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Trump speaks at NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas
Further

Entirely Inedible: On Glitches and Losses and Lies

Apologies for re-visiting GOP lowlifes and their yammering Mad Emperor, but damn things are getting weird out there. Having ended his trial not with a bang but a craven whine - so much for "absolutely" testifying: "I tell the truth" - Trump gave a daft, dark speech at the NRA convention, calling Biden "a Manchurian candidate," vowing to roll back all gun control, pondering a third term and slamming the country as a “cesspool of ruin." Then a long glitch turned him bizarrely silent. It was blissful.

In brief: To the cretins of a sick, corrupt, fast-diminishing NRA gathered in Dallas to endorse him, the tinpot babbled and spewed his usual ugly gibberish. Biden is "a threat to democracy" who'd get the electric chair if a Republican, he's fighting "hateful communists and criminals," Alvin Bragg is "Soros-backed," not even Lincoln did more for "the black individual in this country than Donald J. Trump," he won 31 golf championships or 29, he's just like his friggin' "genius" uncle at MIT, he's "a better physical specimen" than Obama, he's started an imaginary "Gun Owners For Trump" to stop "the violent migrant crime wave (Biden) has unleashed on our country" though violent crime has fallen sharply, and gun owners, of which he's clearly not one, are "under seesh, we're under seesh but they didn't move us an inch" so on Day One "we'll roll back every gun control measure."

Then came what was widely billed a McConnell-like, 35-second "freeze" but in fact more resembled a system glitch - in his brain, his reading of the room or the teleprompter. He was in the middle of his 6th-grade report - "The Texas spirit of proud independence was forged by cowboys and cattle hands, ranchers and rangers...Many came here with nothing but the boots on their feet, the clothes on their back, the gun in their saddle. Together they helped make America into the single greatest nation in the history of the world" - when he fell silent. For a long time. So did the room. He shook his head, furrowed his brow, stared. An ad popped up for a gold IRA: "Text TRUMP." Finally, QAnon/Nazi music swelled and he came back to awful life: "But now, we are a nation in declined. We are a failing nation." Cue inflation, collapsing banks, drugs, crime, dirty airports, other "horror" by "these tyrants and villains."

When news came of his "Milli Vanilli-type" malfunction, he shrieked, "Donald Trump doesn’t freeze!" He cited a "record crowd of very enthusiastic patriots" and a standard pause before "the musical interlude" and besides Biden "freezes all the time," also he didn't fall when his podium once almost tipped over and he can drink a glass of water! Observers noted it was like "Amateur City for a live performance": At his rallies there's "cheering MAGA morons," this time "just the abyss" of a dark room and NRA stage, like a sit-com before they add the laugh track. His team miscalculated, the crowd missed their cue, he has a memorized shtick he's too dumb to tweak, and he couldn't understand why nobody was cheering. Besides, one summarized, "Never, ever trust anything when it comes to Trump. His very existence is a criminal fraud, foully perpetrated to the detriment of the universe."

Donald Trump Rejects Claims He 'Froze' During Rallywww.youtube.com

Meanwhile, the universe is diminished by each of his repulsive followers in the news. "Sam Alito is a fascist insurrectionist," notes Noah Berlatsky in a piece subtitled, "Stop with the appeasement, you quisling motherfuckers." "He displayed a symbol of support for fascist insurrection shortly after an attempted fascist insurrection. The obvious conclusion would be that (Alito) supports fascist insurrection. He told us who he is. We should believe him." Ditto Rudy Giuliani, now cringingly hawking coffee to pay his legal bills, and Greg Abbott, who with no legal or moral justification pardoned Daniel Perry, serving 25 years for murdering a BLM protester - a pardon, writes Will Bunch, proving the law only applies if an undemocratic few in power say it does, and "a gross injustice in a former Confederate state that (reeks) of the bad old days (when) white men lynched Emmett Till and laughed at justice."

