Roaming Charges: When the Inevitable Becomes the Criminal

Satellite view of Huntington Beach oil slick. Image: NASA.

Despite a sordid history of leaks and spills, there are still 19 “oil and gas agreements” in California’s coastal waters and 1,200 active wells. Further out in federal waters, there are another 23 oil and gas production “facilities” off the state’s coast. During his abysmal tenure, Gavin Newsom has approved 138 new offshore drilling permits in California waters. As oil continues to lap up on the California coast and spread into Talbert Marsh at the height of the fall migration on the Pacific Flyway it seems imperative to ask: who’s to blame?

The Huntington Beach blowout was not merely predictable. It was inevitable. But when does the inevitable become the criminal? And where does the liability begin and end? With the pipeline company? The oil drilling company? The holding companies? Their lobbyists and PR hacks? The hedge funds? The regulators? The politicians?

The piety of California’s politicians on climate change is as insufferable as their actual record is hollow. As Dan Bacher has vividly reported for CounterPunch, Gavin Newsom, following in the oily footprints, of his predecessor Jerry Brown, has stuffed his pockets with oil and gas industry cash, while approving hundreds of new fracking and drilling permits. There’s no need to consult the Pandora Papers. It’s all out in the open. Audacious hypocrisy is how Newsom rolls. He should have been recalled for turning Southern California over to the oil companies, while parading around the Bay Area from bistro to bistro as a climate change warrior.

The damage inflicted by an oil spill like this one is irreparable. The afflicted stretch of coastline will never fully recover. The scars will be permanent. You can’t put a price tag on the damage. We won’t even know the full-scope of the ecological consequences for several decades, by which time there will almost certainly be another leak, spill, or rupture, along this fragile and serially abused stretch of coast. It’s predictable. It’s inevitable. Why? Because that’s where the pipeline runs. And pipelines leak, rupture and explode. They do this all on their own without being struck by a ship’s anchor or being toyed with by a giant squid. As long as oil courses though that 17-mile long stretch of pipeline, from the Elly drilling platform to the terminals in Long Beach, it will leak oil into the Pacific, killing and poisoning sea life and saturating sea and shorebirds in a lethal sheen. And there are no plans to shut it down, until the last drops are drained from those off-shore reserves in 2045.

It’s become a habitual response to say that nothing is learned from these blowouts, but that’s not true. The lessons, political and ecological, were learned after the first big spill in 1969, when a blowout from an oil rig off the coast of Santa Barbara ejected more than four million gallons of oil into the Pacific, fouling 35 miles of coastline, killing hundreds of seals, sea lions, and dolphins and killing tens of thousands of birds. The spill became a rallying cry at the first Earth Day and led Nixon to sign the National Environmental Policy Act a year later. But the drilling didn’t stop for long and, inevitably, the Santa Barbara coast was pelted with another major spill in 2015, when 145,000 gallons of crude oil coated Refugio Beach, smothering more than 100 sea mammals and killing at least 300 seabirds.

The past is the future. Only the future will always be worse–worse because the ecological health of the coast weakens year by year, leak by leak, spill by spill. Each year less of the coast functions as an ecosystem and what’s left is slower to recovery from each new assault.

And so it is with Huntington Beach, where an oil tanker dumped 450,000 gallons of oil into the very same waters in 1990, despoiling 15 miles of beaches, wetlands, and marshes, from Long Beach south to Newport Beach. The price? Just another write-off for big oil, as it continued to extract 135 million gallons of oil a year, from California’s dwindling reserves–some of the dirtiest oil on the planet and the most expensive to exhume, process and transport.

Polls show that 72% of Californians want an end to off-shore drilling. But their voices are smothered by the filthy loot pumped into the coffers of the governments of many of the communities most victimized by the oil industry. The city of Long Beach, for example, banked more than $1.4 billion from the offshore oil operations between 2010 and 2014 alone.

The politicians, from Newsom to Biden (who just approved Enbridge’s ghastly Line 3 pipeline and opened 82 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to new drilling), haven’t merely turned a blind eye, they’ve been fully complicit in the ongoing mutilation of our coasts.

California alone has experienced 40 major pipeline leaks a year since 1986. That’s about 1400 oil and gas leaks, spills ruptures, blowouts, and blowups. One spill every nine days. The economic damage exceeds $1.2 billion. The human toll has been more than 230 injuries, 53 deaths and who knows how many cases of cancer and leukemia. The ecological costs are incalculable.

