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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday 6/12/24

Barn | Hot Interior | Seabiscuit Exhibit | Hit-and-Run | Cadet Grads | Festival Smoke | Find Dot | Vagrant Watch | PHF Questions | Summer Meals | Budget Balancing | AVUSD Construction | Ed Notes | Lake Mendo | Symphony Pres | Les Crane | Focus Groupies | New Doctor | Wolf Man | Yesterday's Catch | Answers | New Hip | Home Surgery | Clearlake Sues | Slugs/Snails | Empath Suffering | Talbot Stroke | Voting Dem | Last Text | Bird Killers | Best Team | Vote Don | CMC Cover | Natural Beard | Civil Dialogue | Public Defectives | California Weed | Founders Pounding | FBI Questions | Lying Spies | Ukraine Quagmire | Screwheads | Sports Media | Dark Doves | Glasgow Comedians | Absolute Callousness | Nut House | Simply Waiting | Supreme Graft | Cease-Fire Proposal | War Baby | Blood & Numbers | Sleepytime

Red Barn and Silo, Potter Valley (Jeff Goll)

HOT AND DRY weather today for most of the interior. Strong and gusty northerly winds expected again today for coastal ridges and headlands. Temperatures trend down on Thursday, followed by more substantial cooling over the weekend as strong and gusty westerly to northwesterly winds strengthen in the interior. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A hazy 50F ( fog ? ) this Wednesday morning on the coast. Our forecast if for clear & breezy but the fog is building back in so who knows? Winds will pick up for the next few days.


On June 6th, at 11:10 p.m., the Willits Police Department responded to reports of a hit-and-run vehicle vs. pedestrian collision in the 100 block of Holly Street in Willits.

On arrival, the Officers located a group of juveniles providing aid to an unconscious 16-year-old male minor lying in the middle of the roadway. The juvenile was breathing but had experienced significant critical injuries because of the collision. Officers provided medical aid to the victim until Little Lake Fire Department and Medstar emergency medical providers arrived.

Witnesses at the scene reported that a full-size pick-up truck had intentionally struck the juvenile and had then fled the scene.

Luis Morales

During their investigation, Willits PD Officers were approached by Luis Archundia Morales (an adult male, and Willits resident), who identified himself as the vehicle driver who had struck the minor. Archundia-Morales also provided the officer with the location of the vehicle involved in the incident.

After obtaining statements from Archundia-Morales, other witnesses at the scene, and collecting security footage and other physical evidence, Archundia-Morales was arrested for his involvement in this incident. Archundia-Morales was later booked at the Mendocino County jail for Attempted Murder, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, Child endangerment resulting in Great Bodily Injury (GBI) or death, Causing GBI to another, and Hit and run with injuries,

The victim in this incident was initially treated at Howard Memorial Hospital for his injuries and later flown to an out-of-the-area hospital for further treatment. The victim is currently in stable condition.

The Willits Police Department would like to thank the Little Lake Fire Department, Medstar, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol for their assistance in this investigation.

The Willits Police Department is continuing its investigation of the incident and is asking anyone who may have been a witness to the event—and has not yet provided a statement—to call (707) 459-6122 to speak with Officer Pearson, the primary investigating officer, or Officer Angell, the assisting investigating officer.

TODAY, we want to congratulate and recognize our young cadet firefighters; Gus Spacek, Jareth Guzman, and Alan Aguilera!

Several of AVFD'S FFs and EMTs came by to support them as they recieved there High School diplomas. These young men have proven themselves, and we are proud to have them on our department! We wish them the best as they move onwards with their future plans. Well done!!

A READER ASKS: I have a friend who would love to attend the music festival at the end of the month. She’s a little worried about the open use of marijuana. The smell makes her ill. Is it sparse or heavy. Can someone let me know?

ANNEMARIE WEIBEL: The invitation to join local historian Dot Brovarney on Saturday, June 15, at 2:00 PM to 3:15PM did not mention where the event will take place. It will take place at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah. See web page for a map:


This is the kind of disrespect we can count on with the continued tolerance by sympathizers, county and city officials. This tweaked out individual was laying at the entry during opening today. There was a veteran in his truck nearby who heard him threaten me with physical harm and remarked “this city is out of control, something needs to be done.” No response from City of Ukiah Police Department.

VERY LITTLE ATTENTION has been paid to an obscure Psychiatric Health Facility study that was presented to the supervisors in January 2021 (during covid) entitled “Feasibility Study Report” for the “Whitmore Lane Psychiatric Health Facility” by Sacramento PHF Consultants/Architects Nacht & Lewis. The original purpose of the study was to justify the complete demolition of the Whitmore Lane nursing home as compared to some kind of partial teardown/salvage options.

In laying out the parameters of the proposed 16-bed Psychiatric Health Facility, the consultant notes that almost 40 trained, professional staffers will be required to run the Whitmore Lane Psychiatric Health Facility (at a cost of at more than $4 million a year). Where did they get that staffing number? All the operational numbers were obtained from the “Telecare Corporation” which Behavioral Health Director Dr. Jenine Miller contracted with well in advance of the PHF’s construction. Telecare, by the by, is not part of Redwood Community Services. There’s no mention of where Telecare Corporation will obtain 40 new professional “full-time equivalent” psych staffers.

From the study: “Facility Staffing: A component of the study was to understand the staffing requirements for the psychiatric health facility to determine functional area requirements for staff and parking needs. The consultant was provided with the proposed staffing pattern from Telecare Corporation, the prospective operator for the new facility. The staffing pattern indicated that 39.4 Full Time Equivalent staffers are needed for a 16-bed facility.”

Even though the PHF is now scheduled to open in late 2025 (maybe), no one has raised any questions about how it will be staffed, where they’ll find 40 new mental health staffers (plus whatever other support and security staff), what its operation will cost and how it will be funded, or what protocols will apply under what conditions and what priority scheme will be used to accept out of country mental patients.

For the time being, the facility is outside Ukiah City Limits, so it will fall under the Sheriff’s jurisdiction when law enforcement is called in. Since the building is county-owned it will not be subject to property tax.

(Mark Scaramella)

GRANTS AND CUTS: How Mendocino County Balanced Its Budget for 2024

by Sarah Reith

The Mendocino County budget is balanced, with $7 million in one-time funds. The general fund allocation is $86.4 million, while non-departmental revenue, excluding one-time funds, is $79.3 million. The county is deferring about $2.2 million, and deleting 142 unfilled positions. 

CEO Darcie Antle listed some of the difficulties in presenting a balanced budget this year, including “State budget deficit, flat revenues and this board’s goal to support their most valuable resource by approving market wage increases with a $9 million dollar impact over three years.”

This is the second year in a row that the budget has relied on $7 million in one-time funds, as Supervisor Ted Williams pointed out. He was the lone dissenting voice when it came time to approve the CEO’s proposed budget and accept the recommendations. He told his colleagues that, “The two concerns for me that I would that I would need addressed in order to support this budget are, one, what we’re going to do about the Assessor’s needs so that we can begin catching up on revenue and, second, at least a plan to not use one-time money. We can’t be living on one-time money. It’s not responsible. And here we are again at about $7 million dollars one-time money.”…


Day 2--Elementary parking lot starts.


MY ALL-TIME FAVE ANNOUNCEMENT arrived of course on purple paper: “Feminist theology and women's spirituality. Become a novice thealogian (sic) for a semester! Feminist thealogy (sic)/women's spirituality is an experiential/discussion based course that examines feminist influences on Judaism, Christianity and the Neo-Pagan movement over the past 35 years. Explore stimulating ideas such as the gender of God, history and myth for a thealogical (sic) perspective, feminist worship and tikkun olam (repair of the world) Fall 2002, Tuesdays, 7-9:40 RCH 20, 3 units. Rev. Laurel Holmstrom, instructor.”

WHERE'S SARA DIAMOND? We need her more now than we needed her back when Craig Hulet was making a quick buck foisting his paranoid world views off on the gullible among public radio audiences. Having learned absolutely nothing from the end of the world that failed to happen on the stroke of midnight 2000, another hustler showed up to cash in on the apocalyptic yearnings of Mendolib — Michael Rupert!

THE BRILLIANT MS. DIAMOND singlehandedly sent Hulet back to his Idaho mountaintop as Hulet and his “progressive” sponsors denounced her and threatened her with libel suits. But Hulet sold a lot of tapes before it became obvious even to the slo-mo types dominant at KPFA, KMUD and KZYX that he was a fascist-oriented charlatan whose explanations of the first war on Iraq were wrong every which way.

THE SAME PEOPLE who were stockpiling rice and toilet paper in anticipation of January 1st, 2000, the same people who jammed a Fort Bragg hall to listen to Helen Caldicott's lunatic end-of-the-world prayer sessions, the same people who think it's entirely likely that George Bush the Second not only knew about September 11th well before it happened, but helped plan it, the same people who get all their information through a miasmatic filter of dope, music and cult-quality public radio programming, these same people got a full house to view “an astounding video by Michael Rupert” at the Boonville Fire Station in July of 2002. It was astounding, alright, astounding that anybody could be so uninformed, so naive as to buy this stuff.

DAVID CORN of The Nation did a Sara Diamond-quality deconstruction of Rupert and his wholly unfounded opinions. Of course Corn's work is print-based, informed, reasoned, and isn't set to music, but if the fuzzy-warms can sit still long enough to absorb a few thousand careful, linear words assembled by Mr. Corn on Mr. Rupert and his revelations, they're still Google-able.

