Roaming Charges: Blood in the Eye of the Storm

Inside the eye of Dorian. Photo: NOAA.

+ Joe Biden, who is now claiming he opposed the Iraq War from Day One, (after speaking on the senate floor in favor of it and then voting for it) on September 9, 2003, 6 months after the first bombs fell on Baghdad.

Fareed Zakaria: “You supported the war. Are you having any second thoughts?”

Biden: “No I’m not having second — I’m having second thoughts only about the degree of confidence I placed in the administration to know what to do after Saddam was taken down.”

+ Biden on the day before Iraq war resolution passed, arguing for passage of the Lieberman-Warner amendment to the final bill: “Unlike my colleagues from West Virginia and Maryland, I do not believe this is a rush to war. I believe it’s a march to peace and security.”

+ Joe “Tiny Steps” Biden: “At CNN’s climate town hall, Biden refused to commit to a ban on fracking, offering a state’s rights defense and reminding the audience that, “everything is incremental.” State’s rights and incrementalism. Well, at least Biden’s been consistent his entire career on his two core beliefs.

+ Biden, who has been caught in one fabulation after another, is now reduced to saying that “the details don’t matter.” This won’t surprise anyone who is familiar with his record writing criminal justice legislation.

+ Suspender Your Disbelief: When Gramps called for the criminalization of “raves.”

+ The day after CNN’s climate forum, Joe Biden headed to Houston for a fundraiser hosted by fossil fuel executive, Andrew Goldman, a co-founder of Western LNG. Biden claimed he had no idea that Goldman was in the oil and gas business.

+ Biden is quietly violating his pledge not to take money from lobbyists by shaking down the “influence industry” for campaign cash. Of course, at this point who else would be willing to invest in his campaign?

+ In 1988, soon after Congress passed the first reforms of the federal welfare system in decades, Biden wrote an oped that trafficked in some of the most noxious racial stereotypes of the Reagan era:

“We are all too familiar with the stories of welfare mothers driving luxury cars and leading lifestyles that mirror the rich and famous. Whether they are exaggerated or not, these stories underlie a broad social concern that the welfare system has broken down—that it only parcels out welfare checks and does nothing to help the poor find productive jobs.”

Really? This is your guy, Democrats?

+ There are many lamentable aspects to Obama’s enervated presidency, but the worst may well turn out to be lending Joe Biden political cover for every racist sentiment and policy he’s ever advanced…

+ After a series of malaprops, gaffes and tall tales, Biden was sent out to calm anxious supporters in New Hampshire and demonstrate that he still had all his faculties, as limited as those might be. “I’m not going nuts,” he proclaimed. File this with the president who vowed “I’m not a crook” and the Senate candidate who declared: “I am not a witch!” Expect Trump to  recycle endlessly.

+ Speaking of self-inflicted wounds, Biden is already bleeding and Sanders, Warren and Trump haven’t even thrown a punch yet…

+ The Biden campaign now concedes it could lose Iowa. Not to worry, they say, Uncle Joe could lose the first several primaries and still win the nomination. The question is: does Biden have to win any primaries to secure the nomination Probably not, given the DNC’s current rules…

+ But why do you want to be president, Joe?
Well, uh, you see…what was the question again?

+ John McCain was many things, but “civil” was not one of them. They called him “McNasty” for a reason, Joe. McCain tried (at least once) to assault some of his constituents in his congressional office, as I reported here

+ Biden’s political career is a forty-year long train wreck in progress. No wonder he’s an Amtrak guy.

+ Dorian’s storm surge on Grand Bahama was estimated at 18-23 feet, which submerged all of the areas in green (0-15 feet elevation) and much of what’s yellow (16-30 feet elevation)…

+ CNN’s Patrick Oppmann on Grand Bahama: “There are no walls left of the Freeport airport. There is not a wall left…The level of devastation is breathtaking…Part of a plane is deposited in the middle of the terminal.”

+ If you keep a close eye on the market, you too can be a predatory capitalist, feasting off the misery of the victims of Climate Chaos…

+ In the last 169 years, only 35 Atlantic hurricanes have attained Category 5 status. Five of them in the last 4 years.

