Roaming Charges: Negative Creep

Approaching front, Cascade foothills. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

This is getting to be
This is getting to be
This is getting to be … like drone

– Nirvana, Negative Creep

+ For a month now, the Democrats have ceded the airwaves to Trump and some of the most lunatic lawyers in America, while Biden rolls out recycled cabinet picks no one, except a few K Street lobbyists, asked for or wanted. Meanwhile, Pelosi and Schumer can’t even get a tiny relief check to the 12 million people about to have their water and heat turned off or face eviction from their homes…

+ Biden is a politician who is unlikely to disappoint his followers for the simple reason that he has few truly devoted adherents and offers them little of substance. Mostly, he delivers on small things, tiny symbolic acts that serve to mask the broader betrayals of movements and aspirations he claimed to represent but never had any real interest in. Unlike Obama, idealism was never Biden’s calling card. His entire career he has sold a brutal brand of pragmatism behind a dental implant smile.

+ Few politicians in American history have been as programed by the System as Joe Biden, conditioned to the point where Biden eventually became a chief programmer himself, updating the operating system of the Republic every decade or so with new measures of austerity, imperial violence  and domestic punishment. If the American brand of neoliberalism is approaching a crisis point, it’s a crisis that Biden himself, perhaps more than anyone else on the political scene today, helped bring about.

+ A divided government is Biden’s preferred political habitat. It’s why he wasn’t too deflated by the Democrats’ befuddling failure to retake the Senate and why he’s expending little energy (not that he has much to spare, apparently) on the Georgia senate races, which seem to be slipping away. This is precisely the situation Biden wants, where he can rationalize abandoning all of his campaign promises, meager as they were–on health care, the environment, infrastructure and student debt–and implement his long-desired austerity measures by saying he was forced to deal with Mitch.

+ Under Biden we’re set to experience four years (if he lasts that long) of negative creep, a steady recrudescence of the same policies–economic, social, environmental and military–which led us to into the very quagmire where nearly all of us are now inexorably sinking.

+ Predictably, Biden’s sterile roster of cabinet picks seem geared toward appeasing a mythical political center that no longer exists, if it ever did.

+ Trump played directly to his base with many of his whacko cabinet picks, like Betsy DeVos. In contrast, Biden torments his and the Democrat base, by and large, just swallows what he feeds them with a passive grimace.

+ Biden’s pick for Secretary of Agriculture, the Man from Monsanto, Tom Vilsack, is a seasoned veteran of the revolving door the Democrats claim to abhor. He sprinted from the Obama administration into a $1 million a year gig at the US Dairy Exports Council, a “nonprofit” marketing the junk excreted by cows jacked up on crack (BGH)…

+ It’s no surprise, really, that Biden tapped Vilsack for Ag and consigned the more qualified, Marcia Fudge, to HUD, a long reserved as a kind of display window for black cabinet members. But Fudge should refuse this dead end job, which will make her complicit in the thousands of evictions that are bound to take place as the recession deepens and Biden imposes the austerity measures he’s had in his hip-pocket for decades…

+ Over at the Defense Department it was Raytheon for the win, as Biden bypassed Michele Flournoy to select recently retired General Lloyd Austin to run the Pentagon. Before assuming the post, Austin will have to resign (at least officially) from the board of Raytheon.

+ 150 Democrats (and Justin Amash) in the House voted against giving Mad Dog Mattis a special exemption from a federal law requiring military officers to wait seven years before serving as Defense secretary. How many will do the same on the Austin nomination, even one?

+ Biden could have picked someone like Bryan Stevenson or David Cole to run the Justice Department, instead he appears to have settled on former Alabama Senator Doug Jones, a man who defended Thomas Posey, a John Bircher and member of the Klan, who was indicted for running guns to the Contras, in violation of Neutrality Act. Jones’ adroit lawyering got Posey off, convincing the judge that “by no stretch of the imagination can the US be said to be ‘at peace’ with Nicaragua.” (H/T Greg Grandin).

+ WestExec (Blinken, Paski, Haines, Flournoy) is to the Biden Democrats what the Carlyle Group was to the Bush era neocons…

+ Bernie Sanders told MSDNC that Biden would have lost the election without millions of progressive voters, who “deserve representation” in the cabinet. But adds he hasn’t seen any in the cabinet yet. I wonder why, Bernie?

