Roaming Charges: The Road to Huwara

Israeli settlers setting fires in the Palestinian village of Huwara on the West Bank.

If they could they would murder us all. But they want to uproot us. I say our answer is to strike at them and reaeepen our roots. We have made a series of decisions recently that in the face of international reality is not a simple one: to deepen our roots, to deepen our settlements and to expand our homeland. This is the battle in which we find ourselves.

– Benjamin Netanyahu, four days after Israeli settlers invaded and torched the West Bank village of Huwara.

They came at dusk, wearing masks. They carried automatic rifles, pistols, knives and clubs. They swung chains. They hauled cans of petrol. They descended out of the Samarian hills bent on revenge, 400 riotous Israeli settlers. They came with the intent of making the villagers of Huwara pay for the deaths of two Israeli settlers, killed that morning on the road to the settlement of Har Bracha, a settlement built on lands seized from Palestinians in 1983. They came shouting slurs and “Death to the Arabs.” They came to make Huwara burn.

The IDF knew they were coming. Shin Bet knew they were coming. Benjamin Netanyahu knew they were coming. None of them moved to stop the raid that was destined to happen, the mayhem and destruction members of Netanyahu’s own coalition government had called for. Hours before the raid, settler Davidi Ben-Zion demanded  “erasing Huwara today” and for showing “no mercy” to its villagers.

Not only did the IDF do nothing to prevent the rampage, but at least a dozen soldiers joined the mob as it gathered in the evening light and stayed with them deep into the violent night, through the shootings and beatings and arsons and looting. Rather than protecting them from the raiders, villagers say the IDF soldiers “fired tear gas at residents who were trying to defend themselves.” Nearly 100 Palestinians were treated for inhaling the toxic fumes that shrouded their community that harrowing night.

Dozens of Palestinian homes and shops were torched. Hundreds of trucks and cars and wagons and bicycles were smashed and lit ablaze. Fields were pillaged, olive trees chopped down, livestock killed.

Nearly 400 Palestinians were injured. Miraculously, only one has died–37-year-old Sameh Aqtash, who had just returned home from helping earthquake victims in Turkey, only to be gutshot by a marauding settler. After ransacking Huwara, the settler mob attacked other nearby villages, Zaatara and Burin, shooting two more Palestinians and beating another with an iron bar.

There have been no apologies. Netanyahu has coyly said only that the settlers should not take revenge into their own hands, implying that the IDF would exact it for them. One of his top ministers and advisors, Bezalel Smotrich, was more explicit, saying: “I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the State of Israel should do it.”

The raiding settlers themselves showed no contrition, only regrets that more Palestinians hadn’t died, more buildings hadn’t been reduced to ashes. One described the raid as a “very moving experience.” When told of Aqtash’s death, Daniella Weiss, a long-time settler militant, said coldly: “If he was killed, he was killed.”

Only eight of the rioters were arrested. All have been released. This is the logic of apartheid. The settlers act with impunity, while Palestinians–even children–are seized without charges and held for extended periods without trial. There are now 144 Israeli settlements and another 100 Israeli “outposts” in the West Bank, all of which have been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.

These illegal settlements are now populated more than a half-million Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land in the West Bank and another 250,000 in East Jerusalem. In the past, Israel has periodically made performative gestures to restrain the expansion of the settlements, but those pretenses have been dropped under the new rightwing government, whose leaders, such as Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, want to “flood the zone” with a rapid expansion of settlements to drive Palestinians farther and farther away from the Israeli border. This is all part of the new Netanyahu government’s plan to deal with Israel’s “demographic crisis”: first, strip Palestinians of rights inside Israel itself, then dispossess them from their lands in the West Bank.

This malicious strategy also encourages the militant settlers–and their paramilitary gangs–to start doing much of the dirty work once done by the IDF, like home demolitions, so that Israel’s official security forces won’t be caught on camera running over people with bulldozers, as they did Rachel Corrie. Now they’ll just be glimpsed on the periphery of rampaging settlers, spraying tear gas as Palestinian villagers flee their burning homes.

