Roaming Charges: King of Tides

King Tide on the Willamette River at the I-205 Bridge, Oregon City, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ Last Saturday, Kimberly, Harrison and I recorded the low and King tides at Oregon City, 127 river miles from the Pacific Ocean. The King Tides are the highest tides of the year (and are becoming increasingly “extreme”) and are one of the best measurements of the impacts of rising sea levels. There’s a project to document the highest extent of these tides across the PNW. Most of the work is being done on the coast, but we live near the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas Rivers, both of which are tidal (until the 40 drop at Willamette Falls) and are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding and erosion. So we decided to record the extent of the King tides here at home as best we could. We encountered two problems. First, the maximum extent of the King Tide was reached until after sunset (4:40), so the images are very distinct. The second problem was my decision-making, which wasn’t great. For starters, I missed getting low tide shots of Goat Island in the Willamette altogether. Second, the 205 bridge abutments, which I assumed would be great markers of the tide level, are so tall and stained by previous floods that they weren’t very good indicators. I should have paid much closer attention to the boat launches. Even so, it looks like the King Tide here was about 4.1 feet, nearly 3 feet higher than “normal.” Here are a few comparison shots.

205 Bridge at low tide.

205 Bridge at King Tide.

Abernethy Creek launch at low tide.

Abernethy Creek launch at King Tide.

Clackamas River confluence, low tide.

Clackamas River confluence, King Tide.

Clackamas River boat launch, low tide.

Clackamas River boat launch, King Tide.

Clackamas River Bridge, low tide.

Clackamas River Bridge, King Tide.

+ A side note: I’ve become increasingly incensed by the abusive treatment of the historical and cultural landscape of the Northwest. One of the sites I photographed is Abernethy Creek at its confluence with the Willamette. By any measure, this meeting of creek and river should be one of the most significant sites in the Pacific Northwest. It was the location of one of the oldest continuously inhabited indigenous villages on the continent, going back probably 5,000 years, maybe more. As late as the 1850s, it was the site of Charcowah village of the Clowewalla band of Tumwaters, before they were uprooted and forcibly relocated to the Grand Ronde reservation 80 miles to the West. Abernathy Creek was also the location of one of the first white settlements in the Northwest. It was the end of the Oregon Trail, where the “settlers” came to regroup after their arduous journey across the West to file their “claims” to the land the Tumwaters had been expelled from. By any measure (even if you exclude Critical Race Theory), a very important location in the history of the country, so important, apparently, that they put one of the ugliest bridges ever built on top of it and put a landfill on Abernethy Green. America, in a nutshell.)

Aerial View of Metro South transfer station, on Abernethy Green, end of the Oregon Trail.

+ I’m disgusted but hardly surprised by the UK court’s decision on the Assange extradition. The UK was a co-conspirator with US in the war on Iraq, helping to fabricated the case for war and cover up the crimes that were committed during it. Wikileaks exposed the UK’s deep complicity not just in war crimes but in a war that was a crime. It is revealing that the two nations which bray the most stridently about a “free press”, crack down the most viciously when their self-righteous is exposed as a sham. In the eyes of the empire, whistleblowers are great as long as they’re blowing the whistle on your enemies. When they blow the whistle on you, suddenly they’ve become a subversive threat which must be silenced by any means.

+ The scourging of Assange has always been about more than Assange. Sure, he had to be silenced. But he had to be silenced so viciously and mercilessly that it would not only discourage any imitators, but, more importantly, turn his more powerful collaborators, like the NY Times, the Guardian and the Washington Post, into allies of his censors and persecutors.

+ The Pentagon never has to beg for money or negotiate with the likes of Manchin and Sinema. They don’t have to worry about which bases to shutter or weapons systems to cut during economic hard times or global pandemics. It doesn’t matter which party is in power, the Pentagon gets what it wants, when it wants it. Often, as in this year, it gets more than it asked for, even as it (allegedly) wraps up its forever wars.

+ Why this happens isn’t much of a mystery. The political economic of Congress runs on contributions from Pentagon contractors. An analysis by Steve Semler shows that the House members who voted to increase the Pentagon budget by $37 billion took nearly three times more campaign cash from weapons companies than those who voted against the increase. They don’t even try to hide their tracks any more.

