Roaming Charges: Small Stains on the Pavement

+ Many of the liberals talking the loudest about “white supremacy” on MSDNC have only known its privileges, thus they would have us believe white supremacy resides only in the vile minds of the KKK and Aryan Nations, instead of the racist forces operating inside the banks, the school boards, the police, the FBI, the Pentagon that degrade, impoverish and kill people every single day.

+ Six of the nine people murdered by the Dayton shooter were black. Was this rampage driven by racial animus? I don’t know and no one else seems to either. He certainly hated women, compiling “rape lists” while in high school. But here’s a deeper question: Why were there so many cops deployed to the area outside the Ned Peppers Bar? It sure as hell wasn’t because they were expecting a mass shooter. More likely, they patrolled the area because it’s a place where young black people gather on weekend nights.

+ Here’s Trump’s original statement, Tweeted out while small stains on the pavement were still wet. When white terrorists go on a rampage, it’s because they’re mentally ill–as opposed to say M-13 gang murders who kill because they’re “animals.” There’s a mental illness problem alright and it’s prowling the corridors of the West Wing.

+ Declaring white supremacy a mental illness is a convenient way to depoliticize a murderous ideology.

+ The “mentally ill,” who are usually harmful only to themselves, have now become another of Trump’s scapegoats groups and will be targeted in his rants as the latest threat to America, along side Muslims, Central American migrants & blacks. The inevitable consequence will be more yet violence directed against them.

+ I wonder if Trump will seek out advice from the Sackler Family and the other titans of Big Pharma for how to get those “mentally ill” mass shooters back on their meds. If you want to buy an AK-47, you need to show us your prescription. It’s a win-win, economically speaking. You can help keep the gun industry and the drug companies in business.

+  As Trump talks of keeping guns out of the hands people with mental illnesses, it’s worth mentioning that barely a month into his presidency, he revoked an Obama rule designed to keep guns from people with severe mental illnesses.

+ The Republicans refusing to appear on camera to say something about this weekend’s mass shootings are certainly courageous in demonstrating their cowardice.

+ Imagine how quickly the 2nd Amendment would have been re-interpreted, if not rescinded entirely, if Nat Turner had been able to walk into his local dry goods store and buy two dozen semi-automatic rifles with 100-round drums?

+ Giving the feds even more power to go after “domestic terrorism” in the wake of the El Paso shooting means that this power will almost certainly be used with more punishing effect against Leftists, from blacks to Native Americans to environmentalists to migrants to labor and anti-war activists (if there are any left). Just like it always has been.

+ Remember this from a couple of months ago during one of Trump’s Reichsparteitag der Macht rallies in Florida?

Trump: But how do you stop (migrants)?
Supporter: Shoot them
Trump: (laughs) That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement (laughs some more)

+ Trump benefits from violence (and thus incites it), even from acts committed by his own acolytes, because high-profile violent acts can always be exploited to increase the political and policing powers of the State.

+ Trump’s strategy (or more likely his homunculus Stephen Miller’s) reminds me of the Vigilant California plot line in Inherent Vice, where Coy Harlingen and others are recruited to commit acts of violence at a Nixon rally in order to justify a police crack-down and emphasize Nixon’s campaign theme about the violent nature of 60s subcultures–although the Trump / Miller version is not, as Pynchon might say, so amusing….

+ The laws that are meant to police white supremacists were written by white supremacists to protect white supremacy. Good luck with that.

+ Here’s what a hundred round drum magazine like the one used in Dayton looks like…

+ Ryan Scott: “Fox News did to our parents what they thought video games would do to us.”

+ Trump can’t and shouldn’t do much of anything to regulate video games. But if he’s concerned about sadistic violence in the movies and on television, he does have the power to stop the Pentagon, FBI and CIA from cooperating with Hollywood on many of its most blood spattered movies.

+ Is there a more obnoxious Democratic talking point than the one they’re all parroting this week about how George W. Bush visited a mosque after 9/11? And how many of them did he bomb in Afghanistan and Iraq after that self-serving photo-op?

+ Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said today that people are overreacting to the mass shootings, noting that 200 people die every 48 hours in car accidents. True. But what how many people would die in car accidents if we allowed unlicensed, drunken 13 year olds to drive 16-wheelers? Or how many would die had not Ralph Nader forced Detroit to make their cars safer?

+ Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed was published in 1965, when there were 26 deaths per 100,000 people in the US every year from car crashes. In 2017, the death rate was 11.40 per 100,000, saving more than 40,000 lives a year. One of the reasons Nader deserves a Nobel Prize for his work in blunting the automobile’s war against humanity. Regulations can save lives. Lots of them.

+ Since January, Trump’s campaign has posted more than 2,000 ads on Facebook including the word “invasion.” They are part of a Facebook ad buy for Trump immigration spots that total $1.25 million.

+ Trump’s solution to mass shootings: Involuntary confinement, banning “violent” video games , expansion of the death penalty and bulletproof backpacks.

+ Trump: “May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo.” Toledo?

+ One geezer (Trump) thinks the Dayton shooting happened in Toledo, the other geezer (Biden) thinks the El Paso and Dayton shootings happened in Houston and Michigan. God bless, America…

+ According to a Pew survey on Americans and guns, a significant share of Americans (44%) say they personally know someone who has been shot, either accidentally or intentionally. Gun owners are more likely than non-gun owners to know someone who has been shot (51% vs. 40% of non-owners). And black adults (57%) are more likely than whites (43%) or Hispanics (42%) to know someone who falls into this category.

+ CNN’s Chris Cuomo just said that suspected white nationalists should be treated the same way the US treats Al Qaeda and ISIS jihadis. Does that mean that we drone them (or at least where we think they live), their neighbors and their families? [They did a pre-drone version of this to MOVE in Philly.]

+ CJ Werleman: “Wait, if video games are causing these terrorist mass shootings, and not extremist ideologies, then why did we ban Muslims from entering the country?”

+ Manson didn’t commit the murders at Cielo Drive, Hogan, but he was convicted of inciting his cultish followers to do so….

+ Toni Morrison: “The function, the serious function, of racism is distraction.”

+ Invoking Martin Luther King Jr in your quest to expand the death penalty is a new low even for a life-long gutter dweller like Mike Pence…

+ Toni Morrison: “In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”

+ From the NYT’s bizarre editorial on our homegrown crop neo-Nazis: “Those who sympathize with the white nationalist ideology but who deplore the violence…”

+ Weapons like that have no place in Afghanistan either, Pete…

+ So the GOP-NRA talking point on day two of Mass Gun Slaughter Week is the same one they turned to after Columbine: video games are to blame. But the US has been bombing someplace in the world at least once every three days since the Gulf War in 1991. Don’t you think that real slaughter might be a bit more desensitizing morally and psychologically than video games?

+ 17 of the 25 deadliest mass shootings in US history have occurred after the launching of the never-ending Global War on “Terrorism”. That’s no mere coincidence, Pete.

+ 120: Guns per 100 residents in US.

+ In case you were wondering what Biblical passage Marco Rubio, the NRA’s 3.2 Million Dollar Man, would quote the day after the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso…

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

+ Nothing awakens Sleepy Joe Biden more than the opportunity to propose new crime legislation, such as laws to combat “white nationalism”…

+ Biden: “Trump offers no moral leadership.” Every time I hear a moralist offering to lead the country, I head for the nearest bomb shelter or head shop, whichever sanctuary I find first…

+ Biden has a warped understanding of US history. He says the KKK was beaten down after the Civil War. Absurd. The Klan defeated Reconstruction and helped re-institute slavery by other means, and then slowly withered away until the 20s, with the origin of the Civil Rights Movement, especially in the north, where whites were becoming discomfited by the Great Migration…

+ The Democrats put this guy on the debate stage in front of a national TV audience…TWICE.

+ I know Rep. Delaney wants to require people thinking of committing a mass shooting to have liability insurance, but what if you forgot to pay your premium for a few months and you go shoot up a gay bar, taco stand or Quaker Meeting House any way, what’s the penalty?

