Roaming Charges: Runaway Sons of the Nuclear A-Bomb

“Yacht.” Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

I’m a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb
I am the world’s forgotten boy
The one who searches and destroys
Honey gotta help me please
Somebody gotta save my soul
Baby, detonate for me

– “Search & Destroy,” Iggy Pop, who turned 75 this week.

+ The US hasn’t won a major war since dropping nukes on Japan. It’s lost two– Vietnam and Afghanistan–and fought to bloody stalemates in two others: Iraq and Korea. But winning wars is no longer the point, prolonging them is–that’s where the money’s made and what the fog of war is meant to obscure. This goes for proxy wars too, which is bad news for Ukrainians, who would benefit from a negotiated settlement of the war but will be pushed by western politicians and their financial backers in the weapons industry to fight until the last check for javelin missiles bounces…

+ The Pentagon and its contractors want a prolonged war in Ukraine. But they don’t want the Russian military to be exposed as the inept force it appears to be: a force of understandably reluctant conscripts manning rusting hardware firing inaccurate missiles and already running low on ammo and parts after two months of indecisive action. That would be very bad for the procurement business, which requires the threat of an alleged “weapons gap” to thrive.

+ Nearly 120 years later people are still arguing over what started WW I. But there’s almost unanimous agreement that the cause of WW II (in Europe at least) was the way WW I ended and the punitive sanctions imposed on Germany at Versailles. They would still be fighting WW I if the negotiators of the armistice had to agree on what caused the war. Perhaps they still are…

+ Similarly, people will debate what triggered Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But the real question now is how it will end, who will negotiate the peace, how many people will die before it concludes and how long it will be before the next war starts–since the end of one war invariably sows the seeds for the next.

+ There have been so many atrocities committed by both sides since the war began–the butchery in Bucha, the ghastly trolling by Ukrainians of Russian military families with photos of their dead relatives, the destruction of Mariupol, the sinking of the Moskva–that these horrors will become the stumbling blocks to a negotiated settlement and the pretext for the next war. The debate over the Minsk Accords is so much quaint ancient history now.

+ Just glancing at this morning’s Defense Post headlines: Russia Strikes Lviv; Pakistan strikes eastern Afghanistan; Turkey strikes northern Iraq; Kyiv’s allies moving new armor and weapons to Ukraine…the world is at a very perilous point, not even factoring in the global threat of climate change.

+ Russia already has more nuclear warheads and ICBMs than any other country. Nuclear weapons didn’t help the Soviet Union win the Cold War or prevent a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. And they won’t enable Russia to win its war in Ukraine. In fact, the obscene amount of money Putin has sunk into new nuclear and hypersonic weapons is likely a big reason why Russia’s conventional forces are in such a dilapidated condition. It’s the same mistake the Soviet Union made, bankrupting itself in a race to amass expensive weapons systems no sane regime would ever use. But nuclear weapons are the ultimate symbols of global power, a radioactive aphrodisiac, and every world leader wants to spawn his very own next “generation,” as Biden is busy doing even at his advanced age. Nukes have replaced the first born as the line of succession in the post-Hiroshima world.

+ As to the argument that USSR’s nuclear arsenal prevented it from being invaded by the US, in the end it didn’t, of course. In the 90s, Russia was over-run without a shot by the US, in the guise of Chicago School-trained economists who looted what was left of the Russian economy and left it in the kleptomaniacal clutches of the current neoliberal yacht club that runs the Kremlin.

+ People forget, if they ever knew, how close the world came to nuclear mutual annihilation in 1973, when the US and USSR, confronted each other through their client states during the Yom Kippur War. In the last couple weeks of the war, the 6th US fleet and a roving Soviet fleet faced off against each other in the Mediterranean. Both fleets were armed with nuclear missiles and subs. The US fleet had standing orders to destroy the Soviet missiles before they could be launched, with a meeting at armageddon averted only by the retreat of the Syrian Army from the Golan. It was the longest and most fraught direct confrontation between the US and Soviet navies in the Cold War. Nothing learned, naturally.

+ It’s going to be up to China to end the Ukraine war. Beijing is, of course, happy to see a little chaos in Europe, distracting NATO, diverting US weapons and making Russia ever more dependent on Chinese loans, markets and weapons. But we are approaching the point where Xi, perhaps the last rational leader on the world stage, will become convinced that Putin, Biden, Johnson and Zelensky are mad men, fully capable of blustering and blundering into a nuclear war, which–even if survivable–won’t be good for business. Who one else has the power to bring them back from the brink?

