Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!

‘+ The transformation of the Democrats into the party of the neocons is now complete. The Senate just passed a  $674 billion military budget, the largest since the peak of Iraq War and a $17 billion increase from last year. There were only seven “No” votes, none of them Democrats: Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, Mike Lee, Jeff Flake, David Perdue and Bernie Sanders.

+ The original political neocon was Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the Democrat from Boeing, before they all fled into the lethal embrace of Reagan.

+ Now the chickenhawks have finally come back home to roost!

+ Trump at the press briefing with Polish president Andrzej Duda: “Costs, yes, costs. Something you didn’t hear anything about over the last 25 years.”

Trump, 20 seconds later: “We just got the biggest military budget in history, $670 billion. People have never seen anything like it.”

+  As Trump began his tour of Florence’s path of destruction across the Carolinas, he asked a North Carolina official how Lake Norman was doing. “I love that area. I can’t tell you why. But I love that area.” Really…?

+ In the Carolinas, it’s the poor who are being hit the hardest by Hurricane Florence, which comes as no surprise to any of us who have read Mike Davis.

+ Too bad about your home, but at least you got a nice yacht out of it…

+ It’s hard to take the media handwringing over Trump’s denial of the death toll in Puerto Rico (still an undercount) seriously, since it isn’t much different than what the press itself did for eight months, passively accepting the ludicrous 64 deaths figure, until the Harvard study came out..

+ Why didn’t CNN show scary footage of the real looters of Hurricane Maria….Wall Street?

+ Number of Americans killed in Benghazi: 4
Length of Congressional hearings into Benghazi: 28 months, 0 days
Number of Americans killed on 9/11: 2977
Length of Congressional hearings into 9/11: 19 months, 25 days
Number of Americans killed by Hurricane Maria: 3000+
Length of Congressional hearings on Hurricane Maria: 0 days

+ Will historians refer to this edition of the Supremes as the Thomas-Kavanaugh Court…?

+ As the GOP prepares to gut his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, let’s recall Brett Kavanaugh’s justification, when he worked for Ken Starr, for asking how many times Clinton ejaculated into Monica Lewinsky’s mouth…

+ Xeni Jardin: “Poor Kavanaugh. How will he ever explain all of this to the girls’ basketball team?”

+ Mazie Hirono is a breath of fresh air. The senator from Hawai’i speaks clearly and bluntly and has a sense of humor. She’s also a cancer survivor. Give me her over Kamala Harris any day…

+ A now deleted Facebook post from a woman named Cristina King who went to Holton Arms, knew Brett Kavanaugh and Dr Ford, and claims “everybody heard about it.”

+ The rape allegation against Kavanagh is being dismissed as a “last minute” accusation. But it’s not. The Washington Post had the story months ago and Dianne Feinstein has been sitting on it for weeks. What’s been “last minute” has been the declassification of Kavanaugh’s files from Bush Administration, which is so” last minute” that it won’t take place for months….

+ Kavanagh: I have a clear recollection of never attending any parties in the 1980s.

Kavanagh: I can’t remember anything I did in the Bush administration.

+ Trump claims the FBI doesn’t want to investigate Kavanaugh for attempted rape. And as we know, Trump always does what the FBI wants.

+ Kamala Harris brags about her prosecutorial expertise, mainly inflicted upon poor, desperate minorities represented by overworked & underpaid public defenders. Now she has a chance to pick on someone her own size. Where the hell is she?

+ How stupid are the Democrats for sending out male members of the Judiciary committee, like Chris Coons and Richard Blumenthal, to press the case agains Kavanaugh? Where are Harris, Klobuchar, and the feisty Mazie Hirono?

+ Here’s an informative profile of Dr. Ford in the Mercury News. Of course, being a smart, articulate, credible, professional probably won’t help her anymore than it helped Anita Hill.

+ PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to proclaim that the Kavanaugh Affair made the GOP the “party of sexual harassment and mistreatment of women.” Don’t buy it. This kind of brutish behavior has always been a bi-partison affliction: JFK, William O. Douglas, Teddy Kennedy, Wilbur Mills, Allan Howe, John Young, Wayne Hays, Robert Leggett, Gus Savage, Gerry Studs, Gary Hart, Brock Adams, Bill Clinton, Mel Reynolds, Gary Condit, Tim Mahoney, John Edwards, Eric Massa, Anthony Weiner, David Wu, Al Franken, John Conyers, Keith Ellison…

+ I’m fairly confident that the new Moral Majority will remain fully supportive of all of Brett Kavanagh’s vices and crimes–perjury, gambling, drunkenness, torture, rape–in exchange for a vow to overturn Roe v. Wade and finding a constitutional right to sell hetero-only cupcakes.