By coincidence, 1986 was the year the planet first exceeded the “safe levels” of atmospheric carbon, set at 350 ppm. The new peak was hit this July, when atmospheric carbon levels hit 416.9 ppm. Over the same 25-year period, the California Air Quality Board estimates that toxic air in Los Angeles County alone has caused 315,000 deaths (about 9,000 per year).

The next spill is coming, coming very soon, probably within a few days. It’s inevitable. It’s also criminal.

Map: Center for Biological Diversity.


+ Andraes Malm’s even-tempered and well-argued book How to Blow Up a Pipeline is getting vilified as a kind of Anarchist Cookbook for radical enviros, yet there’s no outrage from the same people when the pipelines blow up all by themselves, despoiling vast stretches of the California coast…

+ People near Huntington Beach started smelling oil on Friday night. Through Saturday, state and local officials said there was a small oil slick, but it was nothing to worry about. Only on Saturday night did they admit that a major environmental disaster was unfolding.

+ The Keystone XL pipeline, cancelled by Biden for climate reasons, would have emitted 51 coal plants of carbon a year. Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, which Biden permitted to come online on Friday, will emit 50 coal plants of carbon a year and leak who knows how many thousands of gallons of spilled oil.

+ According to a new study by the IMF, the fossil fuel industry is burning through $11 million in government subsidies every minute, totaling more than $5.9 trillion a year.

+ Meet Shaheen, the first cyclone to ever enter the Persian Gulf…

+ Cyclone Shaheen dumped  five years’ worth of rain on Oman in just a three days.

+ Global CO2 emissions have now rebounded to pre-COVID levels. CO2 emissions in August 2021 were 1% higher than in August 2019 and 6% higher than August 2020.

+ Meanwhile, global coal demand is set to increase by 4.5% this year, exceeding 2019 levels.

+ If all of the national pledges made so far were fulfilled, global emissions would be reduced by only 1% by 2030, from 2010 levels. Scientists have said a 45% reduction is required in the next 10 years to restrain global heating to no more than 1.5C.

+ June, 2021 experienced the largest annual global methane growth rate yet recorded at 157.0 ppb. Reductions in methane emissions were meant to be some of the easiest to achieve.

+ Which countries bear the historical responsibility for climate change?

Share of cumulative CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, land use and forestry, 1850-2021

1 USA: 20%
2 China 11
3 Russia 7
4 Brazil 4.5
5 Indonesia 4.1
6 Germany 3.5
7 India 3.4
8 UK 3
9 Japan 2.7
10 Canada 2.6

+ The rate of global ice loss is now a path to meet or exceed the worst case scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The rate of ice loss has accelerated by 57% in the last 30 years, from 0.8 trillion tonnes a year in the 1990s to 1.2 trillion tonnes a year by 2017.

+ 50-year Fall climatology change trend reveals that every county in the U.S. shows a positive warming trend, with only 1 county in the US shaded in gray (Van Buren County Iowa is +0.48°F).

+ While Michel Foucault warned about the perils of “condescending philanthropy,” I doubt even tripping on LSD he could have envisioned the self-righteous hubris on display at Global Citizen Live…

+ 60 million vaccines “to end the pandemic everywhere”?

1.3 billion: combined population of African countries

+ I’m against any exemptions (our social contract should require either all of us to get it or that the jab be completely voluntary ), but if there’s a religious exemption there should be one for philosophy, too. “Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s worried that people resisting COVID-19 vaccine shots based on religious grounds may be confusing that with a philosophical objection.”

+ Merck is selling its high-touted new Covid pill Molnupiravir, whose development was federally financed by NIH and the Department of Defense,  back to the U.S. government for 40 times what it costs to make.

+ These people, if you want to call them that, seem to have taken their “tactics” from the Westboro (“God Hates Fags”) Baptist Church which used to (and I suppose still does) scream their godly obscenities at mourners during the funerals of people who died of AIDS.

+ Anti-vaxism is itself a kind of brain-eating virus…A Cumberland, Maryland man murdered his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a local pharmacist, had administered COVID-19 vaccines.

+ Cuba began vaccinating its population 150 days ago. In that time, it has administered 192 doses per 100 people. In contrast, the US began its vaccination program 297 days ago and has managed to administer only 119 does per 100 people. The Covid death rate in Cuba is: 684 per million. The death rate in the US is: 2190 per million. This seems to provide pretty clear evidence that the embargo has been placed on the wrong country for the last 60 years.

