Roaming Charges: Sometimes They Choke

“The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.”

– David Graeber

+ Does this scene from Rochester remind you of anything? Abu Ghraib was not an aberration and the torturous practices by the military police didn’t begin or stop there.

+ Body cam footage shows Rochester cops putting their body weight on an unarmed, naked, handcuffed Black man named Daniel Prude back in March. Prude died a week later. Cause of death, according to the medical examiner: “Asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint”

+ Living in America while black, Hispanic or Native American is a comorbidity and you can count on being blamed for your own death, whether you’re killed by a cop or COVID-19.

+ When they responded to a call about a fight between high school girls, Phoenix police pinned a 17-year-old Black girl named Roniah Trotter to the scalding pavement, leaving her with permanent burn scars. Then they charged her with assaulting an officer.

+ Trump: “Sometimes you have a cop or police-person who is good . Sometimes they choke.”

+ In the hour of training he was forced to undergo for threatening to blow off a man’s head, the cop was probably instructed how to discreetly turn off his body cam before engaging in this kind of terroristic behavior again…

+ The 11th Circuit Court just ruled that an excessive force lawsuit can go forward involving the killing of a man, named Robert Earl Lawrence, by police who was accosted by the cops while taking a stray dog he’d found in a Walmart parking to the animal shelter in Dothan, Alabama. When the Lawrence refused to show his ID, the cops tackled him to the ground. While one cop, who outweighed the man by 75-pounds, knelt on top of him, another cop tasered the man twice in the belly. At that point the man struggled for the taser to keep from being shocked again. Two cops then penned him to the ground, while a third cop dropped her taser and shot him without warning. All in the span of three seconds. According to the court’s ruling, the man “never even cursed, at them or otherwise, until he lay mortally wounded on the pavement.”

+ The Oregon state constitution sets a higher standard for the behavior of law enforcement officers when making arrests. Article I, Section 13  prohibits treating people under arrest with “unnecessary rigor,” a standard Portland police are violating almost every night, as captured in this video of a cop rushing, tackling and punching an unarmed protester…


+ It now appears that LA Sheriff’s Deputy Miguel Vega, who chased and shot 18-year old security guard Andrés Guardado in the back five times, killing him, did it for an initiation tattoo to join the Compton Sheriff’s deputy gang, The Executioners

+ When libertarians crack: Arrest first, investigate later. Rand (I’ve got the cops on speed dial) Paul: “The FBI needs to investigate but the only way you can do it is you have to arrest people.”

+ Despite a recent federal court ruling invalidating Congress’ subpoena power, Paul also called for subpoenaing Antifa’s “plane records, hotel records, all travel records and all funding records.” Antifa stays in hotels? Their anarchist rivals ELF used to burn them down.

+ Meanwhile, prosecutors in Rand Paul’s home state asked Breonna Taylor’s ex-boyfriend to name her as a “co-defendant” as part of negotiations for a plea deal, which was rejected, which would have incriminated her in an alleged drug scheme and thus let her killers off the hook (not that they appear to be ensured by any legal hook).

+ Trump has ordered Bill Barr to develop a plan to “defund anarchist jurisdictions,” in such renegade cities as Portland, Seattle, New York and Washington, DC. Basically, the cities who pay the taxes that keep the federal government they are allegedly plot insurrection against running.

+ “Anarchist Jurisdiction” is one of the great oxymorons in the Age of Great Oxymorons…

+ Anarchist Jurisdiction is the best band name since Suicidal Tendencies and they will probably cover many of the same songs, though each band member will play in a personal time signature and  in a key of their own choosing…

+ Bill Barr on Antifa: “We know people who are flying around the country — we know where they’re going. We see some of the purchases they’re making before the riots.”

+ Antifa must be racking up the frequent flier miles…

+ In the “anarchist jurisdiction” DC, Barr’s own federal prosecutors have accused the city’s police department of making rioting arrests with insufficient evidence. Just imagine how weak, or fabricated, those cases must be…

+ Barnabas Collins lives!

Laura Ingraham: “Dark shadow. What is that?”

Trump: “They’re people that are on the streets. They’re people that are controlling the streets. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a plane.”

Ingraham: “Where was this?”

Trump: “I’ll tell you sometime, but it’s under investigation right now, but they came from a certain city, and this person was coming to the Republican National Convention, and there were like seven people on the plane like this person, and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.”

+ Did the figures in black order soup by the bag?

Trump: “And you have people coming over with bags of soup and the anarchists… start throwing it at our cops… And if it hits you, that’s worse than a brick because that’s got force… And when they get caught, they say, ‘No, this is just soup for my family.'”