NO, I DON'T HATE BIDEN. I feel sorry for the guy, although I've always thought he was contemptible, politically considered. At this point, when his senility is beyond obvious with his every public appearance, the Democrat cabal that keeps shoving him out there and pretending he's A-OK, is a perfect example of how cynical, how bankrupt the party is.

BUT BUT BUT… Aren't you a Democrat Mr. Editor? Yes, afraid so, and at this point it's more embarrassing than being a registered sex offender. Er, check that grammar. I'm only a registered Democrat although the last Democrat I voted for was McGovern in '72, and I think I voted for Hamburg for Congress, kicking myself ever since for not voting for the far more principled local lib, the late Phil Baldwin, scourge of the leaf blowers and jet skis.

A FEW MONTHS AGO, when I could still talk, and fresh off vanquishing Professor Zwerling of Name Change Fort Bragg at the Fort Bragg Library, successfully arguing that we should celebrate America's unhappy beginnings as a measure of how far we've come as a more or less successful intra-ethnic, more or less democratic nation, albeit a nation likely headed for civil war in November, I was chatting with another old radlib when I mentioned how apprehensive I was, and am, for my grandchildren, who will step into a seething mass of social decay. He replied, “They're lucky. Look at us and all the bland years we've put in. If I were young and starting out again I'd look forward to at last having a shot at a real revolution rather than all the reform stuff that occupied us. Bring the beast down!” In my present condition, I just hope I'm in good enough shape to crawl to the barricades to volunteer as a sandbag.

A READER WRITES: The weather couldn't have been better — it was calm until the wind came up in the afternoon. I drove back through the vineyards of Anderson Valley. It's the same throughout California: every time I drive from Sacramento into the Mother Lode, I see more vineyards. I’ve got to admit that vineyards are more beautiful than a clear cut forest or cattle grazing on dry grass. However, the human and environmental cost of the vineyardization of California's remaining rural areas is huge. I find it amazing that North Coast activists, for the most part, aren't protesting the environmental and labor practices of the wine lords. The wine industry's practices provide a “three-for-one special” bad guy poster child for community organizing. Number one: The massive diversions of water needed for viticulture that destroy salmon and steelhead habitat on the Navarro, Gualala, Russian, and other streams and rivers. Number two: The pesticides the wine lords put on their vines are toxic to humans, fish and wildlife. Number three: These rich corporate “farmers” exploit a poorly-paid immigrant workforce. And when the UFW tries to organize these “sweatshops in the fields,” the wine lords hire union-busting law firms to stop the workers from exercising their right to organize. Don't get me wrong. There are a few organic vineyard owners who farm sustainably and treat their workers decently. But they're still a tiny minority and are constantly under threat of being driven out of business by the rich corporate wine lords. How a “public” radio station like KZYX or any “progressive” organization could take any money from the wine lords is beyond my understanding. If you want to “fight the power” in rural California, organizing people to break the wine lords’ grip on power is a great issue to unite environmental, immigrant rights and labor groups around.

Lake Mendocino (Jeff Goll)


We are excited to announce that Michael Cox has been voted in as Symphony of the Redwoods Board President.  Having set the bar for how to lead and after an incredible six years at the helm, Eva von Bahr has stepped down.   Eva will continue in myriad other roles with the Symphony, as a Board member, Opus Chamber Music Series Coordinator, ad sales representative, Celebration Gala Chair, and principal Bassoonist.  We are incredibly grateful and blessed for her contributions and look forward to building on the strong foundation Eva has laid. 

Michael joined the Symphony Board of Directors in May of 2023 and is the principal trumpet for the orchestra.   Michael fully engages with the Coastal musical landscape and participates in various bands, jazz jams, orchestras, and general musical adventuring.  Mike plays with the Bob Ayres’ Big Band (they will be playing at our Garden Concert on August 11) and has played for many local children through the Symphony’s Music in the Schools program.  

Join us in celebrating the strong leadership that got us here today and welcoming Michael to the role.
Joanie Packard
Executive Director
Symphony of the Redwoods

Symphony of the Redwoods Board and Staff. Eva von Bahr - front row, left.  Mike Cox - Back row, fourth from right.

EMERALD STUD: Les Crane was handing out handfuls of cannabis to medical cannabis patients who showed up to support him at his trials. He filled up two mason jars of two different strains for me outside the courthouse in Willits. Was his trial in Willits or Ukiah? Pretty sure he gave me sour diesel and purple. I brought my own jars. He walked over to my car and filled my jars inside of the truck of my car. We were right outside the courthouse and city hall. It was right in front of city hall in Willits. I was expecting to go sit inside for his trial but Pebbles was there and I can’t remember why we didn’t go sit in the courthouse. I think it got transferred to Ukiah that day. Not sure. Does anyone remember that? I thought his trial was in Willits Courthouse.

ED NOTE: By all accounts there were 4-6 people who broke into Crane's Laytonville home that night and killed him. Assuming the killers were from this area, I think this is probably one of those cases where the cops have a good idea who did it, but knowing who did it and proving it…


Dr Stehling

Ukiah, California - Empower Wellness Direct Primary Care Medical Clinic proudly announces the arrival of Dr. Kristen Stehling, a dedicated Direct Primary Care (DPC) physician committed to revolutionizing primary healthcare in Ukiah, California.

For a Free Meet and Greet and More Information:

Phone: 707-760-7249


Address: 530 S. School St., Ukiah, CA 95482



by Jim Shields

Over the years, Tony and I talked about everything and anything we found interesting. In my book, if somebody can talk intelligently and make you laugh at the same time, I listen to them. I listened to Tony a lot.

When he was Sheriff we joined forces fighting the Supervisors over their short-sighted support of the Mental Health Department’s idiotic demand to close the Psychiatric Health Facility. Craver said that police frequently encounter individuals who are not lawbreakers, but merely folks who are mentally ill. “These people we pick up on a 5150 are not criminals,” Craver said. “They’re just mentally ill individuals who need professional help.”

Craver told me that when he was assigned to the Coast Patrol (1980s-90s), “there was this guy who whenever we had a full moon he would go into this pasture just off Highway 1 and howl at the moon. He thought he was a wolf. He’d go into that pasture just as naked as the day he was born. He’d be down on all fours, howling and snarling, but he never bothered anybody, didn’t cause any trouble. So, if there was a full moon and I was on duty, I’d stop by that pasture and check on him, just to make sure everything was ok and he didn’t need any help. One night I got out of my rig and walked up to the fence and called out to him, ‘Hey Mr. Wolf, how you doing, everything all right?’ He was probably about 20 yards away still howling at the moon. He turns towards me, keep in mind he’s naked, and hot-foots it over to me on all fours. He stops right by the fence where I am, lifts his hind leg and pisses on the ground, and then scampers away on all fours again, I just laughed and told him good night. Now could I have 5150’d him? Sure, but why do that? He was no harm to himself or others, hell there was never anybody around at that time of night. So, anyway you just have to use a little bit of horse sense when you’re dealing with people who may be a little mentally off. You never want to over-react, that’s how you can lose control of the situation and it’s escalated to a point that’s not called for.”

CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Bauer, Boughton, Hoff

JESSICA BAUER, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, cruelty to child-infliction of injury.

KYLE BOUGHTON, Willits. Domestic violence court order violation, probation revocation.

BENJAMIN HOFF, Ukiah. More than an ounce of pot, evidence tampering, contempt of court/breach of peace, evidence tampering.

Johnson, Leonard, Miller

KEVIN JOHNSON, Ukiah. DUI, leaving scene of accident with property damage, resisting.

KEVIN LEONARD, Ukiah. Stalking and threatening bodily injury, criminal threats, vandalism, ammo possession by prohibited person, felon/addict with firearm.

DEVYN MILLER, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person.

Orsini, Ortiz, Rathbun, Smart

MICHAEL ORSINI, Penngrove. Suspended license, probation revocation.

LUIS ORTIZ, Ukiah. Mandatory supervistion violation, probation revocation.

ALVIE RATHBUN, San Francisco/Ukiah. Resisting.

SETH SMART, Ukiah. County parole violation.


Dear Editor,

Ever experience miracles? Last Friday my wife Kathleen and I did. She had been in nightly hip pain for two years. Was it from her roller-blading sport?

5:45 nurse Erika checks her into Kaiser Hospital. Surgery Department is on 2 nd Floor. 6:10 AM nurse ushers Kathleen away; waiting in Waiting Room.

She’s in Pre-Op Room with six other patients. Anesthesiologist and Dr. Grace there. He initials her left hip. 7:25 she’s transferred to OR. 7:30 Dr. Grace starts replacing her L hip with stainless steel one. 10:05 surgery complete; K transported to Recovery Room. Recovery Room entrance 70 feet from W. Room. Nurse Rachel calls saying she’s slowly awakening from spinal block, anesthesia. 1:15 Aide says I can enter R. Room to see my wife. We speak. We hold hands, kiss. R. Room an activity beehive. Nurse Lizzy and nurse Rachel,, all in simultaneous action; adjusting patients, taking BPs, calling physical therapist-Kat. Kathleen stands. Assisted by Kat walking and to step up up and down. Given her dress she wore in with. Staff working together, constantly focused on job. 2:50, Nurse Lizzy transports Kathleen, me out hospital’s front door.

Bicentenial Miracle completed in just 6 hours.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa


City Takes Next Step to Obtain Records & Secure New (Legal) Election

After repeated issues by existing shareholders within Highlands Mutual Water Company’s service area and Highlands’ challenges in to providing service for certain development projects, the City of Clearlake became concerned about the ability of Highlands to provide reliable drinking water and fire flow protection. Highlands refused many requests to supply the City with records, despite the City being the largest shareholder in its service territory and having a legal right to the records under the CA Mutual Water Company Open Meeting Act and CA Corporations Code section 1600 et seq.

