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Trump speaks at NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas

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.

A woman installs a rooftop solar panel in Puerto Rico

US Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over Threat to Rooftop Solar in Puerto Rico

More than 20 members of the U.S. Congressional Democratic Caucus on Friday urged a federal colonial oversight board to safeguard affordable access to rooftop solar power in Puerto Rico by protecting net metering, which the lawmakers called essential to the island's clean energy goals and economic growth.

Net metering "makes household renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar, more affordable for families by ensuring they are reimbursed for the extra energy they produce but do not use," the House Natural Resources Committee Democrats explained in a statement.

"A continued commitment to preserving net metering and a renewed focus on solar energy will benefit the island's economy and people."

However, the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) for Puerto Rico—the controversial unelected federal body tasked with approving and revising Puerto Rico's obligations under a 2016 bankruptcy law—recently directed Democratic Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and the territorial Legislature to repeal Act 10, which protects net metering through 2031.

"Any attempt to reduce the economic viability of rooftop solar and batteries by paring back net metering should be rejected at this critical stage of Puerto Rico's energy system transformation," 20 congressional Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote Friday in a bicameral letter to FOMB members. "Net metering has proven essential for families in Puerto Rico and essential for Puerto Rico's progress towards its own renewable goals."

"Net metering has served the people of Puerto Rico well," the lawmakers argued. "It not only compensates homeowners for their contribution to the grid and their reduced dependence on imported fuels, but it also makes renewable energy production economically viable for millions for whom it would otherwise be out of reach."

The letter continues:

Net metering is an engine for economic recovery. Currently, the renewables sector contributes approximately $1.5 billion to Puerto Rico's economy each year and employs more than 10,000 people. In addition to the direct economic benefits, the tens of thousands of solar and storage installations on the island today provide critical backup power for Puerto Rican families and businesses, helping them avoid economic hardship while supporting uninterrupted economic activity during power outages. Many of these systems provide a literal lifeline to people who depend on the uninterrupted operation of medical equipment.

Weakening or ending net metering in Puerto Rico could be devastating. Rooftop solar has added over 800 MW to an electric system whose demand is about 2,500-3,000 MW. As a result, residential solar technology is responsible for most of the progress the archipelago has made toward its ultimate goal of generating 100% renewable energy by 2050. Puerto Rico's net metering and rooftop solar programs have successfully displaced energy that would otherwise be generated by imported fossil fuel, lowering overall costs for all ratepayers.

"Making rooftop solar and battery storage systems less affordable could hurt the lowest-income people most," the lawmakers contended. "Should net metering be eliminated or weakened, the result would be a growing divide between those stuck with exorbitant energy prices from imported fossil fuels and those who can afford their own dependable solar and battery system. Slowing the adoption of rooftop solar and batteries would mean missed opportunities to leverage the private market to protect those most vulnerable to another hurricane's impacts."

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico's energy grid in 2017, many Puerto Ricans turned to renewable energy—especially solar—to keep the lights on. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $440 million in residential solar funding for vulnerable households via the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund.

"Undermining net metering would dramatically slow one of the most active solar and battery markets in the country at the time it is needed most."

Puerto Rico "needs more renewable production, not less," the lawmakers added. "Undermining net metering would dramatically slow one of the most active solar and battery markets in the country at the time it is needed most... We urge you to protect net metering in Puerto Rico. We believe that a continued commitment to preserving net metering and a renewed focus on solar energy will benefit the island's economy and people."

The lawmakers' letter follows a call earlier this week from the Solar and Energy Storage Association of Puerto Rico for U.S. President Joe Biden to replace six FOMB members "who are supportive of Puerto Rico, supportive of solar power, and supportive of dissolving the board as soon as possible."

The FOMB has been decried as an anti-democratic colonial body that dictates the island's budget and operates in secrecy. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to protect the board from public scrutiny.

Jim Cramer

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."

Dozens of people protest during a rally against the "Viva 24"

'We Must Fight Against Fascists': Protests Greet Far-Right Summit in Spain

As European Union voters prepare for June elections, far-right leaders gathered in Madrid for a weekend rally hosted by Spain's Vox party—a gathering at the Palacio de Vistalegre that drew protests and warnings about their plans for the continent.

Rally speakers delivered "strong messages against illegal migration and the bloc's climate policy while declaring their support for Israel in its war against Hamas," according toThe Associated Press.

France 24reported that the audience at Europa Viva 24 "jeered at every mention of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the United Nations' 2030 Agenda, feminism, or socialism."

Participants included French National Rally party President Marine Le Pen, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Portuguese Chega party President André Ventura, with some joining by video.

