Roaming Charges: Somewhat Immature

Still from Child’s Play.

+ “Somewhat Immature”: That’s how Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, commander of U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, described the rules of engagement for orbital warfare–which is saying something given the “mature” anything goes RoE in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Gaza-by-proxy. Mastalir: “When you think about a hostile act or demonstrating hostile intent in space, what does that look like? And do all nations have a shared understanding of what that looks like?”

+ Tim Sebastian: “You go on supplying them [Israel] with hardware to do these things, you own this operation every bit as much as they do, don’t you?”

Nancy Pelosi: “No, we don’t. We don’t…there’s nothing that we have sent since Oct. 7 that has contributed to this brutality.”

+ Pelosi comes off as ancient under Tim Sebastian’s questioning: she’s confused, arrogant and ignorant of basic history. But consider this: by the time Pelosi entered Congress in 1987, Joe Biden had been serving in the Senate for 15 years!

+ The compulsion to lie when literally everyone knows you are lying is the defining political pathology of our time…

+ As Pelosi continues to write her own dubious political obituary, consider that for nearly two years of increasing tensions, the Pentagon didn’t have direct communications with the Chinese military, after Pelosi’s provocative trip to Taiwan in 2022. The hotline was only recently restored.

+ As I wrote in my Gaza Diary last week, Israel is committing war crimes so brazen & outrageous that no one had even thought of legislating against them. What’s more, almost every act of this war can be independently documented, often in real time. The entire war is a crime.

+ Christopher Lockyear, Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), told the UN Security Council this week that: “Israeli forces have attacked our convoys, detained our staff, bulldozed our vehicles, hospitals have been bombed and raided. And now for a second time, one of our staff shelters has been hit. This pattern of attacks is either intentional or indicative of reckless incompetence. Our colleagues in Gaza are fearful that as I speak to you today, they will be punished tomorrow…The humanitarian response in Gaza today is an illusion. A convenient illusion that perpetuates a narrative that this war is being waged in line with international laws. Calls for humanitarian assistance have echoed across this chamber. Yet in Gaza, we have less and less every day, less space, less medicine, less food, less water, less safety.”

+ A U.S. intelligence assessment of Israel’s UNRWA allegations could not verify claims that 10% of UNRWA’s Gaza staff are Hamas/PIJ  and found with only “low confidence” that some UNRA staff may have participated in the Oct. 7 attack. U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that Israel hadn’t shared the raw intelligence behind its assessments with the U.S., “limiting their ability to reach clearer conclusions.” So without having any facts, Biden paused the funding to UNRWA anyway, used the unverified allegations to distract from the ICJ’s findings on Israeli genocide, and later supported a bill, passed by the Senate, that would permanently ban US funding for UNRWA. In other words, guilty until proven you’re not a Palestinian. 

+ Will Judith Miller be the presenter?

+ According to a report by Human Rights Watch, nearly 30% of Ukraine’s territory is embedded with land mines, an area about the size of the state of Florida.

+ The eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, besieged since October, finally fell last weekend, after what one Ukrainian observer called “the largest-ever frontal assault with columns of armored vehicles seen from Russia thus far.” The retreat was so rushed that Ukraine reportedly lost as many as 1000 troops and left several hundred wounded soldiers behind.

+ As congressional funding for the Ukraine war runs out, the US is using Estonia as a cut-out for getting money to Ukraine. Most recently, the Biden administration transferred $500,000 in forfeited Russian money to Estonia, which according to a Justice Department press release is “for the purpose of providing aid to Ukraine. The funds were forfeited by the United States following the breakup of an illegal procurement network attempting to import into Russia a high-precision, U.S.-origin machine tool with uses in the defense and nuclear proliferation sectors.”

+ Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the world’s top oil companies have made $281 billion in profits.

+ While Russia may have taken Avdiivka, its own losses have been stunning: more than 315,000 killed or wounded since the war began, 135,000 in the last year alone. That’s about 100,000 more casualties than the US suffered in a decade of combat in Vietnam (211,000 killed or wounded in action) and more deaths than all of Russia’s wars since World War II combined.

+ Estimated direct financial costs of the Ukraine war to Russia: $211 billion.

+ War profiteer update: The British weapons company, BAE, announced a 14% rise in revenue last year, with record backlogs, according to CEO Charles Woodburn, “driven by new submarine contracts and demand linked to Ukraine.”

