Roaming Charges: Spare the AR-15, Spoil the Child

Tree of the Dead, graffiti, Portland, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

“You can’t talk about fucking in America, people say you’re dirty. But if you talk about killing somebody, that’s cool.”

Richard Pryor

The US is not going to solve its gun violence epidemic until it addresses its war violence epidemic. There’s a reason the AR-15 has become the weapon of choice for post-Gulf War shooters. Blame guns if you must, but start with the war culture that has indoctrinated so many people to crave them, not, I suspect for self-protection, but for the projection of power in a society where the individual is left with so little.

For three decades, we have saturated our society with government-sponsored violence, where every type of killing is officially sanctioned, including that of children. We’ve committed infanticide with impunity from Kandahar to Belgrade. The sniper and the drone have become cultural icons, grotesque symbols of the American imperium.

Predictably, the chickens that have come home to roost haven’t only been the relatives of the victims, but also the children of perpetrators, nurtured on fear, bloodshed and high-capacity ammo. They’ve been reared to see people in uniform–from Mosul to Memphis-kill with impunity. The lessons seem to have taken root.

+ “Enough, enough, enough” is the liberal version of “thoughts and prayers.” It’s a meaningless cliché in the face of a carnage they don’t know how to stop. They’re content to use the blood of children as a political cudgel against the gun rights Right. But their reflexive response is to give more money to police, which inevitably only leads to more bloodshed on the streets.

+ Biden, though, has simply declared his own impotence: “I have gone the full extent of my executive authority to do, on my own, anything about guns.”

+ The president apparently can’t think of  anything to do other than just throw his hands up as 9-year-old kids are mowed down, reinforcing the notion that Biden is old, tired, powerless, out of ideas and lacking any genuine outrage at this senseless slaughter.

+ One thing you have to admire about Trump is that he didn’t give up pursuing his agenda, no matter how debased it was. He didn’t surrender to the presumed “bounds of executive” authority. He pushed them. People liked that he was a fighter…or, at least, projected the image of one.

+ A couple of weeks ago New York Mayor Eric Adams blamed school shootings on taking prayer out of public schools. What’s his explanation for the shooting at the Covenant Christian School in Nashville that left 7 dead?

+ Republican members of Congress suffered an anxious couple of hours waiting to hear what kind of gun was used to slaughter the three children (and 3 adults) in Nashville, so that they’d know which pin (AR-15, Glock, Smith & Wesson) to wear to “work” the next day. It turned out they could emblazon their chests with three pins, two assault rifles and a 9 mm handgun.

+ Marsha Blackburn, the former beauty pageant contestant turned US senator from Tennessee, has raked in $1,306,130 from the NRA, while her state averages 1,273 gun deaths a year.

+ When did it become fashionable to celebrate the birth of Christ with your favorite automatic weapon? Here’s the family Xmas card of Rep. Andy Ogles, who represents the Nashville congressional district where the Covenant School is located.

+ Ogles is the same family values politician who used photos of stillborn fetus to raise $25,000 for a funeral park, featuring benches and a “life-size statue of Jesus,”  which never materialized…

+ The common factor in school shootings according FoxNews: “Side doors.”

+ Childrearing in America: Spare the AR-15, spoil the child.

Nashville: AR-15
Uvalde: AR-15
Buffalo: AR-15
Boulder: AR-15
Orlando: AR-15
Parkland: AR-15
Las Vegas: AR-15
Sandy Hook: AR-15
San Bernardino: AR-15
Midland/Odessa: AR-15
Colorado Springs: AR-15
Poway synagogue: AR-15
Sutherland Springs: AR-15
Tree of Life Synagogue: AR-15

+ Washington Post on the impact of a single high validity AR-15 round: “A single bullet lands with a shock wave intense enough to blow apart a skull and demolish vital organs. The impact is even more acute on the compact body of a small child.”

+ Jessica Ellis: “I have no maternal instinct. I’ve never wanted to have kids, not a day in my life. I still know that the right of a child to come home alive at the end of a school day supersedes my right to have unfettered access to guns. It’s not a hard moral choice. It’s not even a question.”

+ FoxNews’ Shannon Bream: “Sometimes we have nothing left but to say, ‘God, please help us. We can’t make sense of this situation, but just meet us in the grief.’ And sometimes that’s all we can ask for.”

+ “Can’t make sense of the situation?” Perhaps her hairdresser can it explain it to her…

+ Sen. Rick Scott (Moron-FL): “We need to consider an automatic death penalty for school shooters. Life in prison is not enough for the deranged monsters who go into our schools to kill innocent kids & educators.” What’s the plan, Senator, resurrect the shooter and then kill her again?

