Roaming Charges: Just a Shot Away

Near Station Camp. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ I spent a few days last week at the mouth of the Columbia River, talking with members of the Chinook tribal people, whose ties to these tidal flats, rivers and coastal rainforests date back at least five thousand years. Probably more. Unlike the Chinook people on the south side of the Columbia, those on the north never signed a treaty with the US government. Never ceded away any of their land or their fishing rights and harvesting rights. So in 1954, the US government simply terminated them as a “tribe” and all of their legal rights under US law. The people of what’s now called Middle Village, near where I took this photo, sheltered, fed, and advised the Lewis and Clark Expedition on the very dangerous tides and currents at the mouth of the Columbia River. In return, Clark stole one of their sturdy ocean-going canoes. Speaking of infectious diseases, by 1830 this population at the far western edge of the continent had already lost more than 90 percent of its pre-contact population to what might be described as “viral conquest”: Spanish flu, Russian flu, Small Pox, TB and malaria. Still they persist, asserting their rights to what was never sold or given away.

+ The Chinook settlement known as Middle Village (Lewis & Clark dubbed it Station Camp) was very close to where the Chinook River spills into the Columbia, just a few river miles southeast of the Pacific Ocean. This was one of the most prolific salmon runs in the world. Even though the Chinook River is only 8 miles long, tumbling out of the (now butchered) Willapa Hills, it ran thick with several species of salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout. By the 1890s, the McGowan Cannery had been erected on the village itself and the hauls of fish were almost unimaginable. Even more unimaginable is that 50 years later many of those runs were nearing extinction…

McGowan Cannery, Washington Historical Society.

+ Native households only have 8 cents of wealth for every dollar that the average white American household has.

+ The triumphalism over the rate of vaccinations in the US is getting more and more perverse. Its not that hard to be “number one”, when you’re bogarting all the vaccines and nearly 150 countries, including Haiti, don’t have a single dose in the fridge…

+ In a survey of 77 epidemiologists from 28 countries, two-thirds thought that we had a year or less before the coronavirus mutates to the extent that the majority of first-generation vaccines are rendered ineffective and new or modified vaccines are required. Of those surveyed, nearly a third gave a timeframe of nine months or less. Fewer than one in eight said they believed that mutations would never render the current vaccines ineffective.

+ Howard Dean, who appears to be Big Pharma’s go-to man in the Democratic Party, spent the last four years trying to suffocate the Medicare-for-All movement. Now’s he’s lobbying the Biden administration against approving low-cost generic COVID vaccines for poorer nations. The fact that anyone ever thought Howard Dean was a progressive just shows how ideologically shriveled the Democratic party has become and how thoroughly people can be fleeced (of their money and their common sense) by on-line campaigns…(See Joshua Frank’s book on the Dean campaign, Left Out)

+ A research paper published this week in JAMA Pediatrics estimates that 40,000 children in the US have lost a parent to COVID-19.

+ Deaths from all causes in the US soared by 23% in 2020, with 522,368 excess deaths from March through the end of 2020 compared with data from the prior 5 years, according to a study  that was reported in JAMA last week. This figure is far above the unofficial tally of COVID-19 deaths, which reached about 339,000 deaths by the end of 2020.

+ Deborah Birx in CNN a documentary about COVID deaths “The first time we had an excuse. About 100,000 deaths came from original surge. All the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.” Hmm. If only she’d been in a position to do something about it….

+ Brazil has reported more than 4,000 COVID deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time, becoming the third nation to go above that daily mark. Only the U.S. and Peru have had daily death tolls higher than 4,000.

+ The specter of “Vaccine Passports” is the latest bugaboo on the right. But vaccine “passports” are not a new thing. Here are the vaccines currently required for a visa to enter the US:

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Influenza type b
Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids

+ It’s worth noting that you still can’t drive across the border from Oregon into California while carrying fruit or vegetables, a restriction designed to protect the health of the state’s Ag Industry from invasive insects and diseases. It doesn’t seem too onerous that similar restrictions might be imposed to protect the public health.

+ The Republican National Committee will require attendees of the party’s spring donor retreat in Florida to get tested for COVID and submit proof of a negative result as a condition for gaining entry to the event. Sounds like a kind of passport to me…

+ As I was writing this late on Thursday night, the prospect for unionization at Amazon looked grim. With half of the votes counted it’s losing by more than 2-1 margin: Amazon: 1101; Workers: 463. Only 55% of the workers even bothered to cast a ballot. The counting will resume on Friday.