2019 – Dorian
2018 – Michael
2017 – Irma & Maria
2016 – Matthew

+ Trump on Cat 5 hurricanes…

+ Trump is rightly being ridiculed for wanting to nuke a hurricane. But how many recall that the Obama adm considered detonating a nuke in the Gulf of Mexico as a way to plug the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that its own (de)regulators were responsible for to begin with?

+ Deep Thoughts From Fox & Friends…

Brian Kilmeade: You’ll say this is crazy, but I’ve always thought to myself, isn’t there anything we can do to stop a Hurricane!?

Steve Doocy: I don’t think an atomic bomb is a way to do it.

Brian Kilmeade: With all the progress we’re making w/ driverless cars and Instagram could we stop one?

+ Catastrophic storms and destructively high tides used to occur once each decade, but could become regular as three to 15 times each year by 2100 in Bangladesh, a country that is literally disappearing under rising sea levels.

+ It looks like the oil companies finally did what JFK, LBJ, and Nixon, couldn’t: destroy the Mekong Delta. According to new research, more 12 million people could be “displaced” by flooding in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta within half a century. The Mekong’s elevation averages just 0.8 meter, almost two meters lower than commonly quoted estimates.

+ Raoni Metuktire: “So why do you do this? So that some of you can get a great deal of money. In the Kayapó language we call your money piu caprim, ‘sad leaves’, because it is a dead and useless thing, and it brings only harm and sadness.”

+ Ecologist Carlos Nobre on the deadly combination of deforestation and climate change: “With current warming, if we pass 20-25% deforestation, then we reach a tipping point and 50-60% of the Amazon becomes savanna. We are at 15-17% deforestation. We are only 20 to 30 years off.”

+ Imagine losing the Amazon and the Antarctic ice sheets. Well, it’s happening: “The estimated mass of particulate organic carbon held in sediments beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet is up to an order of magnitude greater than that associated with northern hemisphere permafrost.”

+ Amount the G-7 countries (US excluded) agreed to spend to f help Amazon countries fight wildfires: $20 million.
Amount USA spends per hour on GWOT: $34 million.

+ How many of those “carbon offsets” are now going up in smoke in Amazonia?

+ “The sea is eating all the sand,” says Leitu Frank, a native of Tuvalu, a Polynesian archipelago in Oceania. “Before, the sand used to stretch out far, and when we swam we could see the sea floor, and the coral. Now, it is cloudy all the time, and the coral is dead. Tuvalu is sinking.”

+ Cecil Roberts, President of United Mine Workers of America: “We need to develop technology to remove carbon from the burning of coal or you’re never, write that word down, never going to resolve climate change. Never.” Sorry, Cecil, for the sake of the planet (not to mention the health of your workers), we need to stop burning coal PERIOD.

+ In yet another fit of personal pique, Trump has instructed the EPA to revoke California’s ability to set its own clean air standards. So much for the shibboleth of the “state’s rights.”

+ The Sun wins the Headline of the Week award…

+ As my friend Laleh Khalili notes: “Boz (or Boris) sounds like baws which in Scots equals balls. So he has also been kicked in the nuts!”

+ Boris Johnson’s younger (and smarter) brother, Jo Johnson, resigned from the government and parliament on Thursday, exasperated by his brother’s madcap maneuvering this week. What goes around comes around, Boris: “We don’t do things that way, that’s a very left-wing thing,” Boris Johnson said when Ed Miliband stood against his brother David for Labour Party leader in 2010 . “Only a socialist could do that to his brother, only a socialist could regard familial ties as being so trivial as to shaft his own brother…Only lefties can think like that. They see people as discrete agents devoid of ties to society or to each other, and that’s how Stalin could murder 20 million people.”