+ Sen. Josh Hawley, the running man from Missouri, is demanding that the Nashville shooting be labeled an anti-Christian hate crime, despite the fact Hawley was the only U.S. senator to vote against a 2021 bill to help victims of hate crimes.

+ The shoulder shrugs really sell  the congressman’s complete indifference…

+ In a study published this week, the CDC reported that the number of people injured by gunfire was nearly 40% higher in 2020 and 2021 than it was in 2019. In 2022, gun injuries declined slightly, but were still 20% higher than before the pandemic.

+ In the 72 hours since the Nashville shootings, another 192 people have been shot by guns in the US.


+ Lindsey Graham on the encounter between a US drone and Russian planes: “What would Ronald Reagan do right now? He would start shooting Russian planes down if they were threatening our assets.”

+ I hold no brief for Ronald Friggin’ Reagan, but in 1983 the Soviets shot down the KAL 007 jetliner bound from NYC to Seoul killing 289 people–including 62 Americans, one of whom was a US Congressman–and Reagan still had enough sense in his decaying brain not to start shooting down Soviet planes.

Value of retired men’s hobby club weather balloon shot down by US over Lake Huron: $12

Value of Reaper drone brought down by collision with Russian aircraft over Black Sea: $30 million

Schadenfreude Value: Priceless

+ There’s a lot of performative outrage of the UN Security Council’s decision not to investigate the Nordstream pipeline bombings. What did they expect? The Security Council is where the most important measures go to die. As of May 2022, Russia/USSR has used its veto at the Security Council 121 times, the US 82 times, the UK 29 times, China 17, France 16. The Security Council is the ultimate insurance against any accountability for the world’s the superpowers.

+ There’s little question that Western sanctions on Russia have backfired, at least on consumers, the oil companies are making out like bandits. But that doesn’t mean the Russian economy hasn’t suffered. According to a study released last week by the Social Policy Institute at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics: “one can expect the deterioration of the middle class and of the population’s social and psychological well-being.” Real incomes in Russia are predicted to exceed 2021 levels by only 2% at the end of the decade,” a prospect that would radically shrink the Russian middle class.

+ One thing the US and Russia agree on: dissidents must be swept up and they’re willing to share the facial recognition technology needed to do it.

+ Nadya Tolokonnikova,  a founding member of Pussy Riot, has been placed Russia’s most wanted list for criminal suspects as the Kremlin works to stifle internal political dissent. The criminal charges Tolokonnikova faces are not specified. Tolokonnikova has already spent nearly two years in prison for her part in a 2012 Pussy Riot protest inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. 

+ The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be arrested and charged with espionage in Russia since the fall of the USSR. Gershkovich was arrested after meeting with a source at a restaurant in Yekaterinburg, about 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow. The FSB issued a press release saying Gershkovich was “acting on the instructions of the American side, [and] collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.” The last story Gerhskovich filed before his arrest was on the faltering Russian economy. He quoted Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska as saying: “There will be no money next year.”  If tried and convicted, Gershkovich could face 20 years in prison. (No word on the status of the Deripaska.)

+ South Africa now faces a dilemma. As one of the 123 countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute, it is obligated to enforce the ICC’s warrants. Yet the government has just invited Putin to attend the BRICS summit in Durban this August. Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor dismissed the charges against Putin, saying: “There are many other countries that have been involved in wars, invasions of territories, murders of people, and arrests of activists, but none of them have been called by the ICC.” South Africa has been here before. In 2015 Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir, who had been indicted for war crimes  in Sudan’s Darfur region, visited the country to attend a summit of African Union heads of state. Although South Africa was obliged to arrest Al Bashir under the terms of the Rome Statute, the government of Jacob Zuma refused to arrest him, saying that sitting heads of state are immune from prosecution under international law. Then in in 2018 Narendra Modi nearly failed to come because of a threat of arrest due to war crimes in Kashmir.

+ I’m all for the ICC issuing arrest warrants for heads of state and Putin’s warrant should swiftly be followed by ones for Biden, Netanyahu, Johnson, Modi, Macron, Xi, Jens Stoltenberg, Bush, Mohammed bin Salman, Erdogan, Blair and Jair Bolsonaro. There are few clean hands in the world and some are much bloodier than others. But the hypocrisy of Joe Biden and Anthony Blinken offering to provide the ICC with evidence of Putin’s crimes in Ukraine, while running protection for its vassal states such as Israel is truly Olympian. Here’s Blinken denouncing the ICC probe of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians: “The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.” One should note that the US is not a party to the ICC and neither is Russia.