Today, as a follow up to an April 10, 2024, demand letter, the City filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Lake, about the following:

  • election of directors at the April 10, 2024, annual shareholders meeting was invalid (directors were not properly elected as directors) so the defendant directors (board seated April 10, 2024) are not entitled to serve as directors at Highlands; the lawsuit includes an injunction against all director defendants acting as directors or exercising any of the powers conferred on directors of Highlands
  • demand for a new, properly noticed, election where each shareholder gets a vote and each vote is counted
  • inspection of corporate records including copies of accounting books, records, and all shareholder and director meeting minutes, including any reports prepared by or on behalf of Highlands related to the condition of Highlands’ water system and its vulnerability to service interruptions
  • Highlands’ record of shareholder names, addresses, and shareholdings including the document referred to in Article IV, Section 8 of the Bylaws as the share register

“Concerns from shareholders, coupled with our own observation of poor fire flow, drinking water delivery, and Highland’s inability to serve new development, prompted us to take a closer look,” said Mayor David Claffey. “The more we delved into Highland’ operations, the more we were obstructed. City representatives were blocked from meetings or refused information, and a demand letter sent in mid-April was largely ignored. The council believes more transparency is needed and felt we had no other course of action than to file a lawsuit on behalf of the public.”

Some examples of the City’s concerns about Highlands includes:

  • Mismanagement of Highlands’ system by Highlands’ board since Highlands’ water has repeatedly exceeded minimum levels of haloacetic acids according to the State Water Resources Control Board several times in recent years. While this has been partially explained as a one-time event, in fact, it has been an ongoing problem over a five-year period. This is a concern since long-term exposure to haloacetic acids can cause severe health impacts.

A proposed, much-needed medical clinic in Highlands’ service area was not able to meet Fire Department requirements due to Highlands’ inability to provide adequate service. With the City’s intervention and

  • in Highland’s undersized infrastructure, the facility was completed and became operational in 2023.
  • A development that includes a popular fast casual food chain has been halted by the requirement of Highlands to include large sections of their system that has been undersized for many years. Highlands should be working with the developer to identify a path for a successful project.
  • Rates already considered to be “high risk” for affordability by the State Water Board were raised behind a locked door on March 27, 2024, with no direct notice to shareholders.

“The voices of Highlands’ shareholders have been muted by the Board’s actions,” said Vice Mayor Joyce Overton. “This isn’t just about public properties owned by the City, but each individual shareholder being able to exercise their right to information and having a voice in how the company operates. It’s shocking to see some aspects of the company’s business practices, including that the Board makes decisions behind locked doors. Unfortunately, Highlands responded to questions and inquiries by further restricting access to information rather than simply sharing information that shareholders are entitled to review. It makes me wonder, what are they trying to hide.”

Clearlake has developed a section on their website about the water service within the City and what they’ve learned about Highlands and will keep it updated as they obtain additional documents and reports.

(Alan Flora/Clearlake Press Release)

BILL BURR: White people putting “Black Lives Matter” signs in their windows but not doing the actual work to dismantle white supremacy. That’s like if I told you my great grandmother in Germany had a ‘Knock it off, Nazis’ sign. If you run into a white person who says they’re an empath, run the other way. These white, self-described empaths are the type of people who like making other peoples’ suffering about (themselves).


Among David Talbot's acclaimed books is a history of San Francisco in the 1960s through '80s

by Timothy Karoff

San Francisco writer David Talbot, who co-founded the left-leaning web magazine Salon and wrote “Season of the Witch,” suffered a near-fatal stroke on Sunday, June 2, his son confirmed.

Author and journalist David Talbot recently suffered a stroke and a fundraiser has been created in his honor.

Talbot, who is 72 years old, has been deeply entrenched in San Francisco’s political and journalistic landscape for decades. For 10 years after Salon’s founding in 1995, he worked as the website’s editor-in-chief and CEO (and returned to the CEO role from 2011 to 2012). He authored several histories, including “The Devil’s Chessboard” and “Season of the Witch,” which chronicles the aftermath of San Francisco’s 1960s counterculture. On the side, he campaigned for several of San Francisco’s progressive political candidates.

“My dad loves San Francisco with all his heart,” Talbot’s son, filmmaker Joe Talbot, said. “He’s about as San Francisco as anyone can be who wasn’t actually born here in the city.”

Joe told SFGATE that Talbot’s stroke was “significantly more severe” than the stroke he suffered seven years ago, which later became the topic of his 2020 book, “Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke.” Talbot now struggles to form words, but Joe told SFGATE that he and his family are confident that he can understand them.

“We still feel that he has inside him his beautiful spirit intact and he’s able to understand a lot of what we’re saying to him,” he said.

Joe said that since announcing the stroke, there have been “so many” kind gestures from the community. Since he and his family announced the news of the stroke to the public on Monday, they’ve received an outpouring of support, including from Supervisors Dean Preston and Aaron Peskin, who shared a GoFundMe to support Talbot’s family in a social media post on Monday.

The stroke arrived as Talbot and his wife, Camille Peri, were in the process of moving out of their home of 30 years, Joe said. Now, their previous plans cannot accommodate Talbot’s condition, leaving the couple without a permanent home.

“Up until this point, David had been supporting himself and Camille through one small stream of income from his writing, which he will not be able to return to anytime soon or possibly ever, given the severity of this stroke,” Talbot’s friend Connie Matthiessen wrote in the GoFundMe post. “Suddenly without income or long-term housing, we’re seeking some small relief for the Talbots as they navigate this trying time.”



Yes, the systems that run our lives are breaking down, piece by piece, all around us and it is becoming more obvious as time goes on and 2) Young people have a very hard time finding a good job, buying a car, buying a house.etc. But. .. young people are pretty naive and stupid, generally speaking, so I think they will keep voting for Democrats as things collapse.



Regarding a recent Chronicle letter titled: “Cute kittens grow up. What these killer cats do to the environment”: The argument that cats are an “invasive” species is just silly. The world is ever-changing and invasiveness is based almost entirely on what date something had to be here to be considered native.

But more importantly, if wild bird populations are the concern, what about the leading killer of these animals: tall buildings with lots of windows?

Up to 3.5 billion birds are killed by flying into windows in the U.S. alone each year, new research shows. Fixing these buildings to lessen this carnage is relatively easy. Why not do that?

While one can ignore the real killer of birds, focusing instead on cats, one must consider that cats are an important part of our urban and semi-urban ecosystem.

Absent cats, then what? Poisons that pretty much decimate the entire animal ecosystem, including raptors (which are birds)

The myopic views of domestic cats expressed in the letter are harmful to our entire ecosystem. Cats and humans have co-evolved over thousands of years, and there is an important symbiosis that is beneficial to the ecosystem. Cats are to be prized, not hated.

Dan Grassetti


RUSSELL BRAND: 'In a straight choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, if you care about democracy, if you care about freedom, I don't know how you could do anything other than vote for Donald Trump for precisely the reasons that they claim that you can't, They act as if a vote for is almost like you’re directly voting for Armageddon, like you see hysterical performances outside of courtrooms, endless MSNBC bombast. But I’m starting to think that no, a greater threat to democracy is this kind of technological feudalism that tells you that it cares about you and that it’s protecting vulnerable people, all the while increasing censorship, increasing the funding of wars, increasing the division between ordinary Americans.'


by Ron Kroichick

Christian McCaffrey’s big June became even bigger Tuesday.

One week after signing a two-year, $38 million contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers, the running back landed another honor: McCaffrey will be on the cover of “Madden NFL 25.” EA Sports made the announcement Tuesday morning, putting a 49ers player on the cover for the first time in 25 years (since Garrison Hearst).

McCaffrey also becomes the first running back in a decade to appear on the game cover.

McCaffrey posted an image of the Madden cover on X — football in his right hand, eyes fixed downfield, two Raiders defenders giving chase — along with a four-word message. “Lifelong Dream Come True!” he wrote.

“To be on the cover of Madden NFL is a career achievement and an honor I share with all of my teammates, coaches and 49er Faithful who have helped make it possible,” McCaffrey said in the EA news release.

This year’s Madden game will launch Aug. 16.

McCaffrey, who turned 28 on Friday, is coming off a staggeringly productive season for the 49ers. He led the NFL in yards rushing (1,459), total yards from scrimmage (2,023) and touches (339), and shared league-high honors in touchdowns (21).

Not coincidentally, McCaffrey was voted Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Pro. He also finished third in voting for Most Valuable Player, behind Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson and Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott.

McCaffrey’s new contract gave him $4 million raises in both 2024 and 2025, and his original non-guaranteed salaries of $11.8 million and $12 million, respectively, became fully guaranteed. The deal includes $30 million in salaries over the 2026 and ’27 seasons, though that money is not guaranteed.

(SF Chronicle)


“Just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean it’s right to say,” said Carol Christ, who is retiring as chancellor at the end of this month.

by Kurt Streeter

Waves of boos, angry chants and the steady rhythm of feet pounding on metal seats were upending the graduation ceremony at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Viva, viva Palestina!” students sang out. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Israel’s apartheid has got to go!”

It was the soundtrack of this year’s antiwar protest, voiced on the morning of May 11 by hundreds of cap-and-gowned graduates, loud enough to nearly drown out the ceremony’s official speakers — and force the event to halt.

One minute passed.

Two minutes.


It looked like Berkeley’s 2024 commencement was about to be canceled midstream.

Then, suddenly, surprisingly, the ceremony resumed.

