Roaming Charges: Ain’t No Use to Sit and Wonder Why, Babe

Lenticular cloud forming over Wy’East from Timberline Summit Pass, January 30, 2022. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ Re: Spotify & Rogan. I remember back in the early 90s, when Alexander Cockburn started a lonely campaign to boycott the New York Times. The campaign had one principal target: the NYT’s most faithful reader, Noam Chomsky. Alex was convinced that Noam would add years to his life, be more productive and happier, if he’d just cancel his subscription and spend the morning grappling with Saussure or reading box scores in the Sporting News.

At the time, the late Ed Herman had convinced me to start writing for LOOT (Lies of Our Times) and I said to Alex, what the hell am I supposed to do? The whole purpose of LOOT was to closely read each NYT story and expose their biases, lies and omissions. Cockburn said, “You’ll never get them all, Jeffrey. Pointing a few lies out, makes the rest of the falsities the ‘paper of record’ prints seem legit.”

A decade later, we started a new campaign on CounterPunch to have people boycott the NYT until they fired their Pulitzer Prize winning fiction writers (sorry, reporters) Judith Miller, Thomas Friedman & a few others. We even had buttons printed up. In these prickly days this campaign would be denounced as an assault on free speech, an example of far-left intolerance.

As a writer, and one who has been shut out of many venues over the decades, I recoil at any form of government censorship. But I often wonder how many Iraqi lives might have been saved if some form of popular “censorship” had succeeded in getting Miller evicted from the NYTs before she became the conduit for Curveball’s fatal fabulations. Or course, Miller worked for the NYT for a reason. She dutifully scripted the paper’s own editorial line disguised as reporting. After Miller left, she was replaced with an ideological clone, managed by editors with similar views. The biggest problem wasn’t Miller, but the nature of the NYT itself.

The same thing applies to Spotify and their $100 million-man, Joe Rogan. If not Rogan, they’d be hyping someone equally histrionic. They’ll screw him over eventually, as the novelty wears off & someone even more outlandish comes along. What the market wants, the market gets. Spotify and its larcenous business model are the real problem, a model that prioritizes the selling of lies and the ripping off of artists, a model which makes everyone who listens complicit in the thievery.

We don’t have to be part of it. Just delete it and find new music on Bandcamp or from the musicians themselves. Or buy vinyl. It’s a much better listening experience anyway.

+ Many of the guardians of “free speech” assailing the boycott of Spotify are sounding like the Israeli UN ambassador’s hyper-ventilating denunciations of the BDS movement. (Or Andrew Yang, for that matter, who, using the go-to metaphor of our time, compared BDS to the Nazis.)

+ What it took to get CSN “together” again. (Of course, they don’t own the rights to their own music anymore, so Teach Your Children could literally be used in an ad calling on kids to snitch out their English teacher for assigning a Judy Blume novel.)

+ The public health case against Spotify is pretty thoroughly documented in this open letter from early January.

+ My own view of Rogan is that he confirms more than he converts. People are drawn to him because he says what they already believe. No amount of “additional research,” public chiding or official censure is likely to cure that dynamic. And it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, if you don’t know by now.

+ Rush Limbaugh’s bigotry only became more unfiltered after he was run off of ESPN’s Sunday Night Football for his racist putdown of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and his radio audience swelled in response.

+ Spotify’s CEO, the odious Dan Ek (net worth $5 billion, prior to last week’s stock price collapse), funder of military-grade AI surveillance technologies, didn’t really help his cause in his letter on the Rogan affair, where he makes it pretty clear the issue isn’t primarily about free speech but, what else, profits.

+ MTV used to show music videos, then it turned into reality programing. CourtTV used to provide live coverage of trials, then it too turned into reality programing and  “true crime” re-enactments. With Rogan’s $100 million deal, Spotify is trending the same direction, using music to lure listeners into its real profit center: podcasts.

+ Rosanne Cash: “The first problem that needs to be addressed is that Spotify needs to be monitoring this shit and fair pay. It’s just abysmal what they pay artists.”

A Kinder and Gentler Machine-Gun Hand…

+ To help Neil recoup some of his lost revenue, I went over to the Neil Young Archives & bought a Zuma Beach T-shirt and a couple of packs of “Never Known to Fail” Rolling Papers (King Size) for $50, which is probably more than Spotify paid him for the last 150 K streams of Cortez the Killer.