+ COVID-19 has now killed more police officers than all other causes combined…

+ People killed by the police in the US from Aug. 1 to August 31, 2020: 87.

People killed by the police in the UK from Jan 1 to August 24: 4.

+ Over the past decade an average 0f 150 police have been killed while on duty in the US, nearly half of those by heart attack, stroke or accidents, often in unnecessary high speed chases. Felonious killings of police officers have averaged about 50 deaths a year.

+ DHS imposter Chad Wolf when asked how the Trump administration was planning to suppress civilian protests in American cities said:  “All options on the table!” Will they nuke Portland?

+ Why do we need Republicans, when Democrats will do the dirty work for them? Two Democrats sided with Republicans in Virginia to block qualified immunity reform

+ “Why won’t the Democrats call it, Left Wing Riots!” “Left wing riots” has become the new “radical Islamic terrorism”, as a GOP scare phrase to hammer feckless Democrats…

+ Give Biden and Harris a chance, they’ll come around.

+ Voila!

+ Our Neville Chamberlain: Biden condemns the neo-Nazis killers who invaded Portland and the people who confronted them to try to keep them from maiming and killing people, which is a preview of what 4 years of a Biden presidency would look like.

+ Only about 8% of American adults listed crime as a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was the health care system. Who will tell Joe and Kamala?

+ Not George Will, who is demanding that Biden contrive a “Sister Souljah moment,” a public scolding of blacks, in order to prove himself to white conservatives who are ready to defect from Trump…

+ Looks like Joe got the message and he’s going to “Willie Horton” Black Lives Matter…

+ A “Moral renewal” of the nation supervised by the man who helped launch the drug war, wrote a vicious and viciously racist crime bill, pushed welfare “reform” through the senate, and voted for the Iraq war? I think I’ll stick to my antinomian proclivities, thank you very much.

+ Andrew Sullivan claims to be one of the “canceled.” But his authoritarian bilge continues to erupt with the regularity of Old Faithful:  “I’m a one-issue voter, because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.”

+ Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens both used their belated opposition to torture to occlude their rabid support for the Iraq War itself. It’s the kind of moral courage seen in those who oppose the death penalty for… innocent people.

+ It should come as no surprise that Stephen Miller’s mentor was David Horowitz.

+ Trump’s new CoronaCzar, Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, is pushing a “herd immunity” approach to dealing with the pandemic. With a population of 328 million in the US, it may result in 2.13 million deaths to hit the 65 percent threshold of herd immunity, assuming the virus has a fatality rate of 1 percent.

+ He may or may not have been trolling, but Trump’s request that his voters vote twice, once by mail and once at the polls, will almost certainly be taken seriously by many of his zealots, who could and should be charged with voter fraud. Remember, some drank bleach…

+ Questioned about Trump’s incitement to voter fraud, Bill Barr demurred, claimed to Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t know if state laws prohibited voters from casting two or more ballots in a single election.

+ In Barr’s mind, it’s perfectly logical that some states might allow white voters to vote more than once, while black and brown voters’ ballots count for half a vote…

+ Black women are doing hard time in Texas and the Carolinas for merely trying to vote after they had served minor prison sentences…

+ Though we export them to other nations, in America we don’t have “color revolutions”, we have color elections…

+ The latest poll shows Trump up 9 points in Georgia, which is probably more like 15% if you factor in voter suppression…

+ According to a new report from the ACLU, Georgia appears to have illegally purged 200,000 names from its voter rolls.

+ Trump: purge them twice!

+ Democracy in America Update:

Chance of a Biden Electoral college win if he wins the popular vote by X% points, according to 538 (all caveats apply):

0-1 points: 6%
1-2 points: 22%
2-3 points: 46%
3-4 points: 74%
4-5 points: 89%
5-6 points: 98%
6-7 points: 99%

+ The shape of Texas “populist” Dan Crenshaw’s suburban Houston district…

+ Half of the Senate is elected by a mere 18 percent of the population.

+ They said it couldn’t be done, but Joe Kennedy 3 just made history! He’s the first Kennedy to ever lose a statewide race in Mass.

+ Apparently, the young Kennedy lost because the “left” is distracted by “bright shiny objects” like Ed Markey, who has been in office since … 1976.

+ JK3 will be remembered in political almanacs for at least two things: “accidentally” voting for a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines and his plan to make sure that people facing “medical bankruptcy” not have to go through that second trauma without a lawyer.

+ He never got around to telling us how his plan would work. Would it be employer-financed or would there be a “public option?”

