Roaming Charges: After/Math

The end of the road, Alvord Desert, southern Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

“Nothing is more characteristic of the totalitarian movements in general and of the quality of fame of their leaders in particular than the startling swiftness with which they are forgotten & the startling ease with which they can be replaced.”

– Hannah Arendt

+ The most predictable post-election event in American politics is when the leadership of the Democratic Party gathers together for a searing session of self-analysis, only to emerge a few minutes later with the firm conclusion that they haven’t moved far enough to the right and that all of their loses can be blamed on the socialist contagion from within.

+ But by all means purge the “leftists” from your party, Rep. Jeffries…

+ Even the FoxNews poll this week showed 70% support for Medicare for All. But Biden continued to distance himself from it as the campaign went on. Now, the most likely scenario is that the Barrett-Kavanaugh Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare and Biden negotiates something even worse with McConnell as its replacement.

+ House Whip James Clyburn was one of the first to blame progressives for the loss of House seats, even though most candidates running as progressives prevailed and those running on as moderates got clocked.

“We keep making that mistake,” Clyburn moaned to Axios. “This foolishness about you got to be this progressive or that progressive. That phrase, ‘defund the police,’ cost [Democratic Senate candidate] Jaime Harrison tremendously…I am mad! I’m not blaming progressive members. I want everybody in my caucus to be as practical as I am. That’s the difference here. How are you gonna look at me and say I’m not progressive? This foolishness about you more progressive than I am? That’s poppycock. Stop sloganeering. Sloganeering kills people. Sloganeering destroys movements. Stop sloganeering.”

+ Here’s a slogan for you, Clyburn: “Stop taking $$$$ from Big Pharma!

+ Biden surrogate John Kasich on CNN this week: “The Democrats have to make it clear to the far-left that they almost cost him this election.”

+ Should be pointed out that with Kasich as his political consultant, Biden lost Ohio by nearly 9 percent.

+ Of course, the Democratic elites been trying to ritually purge the party of its leftist ranks since at least 1985, when in the aftermath of the Mondale defeat, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joe Biden formed the Democratic Leadership Council. And the leftists they most wanted to purge at the time (with the possible exception of Ralph Nader) were Jesse Jackson and his multi-ethnic, working-class Rainbow Coalition. Instead of embracing the promise of Jackson’s remarkable movement, they moved to crush it, so that they could transform the party into a hospitable receptacle for Wall Street money.

+ If there’s anything that lends a fractal of credence to Trump’s voter fraud conspiracy it’s that Biden appears to have won, while the Dems failed to take the Senate and nearly lost the House. How bad do candidates have to be for people to vote for Biden & not them? Plenty bad, mon, plenty bad…

+ If the senate ends up in a 50/50 split after the Georgia runoffs, Joe Manchin is the most likely Democratic senator to bolt to the Republicans. On the most important issues, he already has: “Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police.”

+ If civil rights organizing had been done according to polls….

+ In the end, black voters saved Biden’s ass, not the suburban whites his entire campaign was geared toward cultivating…and, as their reward, blacks will probably be the first victims of the austerity regime he’s going to work out in collaboration with Mitch.

+ Though he may have commanded one of his serfs to read it for him, there’s no question of Trump’s tiny fingers ever flipping through the pages of Machiavelli, but he acts out his principles of power at a gut level. Biden’s probably read The Prince twice, yet shows scant evidence of even the vaguest understanding the book’s most basic political messages.

+ Isn’t the only rationale for Kamala Harris that in moments like this she can play the role of a legal hard-ass? Yet, as Trump, Barr and McConnell move on different fronts to delegitimize the election, she’s MIA. (Biden is still waiting by the phone for his old buddy Mitch to call…)

+ I can understand having your presidency undermined by the Deep State. But to have your election overturned by Trump’s Superficial State? That would take some serious incompetence from the Biden team, which they’re certainly capable of…

+ If Biden gets Evo’d by the Superficial State and goes into exile in Ireland, will Bernie run again, giving his Sandernistas the chance to prove their persistent claim that “he would’ve won”?

+ The Spartans had two kings serving at once, both equally war-like. We could be headed there…

+ Speaking of the “common good,” there’s an open cell at Abu Ghraib with your name on it, Condi…

+ Kellyanne Conway in November 2016: “They have to decide whether they’re going to interfere with him finishing his business, interfere with a peaceful transition. They’re going to be a bunch of cry babies and sore losers about an election that they can’t turn around.”

