Roaming Charges: Drone the Outside World

‘+ The migrant “caravan” from Honduras is composed of people seeking political asylum in the US. This is entirely legal under US and international law. Closing the border and calling out the military against asylum-seekers violates both US and international law. Far from hiding “criminals,” the caravan has exposed one in the Oval Office.

+ Remember when Reagan claimed a caravan of Sandinista “terrorists” was only “two days drive” from Harlingen, Texas? Imagine how much better off the country would have become if that had been real and not fake news…

+ Unlike the Sandinista “terrorist” invasion force, the Honduran Caravan is 1100 miles away from the Texas border. If they average a good 20 miles a day on foot, they will storm across the Rio Grande 55 days from now…

+Trump is threatening to cut all US aid to Central American countries. What a shame that the death squads will be out of funds. Does this also mean that this year’s recruits for the School of the Americas will be taking their classes in torture, coups and assassinations online from Trump University?

+ Why are people fleeing Central America, you ask?

+ How many villages in Central America has this US barged into, taken what it’s corporations wanted–oil, fruit, copper–and left behind nothing but toxic waste pits and graves full of peasants?

+ After having endured, coups, civil war and death squads. Now climate change is driving desperate peasants to migrate from Guatemala

+ Trump the Phenomenologist: In an Oval Office press scrum, the president admitted he has no proof of Middle-Easterners embedding themselves in the migrant caravan, saying: ‘There’s no proof of anything.”

+ To which Nietzsche replied,  “I am terrified by the thought of the sort of people who may one day invoke my authority.”

+ After conferring with the Saudi King and MBS (Mohammad Bone Saw) Trump suggested that the assassins of Jamal Khashoggi were “rogue killers.” Maybe MBS’s people in the vicinity were architectural tourists visiting Istanbul to see the Hagia Sophia, whose dome is 182.5 feet tall.

+ Saud al-Qahtani, MBS’s top aide, oversaw the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, telling his killers via Skype to “Bring me the head of the dog.

+ If you considered the US/Saudi relationship a kind of gang, like say M-13, which it does resemble, Trump under US law might be considered a co-conspirator in Khashoggi’s murder…

+ From the mouth of the Rat Lord of New York City…”Mr. Kushner has argued that the outrage over Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen”

+ Did Gina Haspel rush to the Middle East to investigate the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, learn new techniques of torture and rendition or to recruit some enhanced interrogators?

+ Reporter: “Did they say that Khashoggi was alive or dead?”

Secretary Pompeo: “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts. They didn’t want to either.”

+ Trump: “We need Saudi Arabia to help fight terrorism.” Which is like saying we need the coal companies to help fight climate change.

+ Harry Shearer: “First rule of good consulate-keeping: always repaint after a fistfight.”

+ Rarely does blood money come fresher than this, as the Saudis rushed $100 million into US accounts to mount its public relations offensive in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder in Istanbul.

+ Rev. Pat Robertson: “We’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of…it’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s not something you want to blow up willy-nilly.” Who would Jesus carpet bomb?

+ Lancet on Yemen’s cholera epidemic: “The epidemic is associated with the ongoing war and civil war, which has led to massive population movements, an intensified shortage of water resources and related hygiene problems, and disruption of services including health services. Destruction of water reservoirs has even been used as a weapon during the conflict.  It is now estimated that almost two-thirds of the Yemenis population have no access to clean water supply and sanitation.”

+ Now promoting himself as a mighty defender of the press, we here at CounterPunch know a different Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a peevish, thin-skinned and brutal man who jailed and then deported Michael Dickinson for a rude collage he made of Turkey’s autocrat. Michael’s art is featured on the covers of several of our books: Serpents in the Garden, Dime’s Worth of Difference and Grand Theft Pentagon. His account of getting under the skin of the Turkish Tyrant.

+ When it comes to lying, is there a category beyond the pathological?

+ You might want to go back to North Dakota and tell that to the soy bean farmers, Donald…

+ The Smooch: “We both know he’s telling lies. If you want me to say he’s a liar, I’m happy to say he’s a liar…I think he likes lying.”

+ In March, Trump said the Saudi military deals would produce 40,000 jobs. A week ago, he inflated that to 450,000 jobs. On Weds., it became a half million jobs. By Thursday afternoon it had jumped to 600,000 jobs.  By Thursday night, he was referring to the “the million jobs.”

+ Many people like Trump because he says things that they think but are unwilling to say in public because they suspect that they might not be true.

