Roaming Charges: Flag Humpers

Flag Humpers, Las Vegas. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ It’s now a thought-crime in DC for the powerless to speak about the power of an organization which exists to leverage its power in a town which only responds to power.

+ Palestinians are the one ethnic group that everyone has a license to hate. In fact, in the US congress, it’s almost an obligation.

+ A couple of weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi was rightly complaining about an NRA magazine article headlined “Target Practice”, accompanied by a photo of the Speaker. But she and the Democrats are putting a literal target on the back of Ilhan Omar. Where’s the outrage?

+ The scourging of Ilhan Omar by the Democratic leadership is yet one more illustration of the dangers of progressives, like Omar, Rashida Tlaib, AOC and Bernie Sanders, joining a neoliberal party that will inevitably destroy everything they profess to believe in–and perhaps even destroy them.

+ “Nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of ‘what is happening with Palestine?’”– Ilhan Omar

+ Margaret Kimberley: “Democrats don’t hate Trump at all. They assist Venezuela regime change and join in the attack on Ilhan Omar.”

+ Pelosi’s House Resolution against “hate” (ie., Ilan Omar) is conceptually a lot like the Global War on Terror…and brought to you by many of the same sponsors.

+ In fact, the “Hate (Omar) Resolution,” which passed 407-23, is worse than directly censuring Omar. A censure could only condemn Omar for what she actually said, which was not anti-Semitic and unarguably true. But this Resolution, which covertly targets her, falsely equates her comments with white white supremacy, racism and Jew hatred.

+ How screwed up are the Democrats? One of their rising stars, Ilhan Omar was compelled to vote for a resolution condemning herself for something she didn’t do.

+ Well she is only 5’2″
But they could not resist her smile
Ilhan Omar never got called an asshole
Not like you

+ Based on his 2-hour rant (half a Fidel) at CPAC, Trump’s going to give us two years of snuff film politics and America will eat it up.

+ Of course, not all of Fidel’s speeches were spellbinding. He could tedious and boring…three hours on cassava production in Rio del Planar province, two hours on the footwork of Teofilo Stevenson in his most recent fight.

+ I enjoy reading Nick Gillespie’s dispatches at Reason. He’s a funny writer, has good taste in music, and has done years of field studies among some of the stranger species of the American right. He’s rollicking report from CPAC made me think I’d watched the wrong speech. Gillespie concluded that Trump’s sealed his reelection with “a bedazzling mix of bravado, B.S., humor, and positive vision that no Democrat will be able to top.”

“Positive Vision?” It seemed like a rambling Götterdämmerung to me, as Trump riffed on rapes, gangland shootings, mass graves, rapes, executed babies, drug overdoses, murderers, human trafficking, more rapes, murdered babies, and sex slaves. I’d hate to hear the Utopian Vision, which presumably has much of this happening to the children he’s locked in cages.

+ Consider this statement by the President Positive Vibrations: “Mothers give their girls massive amounts of birth control pills because they know they’ll be raped on the way to the border….”

+ Is kneeling during the national anthem really more offensive to the patriot crowd, than wrapping your bone spurs in the flag?

+ As the photo of Trump humping the flag circulates, it becomes clear that his whole routine is a kind of Situationist prank to see just how far people like Falwell, Jordan & Graham will follow him. One day that flag should b displayed in the Smithsonian next to Monica’s blue dress…

+ Harmony Korine your country needs you. The sequel to Trash Humpers is long overdue. No one but you could possibly film Flag Humpers with the authenticity the subject demands…

+ Nielsen gave a master class in Nazi Camp Guard-speak during her congressional testimony on family separations at the border …

THOMPSON: “I just want you to exist the cages exist…”

NIELSEN: “Sir, they’re not cages!”

THOMPSON: “What are they?”

NIELSEN: “They are areas of the border facility that are carved out for the safety and protection of those who remain there while they’re being processed.”

+ Nielsen testified that “so far this year” three children have died in CBP custody. She says she hasn’t spoken with any of the affected families.

+ Nielsen: “There was no parent who has been deported to my knowledge without multiple opportunities to take their children with them”

+ Four hours later: The government identifies 471 such parents.

+ Nielsen bristles at any questioning. So it’s hardly surprising that one of the agencies she oversees, Border Patrol, has complied an enemies list of reporters, lawyers and civil rights activists to detain and interrogate at the border.

+ More evidence that Nielsen belongs in the dock at The Hague.

+ “12 Detained Babies Have Been Released From ICE Custody in Dilley, Texas.” I wonder if the person who composed this headline ever imagined back in journalism school she’d end up writing anything like this.