+ If they’re doing the recounts “by hand” in Georgia and Pennsylvania, what will they recount the recounts with? (I do a lot of bird surveys. And if I have to do the final tallies by hand, and not an Excel file, I’ll come up with three different results and finally pick the one in the middle.)

+ I enjoyed the defeat of Trump as much as anyone and think ultra-leftist who didn’t are sour and grim. Who would join their movement? We should cheer the fall of all rulers of the empire, knowing that what comes after is likely to be the same shit, reconstituted. I think of the poor of Paris celebrating the dismantling of the Bastille, knowing the government would fall into the hands of lawyers and reformist aristocrats, like the Marquis de Lafayette who would later gun down some of the same peasants protesting two years later on the Champs de Mars the lack of fulfillment of the promises of the Revolution. Two years after the massacre, the monarchy had been overturned and the king was dead. (Lafayfette’s treachery is vividly depicted in the 2018 French film One Nation, One King, directed by Pierre Schoeller, now available on Amazon Prime.) Yet another reason to rename Lafayette Park.

+ So Biden found his new Neil Kinnock after all, except historian Jon Meacham, unlike Kinnock, is a one-man cliché factory. Is there any phrase more hackneyed and less meaningful than “the soul of America”? How much did the Biden campaign pay Meacham to insert “soul of America” four or five times into every Biden speech? As stale platitudes go, the sell-by date on that one expired 150 years ago and even then Mark Twain would have had rich sport illustrating just how moronic it is.

+ Tolstoy: “Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.”

+ Biden’s share of the popular vote (50.8%) now exceeds Reagan’s share (50.7%) in defeating Carter in 1980.

+ If the purpose of Trump’s refusal to concede the election is to bring the current American electoral system into further public disrepute, then I say, “Good luck.” If it’s merely to troll liberals, then I say, “Godspeed.”

+ “What we have seen in the last week from the president more closely resembles the tactics of the kind of authoritarian leaders we follow,” says ⁦ Michael J. Abramowitz of ⁦Freedom House. “I never would have imagined seeing something like this in America.” Usually, we see America orchestrating “something like this,” often with the backing of groups like Freedom House.

+ So Biden just “won” Arizona again. They haven’t called out “Arizona,” this many times since Mark Lindsay last played the casino in Lake Havasu City…

+ In the last 72 years, only two Democrats have won Arizona. Is this a consequence of Arizona becoming more “progressive” or Joe Biden being the second most conservative Democratic presidential candidate in 72 years?

+ Here’s some high level trolling from Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “The electoral system in the US significantly distorts the will of the population…It’s probably the most archaic in the world.” Will this welcome instance of Russian meddling prompt a defense of the electoral college from Rachel Maddow?

+ North Carolina was quietly called for Donald Trump earlier in the week, with no complaints from Trump or the RNC about the state’s mail-in ballot extension of … nine days.

+ Say this for the GOP, they’re putting up more of a fight to overturn an election Trump lost by 5 million votes, than the Democrats did for an election Al Gore won by a half million votes…

+ In 2016, 22 percent of Georgia’s eligible voters were not registered. In 2020, that figure stood at 2 percent.

+ The only memorable thing Ken Dilanian has ever said on live TV…”Shit! Fuck!”

+ The big question is: which will last longer the Biden/Harris honeymoon or the Trump marriage?

+ Biden just named Ron Klain his chief of staff. Klain was Al Gore’s chief of staff, from 1999-2000, at the very time Gore talked a reluctant Bill Clinton into bombing Serbia (see our books, Al Gore a Users Manual and Imperial Crusades). Klain was also chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Biden chaired, when it botched the Clarence Thomas hearings and handled the 2000 recount for Al Gore. So, a new competent hand in control of the White House? I wouldn’t be so sure..

+ Klain is also a former K Street lobbyist for the mortgage industry, a merger specialist for huge airlines and a venture capitalist…Vive la Revolution!

+ Relax, with Biden you still Bang! Bang! A third of Biden’s Pentagon transition work for think tanks, organizations, or companies that either directly receive money from the weapons industry or are part of the munitions business themselves.

+ The hawkish Michele Flournoy is the leading candidate for Defense Secretary under Biden. There will be blood…

+ Which country will Biden bomb first in order to “restore America’s place in the world?”

