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MAGA Texas Rep. Troy Nehls at 2024 State of the Union address
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From Founding Fathers Kermit and Gandalf to Mugshot $2 Bills: Make Crass Stupidity Embarrassing Again

Amidst Democrats' chaos, some perspective for a relative universe. Veering ever further out there, GOPers are declaring "some folks need killing," clamoring for outright Christian nationalism, contriving more Biden "crime family" villainy, being 2 for 8 on who signed our Declaration of Independence and, from their trashy "leader," hawking "History Made!" fake mugshot $2 bills. Because Nazis, yahoos, hacks, thugs, soulless partisans and ahistorical morons are today's GOP. Have we bottomed out yet (please)?

It's unclear why MAGA-ites have grown increasingly unshy about letting their freak authoritarian flags fly. Perhaps they've been emboldened by the spectacle of squabbling Democrats forming a time-honored circular firing squad, or a Fourth of July marked by fascist-friendly rulings, or a Heritage Foundation media tour giddly trumpeting a second "revolution against "godless" elites, or a boiling planet that matches their fiery fever-dreams. Whatever. Notes one sage, "They’re saying the quiet part so loud now it just woke up the puppy Kristi Noem murdered." At a church "God and Country Sunday," North Carolina's far-right Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and GOP nominee for governor called for the extrajudicial killing of enemies of Christian America "who have evil intent," aka "wicked people doing wicked things, torturing and murdering and raping" for "the tenets of socialism and communism." Comparing leftists to Nazis in World War ll, he suggested it's "time to call our those guys in green (or) those boys in blue and have them go handle it." “Some folks need killing," he said. "It’s a matter of necessity!"

On Monday, Missouri's creepy, manly, election-denying Sen. Josh 'Run Away!' Hawley, who has argued before the Supreme Court for a ban on the popular abortion pill mifepristone, similarly told a National Conservatism conference we should ban Pride flags and "inscribe on every public building our motto, 'In God We Trust.'" Having earlier claimed, "America as we know it cannot survive without biblical Christianity," Hawley touted the virtues of “Augustine’s Christian nationalism," which has been "the boast of the West...our moral center" vs. lesser forms of nationalism: "The nationalism of Rome led to blood-thirst and conquest...the empires of the East crushed the individual, and the blood-and-soil nativism of Europe (led) to savagery and genocide." "Christian nationalism founded American democracy," he boasted. "Some will say now that I am calling America a Christian Nation. And so I am. And some will say that I am advocating Christian Nationalism. And so I do...Is there any other kind worth having?" More wit and wisdom from social media: "Some would say that is against the Constitution! And they would be right!"

Perhaps not having yet gotten the it's-okay-to-be-a-straight-up-fascist memo, some GOPers are still playing it a bit coy. Marco Rubio, confronted with the Heritage Foundation's dystopian Project 2025 plans, punted with, "Think tanks do think-tank stuff" and they have "a lot of different projects," presumably some focused on jackboots and armbands. House Conspiracy Committee Chair James Comer is again "just asking" when he demands an interview with the White House doctor - not pill-popping-and-distributing Ronny Jackson, aka Johnson, to be clear - who described Biden as healthy and "fit to successfully execute (his) duties" because what about that $200,000 "loan repayment" from Biden's brother? Still, it was no biggie when Trump-appointed Alaska Judge Joshua Kindred routinely rated women based on their "fuckability," sexually harassed and preyed on multiple law clerks, belittled or ostracized them when they complained, and lied about it all to investigators who nonetheless finally caught up with him and forced him to resign, even though nobody's yet gotten his pussy-grabbing role model to.

At least the judge went to work. As Hurricane Beryl slammed Texas with winds and floods that knocked out power to over 2.5 million sweltering residents and killed at least 11, their GOP "leaders" were nowhere in sight (though World Central Kitchen was). Gov. Greg Abbott was on a business-boosting trip to Korea and Taiwan, which delayed federal aid - Biden: "I've been trying to track (him) down" - so when Abbott posted about a Seoul meeting a constituent posited, “Maybe now isn’t the best time to brag about how awesome your trip is." And, taking "You-Can't-Make-Up-This-Shit for $500, Alex," Ted 'Cancun' Cruz - who famously ditched his state and dog during a 2021 winter storm and cold snap that killed 246 people to vacation in Mexico - was whale-watching in California. Umm. But he did share a post from local businessman Mattress Mack offering to help people stranded by the storm, declaring, "Mack is an American hero." Unlike, you know. Happily, Cruz may get ousted by Dem Rep. Colin Allred. Finally. From one disgruntled resident, "Instead of warnings, Texas sends out a text whenever Ted heads for the airport."