+ Of course, nothing brings Democrats and Republicans together so intimately as a Pentagon spending bill, the current version of which passed Nancy Pelosi’s House on a vote of 335 to 78.

+ The United States spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil combined. Defense spending accounts for 15 percent of all federal spending and roughly half of discretionary spending.

+ With McConnell exerting his customary stranglehold on the Senate, you might have thought that Biden would be preparing a raft of Executive Orders to push through his “FDR-like” agenda? You’d be wrong. As Biden scolded a group of civil rights “leaders” this week, the “executive authority that my progressive friends talk about is way beyond the bounds.”

+ Of course, don’t expect Biden to worry about the limits of his Executive Authority when he wants to drone a wedding party in Pakistan or Somalia…

+ Trump now citing bookies as evidence of stolen election, must be communing with the spirit of his old pal, Jimmy the Greek Snyder, who, after a career of racist remarks, finally lost his job at CBS Sports after saying in an interview that black athletes were superior because of selective breeding during slavery and warning that blacks were taking over all professional sports… “They’ve {blacks} got everything; if they take over coaching like everybody wants them to, there’s not going to be anything left for white people.”

+ Note: The average Election Day “bookie” odds of Trump winning were 35.4%. Biden was at 63.8%!

+ In 2016, Trump claimed that Ted Cruz’s win in the Iowa caucuses was rigged and he falsely asserted that Cruz wasn’t even eligible to run for president. Now, four years later, Trump wants Ted Cruz to argue his case before the Supreme Court that the results of the 2020 elections should be invalidated and Cruz has consented. I’m beginning to think that Cruz’s father may have had a hand in the assassination of JFK after all.

+ How weird is the Texas appeal for the Supremes to overturn the election results? There’s been an amicus brief in support of it filed by two self-declared states that don’t exist: “New California” and “New Nevada.”

+ In business and politics has anyone ever profited as much from failure and incompetence as Trump? He lost the election decisively. He has lost nearly every lawsuit to challenge his loss, in decisions that might humiliate anyone else. But people are still throwing him $$, more than $200 million at the last count. The last thing he wants is to actually win one of these suits and have the election results overturned, at which point he’d be responsible again and the gushers of money would dry up. I’m reminded of Pierre Bezukhov’s return to Moscow after Napoleon’s retreat in War & Peace: “I found everything in ruins, but somehow I was now richer than ever.”

+ Less than 24 hours after Biden’s team announced plans to create a position inside his administration to find “common ground” with conservatives, 108 Republican members of the House signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overthrow the results of an election Biden won by 7 million votes.

+ Like “originalism”, “federalism” means nothing to the very same cast of rightwing politicians who invoke the concept most incessantly. They almost certainly couldn’t define it for the new citizenship test

+ In the end, the Supremes voted 7-2 not to even hear the Texas case to overturn the election, ruling that Texas lacked standing to the challenge the certified votes of other states: “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.”

+ Neither of the two justices who voted to hear the case on the theory of “original jurisdiction” (Alito and Thomas) were Trump appointees. Ah, the ingratitude!

+ I think Trump’s demand to participate in the arguments at the Supreme Court lost him at least one vote. Like most women who have been in close proximity to Trump, Amy Coney Barrett didn’t want to repeat the experience…

+ It must sting Trump that if only his 3 nominees to the Court had joined Alito and Thomas, he would have at least been granted a hearing and could’ve prolonged his current grift for another couple of weeks. In the end, he got none of their votes. Love hurts…

+ With Trump dispatched, the Supreme Court has now earned a a grace period from liberals to inflict some really wicked damage on civil and reproductive rights….

+ While you’re celebrating the Supreme Court for tossing the bonkers Texas case, you might pause for a moment at least to recognize that they’ve ok’d two federal executions on consecutive days as part of the Trump/Barr killing spree, including a man convicted of a killing committed when he was a teenager.

+ It took the Texas GOP about 10 minutes to respond to the SCOTUS ruling with a call for secession…

+ One Texas firebrand is already preparing legislation for a Texit….