+ Cindy McCain: “John would be very pleased at Biden’s win. I just know he is looking down and going, ‘Cindy, you did the right thing.'” Duck and cover, Iran…

+ Back to the Future…..”It’s China. China. China. Russia,” one Biden adviser told the Financial Times about the president-elect’s likely foreign policy priorities.

+ With due respect to Hell Boy, this is exactly what I’m afraid of…

+ Hispanics were right to distrust Biden, whose campaign infamously bragged they weren’t necessary for his path to victory. This week Biden invited Obama’s Stephen Miller, Cecilia Muñoz, to join his transition team. Muñoz was one of the most brazen advocates of Obama’s child separation policy, as thousands of migrants fled north, many of them seeking refuge from the Honduran coup that Hillary Clinton abetted. In 2011, Munoz, then Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama White House, told Maria Hinojosa of PBS:

At the end of the day, when you have an immigration law that’s broken and you have a community of 10 million, 11 million people living and working in the United States illegally, some of these things are going to happen, even if the law is executed with perfection. There will be parents separated from their children. We don’t have to like it, but it is a result of having a broken system of laws. And the answer to that problem is reforming the law.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

+ We may not know who built the cages, but we know who locked the kids in them.

+ Biden’s environmental team is similarly infested with industry hacks, like Michael McCabe, a former EPA official and aide Biden, who led DuPont’s defense of the toxic PFAS chemical PFOA, and is now  once again advising Biden on the EPA…

+ Working class Dems, it looks like you’ve just been gigged…Biden has tapped a top Uber advisor, Seth Harris, to his “labor” team.

+ Flouting his previous pledges, there are at least 40 former lobbyists on Joe Biden’s transition team, prompting the transition team’s general counsel issued waivers to five people who are currently registered as lobbyists or were registered within the last year.

+ Appointing Sanders to a largely powerless cabinet slot, like Secretary of Labor, is the swiftest and most politically painless way to muzzle the one person who might effectively criticize Biden’s inevitable capitulations to Wall Street and Big Pharma–though, admittedly, Bernie never performed this function during Clinton or Obamatime.

+ Gaia help us all…. “One intriguing name being discussed privately is Hillary Clinton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, according to the person familiar with the chatter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

+ Who could have predicted this about-face from the old drug warrior? The new Biden-Harris transition plan on racial justice does not include his campaign promise to decriminalize marijuana and expunge arrest records—even though the plan mentions other criminal justice reforms they touted alongside the cannabis pledge in recent months…

+ The troika of Democratic leaders in the House — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (80), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (81) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (80) — seem assured of yet another term leading the Party. For a little perspective, all of these people were elected to Congress before Al Gore invented the Internet…

+ In December,  the Trump Administration plans to execute Lisa Montgomery, a person who was herself the victim of terrible trauma and depraved acts of violence.

+ Good riddance to Betsy DeVos, one of the most ghoulish people in Trump’s cabinet. However, ideologically, DeVos wasn’t much different than Obama’s buddy Arne Duncan. Except she became an object of almost universal ridicule and Duncan was viewed as an “original thinker.”

+ Let’s hope this is the last time we’ll ever see Elliot Abrams running death squads for the US government.

+ A Republican politician in Mississippi is calling for his state to secede from the Union in response to Biden’s victory over Trump. That’s one way to address the inequities of the electoral college…

+ Mississippi currently ranks third in states that are most dependent on federal aid, receiving far more support from the federal government than it pays in federal taxes. Mississippi gets $3 back for each dollar it pays in federal income taxes.

+ Andrew Beaujon of the Washingtonian: “I’ve now been sprayed with tear gas and champagne in the same spot.”

+ The West versus the Rest: Biden leads Trump by about 4.5M votes nationwide (75.4M to 70.9M). Biden leads in California by 9.3M – 4.8M = (you guessed it!) 4.5M votes. So they’re even in the rest of the country. Take away Biden’s lead of 1.2M in Oregon and Washington, and Trump has a 1.2M vote lead east of the Pacific coast. (Thanks to Richard Kidd, from Winnipeg, for this astute observation on US political culture.)

+ Indian Country went big for Biden across the West. For example, Glacier County, Montana, which is enclosed by the Blackfeet Nation, went for Biden/Harris by 64%, the highest margin in the state, while the neighboring county voted for Trump by 75%. Will Biden return the favor by naming Deb Haaland to head the Interior Department?