Thus, the "inverted reality" embraced by VP-hopefuls dutifully echoing the Big Lie. "Once one of the two major governing parties no longer believes elections are binding," notes Rachel Maddow, "in many important ways, the democracy ship has sailed." Along with Christina 'Election Integrity' Bobb's creepy mugshot, we have Marco Rubio, the latest to fudge on accepting election results, arguing it's Democrats who questionGOP wins (and pay people $10 to vote). He also says Dems are the extremists on abortion and he supports protecting "all unborn human life," though when it comes to the lives of what he claims are up to 30 million migrants - "We don't even know who these people are" - the son of immigrants says, "This is not immigration...This is an invasion of the country." Add another sad bootlicker inexplicably in thrall to the guy who praises "the late, great Hannibal Lecter," though it turns out it's not reciprocal.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter DECLINES Trump's V.P. Offerwww.youtube.com

And that guy just keeps losing. New earnings filings show Trump Media & Technology Group, the parent company of Truth Social, reported a net loss of $327.6 million, with revenue of just $770,500, in its first fiscal quarter since debuting as a public company on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Also, his campaign to get back the job he so disastrously failed to do isn't doing well in the Saying the Quiet Part Aloud Dept. After eloquently suggesting he might limit access to contraception - "We're looking at that, and I'm going to have a policy on that very shortly...You will find it, I think, very smart" - he abruptly backtracked - "Things really do have a lot to do with the states, and some states are gonna have different policies" - almost like he has no idea what he's talking about. Same with a slipshod video he posted to celebrate his upcoming victory, that touted "A UNIFIED REICH," which quickly went missing.

And there's his trial, nearing its ignoble end. Despite 10 contempt findings, he isn't in jail, but not much else went well. His D-list, red-tie, Hell's Angels! posse - "circling (him) like the cold fragments of a destroyed planet" - was widely mocked, witnesses gave damning testimony, after insisting he'd testify he chickened out, and after claiming MAGA warriors would storm the barricades if he was prosecuted, nobody came. So he made them up: "Thousands of people were turned away, it is an armed camp to keep people away, it looks like Fort Knox." This is complete and utter bullshit," said one observer. Others: "There is virtually complete freedom of movement around the courthouse," "Nothing is happening," "There is a mouse pissing on a ball of cotton in China - that’s how quiet it is out here." Later, he bleated Judge Merchan should dismiss the case: "The right thing to do is to END THIS SCAM NOW AND FOREVERMORE." Yes. Please.

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South Korean youth climate activists protest
News

Ahead of Hearing, South Koreans Hope Climate Case Inspires Others

Climate justice advocates on Monday expressed hope that a landmark youth-led South Korean lawsuit—which alleges the country's government is failing to protect citizens from the effects of the human-caused planetary emergency—will have a ripple effect that inspires activists throughout Asia and beyond to take similar action.

South Korea's Constitutional Court is set to hold a second and final hearing Tuesday in the case, which was filed in 2019 by 19 members of Youth4ClimateAction who accuse the South Korean government of violating their rights to life, the "pursuit of happiness," a "healthy and pleasant environment," and to "resist against human extinction."

"All countries need to take action in order to tackle this global crisis, and there are no exceptions."

The case was merged with three similar suits filed since 2020, including one brought by parents on behalf of dozens of children under the age of 5. One infant, nicknamed "Woodpecker," was not yet born at the time the complaint was lodged. The lawsuit comes amid a growing wave of similar cases around the world.

"If we have a favorable precedent in South Korea, I think that will really be a trigger in spreading this trend," Sejong Youn, an attorney in the South Korean case, toldNature Monday. "It will send a message: All countries need to take action in order to tackle this global crisis, and there are no exceptions."

Referring to the Paris climate agreement, Amnesty International Korea climate campaigner Jiyoun Yoo said Monday that "strategic litigation is a powerful tool which is being increasingly used to enforce states' binding duty to protect people's rights from the adverse impacts of the climate crisis and ensure there is no backsliding on the international commitments they made in 2015 to prevent average global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C this century."

"The climate crisis is already upon us but the effects will be felt even more intensely by future generations," Yoo added. "Cases like this are vital to safeguarding citizens' rights. Taking legal action against a state is often a long and arduous process which requires patience and perseverance and the courage of these pioneering plaintiffs is to be admired and applauded."

