Roaming Charges: Split Identity Politics

Haida carving, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

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Here they come: James Carville, Paul Begala, Mark Penn, Andrew Stein, and the rest of the doddering pack of “New Democrats” from the Clinton era, exploiting the loss of their pal Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, to decry the alleged “wokist” takeover of the Democratic Party, “wokism” being the latest K Street slang to refer to any progressive policy that the US Chamber of Commerce finds objectionable.

I didn’t see any Democratic candidates seeking the endorsement of Ibram X. Kendi or campaigning on trans rights, black reparations or defunding the police. Certainly not Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe was so “woke”; he regularly directed his limo driver to ferry him to the northern Virginia home of Bill Kristol to plot campaign strategy.

Yet, the refrain is always the same. The Democrats loss a narrow off-year election in a southern state because of their obsession “identity politics,” alienating that mythic demographic of white male “blue-collar” voters, even though increasingly most of the factory workers in Virginia these days are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America toiling on the unforgiving killing floors of slaughterhouses and industrial chicken and hog confined feeding plants.

When Democratic Party savants say it’s time to get back to “economic issues,” what they mean is the economics of campaign contributions. The banal slogan “It’s the economy, stupid,” was never about addressing the crises afflicting the working class but about getting right with Wall Street. As the Clintons’ bagman, McAuliffe was the ideal candidate for the likes of Carville and Penn. McAuliffe knew were the money that lubricated the Democratic Party machinery came from and what kind of deference needed to be paid to make sure it kept flowing. He didn’t have to learn these lessons at a retreat. They came naturally to him. McAuliffe’s own politics have never strayed from the most austere prescripts of neoliberalism.

Race and gender are class issues, even if the cultural reactionaries that run the Democratic Party machine refuse to recognize it. There’s nothing more restrictive than attuning your political platform to an illusory “white working class.” But, of course, that’s an act, a role Carville plays for TV, as his Cajun drawl thickens and he dons his LSU cap–a multimillionaire who has lent his services, such as they are, to rightwing regimes and corporate campaigns around the globe. What they really fear, what really terrifies them is an outbreak of “economic wokism,” even the low-grade variant represented by Biden’s original “Build Back Better” plan caused their hackles to rise. If these neoliberals really wanted campaigns focused on economics, they’d be pushing for the elimination of medical, renter and student debt, parental leave and child care, tripling the minimum wage, lifting barriers to union organizing, lowering prescription drug prices, nationalizing the energy grid, expanding Medicare to all who want it and reinstating the welfare programs that Clinton gutted. For starters. Instead, they’re warning about the deficit, inflation, and sagging returns on the NASDQ. They want to tighten the screws on austerity. It’s what they’ve always wanted.

That’s the real goal of these post-mortems and their shrill denunciations of “identity politics.” The Carvilles of the world are desperate to convince us that these aspirations for equality, economic and social, are little more than radical folly.

I don’t know of many working-class people who are stressing over the federal budget deficit, most are having sleepless worrying how they’re going to find the money to pay the rent. And, given the latest retreats of the Democratic Party, those nights are about to get longer and darker.

Should the Progressive Caucus (so-called) have united to kill the butchered remains of Biden’s infrastructure bill? That’s a tough call. It’s tempting to rationalize accepting less–even much less–to benefit those who have almost nothing, although this is rarely a calculation those who have the most make about taking everything on the table. The Squad has power, but it’s almost exclusively the power to negate. They should use it sometime to kill the ever-expanding defense appropriations bill or weapons deals with the Israelis and Saudis.

The Squad has the power to negate but not create and they’re usually in the position–as with the infrastructure bill–to negate policies they at least marginally support, to negate small benefits in the hope (probably illusory) of winning larger ones in the future, whereas their opponents, the holy moderates (who are anything but moderate in the defense of their corporate backers) like Manchin and Sinema can kill whatever measures their bosses tell them to kill simply by threatening to withhold their votes. Who says hostage-taking doesn’t pay?

In the end, it comes down to how much you’re willing to sacrifice in order to heighten the contradictions, assuming there’s any level internal tension that will cause our political system to snap and something better to emerge from the wreckage.

+ I dislike the word “praxis” because most people don’t know what it means and those who think they know tend to believe it refers to some kind of painful medical procedure. But the Democrats often lose elections because of it. It’s not the messaging which is bad, but the follow through. What they promise, isn’t what they deliver. What they preach isn’t what they practice.