+ Irish actor Chris O’Dowd on Brexit:

“It seems oddly fitting to the people of Ireland that Brexit is coming down to the backstop. The suggestion that the British government is making – that they won’t fuck us over – is laughable. That’s what they have done for 800 years. People growing up in Britain won’t have much sense of that. Their history books don’t really dwell on the depraved way Britain has treated its closest neighbour. What do I think will happen? Irish prosperity and peace are going to be completely usurped by Westminster. Again.”

+ In Weds. morning’s edition of the Dutch paper, NRC…

+ How long before Trump washes his hands of Boris Johnson?

+ Here’s Nicholas Soames (Churchill’s grandson, recently evicted from the Conservative Party for defying Boris Johnson) on Jacob Rees-Mogg, the hard Brexiteer with “the ultra-posh voice and a bit of ginger stuck up his arse”…

+ Over to you, Ox…

+ Remember when Jesus threw the sick migrant children out of the camp?

+ In Trump’s border concentration camps menstruating girls are being denied tampons and sanitary napkins and are left to bleed through their underwear and pants.

“One young woman told lawyers that menstruating youngsters were permitted only one tampon, or sanitary pad, a day. After that, at least one girl ‘had no choice but to continue to wear her soiled underwear’ and clothes.”

+ A Las Vegas ICE official griped that it just takes too long for the US Gestapo to deport mothers with no criminal record: “She could have three more babies.

+ Imagine living in such horrifying conditions that you have PTSD at the age of five. Now imagine that these conditions are managed with that very purpose in mind by the US government.

+ Trump is diverting $3.6 billion from the Pentagon to begin construction of his border wall. Some Democrats have decried the move as an effort to “starve” the Pentagon. But the rest of us should thank Trump for setting a useful precedent that will make it that much easier to transfer the rest of the Pentagon’s budget to fund national health care.

+ Jim Naureckas: “I’d love to see someone conduct a poll: “If you were already getting free public health insurance, would you like to have the option to pay thousands of dollars a year to get the same kind of coverage from a for-profit insurer?”

+ So much for “the sacred right of property…” In September, Trump instructed his flacks to “take the land” and build his wall by election day and not to worry if they broke the law because he’d pardon them.

+ This week 9 Arizona State students from China were detained at LAX airport and denied admission to U.S. If this keeps up, they’ll be shuttering the math and physics departments faster than schools are dropping their Humanities programs.

+ Into the hands of Cruella…migrant children are turned over to an adoption agency linked to Betsy DeVos.

+ What “winning” looks like…the manufacturing sector has shrunk for the first time in more than three years.

+ The high desert country of eastern Oregon is tilting toward recession, as Trump’s trade war with China and Japan begins to bite the wheat industry. Trump rubbed salt in the wounds by deprecating the farmers and their crop.  “They (Japan) send thousands and thousands — millions — of cars. We send them wheat. Wheat! That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we’re okay. You know, they do it to make us feel good.”

+ Meanwhile, in Wisconsin farm loan delinquencies have soared to their highest level since 2001.

+ When they finally return from a prolonged summer vacation, House Democrats plan on launching an inquiry into…his payments to silence women he had sex with. Really? How about an inquiry into his role in silencing scientists at EPA, NOAA, Interior and Agriculture?

+ After 40 years of wandering in the political desert, finally a T-Exodus for the GOP?

+ It looks like Netanyahu is headed for re-election, which isn’t all that surprising since he perfectly embodies the Israeli mindset …

Israel, Midgam poll:
Who would you prefer as Prime Minister?

Netanyahu (Likud-ECR): 39% (-4%)
Gantz (B&W-Centrists): 30% (+1)
Neither: 17% (-2)
DK: 9% (-)

+/- 28/08/19

+ Even so, Netanyahu seems to be cracking under the strain a little more each day…

+ Give him credit. Netanyahu has dropped all pretense, claiming this week that Israel with assert absolute sovereignty over the West Bank. Here ends the fantasy of a two-state “solution”…

+ Trump’s Middle East peace coordinator, Jason Greenblat, who pushed zealously for the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and for seizure of the Golan Heights as Israeli land in the name of ‘peace,’ is out.  He’ll be replaced Jared Kushner’s assistant and coffee boy, Avi Berkowitz. Berkowitz is 28. He graduated from law school in 2016.

