Rights & Justice
War & Peace
A wounded child is brought to UAE Hospital in Rafah after Israel bombed tents full of displaced Gazans, killing at least 45 and severely wounding hundreds

We Are the Dead

With "one supreme act" of dying unquestioning in the name of war, said James Garfield on 1868's first Memorial Day, the fallen showed "the highest virtues of men." It's unclear if he'd include in that noble fellowship the forsaken children and women of Gaza who burned to death in their tents in Rafah after a gruesome attack Israel later blithely deemed "a mishap." Goddamn. One more time to Bibi and his ilk, the "fungus that grows on the rot": "There is no glory in war."

Three years after the Civil War, on May 5, 1868, Maj. Gen. John Logan of the Union veterans' Grand Army of the Republic declared Decoration Day, calling on the nation to decorate the graves of those who "for love of country" had "accepted death" and "made immortal their patriotism and their virtue." Americans were urged to "observe (what became) Memorial Day by praying, according to their individual religious faith, for permanent peace." That sentiment has kinda fallen by the wayside to make way for flag-drunk parades, sales on grills, laptops, lawnmowers, and in the case of grifterswho just won't go away, a slobfather's rant against his "human scum" enemies and his clueless younger son's outlandish claim to celebrate, "The family that gave up everything to Save America" - a canard one patriot termed, "For fuck's sake, even for a Trump, shockingly awful." Far more vital is the dictate from Veterans For Peace to remember the victims of what our "sociopathic leaders told us were 'the enemy,'" (and) the few elite winners in "the racket of war (who) delight in telling their puppets in government to order up another one."

And so to Gaza. 35,647 Palestinians dead, 79,852 wounded, over 11,000 missing, at least 520 dead in the West Bank. Since Thursday, 275 more dead, 666 more wounded. Ongoing Israeli assaults in north and central Gaza, looming famine, "catastrophic" closed crossings with already meager food and medical deliveries suspended and aid trucks intercepted by hungry crowds intent on "self-distribution." Most hospitals closed; doctors at those open say, "Nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies what we have witnessed here." Talks stalled on ceasefire and hostage release, vengeful madmen in power, a war whose benefits are "manifestly unclear," the ICC ruling a genocidal Israel must halt its offensive in Rafah and open all border crossings. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on the government of "Mr. Delusional Total Victory": "It is not winning in the war on Hamas or Hezbollah, so it has declared a war on reality." "We are running out of words to describe what is happening in Gaza," says senior UN aid official Edem Wosornu. "We have described it as a catastrophe, a nightmare, a hell on earth. It is all of these."

Astoundingly, it got worse Sunday night when Israel, having rejected the ICC ruling on Rafah with a "gloating," indiscriminate series of airstrikes, bombed a crowded tent camp in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood, an Israel-designated "safe zone." The missiles started a fire among flammable tents that quickly spread into a massacre: Footage shows panicked women and children screaming and frantically trying to escape the flames amidst people trapped, cowering, burning in melting tents, charred bodies of children, some headless, on the ground, and exhausted civil defense teams rushing to rescue those burning and put out the flames. At least 45 people were killed; over 250 wounded, many critically with severe burns and severed limbs, were taken to the inundated Kuwaiti hospital, and the death toll is likely to rise. Survivors said they had finished night prayers "in peace" or gone to bed when the conflagration began. "There is no safe place here. No one is safe. Not even the dead who are buried underground are safe," said a bitter, distraught Abo Sebah. "Destruction, corpses, and killings. This is our life."

Israel’s attack on Rafah tent camp widely condemnedwww.aljazeera.com

The world, evidently impotent before Israel's barbarism, raged. Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway, France, Spain, Canada, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the E.U., U.K., UAE and many in Israel were "horrified" and "outraged" by the "heinous massacre"; having funded the atrocities, the U.S. showed its usual moral fearlessness. "Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians," said a White House spokesperson. "We are actively engaging the IDF and partners on the ground to assess what happened." Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the U.K.'s Labor Party, called the bombing "a monstrous failure of humanity." Aida Touma-Sliman, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, excoriated "this bloody government," which " is taking the madness and vindictiveness to a new criminal level." Israeli journalist Chaim Levinson cited an "it's-not done basic norm" in a well-ordered country: "This concept no longer exists, neither in Israel nor in the United States, because the Bibi-ist camp has no basic norms. Netanyahu needs a rotten state because he is the fungus that grows on the rot."

