely budged.

So, what would it take to move them?

Theoretically, as few as three Republican Senators with a shred of decency could make it happen. And there are possibilities: McCain, Flake, Corker, Collins, Murkowski, maybe even Burr.

Why three? Continue reading