+ If they turn their bluster into action and actually break away, Texas will soon find itself in the unhappy position of funding all the other rebel states, who have been surviving on the streams of federal tax dollars from California, New York, NJ, Mass., Illinois, Washington, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania…

+ Proof Louie Gohmert’s bark has always been worse than his bite…

+ You needed a dose of Sarah Palin today? OK, here’s some fresh from her speech in Marietta, Georgia: “We need prayers to God, to heal our land, even if we win, not just geographically and geology wise, but people wise.”

+ Billionaires in US have grown their collective wealth by $1 trillion since mid-March. That’s more than it would cost to send a $3,000 stimulus check to every person in America.

+ Last week, the Treasury Department finally released the list of companies receiving PPP loans. Not surprisingly, at least 25 PPP loans totally more than $3.65 million were awarded to businesses with addresses at Trump and Kushner real estate properties, paying rent to those owners. Fifteen of the businesses reported that they only kept one job, no jobs or didn’t bother reporting a number at all.

+ The loans to businesses located at Trump and Kushner properties included a $2,164,543 loan to the Triomphe Restaurant Corp., at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in NYC. The company reported the money didn’t go to keeping any jobs and later closed. Two tenants at 725 5th Avenue, Trump Tower, pocketed more than $100,000 and kept only three jobs. Meanwhile, four tenants at the Kushner-owned 666 5th Avenue combined banked more than $204,000, and yet retained only six jobs.

+ Michael McColly: “Indifference kills people with HIV today as it kills people with COVID-19 and will continue to do so. Epidemics never end, viruses stay in people’s bodies, the most vulnerable pass it among others like them, and out of sight they succumb without notice.”

+ Just in from the Live Free or Die State: The new Republican House Speaker in New Hampshire just died of COVID after the state’s GOP held an indoor maskless, super-spreader caucus.

+ An Ohio lawmaker named Stephen Hambley tested positive for COVID-19 but returned to work days later. Now several members of his committee have tested positive and, yes, Hambley’s still working at the Ohio Statehouse without a mask…

+ According to a new report out of the CDC, Coronavirus infections are 35 times as common among American Indian/Alaska Natives as White people. The age adjusted mortality rate for Native Americans is 1.8 times higher.

+ Brett Chapman: “Since vaccines are in the news, a reminder that Congress passed the 1832 Indian Vaccination Act only because smallpox threatened Native American removal programs. Vaccines were only given to tribes destined for removal. The Mandan weren’t one and 90% of them died five years later.”

+ Almost 200 workers at a Foster Farms poultry plant in Fresno, California, have contracted Covid in the past two weeks. This plant already had dozens of cases and two workers deaths earlier in the pandemic.

+ The Trump Inner Circle must be the only social grouping in the world with a higher Covid infection rate than North Dakota…

+ Irony is dead, shot with a silver bullet, impaled on a stake, and buried in garlic…

+ We need to kill more innocent Afghans, so we can justify leaving after 18 years of killing….In the period leading up to and during negotiations with the Taliban in February 2020, the U.S. and its allies intentionally ramped up airstrikes in Afghanistan to gain leverage in the peace talks. Civilians paid the price. In 2019 airstrikes killed 700 civilians – more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war in 2001 and 2002.

+ It just had to end like this. Instead of Mexico “paying for the Wall.” Armed Mexican paramilitaries were illegally brought across the border and paid to protect Trump’s border wall…

+ The whistle-blowers said Ultimate Concrete went so far as to build a dirt road to expedite illegal border crossings to sites in San Diego, using construction vehicles to block security cameras. An unnamed supervisor at the Army Corps of Engineers approved the operation…

+ In the second quarter of 2020, white households—who account for 60 percent of the U.S. population—held 84 percent ($94 trillion) of total household wealth in the U.S, according to a new Brookings study. Comparatively, Black households—who account for 13.4 percent of the U.S. population—held just 4 percent ($4.6 trillion) of total household wealth.

+ An estimated that 560,000 workers in US higher education (12% of the labor force) have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics….