+ Ohio state Rep. Candice Keller has a few ideas about what causes mass shootings, starting with “drag queens…”

+ What was Marianne Williamson saying about “dark psychic forces” being released upon the Republic? Sometimes it takes a Jungian to point out what’s staring you right in the face…

+ It’s an awful reflex, I know, but each time there’s a mass shooting like the one in El Paso this morning, my first reaction is now to hope that it wasn’t done by an immigrant or a Muslim…

+ It’s time to jettison the torpid phrase “common sense gun reform,” which is DC-speak for something toothless enough that it might even win Mitch McConnell’s support.

+ Let’s hope that Trump was so boorish and uncouth  in Dayton and El Paso that he puts an end once-and-for all to this sick tradition of Presidents visiting the scenes of selected atrocities–they never go to the sites of slaughter that they actually have culpability for, like My Lai or Fallujah.

+ O, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear, and he shows them pearly white…

+ In 1987, the federal government banned metal-tipped lawn darts because a single child (seven-year-old Michelle Snow) died after being impaled by one.

+ How the Portland GOP is responding to the recent mass shootings…by auction off a 25-inch long “pistol” as a fundraiser.

+ 24 of the 50 state supreme courts have only white judges

+ Police use of force is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. for men age 25 to 29.

+ As Trump took flight to El Paso, ICE was doing its malign work on the ground beneath, arresting around 680 undocumented immigrants in a massive worksite operation in Mississippi. ICE said it is the largest ever single state immigration enforcement operation.

+ Many of the 680 migrants arrested at work today by ICE are parents. Their children were left alone waiting for moms and dads who didn’t come to pick them up from school…

+ “Dianne’s fiancé, who came to the country more than 2 decades ago from Mexico, told her he had no way out & would not be able to escape ICE agents. His voice trembling, he told Dianne that she needed to make a promise before he got off the line: ‘Take care of my kids.’”

+ The ICE raids on the Koch Foods packing plant in Morton, Mississippi came less than a year after the company reached a $3.5 million settlement with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for systemic racial and sexual harassment of female, mostly Latina, workers at the plant by managers who touched and/or made sexually suggestive comments to female Hispanic employees, hit Hispanic employees and charged many of them money for normal everyday work activities.”

+ According to some a gripping dispatch by the Colorado Independent, ICE is isolating some detainees 22-23 hours a day in cells less than half the size of a standard parking space, with little more human contact than the hand that slides a food tray through a door slot.

+ Ira Kurzban (immigration attorney): “The immigrant haters today ended, believe it or not, a program to help World War II Filipino Veterans. The 20 vets who came each year must be a real threat to the country.”

+ An important message on Julian Assange from John Pilger…

+ Giving the cops the finger isn’t a crime (yet). But a North Carolina appeals court just ruled that doing so is probable cause that you might be in the process of committing one.

+ It’s hardly breaking news to anyone on the ground, but a sergeant with the St. Louis Police disclosed this week that there are many “white supremacists” working in the department.

+ On Saturday night at the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo in Superior, Montana, a MAGA Mountain Man named Curt James Brockway got irate that a 13-year old boy didn’t remove his ball cap during the National Anthem and punched the kid in the head. “There was a little boy lying on the ground. He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent,” Taylor Hennick told the Missoulian. “He said (the boy) was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that.” Brockway, who said he believed he was acting on Trump’s orders, is on probation for holding a local family at gunpoint and threatening to kill them. So, I guess we’re lucky he didn’t shoot the kid.

+ Trump and the cast of cartoon characters that fill his cabinet have taken us to the Land Beyond Parody. This week Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro lashed out at the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, comparing its stable of red-baiting hacks to a Chinese communist newspaper:  “The Wall Street Journal will write what it writes. It doesn’t sound a lot different from the People’s Daily in terms of the news that it puts out.” What goes around comes around, Rupert.

+ Weeks of paid maternal leave by country:

U.K.: 52
Greece: 43
Ireland: 42
Hungary: 24
Sweden: 19.6
Canada: 17
France: 16
Australia: 10
United States: 0

+ Biden at a Senate hearing several months after the invasion of Iraq. “I voted to go into Iraq, and I’d vote to do it again….Contrary to what some in my party might think, Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with sooner rather than later.” (Recall Biden said in the last debate that he was “one of the loudest voices against the war after “Shock and Awe.”) Thanks to Stephen Zunes for tracking down the quote.

