Roaming Charges: Mad Bull, Lost Its Way

“Attack and take of the Crête-à-Pierrot (Haiti)” by Auguste Raffet. (Circa, 1850)

“Most police are not from and do not live in the communities they are policing. Paid, outside agitators.”

– Boots Riley

+ Trump the Brigand ranting about “law & order” in the Rose Garden, as tear gas deployed against nonviolent protesters swirls across the capital of a country that is mourning 105,000 dead and yet is still locking up kids in cages, pretty much capsulizes where the Republic stands at this fraught moment.

+ If this isn’t America, then what is?

+ Trump: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

+ What MAGA America doesn’t seem to understand is that when fascism comes, it will come for them, too. Black, red and brown America have been living a version of this repressive condition their entire lives.

+ Ali Abunimah: “The president of the United States is threatening to invade the United States.”

+ As Trump threatens to send US troops to smash civilian protests in American cities, it’s cold comfort to recall that the US military hasn’t won a war since the Soviets beat the Nazis for us and we dropped nuclear bombs on two defenseless cities in Japan.

+ A couple of weeks ago, Trump orchestrated Blue Angel flybys as militaristic salutes to medical personnel. Then on Monday night, Trump’s Luftwaffe used medical helicopters to terrorize protesters in the nation’s capital. The next day, Asheville police raided medical stations, smashing medical supplies, destroying food, slashing water bottles and harassing medics and doctors treating civilians who’d been brutalized by the police. These are war crimes.

+ How many police officers are now in custody for the hundreds of acts of unprovoked violence against US citizens captured on camera over the last 10 days and nights (asking for an Iraqi friend).

+ Trump tells govs: “You don’t have to be too careful. Someone throwing a rock is like shooting a gun. You have to do retribution.” This is, of course, already standard procedure for US police. It’s the exact kind of ultraviolent tactic deployed to kill Michael Brown, Eric Garner, George Floyd and hundreds of others for nonviolent petty offenses.

+ In 2015 the ACLU put out a report showing that black people in Minneapolis are 8.7 times more likely than white people to be arrested for low-level offenses. Racist and violent policing has been a problem in Minnesota for decades.

+ Minneapolis police, for example, rendered 44 people unconscious with neck restraints in five years…

+ Over the last 20 years, Minneapolis police have killed black people at a rate 13 times higher than white people – a larger racial disparity than almost anywhere else in the nation….

+ There were only 27 days in 2019 when police in the USA didn’t kill anyone (that we know of).

+ Shortly after WTO, police in American cities began to develop more aggressive tactics to suppress mass protests. They already had the paramilitary equipment, now they were going to put it to use. JoAnn Wypijewski reported for us the DC police issuing “shoot to kill” orders for the World Bank protests held a few months later. Her piece is in our book Five Days That Shook the World: Seattle and Beyond.

+ If the long, rancid history of American policing is any judge, the people who are being viciously assaulted are much more likely to be charged with a crime than the ones committing the assault…

+ Arash Kolahi: “This country was infinitely more prepared to go to war against its own people than defend its people from a pandemic.”

+ Does the War Powers Act apply when the President declares war against his own country? Or has Congress given up that authority, too?

+ How are the Democrats who voted to give Trump expanded domestic spying powers and record military budgets sleeping tonight?

+ “Soul of America”, Joe? You just finished a speech where you urged police to shoot unarmed protesters in the knee. You made those remarks in a CHURCH!

+ This is our choice. Trump: shoot unarmed protesters in the heart. Biden: shoot unarmed protesters in the knee (and make ’em pay their own medical bills.) Leadership!

+ It’s enough to make one nostalgic for the accidental president himself, LBJ, who, despite his many other grotesque failings, could at least understand the incendiary rage that ignited the riots of ’68: “What did you expect? I don’t know why we’re surprised. When you put your foot on a man’s neck and hold him down for 300 years, and then you let him up, what’s he going to do? He’s going to knock your block off.”

+ So the “rules of engagement” here are basically what they were in Vietnam or Anbar Province: anything goes, beat, shoot, gas or maim anything that moves, then try to suppress, violently if possible, any reporting about it.

+ The last time New York City was placed under a curfew was in 1943 in response to an uprising in Harlem sparked by a white police officer shooting a black soldier.

+ In New York City, a reporter for the Associated Press is heard on video explaining the press are considered “essential workers” under New York’s curfew orders and are allowed to be on the streets. An officer responds “I don’t give a shit.” Another cop tells the journalist to “get the fuck out of here you piece of shit.”