Once it was over and most had left the school’s low-slung football stadium, Berkeley’s chancellor, Carol Christ, sat near the podium in a folding chair. She is silver-haired and soft-spoken, a soon-to-retire 80-year-old former English professor with an unusual background for the modern college president: Her views on free speech first crystallized during her years as a student protester in the turbulent 1960s.

When the demonstrators forced the pause, had she considered ending the event?

“Absolutely not,” Dr. Christ said. This is Berkeley, she said. “We were always going to power through. Protest is part of our core.”

Dr. Christ (her name rhymes with “wrist”) plans to retire at the end of June. The first woman appointed to the job, she leaves as the oldest chancellor in Berkeley history, and one of the oldest leaders of an elite college campus in America.

She first arrived at Berkeley as a professor in 1970, when only 3 percent of faculty members were women, the campus was almost entirely white, and the protest movement that took hold in 1964 had yet to reach its crescendo.

Now that her career is ending, Dr. Christ has had more time to reflect on the tone and tenor of campus protest, and she is worried about where it is headed.

Dr. Christ became chancellor in 2017, a year in which the conservative firebrands Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro stirred frenzy by announcing lectures on campus. After Mr. Yiannopoulos’s appearance was stopped by what the chancellor called “a riot,” she established a free speech year on campus, complete with extra teaching about the First Amendment and a commission on dialogue set up by faculty members.

For Mr. Shapiro’s lecture, the price tag for security was roughly $600,000. But Dr. Christ said protecting a view that many on her liberal-leaning campus found odious was well worth the cost.

“I started this job during one free speech crisis,” Dr. Christ said, “and I’m leaving this job during a free speech crisis.”

This school year, Berkeley struggled with how to handle civil disobedience over the Israel-Hamas war. At universities across the country, police crackdowns have led to the arrests of more than 3,000 protesters this spring.

Berkeley got through its protests with only minor police involvement. But the university still saw enough upheaval and ugliness to trigger an antisemitism probe from House Republicans and an investigation by the U.S. Education Department.

Dr. Christ says she has always believed campuses should reflect the philosophy of John Stuart Mill: “The concept,” she said, “that you need a kind of free marketplace of ideas for truth to prevail.”

She remains wedded to First Amendment speech protections. Still, after seven years leading Berkeley, her views have an extra layer of seasoning: Mill’s ideals no longer hold up. Not in this age of acrimony and division.

Consider what unfolded on Berkeley’s campus after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

There was the daily, in-your-face protest of Israel at Sather Gate, one of the campus’s main entrances. There was the clash at a lecture hall when dozens of pro-Palestinian activists broke windows and beat on doors while protesting a speech by a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces, forcing attendees to evacuate with police protection.

Activists at times profanely derided Dr. Christ, saying that she had tolerated Islamophobia on campus. Law students disrupted a dinner for graduates at the home of Erwin Chemerinsky, the law school dean who is Jewish and Zionist.

The activists had already posted caricatures of him with blood on his lips and a fork and knife — echoing an antisemitic trope, in the view of Mr. Chemerinsky, Dr. Christ and many others.

A student leader, Malak Afaneh, denied that claim, telling The New York Times, “If our dean had been a Muslim, hijabi-wearing woman that supported genocide, I would have made the exact same poster with the exact same blood.”

Activists erected nearly 180 tents outside Sproul Hall, famed for its free speech and antiwar rallies in the 1960s. It looked like the university might convulse with the kind of clashes that would later be seen at Columbia University, Dartmouth College, and the University of California, Los Angeles, where the school presidents brought in the police to break up encampments.

Dr. Christ, whose office features a framed 1960s photograph of the Berkeley free-speech icon Mario Savio, decided to treat the protests gently, choosing negotiation over force. Shortly after the nearly shuttered graduation ceremony, Dr. Christ brokered a deal that helped lead to the encampment’s peaceful shutdown.

Among the students’ long-held demands: recognition of Palestinian suffering and divestment from companies tied to Israel.

The chancellor offered a compromise.

She told the activists that Berkeley could not independently divest. Such decisions lie with administrators who oversee California’s public university system, and those administrators oppose such a demand.

But she pledged to issue a statement calling for an immediate and permanent cease-fire. And she promised to support an examination of Berkeley’s investments to ensure they aligned with its values, which include, she said, “a respect for equality, human rights, a commitment to fostering the conditions for human growth and development, and an abhorrence of war.”

Reaction was swift. Dozens of faculty members signed a letter repudiating the deal and chastising the chancellor for “appeasement.” A splinter group of protesters disregarded the compromise and broke into a closed, fire-damaged university building near the main campus, culminating in at least a dozen arrests.

Even leaders of the student encampment derided the chancellor’s compromise. “Too little, too late,” said a protest spokesman, Matt Kovac, who vowed that the civil disobedience would continue in the fall.

Asked whether leading Berkeley felt like being caught in a vise, Dr. Christ nodded and smiled a tight smile.

But she said calling on the police in riot gear to disband the encampment and Sather Gate protest would have been not just a disaster, it would go against her school’s cherished identity. And she recalled her own days in the 1960s, as a student at Yale, protesting the Vietnam War.

“If there was a big demonstration, I was there,” she said, adding, “I wanted to do anything I could to oppose the war.”

“The students today feel the same moral passion,” she said. “It’s the nature of students at that age. For these students, this feels like the greatest existential crisis of their being.”

“I was once that person myself.”

At the same time, things are different now, Dr. Christ said, enough to change the very nature of what it means to protest, and alter her own thoughts about free expression.

Social media has damaged nuance and empathy, she noted. Too many are siloed in chambers of information, walled from opposing views and wanting opposition silenced. There is no consensus on truth.

In previous decades, the most significant protests on her campus united students, she noted. “Now it is student against student,” she said. “Faculty member against faculty member. Staff member against staff member.” And each faction leans hard on talking over one another.

Then there is the ethos and sensitivity of the current generation, brought up with an extra awareness of slights large and small.

Students, she said, “feel sticks and stones can break my bones and names can always hurt me.”

To her, John Stuart Mill’s marketplace of ideas seems “less powerful” than ever.

“I’ve come to recognize that while freedom of speech is an absolute, just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean it’s right to say,” she said. “We all use censorship in our speech in relation to the occasion we are in. If you value your community, you have to find ways of sharing your views that are not vitriolic, that are not needlessly hurtful to other people.”

Right now, she said, “that’s not where we are.”

Unfettered expression comes with serious responsibility. That is why Dr. Christ spent the last several months asking students to consider the way speech and protest affected the entire campus community.

Berkeley, she said, must aspire to teach students how to have civil dialogue and debate. Without that ability, she said, “we are lost.”

Dr. Christ recalled Mario Savio, known for leading Berkeley’s free speech movement in the mid-1960s.

During one student rally, a police car was surrounded by student activists near Sather Gate. Savio, the chancellor noted, climbed onto the car to give a speech but first took off his shoes to avoid damaging its roof.

Dr. Christ wondered aloud whether a present-day activist would do the same before climbing atop a police car. Probably not.

In fact, she said wryly, they just “might kick in the windows.”


California no longer sells the most weed in America

by Lester Black

Vince Ning has a singular perspective on California’s weed industry. He’s the CEO and co-founder of Nabis, the state’s largest pot distribution company, which interacts with every single pot retailer in the state. When Ning looks out across California’s legal weed industry, he sees a market in long, drawn-out freefall.

“It’s like a wave crashing in slow motion,” Ning recently told SFGATE. “People thought the big crash was going to happen in 2022, and there was certainly a crash, but things continued to get worse in 2023. And we are still in 2024, and things aren’t looking that much better.”

The latest data confirms Ning’s point of view, with signs of economic trouble nearly everywhere you look: Overall sales have been falling for the past two years. The number of legal cannabis growers and brands has decreased by more than 70% since legalization first went into effect, according to the Mercury News. A recent report found that pot companies owe the state more than $730 million in back taxes, money that California likely will never see as most of those companies have already folded.

Furthermore, very few new farms are opening, even in places like Humboldt County, the original capital of cannabis cultivation in California. Overall employment in the legal industry is also falling. Even the sacred mantra of California’s cannabis market — that it’s the largest legal market for weed in the world — is at risk, as Michigan now sells more cannabis products per month than California.

Most analysts say that there’s no end in sight to the industry’s contraction. Or as Ning puts it, “We’re still not fully bottomed out.”

This is hardly the outcome Californians predicted in 2016, when voters legalized pot. There were already warning signs back then that making money in legal weed was nearly impossible in the four states that had legalized pot before California, but economists still issued sky-high predictions for the market’s size. More than 10,000 businesses were launched as entrepreneurs jumped into the so-called Green Rush.

Yet today, six years after legal sales started, the first wave of California’s legal cannabis industry is crashing.

California’s Green Rush

California, with its population of more than 39 million people in 2016, was irresistible to cannabis entrepreneurs. The Golden State’s massive population meant that voters had suddenly doubled the scale of America’s market for legal weed by approving legalization of recreational cannabis. It would take two years for legal sales to launch, but capitalists wasted no time investing billions into California’s pot market.

Companies like the retail chain MedMen and distributor Herbl raised massive sums of money under the promise that they would be virtually printing cash. The bet was that folks who may not have been comfortable purchasing illegally, but were hesitant to get into the medical marijuana system, would spend money in recreational pot stores, opening up a whole new subset of customers. Thousands of farmers applied to grow cannabis to feed the state’s massive new cannabis market.