+ 18 years of the GWOT and counting, military suicides are now claiming more lives than the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS combined.

+ Paid vacation days (guaranteed by law):

25 – Finland
25 – France
25 – Norway
25 – Sweden
22 – Portugal
20 – Australia
20 – United Kingdom
10 – Canada
10 – Japan
6 – Mexico
0 – United States

+ How the economy works (for Them)…

+ Time to boycott the anti-union not-so-fast food joint Burgerville, the “In-and-Out Burger” of the Pacific Northwest…

+ The tale of the (ticker) tape…

+ According to economist Benyamin Appelbaum: “Life expectancy rose for the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans between 1980 and 2010… declined for the poorest 20 percent of Americans. Shockingly, the difference… between poor and wealthy women widened from 3.9 years to 13.6 years.”

+ It turns out that Tomi Lahren’s American-flag themed yoga clothing is … made in China. Just call her Shanghai Barbie.

+ Torturing the homeless with “music” From CNN:

If you were to walk at night along the waterfront in West Palm Beach, Florida, you might hear something strange: A playlist of annoyingly catchy children’s songs — including “Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos” — blared on loop all night to deter homeless people from sleeping near an event center. The Waterfront Lake Pavilion, a luxury venue that can be rented for $250 to $500 per hour, doesn’t want rough sleepers on its patio, so the city’s parks and recreation department devised the sonic deterrent.

+ Some might call it triangulation, others a perfect fit: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is in talks to join a “consulting firm” founded by two former Clinton staffers.

+ Alabama Governor Kay Ivey apologized for parading around in blackface during college, but said it was nothing to resign over.

+ Samuel Sinyangwe: “America has more governors who’ve worn blackface than black governors.”

+ “Some of our Hispanic pros with smaller hands, this is perfect for them,” proclaimed Lowe’s executive Joe McFarland, while trying to pitch a DeWalt 12-volt cordless power drill. I get you’re a racist and you talk like this while dove “hunting” and draining six-packs of Coors Lite. But on your company’s TV show, while trying to sell product?

I get you’re a racist and you talk like this while dove “hunting” and draining six-packs of Coors Lite. But on your company’s TV show, while trying to sell product?

+ US Rep Ralph Abraham’s pharmacies dispensed 1.5 MILLION doses of opioids in two rural Louisiana towns with a total population of 6,000 and yet when it came to marijuana he was a hardass drug warrior: “Again, as a physician, let me tell you. What I see in my practice, from any level of marijuana use, is bad. I’m against recreational, I’m against medical…we have other alternatives that work better, Dilaudid, OxyContin, you name it…”

+ Lindsey Graham is hellbent to put Obama under oath and interrogate him about Russiagate. Go for it, Lindsey, but don’t stop there: haul Bush and Cheney before your tribunal to answer for the deaths of 100s of thousands.

+ In the past decade, white men have fallen from 60% to 39% of all House Democrats. Meanwhile, they’ve risen from 87% to 90% of all House Republicans.

+ The US Army is stacking the deck against Iran.

+ An editorial from North Korea’s KCNA sums up Senator Ted Cruz as “an ultra-rightist detested by everyone”, “a liar” and “a demon in human shape” … “His behavior is sure to make everyone take him as a remnant of Nazis with extreme misanthropy or a hysteric psychopath bereft of reason.”

+ Trump: Colombia, you said? … The country?

+ Has there been a single word about the US-backed massacres in Yemen (the latest of which is the bombing of a detention camp killing at least 100 people) in the Democratic debates?

+ Texas Gov Greg Abbott in 2015: “I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans.” Cheer up, Gov., you’re still #1 in mass shootings!

+ A former US Marine from Oregon named Shane Kohfield was arrested this week after threatening to slaughter Antifa. “Kohfield told Rep Dan Crenshaw that Congress needed to take immediate steps to declare antifa a terrorist organization. Otherwise, he and other veterans would have no choice but to begin systematically killing antifa members “until we have achieved genocide.” This vigilant fellow lives just down the road from me, where he lives with, yes, his parents…

+ Children killed or wounded by gun violence in the U.S. so far this year: 2,529. (If only their parents had armed them.)