+ Kennedy, who was the third-largest recipient of hedge fund cash in the House, refused to back a bill to close a tax loophole for hedge fund managers and private equity firms.

+ Pretty soon he’ll probably be working at one…

+ Great Moments in American Political Denials: Nixon: I’m not a crook! O’Donnell: I’m not a witch! Trump: I’m not a vegetable!

+ Kanye West’s address in his court filing to get on the ballot in Wisconsin is the law office of Jill Holtzman Vogel, a Republican state senator from Virginia who previously served as chief counsel for the RNC.

+ Mail and expanded early voting helped drive a record tourist in Massachusetts  where 1,381,594 votes counted in the Markey-Kennedy Democratic senate primary. While Kennedy lost,  he still picked up more votes than the total cast in the 2013 primary when Markey won the seat.

+ Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s son, who was not considered a top tennis prospect, made it onto Duke’s competitive tennis team after the DeJoys donated at least $2.2 million to Duke’s athletic dept. Shouldn’t they be doing time with Lori Laughlin?

+ The Postal Service paid  $14,000,000 to a company called XPO Logistics in just the past 10 weeks. Louis DeJoy has a stake in XPO Logistics that is worth between $30,000,000 and $75,000,000.

+ Don’t expect the investigations of DeJoy’s self-dealing to go very far. His putative boss, Robert M. Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, is listed as Director of Mitch McConnell’s $130 million super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund.

+ Biden just said he wants mandatory rehab for drug possession arrests, with the arrest record expunged after completion of a rehab program: “Anybody who gets convicted of a drug crime, not one that is in terms of massive selling but consumption, they shouldn’t go to prison. They should go to mandatory rehabilitation.” Most people who use drugs aren’t addicts and most rehab clinics do nothing (and in fact can do nothing) to resolve the underlying conditions that feed addiction in the first place: poverty, unemployment, homelessness, isolation, pain, lack of health care, despair. Drugs dull the pains that capitalism inflicts. This is the continuation of the drug war by other means.

+ A huge ruling out of the 9th Circuit this week that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ call records was illegal. The court held that the mass surveillance program violated Section 215—and very likely violated the 4th Amendment too. In its ruling, the court cited Edward Snowden, who, of course, remains under indictment by the Feds…

+ There’s something deliciously ironic about all of the flag-worshipping Kaepernick-haters having flocked to his guy, of all people, as their Supreme Leader. Lead on, Mr. Trump:

In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

+ The exoskeleton that once housed AMLO has apparently been taken over by pod-people…

+ If Nancy Pelosi had just invited a hair stylist to her house, they could have shared some mighty tasty gelato and avoided this mess…I’m sure John Edwards could have given her a recommendation.

+ The Pacific Northwest states have treated the COVID crisis in prisons very differently. In Washington, Jay Inslee has freed, all nonviolent offenders, more than 15 times as many prisoners as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown…

+ Iowa may have lost Steve, but it’s still got the crazy. US Senator Joni Ernst, who is struggling to retain her seat, is now claiming that Iowa’s infection rate is rising because doctors are falsifying COVID cases for money…

+ 71 percent of Trump voters in Red States are not worried about a pandemic that has already killed at least 187,000 Americans.

+ In Brazil, 796 people died from the flu in 2019. In March, Jair Bolsonaro compared COVID-19 to the flu, telling people not to worry about it. This week Brazil passed the 120,000 mark for COVID-19 deaths.

+ “And here we all rot, denied the benefits of science.” – Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

+ The new Georgia Nuclear project, greenlit under Obama and Biden, have already reported more than 800 COVID cases among its workforce. It’s safe to assume that radiation exposure isn’t an effective vaccine or treatment…

+ Malheur County, Oregon, home of unmasked ranchers, had a 45% positive COVID-19 test rate last week.

+ Call Sarah Palin! Hospitals in New Orleans sent infected COVID patients home to die, leaving untrained family members without proper PPE to care for them. Death panels by for-profit medical “care.”

+ A new report by the Luskin Center at UCLA estimates nearly 100,000 households in LA County have been threatened with eviction. Another 40,000 are already in eviction proceedings…What’s up, Kamala?

+ Is Biden traveling with his own flags?

+ I’m not much of a fan of the International Criminal Court, because it has almost always only prosecuted war crimes against weak countries, which have irritated NATO allies. Then once they started pursuing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on the tribunal’s investigators and prosecutors, which seems pretty clear evidence of consciousness of guilt.

+ Who will tell the Emperor the empire is kaput?