+ Whether British-made weapons work anymore is, fortunately, another question. Last month, HMS Vanguard attempted to test-launch one of its (unarmed) nuclear ICBMs, which crashed after its booster rockets failed. This was the second consecutive failure of a UK Trident test, following a similar abortive test launch conducted from the HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida in 2016.

+ UK Special Forces have blocked resettlement applications from elite Afghan troops, in part because of a fear they could testify in Britain about war crimes committed by UK Special Forces.

+ The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk: Britain’s plans “to facilitate the prompt removal of asylum-seekers to Rwanda –including by drastically stripping back the courts’ ability to scrutinize removal decisions–run contrary to the basic principles of the rule of law.”

+ A declassified government report says military leaders are refusing to retain comprehensive records of war crimes allegations from inside the Pentagon. Example: Records have gone missing from a year’s worth of bombing and mass casualties in the Middle East.

+ From Andrew Cockburn’s devastating (to the Pentagon) piece in Harper’s on the strangulating grip the Tech Lords now hold over the Military-Industrial-Complex:

“Artificial intelligence may indeed affect the way our military operates. But the notion that bright-eyed visionaries from the tech industry are revolutionizing our military machine promotes a myth that this relationship is not only new, but will fundamentally improve our defense system—one notorious for its insatiable appetite for money, poorly performing weapons, and lost wars. In reality, the change flows in the other direction, as new recruits enter the warm embrace of the imperishable military-industrial complex, eager to learn its ways.”

+++

+ Here’s Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan arguing that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless searches is a threat to national security…

+ Since at least Dukakis, the Democrats have tended to run national campaigns by trying to tell their base why they can’t have what they want, while the Republicans tap into their base’s darkest revenge fantasies and promise to fulfill them.

+ For the past four months, as his poll numbers among American Muslims have collapsed over his backing of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza, Biden’s message has been: vote for me or Trump will reimpose the Muslim ban. Now, it’s been reported that Biden is considering invoking the very same executive authority granted by a 1952 law (212(f)) to crack down on migrants crossing the southern border. This is likely an indication Biden feels he’s already lost the Muslim vote, and deservedly so, and is now moving to alienate the Hispanic vote.

+ Check out New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat (as if that means anything anymore), ripping Republicans for blocking the Biden border deal in the Senate (which is more punitive than Trump’s) and whining: “I miss the Tea Party. I miss John Boehner. I miss people that you could actually work with and get things done.”

+ Last week, Hochul was vowing to nuke Canada if the Canadians ever crossed the Niagra and made a raid on Buffalo: “If Canada someday ever attacked Buffalo, I’m sorry my friends, there would be no Canada the next day. That’s a natural reaction.”

+ As Biden moves to out-Trump Trump on the border, he may end up wrecking what’s left of the economy. A recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report credits the “migrant surges” with adding $7 trillion to the US economy, lowering the federal deficit and being the prime reason the US economy has outpaced EU nations since the pandemic.

+++

+ According to a recent Navigator Research poll, 85% of Americans now blame corporate greed for inflation, including 90% of Americans working in service industry jobs. This also includes 59% who say corporate greed is a “major” cause of inflation, a 15-point increase since January 2022.

+ Biden keeps pointing at the stock market as a measure of the strength of the economy, when the real numbers he should be concerned about are these: two million people in NYC are living in poverty, including 1-in-4 of the city’s children. The numbers increased by 500,000 in a single year, after Biden allowed federal economic support during the pandemic to elapse.

+ A USDA report estimates that 19 million Americans live in low-income, low-access areas where people may have to walk more than a mile to get to the nearest supermarket.

+ In 48 out of 49 cases the NLRB has decided so far on Starbucks, the labor law judges found that Starbucks was guilty of illegal anti-union practices.

+ Federal inspectors begin investigating Fayette Janitorial after a 14-year-old boy employed by them had his arm mangled while cleaning a Perdue slaughterhouse. Since then, they’ve found at least 24 other children, between the ages of 13 and 17, working overnight shifts cleaning dangerous equipment like meat saws and headsplitters for the company in Virginia and Iowa.

+ Father Gary Wegner runs a Detroit soup kitchen. He told Jeff Stein of the Washington Post that hunger is increasing nationally and that demand is up in his parish by around 80% from last year: “Jesus said blessed are the poor. Only in America do we put the modifier, ‘Blessed are the deserving poor.’”