"Dear Spanish friends, we patriots must occupy Brussels," Orbán claimed in a video message, according toEuractiv. He framed the upcoming elections as a "great common battle" against those who he said are "unleashing mass illegal migration" and "poisoning our children with gender propaganda."

Right-wing Argentine President Javier Milei traveled to Madrid for the event. During a speech, he suggested that Sánchez's wife is "corrupt," which led the Spanish government to recall its ambassador to Buenos Aires.

"Political freedom, prosperity, social cohesion based on fiscal redistribution, respect in public debate are pillars of the E.U.," declared Josep Borrell, a Spanish politician serving as the bloc's top diplomat. "Attacks against family members of political leaders have no place in our culture: We condemn and reject them, especially when coming from partners."

The Party of European Socialists Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck similarly condemned the "totally unacceptable attack by Milei on PM Pedro Sánchez and his family."

"Death and poverty—this is what fascism brings, as Spain knows all too well. That's why voters reject the far-right and embrace Pedro Sánchez and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party," Filibeck continued, also calling out Meloni and Alberto Núñez Feijóo of the Spanish People's Party. "We know where we stand for a democratic and respectful society, we can't be so sure about them."

As The Guardiandetailed:

Sánchez himself said Sunday's far-right summit was indicative of an "undercurrent" vehemently opposed to social justice which denies both science and women's rights.

"Why have all these people chosen Spain as the place to meet?" he said in a speech in Barcelona on Saturday. "It's no coincidence. They've chosen Spain because we, as a society—not as a government; as a society—represent everything that they hate and detest: feminism; social justice; dignified employment; a strong welfare state; and democracy."

"In democracy, as in life, forgiveness is far stronger than bitterness, coexistence is far stronger than confrontation, and union is far stronger than division."

Opponents who demonstrated against the far-right also took aim at Argentina's leader. One toldEuronewsthat fascism "is growing,'' and "with Milei's visit we are seeing the grouping of a lot of sectors of politicians and the business world, which is quite worrying and I think that has to raise the alarm a little."

Another demonstrator said, "Somehow, we have to go ahead and tell them that we are here and that all the rights we have achieved, we are not going to allow them to take even one step back."

Some critics—including Polish activist Frank Erbroder, who joined a protest against the conference in Madrid's city center—have compared the trajectory of Europe's current far-right movement to that of German Nazis under Adolf Hitler nearly a century ago.

"I am here because in Vistalegre we have a summit of hate and we must fight against fascists," Erbroder told the AP. "I am worried because Hitler won because of democracy, and I think that maybe we'll have the same situation."

Then-Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry

In 'Abandonment of Public Education,' Louisiana to Allow Tax Dollars to Pay for Private Schools

After an aggressive push by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, the Louisiana Senate advanced a bill this week that would allow public funds to be used for private school tuition—sending what one Democrat called an "abandonment" of the state's public schools to the state House, where it is expected to pass.

The state Senate approved the Louisiana Giving All True Opportunity to Rise (LA GATOR) Scholarship Program in a vote of 25-15 on Thursday, with just four Republicans joining the Democratic Party in opposing the bill.

The program would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to create "education savings accounts" (ESAs), which would give families state tax dollars to pay for private school tuition, uniforms, and other expenses.

The grants would first be available to low-income families and special education students, but in the program's third year the ESAs are set to be available to all Louisiana families.

The legislation was briefly shelved this week over concerns about its cost, but Landry, backed by right-wing groups and donors, used television ads to push his party to support the ESAs.

Landry went as far as suggesting lawmakers could revise the state constitution to end a restriction mandating that certain public funds are set aside for K-12 public schools. He called on the state Senate to hold a special convention to do so, in order to unlock funding for the $520 million yearly cost of the LA GATOR program.

Moments before the Senate voted on Thursday, state Sen. Royce Duplessis (D-5) said the bill was "nothing short of an abandonment of public education."

"We as a state are making the decision and taking the step to say that it's too hard, it's too complex" to fund public schools, said Duplessis.

Landry told the Louisiana Illuminator that the success of the bill was "a big win for the kids of Louisiana," but local school board members, teachers, and superintendents lobbied Republicans ahead of the vote to protect funding for public schools, where a majority of students in the state are educated.

"These universal voucher bills are a step in the wrong direction," Larry Carter, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, toldPublic News Service earlier this month. "We've seen in other states around the country, like Arizona and Ohio, where these bills have been passed, [schools are] now facing a budget crisis, and we're hoping that we cannot go down that same road."

"If we're cutting that funding stream, Louisiana students will have fewer nurses and counselors, less options for after school programs, and certainly limited access to field trips and AP courses that help prepare them for their next step in life," he added.