+ That said, the Biden White House really needs to stay the fuck out of this…

***

+ Earlier this week the IDF released a “public summary” of its internal investigation into the death of Omar Assad at the hands of Israeli forces in the Netzah Yehuda battalion, a squad notorious for its violence which is largely composed of ultra-Orthodox Haredi soldiers. On the night of January 11, 2022, the 78-year-old Palestinian man was seized from his car, detained, handcuffed, blindfolded, interrogated, and then dumped at an abandoned building site in his village of Jiljilya, where he was found dead hours later by local villagers. An autopsy showed that Assad had suffered a “stress-induced” heart attack while in the hands of Israeli forces and was left to die at the scene. There were abrasions on his wrists and bleeding inside his eyelids.

The IDF review concluded that the death of Assad–which it blandly refers to as an “incident”­–“showed a clear lapse of moral judgment” and “a failure to protect the sanctity of life.” The report notes that the leader of the battalion and two officers in the unit are being “disciplined,” though none of them were identified.

Yet, the only thing remarkable about this murderous encounter is the investigation itself, which only took place from prodding by the US State Department after it was learned that Assad was a Palestinian-American, who owned and ran a grocery store for many years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The report says nothing about the IDF raids into the West Bank itself, which are almost nightly occurrences and routinely involve the detention, abuse, and death of Palestinian civilians at the hands of Israel’s “New Moral Army.” In 2020 alone, IDF forces killed at least 27 Palestinians in similar raids into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and left dozens more maimed and injured.

The IDF summary of its investigation came shortly before the release of Amnesty International’s report documenting why Israel’s regime must be considered an “apartheid state” and why any nation which supports its government financially should be considered complicit in its human rights crimes. Amnesty’s report meticulously documents how “massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law.”

+ It only took Amnesty International 15 years to reach the same conclusion Jimmy Carter did in Peace Not Apartheid and they’re going to get the same amount of grief Carter did for pointing out the obvious, much of it from the leaders of Carter’s own party.

+ Here’s Biden’s ambassador to Israel sounding like Reagan on South Africa circa 1982, even as South Africa openly embraced “apartheid.”

+ Wait for it…

***

+ This is what it sounds like when Democrats gear up for war. Silence from the stalwarts. No mass demonstrations. No protest songs. No campus sit-ins. Those will only come later, after the administrations change hands and the body bags start coming home–if we’re all not turned into piles of irradiated ash first.

+ The most prominent “anti-war” voice right now is that of Tucker Carlson and that’s only because wants the war directed at migrants on the southern border.

+ The ISIS “leader” in Syria who was targeted in a US raid that resulted in the deaths of 13 other people, including the obligatory women and children, had, according to the NYT, been “captured by U.S. forces in Iraq in early 2008. The date of his release is not known.” So he was released to help start ISIS, under the protection of NATO, as it engaged in atrocities across Syria and Iraq, until finally they got so out-of-control he, like Bin Laden and Baghdadi, had to be eliminated.

+ It’s not an official US raid unless it resulted in the deaths of women and children. In the Syrian raid (yes, the US still has troops on the ground in Syria) six of the 13 dead were children and another four were women.

+ The “heads” of ISIS that the US keeps eliminating every few years seem to be endlessly replaceable. The women and children killed along with them aren’t.

+ Biden promised to extract the US from the genocidal war on Yemen. Instead he’s expanding it by sending fighters and warships to the UAE…

+ Here’s an idea: send the Irish fishing fleet captains to negotiate the Ukraine crisis…

+ Russia is ready to invade now, if not now, then soon, if not soon, then later, if not later, then eventually, if not eventually, then…(What comes next, Jen? Oh yeah, here it is) Our disclosure of their imminent invasion, spoiled Putin’s plans and saved the day. Four more years! (How’s that?)

+ A peace deal and a trade pact, perhaps?

+ Russia doesn’t really need to manufacture a false flag event as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Which doesn’t mean they won’t. Like the US, Russia’s FSB does have an ugly history in this regard.  NATO is providing the pretext…

+ It’s looking like the US story about a Russian false flag operation is a false flag operation.

+ The allegations are so flimsy that Associated Press  reporter Matt Lee accused the Biden administration of spreading “Alex Jones-like territory.”

+ That said, Russia has a better claim to the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine than the US has to Texas.