+ Proof? This just in from “Rev.” Franklin Graham: “Well, there wasn’t a crime committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away…”

+ Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): “Did y’all hear about this? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out and said she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

+ A constituent tried to grope Norman once, but couldn’t find anything to grasp on to…

+ Conservatives: You can’t hold Kavanaugh responsible for something he did as a teenager.

Conservatives: Juvenile life without parole.

+ Rape allegations aside, binge drinking, alcoholic blackouts, wild spending sprees and gambling are probably not the ideal qualities for a Supreme Court justice.

+ Surely the accusations against Kavanaugh will doom one political career: Joe Biden’s. No one can re-watch his interrogation of Anita Hill and envision that callous cad as president.

+ Stanley Cohen: “Hopefully Biden will pick McCain as a running mate.”

+ Remember, the Democrats controlled the Senate during the Clarence Thomas’ nomination. 11 voted for him, putting him on the bench by a 52-48 margin.

+ Number of GOP women who have ever served on the Senate Judiciary Committee: 0

+ Ari Fleischer: “Should committing sexual assault in high school deny us a chances later in life?”

+  Should committing mass murder in Iraq deny us the chance of being part of the Resistance© later in life?

+ It’s hard not to see Yale Law School as a co-conspirator. They minted the two most conservative justices now on the bench: Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Yale not only seeds the court with justices, but it also serves as a pipeline for law clerks–a perk that Yale advertises to entice young students to go into debt to the tune of $83,000 a year to buy a Yale law degree.

+ As eager Yalies pine for coveted slots as clerks for federal judges, they often consult with two prominent law professors at the school: Jed Rubenfeld and “tiger mom” Amy Chua, both fanatical supporters of Brett Kavanaugh. Rubenfeld and Chua are married, though Rubenfeld is currently under investigation by the university for his own comportment with female students. Over the years, both have endeavored to groom female law students for clerkships with Kavanaugh. Earlier this year, Chua told a gathering of students that Kavanaugh preferred a “certain look” in his female clerks, saying it wasn’t “an accident” that all of his women clerks “look like models.” Chua told the students that they confer with her before they audition for the judge and she would advise them how to perfect the “model-like” and outgoing look” he desires.

+ This begs the question: how does Judge Kavanaugh prefer his male clerks to dress? Or do they just have to be brawny enough to lift the kegs?

+ If things really go south for Kavanaugh and he loses his seat on the appellate court as well as his bid for the Supremes, perhaps he could open a law practice with his disgraced mentor Alex Kozinski, who retired from the 9th Circuit Court after being accused of sexual harassment by as many as 12 women. Maybe they could represent Harvey Weinstein?

+ A very powerful story by Elizabeth Bruenig on what happened to a High School student in Arlington, Texas who, unlike Dr. Ford, reported her rape and watched the majority of the town turn on her. Read it once for the shock value and again for the political relevance.

+ Sean Penn thinks the MeToo movement is “too black and white” and is “dividing men and women.” A case could perhaps be made, though Penn’s hardly the best messenger. Here’s a sample of Sean Penn’s “prose,” from his turgid novel, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff”….

+ Jeet Heer: “I want a Venn diagram of people willing to argue ‘Give Kavanaugh a break, he was only 17’ and ‘Trayvon Martin got what he deserved.'”

+ If things get really desperate for Kavanaugh, I guess he can always hire Hillary Clinton to smear his accuser…

+ Brett Kavanaugh:  “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.” Nope. What happened at Georgetown Prep was merely prep for some place much more depraved: Yale. A hundred keg a year boy in high school (775 gallons), Kavanaugh matriculated to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale, where among other debauched activities Kavanaugh marched across campus a flag woven with women’s underwear and bras, stolen from the ransacked rooms of coeds. His little band of misogynists was known as the “buttholes.” The DKEs, whose members included both Bushes and Dan Quayle, were notorious drunkards.

+ No, stop laughing, he really did. Honest…

+ Pompeo Maximus muted his staff’s criticism of US support for the slaughter in Yemen because he didn’t want to jeopardize $2 billion in arms sales to the Saudis. I guess the price was worth it, right Mike? This makes Reagan’s arms for hostages sound like a humanitarian transaction. Trump & Pompeo pursue arms sales for civilian corpses.

+ Michael Bloomberg is thinking of running for president, as a Democrat, naturally. His platform: liberal Democrats are too hard on big banks, stop-and-frisk is good policy, and men like Charlie Rose might have been wronged by the Me Too movement.