+ There’s really no place quite like America: in Ohio armed school guards are being advised, “You understand that you might have to shoot a student, right?”

+ A contrite McKrae Graham, a founder of Hope for Wholeness, one of the nation’s largest conversion therapy groups, came out as gay this week. Will Mike Pence be next?

+ Jeff Sharlet: “For all of you who think Pence is anti-gay, he will be meeting his best gay friends tomorrow [at a pub in Ireland], who aren’t actually his friends. Also, Mother will be there in case they try to gay sex him or make him drink beer.”

+ The Collected Thoughts & Prayers of Mike Pence…


+ Bernie Sanders has introduced a plan to relieve medical debt. This should strike a chord across the country, since 46 million people have experienced the financial trauma of having at least one unpaid medical bill that was sent to a collection agency later show up as a red flag on their credit report.

+ Reports leaking out of the White House suggest that National Security Adviser John Bolton has been locked out of policy meetings on Afghanistan. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving psychopath…

+ India now has 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir to police a population of only 7 million.

+ The number of electronic devices that customs agents are looking at when people enter the United States is increasing, according to Customs and Border Patrol data and an ACLU and EFF lawsuit:

8,500 in 2015
19,000 in 2016
30,000 in 2017

+ Brett Chapman (Ponca): “In my opinion Columbus Day should be changed to February 24 because it was that day in 1495 the first 550 Native Americans he enslaved were forced onto a little slave ship bound for the slave market in Spain. 200 died en route and the Spanish dumped their bodies in the sea.”

+ So Barbara Boxer, once the doyenne of the liberals, left the senate and took a job with Lyft, and is now scribbling op-eds opposing labor regulations in California that would extend employment rights to Lyft & Uber drivers.

+ Since 2011 cyclists have killed 7 pedestrians on NYC streets, less than one a year. In the same period, drivers killed 1,110 pedestrians. Meanwhile, 9 cyclists have been killed by cars in NYC since June. Guess which group the New York Post thinks is an unchecked menace to the city?

+ Calling Dr. Laing. Doesn’t “managing” your mental illness, which many of us have worked hard to cultivate, defeat the point of having one?

+ When Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the museum’s director, Lonnie Bunch, was advised that the president was in a “foul mood” and not to show him any “difficult stuff.” When Trump observed the exhibit on the Dutch role in the global slave trade his countenance brightened and he boasted, “You know, they love me in the Netherlands.”

+ It’s early hours yet, but it looks like David Vest and Schooley are leading the pack for winning the Internet for the Week…

+ Trump, his first primary challenger (Bill Weld), and the three top Democratic contenders were all born in the 1940s.

+ But our nuclear plants are even more decrepit than our politicians…

+ Tricolored blackbirds have declined by nearly 90 percent since the 1930s. Not enough, apparently, to warrant them protection under what’s left of the Endangered Species Act.

+ They’re clearcutting the Grand Staircase-Escalante for the benefit of … COWS.

+ From 2001 to 2018, Cambodia lost 2.17 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 25% decrease, according to data analysis by Global Forest Watch.

+ Women in Africa are having, on average, three fewer children than African women were in 1980.

+ Heat deaths are soaring across the Southwest. “There’s only so much our bodies can take,” Rupa Basu, chief of the air and climate epidemiological section for the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in California, where the number of heat-related deaths doubled between 2015 and 2017. “I think we’re going beyond that temperature threshold.”

+ I stopped at Bonneville Dam last week hoping to get a view of the migrating salmon and steelhead making their way up the giant fish ladders. The dam now resembles an armed camp. A guard stopped me at the gate: “Are you carrying a firearm or a drone?” “No,” I said, chuckling. He looked at me and pointed, “Pull over there, please, and step out of the vehicle.” Yes, he said “vehicle.” Then he strip-searched my car, even opening the hood, an unlikely hiding place for a drone, taking out the spare tire. By the time he was done, it was 4:45 and the dam site closed to public at 5. I thanked him for his service in protecting such a monument to industry and extinction and left. Was it the Hayduke Lives! sticker that aroused his suspicions?