+ It’s been 60 years since JFK slapped an embargo on Cuba, reason enough to dismiss many of the conspiracy theories around his assassination. The embargo is illegal, immoral, and evil. It has also solidified the Revolution and made Cuba perhaps the most self-reliant and fearless country in the world. 60 years with the US’s boot on Cuba’s throat and the island nation not only hasn’t relented but has developed the best education and health care systems in the world.

***

+ Only America knows how to do capitalism the way it was meant to be done…

New York Times.

+ Why are so many Americans still dying of COVID, nearly a year after vaccines became available? There are many reasons, the foremost being that 37% of the population remains unvaccinated and the population, jabbed and not, is riddled with co-morbidities, compared to other western nations. Thirdly, of course, is the fact that the US remains mired in a for-profit health care system, which puts profits first and health last. But there may be yet another reason that’s just now coming into focus: the timing of vaccinations. In a rush to declare the US “open for business” by July 4, 2021, the Biden COVID team called for a mere three-week interval between the first and second vaccinations, a time-span that may have been too short for the immunity provided by the first dose to fully take effect, whereas the UK and Canada imposed an 8 week to 12 week wait between shots. According to John Burn-Murdoch, a statistician and data analyst for the Financial Times, a  study by the UK’s Health Security Agency reported a “twofold drop in vaccine effectiveness for a shorter dosing interval.”

+ Prior infections don’t seem to provide much protection against Omicron (and its successor Omicron 2.0), according to new reports out of the UK.

+ I got a note on the state of the American health care system from my friend Carl Ginsburg, who is the communications director for the Nurses Union (NYSNA):

There are two classes of hospitals: one is “safety net,” that principally cares for Medicaid and uninsured patients; the other is made up of for-profits (includes both for-profit and not-for-profit, the latter of which runs like for-profits but the profit is termed “net revenue”).

Here in NY, there has been a major Merger & Acquisition  push  resulting in a handful of hospital systems buying up scores of hospitals 2016-2019 (Cuomo era). These systems annually make hundreds of millions each and have billions in cash and liquid assets.  CEOs make $5-10 million + huge retirement packages.  Other top execs make million-dollar salaries. These execs have no effective nurse retention plans or effective infection controls.

THIS IS THE STORY: They are sitting on vast resources while critical hospital services go down the drain.   ICU and ER nurses are overwhelmed and patients are dying.  The nurses are speaking out about avoidable deaths.   These are the same hospital profiteers who made no effective effort to keep adequate PPE stockpiles.

Here in NY, the safety nets have insufficient money for and that helps explain COVID death rates for Black New Yorker 2x that of Whites and 2.3x for Latinx.

+ In the Q1-Q3 2021, Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan’s East Side made $187.5 million in net revenue and was sitting on $1.7 billion in cash and liquid assets.

***

+ With COVID running rampant, the last two years have been by far the deadliest on record inside US prisons and jails. There have been at least 2,800 hundred deaths of incarcerated individuals, according to the COVID Prison Project. And now comes word that Leonard Peltier, one of the US’s longest serving political prisoners, has contracted COVID. Yet, there’s no sign of Biden moving to reduce the US prison population.  In fact, we may be entering a prison boom.

+ It’s time for my periodic visit to the Biden Pardon Scoreboard, where it’s still a shutout.
Federal Prison Population: 153,293
Biden Pardons: 0.

In fact, the prison population is up by 255 since Biden took office.

+ “The Supreme Court is NOT Political”…This weekend Justice Neil Gorsuch is appearing at a Federalist Society event also featuring Mike Pence, Ron deSantis and Trump’s former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnaney…

+ During senatorial banter at a private GOP luncheon about Biden’s promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, Senator John Kennedy blurted that he wants “a nominee who knows a law book from a J. Crew catalog.” Obviously, Kennedy is remembering that time when Jay Z hooked up with 2LiveCrew for an assault on the First Amendment…

+ Senator Roger Wicker, the Mississippi neo-segregationist: “The irony is the Supreme Court, at the very same time, is hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination and while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota. The majority of the court might be saying, writ large, it’s unconstitutional. We’ll see how that irony works out.”

+ Affirmative action, Reagan-style…

+ Ohio’s Secretary of State’s office detected 27 potential cases of voter fraud in the 2020 elections. With more than 5.9 million registered voters casting ballots that means the rate of potential fraud — assuming all of the 27 cases are in fact fraud —at whopping 0.0005%.

+ Pamela Moses, a black woman living in Memphis, was just sentenced to six years in prison for “illegally” registering to vote, even though the errors that led her to try registering were made by state election officials. Meanwhile, the average sentence for the J6 rioters who tried to overthrow the 2020 elections is 45 days.