+ Biden told many stammering whoppers during the primary campaign, but perhaps none more ludicrous than this one back on November 20, 2019: “And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them [Saudi Arabia], we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”

+ The list of senators (including 19 members of the Democratic caucus) who voted against the Sanders, Paul, Lee resolution to ban Biden’s sale of $650 millions worth of surface to air missiles to Saudi Arabia…

+ American exceptionalism is a self-forged permission slip to engage in the kind of malicious behavior that the US would condemn from any other nation (it’s not currently selling weapons to)…

+ It takes some slick maneuvering to get to the right of Biden and Victoria Nuland on Russia, but Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker found a way…

+ A year after imposing a near total ban on abortions, Poland is implementing a centralized register of pregnancies that would require doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to the government.

+ Madison Cawthorn’s anti-abortion speech, starting with a comparison of an embryo with a Polaroid photo before, radically mixing his metaphors, calling women “earthen vessels,” has to be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated…

+ Sidney Powell, the MAGA lawyer whose specious legal filings on the 2020 elections have gotten her slapped with $175,000 in sanctions for frivolous lawsuits by judges, has raised $14 million to continue pursuing the same kind of bonkers cases. Absurdity pays. Bigly.

+ Barton Gellman writing in The Atlantic: “Unless biology intercedes, Donald Trump will seek and win the Republican nomination for president in 2024. The party is in his thrall. No opponent can break it and few will try. Neither will a setback outside politics—indictment, say, or a disastrous turn in business—prevent Trump from running. If anything, it will redouble his will to power.”

+ The way the world is going I wouldn’t be so fast to dismiss this as clickbait for the braindead…

+ People make fun of Trump pretending his still president (or president of the world), while HRC is breaking into tears reading the “victory speech” she planned to give in November 2016…

+ The manslaughter charges against the Oxford HS shooter’s parents are excessive (as are the terrorism charges against a mentally disturbed teen),  but they certainly aren’t unprecedented, as the case of Nathaniel Woods indicates. Woods was unarmed when three Birmingham police officers were fatally shot by someone else in 2004. But Woods, who is black, was convicted of capital murder for his role in the deaths of the three white officers. And this is just happening at the state level in the death machine belt. The Clinton/Biden “Crime” bill authorized the federal death penalty for people who didn’t actually commit murder.

+ A couple of days after the Michigan school shooting, Thomas Massie, the congressman from Big Coal, Kentucky, sent out this Xmas greeting celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace…

+ RIP Bob Dole: “The war in Vietnam…or World II or World I or the war in Korea—all Democrat wars, all in this century. I figured up the other day, if we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans.”

+ I had to laugh listening to Nancy Pelosi praise Bob Dole for his tireless efforts to end hunger in America, at a time when food stamps were being cut and ketchup was declared a vegetable. Dole’s energetic support of farm subsidies didn’t do much to alleviate hunger in the 80s and 90s, but they did put billions in the pockets of Big AG back in Kansas. I’m surprised she didn’t also declare Dole an environmental hero for his relentless backing of ethanol, and his lifelong quest to make cars run on Kansas corn.

+ The encomiums from the Democrats for the “bipartisan politics” of Bob Dole reveal less about Dole than their own eagerness to compromise on wars, slashing social welfare programs and boosting the Pentagon budget. Dole rarely, if ever, moved left, but he was there to shake hands with the Democrats when they moved right, as they did so frequently after the defeat of Mondale in 1984 that they beat a trail to Dole’s office that is still visible in the halls of the Senate Office Building .

+ Biden is so incompetent that he can’t even sell the ways in which he’s been marginally more competent than Trump…

Harvard-Harris poll, Nov. 30, 2021.

+ A new CNBC poll shows a similar collapse…

Biden approval 41 / disapproval 50
Biden economic approval 37 / disapproval 56
Biden COVID approval 46 / disapproval 48

Top three issues: inflation, immigration, crime.