+ Around 1-in-12 adults in the US have unpaid medical bills of at least $250, with people in the South and rural areas reporting the greatest burden of medical debt, according to a study from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and KFF. South Dakota (17.7%), Mississippi (15.2%), North Carolina (13.4%), West Virginia (13.3%) and Georgia (12.7%) had the highest shares of adults with medical debt on average between 2019-2021. Of those states, only West Virginia expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults. The report estimates that Americans owed at least $220 billion at the end of 2021.

+ In a dissenting opinion this week, Justice Clarence Thomas, whose lifestyle been lavishly stabilized by the likes of Harlan Crow, argued that New York City’s rent stabilization program is an unconstitutional taking of private property without compensation:

Petitioners are owners of small and midsize apartment buildings who challenge New York City’s rent stabilization laws. Among other things, they argue that New York City’s regulations grant tenants and their successors an indefinite, infinitely renewable lease terminable only for reasons outside of the landlord’s control. Petitioners argue that they have suffered a per se taking as a result. The constitutionality of regimes like New York City’s is an important and pressing question. There are roughly one million rental apartments affected in New York City alone.

+ Consider Thomas’ desire to gut rent control in the light of a study just published in the Journal of American Medical Association of 282,000 renters who received an eviction notice between January 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021, that showed an excess mortality rate “106% higher than expected.”

+ And these grim numbers are only for the “threat of eviction” during the pandemic, the mortality rate for the reality of eviction will only show up in the succeeding years…

+ Speaking of Clarence Thomas, he just hired Crystal Clanton, a former employee of the rightwing student group Turning Point, USA who was canned for texting “I hate Blacks. Like fuck them all” as his law clerk. Clanton is a graduate of Antonin Scalia Law School.

+ NBC News: “Millennials and Gen-Zers are pulling in bigger paychecks, but much of their spending power is fueling short-term purchases like groceries and vacations, not savings.” Imagine spending their money on groceries. Always short-term gratification with these kids!

+ Amazon was cited by CAL-OSHA for repeated violations of workplace safety rules in its San Bernardino warehouse by making employees work in excess heat. In one case, instead of providing the required shade for workers, Amazon had them standing under the wings of a cargo plane they were unloading. The fine for denying workers access to legally mandated shade and cool-down breaks: $6,750.00.

+ In explaining why he’s not for diversity, Kentucky State Sen. John Schickel offered a list of “good stereotypes,” asserting that Germans are great engineers, the French are great cooks, and Italians are great race car drivers: “Different races, different genders are attracting to different things.”

+ Jon Stewart, neoliberal…

+ Why does Stewart believe that having a functioning public transport system is un-American?

+ Will someone please forward Umberto Eco’s assessment of the American rail system to Jon Stewart?

American trains are the image of what the world might be like after an atomic war. It isn’t that the trains don’t leave, it’s that they don’t arrive, having broken down en route, causing people to wait during a six-hour delay in enormous stations, icy and empty, without a snack bar, inhabited by suspicious characters, and riddled with underground passages that recall the scenes in the New York subways in Return to the Planet of the Apes. The line between New York and Washington, patronized by newspaper reporters and senators, in first class offers at least business-class comfort, with a tray of hot food worthy of a university dining hall. But other lines have filthy coaches, with eviscerated leatherette cushions, and the snack bar offers food that makes you nostalgic (you’ll say I’m exaggerating) for the recycled saw dust you are forced to eat on the Milan-Rome Express…

The train in America is not a choice. It is punishment for having neglected to read Weber on the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, making the mistake of remaining poor.

+++

+ Alicia White, one of the cops involved in the police killing of Freddie Gray, landed a plum new job Department’s Public Integrity Bureau, where she will oversee Internal Affairs, the division which investigates and disciplines corrupt and killer cops.

+ A Kentucky cop named Brent Hall responded to a call about an extremely drunk woman. She went to the ER. Upon her return home hours later, the cop showed up at her house, gave her vodka, got her even more drunk and raped her. Hall’s now been charged.

+ Ruth Wilson Gilmore: “They’re planning jails for kids whose parents haven’t been born yet.”

+ Three people were caught bringing fentanyl over the Paso del Norte border last week. They were all US citizens.

+ In an unsigned opinion a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the prosecution improperly withheld evidence of Florida death-row prisoner Harry Phillips’ mental illness and presented false arguments at trial. Even so, the court upheld his conviction and death sentence.