+ You can see now why the Russian military chose not to put boots on the ground in Syria, preferring the relative safety of saturation bombing of Homs and Aleppo from 30,000 feet.

+ If the Pentagon didn’t learn anything from the bombing of the USS Cole, a guided-missile destroyer taken out by a skiff packed with C-4, then they should take notice of the sinking of the Russian Navy’s prize ship, Moskva, another missile-carrier with a crew of 510. These big expensive ships, most of which have never been tested in combat, are sitting ducks and can be taken out by even rag-tag guerrilla forces.  And that’s if they’re sea-worthy at all. The newest class of US guided missile destroyers (the Zumwalt), which look like floating Mayan Temples with a price tag of $4.3 billion a unit, have repeatedly lost propulsive power while attempting an undemanding voyage from San Diego to Seattle.

USS Zumwalt passes Coronado bridge on its way to Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski.)

+ Russian billionaire banker Oleg Tinkov, currently under western sanctions, let loose on the Ukraine war this week: “How can we have a good army if everything else in the country is shit and smeared with nepotism and servility? 90% of Russians oppose this war!”

+ Needless to say, this denunciation didn’t go over well in Moscow, where Tinkov was immediately castigated by Russian TV commentator Vladimir Solovyov: “We were so worried about Tinkov being ill. [Tinkov has leukemia] But as soon as he recovered in England, straight away he started doing his favorite thing – spitting on his homeland with shit. He has no homeland. Tinkov betrayed his homeland.”

+ Why can’t we have debates like this? Instead we are inflicted with a fake spat between two drama queens, hamming it up for ratings…

+ Sergei Klokov, a 20-year veteran of the Moscow police department, is facing 10 years in prison for criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine in private phone calls that were tapped by the FSB.

+ Richard Stengel’s elastic sense of journalist ethics allowed him to cycle from being a “journalist” to a gig in Obama’s State Department and back again…

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+ This week in CP Plus we ran Alexander Cockburn’s savage takedown of George Orwell, who as his life was ebbing away from TB, made one of the most grotesque literary U-turns in history by providing a list of names of suspected Communists and subversives (many of whom were former colleagues and friends) to Big Brother, in the form of British Intelligence. Among those snitched out by Orwell was Alex’s father Claud.

I’m not an Orwell enthusiast; his writing is too prudish and sour for my tastes. But his life had certainly come full-circle since his time in Spain during the 30s, when as a committed socialist he fought in the trenches with Spanish Marxists under the banner of the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificacíon Marxista). At 6’3, Orwell towered above most of his comrades and, as a journalist, his curiosity tempted him to repeatedly engage in risky behavior on an already treacherous battlefield. Putting his head up momentarily during the battle of Huesca got him shot in the throat, the bullet narrowly missing his carotid artery. It was still a close call. His American pal Harry Milton staunched the blood flow and helped carry him nearly two miles on a stretcher to an ambulance which transported him to a field hospital with primitive supplies. He survived, but while he was recuperating in Tarragona, Orwell’s hotel room in Barcelona was raided by Soviet agents. His letters, checkbook, proofs of his novel The Road to Wigan Pier and his war diary were seized and sent to Moscow, where some of the purloined documents emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union.

By the time Orwell was well enough to return to Barcelona, the POUM had been outlawed under the orders of the faltering Republican government’s Soviet advisors and anyone who had associated with them was considered suspect, especially those in the international brigades, who Stalin had always distrusted. They went so far as to accuse the POUM of being traitors, who were collaborating with the Nazis, even though the rifle that had shot a hole through Orwell’s throat had likely been provided to Franco’s troops by the Nazis. POUM leaders, including Orwell’s American friends Charles and Louis Orr, had been arrested by the secret police, dumped into prison and roughly interrogated. Some were executed as traitors, including the POUM’s charismatic leader, Andreu Nin, who was tortured to death by NKVD agents.

In London, the Daily Worker ran a despicable piece claiming that Orwell had been seen making nightly visits to a hut near the Nationalists’ encampments, the implication being that Orwell was meeting with Franco’s agents. It was tantamount to putting a target on his back.