Some Israelis are beginning to see their government in the mirror for the first time, as the illusion that it is–or ever has been–a democracy dissolves before their eyes. Even one conservative Israeli political commentator, Nahum Barnea writing in Yedioth Ahronot, denounced the raid as “Kristallnacht in Huwara,” a reference to the 1938 pogrom against the Jews in Germany orchestrated by the Nazi Party at the Hitler government’s behest.

Some Israeli liberals say they’ve never seen anything like this. But such statements reveal a kind of herd immunity to their own history.

The road to Huwara began in 1982 at Sabra and Shatila, where IDF forces under the command of Ariel Sharon supervised the slaughter of  as many as3,500 Palestinians in two refugee camps, the killing largely committed by Lebanese Phalangist paramilitaries in revenge for the assassination of Lebanese Bechir Gemayal two days earlier. What the government can’t–or won’t–do on its own, it finds others to do for it.

But only a few days before the rampage at Huwara, the IDF itself was spilling blood just a few miles away in the West Bank town of Nablus. Under the cover of grenades, tear gas and automatic weapons fire, the IDF raided a suspected safe house, looking for three suspected members of the Lion’s Den Palestinian militant group. The raid turned into a slaughter of civilians. At least 11 Palestinians were killed including a 72-year-old man carrying bags of bread from the market, a 66-year-old man who died from breathing tear gas, a 62-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, both of whom were shot. More than 500 Palestinian civilians were injured, 80 of them with bullet wounds. The Nablus massacre, the deadliest raid in the West Bank since 2005, came only a few weeks after a similar raid in Jenin killed 10 Palestinians. Already this year, 65 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF, 13 of them children.

The US government never hesitates to tell other countries what to do–except the ones, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, it arms and subsidizes the most lavishly. With them, suddenly, it’s impotent. Any other nation that engaged in the atrocities we’ve seen in Israel these recent weeks would immediately be placed under sanctions by the State Department. But the US can’t even turn off the spigot of aid, never mind impose any penalties that might change the Israeli government’s outlandish behavior. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the US supports the rampages in the West Bank and the steady confiscation of Palestinian land into the terrorizing hands of Israeli settlers.


+ Speaking of the “rules-based order”: two brothers were “held” for 20 years in Guantanamo without charges, before being deported to Pakistan last week…

+ We reached the one-year anniversary of the war which everyone got wrong. Both Putin and Biden marked the occasion with belligerent speeches, neither recognizing the death, damage and misery they share responsibility for inflicting on the people of Ukraine.

+ Here are a few excerpts from Putin’s speech marking the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s almost equal parts rational and bonkers, as you might expect from a war Putin thought would be a cakewalk but which has already resulted in 100,000 Russian casualties with no end in sight…

I am making this address at a time which we all know is a difficult, watershed moment for our country, a time of cardinal, irreversible changes around the world, the most important historic events that will shape the future of our country and our people, when each of us bears a colossal responsibility.


The responsibility is on the West and the Ukrainian elite and government, which does not serve the national interest, but [rather serves the interest] of third countries [which] use Ukraine as a military base to fight Russia.

They  just tried to use these principles of democracy and freedom to defend their totalitarian values and they tried to distract people’s attention from corruption scandals … from economic-social problems.

The more they send weapons to Ukraine, the more we will have the responsibility of the security situation at the Russian border. This is a natural response.”


“We have already begun and will continue to build up a large-scale programme for the socioeconomic recovery and development of these new subjects of the federation (territory annexed from Ukraine). We are talking about reviving enterprises and jobs in the ports of the Sea of Azov, which has again become an inland sea of Russia, and building new modern roads, as we did in Crimea.


We all understand, I understand how unbearably hard it is now for the wives, sons, daughters of fallen soldiers, their parents, who raised worthy defenders of the Fatherland.


We don’t fight with the Ukrainian people. They became hostages of the Kyiv regime that occupied Ukraine both economically and politically. Over years, they were doing everything to bring this degradation … They are using their people, it’s sad but true.

Step by step, carefully and consistently, we will resolve the tasks facing us. Since 2014, the (people of the) Donbas had been fighting, defending their right to live on their own land, to speak their native language.

They fought and did not give up in the conditions of blockade and constant shelling, undisguised hatred on the part of the Kyiv regime. They believed and expected that Russia would come to their rescue.

Meanwhile, we did our best to solve this problem by peaceful means. We patiently tried to negotiate a peaceful way out of this most difficult conflict, but a completely different scenario was being prepared behind our backs.