Republicans +10 on the generic ballot (up from R+2 in October)

+ It’s never too early to predict that nothing will change (for the better). 2024 National Democratic Primary Poll:

Biden 36%
Harris 16%
Klobuchar 10%
Sanders 5%
Ocasio-Cortez 5%
Booker 5%
Abrams 5%
Warren 4%
Buttigieg 3%
Whitmer 1%

(HarvardHarrisPoll of Registered Democratic voters, 11/30-12/21) 

+ Approaching 2 years into the pandemic with no end in sight, how many people have died? The Economist built a model that estimates the true death toll of the pandemic, corrected for underreporting. They come to the conclusion that the number now exceeds 17.6 million people worldwide, 12 million more than official reports.

+ As many as 1.3 million Americans remain homebound with long Covid, so sick months after testing positive that they can’t go to work and are subsisting on unemployment, Medicaid and food stamps. Many may never be able to resume their previous professions or work at all.

+ Sarah Zhang: “No one knows exactly what endemic COVID will look like, but whatever it looks like, this—gestures at the current situation—ain’t it.”

+ Cruise ships are still a thing, apparently, with the inevitable consequences for public health…

+ Medicago and GlaxoSmithKline announced “positive results” for a COVID vaccine made from genetically-engineered plants. Is it Round-Up Ready?

+ Just another convert to dialectical materialism…(Can I get that shirt in red?)

+ Someone is popping corks, but it ain’t you and me: US corporate profit margins surge to highest level since 1950.

+ Aside from food services, the major sector of the US economy to have experienced the steepest fall in employment is nursing homes, which are down more than 500,000 jobs.

+ An exemption for agriculture in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act allows farmers to not pay agricultural workers time-and-a-half for hours they work past 40 hours a week. Oregon farmworkers are suing to have rule declared unconstitutional. “I hope that the court agrees with me and stops treating farmworkers as a separate group that does not have a right to overtime pay,” says Anita Santiago, a farmworker who has 15 years working in the fields of the Willamette Valley without earning overtime pay.

+ In France 3.5% of the population owns 50% of the apartments to rent.

+ A new report from Air Wars discloses that the 11 days of Israeli air strikes on Gaza last May killed at least 192 Palestinian civilians and that upwards of 70 percent of those airstrikes had no reports of militants hit alongside them.

+ Nir Hefetz, the former media advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu, told an Israeli court on Tuesday that the former prime minister “tried robbing state funds for personal needs…dozens of times.”

+ With Bibi on trial, Trump laid into his former BFF in an interview with Axios’ Barak Ravid: “The first person that congratulated [Biden] was Bibi Netanyahu, the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with. … Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake. I haven’t spoken to him since fuck him.”

+ Dante couldn’t have devised a better pairing of gluttonous frauds to spend eternity ripping each other’s flesh in the 8th Circle of Hell…

+ In 1861 through most of 1863, black soldiers in the Union Army were being put to death on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. The Confederacy had declared all black combatants “insurrectionists” and subject to the death penalty, while in the North black socldiers were being put to the firing squad by the Grand Army of the Potomac for refusing to fight in protest against the fact they were being paid less than white soldiers of the same rank. Despite repeated promises of equal pay from Secretary of War Edward Stanton, the standard rate of pay for white privates was $13 a month, while it was only $10 a month (minus $3 for uniforms and supplies) for blacks. For much of the war, white privates were making more than black sergeants. As Frederick Douglass said, “The war must be fought on two fronts. One against Southern slavery; another against Northern bigotry and greed.”

+ Excerpt from a Polish secret police document of the Soviet era on the surveillance of homosexuals: “Like Freemasonry in former times, homosexuality remains an underground activity in all societies….Persecuted from the outside, homosexuals feel solidarity with one another (like every persecuted minority). The community of perversion connects people with adverse worldviews…[gays] recognize each other by signs, behaviors, and means of expression that are imperceptible to normal people.” (Quoted in Foucault in Warsaw by Remigiusz Ryziński.)

+ 84% of the men who commit sexual violence against Native women are non-Native. Yet federal and state laws strictly limit (and often prohibit) the Tribes’ ability to prosecute non-Natives, even on their own land.