+ I shouldn’t have to note this but since knowledge of US history is most deficient among those who venerate it the most, like reporters for NPR: Kamala Harris is not the first POC to be elected vice president. Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a member of the Kaw Nation.

+ The senator-elect from Alabama, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, who defeated Doug Jones, a man who successfully prosecuted members of the KKK for murder, contends that WW II was fought to liberate Europe from socialism. Really…

+ Democrats and Republicans in the Senate can’t agree on who won the presidential election, but it didn’t take them long to agree on a $696 billion budget for the Pentagon.

+ Trump “terminated” Mark Esper this week, much to Esper’s delight I’m sure. (He can now return to Raytheon.) So it’s time to meet your New Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, former mercenary: “Upon retirement from the Army in 2014, Mr. Miller worked for over two years as a defense contractor providing clandestine Special Operations and Intelligence expertise directly to the Under Secretaries of Defense for Intelligence and Policy.”

+ Why was Esper 86’d? In part, it appears, because he wouldn’t capitulate to Trump demand that he deploy the military against BLM protesters.  Miller would have no such qualms.

+ “Chris would resign if Trump ordered him to deploy troops to crush protests or otherwise stay in power,” Jason Amerine, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2015, told Jeff Stein at Spytalk. “That’s not him at all. He’s not a yes man.” He said “yes” to the job, didn’t he?

+ You have to admit, no one has the pulse of Trump quite like Lindsey Graham, who in June said this about the fate of Defense Secretary Mark Esper: “He’s doing a good job. There’s no reason to let him go. That’s all just a bunch of chatter. I have confidence in Secretary Esper.”

+ In the wake of Esper’s firing, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent a memo to his staff saying: “We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual.” Of course, not. They take their oaths to Raytheon and Boeing, Lockheed and Northrup Grumman, United Technologies and BAE Systems…

+ The only way to withdraw from Afghanistan is rashly, precipitously, immediately. Otherwise, they’ll drag you right back in. It’s a sign of how low we’ve sunk as a nation that Trump may be the only person who can do it. The faint hope for this scenario resides with Col. Douglas Macgregor, just appointed as “Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense.” As longtime readers of CounterPunch know, Macgregor, despite his repugnant views on immigration, has been vocal opponent of the Middle East wars and has repeatedly urged Trump to authorize a rapid pullout of US troops from Afghanistan. The clock is ticking.

+ Of course, we now know, thanks to the disclosures of outgoing Middle East envoy Jim Jeffrey, that Trump couldn’t even remove the troops he claimed he was bringing out of Syria. “What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,”Jeffrey said. “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there.”

+ Macgregor himself puts much of the blame on Pompeo, who he argues has been subverting the withdrawals to preserve his own political future: “Pompeo has aspirations to be president…He has his hands out for money from the Israeli lobby, the Saudis and others.”

+ So does Trump resign before January, so Pence can pardon him (if Mother approves), or wait on the inevitable Biden pardon, in the name of “national healing”?

+ Trump is reportedly telling his “friends” that he plans to run again in 2024. Who will break the news to Darling Nikki?

+ Anyone credulous enough to have sent a check for less than $8,000 to any of Trump’s many “election defense” operations might be surprised to learn that the money won’t in fact be spent to ferret out voter fraud but will end up in his own PAC or in the coffers of the RNC. It’s the grift that keeps on giving…

+ Are we sure the “landscaping” performed by the Four Seasons Landscaping company where Rudy held his press conference yesterday, sandwiched between a sex toy shop and a crematorium, wasn’t of a depilatory nature? I suppose only Tutar knows for sure…

+ Maybe if Trump had told all “the stories” he knew about Lady Gaga he would have won Pennsylvania…

+ There’s a very funny French comedy called The Emperor’s New Clothes, where Napoleon uses a double to escape from St. Helena and make his way back to Paris where, naturally, no one believes he’s the real Napoleon, just one of 100 other mad men wandering the streets proclaiming they are the Emperor. Trump in a few weeks?

+ 41 years later, no one in America is really sure what’s the real national emergency: Iran or Nightline, the ABC “news” show prompted by the original national emergency.