Nicole Skibola can still remember the runaway optimism among entrepreneurs at the time. She joined thousands of folks in opening a new pot business, launching Cosmic View, a Sonoma County pot manufacturer specializing in edibles, topicals and medical-focused products, with her mother in 2017. Skibola and her mother are both cancer survivors who found relief using cannabis during their fights with the disease. They put every ounce of effort into their business, sourcing ingredients like local Sonoma County olive oil for use in cannabis tinctures and using only the best small-batch cannabis they could find.

“Looking back I’m like, man, we were naive,” Skibola told SFGate in an April interview. “We all thought California was different. California is a huge market. California is sophisticated. California is the cannabis capital of the world. I think there was a hope that California was going to break the mold of other states that had stagnated [and other] companies [that] were already starting to falter.”

But with the birth of a new legal industry also came a new maze of bureaucracy. California’s many layers of government also wanted a share of the newly flowing cash. The 2016 legalization initiative gave local governments nearly total control over regulations, which allowed politicians at both the city and county level to restrict how many licenses were allowed in their communities. They could also require hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees, a trend that one industry blog called “extortionate” in 2019. In some cases, California’s local pot laws allowed politicians to engage in outright criminal corruption, as Politico reported in detail in 2020.

In short, lawmakers across the state saw the new industry as a “cash cow that needed to be milked,” according to Dennis Bozanich, who worked as a cannabis regulator in Santa Barbara (he was once deemed the “cannabis czar” by a local paper) during the first years of legalization. He now runs his own consulting practice for government affairs.

“I think everybody got greedy,” Bozanich told SFGate, referring to both private companies that expanded too fast and government officials who created expensive regulations.

When sales first opened in 2018, things looked strong. A multibillion dollar pot market grew from nothing in a matter of months. The COVID-19 pandemic gave the market an additional boost in 2020 and 2021, when consumers across the West Coast spent more money on pot as they were stuck at home during pandemic lockdowns.

But the growth didn’t last long. California’s pot sales peaked in early 2021 and have since been coasting at a lethargic and slightly downward trajectory, with overall sales much lower than the estimates from pre-legalization had predicted. For the thousands of new pot business owners who invested heavily on the assumption their businesses would grow quickly — and keep growing for years — that spelled disaster. By the end of 2021, California was offering not a money-printing machine, but an overinvested market with nowhere near enough people buying pot.

Now, midway through 2024, thousands of pot companies have gone out of business, from the state’s biggest players like MedMen and Herbl to small family-run companies like Skibola’s Cosmic View. She decided to shut down her business this past April.

“This is a conscious choice for us to no longer participate in what is a broken regulatory system. It’s not like we ran out of money and had no choice; we decided that it was simply too painful to continue,” Skibola said. “I hear all the time, ‘Next year! Next year will be better!’ But next year is never better. … I personally think that it’s only going to get worse.”

Weak Cannabis Sales

California has the largest legal market for weed in the world by total retail sales — a fact Gov. Gavin Newsom likes to point out — but that’s not because California’s pot stores are particularly busy or profitable. California ranks 14th on annual retail sales per resident, behind every other West Coast state, with only $129 in legal pot sold per resident. That’s less than half of the $271 sold per resident in Colorado, according to an April report by LeafLink, a cannabis data company.

These meek retail sales numbers have resulted in California no longer having the largest market in the world by individual products sold. Michigan now sells more overall cannabis products than California, despite having only a quarter of the population.

They’ve also created a devastating cascade of market failures.

First, cannabis farms started going out of business, as weak retail sales and plummeting wholesale prices turned historic farms unprofitable. Then, the cash crunch came for distributors, which are the legally required middlemen between producers and retailers. With retailers running out of money, they stopped paying their bills to distributors. Producers and distributors kept sending legal pot to stores in the hopes they’d get paid eventually, but that only created a massive debt bubble. Now it’s bursting, bringing companies down across the state. Most famously, Herbl, once the largest pot distributor in California, collapsed last June.

The economic crunch has now come for retailers, with hundreds of stores across the state on the verge of failure. The bankruptcy declaration of MedMen, a cannabis retail chain that was valued at more than a billion dollars when California’s legal market first launched, in April served as a warning that things really are dire. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration said last month that 15% of retailers and distributors are in default on their taxes, which analysts say is close to a death sentence for those businesses as they face a 50% penalty if they miss a single tax payment.

Finally, the problem has worked its way to the government: An April report found the state was owed approximately $732 million in overdue cannabis taxes, money that the government will likely never see because 72% of those companies have gone out of business. Turns out the regulatory maze that led to sky-high licensing fees and tax burdens may not have actually been the way for communities to make money. Local governments from Sonoma County to Monterey County are finding that cannabis tax revenue cannot cover the costs of regulating the industry.

Perhaps that is the most powerful sign that California’s legal weed economy is in trouble: Even the taxman is struggling to make money selling legal cannabis.

Illicit Market Thrives

While California’s legal market has struggled, a massive underground pot economy has thrived. Billions of dollars of cannabis is being grown, packaged and sold at illegal stores that often look like fully licensed dispensaries. Estimates vary on how large the illicit market is, but the head of enforcement for the state Department of Cannabis Control recently told NPR that the illicit market is “definitely larger” than the legal market.

California has created an almost perfect environment to push customers toward the illicit market. It’s extremely expensive to open a legal business, thanks to high taxes and expensive regulations, and local bans have meant that a majority of the state is still off-limits to legal businesses even if an entrepreneur did want to pay to set up shop. Meanwhile, penalties for running an illegal business were largely reduced from criminal penalties to financial fines in an attempt to reduce the racial harms of cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately impacted people of color.

If a legal business does get up and running, it has to contend with a significant tax burden. California has a 15% excise tax rate on pot, but the effective tax rate can climb to as high as 34% when factoring in state sales tax and local taxes. That’s made California’s legal pot extremely expensive compared with other West Coast states — and made the illicit products, which are sold tax free, a cheap alternative.

All together, it’s created a situation where many entrepreneurs would rather take their chances making money in the illicit market than attempt to run a legal business. Jay Moss, a lieutenant at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, recently told the Los Angeles Times that some illegal pot shops reopen within hours of being shut down and look at the financial penalties as simply “the cost of doing business.”

These illicit sales undercut the legal market from every corner, depriving licensed businesses of customers they need to stay profitable and governments of tax revenue.

Who’s Left In California’s Cannabis Market?

Some of California’s pot problems have little to do with the state itself: Nearly all of the states that were first to legalize cannabis have seen decreased sales with many legal businesses struggling. That’s because the efficiencies of capitalism have dropped the legal price of pot precipitously, a dynamic predicted by economists, and made it harder to turn a profit selling legal cannabis. Federal prohibition has also been a thorn in the side of pot companies, as federal law makes it significantly more expensive to run these businesses and forces the companies to pay incredibly high tax rates.

There’s also the reality that the majority of businesses fail five years after they are founded. With legal sales six years old in California, it isn’t completely surprising that many of the businesses that first launched are now underwater.

Still, pessimism is the default perspective inside California’s legal industry. The mounting business debts in California’s legal market have been compared to an “extinction event” and left some academics studying California’s market asking whether legal weed can ever win.

Some, however, are quietly wondering whether what’s happened has been a necessary if painful winnowing.

Wesley Hein, an executive at Mammoth Distribution and board member of the California Distributors Association, compared the present pot crash to the dot-com crash of 2001 and 2002, when the Nasdaq lost 78% of its value in two years as exuberance in the Internet Age ended with widespread business failures.

“It looked like anything associated with technology was going to go out of business. And one after another they were going down,” Hein told SFGate. “But out of those ashes the companies that had real business … were growing. Google, eBay, PayPal all came when it felt like the sky was falling.”

There are reasons to think that, even with its systemic problems and nearly constant failures, California’s market could produce the future great pot companies. It has the size that would allow a company to scale without crossing state lines, a necessity given that the federal ban on marijuana prohibits weed-legal states from trading products between each other. There’s also a theory that given how turbulent California’s market has been, any company that has survived the crash of this first cannabis wave may be more likely to thrive if the market becomes calmer in the future.

Perhaps there’s no better example of that than Nabis, which formed out of the famed Y Combinator startup accelerator. The company grew slowly at first — Ning, its co-founder and CEO, even delivered cannabis himself early in the company’s life — but it’s now on a meteoric rise. In 2023, it was one of the fastest growing private companies in the world, according to Inc, and opened a new 87,000-square-foot distribution facility in the Central Valley, which Nabis claims makes it the largest such marijuana facility in the world. The company is now expanding to Nevada and New York.

Ning told SFGate that even with the industry struggling all around the state, “cannabis isn’t going anywhere.” If anything, he feels individual company failures could help surviving businesses by limiting competition. That’s certainly been the case for Nabis, which has rapidly filled the void left by Herbl’s collapse and even purchased some of Herbl’s former assets earlier this year.

“More people adopt [cannabis] every day into their daily lives. Someone has to serve them, and if there’s fewer operators out there to do so and times are getting tough, with consolidation happening there’s going to be only so many players that will last,” Ning said.


Documents show an internal FBI investigation questioned witnesses about political beliefs

by Matt Taibbi

Last week, on June 8th, the whistleblower advocacy firm Empower Oversight sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, along with a packet of documents. The company represents an FBI employee whose security clearance was revoked after he attended the January 6th protests. No one disputes the Bureau’s right to investigate, but the Bureau’s Security Division did more than that, sending a bizarre questionnaire to the employee’s co-workers.

The FBI sent at least three co-workers a list of queries that began with the instruction, “You have a duty to reply to the questions. Should you refuse to answer or fail to reply fully and truthfully, action against your security clearance may be undertaken.”