+ 25 years after people started dying from the Sackler Family’s network of pill mills, the Met has finally stripped the Sackler name from the wing of the museum that houses the Temple of Dendur. From the very beginning, America’s most lethal drug pushers hid their name from the company that made them billionaires and plastered their name on cultural and educational institutions from NYC to Tel Aviv, so no one would suspect what they were really up to. Mortimer Sackler wanted to have his 70th birthday party in the Temple of Dendur, which they didn’t think was quite opulent enough for the occasion so they devised a plan to add several pillars for the party. After much internal deliberation over whether they could afford to offend a major donor, the director of the Met said no to the Sacklers’ demands to add pillars to the Temple of Dendur for Mortimer’s party but did prepare a giant cake in the shape of a Sphinx featuring the pill-pusher’s face..

+ The NYT ran an intriguing column last week on the “manliness crisis” by Liza Featherstone (though I don’t think as highly of Sen. Haw-Haw’s book on TR (“smart and compelling”) as she seems to)…

+ The latest boom in the Montana real estate market is being driven in part by an influx of work-at-home white separatists and gun fanatics.

+ Since 1980 college costs have increased by 179%, while pay for young workers has risen by only 19%.

+ David Graeber: “People who enjoyed the finest free education system in the world decided their own children and grandchildren would be better off attending university while moonlighting as baristas or sex workers, then starting their professional lives weighted by student debt.”

+ Nothing tells you more about just how dull and shallow the rich really are quite like their tax write-offs. Pro Publica ran an entertaining piece this week on how the America elites evade taxes by deducting the expenses of their “hobbies,” from horses to bankrupting companies…

+ Tobacco billionaire Brad Kelley: $189m in writeoffs for his horses

* Soup heiress Charlotte Weber: $173m in writeoffs for her horses

* Hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman: $138m in writeoffs for his horses

+ Reebok founder Paul Fireman: $9.3m in writeoffs for his horses, $22m in writeoffs for a “ranch” (Fireman made $360m from 2008-17, and paid $0 in federal tax)

+ Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner: $219m in writeoffs for money-losing prestige resorts (Warner made $363m from 2004-16 and paid $0 in federal tax)

+ Uniphase billionaire Kevin Kalkhoven: $264m in writeoffs for money-losing racecars, planes and an auto-parts company (Warner made $264m from 2005-2018 and paid $422k in federal tax)

+ Sorry, Elon. The govt. is more like a holding company that commits violence on behalf of its corporate assets, including your company’s thirst for lithium, cobalt and other rare earth materials.

+ Bernie Sanders to Elon Musk: “You’re a billionaire — great, good for you. You want to zoom around on a rocket and pretend you’re an astronaut? That’s fine, it’s a free country. But don’t ask for government subsidies to do it and then whine when you’re asked to pay your fair share of taxes.”

+ Biden announced this week (or, more likely, some stooge announced for him) his intention to make the federal government “carbon neutral” by … 2050, by which time all the basements in the Smithsonian will have been flooded, Foggy Bottom will a toxic swamp and the Jefferson Memorial will have collapsed into the Tidal Basin without even a push from BLM…

+ Not only is Rosatom building floating nuclear plants to fuel Russia’s Arctic oil and mineral operations, it’s also in charge of nuclear-powered icebreakers that the company expects will help to open up year-round Arctic navigation by the middle of the decade.

+ Bait-and-Switch Environmentalism Update: The Biden administration is approving more oil and gas drilling permits on public lands per month than the Trump administration did during Trump’s first 3 years in office. During Biden’s first year in office so far, BLM has approved an average of 333 drilling permits per month. That figure is more than 35% higher than Trump’s first year in office, when BLM approved an average of 245 drilling permits per month. In April, the Biden administration approved a whopped 652 new drilling permits on federal lands.

+ Biden’s Park Service has struck bloody deal with the State of Montana to allow as many as 900 bison from Yellowstone National Park to be shot by hunters, sent to slaughter or placed in quarantine this winter in a program that seeks to appease local ranchers on the specious grounds that bison might spread brucellosis to local cattle, a disease much more likely to be transmitted by elk, which are ubiquitous across the region.

+ Longtime Montana environmental activist (and CounterPunch writer) Phil Knight told me: “I drove the Old Yellowstone Road Saturday. As soon as you leave the Park onto national forest there are bison bones everywhere from the animals that get shot and slaughtered right there on the park boundary. It’s a grim reminder of the so called hunt (firing line) that happens pretty much every year now.”