+ Almost 40% of LA Sheriff’s Department personnel don’t live in LA County.  At least 51 of them live in states like Idaho and Arizona. One lives as far east as Kentucky.

+ In the last thirty years, the number of violent and property crimes solved by California police through an arrest dropped by 41%. During the same 3 decades, the police budgets in the state increased by 52%.

+ Dominic Choi, the new interim chief of the LAPD, will be paid ($400,000) almost twice as much as California’s governor ($234,000).

+ Percent of people in state prisons who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder: 43%

+ Percent of people in state prisons currently receiving therapy or counseling from a professional: 6% (Source: Prison Policy Institute)

+ From 2014 to 2021, there were over 300 preventable deaths in US prisons, including 187 suicides, 89 homicides and 56 deaths deemed “accidental.”

+ Back in November, I wrote about the case of Timothy Murray, the 11-year-old from Brownsville, Texas was locked up in solitary confinement for three days, following a dispute with his school’s principal. Last week, a judge dismissed all charges against him.

+++

+ The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that frozen, unimplanted embryos qualify as human beings under state law. Here’s an excerpt from the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Court, Tom Parker:

In summary, the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: (1) God made every person in His image; (2) each person therefore has a value that far exceeds the ability of human beings to calculate; and (3) human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself. Section 36.06 recognizes that this is true of unborn human life no less than it is of all other human life — that even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.

The caption of the case is itself fairly astounding: James LePage and Emily LePage, individually and as parents and next friends of two deceased LePage embryos, Embryo A and Embryo B; and William Tripp Fonde and Caroline Fonde, individually and as parents and next friends of two deceased Fonde embryos, Embryo C and Embryo D v.The Center for Reproductive Medicine, P.C., and Mobile Infirmary Association d/b/a Mobile Infirmary Medical Center.

+ This is the same Supreme Court that ruled the experimental destruction of Kenny Smith’s life by suffocation with nitrogen gas neither “effaced the [God’s] glory” nor the state’s constitution.

+ According to the court’s ruling, even if the Alabama legislature passes a measure to re-legalize IVF, such a law would violate the state’s constitution.

+ Fearing potential prosecution, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has paused its in vitro fertilizations after the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are human beings and might be considered as such under state homicide statutes…UA-B’s decision was followed by an announcement from the National Fertility Association: “Nationwide embryo shipping services have indicated they will stop transporting embryos to and from Alabama until further notice.” Meaning that current IVF patients in Alabama can no longer transport their existing embryos to other states.

+ Nikki Haley, the great (white) rational hope, said she supports the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen “embryos are babies”…

+ Then there’s Justice Amy, who will eventually be making the ultimate decision on this case…

+ The anti-abortion movement is now effectively going after facilities that provide services to families so desperate to have children they’ll spend tens of thousands on IVF treatments to try to do so…

+ If frozen embryos are now considered living humans, what about the cryogenically preserved? What about the head of Ted Williams?

+ During the Republican primary debate for the US Senate in Ohio, Bernie Moreno suggested that young women wouldn’t need to get abortions if people did more “pro-mom” things like helping them put their strollers in the overhead compartments on airplanes….

Q. What changes would you like to see regarding reproductive rights or abortion as a US Senator:

Bernie Moreno: “My daughter just took a flight to go back home where she lives, you know, a mom carrying what looks like an F-1 team worth of equipment and people helped her on that plane, helped put the stroller away, helped her in her seat, gave up their seats. Those are the kinds of things we could do to have a pro-mom, pro-family policy.”

+ A data broker sold mobile phone geolocation data to an anti-abortion political group that sent targeted misinformation to people who visited any of 600 reproductive health clinics in 48 states…

+ The long-term goal seems to be the prohibition of “recreational sex”…

+ Do Trump and Matt Gaetz know about this plot?

+ Even Putin is promoting sex for reproduction, not recreation. During a recent visit to a tank factory, Putin inveighed against Russia’s demographic decline. In January Russia’s population was just over 146 million down by three million people from 2004. “If we want to survive as an ethnic group— well, or as ethnic groups inhabiting Russia—there must be at least two children” per family, Putin told the tank factory workers.