Orwell himself narrowly escaped being arrested, warned at the last minute not to enter the Barcelona hotel where undercover agents were waiting to snatch him. He hid out for the next few nights in the ruins of a bombed church until he and Eileen could escape across the Pyrenees into France. But for the next 13 years he must have been haunted by the question of who had snitched him out to the NKVD.

+ You may have seen the emoticons on pro-Russian Twitter accounts that featured a Ukrainian flag with the upper righthand corner pulled back to reveal a swastika underneath, implying that the Ukrainian government is a front for neo-Nazis.

This is a propaganda image whose roots can be traced back to the Spanish Civil War, where Stalin’s forces began to smear all rival factions (anarchists, revolutionary Communists, socialists, Spanish Marxists) as being Nazi agents and provocateurs. In 1937, before the Stalin-ordered crackdown on the POUM, the streets of Barcelona had been plastered with propaganda posters featuring the POUMS’s red and white flag similarly turned back to reveal a hidden swastika or caricatures of POUM members hiding behind masks to disguise their Nazi sympathies.

+ The irony, of course, is that it was Stalin, not the POUM or George Orwell, who secretly negotiated a pact with Hitler.

+ Prior to WW II, the heaviest aerial bombardments took place in Barcelona, when Italian and Nazi aircraft pulverized the city with round-the-clock raids targeting factories and neighborhoods. The planes left from Mallorca–a 15-minute flight away–refueled, reloaded and struck again. The bombs killed at least 1000 people and injured 2000 more, most of them civilians. Italy’s foreign minister, Count Ciano (Il Duce’s son-in-law) bragged that the raids were meant to “provoke horror” and to appeal to Hitler’s desire for “total and ruthless war.” Many of the bombs dropped on Barcelona in March 1938 were made by DuPont, which had just sold 40,000 of them to Luftwaffe, which tested their destructive power when dropped from the new Stuka dive bombers on Republican-held cities in Spain.

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+ You can vote for someone who says, “There’ll be no more oil drilling on federal lands. Period. Period. Period.” Win. And get more oil drilling on federal lands than the evil guy you voted out of office.

+ In the midst of the climate emergency, every other minor emergency is used as a justification to increase oil production.

+ When Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, brought up the butchering of Jamal Khashoggi in a meeting with MBS, the Saudi despot gave him a tongue-lashing and huffed that the US could forget about its request for an increase in oil production…Still the weapons flow for the Saudi war on Yemen.

+ Since Los Angeles put into place the zero-dollar bail policy in June of 2020, court appearance rates and re-arrest rates have remained steady or dropped. Ending bail does not increase crime rates or promote recidivism.

+ Eric Adams, the black Il Duce, who is going out of his way to make sure the trains don’t run on time

+ In a study that examined data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in all 50 states from 2011 to 2019, researchers at Cornell University found a decline in the volume of prescriptions for pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis and seizures in states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

+ By a 6-3 vote, the Roberts Court refused to even consider a Texas death penalty case (Love v. Texas) where a juror admitted on the record before trial that he believed “non-white” races to be “the more violent races.”

+ The Portland Police budget is the only sector of the economy here that has kept pace with housing prices…

+ Is it a violation of privacy rights to lift the hood on a member of the KKK?

+ Wearing a mask when exposed to a carrier with no mask: upper bound risk of infection is 30%. When everyone is masked: upper bound risk of infection is 0.4%.

+ Daniel Denvir: “It’s really something to be in Chile, a country with massive political conflict but where pandemic control measures are *not at all politicized*. It’s incredible to experience another possible reality where the presence or absence of masks signifies nothing at all politically.”

+ The people most enraged about library collections and public school curriculums don’t have library cards and don’t have kids in public schools.

+ How some French expats voted in the first round of France’s presidential elections: For voters in Algeria, the 1st choice was leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. For voters in Israel, the 1st choice was far-right racist Éric Zemmour.

+ As we watch the lengths Starbucks is willing to go in order to suppress the union drive sweeping its franchises coast-to-coast (including the flagship Reserve Roastery in Seattle), it’s worth recalling that the company’s fiercely anti-union CEO, Howard Schultz, was reportedly Hillary Clinton’s top choice to become secretary of labor.

+ Few Democrats were as overt in their hatred of unions as the Clintons, yet the AFL-CIO leadership clung to them anyway, even as their owns ranks shriveled as a consequence of the policies enacted by the “right-to-work” New Democrats…

+ Kelly Nantel, Amazon’s head of public relations, used to be the press secretary for ICE.