+ Remember when Trump declared on the campaign trail: “Military grunts and veterans will pay for the Wall?

+ And now, a message from your government…

+ The month after Trump announced an end to the Syria war, US airstrikes in Syria climbed by 30%.

+ Trump sent a letter to congress this week saying that he “agrees 100%” with the need to keep US troops in Syria.

+ We don’t need to see his grades. It’s obvious that Trump graduated Magna Cum Laude in Bullshit…

+ Trump killed a planned report on civilian deaths from US drone strikes. What’s he scared of? He promised during the campaign that he was going to kill the neighbors and families of suspected “terrorists.” Let’s see how well he did…

+ Let’s check the scoreboard on Trump’s Global War on Trade. World: $621 Billion; USA: $0.

+ The University of Florida’s new baseball stadium was delayed a year due to steel tariffs ($10 million cost overrun).

+ Trump: “Tariffs are good and trade wars are easy to win.”

+ Meanwhile, the US budget deficit swelled to $310 billion in the first four months of the fiscal year, a 77% increase over last year. Most of the shortfall is owing to the Trump tax cuts.

+ Household wealth in the US took its biggest hit since the financial crisis of 2008, falling by more than $3.73 trillion in the last quarter.

+ On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff introduced the Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act, legislation to prevent this President or any other from abusing the pardon power for their own personal benefit or to obstruct justice. Leave it to the Democrats to try to restrict the one presidential power that does the least harm and the most good.

+ Back in the 1970s, Joe Biden sounded like a Dixiecrat on steroids, ripping desegregation, integration and school busing. The fact that his kind of transparent racism didn’t get any scrutiny before from the Democratic Party…tells you all you need to know about the Democratic Party.

+ Joe Biden:

“When it comes to civil rights and civil liberties, I’m a liberal but that’s it. I’m really quite conservative on most other issues. My wife said I was the most socially conservative man she had ever known. I’m a screaming liberal when it comes to senior citizens because I really think they are getting screwed. I’m a liberal on health care because I believe it is a birth right of every human being—not just some damn privilege to be meted out to a few people. But when it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I’m about as liberal as your grandmother. I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body. I support a limited amnesty, and I don’t think marijuana should be legalized. Now, if you still think I’m a liberal, let me tell you that I support the draft. I’m scared to death of a professional army. I vote my own way and it is not always with the Democrats. I did vote for George McGovern, of course, but I would have voted for Mickey Mouse against Richard Nixon. I despise that man.”

+ The real Biden was on unvarnished display during his 1993 floor speech in the Senate pushing passage of the savage Clinton Crime Bill, where Joe the Vicious excoriated a generation of young black men as unredeemable “predators.” Biden lashed out at “cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally … because they literally have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity….We should focus on them now…if we don’t, they will, or a portion of them, will become the predators 15 years from now…I don’t care why someone is a malefactor in society….These criminals need to be kept away from my mother, your husband, our families.”

+ Years, later Biden was still defending the monstrosity he helped create, saying “it did a lot of good.”

+ Biden was HRC before HRC, only worseClinton was transactional, saying whatever her sponsors wanted her to say. Biden actually believes this crap.

+ Still, most people see through him. Biden flatlined before a focus group of Democratic voters assembled by CNN. If Joe can’t make it with CNN viewers, he’s unlikely to make it with anyone else, except DNC super delegates.

+ Bernie Sanders would govern like a Democratic even if he hadn’t signed the pledge. One of Trump’s finest moments was when he refused to pledge to support the GOP nominee, if it wasn’t him…

+ For some reason, former Colorado Gov. John “Frackenlooper” announced he’s running for president. Remember that time when he drank fracking fluid in a demented stunt to prove how “safe” it is?

+ There are 20 Democrats in the presidential race and “Someone Else” is still polling at a healthy 8%…

+ Trump approval rating among white voters: 54%. Overall approval at 46%, highest of his presidency. (NBC/WJS Journal Poll, March 3, 2019)

+ Liberals are incredulous that working-class people could support a billionaire like Trump. The simplest explanation: Trump isn’t a billionaire. Maybe they support him because, like them, Trump’s been in debt his entire career, on the run from creditors for 30 years. Perhaps, they admire how he has survived and beaten the debt collectors, even if his policies put their own future in doubt.

+ The latest example of Trump Derangement Syndrome can be found in an article in The Atlantic suggesting that John Bolton will save us all!