Humza Yousaf, the former first minister of Scotland, noted the footage of the victims - hungry, innocent, dispossessed babies, children, women, the elderly, living in tents, screaming, dismembered, burnt alive - to furiously pose the question of the times: "Bear witness to the images and ask yourself, 'Are you on the right side of history?'" "We will do everything possible to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable who have nothing to do with humanity," said Lebanese journalist Dalal Mawad, still haunted by seeing, in 1996 in a UN displaced camp during the Qana massacre by Israel, a decapitated newborn baby. "Last night, the same crime was committed again. Impunity means history will always repeat itself." Others cited other haunting sights from these brutal months in Gaza: too many lifeless babies, wrapped in blood-soaked white sheets, carried by weeping parents; the skeletal horror of wide-eyed children being starved to death; the searing video of Razan Muneer Arafat, 11, who lost her entire family in an Israeli air strike along with one of her legs, sobbing and shrieking, "I want my leg!"

Palestinian girl mourns loss of leg in Israeli attackwww.youtube.com

In response to the uproar, Israel has done what Israel does when charged with its countless crimes against humanity: Deny, deflect, defend, lie. In quick succession, they issued a stream of bullshit. First, they conducted the attack "in accordance with international law, using precise munitions, and based on prior intelligence indicating that two senior Hamas operatives were present," despite residents repeatedly saying they've never seen Hamas in that area. Then, apparently, "The strike ignited a blaze in a tent camp for displaced persons." Then, they "became aware of reports indicating that as a result several civilians in the area were harmed." Then, assured the IDF, "prior to the strike, many steps were taken to reduce the chances of harm to uninvolved people, including a visual aerial inspection...on the basis of which it was estimated that harm to uninvolved civilians was not expected." Then, "despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, there was a tragic mistake," though at first Bibi called it "a mishap." "We are investigating the incident," he told the world, "because this is our policy."

In his second Inaugural speech in 1865, near the end of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln sought to heal a broken nation by urging fellow-citizens to move forward "with malice toward none." On a Memorial Day during World War One, an editorial in The Nation cited his call to ask, "Shall we learn no wisdom from this day?" Facing another war, "with its maimed bodies and shattered minds," it noted the vain "dreams of brotherhood and peace, dreams of the America that never yet has been." And so it goes. The war meant to end all wars has, of course, begotten many more, each with its folly, its dead, its wounded "with invisible, lifelong devils (in) their heads." Jeanette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, voting against war in 1917: "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." "We are the Dead," wrote John McCrae, a soldier and doctor serving in Belgium. "Short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/Loved and were loved, and now we lie/In Flanders fields." Nearly 370 Americans are buried there. Over 15,000 children are dead - though many have yet to be buried - in Gaza. A hell on earth. Lest we forget, man-made, by Israel and America.

A young person from Tuvalu

Global Tribunal Issues 'Historic' Ruling for Oceans and Small Island Nations

An international tribunal on Tuesday delivered a decision that green groups and leaders of small island nations celebrated as a "groundbreaking victory for ocean and climate protection."

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) announced in an advisory opinion that greenhouse gas emissions are marine pollution under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and parties to the treaty "have the specific obligation to adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce, and control" them.

The advisory came in response to a December 2022 submission by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS), which includes Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Niue, Palau, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

"The tribunal's opinion is an historic legal victory for small island nations, demonstrating their global leadership on this crucial issue for the future of humankind," said Payam Akhavan, a COSIS legal representative to ITLOS. "It is a manifest injustice that they make negligible contributions to the problem, but suffer the worst effects of rising sea levels and extreme weather events that have brought some to the brink of extinction."

"As the guardian of the ocean treaty, ITLOS has taken the critical first step in recognizing that what small island nations have been fighting for at the COP negotiations for decades is already part of international law," he continued, referring to United Nations climate summits. "The major polluters must prevent catastrophic harm to small island nations, and if they fail to do so, they must compensate for the loss and damages."

"To those that would hide behind the weaknesses of international climate treaties, this opinion makes clear that compliance with the Paris agreement alone is not enough."