Still, for ineptness nobody beats Klan mother of them all Marjorie Taylor Greene, who marked the Fourth by gushing, "The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (was) 44 years old, but more than a dozen were 35 or younger." Then she listed eight signers - and their ages - getting six wrong. Exasperated readers added "the greatest community note in history": "Madison, Hamilton, Monroe, Burr, Revere and Washington were not signers." She got right only Thomas Jefferson, who wrote it, and John Hancock, the first to sign. "Stay in school," people urged. One presented a bag of hammers challenging her to a debate; one noted she'd fail both 5th grade history and the test immigrants take to become citizens. Many wondered how she forgot all the historic others: Ronald Reagan, Karl Marx, Col. Sanders, Johnny Appleseed, Kermit the Frog, 2, Karl Marx, - 42, Gandalf, 1,892, Elvis Presley, "8 pb banana & bacon sandos," and possibly one dinosaur, all there at Valley Forge International Airport. "I know this is crazy, but hear me out," wrote Kevin Baum. "Maybe we shouldn't elect morons to Congress."

Or, duh, to the presidency. That goes for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who's beyond moronic but just made a point of declaring he doesn't eat dogs or people after a Vanity Fair story claimed he did (dog, anyway); he didn't deny their allegation he sexually assaulted a former nanny, noting "I'm not a church boy" and he has "many skeletons in my closet.” In this he has much in common with Trump, who with his latest business venture again proves "no bar is too low for this sorry-ass grifter." For months, he's been fundraising off the four indictments stemming from his lifelong crime spree, notably using the inglorious mugshot at his Georgia arraignment to hawk mugs, t-shirts, beer koozies, trading cards "just in time for Christmas!" - and if you bought all 47 for $4,600, you got a piece of the suit he was (allegedly) wearing when his mug was shot. (See no bar too low). From these implausibly trashy schemes he's reportedly raised $45 million, almost enough to cover his $50 million in legal fees and enough to prompt his team to threaten 3rd-party "scammers" selling shot glasses and throw pillows they'll "COME AFTER YOU."

Last week, seeking Black votes, some of his house slaves hosted a "Black American Business Leader Roundtable" at Rocky's Barbershop in Atlanta. It consisted of a handful of uneasy-looking black businessmen, vastly outnumbered by reporters, sitting around as he called in to boast about his "amazing" mugshot making him so many new Black friends: "The mug shot is the best ev - it just beat Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra by a lot. That’s the No. 1 mug shot of all time. It’s really an amazing thing. Since it happened, Black support has gone through the roof...I guess they equate it to problems they’ve had." Black critics say this deeply racist, stupid narrative, echoed by the clueless likes of Jesse Waters arguing that people "on the street" now see Trump as "a martyr...persecuted by the man," has been created "out of thin air." As the ceaseless, delirious babbling goes on, a spoiler alert: Experts say that, due to complex copyright laws, neither Trump nor his campaign even have legal rights to the mugshot. But hey, since when has that stopped them from grifting the shit out of....anything.

Including, in an ad on Fox Business, a mugshot-themed, full-colored, commemorative $2 bill to mark when "Donald J. Trump makes history once again by becoming the first former president (to) be criminally indicted!" With Nazi marching music, his "famous signature," inmate number - PO 1135809 - and vow to "Never Surrender" even though he's surrendering, albeit with "furrowed brow and a determined gaze...ready to fight." "History in the making" comes with a certificate of authenticity in a "collector's portfolio," aka envelope, even though it's illegal to reproduce money. Sigh. "When in the Course of human events," Jefferson wrote of a moment in history calling for change. On Tuesday, the House GOP passed a Refrigerator Freedom Act and a Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards (SUDS) Act to ban federal energy efficiency standards to slow the burning of the planet; Katie Porter cited the $2 to $4 monthly cost of running a dishwasher to tell idiot GOP colleagues, "This (is) Congress at its worst." Still, the fake, dumb, crass, illegal $2 bill, originally $39, is now yours for just $19.99. "'Don't delay!" shrieks the ad. "You can avoid disappointment and future regret!" Too late.

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Haj heat casualty carried off
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13 Months of Record-Smashing Heat Called 'Another Red Alert' for Humanity

Scientists on Monday underscored the urgent need to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy following the publication of data from the European Union's climate change monitor showing that last month was the hottest June ever recorded and that 2024 is likely to be the planet's hottest year on record.