+ Since 2018, Nike has made $8.5 billion in profits, paid zero dollars in taxes and laid off thousands of employees. Meanwhile, its founder, Phil Knight, somehow managed to increase his wealth by $24.7 billion.

+ Biden announced that he’s “open to compromising” on his modest infrastructure bill, a measure that already enjoys 75% popular support for a plan that doesn’t need a single GOP vote to pass and that Biden still won’t get a single vote for no matter how far he scales it down or how many pork-barrel projects he targets for Republican states…

+ One measure Biden doesn’t show any signs of compromising (with the left) on is the Pentagon budget, which his administration proposes to increase by $11 billion over last year’s $705 billion deal.

+ Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson, the state’s top election official, getting very explicit about why he believes the state (and others in the “new” South) needs to tighten voting rules:

So think about all those woke college and university students now who will automatically be registered to vote whether they wanted to or not. Again, if they didn’t know to opt-out, they’re going to be automatically registered to vote and then they receive this mail-in ballot that they probably didn’t know was coming because they didn’t know they were registered to vote. You’ve got an uninformed citizen who may not be prepared and ready to vote. Automatically, it’s forced on them: ‘Hey, go make a choice.’ And our country’s going to pay for those choices.

+ Right on cue, Kevin Williamson, now grazing in the genetically-engineered pastures of the National Review, weighs in with column arguing that the US needs “fewer, but better voters.”

+ I see that the Chairman of the Masters Golf tournament has denounced MLB’s decision to move the all-star game out of Georgia. It’s worth reminding people that the founder and former longtime chairman of Augusta National Club, Clifford Roberts declared: “As long as I’m alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black.” No wonder they’re not worried about the return of Jim Crow voting laws.

+ Researchers at UC-San Diego found that strict voter ID laws correlated with an 8.8% reduction in Democratic turnout and a 3.6% drop in GOP turnout–mostly because people of color were less likely to have ID. (Still awaiting academic studies on the effect on voter turnout of the Democrats’ efforts to kick Green Party candidates off the ballot.)

+ Newt’s psychobabble gets more pathological and comical as the years go by.  But give him credit, his emphasis on “owner solidarity” (and all that implies) has never wavered…

+ Coca-Cola shares have increased by 2 percent since the GOP announced its boycott of the company.

+ As the country itself becomes less religious (for the first time less than half of Americans belong to a church), the Supreme Court gets more so (but only for certain tenets of certain religions)…

+ Justice Stephen Breyer says he opposes expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court because it will make the court “seem like a political institution.” Breyer’s been on the court for 25 years seems to know almost nothing about it. Time to retire, Stephen.

+ Breyer’s legacy, on and off the court, has been pernicious. He’s a committed neoliberal. When he worked for Ted Kennedy in the 70s, he was the architect of deregulating the trucking industry, a template which was later ruthlessly applied to other industries. Then in the 1980s, at Biden and Kennedy’s side, he was one of the chief architects of the repressive sentencing guidelines that did so much to swell the ranks of the federal prison population.

+ According to figures from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, almost half of people currently in federal prisons (77,000 out of 162,000) were convicted of a drug offense.

+ Ruth Wilson Gilmore: “Abolition is about abolishing the conditions under which prison became the solution to problems, rather than abolishing the buildings we call prisons.”

+ The incarceration rate for Black people in Washington D.C. is nineteen times that of white people. And it almost certainly won’t change with DC statehood, which, of course, is no reason to delay making DC a state…

+ The police shooting of Michael Reinoehl in Lacy, Washington last September was hailed by Trump and Bill Barr has an example of how to deal with the violent threat of ANTIFA. A new investigation into the circumstance of the shooting, which a local coroner has already ruled a “homicide,” raises serious new questions the actions of the cops that fatal night. Among the findings:

+ cops were unable to talk to each other because of broken radios.
+ police began shooting at Reinoehl before they even parked their cars
+ there’s still no clear evidence that Reinoehl ever fired a shot, even though police were told he “wouldn’t be captured alive.”
+ Reinhoehl’s gun, which police still insist he fired, had a full clip.

+ Killer cop Derek Chauvin’s actions, his superiors say, were “totally unnecessary“…Yet similar actions by cops happen almost every day in police departments big and small across the country. The system trained, promoted and rewarded Chauvin (and thousands more just like him), now it wants to wash its hands of him with changing the machine that manufactured him.

+ Chauvin’s lawyer: “You called officers a bitch, right?”