+ It’s not just Manchin and Sinema. Almost every Democrat is ripping planks out of the reconciliation bill to protect the most ruinous industries in their home states. The latest grim example: Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is openly bragging about killing hard rock mining royalties. There will be a stampede of this kind of “pragmatism” after Virginia…

+ DNC strategists: We suspected we might lose if we promised people stuff and didn’t deliver. Next election, let’s promise to take stuff away from people, but follow through this time. It worked for Clinton.

+ The first Republican response  to Biden’s infrastructure plan was a package valued at $568 billion, which Democrats denounced as “a slap in the face”. In the end, the infrastructure bill passed last week by the Democrats had a pricetag that was $18 billion less than that amount ($550B). With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

+ Split identity politics?

VA 2020: 58% Biden, 41% Trump
VA 2021: 62% McAuliffe, 38% Youngkin

VA 2020: 56% Trump, 44% Biden
VA 2021: 75% Youngkin, 25% McAuliffe

(via @NBCNews Exit Polls)

+ Terry McAuliffe is a modern-day George McClellan, a patronizing elite who was ideologically in synch with the opposition he was supposed to be fighting. Like McClellan, McAuliffe’s real ambition was to become president not “win Virginia.” It’s no wonder he got his ass kicked. But, after losing Virginia, the Democrats are already scripting their own Lost Cause Myths, in which people like McAuliffe will emerge as the heroes betrayed by their progressive flanks….

+ It looks like we need to redefine “centrism”…

Lowering Medicare prescription drug prices:
Support 88%
Oppose 12%

Medicare coverage for dental, eye and hearing:
Support 84%
Oppose 16%

Paid family and medical leave:
Support 73%
Oppose 27%

Universal pre-K for children:
Support 67%
Oppose 33%

(Source: CBS News/YouGov survey, October 6-8, 2021.)

+ When’s the last time the Congressional Black Caucus stood up for something their constituents need instead of running cover for some dubious policy Pelosi and the establishment Democrats needed to please their financial backers?

+ $881 billion: the amount of climate funding carved out of Biden’s infrastructure bill before Congress passed it.

+ Cost of Manchin’s silver Maserati sedan: $96,000

Per capita income in West Virginia: $23,450


+ Saudi negotiators have moved to block the negotiations taking place over the creation of the so-called ‘cover decision’ for the final text Glasgow climate agreement. The cover decision is the top line message coming out of a COP that signals what the final outcome means for the world and is a vital part of any successful summit. Many countries, especially those facing existential risks, have been attempting to ensure that Glasgow’s cover decision focuses on accelerating action to keep 1.5C alive.

+ 50% of global emissions are emitted by just 10% of the population. 90% of global emissions by 50% of the population.

+ The richest 1% (a population smaller than Germany) – are on track to be releasing 70 tonnes of CO2 per person a year if current consumption continues. In total they will account for 16% of total emissions by 2030, up from 13% of emissions in 1990.

+ An investigation by the Washington Post reveals that the gap between what industrialized countries have pledged, in terms of CO2 emission reductions, and what they’ve actually done is startlingly wide. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent to as of underreported emissions.  Because since pledges often rest on this data, these shortfalls have huge implications for potential success of the COP26 Glasgow Accords.

+ Boldly announcing something is bad for the environment (like oil and gas sales), then quietly doing it anyway pretty much sums up Biden’s environmental policy. But he’s in good company, because that was also the way Clinton and Obama played the game and people largely fell for it. Call it Click-Bait-and-Switch Politics…

+ 750%:  amount US crude oil exports increased after Obama signed the Paris accords in 2015.

+ The catch-phrase “phase out” (as in fossil fuels and gas-powered cars) is the new “clean coal,” just as “net zero” is the new “sustainable development”…

+ While the climate pledges in Glasgow are “aspirational,” Biden’s gifts to the oil and gas industry come ready to drill

+ Here’s another example: In “restoring” critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, the Biden Administration actually slash 205,000 acres from the original designation, a designation made when the owl’s population was higher than it is now!