+ Reality check: John Bolton on Venezuela: “We’re not afraid to use the ‘Monroe Doctrine’, this is a country in our hemisphere.”

+ When the paramilitary state of Colombia intervenes to stop your invasion of Venezuela, you know your coup is falling apart…

+ Here are the 16 members of the House who have expressed some kind of reservation about invading Venezuela, though most of them, like Bernard Sanders, can’t resist scolding the Maduro government…

Karen Bass
Danny Davis
Adriano Espaillat
Tulsi Gabbard
Raul Grijalva
Pramila Jayapal
Hank Johnson
Ro Khanna
Ilhan Omar
Mark Pocan
Ayanna Pressley
Jose Serrano
Jan Schakowsky
Rashida Tlaib
Nydia Velazquez

+ In 2017, Bloomberg Politics published a ranking of the most efficient health care economies in the world.

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Spain

43. Venezuela

54. U.S. and Azerbaijan

+ Despite what you might hear from the Sputnik Left, racism is alive and well in America, where black girl students are four times more likely to be arrested than white girl students in the same schools…

+ The OC Weekly, edited by my pal Nick Schou, broke the story about Newport Beach students giving each other Nazi salutes and making swastikas from plastic cups. It’s Orange County, what did you expect those children of aerospace co. execs to do for fun, chant the Lotus Sutra and make Tibetan mandalas with their Red Solo beer pong cups?

+ Meanwhile, in DC, at the haughty Sidwell Friends Academy several of students were witnessed using their cellphones to project swastikas on a screen during a school presentation. Sidwell Friends is a training ground for the DC power elite. It’s alumni include Malia Obama, former CIA head John Deutch, Trisha Nixon Cox and her sister Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Nancy Reagan, Chelsea Clinton and proto-Nazi Charles Lindberg. If this keeps up, the new crop Windsors might consider send their kids to Sidwell instead of musty old Eton.

+ A stingy Chicago Tribune editorial asserts that while rent control would “help some tenants,” it would “sap vitality” from the city. But there are drugs that treat “sapped vitality,” right? The writers of this editorial have probably even taken them from time to time.

+ “When you look at statistics for death and injury on the job,” says Josh Lepawsky, leader of the Reassembling Rubbish research project, a five year examination of the issue of e-waste,being a trash collector is about as dangerous as being a firefighter.” And much more dangerous than being a cop.

+ Between 2005 and 2017, there were more than 13,000 fatal shootings by police, but only 80 cops were ever charged with manslaughter or murder. Of those 80 charged, only 28 were convicted of a crime.

+ A Baltimore cop dropped a fake gun near the body of a man he’d just deliberately run over.

+ According to the UN, there are between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners in North Korea. There are 450,000 people in American jails simply because they can’t afford bail.

+ Members of the “Progressive Caucus” who have yet to support the Medicare for All Resolution:


+ Things billionaires die of….botched penis enlargement surgery.

+ In NYC, one in 8 students have been homeless before they enter 5th grade.

+ Do you know a way to live in San Jose?

San Jose minimum wage: $15

$31,200 per year based on a 40hr week

$2,600 a month

Monthly tent for average one bedroom apartment: $2,000

Minimum income to qualify for rent on $2,000 month apt: $6,000 per month

Liveable minimum wage for San Jose: $34 per hour

+ Black US homeownership peaked in 2004. It has since fallen so low as to wipe out virtually all gains made since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

+ Something else to thank the Clintons for: new research is showing just how much harm their destruction of welfare is doing to the children of single mothers.

+ One cherish myth after another is crumbling: Wage gains for low-wage workers have been the strongest in states that have increased the minimum wage.

+ Capitalism is the problem–Disaster, Predatory, Surveillance and Crony are just a few of its branch offices.

+ I’d like to see a debate between Elizabeth Warren and Bernard Sanders on the economy. I’m pretty sure I know who has the more substantial understanding of what needs to be done.

+ Stick this in the Dime’s Worth of Difference file cabinet: John Kelly admits he would have worked for HRC if she’d asked him.

+ Here’s a chart showing the change in earnings before and after having children for men and women. Women are penalized, even in progressive economies…

+ Trump’s fixer-turned-rat Michael Cohen gave House Intelligence Committee investigators copies of the edits Trump’s lawyers allegedly made to his fallacious testimony before Congress on Trump company deals in Russia. But who will Cohen blame for his recent perjured testimony before Congress regarding whether he wanted a pardon from Trump? Lanny Davis?

+ Manafort got sentenced to less than 4 years. There are people serving life sentences for marijuana crimes.