COSIS was initiated at COP26 by Tuvalu along with Antigua and Barbuda, whose prime minister, Gaston Browne, welcomed the ITLOS decision, stressing that "small island states are fighting for their survival" and "some will become inhabitable soon because of the failure to mitigate greenhouse emissions."

Eselealofa Apinelu, Tuvalu's high commissioner to Fiji, pointed out that the advisory opinion "spells out the legally binding obligations of all states to protect the marine environment; to protect against the existential threats posed by climate change."

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) Climate & Energy Program director Nikki Reisch noted Tuesday that "to those that would hide behind the weaknesses of international climate treaties, this opinion makes clear that compliance with the Paris agreement alone is not enough."

"Pledges and promises at annual climate conferences do not satisfy states' legal duties to take all necessary measures to prevent, reduce, and control the greenhouse gas emissions polluting the marine environment, in line with climate science and the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C," Reisch continued.

"We know that doing so requires rapidly phasing out all fossil fuels. States that fail to comply face legal responsibility," she added. "Protecting the global commons of the oceans and atmosphere is a matter of life and death—not just for entire marine ecosystems and the coastal and island communities most directly dependent on them and at greatest risk from climate change, but for all of humanity and the planet as a whole."

CIEL and Greenpeace International last year had formally urged ITLOS to reach the conclusion that the tribunal ultimately did.

Louise Fournier, legal counsel for climate justice and liability at Greenpeace, also cheered the outcome, saying Tuesday that "the ITLOS advisory opinion marks a significant step forward in international environmental law and the protection of our oceans."

"It sets a clear legal precedent for addressing climate change through existing international frameworks and reinforces states' responsibilities to act on climate change," Fournier said. "Oceans are the world's largest carbon sink. Our oceans provide us with food, livelihoods, culture, and half of the oxygen in the atmosphere; they are vital in the fight against the climate crisis, and in maintaining all life on the planet. ITLOS confirmed it unanimously: Climate change is an existential threat to human rights."

As Reutersreported:

But the road to concerted global action is far from smooth.

China, the world's biggest carbon polluter, had argued in court that the tribunal did not have general authority to issue advisory opinions, saying these could fragment international law. China's foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Additional forthcoming legal opinions could further complicate matters, as the international community prepares for COP29.

"This is the first of three advisory opinions international tribunals have been asked to provide to clarify what legal obligations states have to combat climate change," Euronewsexplained. "Opinions are also expected from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice."

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."

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)  on House floor

'Guess I Hit a Nerve': McGovern Rebukes 'Pathetic' GOP for Striking Remarks About Trump

Congressman Jim McGovern had a few additional disparaging words Thursday for his GOP colleagues, a day after factual remarks about former president Donald Trump he made on the House floor were formally stricken from the record by Republicans who control the gavel.

"I guess I hit a nerve," McGovern said in an early morning post on X.

"In their creepy cult-like devotion to Trump," added the Massachusetts Democrat, "House Republicans won't allow anybody to say anything they deem as negative about him on the floor. So much for freedom of speech. Like I said yesterday—pathetic!"

Explaining the situation in a social media thread on Wednesday evening, McGovern detailed how earlier in the day Republicans in the House "moved to 'take down my words,' a procedural term meaning they think I violated the rules and that my words should be stricken from the record. Why? Because I stated facts about Trump's trials."

Watch the clip showing McGovern's remarks and the reaction it received:

Posting a complete transcript of his remarks, McGovern said: "Read them yourself. Whether you love Trump or hate him, I was simply stating facts about his legal problems. I didn't say he was guilty or innocent. I didn't disparage him. I was stating facts."

And here's what he said:

We have a presumptive nominee for president facing 88 felony counts, and we're being prevented from even acknowledging it. These are not alternative facts. These are real facts.

A candidate for president of the United States is on trial for sending ahush money payment to a porn star to avoid a sex scandal during his 2016 campaign, and then fraudulently disguising those payments in violation of the law. He's also charged with conspiring to overturn the election. He's also charged with stealing classified information, and a jury has already found him liable for rape in a civil court.

And yet, in this Republican-controlled House, it's okay to talk about the trial, but you have to call it a "sham." It's okay to say that the jury is rigged, but not that Trump should be held accountable. It's okay to say the court is corrupt, but not that Trump is corrupting the rule of law.