They [the West] distort historical facts and constantly attack our culture, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional religions of our country..

As it became known, the Anglican Church plans to consider the idea of a gender-neutral God … Millions of people in the West understand they are being led to a real spiritual catastrophe.

Look at what they do to their own people: the destruction of families, of cultural and national identities and the perversion that is child abuse all the way up to paedophilia, are advertised as the norm … and priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages.

+ Here’s Biden, one of the war’s chief financiers and weapons-suppliers, speaking the same day in Kiev, showing no sign of looking for an exit strategy or negotiated end to a slaughter that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands, reduced major cities to rubble, and sent 8 million people fleeing from their homes…

It’s astounding who stood up.  Everybody.  Everybody — women, young children — trying to do something.  Just trying to do something.  Pulling people out of apartments that are being shelled and — literally what I think is a war crimes.


This is the largest land war in Europe in three quarters of a century, and you’re succeeding against all and every expectation, except your own.  We have every confidence that you’re going to continue to prevail.


You know, from the moment I first received the intelligence report in the fall, about a year ago, we were focused on determining: How do we rally the rest of the world?  How do I help you with the promise you asked me to make to rally the world?

Well, how do you succeed?  How do you ever get a world to respond to a prosperous economy, a confident democracy, a secure and independent state? When united, Americans of all political backgrounds decided that they would step up.  The American people know it matters.  Unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us.


We united the leading economies of the world to impose unprecedented cost that are squeezing Russia’s economic lifelines.


Together, we’ve committed nearly 700 tanks and thousands of armored vehicles, 1,000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced launch rocket systems, anti-ship and air defense systems, all defend U- — to defend Ukraine.  And that doesn’t count the other half a billion dollars we’re going to be — we’re announcing with you today and tomorrow that’s going to be coming your way.  And that’s just the United States, in this piece.


But Russia’s aim was to wipe Ukraine off the map.  Putin’s war of conquest is failing.  Russia’s military has lost half its territory it once occupied.  Young, talented Russians are fleeing by the tens of thousands, not wanting to come back to Russia.  Not fl- — not just fleeing from the military, fleeing from Russia itself, because they see no future in their country.  Russia’s economy is now a backwater, isolated and struggling.


He [Putin] thought he could outlast us.  I don’t think he’s thinking that right now.  God knows what he’s thinking, but I don’t think he’s thinking that.  But he’s just been plain wrong.  Plain wrong.

+ Evgenia Kovda on Luzhniki Stadium, site of Putin’s Ukraine War speech: “It’s weird to see Putin at the Luzhniki pro war rally again. I grew up right next to the stadium and in my childhood it was basically just a market place with cheap Chinese goods and at night I was told it was ‘tochka’ — a spot with prostitutes. Oh and of course it was the spot for football games — the fans, the loud drunk boys, would overrun my neighborhood and pee all over our courtyard. Well, those days are over. Now they have more important things to do than fight each other — die in the war.”

+ The fighting around the town of Bakhmut is getting more and more gruesome. A Ukrainian soldier told the Guardian: “If you don’t burrow in you die pretty quickly. You start with a small hole. Then you make another one next to it. You keep going…It’s a meat grinder [for the Russians, too]. Bodies are left where they fall. Their own people get injured and cry out. Nobody helps them.”

+ The Russian and Ukrainian losses are staggering. One recent report estimates: “More Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine than in all Russian wars combined since World War II, including Chechnya and Afghanistan…The average rate of Russian soldiers killed per month is at least 25 times more than Chechnya and 35 times more than Afghanistan.” The Ukrainian losses are even higher.

+ Putin’s war to stymie NATO expansion has done the opposite. Hungary has started the process to ratify both Finland and Sweden’s request to join NATO. Meanwhile, Finland has begun constructing a fence along its once open border with Russia.

+ At least the General, who given his taste in cinema may well have had a poster of our late friend Margot Kidder as Lois Lane on his dorm room wall at the military academy, admits that the nuclear activation of the “the ring of fire” will also ignite the volcanoes of Kamchatka, which I believe is where Vladimir Putin likes vacation for his shirtless horseback rides. I doubt our own Doomsday strategists would be so forthright.