Co-workers were then asked if they heard the employee:

“Vocalize support for President Trump?”

“Vocalize objection to Covid-19 vaccination?”

The screenshot of the document…


by Ralph Nader

Is Joe Biden increasingly slipping America into the quagmire of the Russian/Ukrainian war? Something like the U.S. did in Vietnam?

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Biden announced that the U.S. government would help Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Despite being someone who taught classes on the “separation of powers,” he nonetheless continues the unilateral presidential practice of starting or involving the U.S. in foreign wars without Congressional authority.

Biden, aware of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and Putin’s dictatorial rule, started out cautiously but soon proceeded to repeatedly change his “No’s” to “Yes’s” regarding increased aid to Ukraine.

First, Biden said “No” to sending an advanced missile and then said “Yes.” Then he said “No” to the latest tank and then said “Yes.” Then he said “No” to F-16 fighter planes and then said “Yes.” Then he said “No” to cluster bombs and then relented with these brutal child killer weapons. (According to Human Rights Watch, “Clearance is dangerous, time-consuming, and expensive. Doing it well involves highly trained professionals with specialized equipment carefully marking and examining land meter-by-meter.”) Biden said “No” to using U.S.-supplied weapons to attack military targets within Russia. But then he said “Yes” to hit targets inside Russia for “limited purposes.” All along he opposed any soldiers from NATO going to Ukraine and now he is starting to relent, with some French “military advisers” on their way, that had to have had his approval.

Through the bloody World War I-type trench fighting with immense casualties on both sides, Joe Biden seems to be willing to arm Ukraine down to the last Ukrainian family. Everybody in his circle believes that only peace negotiations can end this war. Yet Biden failed to push his State Department and the UK Prime Minister to further productive negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Turkey during the first month of the war.

Biden accepted advice that Ukraine would get a better deal after the Russians were pushed back to the border. That has not happened and is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

So, the tens of billions of dollars flow to Ukraine. Israeli leaders used the legislation providing aid to Ukraine to secure more billions for weaponry and war costs from a deficit-ridden Biden budget. Meanwhile, crucial necessities of life for millions of American children and their needy parents remain underfunded or unfunded.

As for this Congress, with its rubber-stamp hoopla, its committees have continued a tradition of failing to have intensive policy oversight public hearings, as Senator William Fulbright had on the Vietnam War. The Afghan and Iraqi “wars of choice” (meaning they were illegal offensive wars) dragging on for many years witnessed a surrendering Congress avoiding serious public hearings, even on the annual $50 billion spent on these military adventures that circumvented the Committee process altogether.

Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein, who has testified before Congressional Committees over 200 times, has written about this Congressional surrender in our print newspaper Capitol Hill Citizen (See, as well in his new report Congressional Surrender and Presidential Overreach, with a preface by Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Does anyone in the powerless citizenry really care that their most direct branch of government – its 535 legislators – is not exercising precise and serious constitutional obligations, such as having the exclusive war-declaring power? For many years now, U.S. presidents have been free to start wars, mini-wars, and armed incursions in any country they choose with total impunity. This is constitutional authority seized by the Executive Branch from Congress which doesn’t want the responsibility clearly invested in it by our Founding Fathers.

A little-noticed practical result from this Empire-meddling is that our government is avoiding leading a “peace race” and reviving the requisite arms control treaties, especially such as the long-time faltering or expiring nuclear arms treaties with Russia. Moreover, Biden is spending far more of his precious time weaponizing the Israeli genocide, while weakly waffling about the issue of Israel committing war crimes, rather than spending his time strengthening and defending all life-saving regulatory agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, and Agriculture’s crucial missions for America. Moreover, there is a potential avian flu epidemic lurking on our dairy farms that is being neglected. (See, Dr. Rick Bright’s op-ed in the New York Times, June 5, 2024, titled, Why the New Human Case of Bird Flu Is So Alarming).

Biden has always been quick with the delivery of weapons and deployment of armed forces abroad and very slow with diplomatically driven conflict avoidance. The one very belated exception was the gridlocked war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. In 2021, he left Afghanistan abruptly, without taking along several thousand terrified Afghans, who were working as drivers, technicians, and translators, who were dangerously exposed.

Joe Biden squares off in the first presidential debate against Trump on June 27, 2024. Convicted felon Donald knows how to dominate his opponents in debates, if the moderator lets shouting, lying Trump get away with violating the time rules. It is almost certain though that he will go after Biden’s “endless wars.” Biden better have a Gaza ceasefire in place, because the lawless, violent Netanyahu would love to have lawless Trump back in the White House. As President, Trump supported outright annexation of the Palestinian territories and Syria’s Golan Heights and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Just a reminder from past columns, “Stop it, stop it now, Joe” was what Dr. Jill Biden said to her husband in December after seeing the mass slaughter of Palestinian infants and children. Send those wise words everywhere you can. Make them go VIRAL!


by Dave Zirin

After the police murdered George Floyd on May 25, 2020, people from across the sports world decided they could not just shut up and play. Athletes spoke out, protested, and, after police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot James Blake that August, even refused to take the field, court, and pitch.

In the face of this political surge, almost the whole of sports media—cable stations, newspapers, and magazines—decided that sticking to sports was no longer an option. There were articles, podcasts, radio shows, and television specials about this collision of sports and politics. Even ESPN yap fests turned their attention to issues that mattered—even if their analyses sometimes left something to be desired.

That is why it is illuminating that sports media in the United States is so quiet in the face of the biggest story in the world: Israel’s war on the civilians of Gaza. It is not like there is a shortage of sports angles. We have an organization, Athletes for a Ceasefire, whose members will give interviews and talk about what’s happening. We have Israel killing top-level Palestinian players and Olympic coaches. We have the push to ban Israel from the Olympics and World Cup. We have the Palestinian National Women’s Soccer Team traveling to Ireland, where they were feted as heroes. We have Palestinian teams playing amid unimaginable hardship and carnage. The stories are there for those who want to tell them. Instead the most recent article on Gaza on ESPN’s website is from five months ago, and it’s just a reprint of an Associated Press story about an Israeli soccer player who was “investigated” by Turkish authorities for trying to raise awareness about the hostages while on the pitch. That’s it.

Sports media is ignoring a story that has spurred violent mass arrests of young people on campuses and the revival of what are essentially House on Un-American Activities Committee hearings in Congress. Instead we have obsessions with legal sports betting, pompous pronouncements about basketball star Caitlin Clark (by men who seem to have just discovered that women play hoops), and an overproduction of podcasts that brand themselves as being about more than sports but won’t touch Palestine. It’s a whole lot of fiddling while people are burned alive with munitions made in the USA. Sports media, instead of challenging the status quo, is manufacturing consent. It reminds of George Orwell’s line in 1984: “…football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”

This is especially galling because the Black Lives Matter movement, with which so much of the institutional sports media engaged, made explicit connections to the Palestinian struggle. BLM activists found common cause with Palestinians not least of all because many US police departments have been sent to Israel to learn tactics of crowd suppression and “pacification.” But more so because of the common experience of second-class citizenship enforced through the barrel of a gun.

The institutions of sports media are rotten with anti-Palestinian racism and erasure. But that’s not the only reason for the silence. In my own conversations with sports media folk—some of whom DM me with laments about how they wish they could talk about Gaza more freely—people tell me that they are silent not because of bigotry but because to touch this issue is akin to French kissing a light socket. It’s not that editors or executives are turning down or killing stories. There is no cabal of billionaires demanding silence the way a bevy of plutocrats ordered New York Mayor Eric Adams to arrest protesters and occupy campuses. They are spiking these stories in their heads before anyone can say whether or not their publications should run them.

I know that I have the privilege to write for a publication at The Nation that allows me to explore these issues without a censor. I know that my television program on The Real News Network encourages me to pursue the intersection of sports and Palestine’s efforts at survival. I also know that I have an extra layer of protection not only because I’m a straight white man but because I’m a Jewish writer, which makes it harder to slander me as antisemitic.

But members of the sports media world do have more space to make themselves heard than they realize. Look at the numbers in favor of a ceasefire. Sports media could and should take the opportunity to open the eyes of their audience. A shift in coverage like this won’t be driven by principled executives or editors. It will take newsroom rebellions challenging their bosses and responding to the curiosities and convictions of their audience. It will take a conscious refusal to whistle past the mass graveyards.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the great Federico García Lorca. In honor of the day of his arrival on earth, here is one of his better known poems. Lorca was a poet, playwright, and theater director who was murdered In August 1936 upon the orders of General Franco.


For Claudio Guillén

In the branches of the laurel tree
I saw two dark doves
One was the sun
and one the moon
Little neighbors I said
where is my grave — 
In my tail said the sun
On my throat said the moon
And I who was walking
with the land around my waist
saw two snow eagles
and a naked girl
One was the other
and the girl was none
Little eagles I said
where is my grave —
In my tail said the sun
On my throat said the moon
In the branches of the laurel tree
I saw two naked doves
One was the other
and both were none

— Federico García Lorca, translated from Spanish by Sarah Arvio

“GLASGOW is maybe the most bullshit-free place on earth. I think I call it "the antidote to the rest of the world.”

It's so unapologetically working class and attitude-free. Everyone's looking "to take the piss out of you," as they put it. They're all comedians, and tough. They don't put on airs."