+ “We are horrified by the continued use of harsh and sometimes violent actions of police against journalists doing their jobs. These are direct violations of press freedom, a fundamental Constitutional value of the United States,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, Program Director  for the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. “We call on local and state officials to explicitly exempt the news media from curfew regulations so that journalists are able to report freely.”

+ Just 10 days ago, the Trump administration was describing the American people as “human capitalstock “, now we’re “the battlespace” to be “dominated.” Either way, we’re expendable.

+ Remember when almost everyone in the US political establishment, conservative and liberal, got very irate about Saddam gassing his own people (even though he did it with Rummy’s knowledge)? Now, the US president is gassing his own people in the nation’s capital to demonstrate he wasn’t a coward for hiding in his bunker over the weekend.

+ It was only two weeks ago when Trump scolded the Governor of Michigan for not having a face-to-face meeting with the armed goons who took over the Michigan statehouse. Same man who scrambled to his Trumpbunker when unarmed protesters gathered outside the White House wanting to chat.

+ The last time the Insurrection Act was invoked by a US president, it was George HW Bush, who sent US Marines into Los Angeles to crush the Rodney King protests. His AG at the time was Bill Barr. Bush was praised this week as model presidential “healer in chief” by…a Bible-wielding Nancy Pelosi.

+ When Pat Robertson makes more sense than Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden, you know the Democrats have reached a dead end as any kind of political force…

+ Of course, Trump was never one of them. He was merely a sign, a welcome one to evangelicals, that finally the world was coming to an end, something they’d long been predicting with every comet, eclipse, locust outbreak and flash flood…

+ The Bible is something very special…

+ On Trump’s visit to St John Paul II National Shrine, DC Archbishop Wilton Gregory said: “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

+ Bishop Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of DC – who oversees the St. John’s Church where Trump flashed Ivanka’s Bible  – told the Washington Post that she is “outraged” and that neither she

“nor the rector was asked or told that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence. I am beyond.We need moral leadership and he’s done everything to divide us and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We so disassociate ourselves from the messages of this president. We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so so grounding to our lives and everything we do and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice.”

+ The Trump campaign’s homophobic attorney Jenna Ellis (who once said gays deserved to be infected with HIV) denounced the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, alleging he’d become “a pawn of the leftwist media that thrives on destruction of all that is moral and just.”

+ The DC mayor’s office says federal officials, including at the White House, inquired about their powers to take control of the city’s police department. City officials objected and threatened a legal challenge…

+ Biden emerged from his own basement bunker this week to deliver this platitude: Amid the violence and fear, Dr. King persevered. He was driven by his dream of a nation where justice runs down like water, righteousness like a mighty stream.”

+ King didn’t “persevere”. He got more and more radical until finally they shot him, much to the delight of some of the same segregationists in the Senate you later befriended and co-authored racist legislation with…

+ For the lesser evil file…

+ Take cover Baghdad!

+ Biden just got all the Bushies on board his campaign and now you expect him to renounce regime change wars, sanctions against North Korea, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, CIA torture and drone strikes? Tsk, tsk…

+ This is the week that Mad Dog Mattis finally went off the leash, after the autocratic force he aided and abetted is cresting toward its concussive denouement…

+ The one truly salutary consequence of Mattis’ defense of the protests is that it will leave Meghan McCain even more perplexed than normal…

+ Meghan should have seen Hanoi after one of her father’s bombing runs…

+ If what Robert Draper says is true, and I have no reason to doubt it and lots of reasons to believe it, then Mattis is just as complicit as Bill Barr or Stephen Miller or any of the other Trump Ultras in the ransacking of the Constitution over the last four years …

+ Is it any surprise that the pages, virtual though they may be, of Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic magazine have become a safe space for the generals who destroyed Iraq to belatedly broadcast their grievances about Trump?

+ Remember when Gen. John Kelly, now desperately trying to rehab his reputation and distance himself from the despotism emanating from the White House he once ran, told Trump he should use a sword against the press? Or the lies and bigoted insults he spewed at black congresswoman? Or the kids he locked in cages?

+ It must come as a rude awakening to these retired generals, some of the most self-regarding people on the planet, that after giving orders for 30 or 40 years, now no one really cares what they have to say. Removed from the chain of command, they are impotent to change anything, even the autocrats they protected and monstrous policies they helped set in motion. (Fortunately for them, they can still get rich selling US-made weapons and spy-ware to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Australia and Singapore.)

+ Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein said that “every American should be outraged at the police conduct which led to George Floyd’s death.” Nice to know. But what about your attack helicopters terrorizing US citizens expressing their outrage at police misconduct last night, General? How should we feel about that?

+ Though I don’t have the EKG to prove it, I’m sure Tammy’s heart is in the right place. But let’s be honest. It’s not as if the US military hadn’t already lost its honor somewhere on the road from Nagasaki to My Lai, from the shores of Grenada to Abu Ghraib and Fallujah…

+ Class, instead of a pop quiz this morning on the assigned readings from Kierkegaard’s “Either/Or”, please write a 500 word essay on the semantic difference between between these statements from Attorney General Bill Barr on the violent clearing of Lafayette Park so that Trump could lumber across it to St. John’s Church : “I said, Get it done.” and “I didn’t say, Go do it.”

+ Law enforcement agencies deployed on the streets of DC:

US Secret Service
US Park Police
Arlington PD (gone)
DC National Guard + other states
Bureau of Prisons
US Marshals
Pentagon Force Protection
Ft Bragg/Fort Drum active duty troops
Metropolitan Police Dept (DC)

+ National Guard: 32,400 troops now mobilized in 32 states and Washington D.C. to respond to protests.

+ White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley on use of the military to suppress nationwide unrest: “All options are on the table.” Even nukes?

+ Kafka: “It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.”

+ George Floyd was executed by cop in the street based on an initial accusation that he’d tried to buy a pack of smokes with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. How many of Trump’s checks have bounced?

+ After Twitter slapped a couple of warning label on his Tweets, Trump announced that he want to get rid of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, giving internet platforms like Twitter and Google immunity. It’s generated a lot of online rage from civil libertarians. But, typically, Biden had already called for doing the same: “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one.” Why? “It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company,” he said of Facebook.

+ There was an all-out revolt among NYT staffers on Wednesday night against the decision to run a disgusting column (Send in the Troops) by Sen. Tom Cotton on its Op-Ed pages. Yet, the NYT’s own editorials in the past have been just as blood-curdling, such as its repeated calls for coups in Venezuela…

+ By James Bennet’s logic (he’s the editorial page editor of the NYT), the NYT would have run “a painful, even dangerous” op-ed from Joseph Goebbels, but in the 30s, of course, many of their own editorial writers were expressing pro-Nazi sentiments, so I guess they just didn’t feel the need…

+ Meanwhile, more than 30 black staffers at the Philadelphia Inquirer walked out or called in sick to work after the paper ran a story titled: “Buildings Matter Too.”

+ 200+ attacks on the press last week, plus one that’s been going on for years. How many of the battered journalists spoke up for Assange, whose years of confinement have ravaged his health and placed his life at risk.

+ The number of journalists arrested in just one night (Tues) this week…

LA (1)
Oakland (1)
Atlanta (1)
Asbury Park, NJ (1)
NYC (1)
Cincinnati (1)
Philly (3)
Omaha, NE (1)

+ Jack Mirkinson: “I see a lot of people being like “where are the Democrats right now???” The answer is that they’re in power all over the country sending their police out to attack protesters.”

+ Perhaps Rumsfeld will write an amicus brief on behalf of the more than 10,000 protesters arrested for rioting, looting and just pissing off cops…

+ The latest proof the war on drugs was not about drugs…the DEA has been given the authority to spy on and infiltrate the anti-police brutality protesters.

+ Gives new meaning to “blue states”…

+ Cornel West: “It looks like the system can’t reform itself. We’ve tried black faces in high places…BLM emerged under a black president, a black attorney general and a black homeland security and they could not deliver”

+ When it comes to teaching how to torture and murder while wearing a uniform, it appears that American police academies have taken over where the School of the Americas left off…

“SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California governor orders immediate end of training for police on “carotid hold” that stops blood flow to brain.”

+ Protect and serve (who?) in Buffalo…

+ How many of the police injuries–stubbed toes, torn rotator cuffs, dislocated pinkies, strained lower backs, pink eye, repetitive motion disorders, heat exhaustion, bruised knees–are the result of their own violent swinging, punching, shoving, clubbing, and stomping?

+ National Guard troops from Florida and other states are being lodged at the Marriott in DC, where they are ordering pizza and McDonalds before being transported in tour buses to practice their counter-insurgency tactics against unarmed protesters.