Genevieve Hansen, off-duty firefighter on scene: “Mmhm … I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody.”

+ According to the Senator from Arkansas, we’re not jailing enough people, even though it’s the one thing America is still exceptional at….

+ The ten countries with the highest incarceration rates (per 100,000) are:

1) United States (639)
2) El Salvador (566)
3) Turkmenistan (552)
4) Thailand (549)
5) Palau (522)
6) Rwanda (511)
7) Cuba (510)
8) Maldives (499)
9) Bahamas (442)
10 Grenada (429)

+ Imagine! Number of prisoners in solitary in US: 80,000, most of whom spend a few months in it, but at least a couple of thousand people have been in solitary confinement for six years or more. Some (see Albert Woodfox) have been held for decades.

+ Progressives endorsing the repressive Mann Act in a rush “to get Gaetz” (awful as he is) is one of the more dispiriting, but predictable, political episodes of the year. Excuse me while I drop the needle on Miles Davis’ Tribute to Jack Johnson for the next hour…

+ Gaetz: “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”

+ For decades, marijuana possession busts accounted for one of the biggest and most costly activities of local police departments. Now that 17 states have fully legalized marijuana possession, none of the police department budgets in those states have decline. In fact most have increased, in part because large percentages of the sales tax revenues from pot sales go to the police.

+ What were once known as “death squads” in Central America are now just “police”–though they continue to be trained and armed by the US.

+ Biden says he wants to reduce US gun violence, which is “an international embarrassment.” He can make a quick start in this direction by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in a couple weeks and by ending US weapons transfers to local and state police departments.

+ Instead, police are on track to get more military hardware under Biden than they did under Trump…

+ The recent surge in gun ownership by black Americans (up 53% last year) is much more likely to spur gun control legislation than any mass shooting…

+ Increased security at the US Capitol will inevitably mean more attacks on “security,” which will prompt calls for yet more security, which means they’ll be providing security for security and still not feel secure.

+ In a deal struck with the Taliban, the US agree withdraw the remainder of its troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2020. Now the Biden administration says it want’s “more time” to decide on the pullout. Are we talking years or decades?

+ Kamala Harris: “For years and generations, wars have been fought over oil. In a short matter of time, they will be fought over water.” Glad to see Harris admit that the US has been fighting wars for oil, though she seems a little too excited about the prospect of fighting new ones for water, don’t you think?

+ Irate over the withdrawal of Dr. Seuss, but ready to ban Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist” from military reading lists

+ Joe Manchin, who thinks of himself as the new Kingpin of the Senate, says he’ll oppose any voting rights legislation that doesn’t have the backing of Trump supporters:

The only thing I would caution anybody and everybody about is that we had an insurrection on January 6, because of voting, right? … We should not, at all, attempt to do anything that would create more distrust and division.

Which sounds like a textbook case of capitulating to terrorists.

+ Murray Waas a big scoop in the Guardian on how the mad general Michael Flynn, who is spending much of his time pitching QAnon merch, had been warned by the Inspector General of the Defense Department, as early as 2014, that his penchant for pocketing money from foreign governments might run afoul of US law. America first, all others pay cash.

+ “Army base?” Try chemical and biological warfare complex.

+ Newly disclosed records confirm that the US new precisely who Franz Josef Huber was when they recruited him as an intelligence asset after World War II. As the head of Hitler’s secret police in Austria, Huber directed some of the most vicious elements of the Nazi killing and terror squatting and sent 10s of thousands Jews and Communists to their deaths.

+ In 1965, US Army sergeant Robert Lee Johnson was arrested for espionage. Angry at being denied an Army promotion, he agreed to spy for the KGB and later sold the USSR secrets from a U.S. courier center at Orly Airport outside  Paris. He was turned in by his wife. Sentenced to 25 years, he was stabbed in prison by his visiting son, a Vietnam veteran. When asked why, he son said, “It was a personal matter.” His son was released in 1983, after serving only 10 years in prison.

+ “Gaps!”…Just watch, they’re going to continue building Trump’s wall but call it a “fence,” like they did under Obama and promote the construction as part of his infrastructure plan.

+ In 2009, Border Patrol estimated that operating and maintaining a $2.4 billion section of the border wall, along with associated roads and technology, would cost another $3.5 billion over 20 years…

+ “Picked up!”

+ One of the great things about Zoom is that it allows you to watch intelligent human beings turn into pod-people before your very eyes…

+ Tough border security doesn’t mean desperate people won’t stop attempting to cross the border. It just means more will die trying….