— Anthony Bourdain in the Old College Bar

IT IS A TERRIBLE BUSINESS, however, this living among inferior races. I have seldom from man or woman since I came to the East heard a sentence which was reconcilable with the hypothesis that Christianity had ever come into the world. Detestation, contempt, ferocity, vengeance, whether Chinamen or Indians be the object. There are some three or four hundred servants in this house. When one first passes by their salaaming one feels a little awkward. But the feeling soon wears off, and one moves among them with perfect indifference, treating them not as dogs, because in that case one would whistle to them and pat them, but as machines with which one can have no communion or sympathy. When the passions of fear and hatred are engrafted on this indifference, the result is frightful; an absolute callousness as to the sufferings of the objects of those passions, which must be witnessed to be understood and believed.

— James Bruce, Earl of Elgin, China, 1857

7600 BC

Reconstructed Mesolithic round-house Replica of a 10,000 year old round-house which was excavated from a nearby cliff-top site which had been discovered by the identification of flint artifacts in the eroding cliffs by amateur archaeologists.

The Howick House is a Mesolithic site situated in Northumberland, England, discovered by an amateur archaeologist who noticed flint tools emerging from a sandy cliff near the village of Howick. Further examination revealed a circle of large post holes with charcoal residues at their bases, numerous smaller stake holes with some angled inward from the perimeter of a hollow, and several shallow hearths inside the structure filled with charcoal, burnt nutshells, and bone fragments.

Radiocarbon dating of the charred hazelnut shells indicated that the site was established around 7600 BC and was inhabited for approximately 100 years. This discovery led to it being hailed as "Britain's oldest house."

Evidence from some hearths indicated exclusive use for nut roasting, with the volume of shells implying that food was prepared in large quantities, likely as a means of preservation for leaner times. Coupled with the robust construction suggested by the large post holes, this evidence has led to the conclusion that the dwelling was used as a permanent residence rather than temporarily or seasonally, as was previously assumed for the Mesolithic era.

I LIVED WHEN SIMPLY WAITING was a large part of ordinary life: when we waited, gathered around a crackling radio, to hear the infinitely far-away voice of the king of England… I live now when we fuss if our computer can’t bring us everything we want instantly. We deny time.

— Ursula LeGuin


by Johnatan Reiss

The fate of a U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal remained unclear a day after the U.N. Security Council endorsed it in a unanimous vote.

Israel says that the cease-fire plan ‘enables’ its war goals.

Pressure on Hamas to agree to a cease-fire proposal puts a spotlight on its leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

After the hostage rescue, the U.N. says actions by both Israel and Hamas may be war crimes.

Gazans express hope and skepticism over the Security Council’s cease-fire resolution.

The U.S. announces more humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the world was waiting for Hamas to respond to a U.S.-backed cease-fire plan endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. Neither Israel nor Hamas has formally embraced it.CreditCredit…Pool photo by Jack Guez

A day after the United Nations Security Council endorsed a U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal for the Gaza Strip, the focus shifted on Tuesday to the willingness of Israel and Hamas, under growing international pressure to end the war, to make a deal.

Each side made positive but vague statements about the cease-fire plan and blamed the other for prolonging a war that has devastated Gaza. But neither said it would formally embrace the proposal, which was outlined last month in a speech by President Biden and was the basis of the 14-0 vote in the Council on Monday.

An Israeli government official said in a statement that the proposal “enables Israel to achieve” its war goals, including destroying Hamas’s capabilities and freeing all the hostages in Gaza. But the official, who could be quoted on condition that their name and office be withheld, stopped short of saying whether Israel would accept the agreement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly declined to take a firm stand on the plan.

A senior Hamas official, Husam Badran, said the group had “dealt positively” with the proposal despite “no clear and public stance” from the Israeli government. Earlier on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken had said that the fate of the deal rested with Hamas’s top leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, who has not said whether he supports it.

“All parties involved and following the negotiations know: Netanyahu is the sole obstacle to reaching an agreement that would end the war,” Mr. Badran said in a text message.

The statements offered little clarity to the fate of a cease-fire proposal. The 14-0 vote in the Council supporting the proposal came as Mr. Blinken met with Israeli leaders on his eighth wartime visit to the Middle East to press Hamas and Israel to agree to a cease-fire.

Hamas and an allied group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, later issued a statement saying they had given Egypt and Qatar a response to the U.N. resolution, but did not say they had accepted it. They stressed their demand for an Israeli withdrawal and their readiness to negotiate — points they had made many times before. Qatar and Egypt act as intermediaries between Israel and Hamas, which do not communicate directly with each other.

An official with knowledge of the talks said the response proposed amendments to the cease-fire plan, including firm timetables for not only a short-term truce but a permanent one, and for a full Israeli withdrawal.

Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Mr. Blinken sought to put the onus directly on Mr. Sinwar, Hamas’s top official in Gaza, asking whether the group would act in the best interests of the Palestinian people by accepting the deal.

Mr. Blinken said he had received explicit assurances from Mr. Netanyahu in their meeting on Monday that he supported the proposal.

Mr. Netanyahu has said he will not accept any deal that ends the war before Hamas military and governing capabilities are destroyed, even as experts cast doubt on whether its war goals can be achieved. The Israeli government official who released the statement on Tuesday doubled down on that view.

Fourteen of the 15 members on the U.N. Security Council, with Russia abstaining, voted in favor of adopting a proposal calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza. Neither Israel nor Hamas has formally embraced the plan.CreditCredit…Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The resolution adopted by the Security Council called for an immediate cease-fire and negotiations on reaching a permanent end to fighting, and said that if those talks take longer than six weeks, the temporary truce would be extended. That could lead to a longer pause in the war, one that some Israeli leaders have been loath to accept.

Mr. Blinken emphasized that “the commitment in agreeing to the proposal is to seek that enduring cease-fire.” He added: “But that has to be negotiated.”

Along with the immediate cease-fire, the first phase of the three-phase agreement calls for the release of some hostages being held in Gaza in exchange for a larger number of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, the return of displaced Gazans to their homes and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in the territory.

The second phase calls for a permanent cease-fire with the agreement of both parties, the release of the remaining living hostages, and a full withdrawal of Israel’s military. The third phase would consist of a multiyear reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of deceased hostages.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, during a visit to several countries in the Middle East, that the onus was now on Mr. Sinwar to accept the new cease-fire proposal, which the United States brought to a successful Security Council vote on Monday. Rejecting the deal, Mr. Blinken said, would put Mr. Sinwar’s political interests ahead of those of civilians.

Hamas could be “looking after one guy,” Mr. Blinken said, referring to Mr. Sinwar.

Mr. Sinwar was an architect of the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, in which around 1,200 people were killed and around 240 taken hostage. American and Israeli officials who spent months assessing his motivations say that Mr. Sinwar knew the incursion would provoke an Israeli military response that would kill many civilians, but he reasoned that was a price worth paying to upend the status quo with Israel.

After Hamas agreed to a brief cease-fire late last year, during which more than 100 hostages in Gaza and many more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons were exchanged, Mr. Sinwar has held out against any further cease-fire deals. More than 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza during the eight months of war, and around 80,000 people have been injured, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which says that the majority of the dead are women, children and older people.

Mr. Sinwar’s position is not the only question mark in the negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel also has not said in public that he accepted the proposal the Security Council has endorsed and is under pressure from his far-right coalition partners not to end the war until Hamas is destroyed. Mr. Blinken said on Tuesday that Mr. Netanyahu had “reaffirmed” his commitment to the plan in private talks in Jerusalem.

U.S. officials said last month that Mr. Sinwar was most likely living in tunnels beneath Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza that has been devastated by Israeli airstrikes and fighting. Hamas has constructed a network of tunnels beneath Gaza to shield the group from Israeli surveillance and attack.

Israeli officials have said that killing Mr. Sinwar is a top priority, no matter how long it takes; he has not been seen in public since Oct. 7. He has also not released audio and video messages.

That public silence has made it difficult to determine his thinking and the extent to which he retains control of Hamas, some of whose political leaders are based in Qatar. But Israeli and American officials say Mr. Sinwar remains central to the group’s decision making.

The American and Israeli intelligence agencies that have assessed Mr. Sinwar’s motivations, according to people briefed on the intelligence, have concluded that he is primarily motivated by a desire to take revenge on Israel and to weaken it. The well-being of the Palestinian people or the establishment of a Palestinian state, the intelligence analysts say, appears to be secondary.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Mr. Sinwar had resisted pressure to agree to a deal in recent months, calculating that a continuation of the war would work to his political advantage even at the cost of rising casualties among Palestinian civilians.

The article cited dozens of messages reviewed by the Journal that it said Mr. Sinwar had transmitted to cease-fire negotiators, Hamas compatriots outside Gaza and others. It was not possible to authenticate the messages independently.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Mr. Sinwar said in one of the messages, identified as a recent one to Hamas officials who were seeking to broker an agreement with Qatari and Egyptian officials.

In another message cited by The Journal, Mr. Sinwar referred to a past war in which a weaker force prevailed over a more powerful adversary: an uprising in Algeria, which secured Algeria’s independence in 1962 at the cost of at least 400,000 Algerian and 35,000 French lives. That message called the losses “necessary sacrifices.”

The Journal report quoted what it said was a Sinwar letter, dated April 11, to the overall political leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, after three of Mr. Haniyeh’s adult sons were killed by an Israeli airstrike, in which he said that their deaths and those of other Palestinians would “infuse life into the veins of this nation.”

Mr. Sinwar was imprisoned for murdering Palestinians whom he accused of apostasy or collaborating with Israel, according to Israeli court records from 1989. He was released in 2011, along with more than 1,000 other Palestinians, in exchange for one Israeli soldier captured by Hamas. Six years later, Mr. Sinwar was elected leader of Hamas in Gaza.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday that it was “profoundly shocked” by the impact on civilians of Israel’s raid to free four hostages, adding that actions by both Hamas and Israel may be war crimes.