+ Manafort was handed a shorter sentence (46 months), than Reality Winner (63 months).

+ Judge Ellis: “Manafort led a blameless life before this.” This is the man who whitewashed the blood spilled by Mobutu, Jonas Savimbi, and the Marcos family. Manafort’s own daughter referred to the checks he got from these butchers as “blood money.”

+ I’m all for getting rid of mandatory sentences and hope that Judge Ellis’ leniency toward Paul Manafort is shown toward other defendants who don’t enjoy his connections, skin color or investment portfolio.

+ In 2009, Judge Ellis sentenced former Congressman William Jefferson to 13 years in prison on white collar crimes and wanted to send him to a prison labor camp. Jefferson is black.

+ Meanwhile, Chelsea Manning is back in custody on charges of contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Wikileaks. She is being held at the Alexandria Detention Center for the duration of grand jury. Rarely has anyone demonstrated such sustained courage against the brute force of the state.

+ This week Good Morning America referred to Humboldt County as being “outside Sacramento” this morning. It’s also technically “outside New Orleans.”

+ SNL cut the parody of DiFi responding to those kids last week. Luckily, we found it on the cutting room floor…

+ Trump’s rollback of clean air regulations (Codename:  “The Affordable Clean Energy Rule”) could cause 1,630 more premature deaths and 120,000 more asthma attacks by 2030, according to a new study by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center.

+ Trump’s EPA blocked NASA from doing cancer research in Texas after Hurricane Harvey unleashed a tide of toxic muck across the Gulf Coast…Why? It’s better (for the chemical and oil companies) not to know.

+ Trump: “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes.” I hope someone files a FOIA request to reveal what grade of service  Trump told FEMA to give to Puerto Rico.

+ Not surprisingly, federal disaster relief has always favored the rich.

+ When oceans burn

+ Sea ice extent in the Bering & Chukchi Seas has decreased by 360,000 km² since Jan 25th, meaning an area the size of Montana has gone from mostly ice to mostly all water in six weeks.

+ Greenland’s ice sheet is melting, even in winter.

+ When Ketchikan, Alaska runs out of water, you know the planet is really screwed up…

+ Rising sea levels are ruining crops and poisoning farmland in coastal North Carolina. “It’s all good, Honey Pie. If the crops die, we can always raise hogs. The ham will come pre-salted.”

+ Under a new law, if you contribute money to anti-pipeline protests, South Dakota might try to arrest you…(So much for “money as speech.”

+ Free-market, anti-government conservatives in Wyoming push forward a bill to mandate keeping aging coal plants running

+ The Canadian uranium company that shrank the Bears Ears (with the help of Ryan Zinke)…

+ First ketchup was reclassified as a vegetable. Now it appears that lead has become an essential mineral in school lunch programs.

+ Nearly half of all insect species on the planet could be driven to extinction within the next several decades, largely poisoned to oblivion by pesticides.

+ As if the week hasn’t seen enough bloodshed, Trump’s Interior Department moved this week to lift all federal protections for wolves in the US.

+ Andrew Stewart has a sharp piece in Washington Babylon on the brouhaha over John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. I’m all for naming airports after homicidal political sociopaths. Perhaps it will discourage people from flying. I haven’t flown into National since they re-named it for Reagan. What airports can we rename after Curtis LeMay and Edward Teller?

+ Terry Gilliam on superhero movies: “I Hate Them. It’s Bullshit. Come On, Grow Up!”

+ That time Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested for planning to shoot Elvis Presley. They called him Killer for a reason.

+ When free jazz encountered post-structuralist French philosophy: The Ornette Coleman / Jacques Derrida interview

Making Money You Can’t Spend Ain’t What Being Dead’s About

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week…

Already Ready Already by Galactic (Galactic)

Quiet Signs by Jessica Pratt (Mexican Summer)

Roads That Cross by Katarina Pejak (Ruf Records)

Booked Up

What I’m reading this week…

Red Round Globe Hot Burning by Peter Linebaugh (U. of California Press)

The Wall  by John Lanchester (WW Norton)

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer (Riverhead)

Cadavers at the Bottom of the River

Bob Dylan: “I had no songs in my repertoire for commercial radio anyway. Songs about debauched bootleggers, mothers that drowned their own children, Cadillacs that only got five miles to the gallon, floods, union hall fires, darkness and cadavers at the bottom of rivers weren’t for radiophiles. There was nothing easygoing about the folk songs I sang. They weren’t friendly or ripe with mellowness. They didn’t come gently to the shore. I guess you could say they weren’t commercial.”

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