+ Stand-replacing forest fires are far from typical in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (around 8,000 foot elevation) in late November. But as a consequence of  record warmth and dry conditions, that’s exactly what happened last week.

+ When John Kerry talks about corporations saving us from climate change, these are the kinds of “carbon neutral” “forest credits” schemes are the kinds scams he’s pitching…

+ The world’s largest oil and gas companies generated a combined $174 billion in profits in the first nine months of 2021 as gasoline prices climbed in the US. Exxon alone recorded a net income of $6.75 billion in the third quarter, its highest profit since 2017, and has seen its revenue climb by 60% on the same period last year.

+ Meanwhile, Amin Nasser, CEO Saudi Aramco, warned of global “social unrest” unless “key stakeholders” in industry and politics agree to continue to invest in fossil fuels.

+ One state burns more than half of the oil extracted from the Amazon: California.

+ Jason Kinney, premier of Alberta: “Last month was the highest month of oil production, shipments, and exports ever for Alberta. Great news for Alberta, and for Canada!” What’s “great news” for Alberta is dismal news for the planet.

+ At least 26 million people are at risk of starvation following consecutive poor rainfall seasons in the Horn of Africa. Yet Sub-Saharan Africans are responsible for just half a % of historical greenhouse gas emissions!

+ When researchers matched the electricity outage statistic with Medicare claims for death and hospitalization, they found that nearly 28,000 nursing home residents, 65 and older, lost power during Hurricane Irma in 2017. Those who lost power were subject to a 25 percent increase in deaths the first week and a 10 percent increase a month after the power loss.

+ Meanwhile, insurance companies operating in Louisiana will be charged at least $100 million to cover the claims of two failed property insurers who went bankrupt in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

+ Colorado just had a dust storm more than 200 miles long that traveled more than 300 miles. In the deserts of Sudan they call such an event a haboob. Colorado hasn’t seen anything like this since the Dust Bowl. But with the desertification taking place across half of the state under maximal drought conditions, haboobs are coming to become much more frequent.

+ Last week a prairie fire swept across the Montana’s Judith Basin, burning 25 buildings and nearly incinerating the town of Denton. How’d a fire like this breakout in December? Gale force winds, extreme drought, down sparking powerlines, flaming tumbleweeds, burning hay bales, grain elevator infernos, flying embers, lack of water…

+ Having made rich sport attacking Critical Race Theory, conservatives have now turned their gunsights on Critical Energy Theory, the alleged outbreak of climate “wokeness” in schools, universities, businesses and financial institutions…

+ Less than 1/3 of the plastic produced so far is still in use. The rest of it is circulating in the environment as non-degradable waste.

+ For the past 80 years, the University of Alabama has been storing the remains of more than 6,000 indigenous bodies from the Moundsville Culture  in plastic bags in five-gallon buckets on the floor, brown paper bags “with burial fill spilling out,” and cardboard boxes “with gaping holes in the sides.”

+ Pick your Master Class (There Will Be Blood, Special Edition)…

+ After watching Alex Gibney’s The Forever Prisoner, I feel confident in saying that the inquisitional mindset of the American torturer remains pretty much the same as it was during the Salem witch trials. Of course, some liberal-minded people might say there’s been some moral progress.

The modern torturer no longer strives to drown the accused until death, but repeatedly submerge them until they think they are going to die (and may wish to). Day after day. For months. But the logic remains the same. Any statement yielded up under torture justifies torture, even if the information forcibly extracted is that the accused actually had no useful information at all. It takes torture to prove that there was nothing to be gained from torture. After torture successfully proved Abu Zubaydah had no useful information to divulge, the CIA was so pleased with this outcome that they decided to use the same brutal techniques to prove that hundreds of other detainees had no useful information to disclose.

+ Alex Gibney on his new documentary for HBO on Abu Zubaydah, Guantanamo’s Forever Prisoner:

He faces the horror that some people at Guantánamo face, which is maybe the most existential horror of all, beyond even a prisoner who is given a life sentence. You don’t really know what your future is. Your future is forever undefined. You don’t know whether you’re ever going to get out or whether you’ll ever get an explanation of why you continue to be there and that’s the stuff we make movies about when we’re trying to portray tyrannical regimes. That’s Orwell. It’s not the boot on the face forever, but it’s that sense of eternally not knowing what is going to happen to you or why. That is soul-crushing and has got to be psychologically destabilising in some really potent way where you just don’t know.”