According to the United Nations Environment Program's (UNEP) most recent Emissions Gap Report, humanity must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28% before 2030 to limit warming to 2°C above preindustrial levels and 42% to halt warming at 1.5°C. UNEP said that based on current policies and practices, the world is on track for 2.9°C of warming by the end of the century.

South Korea is the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.

Mingzhe Zhu—who studies the links between politics, science, and nature at the University of Glasgow in Scotland—told Nature that even if the South Korean case fails, it will inspire other potential litigants around the world.

"Even if you lose this time, you can lose beautifully in the sense that you provoked social awareness," Zhu said. "The very fact that this case went to the Constitutional Court—that is already a certain sense of success. I believe in people's creativity. Even if you fail this time, you can learn from this experience and just try another pass."

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Jim Cramer
News

FTC Chair Lina Khan Should Take Jim Cramer's 'Unhinged' Obsession as 'Badge of Honor'

The American Economic Liberties Project on Monday called outCNBC's Jim Cramer for at least dozens of "hostile" televised attacks on Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and her "historic pro-working families record."

The left-leaning group has been compiling Cramer's "most egregious on-air outbursts" over Khan since early last year and its tracker now features more than 30 clips from "Mad Money" and "Squawk on the Street."

When President Joe Biden nominated Khan to lead the FTC in 2021, she was an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School who had previously worked for the Open Markets Institute, the office of former Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law.

As the clips collected by the project show, Cramer has described Khan as an "empty suit," "stupid," and a "total hack." The ex-hedge fund manager has also compared the agency leader's views to those of Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, and Don Quixote.

Cramer has called out specific FTC actions under Khan—repeatedly blasting a lawsuit against Amazon, a company founded by one of the richest persons on the planet—and broadly accused the "rogue" agency of "torturing all the companies that America likes."

When one of Cramer's colleagues pointed out last October that he has taken "every opportunity to just come back to Khan," he responded, "No, I've missed opportunities and I regret that."

The tracker page states that "if Cramer was accurately reporting what the FTC is doing, he would see that Chair Khan is pursuing a pro-business, pro-innovation, and pro-worker agenda. And he is capable of it: he did, for example, proclaim the FTC's case against Kroger-Albertsons to be strong."

Noting Cramer's praise for Jonathan Kanter, an assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice whom the host has called a "heavyweight" and "rigorous thinker," the page adds that "he is so blinded by his obsession of Chair Khan that he sometimes even rails against her for suits brought by the DOJ and forgets to give the Antitrust Division credit for its work."

American Economic Liberties Project spokesperson Jimmy Wyderko said in a statement Monday that "Jim Cramer's anger over the FTC's enforcement record has turned into a full-blown obsession, launching nearly weekly barbs at Chair Khan with the zeal of a carnival barker defending his turf."

"This has manifested on national cable news through a series of unhinged, incoherent, and often inaccurate rants from Jim Cramer attacking the FTC for standing up to big corporations and delivering kitchen table wins to working families," he continued.

"Given Jim Cramer's role as mouthpiece and cheerleader for monopolists across the economy, Chair Khan should consider his harassment a badge of honor," Wyderko added. "We hope to see Jim Cramer get over his fixation syndrome, which is evidently even starting to frustrate his colleagues, as soon as he is able."

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Barragán and Jayapal
News

House Progressives Blast Revival of 'Extreme' Border Bill by Senate Dems

Democratic leaders of two caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives slammed the party's Senate leadership on Wednesday for trying again to pass a bipartisan border bill opposed by progressive lawmakers and migrant rights groups.

The joint statement from Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)—who's also ranking member of the House Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee—came as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) prepared for a Thursday vote.

"We are disappointed that the Senate will once again vote on an already-failed border bill in a move that only splits the Democratic Caucus over extreme and unworkable enforcement-only policies," they said.

"This framework, which was constructed under Republican hostage-taking, does nothing to address the long-standing updates needed to modernize our outdated immigration system, create more legal pathways, and recognize the enormous contributions of immigrants to communities and our economy," the congresswomen continued.

"The Senate framework would also subject immigrants to impossible standards and unrealistic timelines in presenting their asylum claims, forcing many back to violence, dangerous conditions, or other harm."