+ Alfreda (Freda) Scheuer, the former CIA officer who ran the torture-driven interrogations of detainees in the wake of 9/11 and inspired the Jessica Chastain character in the film Zero Dark Thirty, is now  a “life coach,” running a business called “YBeU Beauty,” which focuses on helping women “look good, feel good, and do good.”

+ Was O’Reilly going to Turks & Caicos to make a deposit or withdrawal? Or did he have an assignation involving a loofah and some falafel?

+ So the UK is moving forward with its plans to extradite Julian Assange. This week the Westminster Magistrates Court has issued the extradition order, which now goes to Home Office Secretary Priti Patel for approval. Patel could take a few weeks to affix her signature, at which point Assange’s lawyers have one more opportunity for appeal. But it’s looking grimmer and grimmer.

+ It’s an awful ruling and was probably predestined long ago, but Putin’s Ukraine invasion certainly couldn’t have come at a worse time for Assange.

+ “Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right [to material improvement], but instead a chance to express themselves” —Walter Benjamin, 1936

+ I’ve been thumbing through William Shirer’s Berlin Diaries, a much more gripping and intimate account of Hitler’s Germany than his more well-known book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer was a fellow Midwesterner. He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and couldn’t wait to leave. After college, Shirer went to Europe, where he became a foreign correspondent, and eventually India, where he sent back dispatches on the early years of Gandhi’s independence movement, mostly for the Chicago Tribune.

+ On leaving the Tribune in 1933 to join Universal Press Service, Shirer wrote: “I’m going from bad to Hearst.” The gig only lasted a few months, before he was fired. It was a fortuitous termination, since it allowed Shirer to sign on with CBS news as one of Edward R. Murrow’s “boys” in Europe, reporting on the early years of World War II from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Paris and Geneva.

+ A few days after the Anschluss, Shirer met up with Murrow in Vienna, the city’s streets now festooned with Nazi flags and swarming with SS officers. The two walk into a bar on the Karntnerstrasse to scheme how they’re going to broadcast under Nazi occupied Vienna. An unsettled Murrow tells Shirer, he’d like to go to another bar. Why, Shirer asks. “I was here last night about this time,” Murrow whispers. “A Jewish-looking fellow was standing at that bar. After a while he took an old-fashioned razor from his pocket and slashed his throat.”

+ Hitler and the Ministry of Silly Walks: On September 22, 1938, Shirer was in Godesberg to cover the meeting between Hitler and Neville Chamberlain over the fate of Czechoslovakia, where he got a close of view of Hitler inspecting his yacht…

This morning I noticed something very interesting. I was having breakfast in the garden of the Dreesen Hotel, where Hitler is stopping, when the great man suddenly appeared, strode past me, and went down to the edge of the Rhine to inspect his river yacht. “X,” one of Germany’s leading, who secretly despises the regime, nudged me: “Look at his walk!” On inspection it was a very curious walk indeed. In the first place, it was very ladylike. Dainty little steps. In the second place, every few steps he cocked his right shoulder nervously, his left leg snapping up as he did so. I watched him closely as he came back past us. The same nervous tic. He had ugly patches under his eyes. I think the man is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And now I understand the meaning of an expression the party hacks were using when we sat around drinking in the Dreesen last night. They kept talking about the “Teppichfresser,” the “carpet-eater.” At first I didn’t get it, and then someone explained it in a whisper. They said Hitler has been having some of his nervous crises lately and that in recent days they’ve taken a strange form. Whenever he goes on a rampage about Beneš or the Czechs he flings himself to the floor and chews the edges of the carpet, hence the Teppichfresser. After seeing him this morning, I can believe it.

+++

+ With nearly one million Covid deaths in the US, a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 234,000 of those lives could have been saved by vaccines. That’s 6 in 10 Covid deaths since vaccines became widely available.

+ Last week UK COVID deaths were higher than the January omicron spike.

+ Read this originalist nonsense from Kathryn Mizelle, the Trump-appointed federal judge in Florida who struck down the federal mask mandate for public transportation…

+ Mizelle clerked for Federal Judge William Pryor, who I profiled back in 2003 when Bush nominated him for the federal bench. She learned the art of legal killing at the feet of a master…

When Bill Pryor was running for re-election as Attorney General for the state of Alabama in 2002, he demanded that the execution dates of 8 prisoners be moved up so that they could be put to death prior to the fall vote.