+ Only the Democrats could control the Congress and the Executive branch and have everything they pretend to believe in held hostage by two members of their own party.

+ Joe Manchin, senator from one of the most destitute state’s in the country, is demanding that “progressives” pick one of the three Biden policies for helping working families and jettison the other two. He’s a one-man death panel.

+ Here’s Manchin feebly slapping back at Sanders for ripping into his obstinacy on the infrastructure and reconciliation packages…

+ Entitlements for me, but not for thee: Manchin has helped bailout a coal waste brokerage firm, Enersystems, that his son runs and his family is deeply invested in. In fact, more than 70% of the Manchin’s investment income comes from their holdings in Enersystems. Joe Manchin took in $491,000 from Enersystems last year, while his wife Gayle Manchin brought in $613,000 from same. In total, Manchin has earned $4.5 million from Enersystems since becoming a US senator.

+ Biden and his pals in Congress (Manchin preeminent among them) kicked 8 million people off of extended unemployment in September, with the rationale that exacerbating their misery would spur them into the workforce and that cruel act translated into…197,000 new jobs.

+ So how’s this feud going down with Democrats back in West Virginia? Not well for Coal Waste Joe, if past electoral results are any indication. In 2016, Sanders won the WV primary defeating Hillary with nearly 125,000 votes. Two years later, in his primary run Manchin could only muster 112,000 votes against the feisty but under financed Paula Swearingen.

Zabiullah Haideri, a 30-year-old Afghan whose shop was demolished by a US airstrike in 2019 that killed 12 people in his rural village of Sinzai: “Everyone here hated the Americans. They murdered civilians and committed atrocities.”

+ Twenty years ago, the first US drone strike missed its target, as did the last (or likely just most recent) drone strike in Afghanistan. “The truth is that we could not differentiate between armed fighters and farmers, women, or children, ” Lisa Ling, a former drone technician with the US military who has become a whistleblower, told Emran Feroz, a writer for MIT’s Technology Review. “This kind of warfare is wrong on so many levels.”

+ Watch our friend Scott Horton from kick Bill Kristol’s ass in this lopsided debate over US military interventions.

+ In her opinion in James v. Bartelt, Sonya Sotomayor argues that qualified immunity “does not protect an officer who inflicts deadly force on a person who is only a threat to himself.” Sotomayor is the last progressive jurist on the high court and she’s still well to right of John Paul Stephens on most issues.

+ In the ongoing escapades of California’s Governor Sunday Brunch, Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would allow farmworkers to vote by mail in union elections.

+ How considerate. Yet, the same IDF has constructed a wall and set up roadblocks that deny Palestinians access to chemotherapy and radiation treatments…

+ According to the Pandora Papers, Tony and Cheri Blair saved £312,000 in stamp duty taxes in property deal by using shell companies and tax loopholes Blair had criticized as Prime Minister.

+ For years, MI5 and MI6 have been training top level spies from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt at an RAF base north of London. Both intelligence agencies continued to train Saudi spies after Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated and his body dismembered with a bonesaw.

+ Eric Rice, the attorney for Jaleel K. Stallings, who was acquitted on all charges of shooting at Minneapolis police officers during the protests that followed George Floyd’s killing last year, has released body camera footage that shows he returned fire at police in self-defense before he surrendered and was assaulted by officers while on the ground. The footage shows police riding down the street in a van firing the marking rounds without warning at bystanders. The footage then shows cops encounter Stallings, who had ducked behind his pickup in a parking lot. At 10:53 p.m. an officer fired a marking round (rubber bullet) at Stallings, hitting him in the chest. Stallings, who didn’t realize the unmarked van was packed with police officers, returned fire three times as he ducked for cover. Stalling had a permit to carry a firearm in public, and did so because of repeated threats from local white supremacists.

“Once in cover, Mr. Stallings learned that the occupants of the van were law enforcement officers, and Mr. Stallings immediately surrendered,” Rice said in a statement. Surveillance footage shows Stallings immediately go to the ground, while Officer Justin Stetson and Sgt. Andrew Bittell started punching and kicking Stallings, who did not resist.  As he’s kicking Stallings, Stetson screams: “You fucking piece of shit!”  While on the ground, Stallings can be heard saying: “Listen, listen, sir!” When the cops finally pull Stallings into the recovery position, Britell kicks him once more in the ribs, while Stetson continues to pummel his head. Until finally, Britell yells: “That’s it; stop it. It’s OK.”