+ Next thing you know the New York Times will be re-endorsing Broken Windows policing, Stop-and-Frisk and an Adams plan to deputize subway vigilantes…

+ Black children who grow up in segregated neighborhoods double their risk of developing heart disease.

***

+ Starbucks is raising prices again, citing higher costs for supplies and workers. Meanwhile, Starbucks’s profits were up 31% and the company’s CEO Kevin Johnson was handed a 40% pay raise over his 2020 compensation, pulling in $20.4 million for the year.

+ 5 million: the number of manufacturing jobs lost in the US in the 25 years. Over that period Black workers experienced the loss of 646,500 good manufacturing jobs, a 30.4% decline in Black manufacturing employment. According to a report by EPI, “this has narrowed a once viable pathway to the middle class because Black manufacturing workers earn $5,000 more per year than in non-manufacturing jobs.”

+ Starting this week nearly 390,000 federal contractors got a raise to $15 per hour. Nearly half of these workers are Black or Hispanic.

+ In a massive upward transfer of wealth, $1.79 trillion of wealth generated by increased productivity in the U.S. in 2017 alone went to shareholders and not the workers who made it happen.

+ 70 percent of the pedestrians hit and killed by cars last year were homeless.

+ Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, says workers’ salaries are driving inflation and that their demands for pay increases should be resisted. Bailey’s is a meager £495,000 a year.

+ OSHA has been under assault from corporate America since its inception in 1971 (under Nixon, naturally) and perhaps no section of OSHA is more underfunded than its Wage and Hour Division, where enforcement has suffered from a critical decline in staffing. In 1979, there were 81,717 workers for every wage and hour investigator, but that figure had more than doubled to 189,878 by 2019.

***

+ Surely a Satanic government would be more fun than this one…

+ Then again maybe those people at Trump’s Texas rally were right and this really is a Satanic government…

***

+ Hundreds of books have now been yanked from Texas libraries for review, often over the objections of school librarians. I wonder if Texas parents who want their kids to go to college will start objecting to questions on the SAT and ACT tests that might require an acquittance with the books that have been banished from the shelves?

+ You have to hand it to Ibram X. Kendi, who used to teach at my old school AU. He’s the only writer with two books on the Top 50 Banned List in Texas…It’s going play havoc with his carbon footprint, though, when they start burning them.

+ So Maus is now #2 on Amazon, proving once again that censorship sells. Now if only some school board in timber country or the oil patch would demand that Born Under a Bad Sky and The Big Heat be stripped from the shelves, I’d be one very grateful writer.

***

+ Homeland Security calls these border robodogs “a four-legged ground drone solution“. According to DHS, these new devices are being made because “the southern border can be an inhospitable place for man and beast and that is exactly why a machine may excel there.”

+ Meanwhile, in a DARPA-sponsored test a couple of weeks a single drone operator controlled the movements of more than 130 drones using “Raytheon’s integrated swarm technology.” Pass the wasp spray…

+ Before Erik Prince there was Gen. John Singlaub, the mad anti-communist general who was all over Iran-contra and nearly every other mad “outsourced” mercenary operation of the last 45 years.

+ Perhaps Rep. Thomas Massie (last seen holding his M-60 machine gun on his lap, with his equally-armed spouse and offspring in the Massie Family Christmas card) could get one of his QAnon staffers to fact check his Tweets and save him the embarrassment of attributing a quote to Voltaire that originated with a child-porn trafficking neo-Nazi?

***

+ This ominous graph clearly shows that we’d have better results from cancelling these climate conferences. Then we could at least enjoy reductions in carbon emissions from not having the national delegations, NGOs, press, lobbyists, and protesters jetting there and back for these futile circuses.

+ Ketanji Brown Jackson–reportedly at the top of Biden’s list to fill Breyer’s spot on the bench (she was his clerk)–is even more of a judicial centrist than Breyer and infamously ruled against greens who challenged Trump’s plan to exempt his habitat-wrecking border wall from environmental review.

+ A new study of government data finds that insurance payments to farmers have risen more than 400 percent for drought-related losses and nearly 300 percent for losses from rains and flooding, from 1995 to 2020.