+ Trump’s MAGAda Goebbels (Kayleigh McEnany) compared Trump’s visit to St John’s church to Winston Churchill inspecting bomb damage during WW 2. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Churchill, but I don’t recall him gassing, shooting, and shoving Londoners out of the way to visit buildings shattered during the Blitz…unless they were Irish, of course.

+ Trump’s so frightened that he’s actually walling himself in. There were 500,000 anti-war near the White House and Nixon spent Sunday watching the Washington football team play and later went out to try to talk to some of them, as recounted in one of the best scenes from Oliver Stone’s greatly underrated film, Nixon.

+ When most of the anti-police brutality movement is uniting around a call to “defund the police,” Bernie Sanders, who voted for Biden’s 94 crime bill, has just introduced an 8-point “reform” plan that would…increase wages for police.

+ Here’s the highest paid cop in Atlanta telling all the other cops that charges against killer cops are “political.” Do you think that’s going to make them swing their clubs a little harder tonight? (I don’t think paying cops more is going to solve the problem, Bernie.)

+ Portion of CDC budget dedicated to protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases: $2.25 billion

NYPD budget: $6 billion

+ The standing armies the Founders (flawed as many of them were) warned us about are the American police forces. Defund and disband the police. It’s the constitutional thing to do…

+ I’m getting the sense that Andrew Cuomo is Trump with about 300 more words in his vocabulary…When questioned by reporters about emerging video evidence of police using batons to beat peaceful protesters in New York, Governor Coumo denies its happening and calls the journalist’s question “a little offensive;” “incendiary rhetoric,” and a “hyper-partisan rhetorical attack.”

+ Then there’s DeBlasio, uttering what should be his own political epitaph: “I have been in the mansion hearing the protests.”

+ Biden lies compulsively about lots of things great and small, but god bless him he wasn’t lying about this…

+ Between 1993 and 2012, the combined costs of policing, courts, and corrections accounted for about half of all direct local government spending

+ The King County Labor Council has given the Seattle Police Officers Guild an ultimatum: admit to and address racism in the ranks of the police department or members will vote to remove them.

+ Ralph Nader: “Those who are urging peaceful protest instead of tumultuous protest should ask why the media never covered over a year of peaceful protest through city after city led by Rev Dr Barber called the Poor People’s Campaign. When the media ignores peaceful protest led by prominent people, it is signaling that it is waiting for something more bombastic to warrant coverage…”

+ Bill de Blasio showed up at a big George Floyd rally in Cadman Park, Brooklyn on Thursday—his first face-to-face encounter with the protesters—and hundreds booed him, chanting “Resign!” and “Fuck your curfew!”

+ I never had much use for Christopher Hitchens, but at least he had the guts to allow himself to be waterboarded, for about 3.5 seconds. Will De Blasio be willing to demonstrate “the light touch” of NYPD batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray, chokeholds and vehicles?

+ Court officials say that NYPD filing paperwork “glacially” in order to keep people arrested in the George Floyd protests locked up for more than 24 hours….Is NYPD intentionally trying to spread COVID-19 among police brutality protesters? Biological warfare by proxy?

+ Justice James Burke ruled on Thursday that people arrested by NYPD can be held for more than 24 hours before being arraigned, contrary to state law, because we are “experiencing a crisis within a crisis.”

+ Paris calling…

+ Here’s a map of the US uprisings against white supremacy, police violence and fascist tyranny. More than 1200 towns and cities held Black Lives Matter protests since May 25, 2020.

+ Are you now or have you ever been in possession of any anti-fascist sentiments…?

+ For weeks people have been fretting about Murder Hornets and it was the Murder Cops who swarmed…

+ How the cops celebrated the beginning of Pride Month in Raleigh, North Carolina: by shooting up a gay bar because they were sheltering protesters and giving them water.

+ Bob Kroll, the Minneapolis police union chief who hasn’t responded to calls and messages seeking comment, called the cops on a reporter who knocked on his door…

+ Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old black man, called out the words “I can’t breathe” before dying in Tacoma police custody in March. According to the medical examiner’s report released Wednesday, the police used a physical restraint to deprive him of oxygen, killing him.

+ Steven Pohorence, the Fort Lauderdale cop who forcefully shoved a kneeling woman at a protest on Sunday, has been reviewed by internal affairs for using force 79 times in just three and a half years. Officer Pohorence has drawn his firearm more than once a month on average since he was hired in October 2016.