The bipartisan Border Act negotiated by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) previously failed to pass in February, after former Republican President Donald Trump—who's running against Democratic President Joe Biden—instructed the GOP to kill the bill. Lankford disagrees with the upcoming vote.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Schumer took aim at Trump and H.R. 2, Republicans' Secure the Border Act, which he called "a very partisan bill." As for the bipartisan Border Act, he said that "we don't expect every Democrat or every Republican to support this bill. It wasn't designed that way... It was intended to be a compromise that could pass and become law."

Despite Schumer's remarks, the bill isn't expected to pass. As The New York Timesreported, "The measure is almost certain to be blocked again, but Democrats hope to use the failed vote to sharpen an election-year contrast with the GOP on a critical issue that polls show is a major potential liability for President Biden and their candidates."

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) on Monday accused Schumer of "trying give his vulnerable members cover by bringing a vote" and said that "should it reach the House, the bill would be dead on arrival."

"If Senate Democrats were actually serious about solving the problem and ending the border catastrophe, they would bring up H.R. 2 and pass it this week," the GOP House leaders added, advocating for "resuming construction of the border wall, ending the exploitation of parole, reinstating Remain in Mexico, and ending catch-and-release."

Meanwhile, Barragán and Jayapal slammed the bipartisan bill for incorporating GOP policies that critics call cruel and ineffective. They argued that "while the investments in asylum officers and immigration judges are welcome and needed, these alone cannot address the negative effects of a new Title 42-like expulsion authority that will close the border and turn away people seeking asylum without due process."

"Such a policy will be a boon to cartels who prey on migrants and would do nothing to address the root causes of migration—which will continue to send immigrants to the border," the congresswomen warned. "It is worth remembering that under Donald Trump, such a policy was not only declared unlawful by the courts, but it also led to increases—not decreases—in illegal border crossing."

They noted that "the Senate framework would also subject immigrants to impossible standards and unrealistic timelines in presenting their asylum claims, forcing many back to violence, dangerous conditions, or other harm. The bill also limits parole at land ports of entry, which will only make it more difficult to process people in a safe and orderly way."

"It is tempting to simply embrace the very policies we rejected under Donald Trump to counter the horrific xenophobic and racist attacks against immigrants coming from the right," Barragán and Jayapal said. "We urge our Senate Democratic colleagues to resist this urge and instead show a clear contrast between Republicans and Democrats."

"Abandon unworkable policy solutions offered by Republicans," they implored, "and instead work with our caucuses to craft a common-sense bipartisan bill that provides holistic solutions that address our economic, humanitarian, and security needs—not more of the same enforcement-only approach that has failed us for the last 30 years."

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People sit on the beach along Lake Michigan on February 26, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.
News

PFAS 'Ubiquitous' in Water, Atmosphere in Great Lakes Basin

A first-of-its-kind study published this week shows that levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are now so ubiquitous in the environment that they have begun building up in the Great Lakes Basin after entering it through rainwater and the air, contaminating 95% of the United States' fresh surface water supply.

Researchers at Indiana University, Bloomington and Environment and Climate Change Canada published the study Thursday, revealing that "background levels" of PFAS, also called "forever chemicals," are so high that atmospheric counts were consistent throughout the basin.

"The PFAS in rain could be carried from local sources, or have traveled long distances from other regions. Regardless, it is a major source of pollution that contributes to the lakes' levels," reported The Guardian on Saturday.

The levels of PFAS in precipitation did not correlate with whether or not an area in the Great Lakes Basin was heavily industrialized, lead author Chunjie Xia, a postdoctoral associate at Indiana University, told The Hill.

"The levels in precipitation don't depend on the population," said Xia. "They are similar in Chicago, which is heavily populated, and at Eagle Harbor, Michigan, where there's maybe 500 people living in a 25-kilometer radius."

"That tells us the levels are ubiquitous," he said. "This is the first time we've seen that. We've never seen that for other pollutants before."

Within the basin, however, levels of PFAS were higher near urban areas.

Twenty percent of the world's freshwater is held in the Great Lakes Basin, while 10% of the U.S. population and 35% of Canadians live in the region.