+ It’s worth reflecting, however, that both the US and Russia originally signed the Rome Treaty, authorizing the ICC. (China, Israel, Iraq, Libya, Qatar and Yemen refused.) Then, in the face of subsequent illegal adventures–the US in Iraq and Russia in Crimea–both hastily withdrew, as SuperPowers tend to do when they fear they might be held accountable for their own heinous actions. In the US’s case, Bush told John Bolton in W-speak “to unsign it.” Then after the disclosures about Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites, torture and atrocities from Mosul to Fallujah, Bush signed a law authorizing the US to use military force to free any US citizen arrested by the ICC!

+ In 1959 Eisenhower invited Nikita Khrushchev to DC. When told he would be staying at Camp David, Khrushchev replied: “What kind of a camp is it? A place where they put people they don’t trust?”

+ Because one can’t have too many Khrushchev stories, here’s another. In 1956 Nikita Khrushchev visited London and was taken to the V&A Museum. He asked his guide: “Who was this Albert and what was his job?” The guide said, “He didn’t have a job. He was the Queen’s consort.” Khrushchev replied: “Yes, but what did he do during the daytime?” (See Max Hastings’ book on the Cuban missile crisis, The Abyss.)

+ In 2002, the Iraq war AUMF passed 77-23. On Wednesday, the Senate finally voted to repeal it 66-30.

+ Initially, the Iraq war had substantial majority support, saying it was “worth it”. But that fell rapidly and by July 2004 as many said it was “not worth it”. By 2008 we reached near 65% not worth it and that figure hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years.

+ Matt Gaetz’s advisor on military policy, Derrick Miller, is a convicted war criminal, who served 8 years in military prison after being convicted of killing an Afghan civilian during an interrogation. While servicing in Afghanistan, Miller  a sergeant in the Army National Guard, sat on top of the 27-year-old Atta Mohammed, shot him in the head and dumped his body in a latrine.

+ Andrew Cuomo, the disgraced former Governor of New York plans to resurrect his career by forming a group called “Progressives for Israel.” Cuomo: “I am going to call the question for Democrats: Do you stand with Israel or do you stand against Israel, because silence is not an option.”

+ A new Gallup poll shows that shows that a majority of Democrats now sympathize more with Palestinians than Israelis.

+ A 2021 survey by the Jewish Electorate Institute found that a quarter of American Jews considered Israel to be an apartheid state. For those under the age of 40, the number increased to 38%.

+ Itamar Ben-Gvir agreed to delay the final vote on Israel’s judicial “reforms,” in exchange for being awarded a paramilitary group called the National Guard, which Ben-Gvir hailed as: “The National Guard will protect farmers against agricultural terrorism, theft and mafia protection. It will act in places that have become Israel’s forgotten backyard. It’s a Zionist project of the 1st order, another step strengthening national security& governance.”

+ Does “agricultural terrorism” include the systematic destruction of Palestinian olive groves or does Ben Gvir consider that “development”?

+ Ron DeSantis is slated to visit Israel next month in an effort to establish himself to the right of Donald Trump as the most “pro-Israel” Republican in the 2024 presidential primaries. In his desperate attempt to appease the Christian Nationalist Armageddon lobby DeSantis probably talk himself to the right not only of Trump but of Itamar Ben-Gvir himself…

+ A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that 61% of Palestinians expect a new Intifada in the Occupied Territories. While 68% support the formation of armed resistance groups, such as the Nablus-based Lions’ Den, which do not take orders from the Palestinian Authority.

+ Mike Pompeo: “As Secretary of State, I suggested we use drones to strike the cartels.”

+ What “drone strikes on cartels” really means: wedding receptions, soccer parties, Day of the Dead celebrations, playgrounds during recess, and funeral processions for people killed by drone strikes on weddings, parties, celebrations, recesses and funeral processions…

+ Meanwhile, Trump has reportedly asked his military advisors (Ted Nugent and Kevin Sorbo?) to come up with a “battle plan” to “attack Mexico” if he’s reelected.

+ Despite promises of increased trade and aid, African nations are still laboring under a huge burden of debt, estimated at $645 billion and there’s surely not much comfort in the knowledge that the new debt-holder will increasingly be China, which, like the US (4.8%), is imposing even higher interest rates (5%) that the IMF (2%).

+Total U.S. crude exports to Europe reached 1.75 million barrels per day in 2022, an increase of about 70% over 2021 levels.


+ According to a report released by Physicians for Human Rights and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, more than 119,000 people have been injured by tear gas and other chemical irritants globally since 2015.