+ US coronavirus cases for each day in November:

Nov. 1: 76,771
Nov. 2: 86,589
Nov. 3: 91,910
Nov. 4: 104,296
Nov. 5: 121,289
Nov. 6: 126,731
Nov. 7: 125,100
Nov. 8: 109,177
Nov. 9: 133,819
Nov. 10: 131,990
Nov. 11: 148,302
Nov. 12: 160,715
Nov. 13: 183,527

+ The Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s emergency reserve, has only 115 million N95 masks, far short of the 300 million the Trump and Kushner had promised to acquire by winter.

+ Meanwhile, the COVID death rate is off the charts in many areas. The medical examiner in El Paso reports that they usually have 40-50 bodies, with total capacity for 90. They currently have 154 and with more arriving hourly. They are looking to get enough mobile morgues to hold more than 400.

+ As a result of the COVID lockdowns, India will end 2020 with more people in extreme poverty than Nigeria.

+ The line for COVID testing on Weds. night at Dodger Stadium…

+ At one Texas prison nearly 6% of the population has died of COVID-19. Not 6% of the COVID-19 patients, but 6% of the entire prison population.

+ James Murray Lynn, a 73-year-old Philly judge who wouldn’t wear a mask in his small, windowless courtroom and demanded that others  remove their face coverings in his presence, as now, predictably, contracted COVID.

+ Being COVID positive means you’ve passed your Trump loyalty test. Much more reliable than a polygraph.

+ Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell asked people not to judge the country until the fall when “raised immunity levels” would mute a second wave. Well, it’s now November, and Swedish Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising more rapidly than anywhere in Europe.

+ Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, sold $5.6 million in Pfizer stock on the same day the company revealed the promising test results for its COVID vaccine. You thought he was in it for saving lives, perhaps? The early estimates project that Pfizer and BioNTech could make more than $13 billion from their Covid-19 vaccine.

+ Pfzier’s Covid-19 vaccine, the efficacy of which remains in some doubt, must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius before use, requiring a complex and costly distribution system that will likely prevent rural counties in the US and poorer nations from having reliable access to the drug.

+ With herd immunity proponent Scott Atlas, now directing COVID policy for the Trump White House, there have been calls for Stanford University to cut its ties with Atlas’ kennel at the Hoover Institution. Hoover began as an institution that plots mass poverty, misery and death. It would be hypocritical of Stanford to evict it for adhering so religiously to its charter…

+ With its hospitals already at 100% capacity and shipping new patients to Minnesota, North Dakota’s governor, Doug Burgum, announced that COVID-positive nurses should continue to come to work. What more does a state have to do to lose its right to be a state?

+ RIP Saeb Erekat, longtime Palestinian peace negotiator, who died from COVID-related complications this week …

+ More than 130 Secret Service agents have contracted COVID in the last few weeks, many of them were exposed during Trump campaign events or at the White House itself.

+ Ruth Hopkins: “Trump is a walking small pox blanket.”

+ The graft and fraud by pals of Mnuchin and Kushner will be used as another excuse to avoid paying a miserly $1200 stimulus check to those about to be evicted by other pals (and family members) of Mnuchin and Kushner….

+ The return of Evo Morales to Bolivia was a beautiful thing to behold…


+ Almost everything in this NYT tweet (and the article itself) is not only wrong but the opposite of what actually happened. Which means, of course, it was written with malice of forethought…

+ Here’s another reason to hope that Trump takes Deutsche Bank down with him: Deutsche bank analysts are proposing that remote workers should be hit with a tax for the “privilege” of working at home, in order to encourage them to begin commuting again.

+ The vindication of Ishmael Reed: Alexander Hamilton was a slaver, new documents show. Not only was he a slave trader for his in-law family, the Schuyler’s, his own account books demonstrate that he bought, sold and personally owned slaves.

+ So Jeffrey Toobin was finally fired as a “staff” writer at the New Yorker, after masturbating on Zoom conference call Just in case any CP readers were tempted to feel sorry for Toobin, when the Edward Snowden story broke in June of 2013, Glenn Greenwald reports (in No Place to Hide, p. 222): “The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin diagnosed him as ‘a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.’”  (Jeffrey Toobin, “Edward Snowden is No Hero,” New Yorker, June 10, 2013).

+ If you want to get a grasp of how quickly the Intercept is deteriorating look no further than this noxious drivel from Lee Fang…

+ In fact, at least 820 people killed by police in the US this year, with nearly two months to go. The number has remained stubbornly steady for the past 10 years.