Gazans have described intense bombardment during the operation on Saturday in a crowded area of central Gaza, in which more than 200 Palestinians were killed, according to local health officials.

“The manner in which the raid was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question” whether the laws of war were respected by Israel’s forces, a U.N. spokesman, Jeremy Laurence, said in a statement.

Amir Weissbrod, a deputy director general at Israel’s Foreign Ministry who oversees relationships with U.N. agencies, responded on social media to the statement by calling it “another moral bankruptcy” by the United Nations. He accused the office of “encouraging terrorists.”

The office also said it was “deeply distressed” that armed groups in Gaza held hostages in violation of international law, particularly in areas where many people are living, “putting the lives of Palestinian civilians, as well as the hostages themselves, at added risk from the hostilities.” Hamas did not immediately respond to the statement.

“All these actions, by both parties, may amount to war crimes,” Mr. Laurence said.


by Selma Dabbagh

‘I can start with saying it is an unbearable situation in terms of dignity,’ my friend Marwa says in one of the voice notes she leaves me from her tent in Deir al-Balah. ‘Today you caught me on a good day. Today I want to talk. It is not usually easy for me to express this’ – the sound of a drone cuts in – ‘pain.’

Marwa lived through shelling in Gaza City with her daughters. In late November, she walked for ten hours, through bombed-out buildings and dead bodies, to get her daughters to safety with their father in Jordan. She returned to Gaza to resume her work with a humanitarian organisation earlier this year.

You start the day with trying to find drinkable water. You will find all the women from different classes and all the men from different social statuses looking for water. And the ones who will win? The practical ones. You see boys of five, six, seven years old lifting I don’t know how much water. I was thinking they will not grow up in terms of their height or weight. It is a long, long distance they walk.

Before the war in Gaza, more than 75 per cent of the people were unemployed and you can imagine after the war. You want to rent one room with a bathroom, but sometimes without, you can turn a room into a bathroom. This would cost not less than US$700 a month and this is if you can find one. Myself, I have a ‘bedouin queen tent’, as my head of mission calls it. It is plastic, very hot in summer, but it is a private tent. Most people they have tents made of fabric or material that they have stayed in for months. Now they are torn. In the winter it was awful. In the summer, they turn the tents in different directions to avoid the sun. Sometimes you will find them sitting in front of the tents because of the wind. The night is cold.

It’s hard to write, when there has been a massacre almost every day this week. How to make sense of blood and numbers? I am not living it, but even witnessed from afar, it feels like a layer of tar in the gut. The mind gags.

‘I was writing these pieces every day because I wanted others to know what was happening, I wanted there to be a chronicle of events in case I died,’ Atef Abu Seif writes in Don’t Look Left: A Diary of Genocide, which covers the period from 7 October to 30 December. ‘As the war continues, I can only think of survival. I cannot mourn. I cannot recover. My pain has to be postponed. My sorrow delayed.’ On a literary panel in Ferrara in 2018, Abu Seif spoke of his grandmother in Jaffa opening her home to Jewish refugees during the years of the British Mandate. He was born in Jabaliya refugee camp. On 31 May, it was reported that Jabaliya had been reduced to ‘a lifeless pile of rubble’, ‘unrecognisable’ after a twenty-day Israeli siege and bombardment.

‘In the south,’ Marwa says, ‘we are bourgeoise compared to the north.’ She has had bronchitis for weeks now but does not want to accept the tea that people offer her, knowing how much the gas costs to heat the water. Everything must be saved. Even if you have water, it is hard to use it, knowing others have none.

‘People are getting ill,’ Marwa says in another note. ‘You are forced to lose your standards of hygiene. Things you never thought you were capable of losing. You lose your principles, criteria, red lines.’ She sighs:

Anyway, ten days ago or so, I went to sleep with my cousin in Deir al-Balah in a school. I was sitting with a lot of women and a woman of say 35 said: ‘We are adapting for sure we are adapting, but as we are doing so, we are losing something beautiful in our souls.’

She repeats the phrase in Arabic.

There was a day in early May when news of a ceasefire agreed by Hamas was met with rejoicing in the streets of Gaza, only for the celebrations to be followed by more shelling. On 24 May, the International Court of Justice said that Israel ‘must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah Governorate’. On 26 May the Israeli Air Force bombed a displacement camp in Rafah, the small southern town where 1.3 million Gazans (of the former total of 2.3 million) had sought shelter in a ‘humanitarian safe zone’. The attack killed up to fifty people and injured a further two hundred. Fires ripped through the camp. A father held up the headless body of his eighteen-month-old child, Ahmed al-Najar.

On 20 May, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that his office was seeking arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister and defence minister for potential war crimes. On 28 May, the Guardian reported that Israeli spy chiefs had threatened the previous ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, as part of a ‘nine-year war’ on the institution. This was not news to lawyers working on Palestine-related cases at the ICC. Speaking at an Amnesty International event on apartheid in June 2022, Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, mentioned Bensouda’s refusal to be intimidated by visits from ‘ambassadors’ to her home in the Hague. ‘Brave woman,’ he repeated with emphasis.

Sourani himself showed more than a small amount of bravery when he escaped from the rubble of his bombed home in Tal al-Hawa, Gaza in October 2023. Interviewed shortly afterwards, Sourani, a recipient of several international human rights awards, criticised the ‘colonial, racist West’ for supporting Israel ‘by all ways and means … they are complicit … politically and militarily.’

Last week, the US House of Representatives voted to impose sanctions on the ICC for its pursuit of Israeli officers. Less than a year ago, in August 2023, President Biden directed US agencies to share evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine with the ICC. ‘Colonial, racist West’ is not a term used lightly by someone of Sourani’s stature. It is not a hysterical slogan. International institutions are being contorted out of recognition by the demand for the exceptional treatment of Israel. Last week’s vote in Washington occurred within hours of Israel’s bombing of a UN school in Nuseirat refugee camp, where six thousand Palestinians had sought shelter, killing over forty people.

On Saturday, Nuseirat was attacked again when the Israeli army invaded it. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the soldiers disguised themselves as humanitarian workers, using aid trucks. The US denied the use of the $320 million ‘humanitarian pier’ in the attack. More than 270 Palestinians, mainly women and children, were killed, with over seven hundred wounded. ‘No one mentions the massacre today, the intestines protruding from the body of a boy in the street, the scalp dangling from the head of a girl in a hospital, the legless old man with his damaged bike next to him,’ the poet Mosab Abu Toha wrote on X of the killings described by the Times as a ‘surgical strike’.

Four Israeli hostages were freed. All were said to be in good health. Barely functioning medical facilities struggled to treat the Palestinian wounded. Two of the World Food Programme’s warehouses were bombed, leading them to pause aid to Gaza through the pier. The UN agency had already, a month previously, on 4 May, announced that the north of Gaza was facing ‘full blown famine’, which was ‘moving its way south’.

‘I think the catastrophe, the nakba here,’ Marwa says in another voice note, ‘is not just that we have an enemy with very advanced weapons. It is also that the people here believe they are alone. They believe that in every other war, people have been able to move to safe places, to secure their kids, but here … it will be the end for the people.’

(London Review of Books)

Stuttgart, 1972 (Barbara Klemm)


  1. Bob A. June 12, 2024

    RE: A Reader Asks.

    It’s a Reggae festival ffs, you figure it out.

  2. David Gurney June 12, 2024

    Sad to hear about great investigative reporter and talented writer David Talbot’s stroke. “Season of the Witch” and “The Devil’s Chessboard” is required reading for every N. Californian.

  3. Chuck Dunbar June 12, 2024

    I’ve appreciated the remembrances of Tony Craver over the last few days. The “Tony and the Wolf” tale, courtesy of Jim Shields, tops them off. Great story, humane, respectful, humorous. Tony Craver was a true public servant. Thanks to those who worked with him in the field and others, too, for their memories.

  4. Harvey Reading June 12, 2024


    I do, and have, for a long time, almost as much as I hate Barack Obama, the guy who liked to belittle black audiences when he addressed them.

  5. Harvey Reading June 12, 2024

    …so I think they will keep voting for Democrats as things collapse.”

    Might as well. Things’ll collapse even sooner with fasciuglicans than they will with fasiocrats.

  6. michael turner June 12, 2024

    England has long given us a series of deep political thinkers, like Bertrand Russell, Arnold Toynbee, Christopher Hitchens. And now…..Russell Brand!

    • Bruce Anderson June 12, 2024

      Hitchens went over to the dark, very dark side with his support for the Bush Gang’s war on Iraq, a war based on a lie, and a war that has destablized the M.E. ever since. I urged my late comrade, Alexander Cockburn, to challenge Hitchens to public debates on the war. “You’re the only one with the rhetorical firepower to handle Hitchens.” Would have been quite a show but Cockburn, who knew Hitchens well, told me he’d rather have nothing to do with him.

    • BRICK IN THE WALL June 12, 2024

      Try ussell Howard instead of the dubious Russell Brand.

    • Steve Heilig June 12, 2024

      Of course Brand likes Trump. Sex assaulters tend to relate to each other.

      • Marshall Newman June 12, 2024


  7. Harvey Reading June 12, 2024

    Hmmm, Six-Twelve. I remember that from my childhood. It was the go-to insect repellent of choice for many, though I never found it be very effective. Slippery and oily, yes; repellent, no, except to the poor fool who used it…

  8. Marshall Newman June 12, 2024

    On the “Answers” cartoon, Osscam’s razer comes to mind. Complexity comes with assumptions and some assumptions are wrong.

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