+ Tiananmen Square, Walnut Creek version…

+ What’ll it be, gas or bullets? Portland (Oregon) Police Deputy Chief Chris Davis on tear gas: ‘As far as a ban on CS gas, what that would do for us would have us having to figure out a different way to accomplish our objective….The alternative would be higher levels of force that we’d like to be able to avoid.’ (Tear gas is considered a chemical weapon under the terms of the Geneva Conventions and is banned in war zones.)

+ U.S. cities where law enforcement deployed tear gas on protestors (an incomplete list):

Minneapolis/St. Paul
Los Angeles
New York City
Washington DC
Kansas City
San Diego
Grand Rapids
Fort Wayne

+ Tara Houska, Ojibwe, lawyer: “I was point-blank maced in the face walking down a street with friends here in Minneapolis. As we were cuffed, cops shot rubber bullets at passing cars. One of the vehicles they hit went off the street & ran into a porch. They laughed, “that’s gonna leave a mark.” Who’s peaceful?”

+ This is the same moral imbecile who staged a made-for-FoxNews walkout at a NFL game in Indianapolis (at a cost to taxpayers of more than $250,000) when a few players knelt solemnly to protest rampaging police violence against American citizens…

+ A whistleblower cop in Mt Vernon, New York makes recordings of his superiors and fellow cops framing innocent people. The DA was informed, but continued prosecuting the cases. In the end, the only person punished was the whistleblower himself…

+ Very Fine People Alert, US Military Edition…(aka, antiantifa or, I suppose, just fa) A group of Army reservists, along with Navy and Air Force veterans, were arrested this week, after plotting to terrorize protesters in Las Vegas.

+ I’ve heard more convincing strongman diatribes in dubbed versions of cheap Italian giallo films…the bit about “ratings” gives him away as the gelatinous coward that he is…

+ Torii Hunter, former All-Star centerfielder for the Minnesota Twins:

“I keep asking why this is happening. I’m thinking of my sons, my seven brothers, my dad, thinking of all of the black males who are treated like this. This made me cry. And I don’t cry! A cop pulled a gun on me at my own house in California. Held the gun on me until I pulled my license and proved I lived there. I could have gotten shot. I could have been killed, for going home. That wouldn’t have happened to anybody else who lived in that neighborhood.”

+ Nazis Walk Among Us….A Mississippi prosecutor named Pamela Hancock had this to say about the George Floyd protests: “We can only hope the deadly [coronavirus] strain spreads in riots!”

+ This LAPD cop is leaning out the window, shooting at kids in the back as they run away…

+ According to the LA Times, no LAPD officers have been suspended or disciplined since the beginning of the protests. Department spokesman Joshua Rubenstein said they are currently investigating complaints and “that takes some time to do.”

+ Perhaps protesters should start dressing up as coronavirus, then Trump maybe will stop trying to suppress them…

+ Muhammad Ali, at Louisville protests 50 years ago: “I came to Louisville because I could not remain silent while my own people, many I grew up with… were being beaten, stomped and kicked in the streets simply because they want freedom, and justice and equality.” (h/t Dave Zirin)

+ In one of the silliest new age protests I’ve seen, a few hundred people in Austin sat down, raised their arms in the air and “renounced their white privilege.” We can renounce our white privilege all we want. But on the drive home we’ll still have it. The question is: what the hell will we do with it?

+ Apparently, people are finally beginning to believe what they see with their own eyes: New poll says 57 percent of Americans believe police are more likely to use excessive force against black people. That’s 20 points higher than polls from 2014 and 2016.

+ Jeff Bercovici: “You’d think that a country that could outfit every cop like a soldier could outfit every doctor like a doctor.”

+ A letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus illness among nursing home residents. The toll among nursing home staffers was sobering, with more than 34,400 getting sick and nearly 450 dying from the coronavirus.

+ So-called “mild” cases of COVID-19 are meant to be over within two weeks, but it turns out that thousands of people continue to struggling with debilitating symptoms for months…

+ A survey of 155 countries has found that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted services for 53% of hypertension treatments, 49% of diabetes treatment, 42% of cancer treatments, and 31% of cardiovascular emergencies.

+ From ER nurse Kellen Squire: “According to the CDC, so far this year, Florida has had 1,762 deaths from COVID and 5,185 from pneumonia. Average pneumonia deaths in Florida from 2013-2018 for the same time period are 918.”