+ Alito really wants to gut the Obergefell decision (granting a constitutional right for gay marriage). Here he goes again, weighing in on a case (Missouri Dept. of Corrections vs. Jean Finney) where two potential jurors were dismissed because of their religious-based homophobia:

In this case, the court below reasoned that a person who still holds traditional religious views on questions of sexual morality is presumptively unfit to serve on a jury in a case involving a party who is a lesbian. That holding exemplifies the danger that I anticipated in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015), namely, that Americans who do not hide their adherence to traditional religious beliefs about homosexual conduct will be “labeled as bigots and treated as such” by the government. Id., at 741 (dissenting opinion). The opinion of the Court in that case made it clear that the decision should not be used in that way, but I am afraid that this admonition is not being heeded by our society.”

+ Evangelicals in Texas are “freaking out” over a “demonic” statue honoring Ruth Bader Ginsberg at the University of Houston. In fact, it ought to be liberals and progressives freaking out over the ongoing political beatification of this megalomaniacal, middle of the road, opera-date of Antonin Scalia, who in 40-plus years on the federal bench only saw fit to hire one black law clerk out of the 160 who worked for her and held on to her seat on the court at least 10 years past the date when she should have retired, thus paving the way for the most reactionary Supreme Court since the one that decided Plessy v. Ferguson.

+ Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik on January 24, 2023: “They made up the term stochastic terrorist for us. So honestly, like, that makes me feel really important.”

+ Betty Dodson: “Why does the acceptance of masturbation seem to threaten the very foundation of our social structure? Could it be that independent orgasms might lead to independent thoughts?”

+ According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 6 million children in the US may be living with post–COVID–19 conditions (AKA long COVID).

+ A new CDC study of the prevalence of reported long Covid shows that rates are highest in states with low vax rates and higher rates of Covid infection, and lowest in the highest-vax states.

+ More than 60% of Black American adults have heart disease, and heart disease death rates are highest among Black Americans compared to other groups.  However, studies estimate that Black doctors make up as little as 3% of cardiologists in the U.S.

+ The WHO predicts that more than half the world’s countries will be at high or very high risk of measles outbreaks by the end of the year.

+ Meanwhile, Florida’s anti-vax surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, granted parents permission to send unvaccinated children to school during a measles outbreak…

+++

+ FoxNews on Trump’s sneaker ($399 a pair) scam: “Even the sneaker thing…as you see black support eroding from Joe Biden, this is connecting with Black Americans because they love sneakers. They’re into sneakers. This is a big deal, certainly in the inner city.” 

+ Trump in North Carolina: “We’re buying oil from Venezuela! When I left, Venezuela was ready to collapse. We’d have taken it over and gotten all that oil.”

+ How the War Horse described Trump’s plans for the US military: “Hunting cartels, patrolling US cities, quelling dissent.” Remember when the GOP was irate (rightly so) that Clinton had violated the Posse Comitatus Act by sending the Delta Force to help the FBI and ATF  incinerate the Branch Davidians and their children at Waco…?

+ Over to you, Leonard Peltier…

+ People make fun of Lindsey Graham (rightfully so) for being so subservient to every Trump whim that he changes long-held positions at the drop of a dime. But the liberals are no different and just as insufferable, if less spastic and comical.

+ Another update on a story I’ve been writing about for the past few months: A Texas judge has ruled that a Houston-area high school did not violate the Crown Act (a state law prohibiting discrimination against Black hairstyles) when it expelled 18-year-old Darryl George for wearing Dreadlocks. The judge ruled, absurdly, that long dreadlocks did not constitute a Black hairstyle!

+ Bill Kristol: “Biden needs to unleash his inner Harry Truman.”
Greg Grandin: “Which cities, this time?”

+ Rightwing provocateur Jack Posobiec at CPAC: “Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on Jan. 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it.” I thought J6 was an Antifa/FBI op? Are they owning it now? Has anyone told Tucker?

+ Bertrand Russell on how fascism comes to power: “First, they fascinate the fools. Then, they muzzle the intelligent.”

+ Many conservative Democrats in the House and Senate, such as Montana’s Jon Tester, are running much better against their opponents than the conservative Democrat in the White House is against his…

MONTANA POLL:

President

Trump 51% (+22)
Biden 29%

Senate

Tester 49% (+9)
Sheehy 40%

18% of Republicans said they would cross party lines to support Tester.

Dem: Tester 97-1%
GOP: Sheehy 72-18%
Independents: Tester: 57-26%

—Weariness with the post-9/11 wars and the financial collapse put Montana in play in 2008. Obama’s handling of both put it back in GOP control…

2008

McCain 49.5
Obama 47.1

2012

Romney 55
Obama 41

+ The State of Mississippi has short-changed Alcorn State University, a historically black college, by $257.8 million in agricultural funds from the federal government over the last 30 years, diverting most of the funds to Mississippi State University.