+ The Navy is deputizing doctors to snitch out drug users who come in for treatment, even those who are seeking help for mental disorders. “I can see no justification, when it comes to doing good care—good medical, clinical care—for this psychologist to disclose this to the commander,” said Dr. Dr. Stephen Xenakis, in an interview with Military.com. “I think it violates the basic principles of what we need to do.”

+ So Ron DeSantis is mad at Disney because they stopped giving him campaign loot over his “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” In retaliation, DeSantis wants to repeal Disney’s special district governing authority at Reedy Creek. This move would allow Disney to offload $2 billion in bond debt and liabilities on Orange and Osceola taxpayers, who  would likely be assessed an additional $2,200 per family on their tax bills.  So, another win-win solution…except for the taxpayers and the LGBT community.

+ Florida has 1,844 of these “special districts“–1,288 of them are, like Walt Disney World, “independent, ” including The Villages, Orlando International Airport and the Daytona International Speedway.

+ DeSantis’ handpicked Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo, published a ridiculous memo to the state’s health care workers gender-affirming care for children and teens, which states that: “social gender transition — a nonmedical process in which a person uses a name, pronouns and/or clothing that matches their gender identity — should “not be a treatment option for children or adolescents.” Lapado’s memo reminded me of the dress codes Franco’s regime imposed on Spanish women after coup, requiring them to wear dresses no necklines, long sleeves and hems and loose materials. Who will tell the spring-breakers?

+ Episodes in the American Dream…

+ The median single-family home sold in Teton County, Wyoming (Jackson Hole) cost more than $4 million in 2021 and prices continue to rise:  the average residence listed on the market currently costs $5.9 million.

+ According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal analyzing admissions to Ivy League schools, “nearly half of white students admitted to Harvard between 2009 and 2014 were recruited athletes, legacy students, children of faculty and staff, or on the dean’s interest list—applicants whose parents or relatives have donated to Harvard”

+ This isn’t philosophy and no amount of turgid prose will make it so…

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+ Looks like the drought will persist across the West through July and spread eastward to Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri…

+ Rex and Jared Baum are an Idaho father and son who like to shoot animals together. It’s a bonding thing. In March of last year, the pair started tracking a female grizzly near Yellowstone National Park. When the bear noticed the men and started to run away, pops and his boy started shooting their Ruger-5.7 handguns. Jared later said he thought he must have shot the bear 40 times. When the bear finally collapsed, Jared told the wildlife cops that he “noticed it was a grizzly” and that he’d “shot it too many times and she was going to die.” So, humane animal shooter that he is, he “finished her.” Rex and Jared left the bear by the Little Warm River and pitched their Rugers ($869 a piece) into a pond. The grizzly had been fitted with a radio collar and a few days later sent a mortality alert to wildlife officers, who eventually discovered the bear’s remains a couple of weeks later. The bear had given birth that winter, but by the time wildlife biologists reached its den, the male cub had starved to death. Old Rex got three days in jail and a $1,000. Jared was sentenced to a month in jail and $12,000 in fines. But there’s nothing they can do to replace those two bears.

+ Oregon’s wolf population only grew by two animals last year to a total of 175. Wolf mortality, however, increased from 10 to 26. At least 8 wolves were illegally killed using poison. None of the poachers have been arrested.

+ The most extreme three-hour rainfall rates in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season were 10 percent higher than they would have been without climate change, according to a new study in Nature Communications. The the average sea surface temperature in the Atlantic Ocean that summer was more than 27 degrees Celsius,  0.4 to 0.9 degrees Celsius higher than normal because of the effects of climate change.

+ In 2020, more than 50,000 deaths in New Delhi alone were caused by air pollution, according to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis of IQAir data. Forty-six of the planet’s 50 most polluted cities are located in South Asia. Exposure to air pollution contributed to more than 1.6 million deaths in India, 128,000 in Pakistan and 123,000 in Bangladesh.

+ Meanwhile in the US, a new study of the health records of 68.5 million Medicare recipients found that regular exposure to even low levels of air pollution significantly increased the chances of an early death.

+ Every year air pollution kills about 20 times as many as people worldwide as “war, murder and terrorism combined.”

+ According to the book Curbing Traffic, “Currently about two-thirds of all Dutch children walk or bike to school, with 75% of secondary school kids cycling to school. By enabling safe and active travel, Dutch cities prevent an estimated one million car journeys to school each morning.”