+ Tim Eyman, one the men running in the GOP primary to replace Jay Inslee in Washington State, says the state’s COVID-19 restrictions are a ‘knee on the neck’ of workers just like George Floyd.

+ Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, appears to have violated conflict of interest laws by holding on to stock in companies affected by the pandemic response and then meeting with those companies.

+ Trump suggests the spirit of George Floyd is awestruck by Friday’s employment numbers: “Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. This is a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody.”

Yamiche Alcindor: “Overall, U.S. unemployment rate fell by 1 %. Black unemployment rate went up .1%. Asian American rate went up by .5%. How is that a victory?”

Trump: “You are something.”

+ Frankly, I don’t know what’s more nauseating, Trump saying it was “a great day for George Floyd” because black unemployment rose by only .1 percent or Klobocop’s faux-mournful photo-op at the casket of a man killed by a police department whose routine violence she embraced as a prosecutor.

+ A few hours after Trump’s triumphal press conference on the economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistic admitted that it had made a “major” sampling error in the May jobs report that made the unemployment rate look substantially better than it really is, 13.3 percent versus more than 16 percent. So was it still a “great day” for George Floyd?

+ Bill Barr warned ominously this week about the prospect of foreign governments stuffing mail-in ballots in US elections. Barr, a resident of Fairfax County, in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, voted by mail in 2019 and 2012.

+ Meanwhile, his boss, Donald Trump, originally tried to register to vote in Florida while claiming his “legal residence” was in another part of the country: Washington, D.C. Trump’s committed almost every other kind of fraud, so why not vote fraud?

+ In Trump’s case, at least, he appears to have committed “felony voter fraud,” a crime punishable by five years in prison. Black voters have been jailed for far less

+ Iowa, with a completely bonkers GOP governor and a majority GOP legislature, backed mail-in voting for Tuesday’s primary and saw record-breaking turnout as a result. 487,000 ballots were cast (previous high was 450,000 in 1994) and 410,000 voted absentee (mail-in), compared to 38,000 in 2016.

+ Can the Black Power Pope excommunicate Bill Barr?

+ Good riddance to “resource officers” (ie., cops) in Portland’s public schools.

+ You couldn’t get a clearer, less ambiguous statement of Rep. Eliot Engel’s primary mission in Congress than this attack on his primary opponent, Jamaal Bowman: “I would certainly regard him as anti-Israel. Conditioning aid for Israel is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Foreign aid doesn’t only benefit the countries that we are giving it to — it benefits the United States.”

+ This political ad Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene really has to be seen to be believed and even then I remain halfway convinced it’s actually a sly recruiting ad for Antifa…

+ 58% of US counties now have higher unemployment than at any time during the Great Recession.

+ US exports declined last month by 20.5%, the biggest drop since 1992, to $151.3 billion. Imports fell by 13.7% to $200.7 billion, also the most since 1992.

+ US housing starts in April dropped 30.2% from the previous month to a annual rate of 891,000 new homes, the lowest level since 2015…

+ Only 38% of cannabis companies have a female board member, while only 8% of the 437 Named Executive Officers are women, according to an analysis by the Bedford Consulting Group.

+ I lived in and around Bethesda while in college. This kind of macho racist thuggery toward kids doesn’t surprise me one bit. (Though none of the bastards would have been caught dead wearing lycra…in public at least.)

+ After the uprisings (assuming they end, though I hope they don’t), Biden will still be more likely to support Single Payer Property Insurance than Single Payer Health Care.

+ Enemy of the People (and all other living creatures): Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. meat processor, will return to its pre-Covid-19 absentee policy, which includes punishing workers for missing work due to illness…

+ One farm in Tennessee distributed Covid-19 tests to all of its workers after an employee came down with the virus, only to discover that every one of its roughly 200 employees had been infected.

+ The Arctic is so fucked, with most of it in the grip of three of the greediest bastards on the planet (Trump, Putin and Trudeau) who look at it for nothing but oil and ice-free shipping lanes…

+ A catastrophic diesel spill has dumped 20,000 metric tons of fuel into the area surrounding the Russian Arctic city of Norilsk, causing rivers to run red. The spill dwarfs the size of the Exxon Valdez wreck and threatens to inflict damage across upper Siberia. Melting permafrost may have been the cause. Temps have topped 40F above normal.