+ Psychologist (and frequent CounterPunch contributor) Roy Eidelson is offering free copies of his important new book Political Mind Games. You can download a pdf copy here.

+ What’s the “Foreclosure Footprint” of Ken Burns’ new Bank of America-sponsored documentary (sure to be tedious) on country music?

+ Linda Ronstadt is now nearly paralyzed by Parkinson’s Disease, but she’s still talking smartly on just about everything, including growing up in the Sonoran desert on the Arizona/Mexico border:

“The stores are wiped out because they don’t get any trade from the United States anymore. There’s concertina wire on the Mexican side that the Americans put up. Animals are getting trapped in there. Children are getting cut on it. It’s completely unnecessary. In the meantime, you see people serenely skateboarding and girls with their rollerskates, kids playing in the park. And you think, We’re afraid of this? They’re just regular kids!”

+ The only thing that makes the slightest sense to me in this long interview with Ram Dass (aka, Richard Alpert) is the following:

Q. Ever want to take acid again for old times’ sake?
A. Yeah.

+ Love in Leather:

Kanye: How did you realize I was the one for you?

Kim: When I went to New York and we went to dinner and the movies, it was just so much fun. I remember I wore a Givenchy feather jacket and leather pants.

+ “Roy Cohn did the impossible,” says Matt Tyrnauer, director of the new documentary “Where’s My Roy Cohn?”. “He created a president from beyond the grave. I don’t think there’s any disputing that. The basic lessons that Trump learned from Cohn were: Never apologize. If someone hits you, hit them back a thousand times harder. Any publicity is good publicity. And find an ‘other.’”

+ “One day they’ll make a film about the first public screening of “The Painted Bird” at Venice,” wrote Xan Brook in The Guardian. “It will feature the man who fell full-length on the steps in his effort to escape and the well-dressed woman who became so frantic to get out that she hit the stranger in the next seat…The centrepiece will be the moment 12 viewers broke for the doors only to discover that the exit had been locked.”

+ Vaclav Marhoul’s cinematic horrorshow sounds like it’s true to the source material in several respects. Jerzy Kosinski’s novel, which originally was marketed as a thinly veiled account of his experiences during the Holocaust, was revealed to be a complete fabrication by Norman Finkelstein and others. Some accused Kosinski of plagiarizing passages from other Polish writers. While essayist Eliot Weinberger alleged in his book Karmic Traces that Kosinski didn’t write the novel at all. According to my friend Yasha Levine, who has seen Marhoul’s film of the novel, the movie is a “hack job,” with some of the best sequences lifted from Russian directors, while pushing a narrative that repeatedly equates Nazis and communists, with Nazis coming out as superior beings on the morality scale. It sounds like a movie that would warm David Irving’s denialist heart.

+ I met Kosinski a couple of times while he was in DC for the filming of his novel Being There. Kosinski was friends with one of my professors at American University, Arnost Lustig. Lustig was another Holocaust survivor who turned his harrowing experience in eastern Europe as a kid into a career as a novelist (Dita Saxova and Darkness Casts No Shadow) and screenwriter (A Prayer For Katerina Horowitzowa and Diamonds of the Night). Kosinski and Lustig were both charmers and fabulists about some aspects of their own lives. Over drinks at Jakes in Georgetown, Kosinski told us an elaborate story about how he was saved from being slaughtered by the Manson gang by inept baggage handlers at JFK, causing him to miss his flight to LA on the day of the slayings on Cielo Drive. Kosinski would have been a much richer target for ridicule by Quentin Tarantino than his bizarre savaging of Bruce Lee.

+ Lustig, himself a world-class raconteur, said that Kosinski once told him that he could suck his own dick. Arnost objected, claiming such a feat was physically impossible. So Kosinski pulled down his pants and showed him that he could.