+ Next thing you know, Montana Senator Steve Daines will be introducing the Montana Meth Protection Act: “Twenty years ago in Montana, meth was homemade. It was homegrown. And you had purity levels less than 30%. Today the meth that is getting into Montana is Mexican cartel.”

+ Vladimir Putin is trying to extend his presidency through 2036, when he would be 83-years old–roughly the age Biden will be at the end of his first term (should he make it that long) and four years younger than Biden would be at the end of his second term…

+ Stephanie Hamill, talking head on OAN: “You’ll probably end up in jail” if you shoot a homeless person even though they’re “running loose on the streets.” True, enough. Unless you’re a cop.

+ An anti-trans bill (SB 514) working its way through the North Carolina legislature would force state employees to notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity” or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth.

+ A new analysis of the 2020 vote suggests that Trump made in-roads with Hispanic voters who were left-leaning, female and anxious about the state of the economy.

+ Founders, families and currents CEOs of the five biggest Tech companies are now worth a combined $651,800,000,000.

+ Mitch McConnell: “I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics. My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.” Is Mitch going to give them their $$ back and cosponsor legislation to overturn Citizens United?

+ Mitch “Corporations Should Stay Out of Politics” McConnell has received over $4 million in individual contributions from CEOs during his last few campaigns….

+ In a new poll, 60% of Republicans say the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and 55% say that the Capitol attack “was led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad.” Bi-partisan that, Joe!

+ Rahm Emanuel couldn’t land a job to advance his neoliberal agenda inside the Biden administration. So he’s trying to clobber progressive policies, including the $15-an-hour minimum wage campaign, by lobbing bombs from his new digs on K Street.

+ How “normalization” is going in Dubai: 15 naked models were arrested by Dubai police during a photoshoot for Israeli porn site.

+ Stasis you can believe in: The Biden administration will allow oil to continue to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline despite the ongoing threats it poses to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Missouri and the inconvenient fact that it is currently operating illegally.

+ What’s the carbon bootprint for today’s decisions by Biden to keep oil slushing through the Dakota Access Pipeline and hiking the Pentagon budget by another $10 billion? Amazing the things you can get away with after rejoining the Paris Accords…

+ In his push for high-speed rail, Biden keeps promising that trains will be able to approach the speed of jetliners, which is neither realistic nor even desirable. People just really want more legroom…

+ For the first time in history, daily CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa has topped 420 parts per million.

+ A major climate shift in the Arctic is sparking lightning-started fires that can release huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane greenhouse gases from tundra ecosystems, where historically fires have been rare, according to a new study  in Nature Climate Change.

+ 58% of the West is now in a ‘severe’, ‘extreme’ or ‘exceptional’ drought — up from 4% of the West a year ago. This latest extreme dry spell follows two decades of mostly dry years intensified by rising temperatures.

+ According to the California Department of Water Resources, 2021 has been the third-driest water year on record for the Golden State, The department’s annual snow survey released this month recorded precipitation levels at 50 percent below the annual average. The odds are increasing for another deadly wildfire, season after last year’s record-shattering blazes.

+ Meanwhile, PG&E has been charged with five felonies and 28 misdemeanors, including unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in great bodily injury, unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of inhabited structures and unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of forest land. How this will translate into prosecutions and who, if any one,  will be put in the dock remains unclear.

+ Nearly 80 fossil fuel companies, including some of the world’s biggest names in oil and gas, reaped more than $8 billion dollars in federal COVID-related rebates and loans, little of which trickled down the actual workers in the oil and gas industry. A study by BailoutWatch show most of those same companies laid off around 60,000 people last year.

+ Extreme drought conditions prevail across much of southwestern Oregon, as well. According to the US Bureau of Reclamation, Emigrant Lake stood at 21% full, Hyatt Lake was 14% full and Howard Prairie was only 8% full last week.

+ This week’s science moment with Marjorie Taylor Greene: “How much taxes and how much money did the people back in the ice age spend to warm up the earth?… Maybe perhaps we live on a ball that *rotates* around the sun, that flies through the universe, and maybe our climate just changes.”

+ Northern California’s kelp forests, the redwoods of the sea, are in a state of collapse, from which they seem unlikely to recover.