Each month since June 2023 has been the hottest since records have been kept, the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said last week in its latest monthly bulletin.

According to the agency, June "was 1.50°C above the estimated June average for 1850-1900, the designated preindustrial reference period, making it the 12th consecutive month to reach or break the 1.5°C threshold."

"European temperatures were most above average over southeast regions and Turkey, but near or below average over western Europe, Iceland, and northwestern Russia," C3S noted. "Outside Europe, temperatures were most above average over eastern Canada, the western United States and Mexico, Brazil, northern Siberia, the Middle East, northern Africa, and western Antarctica."

"Temperatures were below average over the eastern equatorial Pacific, indicating a developing La Niña, but air temperatures over the ocean remained at an unusually high level over many regions," the agency added.

C3S Director Carlo Buontempo said in a statement Monday that "even if this specific streak of extremes ends at some point, we are bound to see new records being broken as the climate continues to warm."

"This is inevitable unless we stop adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the oceans," he stressed.

In an interview with The Associated Press published Monday, C3S climate scientist Nicolas Julien called the new data "a stark warning that we are getting closer to this very important limit set by the Paris agreement."

"The global temperature continues to increase," he added. "It has at a rapid pace."

Zeke Hausfather, a researcher at the California-based nonprofit Berkeley Earth, toldReuters, "I now estimate that there is an approximately 95% chance that 2024 beats 2023 to be the warmest year since global surface temperature records began in the mid-1800s."

As Reuters reported Monday:

The changed climate has already unleashed disastrous consequences around the world in 2024. More than 1,000 people died in fierce heat during the Hajj pilgrimage last month. Heat deaths were recorded in New Dehli, which endured an unprecedentedly long heatwave, and amongst tourists in Greece.

"This is not good news at all," Aditi Mukherji, who co-authored the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, toldThe Guardian.

"We know that extreme events increase with every increment of global warming," she added, "and at 1.5°C, we witnessed some of the hottest extremes this year."

The Guardiansurveyed hundreds of IPCC authors earlier this year. Three-quarters of them said they expect Earth to heat by at least 2.5°C by the end of this century. Half of the surveyed scientists expect temperatures to rise above 3°C by 2100.

"It is a crisis," said Mukherji, and one that has a clear solution, given that burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of global heating.

Antonia Juhasz, a senior researcher on fossil fuels at Human Rights Watch, toldNation of Change that "as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, heatwaves are becoming more common, and intense heatwaves are more frequent."

"We can break the cycle, we can make oil companies stop burning fossil fuels," she added.

Reacting to the latest C3S data, Amnesty International climate adviser Ann Harrison said on social media that "this alarming record underlines the need to urgently phase out fossil fuels, and to hugely increase climate finance."

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Kenyans protest IMF bill
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Progressive International Applauds Kenyans for Rising Up to Defeat IMF Austerity Bill

Progressive International on Thursday applauded the people of Kenya for taking to the streets en masse to defeat an International Monetary Fund-backed legislative package that would have hiked taxes on ordinary citizens as part of an effort to repay the government's powerful creditors.

"Pushed through at the behest of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department, the bill would impose severe austerity measures and crippling taxes on Kenya's working people, who are already strained by Kenya's legacy of colonial underdevelopment," Progressive International said in a statement.

"The Progressive International stands firmly with the people of Kenya," the organization added. "They refuse to become another laboratory for neoliberalism—impoverished, beaten, or killed for the benefit of foreign corporations and their lackeys in the Kenyan government."

The Kenyan government's proposal, welcomed by the IMF as necessary for "debt sustainability," triggered massive youth-led protests in the nation's capital last week as thousands of citizens already immiserated by sky-high living costs flooded the streets to express outrage at the U.N. financial institution and their government for fueling the crisis.

The government crackdown was swift and deadly, with police using tear gas and live ammunition to beat back demonstrators calling for the withdrawal of the proposed bill and the resignation of President William Ruto, who took office in 2022.

Protesters achieved one of their objectives Wednesday when Ruto announced he would not sign the tax legislation, just days after he ordered the country's military to help suppress the demonstrations.

"Listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this finance bill, I concede, and therefore, I will not sign the 2024 finance bill, and it shall subsequently be withdrawn," Ruto said in an address to the nation, which spends more than a quarter of its revenue on debt interest payments.