Louisiana-based journalist Dayne Sherman said the LA Gator program will provide a lesson in "how to starve your local Louisiana public school, Clownfish-style."

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan

'War Crimes Are War Crimes': Biden Rebuked for Decrying ICC Bid to Arrest Israeli Leaders

Human rights defenders around the world on Monday accused U.S. President Joe Biden of double standards and worse after he condemned a decision by the International Criminal Court's top prosecutor to pursue arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders for alleged crimes committed during the October 7 attacks and subsequent obliteration of Gaza.

Karim Khan, the ICC's chief prosecutor, said the court has formally applied for arrest warrants targeting two Israeli and three Palestinian officials. Khan is seeking 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 said charges against Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohammed Deif include "extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape, and sexual assault in detention."

A panel of ICC judges will determine whether to issue arrest warrants for any of the suspects.

Biden blasted the effort to arrest Netanyahu and Gallant as "outrageous."

"Let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence—none—between Israel and Hamas," the president said in a statement. "We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he called the ICC's "shameful... equivalence of Israel with Hamas."

Critics were quick to pounce on what some called Biden's hypocritically disparate responses to the ICC's pursuit of arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and for Russian President Vladmir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

"What's outrageous is Biden's utter disregard for victims of war crimes," said Mark Kersten, an assistant professor of international law at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia. "But let's be clear: Biden will feel he must attack the ICC because it directly implicates his own decision-making to repeatedly defend atrocities and their authors."

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, said that "there's certainly no quantitative equivalence between Hamas and Israeli officials in terms of the sheer number of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including humans murdered, homes demolished, hospitals bombarded, journalists executed, aid workers snuffed, land stolen, children starved, men tortured... I could go on and on."

Furthermore, "'equivalence' between two actors has zero bearing on who should be arrested and prosecuted," Whitson added. "The ICC has prosecuted individuals for a single offense irrespective of how it compares to other crimes committed by other actors at the same time."

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis—who heads the leftist Democracy in Europe Movement 2025—said on social media that "Biden just declared the International Criminal Court null and void because it dared pursue Israel's war crimes which Biden is actively and enthusiastically enabling."

"In the tradition of George W. Bush, the U.S. president has declared the U.S. a rogue state," he added.

According to Israeli officials, 1,139 Israeli soldiers and civilians and foreign nationals were killed during the Hamas-led attacks on October 7. An unknown number of the victims were killed by so-called "friendly fire."

Israel's retaliatory war on Gaza—which is the subject of a genocide case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—has killed at least 35,562 Palestinians, mostly women and children, while wounding nearly 80,000 others, according to Palestinian and international officials. At least 11,000 other Palestinians are missing and presumed dead and buried beneath the rubble of hundreds of thousands of damaged or destroyed homes and other buildings.

Approximately 2 million of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been forcibly displaced and at least hundreds of thousands of others are facing growing famine in the northern strip and widespread starvation throughout the besieged coastal enclave as Israeli soldiers and settlers continue to block aid shipments and attack both humanitarian workers and Palestinians desperately trying to receive food, water, medicine, and other necessities. Nearly 1 million Palestinians have fled Rafah as Israeli forces invade and bombard Gaza's southernmost city.

The United States—which provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid and diplomatic cover—had reportedly been working with Israel on how to thwart the ICC's effort to arrest Israeli leaders. Meanwhile, a dozen Republican U.S. senators earlier this month threatened retaliation against the tribunal if it issued arrest warrants for Israelis.

"Target Israel and we will target you," the lawmakers wrote in a letter that drew rebuke from Khan's office.

Under the American Service Members' Protection Act—also known as the Hague Invasion Act—the president is authorized to use "all means necessary and appropriate" including military intervention to secure the release of American or allied personnel held by or on behalf of the ICC.

U.S. and Israeli officials often note that neither country is party to the Rome Treaty that established the ICC. However, the court "has jurisdiction in relation to crimes committed on the territory of Palestine, including Gaza," as well as "over crimes committed by Palestinian nationals inside or outside Palestinian territory."

Under then-Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the ICC in 2021 launched a formal investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes and apartheid in the illegally occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Israeli and Hamas officials reacted angrily on Monday to Khan's move, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the application "absurd" and the "new antisemitism" and Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri lamenting that it equates "the victim with the executioner."

South Africa—which filed the ICJ case now joined by over 30 nations—welcomed Khan's announcement, with President Cyril Ramaphosa asserting that "the law must be applied equally to all in order to uphold the international rule of law, ensure accountability for those that commit heinous crimes, and protect the rights of victims."