+ The recession is hitting so hard that there’s been a steep rise in people shoplifting food. Will a War on Shoplifting will replace the War on Drugs to keep the carceral industrial complex humming? Anything to avoid declaring a war on hunger or poverty, I guess.

+ The Indian top 1% income share was 6% in 1980.  Now it stands at 21%, one factor driving the dramatic farm protests spreading across India.

+ A mere two hours into his term, new Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon ended cash bail; the death penalty; sentence enhancements; solitary confinement; trying children as adults; and the criminalization of homelessness, mental health, and addiction.  The LAPD and some of his own prosecutors (there are 1,200! of them in LA) aren’t pleased with the changes and are seeking backdoor ways to subvert them

+ In 2019, ICE contacted the Alameda County sheriff’s office (Oakland, CA) 392 times was regarding the status of jail detainees. The sheriff’s office gave ICE advance notice of the release dates and times for 44 people who were then arrested by ICE on county jail property immediately following their release.

+ U.S. Customs and Border Protection carried out almost half a million child detentions during the Trump administration, data shows. More kids were held for 72 hours or more. (That’s 500,000 kids, held for a combined 30 million hours.) Will the Supreme Court allow them to sue the people who left them in cages?

+ The Trump administration has executed more people in five months than the federal government executed during the previous five decades.

+ In fact, the Trump/Barr Justice Department has been in such a rush to execute people that it sought to enter into a no-bid contract with the seller of pentobarbital, the drug used in lethal injections, often with barbarous consequences.

+ Two independent studies have now drawn the same conclusions: billions of dollars in surplus military equipment that was transferred by the federal government to thousands of U.S. police departments have not reduced crime or increased officer safety. But they have been deployed to seriously injure, and kill, thousands of civilians.

+ As a native son, I can assure you that not all Hoosiers run like this…

+ How do Hoosiers run? Well, it largely depends on whether you’re running to or from a Sundown Town….

+ The Pentagon confirmed that the US flew two B-52H bombers from their base in Louisiana across the Persian Gulf this week in order to “deter Iran.” Deter Iran from what? It seems more like an act of blatant provocation to me…

+ The last time Iran was a “democracy,” the CIA overthrew the government put the Shah on the throne with dictatorial powers, his autocratic rule enforced by a savage secret police trained and equipped by the CIA…

+ If the GOP had better trial lawyers, they may not be 1-59 in their election lawsuits.

+ This week the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that American Muslims who were placed or kept on the No-Fly List in retaliation for refusing to spy on their communities may sue individual FBI agents for interfering with their freedom to practice their religion….Over to you, trial lawyers!

+ If I were a Marxist revolutionary, I’d take over a city with a better climate and cheaper housing….

+ Israelites, chosen tribe of God and the Aliens…”Former head of Israeli space security program says aliens exist, but they think humans aren’t ready, so they only communicate with the governments of the US and Israel. Trump found out and was going to tell everyone, but they convinced him to keep quiet.”

+ On Thursday, Trump declared the U.S.: the Marshall of Space. He ordered the Pentagon to use Space Command to “conduct operations in, from, and through space to deter conflict, and if deterrence fails, to defeat aggression while protecting and defending US vital interests with allies and partners.”

+ Did he clear this with the Alien Galactic Federation in their underground bunker on the Red Planet?

+ For all the scaremongering about a Trump-Putin Pact, it was Reagan and Gorbachev who thought that an alien invasion would end the Cold War and unite humanity against a common enemy. While meeting in a cabin on Lake Geneva, Gorby and Ronnie sat before the fireplace for an intimate discussion about the fate of planet Earth. Gorbachev recalls the seminal moment this way: “At the fire house, President Reagan suddenly said to me, ‘What would you do if the United States were attacked by someone from Outer Space? Would you help us?’ I said, ‘No doubt about it.’ He said, ‘We too.’ So that’s interesting.”

+ Trump lawyer Lin Wood, who continues to be the best thing the Democrats have going for them in the Georgia Senate races, told the New Yorker’s Charles Bethea: “Hundreds of thousands of Georgia patriots are disgusted with the Georgia Republican Party and are not going back to the polls to vote on a machine owned by China and on paper ballots likely falsified on Chinese paper produced in China.”

+ It’s China’s turn in the barrel…again.