+ Earlier that night, body cam recordings reveal that Britell had given his unit orders to: “Drive down Lake Street. You see a group, call it out. OK great! Fuck ’em up, gas ’em, fuck ’em up.”

+ Footage from officer Justin Stetson’s body camera shows him repeatedly firing marking rounds at protesters before yelling “Gotcha!” while officer Kristopher Dauble laughs and the two fist-bump.

+ In other videos from that that night, released by Rice:

Officer Michael Osbeck’s body camera shows him speaking with Lt. Johnny Mercil, who exclaims: “Fuck these media.” Then mockingly said, “Hold on a second, let me check your credentials, make a few phone calls to verify …”

Osbeck: “They think they can do whatever they want,”

Mercil: “There’s a fucking curfew.”

While watching a group of protesters and debating whether to make an arrest, Mercil said, “This group probably is predominantly white because there’s not looting and fires.” Mercil currently oversees MPD’s use of force training and was called as a prosecution witness in the trial of ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

+ Officer Joseph Adams’ body camera shows him telling Commander Bruce Folkens “It was busy night”.

Folkens replies: “Tonight it was just nice to hear ‘We’re gonna find some more people instead of chasing people around … you guys are out hunting people now, it’s just a nice change of tempo …Fuck these people.”

+ Clifton McHale, the Boston PD sergeant who gloated about running over George Floyd protesters, has been reinstated to active duty:

“Dude, dude, dude, I fuckin’ drove down Tremont—there was an unmarked state police cruiser they were all gathered around,. So then I had a fucker keep coming, fucking running, I’m fucking hitting people with the car, did you hear me, I was like, ‘get the fuck—’”

+ Wal-Mart and the cops teamed up to track down a man who stole two boxes of diapers and some baby wipes, back down only after hundreds of strangers begged them to stop and offered to pay for the items themselves.

+ A mob of censorious parents in Wyoming are threatening to prosecute public librarians in the state for stocking LGBTQ books for young folks.

+ According to an analysis by The Nation, more than 88% of the 30,000 grants made by the Gates Foundation—$63 billion in total—have gone to recipients in the wealthiest, whitest nations on earth.

+ The number of refugees admitted to the United States has never been lower despite the Biden administration raising the refugee cap earlier this year. But it turns out, according to the Migration Policy Institute, that Biden wouldn’t have even hit his initial 15,000 refugees cap.

+ Meanwhile, both sides of the US/Mexican border are being militarized: 19 out of the 32 offices of Mexico’s National Migration Institute are now led by military officers, a process that started in 2019 when AMLO tightened enforcement at the behest of Trump. These are some of the same notorious border forces, accused of kidnapping and murder, which the Biden administration is now rewarding with a $5 million gun sale.

+ For the first 80 years of the Republic, immigrants in many states could vote without being citizens, as long as they weren’t women or black. This (relatively) enlightened use of the franchise was one of the issues that gave rise to the ur-MAGA movement known as the Know-Nothings.

+ Thomas Jefferson’s plan for the incremental elimination of slavery in the US was one of child separation, where the “annual increase” in slaves (new children) would be rounded up and “re-colonized” in Africa. The moral implications of this he wrote off as “straining at a gnat.” (See Eric Foner’s The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.)

+ When William Lloyd Garrison began publishing his radical anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator in 1831, 450 of the first 500 paid subscribers were black Americans, pretty solid evidence that from the beginning blacks were in the intellectual forefront of the abolitionist movement.

+ Despite the vast fortunes in Boston, Garrison himself admitted the man he turned to during The Liberator’s many moments of financial crisis was James Forten, a black man who made his fortune in Philadelphia as one of the east coast’s best sailmakers…(See: The Slave’s Cause: a History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha)

+ Public sentiment regarding Kyrsten Sinema has collapsed in Arizona since the beginning of the year, driven by a 41-point plunge in her net approval rating among the state’s Democrats.

+ AOC’s had more than a week to come up with a simple answer “like I fell on my sword for Nancy” or “it was procedural maneuver that backfired.” But instead she offers this garbled New Age slop: “a window in our community to bring all folks to the table.” What does that even mean?