+ After a five-year long inquiry, the US intelligence community (so-called) has finally concluded that a foreign government or “adversary” wasn’t responsible for the headaches and nervous disorders experienced by staffers at US embassies. The real Havana Syndrome–the one deserving of its own entry in the DSM–was the persistent irrational belief that these symptoms were caused by Cuban energy weapons.


+ The first comprehensive data on the NYPD’s use of vehicle stops shows that police pulled over hundreds of thousands of drivers in 2022. About 90% of those who were searched or arrested in those stops were Black or Latino.

+ South Carolina is so eager to revive the death penalty that the state Senate passed a law shielding the identity of drug companies providing lethal injection drugs for state executions.

+  A Tennessee Republican named Paul Sherrell wants to bring back “hanging by a tree” as an execution method. Between 1882 and 1968, at least 251 people were lynched in Tennessee–47 of whom were white and 254 black. Sherrell is surely aware of this savage history and longs to re-enact it.

+ Last September police in Weld County, Colorado pulled over Yareni Rios for a suspected road rage incident. They stopped her car near a set of railroad tracks. One of the patrol cars parked behind Rios, straddling the tracks. Rios was cuffed and placed in the back of the police cruiser. While the cops went to search her car, a freight train plowed into the cop car, inflicting serious injuries on Rios. This week Colorado prosecutors dismissed felony assault charges against Officer Jordan Steinke, the cop who locked Rios in the car even though the railroad crossing was clearly visible.

+ For the last 20 years, Antonio Loredo Morales has been locked in a California state prison for the murder of a Norteños gang member, Jesus Alderete, even though no one alleged Morales did the killing. Last week, a judge in Yolo County vacated Morales’ conviction and ordered him set free.

The case dates back to 2003, when Morales was walk back to his home in Woodland, when he heard a fight taking place in a nearby alley. One of the combatants was Morales’ friend, Juan Carlos Montoya, a member of the rival  Sureños gang. When Morales intervened to stop the fight, Montoya still enraged, stabbed Alderete in the back seven times, killing him.

The cops quickly arrested both Alderete and Morales. Morales was charged with murder under California’s old Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine. The prosecutors argued that Alderete’s death was the predictable outcome of Morales intervening in the fight. Morales appealed his conviction twice and lost.

Then in 2018, the California legislature abolished the Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine. Morales appealed again and this time Judge Samuel McAdam ruled that he found no evidence that Morales’ intervention in the fight was motivated by malice toward Alderete or that he showed a “conscious disregard” for his life. The conviction was overturned and McAdam ordered Morales released from prison by March 1st.

+ The Ohio white supremacist who is serving a life sentence in prison for ramming his car into a crowd at the 2017 “Unite the Right” tragedy Charlottesville, Virginia, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more, is now accused of a series of crimes and acts of misconduct at the federal prison in Springfield, Missouri. Among other acts, James Alex Fields was cited for possessing a dangerous “homemade” weapon.

+ A year ago a court ordered Los Angeles county to stop chaining mentally ill people to benches for hours. But in a new filing the ACLU alleges that the jail has been skirting that by tethering people to gurneys instead.

+ Last week, during an LAPD car chase the two suspects crashed into Yolanda Reyna, who remains in a coma. There have been two other fatal collisions during LAPD pursuits in the past couple of weeks. Back in 2015 an LA Times analysis showed that the LAPD hurt innocent bystanders in 1-out-10 car chases, more than twice as often as other California cities.

+ SCOTUS let stand an appeals court decision granting qualified immunity to officials who arrested and prosecuted a man for parodying police on Facebook.

+ Over to you, Philip K. Dick: Dayton, Ohio approved the police department’s proposed use of something called a Fusus Tech Real-Time Crime Center. The police will “reach out” to people who own security cameras & ask them to “opt”-in to the platform, then their cameras will have Fusus tech added to them…

+ In Texas, high school kids are being arrested on felony charges for vaping with legal hemp. Police often can’t tell if it’s marijuana or legal hemp, like the Delta-8 products.

+ In Colorado, lawmakers want to make all auto theft a felony, regardless of the monetary value of the car. The bill was introduced by a Democrat.

+ In Britain, Black people are seven times more likely than whites to die after police “restraint.”