+ Amid the increasingly strident calls for China to pay reparations for the damage inflicted by COVID (1.5 million deaths), it might be prudent to examine how much the US paid for the deaths (50 million) caused by the “Spanish” Flu, which originated in Kansas and was spread across Europe by US troops…

+ Besides, what about the evidence that the coronavirus may have been present in the US before it showed up in Wuhan? Yanqui Virus, go home!

+ Warning: this article appeared not in the Onion, but Foreign Affairs, a sclerotic magazine for policy elites published in the drone capital of the world….

+ Dianne Feinstein may not remember the name of her top staffer, the subject of the briefing she just attended or where her office is, but curiously she never forgets who funded her campaigns and why they keep putting her back in the Senate…

+ Jim Walden of Walden Macht & Haran, attorney for Christopher Krebs, the former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has filed a lawsuit accusing the Trump campaign and its agents of fomenting a campaign of violence toward those who uphold the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. According to Walden:

We became aware tonight that a shadow group has launched a campaign on a website called ‘enemies of the people’ proposing the assassination of various Republican and Democratic leaders who they falsely claim are complicit in manipulating the 2020 presidential campaign. If anyone needs to be reminded that public calls for violence beget violence, this is the clarion call. If blood is spilled, it is on the hands of the president, his campaign, his lawyers, and the silent Republicans standing in the president’s shadow. We have deployed every conceivable resource to counteract this tangible step toward terrorism — although it may be domestic or foreign actors trying to stoke the violence.  Either way, this toxic campaign proves the truth of everything we said in our lawsuit yesterday.”

+ A “shadow group” of assassins with their own website?

+ Jerrold Post, the recently deceased CIA shrink who diagnosed Trump as “dangerous” was probably 10 times more dangerous than Trump.

+ The Crying of Lot 4…It looks like Jared and Ivanka have sunk $30 into a bayfront lot inside a high security compound in Miami, once owned by Julio Iglesias. Does Erik Prince already have the security contract? Over to you, Poseidon…

+ Calling Christopher Lasch…While most elective medical procedure are down from the pre-Covid era, plastic surgeons are doing a brisk business, in part because wealthy Americans don’t like the way they look on Zoom.

+ I doubt the new Ben & Jerry’s flavor ends up in Pelosi’s ice box…

+ A new study in Nature comparing the “anthropogenic mass” of the Earth—all of the concrete, metals, plastics, etc we’ve produced—to Earth’s biomass (mostly plants) finds that human made “stuff” now equals the weight of all living things on Earth and the amount of is anthropogenic mass rising exponentially, while the weight of life, itself, has stayed relatively flat in recent decades.

+ Failed State Update: the National Weather Service no longer has sufficient internet bandwidth to keep its websites running reliably and is proposing to limit the amount of data users can access. (The privatization of the National Weather Service was predicted by Michael Lewis in one of the best books about the real ideology operating behind the shroud of Trumpism, The Fifth Risk.)

+ The Siberian fires this year burned an estimated 23 million acres, an area 6 times the size of 2020 blazes in California. Even more ominous: “Many of 2019 fires did overwinter in the duff to jumpstart an early fire season in 2020’s extremely warm conditions.”

+ Ok, Bill, but what about the work that you’ve been doing to prop up the reputation (such as it is) of John Kerry, who aggressively pushed the Enbridge Pipeline and shilled for Obama’s plans for off-shore drilling…?

+ Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, on working with oil companies: “I’m reaching out to them because I want to hear from them. I’m listening to what their needs are… so I can understand what the possibilities may be.”

+ Disgraced former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s official portrait shows him riding through the Bears Ears, the national monument he shrunk from its original 1.35 million acres to a mere 250,000 acres, before being driven from office for scandals.

+ 2020 will go down as Southern California’s smoggiest year since the mid-1990s, despite dramatic reductions in driving. Climate-fueled heat waves, wildfires and changing emissions worsened LA’s ozone pollution during the pandemic…

+ Forty air quality monitors were set up in Imperial County, California by  a community group called Comite Civico del Vallea.  The 24-hour maximum level of coarse particulate matter recorded by the community monitors surged as high as 2,430 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017. That’s 40 times greater than the World Health Organization’s recommended level. The nearest government monitor, however, showed concentrations of only 985 micrograms per cubic meter.