+ This strange episode reminds me of an infamous vote in the House shortly after the rout of the Army of the Potomac at Bull Run on a Resolution saying that the war was only about the preservation of the Constitution and not in any way a dispute about “property rights” (ie, slavery). Five of the leading abolitionists in the House (Giddings, Stephens, Julian, Lovejoy & Ashley) all abstained at the request of Abraham Lincoln, who was worried that any mention of the “peculiar institution” would prompt the border states, especially Missouri and Kentucky to secede, thus pretty much ending the war before it got started. James Ashley, probably the most temperate of the five “radical Republicans”, later confessed that it was the most “cowardly and shameful act” of his political career.

+ The Biden administration was before the Supreme Court on Wednesday arguing that they can continue to detain people indefinitely at Guantanamo because the US is legally still fighting against al-Qaeda, this despite the fact that the war in Afghanistan is (allegedly) over and during the Obama and Trump administrations the US funded, supplied and outfitted al-Qaeda offshoots with weapons in Syria.

+ The CIA is creating a new “mission center” aimed at “countering” China. According to the Washington Post, it will also establish “a new technology fellows program to allow private-sector experts to work for a year or two at the agency and appoint a new chief technology officer.” In other words, a contractor’s wet dream.

+ American Dream Update:

Increase in income in US over last 12 months: 3%
Increase in housing prices in US over last 12 months: 23%

+ So the Cyber Ninjas conducting the “hand recount” in Arizona missed thousands of votes and made up numbers for the rest and still couldn’t find a way to manufacture a Trump win? This is like the Bush administration in Iraq, which was so incompetent that they couldn’t even find a way to plant WMDs, when they had nearly complete control of the country.

+ In her trash talking Trump White House memoir, former press secretary Stephanie Grisham calls Jared Kushner a “Rasputin in a slim-fitting suit,” which seems like an insult to Rasputin to me. Rasputin was one of the true badasses in human history, who could have led any outlaw biker gang. Kushner is a world-class wimp, who probably had the shit kicked out of him during his first bungled attempt at a sorority house panty raid.

+ Trump’s swanky DC hotel racked up $70 million in losses during his term, even as foreign delegations and GOP hotshots were shelling out big bucks to stay there to curry favor with the inept tycoon. Trump hid the losses and Deutsche Bank dutifully raised his, uhm, “debt ceiling“.

+ Apparently, the House Committee on the Jan. 6 riot can’t find Trump’s former Social Media guru (and golf caddie) Dan Scavino to serve him a subpoena. Perhaps Pelosi should hire student loan debt collectors as her process servers, they don’t see to have any trouble finding their unfortunate targets…

+ The New York Public Library announced this week that it is eliminating late fees and cancelling past fines.

+ What does it mean to be a “hero soldier” in era when wars are fought (against largely peasant “armies”) using weapons of overwhelming technological and destructive power that routinely kill more civilians than combatants? It means you can run for Congress using funds from the nonprofit you established to celebrate your “heroism”…

+ Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA): “I think the rise of Donald Trump made people like me, and Jared Golden, and others really think about our Marine Corps values and try to live up to them maybe even more than we were before, at least in our civilian lives.”

+ Marine Corps Values: On November 19, 2005, US marines murdered 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

+ Nikki Haley puts the “sick” into sycophantic.

+ Gore Vidal: “What is the point of attacking writers in a period when they are of so little consequence?”

+ Roll Over, Vlad Lenin and tell Tchaikovsky the news!…There was a Romanov wedding in Putin’s Russia last week with all the Tsarist frippery. Meanwhile, our friend Boris Kagarlitsky, the Marxist economist, still sits in a Moscow jail cell for the offense of posting notices about an election protest on his social media accounts.

+ Are millennials whacking the Mob from the inside? According to the Wall Street Journal, the Mafia is on the decline because the new generation “grew up in the suburbs instead of on city streets and are “softer, dumber and not as loyal as mobsters of the past. Plus, they’re always texting.”

+ After three years of non-stop vilification of Jeremy Corbyn, it turns out that among the people who voted for the UK Labour 51% now approve of  Corbyn, while just 34% approve of current leader Keir Starmer.

+ Sen, Chuck Grassley told Lucy Koh, one of Biden’s judicial nominees, in a hearing on Friday that her Korean background reminds him of his daughter-in-law telling him that Koreans have “a hard work ethic” and “can make a lot out of nothing.” “So I congratulate you and your people.'” Koh was born in Washington, DC. Imagine the kinds of probing questions Grassley, who just announced his intentions to run for re-election, will be asking six years from now?