+ Prisoner rights groups have raised alarms about the wretched condition of drinking water in Illinois’ prisons for years. Last week the Illinois EPA finally issued drinking water violation notices to 10 state-run prisons

+ Jose Viera, a guard at the federal lockup in downtown Los Angeles, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping an inmate who was being held in an isolation cell while recovering from COVID-19.

+ Louisiana jails people at twice the rate of the national average. The state has the second-highest imprisonment rate in the country, trailing only Mississippi.

+ Since taking office in 2020, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has replaced the entire Mississippi Parole Board with his own appointees. Over the last two years, the number of parole approvals has fallen, while the incarceration rate in the state has increased steadily.

+ Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin just signed into law a measure giving the state’s Department of Corrections nearly unlimited discretion to place people in solitary conditions.

+ “Inmate factories“: how Rep. Gary Palmer (Bigot-AL) described the majority-black DC public school system during “oversight” hearings last week.

+ In the wake of the BLM protests, North Carolina has passed a new “anti-rioting” bill that will impose extreme penalties on protesters, including mass arrests, detention of at least 24 hours for all of those accused of rioting before getting a bond hearing, and allowing property owners to sue for up to three times the actual damage sustained. The state’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper criticized the bill: “Property damage and violence are already illegal and my continuing concerns about the erosion of the First Amendment and the disparate impacts on communities of color will prevent me from signing this legislation.” But, in typical Democratic fashion, he won’t veto it either, which means the bill will become law.

Body cam image of the arrest of Edward Bronstein. Source: California Highway Patrol.

+ Los Angeles County DA George Gascón announced involuntary manslaughter charges against seven California Highway Patrol officers and a registered nurse for the 2020 death of Edward Bronstein, who after being pulled over on a traffic stop was pushed to the ground and forcibly restrained while repeatedly pleading that he could not breathe.

+ A federal judge San Diego named Robert Benitez berated a crying 13-year-old girl and had her handcuffed at her dad’s sentencing hearing in order to send her a message, though precisely what the message was, other than the cruelty of the criminal system, wasn’t clear to anyone in the court room.

+ The Texas legislature wants to a new intermediate court of appeals, designed to take power away from locally-elected and largely Democratic, judges in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and other cities.

+ The Clay County, Florida jail is so over-crowded inmates are sleeping on the floor, “head to toe” and jail staffers have been moved out of their offices to make more room for newly arriving inmates.

+ The town of Winona, Mississippi put its animal welfare program under the control of the police department and it didn’t take long for the police to start killing dogs at the shelter by shooting (instead of euthanizing) them and dumping their bodies in a public dumpster.

+ An error in the database of the Oregon DMV resulted in a man being wrongly imprisoned for nearly a year. The DMV knew about the issue but didn’t correct it because it “wasn’t at a high enough level to understand the urgency.”

+ What more training buys you: A report by the Chicago Use of Force Community Working Group finds that Chicago Police officers are taught how to “justify or even cover up police brutality.”

+ The New Mexico Department of Corrections has lost track of nearly two dozen prisoners in its custody who are serving life sentences for crimes they committed as children, an error that could keep these “juvenile lifers” from getting a chance at freedom.

+ Idaho is now the fifth state after Utah, South Carolina, Mississippi and Oklahoma to allow death by firing squads as pharmaceutical companies restrict the use of drugs for lethal injections.

+ Globally, executions for drug-related offenses surged in 2022, while the number of drug offenders on death row rose by more than a quarter…

+ In blind testing, the error rate of forensic firearms analysts is nearly 40%.

+ The national murder rate is down by 10% in the top 67 cities in the US through February of this year.

+ Surveillance footage shows that at least 10 sheriff’s deputies and medical staff at Virginia’s Central State Hospital piled on top of Irvo N. Otieno for  11 minutes until he stopped moving, leading to the 28-year-old Black man’s death. Otieno was shackled at the time.

+ Shithole Country Update: Alabama is installing “bulletproof” whiteboards in classrooms in an effort to protect students and teachers from mass shooters.

+ The average price of a home in Alabama is about $142,000. But under its no-bid billion-dollar prison, the state will pay $243,750 per inmate bed.

+ Police in Kansas City were told to target minority neighbors to meet their (illegal) traffic ticket-writing quotas because “it would be easier to write multiple citations on every stop.

+ Hugo Holland, the special prosecutor hired to investigate the killing of Black motorist Ronald Greene by five White police officers in Louisiana, once displayed a portrait of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest in his office.

+ The city of Torrance, California was forced to paid Kylie Swaine $750,000 after two officers spray-painted a swastika on the inside of his car. Swaine is part Jewish. His lawyer, Jerry Steering, said: “I have been suing police officers for 39 years and I have never seen anything like this.”