+ It’s the same shake-and-fake everywhere you look. Last week, the UK announced a plan at COP26 to require businesses to submit plans to bring emissions to net-zero, but firms won’t be compelled to follow them

+ While Biden wants $14 billion to continue clearcutting US public forests, he and his fellow oligarchs are chiding the rest of the world to stop “deforestation“. This has always been the case at these wine-and-cheese confabs, dating back to the Rio Earth Summit, where Al Gore chastised Brazil for logging the Amazon–then 70 percent intact–without mentioning the US had eliminated 95% of its own old-growth forests and was aggressively logging the fragments that remained…World governments made “exactly” the same pledge in 2014 and deforestation has increased by 40% in the last 7 years.

+ The Pacific Northwest could see little to no annual snowpack by the 2070s, according to a new analysis of scientific research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.

+ By its 100th birthday, a single Douglas fir can store 14 tons of carbon. Of course, the Forest Service doesn’t want most Doug-firs to live past 80.

+ The troposphere–the lowest level of Earth’s atmosphere, has been growing warmer and gaining thickness at a rate of 53 meters per decade since 2000…

+ In October 2021, the Arctic was +4.03°C warmer than the average October of 1951-1980.

+ A World Bank report released in September predicts that more than 200 million people are likely to migrate over the next thirty years because of extreme weather events or the accelerating degradation of their environments. Most will be displaced within their home country, but about a fourth of the people will ultimately flee cross borders seeking safer conditions.

+ It’s about time, Leon gets some credit. (Does Senator Kennedy’s hostility toward Trotsky indicate he’s a closet Stalinist?)

+ Dismembering the body of a dissident journalist with a bonesaw is likely to get you a stern Tweet from Anthony Blinken. Dismembering thousands of Yemeni families in airstrikes is likely to get you rewarded with a new supply ($650 million worth) of missiles to replace the stockpile you’ve depleted by bombing some of the poorest people in the world…

+ Shall we count the (overt) wars? Altogether now, following the bouncing drone: Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Niger, Pakistan and, yes, according to the NYT’s own reporting from the previous week, Afghanistan

+ Bill Clinton’s air war against Serbia, applauded on the floor of the House by the independent socialist from Vermont Bernie Sanders, lasted for 78 days across the spring of 1999. Over the course of that time, the US Air Force flew 38,000 sorties and dropped more than 28,000 bombs and missiles. To any neutral observer of that fabricated war, the relentless pace of the bombing seemed overwrought, even by imperial standards. After all, Serbia offered little military resistance and, aside from those irritating students protesting on the bridges of Belgrade, the Chinese embassy and divisions of cardboard tanks, this was not a “target rich” environment, in the anodyne argot of war planners. Was something else driving the merciless fusillades? Was Serbia pulverized by US guided missiles because of software bugs that munitions experts feared (and acquisitions officers hoped) might render them useless after the turning of the millennium? That’s the allegation made to me by a former software engineer at Lockheed Martin:  “I was a senior software engineer at the time for LockMart working Y2K upgrades to the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite command and control system. A lot of code and even some chips were not going to handle the turn of the century well, and a lot of money was spent correcting [some of] those problems. The back-line rumors at the time were that so many cruise missiles were used in Serbia because they were going to become worthless on 1-1-2000.” There have been much less rational reasons to justify bombing campaigns.

+ According to the Journal of Labor Economics, more than 43% of white student admits at Harvard University would have been rejected if they were not children of faculty and staff, legacies, “dean’s interest list”, or athletes.

+ Fully vaccinated, by country:

Portugal 87%
Spain 79%
South Korea 77%
China 77%
Canada 76%
Japan 75%
Italy 72%
Cuba 70%
France 69%
Australia 69%
UK 69%
Sweden 68%
Germany 67%
El Salvador 61%
Ecuador 60%
Brazil 59%
Turkey 59%
U.S. 59%
Mexico 49%
Russia 35%

Source: NYT.

+ As the nurse who assertively thrusted the needle into my left arm and pumped the booster into my antibody depleted system said, “This is a long way from over. See you again in six months.”

+ An analysis by the Financial Times shows that an additional 753,000 people in Russia have died during the pandemic compared with historical trends…What good is developing an effective vaccine like Sputnik V, if you can’t convince your citizens to get it? I doubt Stalin or Lenin would have taken this laissez-faire approach to public health or blown this opportunity to show the world what Russian medical science could do.

+ Palestinians belonging to six human rights groups recently declared “terrorist” organization by Israel had been targeted by spyware made by the Israeli technology firm NSO Group, a company that has been the subject of so many accusations of abuse that even the Biden administration took action to sanction the group–though, typically, it avoided placing any sanctions on Israel itself.