+ A study published in the Annals of Surgery breaks down the nearly 5,000 childhood injuries and deaths a year in the US from firearms. The findings reveal that non-fatal injuries are twice as common as fatal injuries; that assault accounts for the majority of injuries and deaths (67%), unintentional 15%, and self-harm 14%. Black youth suffer disproportionally higher injuries overall (49.43 per million vs. White, non-Hispanic 15.76 per million), but self-harm is highest among White youth. Children younger than 12 years old are most affected by nonfatal unintentional injuries, 12-14 years old by suicide, and 15-17 years old by assault. Nonfatal unintentional and assault injuries, homicides and suicides have all increased significantly in the last two decades.

+ Before the US began a vaccination drive for chickenpox, around 12,000 people (4.4 per 100,000) were hospitalized each year from the disease. In recent years, that figure has been around 1400 (0.4 per 100,000), a decline of 90%.

+ The latest Global Burden of Disease report estimates that Covid led to a 28% increase in major depressive disorders and a 26% increase in anxiety disorders.

+ A new bill introduced into the Idaho legislature would criminalize administering Covid-19 mRNA vaccines. How did some of the world’s most insane people come to live in one of the world’s most beautiful places?

+ During an appearance on Newsmax last weekend, House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer threatened DirecTV to bring back the pro-Trump channel to its lineup … “or else!

+ Speaking of the GOP’s commitment to free speech, reports came out this week that Trump’s staff, on the boss’s orders, threatened executives at the Disney Corporation over Jimmy Kimmel, claiming he’d been too mean about the president on his late night shows in 2018.

+ The National Labor Relations Board ruled last week that employers can no longer demand laid-off employees refrain from publicly disparaging the company as part of their severance agreements.

+ From Rupert Murdoch’s deposition in the Dominion v. Fox case: “During Trump’s campaign, Rupert provided Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, with Fox confidential information about Biden’s ads, along with debate strategy.”

+ In a Jan. 12 email, Rupert tells Paul Ryan the insurrection was a “Wake-up call for Hannity, who has been privately disgusted by Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers.”

+ In 2020, Murdoch wrote to FoxNews chief Suzanne Scott urging her to have Sean Hannity say something nice about Lindsey Graham because “We cannot lose the Senate if at all possible.”

+ The head of Fox’s “Brand Protection Unit”(yes, that’s a real thing) was Raj Shah, a former Trump White House aide. Shah warned another Fox executive that the network would “get hit very hard by the right” if it called the presidency for Biden on Nov. 5.

+ “When asked why Fox continues to give a platform to Mike (“My Pillow”) Lindell—who continues to this day to spout lies about Dominion— Murdoch agreed that “It is not red or blue, it is green.” Green, as in money.

+ You can take the boy out of apartheid, but that doesn’t mean you can take the apartheid out of the boy.

+ First you separate the migrant children from their parents. Then you put them to work in the slaughterhouse late at night. When they get sick or injured, you deport them…

+ How long before the US begins rounding up Chinese-American citizens, the way it did Japanese-Americans during World War II? Not long, give the rancid tenor coming from Republicans in the House. Even members of Congress won’t be safe. Last week, Texas Rep. Lance Gooden questioned whether “someone like Judy Chu” should have a security clearance. Chu is a California Democrat who has served in Congress since 2009. But Gooden claims Chu “should be looked into” for “standing up for China’s Communist Party.”

+ Don’t tell Franz Fanon: A study published in the Journal of Political Science analyzing the responses from over ninety countries yield the surprising finding that today’s citizens are more favorable toward their country’s former colonizer than they are toward other countries, by a factor of by 40 per cent of a standard deviation.

+ Steve Toth, a Republican lawmaker in Texas, has introduced a bill called the “Women’s Health and Safety Act” to force internet providers to block abortion pill websites, including Aid Access and Plan C.

+ Meanwhile, a panel of 2nd Circuit judges—all Trump nominees—ruled that employers who oppose abortion have a First Amendment right to discriminate against workers who end their pregnancies.

+ in 2022, 315 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures across the U.S.  The number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced so far in the first two months of 2023 already exceeds that total and exceeds all anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 2012, 2013, and 2014 combined.