As the Washington Postreported, the House "was brought to a halt for over an hour" after Republicans objected to McGovern's remarks, including one lawmaker, Republican Congresswoman Erin Houchin of Indiana, who declared, "Mr. Speaker, I demand that his words be taken down."

At the time of the procedural altercation, it was Rep. Jerry L. Carl (R-Ala.) presiding over the House floor and holding the Speaker's gavel who first admonished McGovern as he told members they must refrain from attacks directed toward "presumed nominees for the office of the president," in this case Trump.

After an hour of deliberation with the clerk and members of the GOP-controlled Rules committee, Carl went back to the lectern to announce that McGovern's words, in his judgement, were a violation of an archaic House rule that originally was conceived to prevent, as the Post reports, "House members from criticizing the king."

Carl argued it was "a breach of order to refer to a candidate in terms... personally offensive." While Trump is not technically the Republican nominee for president at this point, and won't be until the RNC convention this summer, Carl argued the rule also applies "once there's no reasonable dispute that the candidate will receive the nomination."

Following this announcement, McGovern's remarks were ordered stricken and he was barred from speaking on the House floor for the remainder of the day.

"Apparently, Republicans are allowed to say [on the House floor] that Trump's trial is a sham, and the judge is corrupt and the jury is rigged," McGovern said in his Wednesday evening post. "But it's against the rules for me to even acknowledge that the trials exist."

"But look," he added, "I get it."

"Republicans don't want Americans to know the truth about the man they support. I will keep speaking the truth," said McGovern. "They can try to shut me up, but they will fail. They don't want Americans to know the truth about the man they support. We need to make sure everyone hears it."

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.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) seal is displayed on a smartphone

ICJ Orders Israel to 'Immediately Halt Its Military Offensive' in Rafah

Emphasizing that Israel had not convinced the International Court of Justice that sufficient efforts have been made to protect civilian life from harm, the ICJ on Friday ordered the Israel Defense Forces to end its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah at once and to open the southern border crossing from Egypt to humanitarian aid.

"Israel must immediately halt its military offensive or any other action in the Rafah governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," said Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the court, which is the United Nations' top judicial panel.

He added that the court was "not convinced that the evacuation efforts and the related measures that Israel affirms to have undertaken to enhance the security of civilians in the Gaza Strip and in particular those recently displaced from Rafah governorate [are] sufficient to alleviate the immense risk, which the Palestinian population is exposed to as a result of the military offensive in Rafah."

Salam said that in examining South Africa's case focusing on the Rafah offensive, which has forced more than 800,000 people to flee Rafah following the displacement of more than 1 million people to the city since October, the court had found the humanitarian situation in Rafah is now "disastrous" and has "deteriorated further" since the ICJ issued its last order to Israel in March.

That order demanded that Israel allow desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza, as dozens of deaths from starvation were reported, including among children.

But on May 6, Israel seized control of the Rafah crossing, leaving local hospitals with a rapidly depleting supply of medical equipment and fuel and intensifying the starvation crisis in the city and across Gaza.

The court ordered Israel to "open the Rafah crossing for unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance."

It also said Israel must "ensure the unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip of any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission, or investigative body mandated by the competent organs of the U.N. to investigate allegations of genocide."

The ICJ's rulings are legally binding but Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who in April called for the "total annihilation" of Rafah and other Gaza cities, said Friday that the government "will not agree" to stopping its military assault.

Al Jazeera reported that Israel is not planning to "respond to the decision of the court, both politically or militarily."

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), said countries—including the U.S.—that have continued to fund the Israel Defense Forces as the civilian death toll in Gaza has skyrocketed must halt their support in light of the ruling.

"The court's clear and unequivocal ruling ordering a halt to Israel's military offensive in Rafah leaves no ambiguity about what should follow: an arms embargo on Israel," said Whitson. "Continued U.S. arms transfers to Israel would constitute deliberate defiance of the court's orders and make our government complicit in genocide."

While Israel "will not hold itself accountable and will not voluntarily end its crimes," said DAWN advocacy director Raed Jarrar, the ruling confirmed that "international action is needed."

"The international community has an obligation to use pressure and sanctions to force Israel to end its atrocities, just as it used pressure and sanctions to force South Africa to end apartheid," said Jarrar.