+ Suddenly Rep. James Comer, the Kentucky Republican, is everywhere. This week he was on CNN attacking “soft-on-crime” DAs and the alleged “crime wave” plaguing NYC. Yet, statistics show that NYC is one the planet’s  safest cities. The murder rate in the New York has dropped by 80% in last 30 years. Meanwhile back in Comer’s home of Kentucky, with its tough on crime prosecutors, the murder rate is now the third highest in the nation.

+ DeSantis is rightfully getting shit for going after books on library shelves. But New York Mayor Eric Adams is going after the libraries themselves, reducing their budgets by $36 million, mainly to increasing funding for the NYPD….

+ Newly released interviews with the Uvalde cops who lingered in the hallway as kids were being mowed down inside the school reveal the reason they feared to enter the classroom was that the shooter had an AR-15, one of them exclaiming: “He has a battle rifle!

+ Later this week, Anne Marie Guerra, the NYPD sergeant who is accused of stuffing her dirty panties in the mouth of one of her subordinates, is set to get a raise and a promotion: According to a lawsuit now pending against here, five years ago “in a fit of rage, Sgt. Guerra retrieved her soiled underwear and violently shoved them into Falcon’s mouth and then aggressively rubbed them all over Falcon’s face,”


+ It really is Gordon Gecko’s (and, I guess, by extension Trump’s) America…

+ The FDIC estimates that Silicon Valley Bank’s failure will cost the federal deposit insurance fund $20 billion, which would make it the most expensive bank failure in US history, far exceeding the 2008 failure of IndyMac  which cost $12.4 billion. The bailout will consume 14% of the insurance fund.

+ The ten largest deposit accounts at SVB held $13.3 billion combined.

+ Meanwhile, Cal-Maine Foods, the United States’ largest egg producer, reported that its revenue doubled and profit surged by 718% last quarter because of sharply higher egg prices, allegedly driven by avian flu outbreaks.

+ In 2021, the Blackstone Group purchased thousands of San Diego’s affordable housing units then proceeded to raise the rent for many units by between 43-64% in just two years.

+ 8.5% of France’s working age adults are on general strike. The US equivalent would be 18,000,000. To date, the largest US strike was when 400,000 United Mine Workers of America walked off the job in 1946. (h/t Steven Lazarov)

+ The blood plasma of America’s poor is the US’s tenth leading export.

+ According to The Economist, over the last 10 years life expectancy in the UK has flattened with 250,000 Britons died sooner than expected. Why?

Reductions in government funding then tended to hit the most deprived areas hardest. During the 2010s, spending per person decreased by 16 per cent in the richest councils, but by 31 per cent in the poorest. Benefits were also cut. Our analysis of a detailed dataset of local government spending from 2009-19, compiled by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, a think-tank, shows that places with the largest relative declines in adult social-care spending and housing services were the ones that suffered the greatest headwinds to life expectancy.

+ In 2008 the average German household was £500 a year better off than the U.K. In 2023 they are £4500 better off.

+ Jeremy Corbyn’s statement on Keir Starmer’s attempt to block his ability to run for the Parliament seat he’s held for four decades…

+ As someone said, only a politician with the skills and demeanor of Keir Starmer could finish third in a two-person race…

+ Police in England and Wales detained and strip-searched more than 2,800 children in the last four years, according to a new report by the UK’s Children Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza. The  youngest just 8-years-old.


+ Federal Judge Reed O’Connor of the northern district of Texas just struck down a major provision of the Affordable Care Act requiring insurers to cover a vast amount of preventive care cost-free (contraception, cancer screening, PrEP, a ton of pregnancy-related care). The ruling applies nationwide.

+ ObamaCare promised a lot of things that never seem to materialize when you need them, such as a rule prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for contraceptives. (They’re doing it anyway.)

+ A Brooklyn hospital is being sued for secretly drug-testing a woman in labor and then calling child protective services. “They really wanted to see my baby get taken away,” she said.

+ Are Raccoon Dogs the Yacht-sailing Ukrainian Nationalist pipeline saboteurs of the Covid origin theories?

+ Sudden unexpected deaths of Black infants rose sharply in the first year of the Covid pandemic…

+ A new study published in Nature shows no increase in cardiac or all-cause mortality after mRNA vaccines, but does show an increase in women after the first dose of non-mRNA vaccine. Meanwhile, a positive SARS-CoV-2 test is associated with increased cardiac and all-cause mortality among people vaccinated or unvaccinated at the time of testing.

+ Joseph Stiglitz: “US policymakers contributed to global ‘vaccine apartheid’ … [The Chinese] have made their vaccines readily available to others at or below cost, while also helping countries develop their own vaccine-production facilities.”