+ Amazon worker: “It really is great to work at Amazon.”

Reporter: “What is it you do at Amazon?”

Amazon worker: “My job is to Tweet: ‘It really is great to work at Amazon.'”

+ Spain’s foreign minister Josep Borrell says that Trump told him he had a solution to Europe’s migrant crisis. No, not ending US military operations in Syria. Instead, Trump recommended that the EU fund the construction of a great wall across the 3,200 mile breadth of the Sahara Desert. Great idea, Donald! Please dispatch Don Jr. and Eric to oversee the construction…

+ A recent case study in the sick way Trump’s demylenating mind works. During a recent interview with The Hill, Trump said that his visit to the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania inspired him to work even harder to build his border wall with Mexico:

“They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania, Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it’s sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible,” he said. “They have a series of walls, I’m saying, it’s like perfect. So, so, we are pushing very hard.”

+ From that same interview with The Hill:

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries. I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. … I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

What? “The day I won the primaries?” Was Comey starring in a secret Deep State Edition of the The Apprentice?

+ Noam Chomsky: “In the Occupied Territories what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse.”

+ A horrible decision was rendered this week by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which rules that prosecutors are not required to reveal exculpatory evidence to defendants before they plead guilty. This is the most reactionary circuit in the federal judiciary, loaded with judges who constantly jabber about the sanctity of the Constitution…

+ Probably a third of Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House (now the fastest selling book in history thanks to Trump) is devoted to tedious denunciations of Trump’s antipathy to international trade pacts. Woodward doesn’t pause long enough to consider whether Trump might have a point about the destructive consequences of NAFTA, GATT and their brethren for labor and the environment. That’s because Woodward is too busy taking dictation from his primary source Gary Cohn and what he feeds the reader is Goldman Sachs “locker room talk,” where instead of boasting about grabbing pussies, they brag about gripping working people by throat and shaking them of every thing they own.

+ Steve Bannon should’ve demanded co-author credit from both Michael Wolff and Woodward, since he seems to have been the principal source for both writers, feeding each fresh meat. One worries that he has shot his narrative wad and won’t have much left spin in his own book.

+ Despite the big deficit in generic polls, three factors may save the GOP in November: gerrymandering, voter suppression and, of course, the Democrats….

+ A record 67 million Americans don’t speak English at home. What are they saying? “Hasta la vista, Ted Cruz“….

+ Trump at CIA: “Can they hear the bombs coming? We should make the bombs silent so they can’t get away.” (As quoted in Greg Miller’s The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.)

+ Pompeo Maximus on Iran: “Make no mistake, they’re going to be held accountable!” For what? Abiding by the nuclear agreement?

+ Don’t worry, go shopping. Wilbur Ross on how hard American families will be hit by tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods: “Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody will actually notice at the end of the day.”

+ Ross is making a huge sacrifice for his country. Last year, he only made $30 million from his stock portfolio.

+ The Trump administration has detained a record number of child migrants. It is now holding 12,800 children in internment camps and other facilities, a five-fold increase since May 2017.

+ ICE agents killed 97 people last year, including several children. That’s three times the number of victims killed by MS-13.

+ Before the Resistance© nominates Gen Mattis to be on the Democratic ticket in 2020, they might consider this line from Woodward’s “Fear”: “Mattis was worried about Iranian expansion. At one point, he later referred to “those idiot raghead mullahs.”

+ Don Jr. and his current squeeze Kimberly Guilfoyle, ex-wife of Gavin Newsome and former Fox News talking sexpot, are scrambling to find a new venue for a fundraiser in Montana after being being rebuffed by the Midtown Tavern. The next time you’re in Bozeman be sure to stop in at the Midtown Tavern for lunch and leave a generous tip…

+ This tract in Oakland (once America’s greatest city) is the most quickly gentrifying section in the Bay Area, going from 4% white in 2000 to 24% white in 2015…

+ “Get rid of the fucking braille,” Trump screamed at his architect, who was insisting on following ADA rules for signage in Trump Tower. “No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower. Just do it.”

+ Whatever happened to Tukkker Carlson?

+ Willie Nelson shrugged off the alleged fan boycott over his benefit concert for Beto O’Rouke: “I don’t care.”

+ More Willie: “We’re not happy ’til they’re not happy.”

+ Neil Clark: “The trouble for Theresa May is that she was playing #Chequers while everyone else was playing Chess.”