+ With a record-dry January across much of the Sierra Nevada, California snowpack has now fallen below average for the date, which is pretty stunning given the fact that it was more than 160% of average for the date in late December. These averages will continue to fall over next 2 weeks as most of the state remains dry…

+ 23 of Yellowstone’s wolves were killed before Montana finally ended the hunting and trapping season in Greater Yellowstone…

+ In December of 2019, agents at the US Fish and Wildlife Service got a tip that pilots in Wyoming were flying shooters over federal lands near Yellowstone National Park and “shooting every coyote, wolf, bobcat and mountain lion they can.” The gunners had no permits and the flights violated the Airborne Hunting Act. The informant, who is referred to in the reports as S1-1, told federal agents, “Everybody wants to kill a wolf from a helicopter.” Another informant reported that local Wyoming officials, including the president of a county predator management board and his family, were on several of these flights, noting they considered it “a lot of fun.” A year-long investigation was launched into the flights and the possible complicity of USDA Wildlife Services agents. But as the probe closed in on the shooters, the investigation was suddenly closed without any prosecutions. Now Wyoming is seeking to revive the flights of these helicopter gunships, as part of the state’s drive to eliminate as many predators as possible, especially wolves, from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

+ So the BLM, now under the control of Tracy Stone-Manning, who was accused of being an eco-terrorist by members of congress, just released its grazing fees for 2022, a pathetically low $1.35 per Animal Unit Month (AUM), meaning it will cost welfare ranchers more to buy one can of dog food than to graze one cow and one calf on public lands for one month…(Of course, the Bundy’s still won’t pay.)

+ Thank the kooks for turning the National Butterfly Center into Comet Ping Pong South

+ In the US, sprawl is finally beginning to slow in the 21st century compared to the metastatic growth of the 1980s and 1990s. Why? Higher gas prices.

+ That’s a photo of my 15-year-old self, stepping out the door of my “motel” room (ie., shack), the first morning in Churchill, Manitoba, to be greeted by a polar bear ambling down the “street”. An hour later we were on board a Twin-engine Otter that would drop us on a frozen lake, 200 miles from “town”, for a two-week expedition snowshoeing across the tundra, even though I’d never used snowshoes in my life, which almost proved a fatal mistake. That and the fact that the pilot of the plane had neglected to load the winter tent…It was -20 that day, quote balmy considering what was to come. I still have some guilt about that coat. The fur on my parka is from a wolf and was sewn on by a Cree seamstress that morning, the logic being that wolf fur doesn’t freeze, especially the condensation from heavy breathing, which there were many hours of. Needless to say, I froze anyway.

+ I was flashed back to my Manitoba adventures while reading Doug Peacock’s thrilling new collection of his own excursions into the wilder precincts of the planet, Was It Worth It? His chapter “Stalking Polar Bears With Doug Tompkins” includes a vivid description of him walking point in polar country with nothing more than with a spear, which he laconically notes in true Peacock-style:

The only time this defensive weapon would be used is at the conclusion of a polar bear charge. The theory is that you anchor the shaft on the ground and aim the tip of the spear toward the narrow chest of the white bear, who theoretically impales himself on it by the force of the charge–though of course the odds are not in your favor.

In the same essay, Peacock describes an infamous encounter that took place in Churchill.

In 1983, a Churchill man closed a bar and walked down a street with his pockets full of scavenged meat from a burned-down motel. A white bear caught him in the dark from behind, grabbed him by the head, and shook him to death like a dog with a rat.

I’m pretty sure I drank my first Labatt’s Blue in that bar and stayed in the incinerated motel, eight years earlier. There were only two motels and bars in town in those days. And I spent time in both.

+ Kyrsten Sinema knows that politics is a game, but she doesn’t know how to play it. Shakedowns are supposed to be this transparent…”The day before Kyrsten Sinema voted against changing Senate filibuster rules, she flew to Houston for a fundraiser with a mostly Republican crowd of fossil fuel donors, telling them they could “rest assured” that she would protect the filibuster.”

+ What “green energy” really looks like

***

+ I couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece for CounterPunch + on my strange interactions with music producer Phil Spector, after the murder of Lana Clarkson. This prompted a note from the wife of one of Spector’s former limo drivers:

My late husband was a dispatcher at Davel Limousine where Spector often ordered cars. One odd trait was inviting the chauffeur of the night into his home and commanding him to play butler, shuttling drinks with a little towel over his arm. One busy Saturday night my husband was very short of drivers and paged Spector’s driver who had been gone an inordinately long time. Sam called in and said, “Murph, I can’t leave. Spector’s got me locked in here.” Pat said, “Put him on.” Spector took the phone and Pat said, “Mr. Spector, you’re going to have to let my driver go. It’s a busy night and I need him back here.” Spector’s response: “Young man, I’ll have you fired before your next bowel movement.”  Eventually Davel resigned Spector’s account. He was deemed too much trouble.