+ Certain Things, Strange Things: Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Weds. that the phantom 10% tax cut will be revenue-neutral “based on certain things.” He won’t say what those “certain things” are.

+  President Trump’s approval rating according to a new NPR/PBS/Marist poll:

White men w/o degree:
64% approve
30% disapprove

White women w/o degree:
53% approve
41% disapprove

White men w/ degree:
39% approve
55% disapprove

White women w/ degree:
32% approve
63% disapprove

I wonder how he fares with people who have “degrees” from Trump University…

+ More and more Americans are saying they’ve yet to experience the benefits of the Trump economy. In that respect, the Trump bounce is a lot like the Obama recovery–the wealth all floated to the top. Just call up Wilbur Ross, he’ll tell you how great you should be feeling…

+ Change in Home Prices & Incomes over last 20 years.

Home prices     Incomes
San Jose 296% 93%
SF 252% 93%
LA 245% 63%
Seattle 177% 76%
Miami 172% 43%
Denver 165% 64%
DC 153% 73%
Portland 152% 66%
NY 148% 57%

+ Pipe bombs are one of the most cowardly modes of violence imaginable. But not as cowardly as drone strikes.

+ Is anyone investigating the Saudis for the pipe bomb plot? They sure blew MBS and Khashoggi out of the newsfeed…

+ Cesar Sayoc, Jr., the man arrested on Friday by the FBI in connection with the pipe bomb packages, used to be a roadie for a Chippendales-like male “dance” troupe. His arrest gives new meaning to “strip search.”

+ I’ve yet to come across a more precise profile of the MAGAMen: “According to a 2012 bankruptcy petition filed in Miami, Mr. Sayoc resided at the time at his mother’s home. “Lives w/mom,” a handwritten note on the petition said. “Has no furniture.”

+ MAGAman told his lesbian boss, “As much as I like you, you’re going to be one of the first ones I burn.” No wonder the otherwise innocuous Kate Brown, governor of Oregon, got him riled up.

+ The MAGAman bomber faces 48 years in prison. That’s less time than the J20 defendants arrested at Trump’s inauguration.

+ So apparently the Russians and Chinese are listening in on Trump’s private calls on his iPhone. I know relations are strained these days, but if either of you figure what the hell he’s talking about, will you let us know?

+ On the one hand we are meant to believe that the GRU is so devious and hyper-competent that they can manipulate the outcome of the US elections with a few email hacks and social media memes; on the other hand, this

+ If only Trump would ditch Pence the Puritan and ask Biden to run with him on the same ticket– that would finally unite America, giving us something we could all vigorously vote against…

+ Is Stephen Miller moonlighting as one of Schumer’s speech writers? Or did Trump’s humonculous learn his devious craft from studying the Senator from Citibank…?

+ The last time there was Mob Rule, it gave us the Rights of Man.

+ Mike Pence is talking about putting nuclear weapons in space. End Times morons with nukes. The Rapture goes radioactive…

+ The hilarious White House report on socialism inadvertently made the case for a single-payer health care system. Of course, this is an easy blunder to make because there’s hardly any case that can be made against it…

+ Sheldon Adelson and his wife just gave another $25 million to GOP House candidates, after already having infused $55 million into the party’s coffers for the midterm elections.. Adelson owns casinos, he doesn’t gamble in them. When he puts his money down, he expects a big return on his investment.

+ Memo to Mitch…

From the new NPR/PBS/Marist poll:

Would you rather reduce the deficit by reversing last year’s tax cut or cutting entitlement spending?

Among Republicans:

43% reverse tax cut
32% cut entitlements
24% unsure

+ In it’s profile of Proud Boy Gavin McInness, the New York Times seems a little befuddled that a Brooklyn hipster could turn out to be a violent neo-Nazi. They shouldn’t be. In Mailer’s time hipsters (“The White Negro”) sought to appropriate black culture. Now here in Hipsterville (aka Portland) they appropriate entire black neighborhoods–Mississippi St., Alberta, Woodlawn, evicting black families to provide living space for smug Hipsters from Brooklyn and Marin.

+ Adios Nikki Haley, the latest screaming banshee to represent the US at the UN. When you look at the body count of other UN Ambassadors, Darling Nikki racked up only a moderate kill ratio (deaths per speeches made). There have been some apex predators in that position: Kirkpatrick, Albright, Holbrooke, Negroponte, Khalilizad, Rice, Samantha Power…

+ Here’s Haley’s boss, Pompeo Maximus in action in South Korea: “The way Kang explained the situation indicated Pompeo didn’t address Kang by using curse words but used expletives contextually to convey his anger.” This sentence should be used as a kind Zen koan for aspiring diplomats.