+ Why Deb Haaland and Biden would give even a rhetorical inch to the barbaric junta of politicians & ranchers from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming is a mystery to me, especially on grizzlies. But there you have it…

+ A hurricane a week before the 2020 elections nearly toppled a deep-water drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico, narrowly averting a catastrophe similar to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Yet, the incident was covered-up by the oil company and federal regulators for nearly five months and only came to light after a group of rig-workers filed a lawsuit.

+ Nuclear power is to “green” energy what economic sanctions are to “humanitarian” diplomacy…

+ Despite the pandemic, the clearing of tropical forests increased by 12 percent last year.

+ In 2020 alone, USDA’s Wildlife (Funeral) Services killed 62,537 coyotes, 25,400 beavers, 2,527 foxes, 703 bobcats, 434 black bears, 381 gray wolves, 276 cougars, and 6 endangered grizzly bears.

+ Alexander Cockburn would have put a sign on his car: Steal This Catalytic Converter. (If he’d ever (accidentally) bought a car with a catalytic converter.)

+ I sent Marhsall Sahlins a note on Monday afternoon with a link to his friend and colleague, Julie Chu’s provocative essay, “Sidewalk Terror and the Logistical Hauntings of the Flâneur”, which led our slate of stories that morning. I didn’t hear back from him immediately and, though he was usually unfailingly prompt in answering his emails, I wasn’t too concerned. These are strange times, when routines are broken. The next day, however, I got the dreadful news from our mutual friend David Price that Sahlins had died on Monday. Marshall Sahlins was a titan in his field, not just in anthropology, where his ideas were as revolutionary as those of Levi-Strauss, or in the classroom, where his students included David Graeber, but in academia itself, where he continually punctured institutional prejudices and excoriated the corrupting influence of big money and the political biases and, let’s face it, cowardice that warps so much research and pedagogy. Sahlins began writing for CounterPunch on a fairly regular basis a few years ago, unloading his mighty intellectual arsenal on the travesties of Trumpworld. Ultimately, Trump proved too easy of a target, plodding, predictable and cretinous. Sahlins told me Trump was only worth some limericks and doggerel, which he eventually distilled to a succinct couplet, as direct and obscene as Roman graffiti: POTUS FUCTUS, which he wanted us to turn into bumperstickers and t-shirts.

I got to know Sahlins back in 2000, when all hell broke loose over Patrick Tierney’s incendiary book, Darkness in El Dorado, which exposed the reckless, cruel and unethical treatment of the Yanomami people of Amazonia by two brutal luminaries of the scientific establishment: anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon and geneticist James Neel. The counterattack on Tierney was savage, vindictive and merciless. When Cockburn and I sprang to Tierney’s defense, I called Sahlins and he talked to me openly about his loathing for Chagnon, scorning his risky practices in the field and his anthropological theories about violence, which Sahlins called reactionary rubbish. A few years later, as the Iraq War began to unravel, Sahlins became one of its most acerbic critics, especially of the complicity of anthropologists and psychologists in helping to develop the Pentagon develop counter-insurgency and interrogation tactics used to intimidate and terrorize civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. As one of the world’s leading intellectuals, his resignation from the National Academy of Sciences over its lethal partnerships with the military (and its promotion of the work of Chagnon), rocked the academic establishment. In a life of fine moments, it was one of his finest.  I felt honored to be in his corner, helping to spread his beautiful, life-affirming heterodoxies and his unyielding defense of indigenous people and the value and complexity of their cultures.

+ And they say Portland has been “destroyed” by a year of BLM protests. Tell it to the people putting on the Mermaid Parade this summer…

+ In my continuing exploration of the far recesses of the Criterion Collection, I watched The Tall Target last night, which had some pretty eerie echoes of what we’ve been through as a country in the last few months. The 1952 film is directed by the Hollywood lefty Anthony Mann, and features Dick Powell as a detective on a night train from NYC to DC filled with various creeps and dandies, most notably Adolph Menjou, intent on stopping the inauguration of Lincoln, by any means necessary, including storming the half-finished capitol, using the Army to intervene, and assassinating him in Baltimore (a real plot). As Powell moves car by car, the speeches get more incendiary. One of my favorite scenes is when a woman from Boston says to a man from Texas. “I just can’t believe Texas will secede from the US.” The man next to her drawls, “Honey, you got that backwards. The rest of the country will have seceded from Texas.” The film contains some of the frankest discussion of northern racism and complicity in slavery, especially among the financial and industrial elites, profiting from slave labor, that I’ve seen from a Hollywood film. It also features a great performance from a young Ruby Dee in one of her first roles, where she is patronizingly interviewed by a Louisa Mae Alcott-like writer. Catch it if you can…

+ On Easter, everyone should be required to read Dostoevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor to see what happens after the Gospels left off…(Or watch the Gielgud film.)