In 2023, Duke University and the Environmental Working Group analyzed fish samples collected from the Environmental Protection Agency's monitoring program for the Great Lakes, and found that eating just one locally caught freshwater fish could be the equivalent of drinking PFAS-contaminated water for a month.

Forever chemicals have earned their nickname because they do not naturally break down and can continuously remain in and move through the environment. PFAS are used by dozens of industries to make products heat-, water-, and stain-resistant.

European lawmakers have proposed a ban that could go into effect as early as 2026, but Reutersreported Wednesday that the law could include exemptions for certain industries.

Last month, the Biden administration finalized a rule setting limits on PFAS in drinking water.

"We need to take a broad approach to control sources that release PFAS into the atmosphere and into bodies of water," Marta Venier, a co-author of the new study, toldThe Guardian, "since they eventually all end up in the lakes."

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Protesters hold a banner reading "Arrest Netanyahu War Criminal" in London
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Global Rights Groups Back ICC Arrest Warrants for Israel's Netanyahu and Gallant

Human rights defenders around the world on Tuesday welcomed the International Criminal Court's application for arrest warrants targeting Israeli and Hamas leaders for alleged crimes on and after October 7, with Amnesty International hailing the effort as "a crucial step toward justice."

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan on Monday formally applied to a panel of judges on the 18-member Hague-based tribunal for permission to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged "crimes of causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, [and] deliberately targeting civilians in conflict."

Khan is also seeking warrants for the arrest of Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohammed Deif for alleged "extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape, and sexual assault in detention."

Responding to the ICC request, Amnesty International secretary general Agnès Callamard said: "No one is above international law: no leaders of armed groups, no government officials—elected or not, no military officials. Regardless of the cause they are pursuing, no one is above the law."

"This move by the ICC prosecutor sends an important message to all parties to the conflict in Gaza and beyond that they will be held accountable for the devastation they have waged on the peoples of Gaza and Israel," Callamard added.

Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, asserted that Khan's application "reaffirms the crucial role of the International Criminal Court."

"Victims of serious abuses in Israel and Palestine have faced a wall of impunity for decades," she continued. "This principled first step by the prosecutor opens the door to those responsible for the atrocities committed in recent months to answer for their actions at a fair trial."

"ICC member countries should stand ready to resolutely protect the ICC's independence as hostile pressure is likely to increase while the ICC judges consider Khan's request," Jarrah added.

The ICC has endured pressure from the United States—which gives Israel billions of dollars in military aid and diplomatic cover on the world stage—not to pursue charges against Israeli leaders. The Biden administration reportedly worked with the Israeli government to prevent arrest warrants, while some Republican U.S. senators have threatened to retaliate against ICC jurists. Under an existing U.S. law dubbed the Hague Invasion Act, the president may order action up to military intervention to free citizens of the United States or allied nations who are arrested and in ICC custody.

"The fact that the court is not caving to Israeli or massive U.S. pressure and intends to continue its investigation cannot be praised highly enough," said Andreas Schüller, director of the international crimes and accountability program at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

"Just roughly one year ago, the court caused an uproar with its arrest warrant against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for his responsibility for war crimes in Ukraine," Schüller noted. "By requesting arrest warrants against Israeli politicians and military officers, as well as leading representatives of Hamas, prosecutors in The Hague are making it clear that international criminal law is universal and that everyone who violates it must ultimately face accountability."

Israeli and Hamas leaders decried the ICC request, with Netanyahu calling it "absurd" and antisemitic and a Hamas spokesperson accusing the tribunal of equating "the victim with the executioner."

U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the court's "outrageous" move and reasserted that Israel's 228-day assault "is not genocide," even though it has killed, maimed, or left missing more than 126,000 Gazans, according to Palestinian and international officials.

"What is 'outrageous' is Israel's U.S.-enabled, decadeslong impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians, which has emboldened it to carry out its wholesale assault against 2.2 million people in Gaza, while increasing attacks and landgrabs in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem," the Center for Constitutional Rights said Tuesday in a statement welcoming Khan's application.

The United Nations' International Court of Justice is currently weighing a case brought by South Africa and supported by more than 30 countries accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. In March, the U.N. Human Rights Council published a draft report that found "reasonable grounds to believe" Israel is committing the crime of genocide.

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