+ In South Korea, a major study found mandatory wearing of masks reduced COVID19 transmission rates by 93.5% and practicing both social distancing with masks on public transport during peak hours reduced infection rates by 98.1%.

+ Step into Rosanne’s ring of fire, if you dare…

+ Cervical cancer cases dropped by almost 90% thanks to the HPV Vaccine. Of course, Joe Rogin may have a better idea…

+ Under the “Drug-Free Workplace Rules” instituted at the end of free-loving Ronald Reagan’s 2nd term, all large companies w/ federal contracts were required to drug test their employees, prompting approximately 90% of Fortune 500 companies run drug tests on their workers and 68% of all other employers nationwide to do the same. Where was the outcry from the anti-vax right about this intrusive mandate?

+ A recent UCLA study found that one-out-of-five California community college students, one-out-of-10 California State University students and one-out-of-20 University of California students have experienced homelessness.

+ The inevitable consequence of 40 years of neoliberalism in the UK…(And it’s only going to get worse.)

+ For 37 minutes after Houston police and firefighters declared a “mass casualty” event at Astroworld, rapper Travis Scott continued performing, ignoring pleas from fans to halt the show, including some who had climbed onto camera platforms to try to get help.

+ Cars have rammed into protesters 139 times since the murder of George Floyd. Less than half of drivers faced charges.

+ A linear regression analysis by Kathryn McKelvey of nearly 6 years of data on monthly police officer staff levels and crime levels in Portland, Oregon  shows no correlation between number of police officers and crime levels. Adding officers to the force will not decrease crimes in Portland. The recent uptick in crime is more attributable to seasonality, rather than a shortage of officers on the streets.

+ 481: the number of indigenous people to die in custody in Australian jails and prisons.

+ Seven years after a federal judge ordered the NYPD to start using body-worn cameras, the NYPD still refuses to gives police abuse investigators full access to the footage.

+ Ed Mullins, the outgoing head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, will be docked 70 vacation days for using slurs against New York City officials and leaking derogatory personal information about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter following her arrest at a Black Lives Matter protest. 70 vacation days? I don’t think I’ve had 70 vacation days my entire working life…

+ 13,000: the number of people serving life without parole sentences inside Florida’s dank prison system.

+ Is there a creepier political figure on the scene today than Tulsi Gabbard?

+ Gabbard hasn’t changed. This is who she’s always been. She was a military cop and that remains her mentality…Charlie may not surf, but many cops do. Surfing doesn’t make them cool or any less dangerous.

+ The whole Gabbard phenomenon was one of the strangest mirages in recent American history, nearly as mystifying as the political cargo cults that congealed around the equally ridiculous figures of Howard Dean and John Edwards.

+ If all judges treated prosecutors with the same skepticism and disdain shown by the judge in the trial of the teenage white avenger Kyle Rittenhouse, what passes for a justice system in this country would function in a much more equitable manner.

+ Of course, if Rittenhouse had been a black youth walking down the street with a gun (real or play), like Tamir Rice, he’d have been shot on sight, no questions asked.

+ The real psyop was the fact that this person, who is clearly insane, was running the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn is like a character dreamed up by Terry Southern. The next thing you know he’ll be prattling on about his precious bodily fluids. Wait, he’s already doing that.

+ Shit You Can’t Make Up Newswire: The teenage son of Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin twice tried to cast a ballot on Election Day despite being underage…

+ What prankster gave Rafael Edward Cruz John C. Calhoun’s collected speeches for Diwali…? Cruz says he’s ready to support Texas secession, if “things become hopeless in the US.” Of course, Ted could personally secede back to Cancun, a migration that would likely unify a divided country.

+ Josh (Sen. Haw Haw) Hawley: “Can we be surprised that after years of being told … that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games?”

+ Josh Hawley meet Margaret Fuller, who punctured your, uhm, balloon 180 years ago: “Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman. Nature provides exceptions to every rule.”

+ “Honey, how are the test tube children doing today?”