+ Biden’s infrastructure plan would accelerate Trump’s gutting of the US’s bedrock environmental law, NEPA…

+ ‘The State of Climate Services 2021: Water‘, produced by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, estimates that the number of people with inadequate access to water will top 5 billion by 2050 versus 3.6 billion in 2018.

+ According to the same report, the global supply of fresh water is dropping by almost half an inch every year.

+ Wildfires in Russia this summer burned more than  65,000 square miles, wafting smoke plumes across the North Pole region for the first time in recorded history.

+ A map showing every tornado warning in 2021.

+ The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) recent report “Energy Infrastructure Update for August 2021“, predicts that the nation’s installed utility-scale solar power generating capacity will surpass nuclear power generating capacity within the next three years. An in-depth analysis of the report by the Sun Day Campaign reveals that renewable energy sources accounted for 86.46% – or 13,868 megawatts (MW) – of the 16,039 MW of new generating capacity added during the first eight months of the year. Of that total, wind energy led the capacity additions with 7,224 MW, followed closely by solar (6,585 MW). There were also small additions by hydropower (25 MW), geothermal (25 MW), and biomass (9 MW).

+ A new study from Oxford University shows that the accelerated deployment of zero-carbon renewable energy sources would save the world $26 trillion in energy costs over continuing today’s fossil-fuel based energy system, while at also meeting (or exceeding) the Paris targets. Why is this the case? Unlike fossil fuels, green energy gets much cheaper over time.

+ It’s open season on all creatures great and small under the Biden Administration, which this week gave its blessing to Idaho’s plan to poison, gas, club, shoot or burn wolf pups in their dens. At least eight pups, only weeks old, have already been killed in Idaho this year.

+ As Hanford glows, so glows the entire Pacific Northwest

+ Apparently, my old, locked Twitter account, which had a modest 17,000 followers, was “ghost banned“–its highly prized “blue check” unceremoniously stripped from it, like the epaulets and stripes from Chuck Connor’s uniform at the beginning of “Branded.”

+ I was up early last Sunday morning and on Mt. Hood’s southern flank by 8:30 AM. Despite the late September rains, the mountain is barren of snow, the glaciers as thin, frail and distant as I’ve ever seen. Still, it was a gorgeous day. The skies so clear that the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor were distinctly visible to the south. A “gorgeous day” should be put in scare quotes, since it shouldn’t be 70 degrees at 6,000 feet in October. And even at 70 degrees, the glaciers had retreated so far up the mountain that there was no snow/glacial melt running in any of the creeks. Even Little Zig Zag Canyon was bone dry at noon. Still, the fires in the Bull of the Woods seemed to have been defeated by the fall storms and the north slope of Jefferson seems to have a welcome coating of snow and ice. Mt. Hood is a landscape as familiar to me as our own backyard, yet every trip, and I’ve been there hundreds of times, reveals something new, often both beautiful and ominous.

Mt. Hood from the Timberline trail. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Badger Creek Wilderness and smoke-shrouded Ochoco Mountains, from the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Timberline Lodge and Mt. Jefferson. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Mt. Hood from the Summit Trail. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson from the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

South Face of Mt. Hood from Paradise Park. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ Jackson Browne: “Many of us believed that we were on a track going forward, that civil rights have improved. But nothing could be more obvious than that is really not actually the case.”

What’s on the Program, Another Shadow Play…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Pyrocene: How We Created an Age of Fire and What We Can Do Next
Stephen J. Pyne
(University of California Press)

The Cause: the American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783
Joseph J. Ellis

Waters of the World: The Story of the Scientists Who Unraveled the Mysteries of Our Oceans, Atmosphere, and Ice Sheets and Made the Planet Whole
Sarah Dry
(University of Chicago)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Live at Hermann’s
David Vest
(Cordova Entertainment)

Songwrights Apothecary Lab
Esperanza Spalding
(Concord Jazz)

Carnegie Hall 1970
Neil Young

Malevolent Criticks and Bug Writers

“You are sure to be censured by malevolent Criticks and Bug Writers, who will abuse you while you are serving them, and wound your Character in nameless Pamphlets, thereby resembling these dirty stinking Insects, that attack us only in the dark, disturb our Repose, molesting and wounding us while our Sweat and Brood is adding to their subsistence.” (Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris, after Morris was appointed Superintendent of Finance by the Continental Congress and first proposed a national bank, 1781.)

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