+ Director Ryan Coogler on why he turned down an Academy membership: “I don’t buy into this versus that. I love movies. For me, that’s good enough. If I’m joining an organization, it’s going to be labor unions where we’re figuring out how to take care of each other.”

+ It’s a measure of Orson Welles’ charismatic appeal that Harry Lime emerges as such a compelling character in the Third Man, still owning Alida Valli’s heart, even after he commits such vile crimes against children in the ruins of a war-torn country. In fact, he’s nearly as awful as Madeleine Albright. Though in Lime’s defense, he merely diluted the life-saving medicines. He didn’t forbid their distribution altogether.

+ I was reading about the great Soviet-era Sergei Eisenstein last night and didn’t realize how close he came to being sent to the Gulag. When he made Alexander Nevsky (not his greatest work by any means) he assigned his second unit director (Dmitry Vasiliev) to shoot scenes that might irritate Stalin, thus providing the cinematic maestro with a layer of deniability. The film, a real slaughterfest, was considered so anti-German that Stalin ordered it withdrawn from public viewing after the signing of the pact with Hitler. Then ordered it back into the theaters after the Nazis invaded Russia. Over those years, one envisions Eisenstein chewing his nails so frantically that there would be little left for the NKVD to pull out should the occasion arise…Cancel culture was at a whole other level in the USSR of the 30s, when the question of whether you would survive your reviews was a lot more pointed.

+ Robert Altman, the ultimate Hollywood outsider, made the ultimate film about Hollywood: The Player. The Kansas City kid also made the three best films about LA: The Player, Short Cuts and the Long Goodbye. Prove me wrong.

+ Down with Shakespeare, up with Beaumont and Fletcher!

+ From a Hard Day’s Night…

Business man, demanding that the radio playing rock music be turned off: “I travel on this train regularly, twice a week in fact. So I suppose I have some rights…”

Ringo: “So have we.”

Man: “An elementary knowledge of the Railway Acts would tell you that I’m perfectly within my rights.

Paul: “Yeah, but we want to hear it. There’s more of us than you. We’re a community, majority vote, up the workers and all that stuff.”

Man: “Then I suggest you take that damn thing into the corridor or some other part of the train, where you obviously belong.”

Lennon, leaning toward the man’s face: “Give us a kiss.”

Still from A Hard Day’s Night.

Paul: “Look mister, we paid for our seats too, you know…”

Man: “I travel on this train regularly, twice a week…”

Lennon: “Knock it off, Paul. You can’t win with this sort. After all, it’s his train. Isn’t it, mister?”

Man: ”Don’t take that tone with me, young man. I fought the war for your sort.”

Ringo: “I bet your sorry you won.”

+ In 1972, Miles Davis crashed his Lamborghini, the world’s fasted street car, snapping both legs. His seemed to be running on coke…(Take note, Tiger Woods.)

+ Pat Thomas: “Miles Davis and Willie Nelson shared a manager, Neil Reshen, whose business card said “We manage the unmanageable.” Other client: Waylon Jennings.”

+ John Lee Hooker: “I don’t think about time. You’re here when you’re here. I think about today, staying in tune.”

+ John McLaughlin on Mahavishnu Orchestra: “It was about connecting music to the spiritual, the universal, the stuff beyond. So when people asked: ‘Is it jazz? Is it rock?’ I would laugh and say: “I don’t know. What do you think?” Whatever it was, it was friggin’ LOUD and great…

She Would Never be Free, When I Was Around…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril on the Edge of a Warming World
Kale Williams

Who Killed John Lennon? The Lives, Loves and Death of the Greatest Rock Star
Lesley-Ann Jones
(John Blake)

Our Team: the Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball 
Luke Eppling
(Flatiron Books)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Da Fé
Dan Blake

Spring Rain
Rudolph Johnson
(Real Gone Music)

Bud Powell in the 21st Century
Ethan Iverson and the Umbria Jazz Orchestra

When Dealing With a Living Creature

“Kindness. The only possible method when dealing with a living creature. You’ll get nowhere with an animal if you use terror, no matter what its level of development may be. That I have maintained, do maintain and always will maintain. People who think you can use terror are quite wrong. No, no, terror is useless, whatever its color – white, red or even brown! Terror completely paralyses the nervous system.” (Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog)

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