+ Remember when Trump caught flak (rightly so) for his pathetic imitation of an Indian call center worker? Well, he must have caught Joe Biden (see below) doing the same thing, only worse, while he was VP…

+ A word of caution: when you open Joe Biden’s closet, you’re likely to be crushed by an avalanche of skeletons. For example, he once held Trump’s position on sanctuary cities and there’s no evidence he ever renounced it.

+ Lee Atwater was talking here about the evolution of the Southern Strategy, but it could apply equally to Biden and the Blue Dog/Clinton Dems, couldn’t it?

“You start out in 1954 saying ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger.’ That hurts you, backfires, so you say stuff like, ‘Forced busing, states’ rights,’ and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract, now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are basically economic. ‘We want to cut this much’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than, “Nigger, nigger.'”

+ Calling Dr. Freud….Biden in Iowa on Thursday night: “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

+ In his ongoing campaign against metaphors and similes, Pompeo Maximus just ordered the State Department to update its definition of Antisemitism to include “making comparisons between Israeli policy and that of the Nazis.” This censorious maneuver seems targeted at both BDS and Ilhan Omar, who Trump and Co. have wrongly accused of comparing Israeli crimes to those of the Nazis.

+ For some people, an AK-47 serves the same function as a companion animal…

+ Simone de Beauvoir:  “One of the benefits that oppression secures for the oppressor is that the humblest among them feels superior.” (The Second Sex)

+ Orange County, once the most solid turf for the GOP, is now turning blue. It’s only natural. The Democrats grow more conservative every year, as the GOP goes mucho loco.

+ In this new Quinnipiac poll of the Democratic field, “there are 4 candidates with 1% each and 14 candidates at less than 1% each.”

+ Tulsi Gabbard seems to have whacked Kamala Harris in the last debate, as her poll number collapsed. If so, the beneficiary seems to have been the even more odious Biden, not Gabbard, who went from single digits to less than single digits in the Real Clear Politics average afterwards, which is both a reflection on Gabbard and the enervated state of the antiwar movement that promotes her as their champion.

+ The main takeaway from the second debates is a near total repudiation of Harris, DeBlasio and the most obnoxious rightwing Democrats…

+ A leading conservative economist, Stephen Fuller, is taking a lashing for writing a column in support of Amazon moving its HQ to the Greater-DC swamp. The article topic was suggested Fuller by Amazon execs and he submitted a draft to Amazon for comments before publication. Paul Krugman did pretty much the same thing on behalf of the energy Ponzi-scheme known as Enron, after he pocketed $50,000 of the larcenous enterprise’s money…

+ Nice things, like universal health, that most of the rest of the world enjoys but the US just can’t afford, while shelling out $989 billion to defense contractors…

+ 183%:  increase in the cost of collegiate textbooks over the last 20 years.

+ When the explosive power (megatonnage) of the U.S. nuclear arsenal peaked in 1960, it was equivalent to 1,366,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs. Today’s operational stockpile contains the equivalent of more than 91,500 Hiroshimas.

+ When Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Akira Kurosawa sat down to talk about the meaning of Hiroshima

Kurosawa: “The atomic bomb constituted the starting point of the Cold War and of the arms race, and it marked the beginning of the process of creation and utilization of nuclear energy. Happiness will never be possible given such origins.”

+ White supremacists aren’t much of a threat to the things that corporations and their government policing agencies care about. People who shut down pipelines, on the other hand

+ The forests of the Pacific Northwest  have never been “too wet” to burn. Douglas-fir, the dominant tree species of the region, is a “fire-dependent” species. What’s changed is the intensity and duration of the fires.

+ Ocean heatwaves that WIPE OUT marine life are now occurring at double the rate experts had expected.

+ Alaska’s waters now completely clear of sea ice, as last ice in the Beaufort Sea offshore Prudhoe Bay melted away. The closest ice to Alaska is now about 150 miles (240km) northeast of Kaktovik. Chukchi Sea maintaining lowest ice ever recorded in NSIDC data.

+ Early summer (May-July) average sea surface temperatures in the northern Bering Sea were the highest on record in the NOAA climate data. Each of the past six years is among the warmest on record.