+ America has more than 10 times the rate of pregnancy-related death than in Australia, Austria, Israel, Japan, and Spain.

+ More than 17 million people are going to lose Medicaid coverage in the US starting next month.

+ From a New Yorker article on Wisconsin’s upcoming elections for the state Supreme Court: “The state’s 1849 abortion law, which was written before germs were known to cause disease.”

+ Last year child labor law violations increased by 37%. No wonder they want to get rid of them…

+ Child labor will fix this: “When the original New York Subway was built in 1900, it took less than five years to build 28 stations. The Second Avenue Subway took 12 years to build 3 stations, 5 years longer than originally planned.” Down in the hole kids!

+ The Biden Administration argued in federal court this week that asylum-seekers who had their personal information posted online are not entitled to sue the Department of Homeland Security for monetary damages because they are not U.S. citizens. These are the kind of cases that rouse the normally somnambulant Merrick Garland into action…

+ New research suggest that anti-semitic posts on Twitter have more than doubled since Elon Musk took over the company.

+ A recent analysis by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that deaths of pedestrians killed by cars in the U.S. climbed estimated 18% between 2019 and 2022. At 7,485 pedestrians were struck and killed by drivers in 2021, the largest number in four decades. Only 10 states had fewer pedestrian deaths than the previous year. Many states (and the occupied territory of Washington, DC) are moving to ban right-on-red turns. The US remains one of the few nations to allow this perilous driving privilege.

+ Since Vietnam, black veterans have been more often denied VA benefits for PTSD than their white counterparts.

+ In an average year, landlords file 3.6 million eviction notices.

+ A study publish in the Journal of Urban Health about the now-expiring Covid eviction moratoria found that tenants who delayed paying rent were nearly 7 times as likely to be at risk of eviction, more than 3 times as likely to have experience recent suicidal ideation, and 1.6 times as likely to report recent illicit drug use compared to tenants who did not delay paying rent.

+ The Black, Latino, and Native American families in Portland, Oregon can’t afford the cost of a house (Ave. house price: $525,000) within the city limits.

+ 8: the number of public toilets in the US per 100,000 people.

+ A new online dashboard charts the number of deaths per month/year of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto.


+ Sam Joekel, a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, was fired after the parent of an adult student at the school complained about what their kid was learning in Joekel’s racial justice unit at the private Christian college.

+ A new bill in Florida would prohibit girls from talking about their menstrual cycles in public schools. What will be left for them to ban five years from now? Naval rings? Toe nail polish? Swimsuits?

+ According to the Daily Beast, DeSantis is a slovenly eater who likes to stick three fingers into a bowl of chocolate pudding & slurp up the black goo. Reminds me of reports about Sen. Amy Klobocop eating salad with a comb. Maybe they should open a restaurant together. It could be the beginning of a new era of bipartisanship!

+ Joe Harding, the former Republican lawmaker who introduced Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, pleaded guilty this week to charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to defraud the government of COVID relief cash.

+ The principal of Florida’s Tallahassee Classical Charter School was fired after parents complained that their sixth-grade children were shown photos of Michelangelo’s 16th century sculpture of David, which one parent called “pornographic.”  In the room the teachers come and go, after talking of Michelangelo…

+ The Florida State NAACP voted  unanimously to ask the NAACP National Board to issue a travel advisory asking people to forego visiting and moving to the Sunshine State.

+ Looks like Idaho is set to become the first state to criminalize interstate travel for abortion care. A bill would impose up to five years in prison for anyone who helps a minor access abortion out-of-state without her parents’ consent, inventing a new crime called “abortion trafficking.”  There are no exemptions.

+ Homebirths for Idaho, whether you want to or not…

+ Abby Grossberg, a former Fox News producer, has sued the company, saying she was made out to be one of the scapegoats in the Dominion defamation case. In her lawsuit, Grossberg describes the newsroom as being pervaded with misogyny. On her first day as a producer for Tucker Carlson, the suit alleges that: “Justin Wells, Mr. Carlson’s top producer, called Ms. Grossberg into his office, she said, to ask whether Ms. Bartiromo was having a sexual relationship with the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.”

+ What goes around comes around, Don…

+ Trump is a petty person who should go down for the pettiest of crimes. It would only feed to his grandiose sense of himself to indict him for a scheme to “undermine democracy.” I felt the same way about Clinton being impeached for lying about consensual sex instead of bombing and starving civilians in Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan and Somali. Kissinger once said of Bubba: “He doesn’t have the moral fibre to be called a war criminal.”