+ John Kerry, hawking his new book Every Day is Extra, said Trump harbors “the insecurity of a teenage girl.” Really? In my experience, it was the “teenage girls” who made the boys insecure. Maybe Kerry is recalling the teenage girls in Vietnam, who were fleeing the machine guns of his Swift Boat…

+ The Trump administration’s new work requirements on the poor and the infirm are causing the Medicaid rolls to be slashed in Arkansas, New Hampshire, Indiana and other states.. Can anyone point to a single humane policy advanced by this syndicate of jerks?

+ The United States incarcerates 665 out of every 100,000 people compared with 74 per 100,000 in Norway…

+ Memo to Trump & Beauregard: West Palm Beach (20.97 per 100K) has a higher murder rate than Chicago (17.5 per 100K)

+ 87% of those arrested for fare-beating on the NYC subway are black or hispanic.

+ Miami Vice: Miami-Dade police regularly give whites “civilian citations” for marijuana possession, charge blacks and hispanics with crimes…

+ I don’t know who was behind the poisoning of the Skripals or why, but this story gets more and more bizarre. The striking thing about the RT interview with these two characters is how swiftly the Russians undermined the elaborate work of online conspiracy theorists who had “proved” that the CCTV photos had been staged, doctored and/or photoshopped. The two brawny Russian architectural tourists, frightened off of their destination by a little slush, admit that is them in the photos. They place themselves at the scene, at the time of the poisoning. Back to the drawing board…

+ Cue one of the lead conspirators, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, who attempted to out the two Russians as homosexuals on a secret assignation in Salisbury: “Plainly they are not being entirely open. Most likely interpretation of that is that they are a gay couple – not a good thing to admit in Russia, sadly – and that they are involved in the dodgy end of the bodybuilding supplements trade.”

+ Psycho cop breaks into a man’s apartment because he is playing his music too loud, shoots him multiple times, offers ludicrous excuse for her savage crime. Her colleagues smear the victim with old drug squad tactics often used to demean black victims. Enough of this shit.

+ I’m convinced that this New York Times article on the origins of Ranch dressing may explain everything you need to know about the current state of American culture, even the rise of Trump. Prove me wrong…

+ One historic building after another, the destruction of the Village nears its completion…

+ And the smoking gun (according to Stormy Daniels) was a … “mushroom-headed penis!

+ Which recalls James Ellroy on JFK: “He was hung like a cashew.”

+ Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most polluted landscape on Earth, just won a $925,000 settlement from the federal government as compensation for being exposed to the hazardous working conditions at the site. The background story for this legal vindication is told in chilling detail in our new book, The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink, in bookstores on October 2.

+ The Big Heat is overflowing with depressing news, but dig this: according to a new study from, uhm, Yale, book readers have a 20 percent lower risk of dying over the next 10 years than non-book readers. So the cost-benefit analysis of reading it looks pretty positive.

+ Climate change hits the cradle of “civilization:” a persistent drought has forced Iraq to cut back irrigation of the nation’s wheat fields by 50 percent.

+ The gift that keeps on giving: Fracking chemicals that were dumped in the Allegheny River ten years ago are still showing up in the river’s mussels.

+ This is an intimate, heart-wrenching profile of our friend and longtime CounterPunch writer Peter Stone Brown, a musician and musicologist who has taught me more about Bob Dylan and the folk music scene than I ever thought I’d know. But I’m eager to know more and I hope Peter sticks around a good, long while to teach me.

+ Just learned the awful news that a longtime CounterPuncher, Robert Beal, was hit and killed by a car while cycling in Texas, where he lived. Robert was an occasional writer and frequent correspondent, who was an expert on the environmental economics of the border region. It’s a big blow.

+  “[At the Fillmore] Aretha came walking toward me in a really tight white dress and a turban . I had to turn sideways so she could wedge through the door, and we were nose to nose, and she said to me, ‘Tower of Power. My favorite band.’” — Emilio Castillo

+ The Zapruder film has a 7.8 viewer rating on IMDB. Alexander Cockburn ranked it as the greatest documentary ever made. Alex was also a member of the “Happy Enders Film Society.” Make of that what you will…

I Didn’t Do It, I’m a Real Nice Guy

Booked Up

What I’m reading this week…

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water Crisis and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week (on vinyl)…

Ghetto Music by Eddie Gale

13 Rivers by Richard Thompson

Goodfellas by Joey deFrancesco

False Pledge

William Kunstler: “I never stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, because it is not true; the United States does not provide ‘justice for all.’ It is not the physical flag but the principles for which it stands that are vital to our survival as a free people.”

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