"The protesters we have been speaking to are still very angry, still very frustrated, they hold the president responsible for the deaths of those young Kenyans across the country."

As The Associated Pressreported, the withdrawn measure would have "raised taxes and fees on a range of daily items and services, from egg imports to bank transfers."

Kenya's public debt currently stands at $80 billion, around $3.5 billion of which is owed to the IMF—an explicit target of protesters' ire.

"Kenya is not IMF's lab rat," declared one demonstrator's sign.

The IMF said in a brief statement Wednesday that it was "deeply concerned" about the "tragic events" in Kenya and claimed its "main goal in supporting Kenya is to help it overcome the difficult economic challenges it faces and improve its economic prospects and the wellbeing of its people."

As Bloomberg's David Herbling wrote over the weekend, Ruto "has spent his first two years in office ramming through a slew of unpopular taxes—on everything from gasoline to wheelchair tires, bread to sanitary pads—thrilling international investors and the IMF, which has long urged Kenya to double its revenue collections to address its heavy debt burden."

Ruto's withdrawal of the tax-hike bill appeared unlikely to fully quell mass discontent over the president's IMF-aligned economic policies as protests continued on Thursday.

"The protests today are not as big as they were two days ago but they are still no less intense where they are happening," Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi reported from Nairobi. "If President Ruto, protesters say, had signed off on killing the tax bill 72 hours ago, a week ago, these protests might not be happening. But the decision he made, the concession, has come too little too late, and it has not gone far enough, and it has come at the cost of too many young lives."

"The protesters we have been speaking to are still very angry, still very frustrated, they hold the president responsible for the deaths of those young Kenyans across the country, 23 killed," Basravi added. "And they hold Parliament responsible for not standing stronger, standing firmer, against the president as they feel he was overreaching his position."

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in a statement Wednesday that it is "crucial to recognize that the International Monetary Fund's austerity conditions have contributed to the economic hardships facing Kenyan citizens."

"These measures often disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations and can exacerbate social unrest," continued Omar, who chairs the U.S.-Africa Policy Working Group. "It is imperative that protesters remain peaceful as they continue to demand change. I stand in solidarity with the people in the wake of both state violence and IMF-imposed austerity measures."

"The Kenyan government must immediately disclose the location and condition of all those who have been taken into custody or disappeared, cease the use of excessive force, respect the right to peacefully protest, and continue to engage in meaningful dialogue to address the legitimate concerns of its citizens," Omar said.

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Sen. Peter Welch
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Urging Biden to Step Aside, Sen. Peter Welch Warns 'Peril to Democrats Is Escalating'

Peter Welch of Vermont on Wednesday became the first U.S. senator to urge President Joe Biden to drop his 2024 reelection bid, adding his name to a small but growing list of Democratic lawmakers who have publicly expressed the view that their party's best chance of defeating Donald Trump in November is with a different candidate at the top of the ticket.

"Trump is a felon. He is a pathological liar. He is a menace. And he is sure to be emboldened by his activist Supreme Court, which granted him near-total immunity," Welch wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. "MAGA Republicans, meanwhile, have clearly stated their plans for a second Trump term, laying out an extremist agenda with their Project 2025. But the national conversation is focused on President Biden's age and capacity. Only he can change it."

Welch pointed to post-debate polling trends indicating that Biden's performance and continued presence on the ticket could harm down-ballot Democratic candidates and jeopardize the party's hopes of keeping both chambers of Congress out of Republican hands.

"The latest data makes it clear that the political peril to Democrats is escalating. States that were once strongholds are now leaning Republican. These new shifts—in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia—must be taken seriously, not denied or ignored," the senator wrote. "The good news is that President Biden has united the party and created a deep bench that can defeat Trump."

"Vice President [Kamala] Harris is a capable, proven leader, and we have other electable, young, energizing Democratic governors and senators in swing states," Welch continued. "Not only do these leaders have experience running and winning in tough political environments, they also have fundraising networks, media experience, charisma, and the ability to inspire voters across generations and across our big tent."

"We have asked President Biden to do so much for so many for so long," he added. "It has required unmatched selflessness and courage. We need him to put us first, as he has done before. I urge him to do it now."

Welch joins nine Democratic lawmakers in the House who have called on Biden to end his reelection campaign following his disastrous debate with Trump, the twice-impeached former president and presumptive Republican nominee.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on Wednesday became the ninth House Democrat to urge Biden to drop out of the 2024 race, saying in a statement that "this is not just about extending his presidency but protecting democracy."