+ Instacart, the grocery delivery company that rose to prominence during the pandemic, is showing customers AI-generated images of food and recipes with ingredients that don’t seem to exist.

+ Here’s a pretty interesting visualization of the shifting emphasis of US foreign aid since the end of World War II…

+++

+ It’s February and Alberta just declared an early opening to “fire season.” There are a total of 54 new fires and dozens remaining from last year that continue to burn.

+ Still Unsafe at Any Speed: According to a study of the harm done by cars published in Science Direct, one in 36 deaths (1.36 million deaths a year) has been linked to “automobility.” Globally, cars and automobility have killed 60–80 million people and injured at least 2 billion. 

+ Can’t wait to see how the Sierra Club and the rest of GangGreen rationalize Biden’s latest retreat on his environmental pledges. This time he’s instructed EPA to back off its strict new tailpipe emission standards, in order to slow the transition to Electric Vehicles, where US automakers continue to lag far behind both China and Europe…

+ The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, once the most progressive court in the country, just struck down a moratorium on the export of coal mined from federal lands. The Associated Press described the ruling as “a setback for Dems and environmentalists.” Not to mention a rapidly warming planet. Northern Cheyenne Tribal Administrator William Walksalong: “We need the Biden administration to step up & live up to its promises to protect our climate, conduct a long overdue review of the federal coal leasing program and make thoughtful plans for the future of public lands.”

+ Biden’s Bureau of Land Management is reviewing a sprawling carbon storage project proposed by ExxonMobil for federal lands in eastern Montana. Apparently, even if we succeed in transitioning from oil, we’ll never rid ourselves of the oil companies…

+ A study published last week in the journal Science Advances is the first to show a strong link between large-scale locust swarms and climate change: ‘Heavy wind & rain may be triggering widespread, synchronized desert locust outbreaks in key breadbasket regions of the world, new research shows. And the range of these ravenous, crop-stripping locusts could expand up to 25% due to climate change.’

+ Of the nearly 1,200 migratory species monitored by the U.N. – including whales, sea turtles, apes, songbirds and others – more than one-fifth are now threatened with extinction.

+ A new study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology has found the agricultural pesticide chlormequat in 4 out of 5 people tested. The chemical has been linked to reproductive and developmental abnormalities in animal studies.

+ In Okinawa, the water levels of its reservoirs are so low they’ve been forced to switch to using water from Chubu, which has been deemed unsafe for drinking water because of high levels of PFAS contamination.

+ January 2024 was the eighth consecutive month where monthly global temperatures hit a record high. It was also the planet’s second-wettest January on record, according to NOAA.

+ Don’t blame El Nino. Historically, the temperatures of El Nino winters are about the same as La Nina winters.

+ The development of 10 Amazon data centers in two rural counties (Morrow and Umatilla) has turned one of Oregon’s smallest utilities (Umatilla Electric Cooperative) into one of the state’s biggest polluters. Umatilla Electric, which has only 16,000 customers, now generates 1,812,263 metric tons of CO2 a year. Compare that to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) which serves 97,060 customers and generates only 82,570 metric tons of CO2 a year.

+ According to a 2023 study published in Animal Conservation, wolves avoid howling in landscapes that have been heavily altered by humans. 

+ Since 1950, five species of butterfly have been driven to extinction in the US alone and the silverspot may soon make that six.

+ Jared Farmer, Trees in Paradise: As late as 1950,  more than one million acres of old-growth redwood forest still stood in California, almost all of it privately owned. Just 50 years later, only 100,000 acres of old-growth remained, almost all of it publicly owned.”

+ From Amitov Gosh’s Tanner Lecture: “At exactly the time when it is clear global warming is … a collective predicament, humanity finds itself in the thrall of a dominant culture in which the idea of the collective has been exiled from politics, economics, and literature alike.

+ Back in 1986, a report commissioned by the Vinyl Institute, a plastic industry trade association, found that “recycling cannot be considered a permanent solid waste solution.”

+ Here’s a time-lapse of the more than 500 private jets departing Vegas after the Super Bowl…

+++

+ First Google came for CounterPunch and removed us from its News feed, then Google came for the News tab altogether….