+ Many people are surprised to see that a “Christian” site has raised more than $275,000 for accused Kenosha killer Kyle Rittenhouse. Yet many self-proclaimed “Christians” supported George W. Bush and he executed 154 prisoners in Texas…before going on to kill 67,000 civilians in Iraq.

+ A new video has surfaced of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse punching a young woman weeks before the shooting, an act that probably earned him a merit badge in the Jr. Police Cadets program…

+ Christians aren’t the only ones flocking to the Kenosha Kid’s defense. Here’s Trump: “That was an interesting situation. He was trying to get away from them…looks like…and then they very violently attacked him…He probably would’ve been killed.”

+ In praising the Kenosha shooter, Rep. Thomas Massie, the trigger happy libertarian from Kentucky, unintentionally makes the case for 1st degree murder, that Rittenhouse was calm, not overcome by fear or passion, knew exactly who he wanted to shoot, aimed and shot them. Then, instead of turning himself in & claiming self-defense, fled the scene. Massie: “[Rittenhouse] exhibited incredible restraint and presence and situational awareness. He didn’t empty a magazine into a crowd.”

+Trump on Portland: “The entire city is ablaze all the time.”

Lt. Rich Chatman of the Portland fire department: “WE ARE NOT ABLAZE IN PORTLAND. There is a very isolated pocket of demonstrations that have involved fire, none of which have been substantial enough to need more than 1 fire engine.”

+ Kellyanne Conway may be gone, but she left us with this important insight to Trump’s re-election strategy: “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.”

+ MAGA loves America. MAGA hates the government. MAGA loves the man who runs the government they hate. MAGA loves history. MAGA hates the State. MAGA loves the statues of the historical figures who built the State they hate.

+  Newt Gingrich should have his license to teach, or even talk about, American history revoked. The college in question is named after a revolutionary and an insurrectionist. Newt proves, once again, that those who are the most clamorous about preserving the relicts of American history know almost nothing about it.

+ Good to see the NYT’s Michael Schmidt credit Ken Silverstein, Washington Babylon and Sydney Leathers in his new book, Donald Trump vs. the United States, for their revelations about the pedophilic Anthony Weiner that led to the FBI’s seizure of the family computer, the disclosure of copies of HRC’s emails and James Comey’s fatal press conference…fatal for Comey’s reputation, I mean. HRC would have lost regardless.

+ MSDNC’s Joy Reid’s Islamophobia is pathological: On Monday evening, Reid  compared how “Muslims act” to how President Trump is encouraging white nationalist violence in the wake of nationwide protests against anti-Black police brutality. During her show, Reid said, “The leaders, let’s say in the Muslim world, talk a lot of violent talk and encourage their supporters to be willing to commit violence, including on their own bodies, in order to win against whoever they decide is the enemy. We in the U.S. media describe that as they are radicalizing those people—particularly they are radicalizing young people. That’s how we talk about the way Muslims act. When you see what Donald Trump is doing, is that any different from what we describe as radicalizing people?”

+ Joy Reid and the Foxification of MSDNC…

+ Somebody hacked what Joy Reid was trying to say! Reid refused to apologize for her Islamophobic remarks on Monday night, saying instead “should have been sensitive” and did not ask her question “artfully.”

+ Ralph Nader: “Trump toady Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is putting the country in peril by juicing the stock markets with trillions of dollars of Fed liquidity and by cutting interest rates to near zero. He’s told 150 million savers that they have nowhere to go but the stock market.”

+ A majority of young adults (18- to 29-year-olds) in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression.

+ The U.S. trade deficit surged in July to $63.6 billion, the highest level in 12 years, as imports jumped by a record amount.

+ Vietnam is now a thriving manufacturing center for US companies. When Nike’s toxic sweatshop in Vietnam opened in the mid-90s, paid its 9,000 workers $10 a week for 65 hours of work to make shoes that sold for $100 a pair. 77% of the workers suffered respiratory problems…

+ Fellow Hoosier, E. Jean Carroll: “Not only do I seek P45’s DNA to prove that he is guilty of rape. I also intend to donate his DNA to science since it likely contains the gene sequence for thin-skinnedness, moronity, mushroom phallos syndrome and rectum brain devolution.”

+ The curious thing about Worst Case Scenarios is that they can always get even worse and, in the case of the planet’s melting ice sheets, almost certainly will…

+ A new survey of the world’s glacial lakes using satellite imagery shows there are more of them, and that the volume of melted water they contain is growing. News that sounds quite pleasant, but is actually terrifying…

+ Bering Sea ice levels haven’t been this low in at least 5,500 years. Even in the winter months, this Arctic sea is becoming ice free.