+ The state of Tennessee wants to make drag shows a felony. But back in 2009, the Hawkins County, Tennessee GOP had its “largest fundraiser ever” at a drag show. The event attracted Rep. Zach Wamp, Rep. Phil Roe and future Governor Bill Haslam.

+ Historically also considered “not a legitimate category of being” by those who wanted to wipe them out: Native Americans, Circassians, Irish, blacks, Jews, Romani, Armenians, Tutsis, Hutus, homosexuals, Communists, the Rohingya…

+ It’s debatable how much Germany has actually learned from the Holocaust, but that hasn’t stopped the right from jumping all over Bryan Cranston for suggesting that the US should confront its own bloodstained history…

+ The histories may not be the same, but there are certainly a lot of rhymes…

Original Native American population reduced by: 80%
Africans shipped as slaves to the US: 350,000
Black people born in the US who were held as slaves: 9.3 million
Japanese-Americans put in concentration camps during WW II: 110,000
People sterilized under US eugenics laws the Nazis later cited as a model: 64,000

+ Despite the cultural right’s alleged devotion to the Western Canon, I have the feeling that the pre-Socratics aren’t long for the library shelves of Florida, Texas and Tennessee. Empedocles: “For I have been ere now a boy and a girl, a bush and a bird and dumb fish in the sea.”

+ Ron (“God Sent Me to Take the Arrows“) DeSantis isn’t the only American politician with a messianic complex. This week NYC Mayor Eric Adams was introduced at the New York Public Library by his longtime advisor Ingrid-Lewis Martin this way: “It’s often said that one has to separate church and state. We have an administration that doesn’t believe in that…[Our mayor] is definitely one of the chosen.” Lest you think Martin was jesting, the Mayor followed up by saying: “When I wake up, it scares me that I’m not scared. There’s no way the Creator has taken me this far to leave me…When we took prayer out of schools, guns came into schools….I strongly believe in all my heart, God said: I’m going to take the most broken person and I’m going to elevate him to … being the mayor of the most powerful city on the globe.”

+ Look out, she’s single again!

+ If you want to explain contemporary America to the next deTocqueville, you might start with the story of the Georgia woman who was so enraged that she didn’t get biscuits with her drive-thru order, she returned to Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and drove her SUV through the entrance and into the lobby.

+ During the pandemic (2020-2023) rents rose in 58% of all counties nationwide.

+ In a study of three pain centers in Germany, 65% percent of chronic pain patients reported ceasing opioid use after starting medical cannabis treatments.

+ 5.7: percent of all doctors in the US who are black.


+ Eduardo Mendúa of the Cofán tribe in the Amazonian region of Ecuador, who had been leading the fight against new oil drilling on his tribe’s ancestral lands, was murdered by masked gunmen this week in his village.

+ In Vermont, a train derailed this week on its way to pick up nuclear waste. It was empty…this time.

+ A new study by two employees of the California Department of Water Resources revealed that 91 percent of California’s water rights holders are white. The study also disclosed that 86 percent of the officials who allocated California’s water are white and 79 percent of them are men.

+ The average American emits more CO₂ in one week than an average person in low-income countries does in one year and the top 1% emit over 1,000 times more CO2 than bottom 1%.

+ Only 10 years ago solar power generated less than one percent of the world’s energy supply. Within four years, it will surpass coal as the largest share of any power source.

+ Even so, China continues to build more coal plants. The coal power capacity starting construction in China is 6 times as greater than the rest of the world combined.

+ One reason for China returning to coal is that hydro-power continues to decline due to the dropping water levels behind Three Gorges Dam due to persistent drought. Officials in Yunnan province have once again asked aluminum producers to further cut power usage.

+ England just endured its driest February in 30 years.

+ From 1955 to 2022, the warming oceans absorbed about the same amount of energy as would be released from 11,500,000 (11.5 million) Turkey earthquakes.

+ Last year global sales of SUVs hit an all-time high, increasing their annual CO2 emissions to nearly 1 billion tonnes. The surging number of SUVs in 2022 were responsible for a third of the increase in global oil demand.

+ The air pollution in London is so bad breathing it is like smoking 154 cigarettes a year.