+ Margaret Fuller was America’s version of Mary Wollstonecraft, not only a radical feminist but a political militant across a range of social and economic issues, from slavery to the rights of prisoners. Her prose was finely crafted with a cutting sharpness. She disliked cant and as the editor of Emerson’s literary magazine The Dial had no problem rejecting submissions from male writers whose reputation exceeded their talent. But like all other women of her time, Fuller was gagged from public speaking across most of the Northeast, including the Concord Lyceum. As a result, she accepted an offer from Horace Greeley to serve as the European correspondent for the New York Herald, where she interviewed Emerson’s friend Thomas Carlyle (who proved to be a reactionary), George Sand and Elizabeth Barrett, who’d just eloped to Italy with Robert Browning. While in Florence, Fuller became swept of the revolutionary fervor of Giuseppe Mazzini’s movement, fell in love with one of Mazzini’s disciples, Giovanni Ossoli, soon became pregnant out of wedlock and gave birth to a son, she called Angelino. By 1850, the revolution had faltered, Mazzini went into hiding in Switzerland and Fuller, Ossoli and Angelino booked passage to New York on a freighter carrying Carrera marble. During the voyage, a small pox outbreak spread through the ship. The ship’s captain contracted the virus and died as the freighter approach New York Harbor. The first mate, apparently unfamiliar with the coastline, ran the ship aground only a 100 yards off the beach of Fire Island. As the ship listed, the Fuller family was apparently swept into the Atlantic by a large wave. Upon hearing the news, Emerson dispatched Thoreau to New York to search for Fuller’s body. Thoreau spent days combing the beaches and sandbars but found no trace of Fuller. She was 40 when she died. Her letters and journals would be heavily censored by her family and Emerson, himself, to disguise just how radical Fuller’s views were, but her books Summer on the Lakes and Woman in the Nineteenth Century give some sense of the fire that burned within her. Thoreau, her kindred spirit, would die two years later of tuberculosis at the age of 44.

+ Steven Salaita: “If you track right, then getting cancelled is a terrific career move.”

+ A federal court has ordered the Biden administration to develop a plan to halt the killing of highly endangered lobos (Mexican wolves). More than 70% of documented Mexican wolf mortalities are human-caused.

+ Model shopping at the EPA: the Agency changed the way it estimated exposure to the toxic compound aldicarb 3 times in the past 5 years. Each subsequent approach found that previously identified risks no longer exist. One of many ways EPA can turn a denial of a dangerous substance into an approval…

+ If whales start communicating with us, it probably won’t be to “chat” but to give us a sermon as fiery as any Cotton Mather ever delivered…

+ The early phases of the Industrial Revolution were fueled by oil rendered from the bodies of slain whales. But the slaughter didn’t end with the discovery of petroleum and natural gas. In fact, it accelerated. By one (perhaps conservative estimate), more than 3 million whales were killed in the first 8 decades of the 20th century alone.

+ Prairie dog kisses helped researcher Jennifer Verdolin map the intricacies of prairie dog social dynamics, from how many friends a particular prairie dog has to how many connections they facilitated.

+ The tracks of the grizzly who tried to cross I-90…

+ For the past few weeks I’ve been probing the ties of New York City to slavery. This investigation is partly in response to the city’s decision to evict a statue of Thomas Jefferson from the chambers of the city council, while continuing to honor the (distorted) memory of local slave owners Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. It turns out that those ties were deep, pervasive and continued to flourish long after Jefferson’s corpse was lowered into his grave at Monticello by the slaves he stubbornly refused to free upon his death. And those ties were very close to home, indeed. Consider the case of Fernando Wood, the Tammany Hall-backed Mayor of New York during the secession of the slave-owning states after the election of Lincoln in 1860. Wood and the financial cabal that supported him was so irate that the city itself should secede from the union, declare itself a “free city” and continue having “uninterrupted intercourse and commerce” with the southern states, whose slave-produced cotton was yielding millions in profits for the city’s industrial moguls.  (See Eric Foner’s Gateway to Freedom)

+ As an unreconstructed Francophile, I was thrilled to learn from Laura Walls’ recent biography of Thoreau that two of the most iconoclastic New Englanders of the early Republic were descended from French Huguenots and, more inspiringly, pirates: HD and Paul Revere (Rivoire).