+ The New York Young Republicans Club on Trump:

“President Trump embodies the American people—our psyche from id to super-ego—as does no other figure; his soul is totally bonded with our core values and emotions, and he is our total and indisputable champion. This tremendous connection threatens the established order.”

+ I’m pretty sure it’s not the perp walk Trump fears (which he can always market), but the cops actually following his own advice on how to treat suspects: “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. Don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

+ The list of American politicians at the federal level who have been convicted of crimes is long and, for you Originalists out there, goes back to the founding of the Republic, with the conviction of Kentucky’s Matthew Lyon in 1798, who, in true American fashion, was reelected while in jail.

+ AJ Bauer: “It’s almost like banks need more regulation than drag queens.”

+ Contrary to his later claims Ronald Reagan didn’t serve in Europe during World War II, but he did perform in drag to raise money for the US war effort.

Photo: National Archives.

+ The “This is the Army” drag show raised $10,000,000 (in 1942 dollars) for the Army Emergency Relief Fund and it was one of many such performances.

+ Charles Sutherland, a former school librarian in Maryland, who had already been accused of spray-painting “Groomer” on the walls of two libraries has now been arrested…wait for it…on seven charges of possessing child pornography.

+ Marge T. Greene is far from the only modern southern politician to call for secession and it doesn’t take much to set them off. In 1971, after Lt. William Calley was convicted by a military tribunal of the premeditated murder of dozens of Vietnamese women & children at My Lai and sentenced to life with hard labor in a military prison, Richard Nixon received an irate call from the segregationist Democratic Governor of Mississippi John Bell Williams who threatened that his state would secede from the Union if Nixon didn’t pardon Calley. Similar calls came from Lester Maddox, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. But Nixon didn’t need any convincing. He’d already tried to sabotage the trial and discredit the witnesses. Calley’s sentence was duly commuted. He spent a total of 4 months in the stockade. (See my recent essay  The Last Child of My Lai for CounterPunch +.)

+ This week failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake suggested that the Holy Spirit told her she would lose the election in order to “root out corruption.”

+ Al Franken: “Trump paid Stormy Daniels to keep the story quiet, some seven years ago…and we’re still talking about it. So…of course, that would amount to yet another Trump failed business venture.”

+ According to the research firm Pathmatics, from September to October of last year, the top 10 advertisers on Twitter spent $71 million on ads. In the past two months, the spending has dropped to only $7.6 million, a decline of 89%, despite deep discounts offered by Musk.

+ Chomsky’s image projected on the walls of the University of Havana as he inveighs against the US government’s savage policies on Cuba.

+ Don’t know how long Noam spoke but the frequent chant of Cuban women during Castro’s speeches, which would often go on for four hours, was: “Fidel, be brief today, we have babies to feed.”


+ The U.S. has contributed 20.9% of all CO2 emissions to date, nearly double  as much as China. The EU nations If the E.U.nations are responsible for 11.8% of CO2 emissions, barely half the American contribution from a population more 140% the size of the U.S.

+ To keep 1.5 C warming within reach, carbon emissions need to be slashed 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035, from 2019 levels. Needless to say, that ain’t happening.

+ The U.S. delegation attempted to delete a sentence about climate finance gaps from the latest IPCC report and slash the word “equitable” from a line about access to international finance.

+ Technology that sucks CO2 out of the air requires huge amounts of energy. To reach the Paris goals, Shell models direct air capture requiring more energy than all homes by 2100.

+ According to a new study in Nature: “2022 emissions consumed 13%–36% of the remaining carbon budget to limit warming to 1.5 °C, suggesting permissible emissions could be depleted within 2–7 years.”

+ More than 70% of people surveyed in the US, European Union, UK and China said governments are too slow in acting against climate change.

+ What does plutonium taste like? A sweet-and-sour metallic candy, according to Don Mastick, a chemist at Los Alamos who got some on his face during a botched experiment at the New Mexico nuclear lab. The scientist had his stomach pumped and his breath tested as slightly radioactive for the remainder of his life. Mastick’s urine and feces tested positive for many years. He died at 87.

+ Sea levels have gone up globally by over 9 centimeters in 30 years, according to measurements by NASA satellites, and the rate of rise has more than doubled in that time…

+ DeSantis has stayed quiet about the insurance industry’s massive underpayments for damages from hurricanes striking Florida. Why? Perhaps because he just pocketed a trove of campaign from State Farm agents. He has already received about $700,000 from the industry.

+ The housing crisis few people have started thinking about: “In response to growing concerns increasing costs of flooding are not fully captured in property values, we quantify magnitude of unpriced flood risk. We find residential properties overvalued by US$121–US$237 billion.” I’m not great at math, but that sounds like a lot to me.