+ Whatever his dubious merits as a novelist, Kosinski proved himself an able actor during his most famous film role, as Grigory Zinoviev in Warren Beatty’s “Reds.”

Kosinski as Zinoviev in “Reds.”

+On August 30 1963, a “Hot Line” communications link was established between the White House and Kremlin designed to dramatically speed up diplomatic exchanges between the two nations’ leaders in the event of an emergency.

It’s remarkable how much Terry Southern and Stanley Kubrick got exactly right about the absurd dynamics of the Cold War in Dr. Strangelove, including the “hot line.”

[the President calls the Soviet Premier]

Hello?… Uh… Hello D- uh hello Dmitri? Listen uh uh I can’t hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little? … Oh-ho, that’s much better… yeah… huh… yes… Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri… Clear and plain and coming through fine… I’m coming through fine, too, eh?… Good, then… well, then, as you say, we’re both coming through fine… Good… Well, it’s good that you’re fine and… and I’m fine… I agree with you, it’s great to be fine… a-ha-ha-ha-ha… Now then, Dmitri, you know how we’ve always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb… The bomb, Dmitri… The hydrogen bomb!… Well now, what happened is… ahm… one of our base commanders, he had a sort of… well, he went a little funny in the head… you know… just a little… funny. And, ah… he went and did a silly thing… Well, I’ll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes… to attack your country… Ah… Well, let me finish, Dmitri… Let me finish, Dmitri… Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?… Can you imagine how I feel about it, Dmitri?… Why do you think I’m calling you? Just to say hello?… Of course I like to speak to you!… Of course I like to say hello!… Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I’m just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened… It’s a friendly call. Of course it’s a friendly call… Listen, if it wasn’t friendly… you probably wouldn’t have even got it… They will not reach their targets for at least another hour… I am… I am positive, Dmitri… Listen, I’ve been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick… Well, I’ll tell you. We’d like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes… Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we’re unable to recall the planes, then… I’d say that, ah… well, ah… we’re just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri… I know they’re our boys… All right, well listen now. Who should we call?… Who should we call, Dmitri? The… wha-whe, the People… you, sorry, you faded away there… The People’s Central Air Defense Headquarters… Where is that, Dmitri?… In Omsk… Right… Yes… Oh, you’ll call them first, will you?… Uh-huh… Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri?… Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information… Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm… I’m sorry, too, Dmitri… I’m very sorry… All right, you’re sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well… I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don’t say that you’re more sorry than I am, because I’m capable of being just as sorry as you are… So we’re both sorry, all right?… All right.”

Here’s to You, Joe…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Violence of Innocence: a Jungian Inquiry Into the American Psyche
Ipek S. Burnett

The Intervals of Cinema
Jacques Rancière
Translated by John Howe

The Memory Police
Yoko Ogawa
Translated by Stephen Snyder

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Jimmy Lee
Raphael Saadiq

While I’m Livin’
Tanya Tucker

Prison on a Hill
(Tiny Engines)

Images in the Stream
What I’m streaming this week...

Director: Laurent Jaoui
Raspail Productions, 2010.

The Art Dealer
Director: François Margolin
Margo Cinema, 2015.

Le Chat dans la sac
Director: Gilles Groulx
(Featuring John Coltrane’s only soundtrack.)
Pathé, 1964.

He had No Money, No family, No friends–Only Hurricanes

Erik Larson: “I relied on an unpublished report by Jose Fernandez-Partagas, a late-twentieth-century meteorologist who recreated for the National Hurricane Center the tracks of many historical hurricanes, among them the Galveston Hurricane. He was a meticulous researcher given to long hours in the library of the University of Miami, where he died on August 25, 1997, in his favorite couch. He had no money, no family, no friends–only hurricanes. The hurricane center claimed his body, had him cremated, and on August 31, 1998, launched his ashes through the drop-port of a P-3 Orion hurricane hunter into the heart of Hurricane Danielle. His remains entered the atmosphere at 28 N., 74.2 W., about three hundred miles due east of Daytona Beach.” (Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time and the Deadliest Hurricane in History)






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