+ Any crisis, real, manufactured or imagined, becomes just another excuse for Trump to gut or waive environmental regulations

+ In 2019, U.S. annual energy consumption from renewable sources exceeded coal consumption for the first time since before 1885, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review.

+ According to a new report, the future of old-growth forests in British Columbia is bleak. “Only about 35,000 hectares of old-growth forests with very big old trees remain across the province, and only a portion have effective protection. We are losing a legacy and all the environmental services that these forests provide for community and human health,” said Jens Wieting, a forest campaigner with the Sierra Club in BC. “It is unconscionable that the last remaining big old trees are still being logged as a result of what the report authors call ‘loopholes, gaming, arithmetic errors and simple lack of monitoring.’” Moreover, the researchers  found that many old-growth management areas, created to protect old-growth forests, do not actually contain old forest.

+ Trump’s Interior Department approved a new rule to allow trophy hunters in Alaska’s national preserves and wildlife refuges to kill bears and wolves, their cubs and pups, while in their dens. New rule also allows baiting, snaring, and aerial gunning.

+ Is nothing, I mean nothing, sacred? Not even Chaco Canyon, where with the Navajo Nation trying to fend off the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Trump Interior Department is rapidly pushing to open one of the planet’s most treasured cultural sites to oil drilling…

+ The coronavirus is believed to have arrived on the Big Rez when an infected person attended a Christian revival on the reservation in early March, and it then spread through basketball games, church services and community events. More than 40 percent of those living on the reservation lack running water.

+ In case you’ve never read (or more likely need to re-read), Thomas Pynchon’s scorching essay on the Watts uprisings…

+ Colin Fleming, writing in Jazz Times, on a live performance of “Alabama” by John Coltrane’s Quartet:

Coltrane begins “Alabama” alone on his horn, with a sorrow that cannot solely be the sorrow of loss—it’s the pain of the life cut short, removed from the bounds of a natural order. Pianist McCoy Tyner enters with notes suggestive of small hammers on large church bells. A single fill by drummer Elvin Jones—a wash of percussive waves—induces the piece’s canticle-like segment, a worldly communion of a church beyond denomination. A church of being out and about on this often cruel, iniquitous planet.

+ Keyboardist Gary Versace on how he got started: “I asked my dad if we could get a piano. He brought home an accordion and said, ‘Here, this is even better; you can take it with you.’ I don’t think my parents had the money for a piano.”

+ I watched Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex again last weekend. It was one of Cockburn’s favorite films and he often remarked that the greatest shot in cinema was the close up of Jocasta’s face (played by the wonderful Silvana Mangano) the moment she realizes she’s being having lusty sex with her son. I’d forgotten there was a plague in Thebes during Oepidus’ reign. The scenes of the parade of bodies to a funeral pyre in the film is very powerful. In Sophocles, the plague is the result, according to the Pythian Priestess at Delphi, of a miasma, a kind religious corruption. Instead of opening the temples, Oedipus demands that people stop their acts of worship until the cause can be found…The plague, as this intriguing study from the CDC, was almost certainly a zoonotic pathogen…

+ Now for something entirely different…”Spanish porn star Nacho Vidal, who likes to advertise his aromatic candles shaped like male genitalia on Twitter, has been arrested on manslaughter charges following a man’s death during a mystic ritual in which he inhaled psychedelic toad venom…”

Ever Since the World Ended, There’s No More Bible Belt…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About #MeToo
JoAnn Wypijewski

Charged: the New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration
Emily Bazelton
(Random House)

Fair Warning
Michael Connelly
(Little Brown)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Ocean Bridges
Damu the Fudgemunk / Raw Poetic / Archie Shepp
(Redefinition Records)

Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton: Live in Greenwich Village, 1963
Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton
(Smithsonian Folkways)

Nearly Blue
Jerry Bergonzi

Nothing is Sacred

“I find that here in the States, audiences are generally less knowledgeable, from the cognitive point of view, though they are emotionally more receptive. And when I met Cecil Taylor it was a complete transformation of musical identities. All the tenets that I had grown up with were thrown out the window. Rap actually took root in the Negro community, and then in the Hispanic community, long before it impacted on the larger American community as a whole. A whole generation of young whites have involved themselves with traditional Negro music. Negro music and culture are intrinsically improvisational, existential. Nothing is sacred. After a decade, a musical idea, no matter how innovative, is threatened.” (Archie Shepp)

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