+ $148.5 billion: the cost to the US economy of the 2018 California wildfires.

+ A total of 11,088 sq km (4,281 sq miles) of rainforest were destroyed from August 2019 to July 2020. This is a 9.5% increase from last year and the heaviest loss since 2008.

+ When I go to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods, the LAST thing I want to encounter is John Mayer in a Frigging Land Rover, parked on the Smith River bed, playing his irritating, fatuous music, in some kind of product placement scheme for The Atlantic–a more insulting and ecologically destructive event than the KFC Lifetime movie, which has all of the cultural snobs in an uproar.

+ In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy offers the best definition of “ennui” I’ve come across: “a desire for desire.”

+ Awful news about the death of Soren Ambrose at the age of 57. Soren was a crusader for debt relief, fought the World Bank and IMF and was an all-round great human. He was also wrote several pieces for CounterPunch.

+ While Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks sold their catalogs of songs for tens of millions, Tom Lehrer put his work into the public domain

+ El Chapultepec, the downtown Denver jazz club which opened the day after Prohibition ended, has closed after 87 years

+ Like James Baldwin, the photos of Miles where he appears the happiest and most relaxed always seem to have been taken in France, where he didn’t have to fear being clubbed by NYPD cops for having a smoke on the sidewalk between sets at Birdland…

+ Defund the White Grammys!

+ John Lennon: “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

+ Orson Welles died 35 years ago today (Thursday) and he died again last week, when Netflix premiered the slanderous, if intermittently amusing, slop of David Fincher’s “Mank.”

+ Speaking of the Kenosha Kid, here’s a clip from Welles’ 1955 BBC Show Sketchbook, where he devoted an entire episode to the misdeeds of police and proposed the creation of an international union to protect civilians from their abuses….

+ Q: What was your most remarkable movie-going experience?

A. Watching Pasolini’s “Salò: 12o Days of Sodom” in a theater off of DuPont Circle that was half full during the opening credits and steadily drained of apparently revolted people over the first hour, until I was the only one left, too captivated by the images to even claim a better seat….

+ Berkeley Breathed: “As the saying goes, a Pulitzer really only guarantees what the first words of your obituary will be.”

+ The barricades have gone up in Portland again, this time over the eviction crisis. The battle lines have been drawn at the old Red House on North Mississippi, the former black neighborhood, which has over the last twenty years been gentrified into a hipster enclave of eateries and shops. The “Red House” was one of the last black-owned homes in the neighborhood, where the Kinney family has lived since the 1950s. The family refinanced the montage and like many others ran into problems meeting the payments as the economy crashed. Their lenders proved indifferent to their plight and foreclosed on the loan.  In September, Portland sheriffs tried to evict the family, who refused to leave. Protesters have been trying to prevent the eviction ever since, even as the the city’s ridiculous timber-trust fund mayor, Ted Wheeler, urged the sheriffs and the police crush the protests and enforce the eviction orders. Over to you, Jimi…

There’s a Red House Over Yonder, That’s Where My Baby Stays

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Oak Flat: a Fight for Sacred Land in the American West
Lauren Redniss
(Random House)

The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism
Grace Blakeley

People of the City
Cyprian Ekwensi

Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide
Robert Michael Pyle

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Live at Ronnie Scott’s
Bill Evans…with Eddie Gomez & Jack DeJohnette

Real Low Vibe: Reprise Recordings, 1992-1998
(Cherry Red)

10 Years Gone
(Sargent House)

In Still Strata

“World just before men. Too violently pitched alive in constant flow ever to be seen by men directly. They are meant only to look at it dead, in still strata, transputrefied to oil or coal. Alive, it was such a threat: it was Titans, was an overpeaking of life so clangorous and mad, such a green corona about Earth’s body that some spoiler had to be brought in before it blew the Creation apart. So we, the crippled keepers, were sent out to multiply, to have dominion. God’s spoilers. Us. Counter-revolutionaries. It is our mission to promote death. The way we kill, the way we die, being unique among the Creatures.”  (Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow)

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