+ The conifers of the Pacific Northwest are so stressed by drought that they’re dying in record numbers. Even common insects and parasites Oregon & Washington’s most common conifer species are all dying in alarming numbers, many because of drought haven’t normally killed trees are now proving lethal.

+ According to a piece in Aeon, synthetic chemicals are now written into human biology: “PCBs and PFASs are now an integral part of the human story. They pass from species to species, from mother to child. They are present from conception to death, and consumed with daily meals and holy feasts.”

+ A new study published last week in Environmental Health Perspectives has found that exposure to ‘forever chemicals’ interferes with several critical biological processes — including the metabolism of fats and amino acids — in children and young adults.

+ Fires, land conversion, logging and water shortages have degraded the resilience of 2.5m square kilometers of forest in the Amazon.

+ Smoke from fires in boreal forests accounted for  23% of global fire emissions in 2021, the largest share since 2000, according to a new study published in the journal Science. Usually, these fires make up around 10%: “It’s like the new normal. And there’s going to be a lot of these boreal forests burning in the coming years.”

+ Last summer a ravenous wildfire burned through the forests of Bordeaux in southwestern France. This winter, as France endured 32 consecutive days without precipitation–the longest stretch since 1950–that wildfire continues to burn.

+ Between 2007 and 2021, some species of mollusks and sea urchins have declined by up to 90 per cent at Rotterdam Island off the coast of western Australia. New research out of Curtin University points to rising sea temperatures as the driving force behind the rapid decline in the number of invertebrates.

+ Thousands of workers who toiled cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon disaster are now sick from a variety of ailments, many unable to work and abandoned by BP. Now they want compensation from the oil company.

+ Cars in the US are becoming too big to fit in the parking spaces, especially those in parking garages.

+ John James Audubon was an Indian-hating racist who traded in slaves and practiced ornithology by shotgun. Finally some of the Societies, including Portland’s, bearing his name are dropping it. Good riddance.


+ A few years ago Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter wrote an Open Letter to the Next Generation Artists. It’s well worth reading and re-reading on the occasion of Shorter’s transit to the Bardo…

+ Shorter on Miles Davis: “When Miles and I talked, he would ask me a question. ‘Hey Wayne, you ever get tired of playing music that sounds like music?’  Before I could answer him, he said, ‘I know what you mean.’ Like, he’s answering his own questions. Miles was slick, always incognito.”

+ HAL: + “I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.”

+ Space is apparently a much weirder place than we thought it was: “If the Milky Way were a regular-sized average adult, say about 5’9″ (1.75 meters) and 160 pounds (70 kg), these would be 1-year-old babies weighing about the same but standing just under 3 inches (7 cm) tall. The early universe is a freak show.”

+ Irv Cross the great cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles and long-time NFL TV analyst died in 2021 at the age of 81. In the end,  his wife Liz said, “He was seeing things that weren’t there.” Liz Cross asked for an autopsy of his brain, which revealed Irv suffered from stage 4 CTE, a chronic brain injury. Is football really worth it? Not according to one of Cross’s contemporaries, the Detroit defensive back Lem Barney: “If I look at the game now and I look back on it retrospectively, if I had another choice I’d never played the game, at all, in my life. Never. Never. From all-city, all-state, all-conference, all-American, seven times All-Pro, I’m in eight Hall of Fames, it wouldn’t be. It would be golf or tennis. I’m serious. Very serious.” (BTW, Barney sang back-up on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”).

+ Jimmy Carter: “There were some people who didn’t like my being involved with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan & disreputable rock ‘n’ rollers. I didn’t care about that because I was doing what I really believed…”

+ Ed Sheeran says his new record, Subtract, is informed by “fear, depression and anxiety.” What ever became of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll?

+ A JB show for the “entire family?” That was a different Florida. Hit it James…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Post-Growth Living: For an Alternative Hedonism
Kate Soper

Homo Sapiens Rediscovered: the Scientific Revolution Rewriting Our Origins
Paul Pettitt
(Thames & Hudson)

Cars and Jails: Freedom Dreams, Debt and Carcerality
Julie Livingston and Andrew Ross
(O/R Books)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Christian McBride’s New Jawn
(Brother Mister)

Burnin’: 60th Anniversary Expanded Edition
John Lee Hooker

Buster Williams
(Smoke Sessions)

A True War Story

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.” (Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3