+ Going, going…

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+ I watched Ingmar Bergman’s The Rite this week, one of the few Bergman films I’d not yet seen. I’m still a little astonished that it premiered on Swedish TV in 1969. If you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean. Let’s just say, it’s probably still illegal in Florida. In an interview that ran before the film was scheduled to air, Bergman said that people should turn off their TVs and go watch it in a movie theater–not because of its psycho-sexual themes, I think, but rather that Nyquist’s cinematography deserved to be seen on a large screen. In short, the film depicts the interrogation of artists whose work has been deemed obscene by some authoritarian state–could be Nazi, Germany, could be Hays Code Hollywood. The interrogator, feverishly played by Erik Hell, is both repulsed and consumed by the verboten performance. Ingrid Thulin has played some of the most demanding roles in the history cinema (Cries and Whispers, Night Games, The Silence, The Damned), but none quite like this, as her character is mentally and physically broken down, bit by bit, then resurrected for the final killing blow. A half century later–in a time of manufactured sex and gender panics and politically-motivated censorship–the film seems even more timely now than it did then. If it was shocking to Swedish audiences in the late 60s, it seems downright subversive in the America of DeSantis and Carlson.

+ People are now lamenting to slow extinction of the DVD, which reminded me of Alexander Cockburn’s introduction to the technology, which he came to revile as much as he did CDs, even though he never owned a DVD player. When Tim Robbins called Alexander Cockburn to ask if we’d do a commentary for the DVD of Bob Roberts, Alex said, “Sure how many words do you want us to write?” Tim said, “As many words as you can say in an hour and half.” Alex: “I’ll get back to you.” He rings me up: “Jeffrey, three questions: Have you ever watched a DVD? What’s a DVD commentary? And who the hell is Bob Roberts?” In the end, Tim put us up in the sprawling Fairmont Hotel in Oakland in big suite with a vast spread of food and several bottles of Sonoma wines. We were meant to talk about the film while it played muted on a giant monitor before us. Months go by and somebody sends me a review of the DVD, which notes that it comes with two commentaries, one with Gore Vidal and Tim Robbins, the other “a strange but edifying conversation with Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair which defies every rule of such features.”

+ Did Wallace Stegner plagiarize large chunks of his novel Angle of Repose from the 19th century diary of Mary Foote? It sure looks like. I’ve never been a fan of Stegner’s novels. The prose is stiff and fine-tuned to the point of dullness. His nonfiction is livelier but not much. He’s no Edward Abbey or Peter Matthiessen. I got to know two of Stegner’s former students at Stanford, Ken Kesey and Larry McMurtry. Stegner never got along with Kesey. When asked about his experience with Stegner, McMurtry told me: “It wasn’t about learning how to write but how to get what you write published.” McMurtry, at least, learned that lesson.

+ Zoe Baker: “I hope we can all agree that if Marx were alive today, he’d absolutely use Engels’ Netflix account.”

+ People are surprised that Tina Turner hasn’t been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. The Rock Hall of Fame is a marketing gimmick for the hedge funds that own the rights to the music. Its mere existence is antithetical to the spirit of rock-N-roll. Stay out Tina and stay proud. We know what you did.

+ Attorney for Amber Heard: “Did you ever do drugs with Marilyn Manson?”

Johnny Depp:  “I once gave Marilyn Manson a pill so that he would stop talking so much.”

Look Out Honey, ‘Cause I’m Using Technology

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Scorched Earth: Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World
Jonathan Crary
(Verso)

Policing the City: an Ethno-Graphic
Didier Fassin, Frederic Debomy and Jake Raynal
Trans. Rachel Gomme
(Other Press)

The Road to Dien Bien Phu: a History of the First War for Vietnam
Christopher Goscha
(Princeton)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite
Max Roach
(Candid Records)

The Normyn Suites
Michael Leonhart Orchestra
(Sunnyside)

(Watch My Moves)
Kurt Vile
(Verve)

No Conquerors and No Conquests

“In our new age of terrifying, lethal gadgets, which supplanted so swiftly the old one, the first great aggressive war, if it should come, will be launched by suicidal little madmen pressing an electronic button. Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it. There will be no conquerors and no conquests, but only the charred bones of the dead on and uninhabited planet.”

– William L. Shirer

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