+ CIA Enhanced Interrogation Technique (ie, torture) shrink James Marshall unloads a mouthful of parapraxis to Alex Gibney in The Forever Prisoner: “You’re not gonna get me to say I think it’s torture…Think what you want to think. I’m not in the business of controlling your mind [or] trying to coerce you into saying something…”

+ The perpetrators of torture were given a get-out-of-jail pass written by John Yoo and Jay Bybee. But they couldn’t even stay within those gruesome boundaries and had to destroy the tapes of their sadistic practices to keep from being prosecuted.  James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the psychologists who designed the torture regimes, walked away with $80 million. Jose Rodriguez, the head of the CIA’s clandestine services who hired Mitchell and Jessen and oversaw the black site torture chambers, retired to Florida and cashed in with a book (Hard Measures) boasting about the brutal tactics he deployed in the war on terror. And Gina Haspel who destroyed the incriminating torture tapes was prompted to head the CIA. But Assange is the one being extradited for trial.

+ If you want to assess Lena Wertmuller’s unique talents as a director, her visual sensibility and biting and acerbic wit, just compare her Swept Away to the tedious, bloated and self-infatuated remake by Guy Ritchie, who Hollywood continues to throw tens of millions at while Wertmuller went decades having to direct operas to finance her own films. Wertmuller’s films turn the those of her mentor Fellini’s on their head, exploring the comic potentialities of human sexuality from a feminist perspective, pricking the male ego, as it were. Ritchie couldn’t even find the humor in his own narcissism.

+ How Czesław Milosz escaped from a Nazi camp in 1944… “He got out of Poland by a miracle—except in a city that had only 6 percent of its population left, each survivor is a miracle. . . . In 1944 Miłosz was caught by the Germans and put in a makeshift camp. A majestic nun appeared that evening, insisting he was her nephew. For an hour, she spoke fluent German with his captors, and then led him away through the main gates. He had never seen her before, and he never saw her after that day. He never knew her name.” (From Cynthia Haven’s new biography of Milosz, A California Life.)

+ Joanne Shenandoah, the Oneida singer, who died last week at age 64: “I was working very hard and was doing all the things I thought were important in life. One day I was looking out my office window. This huge tree was being cut down, and something clicked: What am I doing with my life here?”

+ Greg Tate, who died much too young this week, writing on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew: “‘Bitches Brew’ is an orchestral marvel because it fuses James Brown’s antiphonal riffing against a metaphoric bass drone with Sly’s minimalist polyrhythmic melodies and Jimi’s concept of painting pictures with ordered successions of electronic sounds.”

+ The great jazz pianist from Motown Barry Harris, who died this week at 91: “I intimidate college teachers. I teach how to improvise. Jazz is a continuation of classical music. Jazz is Bach; Chopin is jazz. Beethoven is jazz. They were taught to improvise. We are a continuation of that. I play what I teach.” (“Barry Harris: the Last Bebopper” by Eugene Holley, Jr., Hot House magazine, 2016)

Giant Steps in Giant Shoes, Giant Steps to Lose the Blues

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Free Justice: a History of the Public Defender
Sara Mayeaux
(University of North Carolina Press)

In the Eye of the Wild
Nastassja Martin
Trans. Sophie Lewis
(New York Review of Books)

Hidden Scourge: Exposing the Truth About Fossil Fuel Industry Spills
Kevin Timoney
(McGill-Queens Press)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Live in Brighton, 1975

Delta Estácio Blues
Juçara Marçal
(Mais Um Discos)

Samba in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse, 1966-68
Bola Sete
(Tompkins Square)

The Testimony of Suffering

“Because they claim to be concerned with the welfare of whole societies, governments arrogate to themselves the right to pass off as mere abstract profit or loss the human unhappiness that their decisions provoke or their negligence permits. It is a duty of an international citizenship to always bring the testimony of people’s suffering to the eyes and ears of governments, sufferings for which it’s untrue that they are not responsible. The suffering of men must never be a mere silent residue of policy. It grounds an absolute right to stand up and speak to those who hold power.”

– Michel Foucault, Power and Knowledge

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