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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.

five people in a small boat in a flooded city

'Wake-Up Call for the World': Millions Impacted by Extreme Floods in Brazil

Experts emphasized the escalating risks of climate-related disasters and their disproportionate impacts on low-income people on Monday following flooding in Brazil that has killed at least 150 people and displaced more than 600,000.

The floods that hit over recent days and weeks have knocked out bridges and the main airport in Porto Alegre, a port city in southern Brazil. More than 460 of the 497 municipalities in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sol have been affected, with more than 2 million people impacted, according to provisional government data.

"The situation is catastrophic," said Rachel Soeiro, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical coordinator in Brazil, who visited the area by helicopter. "We were able to view the towns from above and noticed that in some cases we couldn't even see the roofs of houses.”

More than two feet of rain has fallen so far this month, according Brazil's national weather service, inundating large areas.

"Whole towns and large, urban city centers are in some cases almost completely underwater," the BBCreported on Saturday.

Experts connected the extreme rainfall to climate change, which increases the likelihood of such weather events. Incidents of extreme flooding have increased "sharply" across the planet in the last two decades, according to a study in Nature Water released last year.

"In many ways, this is not a disaster of Brazil’s making. The whole planet is experiencing increasingly rapid climate changes due largely to the greenhouse gases produced by a handful of wealthy nations," Cristiane Fontes (Krika), executive director of World Resources Institute (WRI) Brasil, wrote in a commentary earlier this month in which she called the situation a "wake-up call for the world."

In recent weeks, flooding has also hit China, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia, and WRI's staff in Kenya are dealing with dam breaches from heavy rains, Fontes noted.

A Brazilian expert indicated that the flooding, catastrophic as it has been, should not come as a surprise.

"People on the streets here in Brazil, they've attributed this change to global climate change driven by the increase of fossil fuels," Paulo Artaxo, a physics professor at the University of Sao Paulo, and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He explained that was in line with IPCC projections showing that southern Brazil would face more extreme rainfall due to tropical and polar currents.

In Brazil, as elsewhere, climate impacts are not evenly distributed. MSF relief efforts are focused on the most vulnerable, including Indigenous communities, one of which had been isolated by rising waters and without help for 10 days before being reached by the humanitarian group.

"Assisting those who are most vulnerable is one of our main concerns in such situations," Soeiro said. "These people were already facing difficult situations before the flooding. But their needs have risen further and access to them has become more difficult."

Some wealthy people in Porto Alegre have choices such as escaping to a second home, but in "rundown towns" on the city's periphery, low-income people have no such options, according to CNN.

Brazilian left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has pledged to provide relief money to families that lost their homes. Brazil is one of most unequal countries in the world, according to World Bank data.

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."

Barragán and Jayapal

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."

Activists deliver boxes full of signatures supporting a Nevada abortion rights constitutional amendment

Nevada Coalition Submits 200K+ Signatures for Abortion Rights Ballot Measure

An amendment to enshrine abortion rights in Nevada's Constitution moved one step closer to appearing on this November's ballot Monday as reproductive rights defenders submitted nearly twice the number of required signatures to state election officials.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, the coalition spearheading the ballot measure, said it submitted more than 200,000 signatures from every county in the state—where abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy—supporting the Nevada Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment. Proposed 2024 Nevada ballot questions need 102,362 verified signatures to qualify; campaigners generally aim to collect double the required number of signatures, as many are disqualified for various reasons.

"This is a true testament to the volunteers, supporters, and coalition partners who recognize the importance of codifying abortion rights into our state constitution," Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom said on social media. "We're officially one step closer."

"The number of signatures gathered in just over three months shows how deeply Nevadans believe in abortion rights and its importance to this moment in our nation's history."

Speaking to supporters outside the Clark County Courthouse in Las Vegas on Monday, Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom president Lindsey Harmon said that "the majority of Nevadans agree that the government should stay out of their personal and private decisions... about our bodies, our lives, and our futures."

"The number of signatures gathered in just over three months shows how deeply Nevadans believe in abortion rights and its importance to this moment in our nation's history," Harmon added.