+ When Thoreau was an undergrad at Harvard a group of Penobscot set up camp in Harvard Yard, claiming the college as their land. It was one of the first campus sit-ins (1837). They were treated abusively by many of the students & teachers–thus setting a trend for the future of the college. But Thoreau and his friend Horatio Hale visited the encampment almost daily and interviewed the tribal members. The result of these visits was one of the first guides to the Penobscot language, largely written by Hale. Thoreau later wrote a guide to the Wampanoag language. Although Hale and Thoreau were well-intentioned, such guides to native languages are fraught with peril, since they made it easier for politicians, generals, evangelists and other brigands to swindle the tribes through fraudulent promises, treaties and claims of eternal salvation.

+ The secret ingredients in America’s best-selling pencils of the 1830s, manufactured in Concord, Mass. by John Thoreau & his son Henry, included ground graphite, glue, bayberry wax and whale spermaceti. So many whales were being slaughtered, their rendered body-parts hauled into New Bedford that whale oils became the key ingredient of the early industrial revolution in America. Melville took a “braces” of the Thoreaus’ pencils with him on his voyage to the South Seas, thus scribbling the first notes for Moby-Dick with the bodily essence of the species he would render in such mythic detail years later.

+ For much of early American history four classes of people were routinely flogged for their “betterment”: women (witches), slaves, sailors and students. Two weeks into his planned lifelong teaching gig at Concord Academy, Thoreau was fired for refusing to whip the children under his care.

+ Ellen Emerson’s description of the pilgrims who would show up uninvited at her mother and father’s house in Concord reminded me of the flow people into Petrolia, Breitenbush and the Needmore Commune in southern Indiana, where we lived for nearly a decade: “All sorts of visitors with new ideas started showing up at the house, the men who thought that money was the root of all evil, the vegetarians, the sons of nature who did not believe in tailors or razors, the philosophers and all sorts of comers-outers.” It was all a little too real and pungent for Ralph Waldo, so Emerson’s equally brilliant, and more practical wife, Lidian, re-directed many of these seekers to the utopian commune at Brook Farm, where, in Hawthorne’s words, they could attain transcendence through pitchforking manure.

+ Thoreau built his cabin at Walden amid the ruins of sod houses constructed by Irish immigrants working on the RR & the shanties of freed and runaway slaves, many of which had been routinely burned by the “good people” of Concord, including the house of 75-year-old Zilpah White, whose cabin stood where Thoreau later planted his famous bean field. These enlightened souls also killed White’s cats, dogs, and chickens. But she rebuilt and lived there another seven years. Thoreau excavated the material ruins of Zilpah’s remarkable life, as he plowed his field. Later his cabin would become a “safe house” on the underground railroad, to help people, as he put it in his journals, find freedom by escaping the “land of the free.”

+ As DH Lawrence said of Emerson and Hawthorne, they were all for cap-N Nature, so long as their boots didn’t track mud into the house.

+ John Cage as the post-modern Thoreau and 4’33” as a new Walden?

+ There should be a Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of CSPAN…

+ “I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough. The more one reads the more one sees we have to read.” – John Adams in a letter to Abigail Adams, 1794.

+ Squid Game, the latest South Korea series on the predatory nature of late-capitalism, has reportedly made Netflix nearly a billion dollars. Yet the company spent a paltry $6,305 to translate the series into English, most of which didn’t even go to the translators, thus reiterating the themes of the show itself.

+ RIP Ivy Nicholson, factory girl: “Warhol cast her in movie after movie, and she read his interest as true love, telling interviewers that he wanted to marry her. She even placed an engagement announcement in a newspaper, to the delight of everyone but Warhol.”

+ Dizzy Gillespie on Bitches Brew: “Miles should be commended for going off in a completely new direction, he’s just as brave as shit. Shit, I don’t think I got that much guts.” (Dizzy did.)

+ Stephen Davis: “What does your ego run on?”

Miles Davis: “My ego only needs a good rhythm section.”

+ Miles’ ego was inflated into the thickening troposphere by the likes of Kenny Clark, Percy Heath, Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Henderson, Airto, Marcus Miller…

Holy Rhythm…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World
Emma Marris

They Knew: the US Federal Government’s 50-Year Role in Causing the Climate Crisis
James Gustave Speth
(MIT Press)

Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern
Stuart Jeffries

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Soul Searchin’
Larry Carlton & Paul Brown

Terrace Martin
(Sounds of Crenshaw)

Various Artists
Think I’m Going Weird: Original Artefacts from the British Psychedelic Scene 1966-1968

The Luxurious Discomforts of the Rich

“To enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an Arctic crystal.”

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale

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