+ The return of Trump the Etymologist: “And you know if I often hear that Russia likes to sow discord. The word is sow, an old English term. They like to sow chaos and discord.”

+ ‘m willing to concede that Robert E. Lee was a great general. In fact, he was probably the greatest American general until Westmoreland–if by “great” you mean that he was willing to kill, burn and maim hundreds of thousands of people in a war he knew from the beginning that he would lose.

+ Homelessness here and over there…

United States:
Homeless: 3.5M
Empty Homes: 18.5M
Ratio: 1 to 5.3

European Union:
Homeless: 4.1M
Empty Homes: 11M
Ratio: 1 to 2.7

Eric Reid for President

+ Sen. Claire McCaskill has a pretty bad reputation on the Hill, especially among fellow Democrats. A top senate staffer told me last week that she’s seen as arrogant, unprepared and unreliable in crunch time. The bad blood stems all the way back to the way McCaskill handled her early endorsement of Obama for president in 2008. Apparently, the loathing is mutual. McCaskill, who looks destined to lose her bid for reelection, is closing out her campaign by running an ad where she proclaims that she’s “not one of the those crazy Democrats!” Did the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee pay for focus-grouping this message?

+ Liberals live in a comforting simulacrum of their own goodness…even as they Drone the Outside World (thanks Chris Cornell)…

+ The Lipstick Lenin wants to “Make Democrats Great Again“…But when was that? After the bombing of Hiroshima? Nagasaki? The Korean War? The attempts to assassinate Castro? Vietnam? Chicago 68? The covert war in Afghanistan? The bombing of Serbia? Drones? Libya? When do you want to set the dial on the time machine, Alexandria?

+ Like most things Obama did (except for drone strikes and bank bailouts), his clemency program for federal drug crime prisoners was done in a half-assed manner that left most behind

+ The Democratic Party isn’t a political organization so much as it’s a steadily eroding inertial force

+ In his Studies in Classic American Literature, DH Lawrence, in one of his grumpier moods, renders this final judgment: “the American is a killer.” Is this even debatable?

Dana Loesch is beginning to look and sound like the NRA’s version of Ma Anand Sheela

+ A 10-minute walk is good for the human brain. But what happens to the human brain after a 10-minute ride in a golf cart? I guess we’re finding out.

+ Live by the market, die by the market…The Hillsborough County Republican Party hoped to raise a ton of money by having Steve Bannon speak at a gala dinner for the Trump faithful in Tampa, Florida. Tickets to the event started at $20,000 for premier seats, $1,000 for VIP seats and $125 for general admission. Sales were, shall we say, flat. By this week, the entry price had been reduced to zero. As Doug Henwood said, “So there is such a thing as a free dinner?”

+ Is Trump’s Rococo hair-wrap just a desperate attempt to camouflage his inner skinhead?

+ A new non-profit called the McCain Institute is intent on minting a new generation “maverick” politicians. Will the McCain Institute fellows be required to sing “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” acapello before they lecture the country on the importance of “human rights?”

+ The Atlantic, which is floundering under the editorship of Jeffrey Goldberg, ran an interminable piece fingering the pitiful New Gingrich as the “man who broke politics.” But surely Bill Clinton must share the blame. After all, Clinton triangulated with him. “Triangulation”: a political Devil’s Triangle.

+ Sandra O’Connor has apparently fallen into the grip of advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. She was a reactionary justice, but even in this diminished condition she’d be a more competent, and more importantly more humane, jurist than Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh….

+ The painter Otto Dix on the Battle of the Somme: “Bombs, caves, corpses, blood, schnapps, mice, cats, gas, cannons, dirt, bullets, mortars, fire, steel.”

+ At Harvard, the children of the wealthy outnumber the children of the poor by 23-1

+ In 1900, 10% of Africans were Christian. By 2000, 46% were. The colonizers may have left, but their myths remain like a toxic time-release capsule…

+ Nietzsche on the Book of Revelation: “The most desolate of all the written outbursts which vindictiveness has on its conscience.”

+ With the bankruptcy of Sears, it’s worth remembering that many blues and country musicians started out playing guitars, harmonicas, banjos, fiddles and drums bought through the Sears catalogues…

+ Ain’t no money in music these days. It’s all in the merch

+ Ted Gioia: “In 1928, Paul Whiteman’s weekly payroll for his jazz band was $7,440. That’s the equivalent of $110,000 in current day dollars. I guess that’s why they call it the Jazz Age.”

+ Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is currently the subject of 14 different ethics violations, the most of any Trump cabinet member. Did he just wipe the slate clean by firing the Inspector General?

+ My sin, my soul, my companion ticket. Lo-leeeta!

+ Much of what we think of as “instinctual” behavior in animals is actually learned, communicated and even shared between different species. That ancestral knowledge is disappearing…fast.

+ According to the Wild Nature Institute, there are 520 million tons of cattle on Earth vs. 34 million tons of all other forms of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife.

+ Why your shit floats, but no longer stinks the way it once did…

+ A new report shows that “even in Indiana” renewables like solar and wind are cheaper forms of power than existing coal plants. Even in Indiana? Yes. This could be true even in West Virginia

+ Going, going…gone: Before Hurricane Walaka slammed into the Hawaiian Islands with 125 mile per hour winds, East Island was 400 foot wide and half-mile long shoal that provided vital habitat for endangered Pacific monk seals and green sea turtles. After Walaka, East Island has completely submerged, an victim of rising seas and violent storms.

+ The world is being turned inside-out before our very eyes: In Japan, disoriented by massive typhoons, cherry trees are now blooming in the fall.

+ Drought and dying oceans are killing off steelhead populations in Oregon’s Santiam River (and nearly everywhere else in the Pacific Northwest)…

+ Last year, we got 1.40 inches of rain in Oregon City on October 23. This year in the first 22 days of October we’ve received 0.34 inches of rain total. There’s some in the forecast for later this week, but it ain’t here yet.

+ You can read the economy from the CO2 levels at the Mauna Loa Observatory. The relationship between growth in Global GDP and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.

+ Big oil is drowning in cash…but not fast enough to keep the Gulf of Mexico from drowning in oil.

+ Climate is boosting tick populations and thus spreading Lyme disease. One way scientists are tracking ticks is by looking moose, who spend most of their summers in prime tick habitat. One recent study found that the average moose now has more than 47,000 ticks attached to its flesh. I remember an afternoon spent picking ticks off Alexander Cockburn’s back with a pair Tweezers after a summer afternoon in the King Range. There were a dozen or so clinging to him stubbornly. Then we spent another hour trying to identify the species. He was convinced he was going to come down with Lyme Disease. I wonder if this news would have been the antidote to Alex’s climate change skepticism?

+ This is the party we’re supposed to rally around? A story in The Hill reveals that “the Democrats are unlikely to pursue major climate change legislation if they win the House majority.” Of  course, as Josh and I spell out in The Big Heat, over eight years in office Obama’s policies on fracking and deep-water drilling helped fuel the forces driving climate change, despite the grandstanding over the Paris Accords.

+ One of our CounterPunch readers asked me in an email this morning what books I’d take with me on a desert island. Since I don’t go anywhere without my MacBook, I’d be stuck with whatever “free books” I’d stocked away on it. I opened up “iBook” and here’s what I found in no particular order. What’s on yours…?

Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
Walking by Henry David Thoreau
My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
Wurthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Thus Spoke Zarathrustra by Frederich Nietzsche
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Mountains of California by John Muir
A Hero for Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
John Brown: a Life by WEB Du Bois
A Little Tour of France by Henry James
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Wolfgang Goethe
Salambo by Gustave Flaubert
Greenmantle by John Buchan
The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson
Lost Illusions by Honoré Balzac
The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
The Duel and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov
The Complete Poems of William Blake
White Nights and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Mont St. Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Joan of Naples by Alexandre Dumas (pere)
The Green Helmet and Other Poems by William Butler Yeats


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RIP Mighty Shadow

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week…

Root Down by Jimmy Smith

In Memory of Don Drummond by Don Drummond

Black & White by Tony Joe White

Booked Up

What I’m reading this week…

Can the Working Class Change the World? by Michael D. Yates

Oil and World Politics: Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine by John Foster

The Forgotten Creed: Christianity’s Original Struggle Against Bigotry, Slavery & Sexism by Stephen J. Patterson

Behaving Like Men

+ Desmond Morris: “In little more than a single century from 1820 to 1945, no less than fifty-nine million human animals were killed in inter-group clashes of one sort or another. We describe these killings as men behaving ‘like animals,’ but if we could find a wild animal that showed signs of acting this way, it would be more precise to describe it as behaving like men.”

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