+ As a consequence of the rapid melting of Antarctica’s ice sheets, the currents of the Southern Ocean heading toward collapse.

+ Critical Water Theory: “The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit.”

+ Around 43,000 people are estimated to have perished in last year’s drought in Somalia.

+ Thirty-four percent of the lands with the highest rates of biodiversity on Earth are on Indigenous territory, according to a recent study.

+ The total weight of all the wild mammals on the planet is less than 10% of humanity’s.

+ “Data deficient species” are those about which little is known about their range and population size. A new study in Nature: Communications Biology predicts that more than 85% of data deficient amphibians are likely to be threatened by extinction, as well as more than 50%  of data deficient species in many other taxonomic groups, such as mammals and reptiles

+ The man who said they’d be no more drilling on federal lands is okaying more drilling on federal lands than Trump. This week Biden’s BLM is preparing to offer drilling on 371 parcels across 392,834 acres, much of it priority habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse.

+ In the 1950s there were three cars for every 10 Americans compared to 9 cars for every 10 today.

+ One in five solar panels installed worldwide last year was mounted on a roof in China.

+ Justice Neil Gorsuch slammed the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to review the prosecution of Steven Donziger. Gorsuch asserted that the criminal case against the disbarred environmental lawyer violated the Constitution.

+ Lauren Boebert at a hearing on the Endangered Species Act: “From 2002 to present day, approximately 500 people have been attacked by wolves with nearly 30 of these attacks resulting in human deaths.” There probably haven’t been 500 people attacked by wolves since the Pleistocene–and most of those were likely rabid or captive.

+ There’s little to recommend about John James Audubon other than his skills as a painter and print-maker–he owned, bought and sold other human beings, despised native people and practiced ornithology with a shotgun. If the birds had a vote, they’d go with Roger Tory Peterson. Dozens of local and state chapters have dumped his name, too bad National Audubon Society refused to join them.

+ In 2020, Nature endorsed Joe Biden in the US presidential election. A survey finds that viewing the endorsement did not change people’s views of the candidates, but caused some to lose confidence in Nature and in US scientists generally. I know I did.


+ Back when things were in their proper order…

+ ln an effort to tamp down the tumult over Joe Rogan last year, Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify, announced a $100 million “Creator Equity Fund” to boost the work of creators from historically marginalized backgrounds. A year later, less than 10% of the fund has been spent.

+ Now they’re coming after Dolly Parton, who will almost certainly kick their asses so politely they won’t even realize how thoroughly they’ve been owned …

+ Back off Bach and tell Tchaikovsky the news, Beethoven really was the GOAT: “The year before Beethoven died, the wife of a colleague earnestly wanted a lock of his hair, but she became the victim of a prank. Beethoven & his secretary instead sent a coarse snip of a goat’s beard, similar in texture & color to his own curls.”

+ On December 23, 1969, Willie Nelson’s house outside Nashville burned down. As the fire enveloped his home Willie rushed inside to grab two essential items: his guitar, Trigger, and a pound of marijuana. “I wasn’t being brave running in there to get my dope,” Nelson later said. “I was trying to keep the firemen from finding it and turning me over to the police.”

+ In 1958, seven out of the ten top rated shows in America were westerns.

+ Scientists at the University of Manchester proposed that Mars-based structures should be made from a potato-based compound that is “twice as strong as regular concrete” that is made by mixing “extra-terrestrial dust, potato starch, and a pinch of salt.”‘

+ Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI: “I prep for survival. My problem is that when my friends get drunk they talk about the ways the world will end. I try not to think about it too much, but I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israel Defense Force and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to.”

You’ve Got to Have Freedom

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

War is Hell: Studies in the Right of Legitimate Violence
Charles Douglas Lummis
(Rowman & Littlefield)

The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions
Adam Kuper

Affinities: On Art and Fascination
Brian Dillon

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Memento Mori
Depeche Mode

Forever Forever
Genevieve Artadi

Pure Apartheid

“There is nothing quite like the feeling of sorrowful helplessness that one feels listening to a 35-year-old man who has spent fifteen years working as an illegal day-laborer in Israel in order to save up money to build a little house for his family, only to discover one day upon returning from work that the house had been reduced to a pile of rubble, flattened by an Israeli bulldozer with everything still inside the house. When you ask why this was done–the land, after all, was his–you are told that there was no warning, only a paper given to him the next day by an Israeli soldier stating that he had built the structure without a license. Where in the world, except under Israeli authority, are people required to have a license (which is always denied them) before they can build on their own property? Jews can build, but never Palestinians. This is pure apartheid.” (Edward Said)


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