+ “Jackass, Forever” pretty much sums up the USA, doesn’t it? And though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m sure it will quickly assume its place among my favorite films about America, right up there with Palm Beach Story, Blazing Saddles, Eating Raoul, Richard Pryor Live and Dude, Where’s My Car?

+ I didn’t hate Joel Cohen’s film of Macbeth, but it did leave me feeling kind of empty. As so often with Cohen’s movies, it largely riffs off of previous Macbeth films, lifting from Welles and Kurosawa–both much more intriguing and satisfying interpretations than this one. But in it’s cold, noirish b/w Cohen avoids the film closest in spirit to the play, Polanski’s splatterfest made soon after Sharon Tate’s murder, a truly unnerving cinematic experience. Moreover, the two lead actors are both old enough to play Lear, defusing one of the propulsive forces of the play. Cohen’s Macbeth has all the sexual tension of Ronnie and Nancy plotting the political knifing of Jerry Ford and the October Surprise against Carter…

+ Shaileen Woodley: “Being stung by stinging nettle has got to be one of my most favorite sensations ever– AWAKE. ALIVE. 🙂 grateful!” As a frequent target of stinging nettles, this does not reflect my own experience.

+ Succession recycles the same plot lines every three episodes in different exotic locations. Ozark has about three new plot lines every episode, unfurling from the same A-frame, riverboat casino and trailer park. There’s no real comparison between the quality of these two shows.

+ RIP Monica Vitti, she was never more captivating than when she appeared completely bored by everything the world had to offer…

+ I’ve written quite a bit about Gram Parsons over the years, but it wasn’t until this morning that I stumbled across the fact that major reason Gram split from The Byrds was his refusal to tour South Africa, which left the band members his “bitter enemies.” I wouldn’t have picked the kid from Waycross, Georgia to be the lone holdout in the band to touring the Apartheid State, although Parsons said in an interview with Chuck Cassell that the tour left Chris Hillman feeling “humiliated.” (And, no, Roganauts, David Crosby was not part of this iteration of The Byrds. He’d already left the band in a huff.)

+ In another interview in the same series, Cassell asks Pete “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow,  the Flying Burrito Bros.’s gifted pedal steel player, to describe the influence of Bob Dylan’s 1969 record Nashville Skyline on the development of the country rock scene in southern California. Kleinow, however, was dismissive of Dylan’s influence.

There were other people that were going in country directions before the Burritos, before Dylan, as far as that goes. The Beatles, for instance, were doing things like “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” (1964) and their country-oriented things. As far as I’m concerned almost everything good has come from The Beatles. Dylan’s been a great influence, but The Beatles have been the greatest of all.

+ The Artist Formerly Known as Karl Marx: So Prince says to Lisa Ling: ‘I’m going to send a car to pick you up, come to my hotel, ask for Karl Marx, and they’ll let you come up to my room. He registered as Karl Marx.” Guess that explains why he called his band The Revolution–but this is far from the weirdest part of this story.

I’ll Let You Take a Piece of Me, I Hope You Get the Peace You Need

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Was It Worth It?
Doug Peacock
(Patagonia Books)

The Last Assassin: the Hunt for the Killers of Julius Caesar
Peter Stothard
(Oxford)

Rahel Varnhagen: the Life of a Jewish Woman
Hannah Arendt
(NYRB)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

A Change is Gonna Come
Bill O’Connell
(Savant)

Piece of Me
Lady Wray
(Big Crown)

Summer of Soul (or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised)
Official Motion Picture Soundtrack
(Legacy Recordings)

Swarms of Idle Persons

“The advocates of the Virginia Company engaged in a broad public campaign throughout England to rally support for colonization, explaining again and again why  their private capitalist initiative was good for the nation. They advanced multiple arguments: all good Protestants in England had an obligation to help convert the savages in America to Christianity and to battle their Catholic enemies abroad; all had a duty to extend English dominion and to embrace beckoning national glory. But the most insistent, and resonant, argument they made presented colonization as a solution to domestic social problems in England. The company, its propagandists never tired of repeating, would provide a necessary public service by removing the “swarms of idle persons” in England and setting them to work in Virginia.”

– Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3