"It is a painful and difficult conclusion," said Blumenauer, "but there is no question in my mind that we will all be better served if the president steps aside as the Democratic nominee and manages a transition under his terms."

Biden has thus far been adamant that he has no intention of dropping out of the race, and many Democrats—including progressive lawmakers who have at times been sharply critical of his presidency—have stood by the incumbent.

According to a running New York Timestally, Democratic lawmakers and officials who have publicly expressed support for Biden easily outnumber those who have urged him to step aside.

"I support him and I am focused on making sure we win in November," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) said earlier this week, a sentiment echoed by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

"He's been the best president of my lifetime, and we have his back," said Omar, the deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Vermont's other senator, Bernie Sanders, has also declined to join those urging Biden to step aside, even as he has criticized the president for failing to articulate a positive progressive agenda.

"I think he's done better since [the debate], and I think he's gotta do better again," Sanders said in a television interview Sunday. "He has gotta say, 'I am prepared to take on corporate greed, massive income and wealth inequality, and stand with the working class of this country.'"

A Washington Post-ABC News-Ipsos poll released Thursday morning shows that 56% of Democratic voters and 70% of Independents believe Biden should end his reelection campaign. The survey also shows that Biden and Trump are "in a dead heat in the contest for the popular vote, with both candidates receiving 46% support among registered voters," the Post noted, numbers that are "nearly identical to the results of an ABC-Ipsos poll in April."

Amid the growing chorus of high-level and grassroots demands for Biden to drop out—and with just over a month to go before the Democratic convention in Chicago—some have raised concerns about the viability of the alternative path should the president ultimately agree to step aside.

"Democrats could be left with a deeply divided party, with different factions fighting over the nomination," political writer Susan Milligan warned in The New Republic on Wednesday. "Even if the party quickly coalesced around Harris, they'd have less than three months to sell the public on her—all while Trump, whose campaign has already dubbed her Biden's 'Cackling Co-pilot,' taps latent and not-so-latent sexism and racism to weaken her. The media would offer an assist with new rounds of vetting overshadowing Trump's own erratic behavior and lies."

"And Biden's cognitive state? It would still be an issue Republicans would use against her," Milligan argued. "Even if he is not on the ticket."

This story has been updated to include new survey data.

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Evyatar march
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'The Land Theft Continues': Israel Announces Biggest West Bank Seizure in Over 30 Years

Human rights defenders on Wednesday condemned the far-right Israeli government's announcement of the largest seizure of Palestinian land—many critics bluntly called it "land theft"—in the illegally occupied West Bank in over 30 years.

On June 25, Israeli occupation authorities unilaterally declared 12,700 dunams, or 4.9 square miles, of land in the Jordan Valley "state lands." Israel's Custodian of the State's Property in the Civil Administration published the declaration on Wednesday. The move supplements previous Israeli land grabs totaling nearly 11,000 dunams (4.2 square miles) in February and March.

Combined, these are the biggest seizures of Palestinian land since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

"Land theft is a component part of colonial genocide as a social process," noted Heidi Matthews, an assistant professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto.

Muther Isaac, academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College in Jerusalem, lamented that "the land theft continues in the West Bank!"

Israel's goal, according to Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, is to "establish facts on the ground" in service of annexing the Palestinian lands and establishing or expanding overwhelmingly Jewish colonies there. The push comes as more and more countries—nearly 150, according to Palestinian officials—officially recognize the state of Palestine and as Israeli forces continue an assault on Gaza that has been widely condemned as genocidal.

"We will establish sovereignty... first on the ground and then through legislation. I intend to legalize the young settlements," Smotrich said last month, referring to illegal outposts that are newer and smaller than established Jewish settler colonies.

"My life's mission is to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state," he added.

Under international law, all of the settlements are illegal. Most were built on land seized from Palestinians through terrorism and ethnic cleansing during the Nakba, or catastrophe, when more than 700,000 Arabs were expelled during the establishment and consolidation of modern Israel in the late 1940s, and during the conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights in 1967.

Smotrich and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "are determined to fight against the entire world and against the interests of the people of Israel for the benefit of a handful of settlers who receive thousands of dunams as if there were no political conflict to resolve or war to end," the Tel Aviv-based activist group Peace Now said in a statement Wednesday.

"Today, it is clear to everyone that this conflict cannot be resolved without a political settlement that establishes a Palestinian state alongside Israel," the group added. "Still, the Israeli government chooses to actually make it difficult and distance us from the possibility of peace and stopping the bloodshed."