+ Wildlands in America are being shredded at the rate of two football fields per minute. While “development” is not the word I’d use, nevertheless, the rate of destruction of the few fragmented patches of ecosystems that remain is staggering (and probably understated)…

+ Climate change is a likely factor  in the dramatic increase in blooms of cyanobacteria — single-cell organisms that, when they grow densely, can produce toxic substances–that are closing many of American’s most popular lakes.

+ More than 400 people probably died as a consequence of a late July heatwave in the Netherlands, a 15% increase from the normal death rate.

+ The EPA concluded in late 2016 that ethylene oxide is at least 30 times more carcinogenic than previously understood. 12 of the top 20 highest-emitting facilities are in Louisiana and Texas and they’ve told people almost nothing about the risks of living near these cancer factories.

+ There’s nothing in the Constitution that says you’ve got a right to water, is there? That’s fortunate, because we’re running out of it fast.

+ How many damn cows is a grizzly bear’s life worth? 10? 100? 1,000? Nope. A couple of calves according to the Fish & Wildlife Service, which dispatched its hired killers in Wildlife Services to the Rocky Mountain Front to shoot a 24-year old, 550-pound female, one of the oldest bears in the lower-48.

+ Trump greenlights the use of M-44 explosives (“cyanide bomblets“) to kill wildlife (along with your dog, kid and any other living thing that happens to stumble across one)…

+ The tundra isn’t the only thing going up in flames in Siberia. More than 100,000 people were evacuated from towns in the Krasnoyarsk region, after a string of explosions at a Russian military weapons depot. No word on whether the burning stockpiles contain depleted uranium. Trust, but bring your own dosimeter.

+ Novelist Kevin Barry’s dispatch from Chernobyl is worth re-reading, especially by George Monbiot and his fellow nuclear power hucksters…

+ Leave it to Vanity Fair, which has published so few black women writers in its history I probably could count them on one hand, to have assigned Christopher Hitchens in 1998 to write its big profile of Toni Morrison.

+ Here’s a classic Bird and Fortune routine from 1996, anticipating the Brexit debate by 20 years. Colbert was never this funny or astute. (“I don’t like the word xenophobic. It’s suggest irrational prejudice and, of course, it’s a Greek word, you know, and I detest Greeks.”)

+ Ted Cruz: ‘Universities are trying really hard to raise a generation of pansies.’ Maybe the Ag School at Texas Tech is using too much Round-Up in its flower beds?

+ John Steinbeck CIA asset?

+ Even the world’s most abominable villains are completely ridiculous. Consider the strange flirtation between Lindsay Lohan and Mohammad Bin Salman.

+ Jazz historian Ted Gioia on the political economy of orchestras: “There’s a Harvard Business School case study on an orchestra that saw ticket sales decline when they cut prices—because affluent patrons want status (not music) and that’s incompatible with cheap tickets. This is why discounts are only given to target groups (students, etc.).”

+ The bad blood between the Byrds just seems to get more toxic over the years with most of the simmering ire being directed at David Crosby…”DC is not hated but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to work with him.”

+ Nick Cage tapping into Freud’s “oceanic” feeling: “My first love, even before my parents, was the ocean.” Inexplicably to me he’s made dozens of films, but is there a single good Nick Cage movie, aside from Wild at Heart?

+ I watched Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… on Sunday, which, reflecting Quentin’s reactionary cultural politics, could’ve been titled Make Hollywood Great Again. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there was one black character in the film, which is a peculiar fantasy of LA in 1969. It’s also an odd decision for a film that’s ostensibly about how the Manson “murders” killed off the old Hollywood, since one theory of the “motive” for the murders was they were meant to be blamed on the Panthers, sparking a race war. “Blackbird arise…” Groovy soundtrack, though.

This Darkness Growing So Familiar

Booked Up

What I’m reading this week…

Alain Badiou

The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead

Three Women
Lisa Taddeo
(Avid Reader Press)

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week…

Live at Woodstock
Credence Clearwater Revival
(Craft Records)

Parlour Game
Allison Miller / Jenny Scheinman
(Royal Potato Family Records)

Songs From San Mateo County
Tony Molina
(Smoking Room)

There are Only Black People

Toni Morrison: “I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That’s what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say ‘people,’ that’s what I mean.”

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