+ James Joyce in a letter to TS Eliot written in 1932, where he inveighs against English imperialism, censors, prisons, literary excerpts and idiocy:

As regards the proposal to publish episodes of Ulysses in the Criterion Miscellany I am against it. First it implies that I have recognized the right of any authorities in either of Bull’s islands to dictate to me what and how I write. I never did and never will. Secondly the episodes are of unequal length, thirdly I think that at least seven of the eight episodes would not pass the censor. I see by the press that this nobleman announces his intentions of banning films which contain pictures of ‘bedroom scenes, hardships of prison life and the Prince of Wales’–there is only one arugment with such idiots. Fourthly Ulysses is a book with a beginning, middle and an end and should be presented as such. The case is quite different with W.i.P. [Work in Progress, ie., Finnigans Wake], which has neither beginning nor end. I would agree to a private edition of Ulysses to start with if the text is unabridged and unaltered and I imagine that if the price were high enough the Home Office would take no action. There are a few little worries coming its way shortly which will probably give them food for thought. For the last twenty eight years I have been listening to or reading protests from Outre-Manche in which the stallwarts swore they would never print and never publish what I was writing and I have always found that in the end they settle down and make a good hearty meal of their own words. And why not, since it is the best language in the world for general nutriment? Buon pro faccia!

+ Someone call PETA, she’s freaking out the dog…

+ Edmund Wilson on Gertrude Stein: “I had an agreeable first impression of a quick and original intelligence dealing readily from the surface of the mind with the surfaces presented by life–the responses so direct and natural, the surfaces seen so unconventionally, that one did not at first feel anything wrong; but a chilling second impression of a great iceberg of megalomania that lay beneath this surface and on which, if one did not skirt around it, conversations and personal relations might easily crash and be wrecked.”

+ One of the dirty secrets of pro baseball is that teams used to have an even number of black players so that white players didn’t have to room with African Americans.

+ Undoubtedly the best thing that happened to Ron DeSantis during his ridiculous presidential campaign: wearing high heels helped improve the walkability of his stride

+ Brett Chapman, a Native American lawyer and descendent of Standing Bear, on George Washington: “He was a bad person, even for then. That native-born British subject enslaved Black people, destroyed so many Indigenous communities the Haudenosaunee called him Town Destroyer, and committed treason over “taxes” which is hardly legitimate. He’d be a far right reactionary today.”

+ From Samuel Hyland’s review of the legendary Sonic Youth live bootleg, The Walls Have Ears: “Sonic Youth were often desperate, it seemed, to prove that the filthy was even filthier than you imagined: Your America was their wicked warzone, your Manhattan their squalid sublunary.”

+ Luna’s Dean Wareham on Damo Suzuki, the lead singer for the experimental rock band CAN, who died last week: “Met Damo Suzuki 2012 at a small festival we played in Alberta, Canada–he would play gigs in Canada but long refused to play in the USA. Talking to him backstage, someone approached and told him ‘I love your singing.’ ‘NO,’ he said, ‘I am not singing. I am BEING DAMO SUZUKI.'”

They’re Killing the Children Down in Gaza…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

After Black Lives Matter: Policing and Anti-Capitalist Struggle
Cedric G. Johnson
(Verso)

The Lives of Seaweeds: a Natural History of Our Planet’s Seaweeds and Other Algae
Julie A. Phillips
(Princeton)

Abolition: Politics, Practices, Promises, Vol. 1
Angela Y. Davis
(Haymarket)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

The Walls Have Ears
Sonic Youth
(Goofin’)

In Electric Time
Jeremiah Chiu
(International Anthem)

Shades of Yesterday
DJ Harrison
(Stones Throw)

An Organized Tyranny of Men

“Women are the creatures of an organized tyranny of men, as the workers are the creatures of an organized tyranny of idlers. Even where this much is grasped, we must never be weary of insisting on the understanding that for women, as for the laboring classes, no solution to the difficulties and problems that present themselves is really possible in the present condition of society. All that is done, heralded with no matter what flourish of trumpets, is palliative, not remedial. Both the oppressed classes, women and the immediate producers, must understand that their emancipation will come from themselves. Women will find allies in the better sort of men, as the laborers are finding allies among the philosophers, artists, and poets. But the one has nothing to hope from man as a whole, and the other has nothing to hope from the middle class as a whole.”

– Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling, The Woman Question

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: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3