Nevada constitutional amendments must be approved by voters twice. If the proposed abortion rights amendment qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters this November, it will appear again on the 2026 statewide ballot.

Last November, Carson City District Court Judge James Russell sided with right-wing advocacy groups who argued that the proposed amendment violates Nevada law by covering more than one subject. After Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom subsequently narrowed the proposal's focus, Russell ruled the coalition could proceed with signature gathering. In April, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the proposed ballot measure's original language.

Four states—Florida, Kansas, Maryland, and New York—have abortion rights measures on November's ballot, while Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, and Nevada have proposed such initiatives.

Since the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court voided half a century of federal abortion rights nearly two years ago in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, seven states have let voters weigh in on the issue. People in all seven states—including conservative Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana—have voted to either protect and expand abortion rights or defeat measures seeking to restrict access to the procedure.

Meanwhile, 14 states have enacted total abortion bans, while 27 have legislated restrictions on the procedure based on duration of pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Antony Blinken with hands painted like blood in the background

'Genocide Is Your Legacy!': Blinken Targeted by Protests at Senate Hearing

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was targeted with protests and denunciations repeatedly during a Senate hearing on Tuesday as multiple disruptions resulted in arrests—some of them unnecessarily violent, said witnesses—by Capitol Police.

Organized by CodePink and American Muslims for Palestine, the protests at the joint Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committee hearing rebuked Blinken over policy in Gaza, where the U.S. has continued to back Israel's military assault despite the more than 35,000 people killed over the last seven months, most of them civilian men, women, and children who had nothing to do with the Hamas-led attack on October 7 of last year.

Among those victims invoked by name at Tuesday's hearing was 6-year-old Hind Rajab, a Palestinian girl killed in January by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza when the car she was in with her family was shelled by tank fire. While Rajab survived the initial blast, she later died in the vehicle as the IDF fired on those who came to rescue her. Surrounded by her dead family members for hours and pleading for help over a phone to be rescued, she did not survive.

"Hind Rajab was 6 years old when Israeli soldiers killed her!" shouted Mohamad Habehh, with American Muslims for Palestine, at Blinken sitting before the committee. "You will be remembered as the butcher of Gaza!"

"You will be remembered for murdering innocent Palestinians!" Habehh continued as he was wrestled out of the room and into the hallway by security. "Genocide is your legacy! Genocide is your legacy!"

While some yelled and were removed for their disruptions, a large group sat or stood silently in the back of the hearing room with their arms raised, painted red to simulate blood-soaked hands.

Protesters target 'war criminal' Antony BlinkenPro-Palestinian demonstrators with their hands painted the color of blood hold a demonstration to call for a ceasefire in Gaza as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to testify before the Senate committee. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Olivia DiNucci, a CodePink activist who was arrested and, like Habeeh, later charged with resisting arrest, also disrupted the hearing as she called Blinken a "war criminal" who had the blood of "40,000 Palestinians on his hands."

In a statement, DiNucci explained how the U.S. government "has given billions to Israel, but our country urgently needs these funds for healthcare, housing, and addressing climate change." Blinken, President Joe Biden, and other elected leaders, she said "must end our complicity in this destruction and focus on building a just and equitable society at home."

During his testimony, Blinken said he disagreed with this week's decision by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, who on Monday submitted application for arrest warrants for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" in Gaza.

'Arrest Blinken for War Crimes' says protesters signPolice escort a pro-Palestinian protestor holding a banner that reads 'Arrest Blinken for War Crimes' out of the room during U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's testimony on May 21, 2024. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Calling the move to obtain arrest warrants "totally wrongheaded," Blinken said during his testimony that it would only hamper efforts to free Israeli hostages taken by Hamas soldiers on October 7 and undermine negotiations to bring the assault on Gaza to an end. Blinken also indicated to lawmakers his willingness to help orchestrate some kind of sanctions against the ICC.

"We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response," said Blinken when asked about the potential for punitive measure against the ICC. "I'm committed to doing that."

Meanwhile, as Common Dreamsreported on Tuesday, international human rights in the wake of Khan's decision championed the move, with many echoing the standard that "no one is above the law."