+ A poor, predominately black city in the heart of cancer alley (Lake Charles) was nearly destroyed a few days ago by Hurricane Laura. The press bus has already left….

+ On September 1st, Nana became the earliest forming 14th named storm of an Atlantic hurricane season on record. The prior record was set by Hurricane Nate on September 6, 2005. 

+ Nana is the 5th hurricane of 2020 Atlantic season. Only 7 other seasons in the satellite era (since 1966) have had 5 or more  hurricanes by Sept. 3: 1966, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2012.

+ According to preliminary records from the National Weather Service, Tucson had its hottest August and hottest summer on record.

+ We’ve been hearing about “peak oil” for at least the past decade and now, according to analysts at Energy Intelligence, it looks like the U.S. reached peak oil production last year and will never return to the record 13 million barrels of oil per day produced in November 2019.

+ Imagine going to work and plotting new ways to be evil all day long, like declaring open season on wolves or gutting the protections for migratory birds that have been in place for more than a century…

+ A federal court ruled this week that the EPA violated the law by approving agricultural weed killing products marketed by Monsanto and ignoring “clear evidence” that the new [dicamba] herbicides would cause widespread damage to crops.

+ More than 40 miles of the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque has gone dry, a consequence of drought, poor runoff, and upstream agricultural water diversions…

+ I was profoundly shaken by the news of David Graeber’s death in Venice, 30 years too soon, at the age of 59. Graeber lived the way he wrote: with analytical precision and a  wild passion for revolutionary change. Few anthropologists have sparked radical political movements, but Graeber, author of Bullshit Jobs and Debt, did. If he was the intellectual force behind the Occupy Wall Street movement, he wasn’t a passive one. He never left the streets. He was there in body and spirit. Graeber resisted fiercely the co-optation of OWS, even as he never lost faith in the beauty and promise of its dramatic rise and global spread. You’d expect no less from the son of a Lincoln Brigader and a garment worker.

+ Naomi Osaka has game on and off the court. I suspected as much the moment she stood toe-to-toe with Serena Williams, one of the fiercest athletes of our time, and didn’t back down. Now, we know for sure that she is a leader of a new international generation radicalized athletes who have it within their grasp to revolutionize  the political economy of professional sports…

+ Penn State’s director of athletic medicine says that MRI scans revealed that around 30-35% of Big Ten athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 appeared to have myocarditis, a serious  inflammation of the heart muscle.

+ Dr. Strangelove was so damn funny because Terry Southern was writing a journalistic account of some very whacko people & putting the words into the mouths of some wildly funny actors. I know Qanon is weird & has propogated but is it more deranged than Edward Teller or the Birchers?

+ Maureen Dowd: “Your greatest regret is that you never had sex with Che Guevara.”

Jane Fonda: “No, I don’t think about him. Who I do think about, and what is a great regret is Marvin Gaye. He wanted to and I didn’t. I was married to Tom.”

+ Shocking to learn that Tom Seaver, pound-for-pound one of the most devastating pitchers in MLB history, died after contracting Coronavirus. The first World Series I remember following game by game, keeping score in a little scorecard my father had gotten at the liquor store, was the 69 series pitting the Orioles and the Mets and still vividly recall Tom Seaver’s dazzling 10-inning complete game performance in Game 4 to propel the lowly Mets to the title.

+ I was asked to name one film that is better than the book it was based on. My nominee: The Gospel According to St. Matthew by Pasolini.

+ Covid is crushing the live music scene. After 59 years, one of the world’s greatest jazz clubs, Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen,  has closed—where fans saw some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century play, including Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson, Nancy Wilson, Kenny Drew,  Betty Carter.

+ Get well, Toots, the planet really, really needs you around…

When It Drops, You Gonna Feel It, That You Were Doin’ It Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire
Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini
(University of California)

Levon: From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond
Sandra B. Tooze
(Diversion Books)

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory
Claudio Saunt
(WW Norton)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Bettye LaVette

Whole New Mess
Angel Olsen

Rawer Than Raw
Bobby Rush
(Deep Rush Records)

Revolutionary Actions in Progress

“A revolution on a world scale will take a very long time. But it is also possible to recognize that it is already starting to happen. The easiest way to get our minds around it is to stop thinking about revolution as a thing — ‘the’ revolution, the great cataclysmic break—and instead ask ‘what is revolutionary action?’ We could then suggest: revolutionary action is any collective action which rejects, and therefore confronts, some form of power or domination and in doing so, reconstitutes social relations—even within the collectivity—in that light. Revolutionary action does not necessarily have to aim to topple governments.”

– David Graeber (Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology)

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