+ ICE has already deported six former patients who complained about Dr. Mahendra Amin, who has been accused of operating on migrant women without their consent and performing surgeries that endangered their lives and ability to have children. At least seven others at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, who have made allegations against the doctor have been warned that they too could soon be evicted from the country.

+ What the Clinton White House really thought about Ruth Bader Ginsberg…

+ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has drafted a bill allowing people to shoot “looters”. Call it the Kyle Rittenhouse Stand Your Ground Act…

+ Meanwhile, down in AMLO’s Mexico: Journalist Israel Vázquez Rangel was shot today in city of Salamanca in Guanajuato state and is in critical condition. This after Jesús Alfonso Piñuelas Montes was murdered in Sonora on November 2 and Arturo Alba Medina was killed in Ciudad Juárez on October 29.

+ AMLO also retorted this week that the reason he has not congratulated Biden is because Mexico is not “a colony” nor “a wimp.”

+ Jon Voight: “This is now our greatest fight since the Civil War. The battle of righteousness versus Satan, yes Satan — because these leftists are evil.”

+ I don’t know about other Leftists, but I do most of my blood sacrifices to the demon Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest…

+ Where’s Ratso Rizzo when you need him?

+ Of course, Voight’s fiery sentiments aren’t all that different in substance than those expressed by the more respectable figures of Hakim Jeffries, Jim Clyburn, John Kasich and Joe Manchin, are they?

+ To date, Biden has only pledged not to continue Trump’s border wall. Why won’t he agree to taking it down?

+ Will Biden replace Trump’s “paint it black” wall with the original “fencing” he voted for all those years ago?

+ Bend, Oregon, on the frigid east side of the Cascade Range, is currently without a warming shelter, largely due to complaints by rich residents about a location. Early Tuesday morning, the body of Dave Melvin Savory, 57, a homeless double amputee, was found slumped against a dumpster outside a Rite Aid pharmacy.

+ The wolf trapping season has been extended for Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island – the home of rare Alexander Archipelago wolves. The 3-week season opens this Sunday. Last year, 165 wolves were killed. That’s 97% of the island’s population.

+ The richest nations are falling well short of their own goal to provide $100 billion a-year by 2020 to help poorer nations combat climate change.

+ Hurricane Eta pushed water levels at St. Petersburg Florida to the fourth highest on record in data going back to 1947 (3.23 feet above mean high high water and still rising), the highest since Hurricane Josephine 1996.

+ A new study, published in the journal Nature this week, shows that storms such as Hurricane Michael which extend their destructive path far inland, are becoming more likely to occur as ocean temperatures increase as a result of human-caused global warming.

+ Since 2000 discharges of methane gas have risen by more than 50m tonnes a year, equivalent to 350m cars or double the total emissions of Germany or France.

+ 286 pounds: the amount of plastic waste the average American generates per year, the most per capita in the world.

+ Remember the murder hornet nest in Washington State that scientists destroyed wearing the hazmat suits? The nest harbored 200 queens. Scientists tracked them with transmitters tied to the hornets with dental floss..

+ HBO’s documentary The Vow, on the Nxivm sex cult, struck me as more like a recruitment video than an exposé…

+ Wayne Kramer on how James Brown inspired the first punk band, the MC5: “Our whole thing was based on James Brown. We listened to Live at the Apollo endlessly on acid. We would listen to that in the van on the way to gigs to get us up for the gig. If played in a band in Detroit in the days before the MC5, everybody did ‘Please, Please, Please’ and ‘I Go Crazy.’ We modeled the MC5’s performance on those records. Everything we did was on a gut level about sweat and energy. It was anti-refinement. That what we were consciously going for.”

+ Sun Ra: “If you find Earth boring, just the same old same thing, sign up with Outer Space Ways, Incorporated.”

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America
Marcus J. Moore

The Silence
Don DeLillo

I Ain’t Marching Anymore: Dissenters, Deserters and Objectors to America’s Wars
Chris Lombardi
(New Press)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Sunset in the Blue
Melody Gardot

The Human Condition
Black Stone Cherry
(Mascot Music / Provogue)

Acts of Rebellion
Ela Minus

What is Power?

“What is the cause of historical events? Power. What is power? Power is the sum total of wills transferred to one person. On what condition are the wills of the masses transferred to one person? On condition that the person express the will of the whole people. That is, power is power. That is, power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand.” (Tolstoy, War and Peace)

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