That bloodshed includes a surge in settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since last October. More than 500 Palestinians—around a quarter of them children—have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers there over the past nine months, according to Palestinian and international agencies.

Protected and sometimes aided by Israeli troops, Israeli settlers have launched multiple deadly pogroms targeting Palestinian people and property in the occupied territories since last year.

These and other previous attacks prompted the Biden administration to impose sanctions on a handful of the most extremist Israeli settlers. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reverted to classifying Israeli settlements as inconsistent with international law, which was the State Department's position from 1978 until the Trump administration reversed it in 2019.

However, the U.S. remains Israel's staunchest international supporter, providing billions of dollars in military aid and diplomatic cover for Israeli policies and actions that, in addition to occupation and colonization, critics say amount to apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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A man carries a child injured in an Israeli attack at Nasser Hospital
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Israeli Use of Fragmentation Bombs Eviscerating Children's Bodies in Gaza, Say Doctors

Doctors who have had to perform "a constant flow of amputations" on injured children in Gaza said Thursday that the injuries they have witnessed were consistent with the use of "fragmentation bombs" loaded with shrapnel—which Israel has used in the past and which rights groups have said are designed to cause maximum casualties.

Volunteer doctors who have worked at European Hospital and al-Aqsa Hospital over the past three months told The Guardian that a majority of the patients they operated on were children who had wounds that were barely discernible—called "splinter injuries" by Dr. Feroze Sidhwa, a trauma surgeon from California—but caused catastrophic internal damage to the children's bodies.

"About half of the injuries I took care of were in young kids," said Sidhwa. "Children are more vulnerable to any penetrating injury because they have smaller bodies. Their vital parts are smaller and easier to disrupt. When children have lacerated blood vessels, their blood vessels are already so small it's very hard to put them back together. The artery that feeds the leg, the femoral artery, is only the thickness of a noodle in a small child. It's very, very small. So repairing it and keeping the kid's limb attached to them is very difficult."

The Guardian also spoke to explosives experts who reviewed pictures of the shrapnel found by medical staff and the doctors' descriptions of the tiny external wounds they treated on seriously injured children, and said the accounts were consistent with bombs the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fits with "fragmentation sleeves" around warheads.

Amnesty International first documented the IDF's use of fragmentation bombs in Gaza in 2009 and said the explosives "appear designed to cause maximum injury and, in some respects, seem to be a more sophisticated version of the ball-bearings or nails and bolts which armed groups often pack into crude rockets and suicide bombs."

One weapons expert told The Guardian that Israel has claimed the weapons are more precise than large bombs designed to damage and destroy buildings.

"But when they are fired into areas with high concentrations of civilians living in the open with nowhere to shelter, the military knows that most of the casualties will be those civilians," said the expert, who spoke anonymously because he works with the U.S. government, a vehement supporter of Israel's assault on Gaza and the largest international funder of the IDF.

The U.S. and Israel have repeatedly dismissed international outcry over civilian casualties in Gaza, where at least 38,345 people have been killed since October. The Biden administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have insisted that the IDF is targeting Hamas, even as top Israeli officials have also said the military is operating without "restraints" and soldiers have testified that women and children are seen as legitimate targets.

The Guardian story is the latest evidence that Israel has "launched a full-on war against a civilian population," said Canadian Member of Parliament Charlie Angus of the New Democratic Party.

Doctors said they found shrapnel made of three-millimeter-wide metal cubes while operating on children whose bones and organs had been seriously injured despite just scratches on their skin.

"X-rays showed demolished bones with a pinhole wound on one side, a pinhole on the other, and a bone that looks like a tractor trailer drove over it," Dr. Mark Perlmutter, an orthopedic surgeon from North Carolina, told The Guardian.

Last December, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated that in the first 10 weeks of Israel's bombardment of Gaza, about 1,000 children had lost at least one limb to amputation. The current number is unknown.

Doctors have reported that severe shortages of medicine and medical supplies have made it more likely that they will have to amputate injured arms and legs. Children are also more likely to struggle to recover from their operations without antibiotics and painkillers, and unsanitary conditions have made infections common.

Brian Finucane, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, said the doctors' accounts brought to mind the Biden administration's claim months ago that a cease-fire "would only benefit Hamas."

"Restraining Israel in October rather than enabling its operations in Gaza," said Finucane, "could have avoided a lot of dead and mangled children."

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