Roaming Charges: Search, Destroy and Replace

Homeless camp under Morrison Bridge, Portland, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ The Buffalo shooting will be used to increase funding for police–the same police who didn’t stop the racist shooter, who across the country have aligned themselves with white supremacist movements and who regularly shoot young blacks suspected of committing minor offenses like jaywalking or shoplifting.

+ Not shot by police: Dylann Roof (21), Kyle Rittenhouse (18), Payton S. Gendron (18).

Shot by police: Tamir Rice (12), Laquan McDonald (17), Michael Brown (18)

Number of people killed by Roof, Rittenhouse, Gendron: 21

Number of people killed by Rice, McDonald, Brown: 0

+ Oh, joy, a Patriot Act for you, me and our pets: “Democrats are vowing to push through domestic terrorism legislation to improve intelligence sharing and coordination between law enforcement agencies following the mass shooting in Buffalo — despite growing Republican opposition.”

+ Remember how Bill Clinton exploited the Oklahoma City bombing to push through his Comprehensive Anti-Terrorism and “Effective Death Penalty Act”, which Biden escorted through the senate? It did nothing to suppress the growth of racist violence in the US. In fact, it seems to have fertilized it. But it did gut habeas corpus, expand the surveillance state, create joint FBI “terror” task forces that manufactured crimes which they used to entrapped unwitting, often mentally disabled, people, placed severe limits on asylum requests from refugees fleeing political repression, and expanded the death penalty to crimes not involving murder. None of this had the slightest effect on “terrorism”, as the country learned the hard way four years later…

+ The Patriot Act didn’t materialize out of Dark Lord Cheney’s head fully formed like Athena after 9/11. Most of it was already sitting on the shelf, the key provisions having been drafted by Clinton’s Justice Department…

+ Murder was a crime before the 10 Commandments. Terrorism has always been a crime. New more punitive laws will not stop murders or terrorism. What terrorist is going to think twice because they might get 3 life terms instead of 2, if they’re white & survive their mass slaughters? New laws create new crimes. But they don’t stop crimes from taking place. They will however be used to harass, surveil and disrupt any political movement (environmental, antiwar, civil rights, animal rights, Palestinian rights, abortion rights, homeless, religious minorities) that criticizes the policies of the government or the corporations that suborn the people who run the government.

+ They’re rationing vaccines, running out of infant formula, charging for Covid tests (if you can find one that works) and Biden wants unspent Covid relief $$ to go to the….police.

+ In the aftermath of the Buffalo mass-shooting, the response from FoxNews & Tucker Carlson won’t be to back away from its venomous promotion of Great Replacement “Theory” but to double-down on it.

+ Buffalo shooter: “White birth rates must change…people must achieve a birth rate…that is about 2.06 births per woman.”

Alito: “the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life…had become virtually nonexistent.”

+ Globally, whites have always been a minority. In the 18 century, whites totaled about 21.6% of the world’s population.  Peak whiteness was achieved around 1900 at 31.4% and has now receded back to where it was at about 20 percent of the Earth’s total human population. (See: The Coming White Minority by Dale Maharidge.)

+ Biden in Buffalo: “White supremacy is a poison … running through our body politic… The ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. None. Failure to say that is going to be complicity.”

+ Also Biden: “Did ever tell you about the time Strom and I pulled a prank on Carol Moseley-Braun?”

+ As a caveat to this speech, one might want to consider the fact that in the 70s Biden not only broke bread with segregationists, he fought to keep schools from being integrated.

+ Biden was a pre-Clinton Clintonite without any of Bubba’s political skills…

+ Glenn Greenwald’s insta-column posted soon after the Buffalo massacre is one of his most revolting. It read less as a defense of his pal Tucker Carlson than a “manifesto-by-proxy” of Glenn’s own rancid views on immigration…

+ After Greenwald’s full-throated defense of Replacement Theory, you wonder how much longer he’ll have any utility at all to the rightwing roosts he’s been perching on for years, where he was only useful because they portrayed him as a left-winger attacking the Left. Now he’s clearly just another reactionary craving the spotlight to air his writhing knot of grievances. But Glenn’s not nearly as entertaining as the 100-proofers Marjorie Taylor Greene, Dan Bongino or Gregg Gutfeld. More & more, his airplay on Fox will be “replaced” by Gabbard.

+ How many immigrants do you imagine toiled in the factories that built the two fortunes Tucker grew up as a scion of: Winslow Brothers & Smith Tannery and Swanson Frozen Foods?

+ Chuck, this “theory” is as old as the 3/5s clause of Constitution.

+ If Elizabeth Kübler-Ross were around to profile the MAGA right’s reaction to mass shootings, she’d probably conclude that the False Flag response is the first stage on the path to the ultimate acceptance and full embrace of the motives of the shooter…

+ There have been more than 200 “mass shootings” in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, almost all of them with “legal” guns.

+ The United States is the only country in the world where civilian guns outnumber people.

+ There’s Replacement “Theory” and there’s Replacement in Fact: European settlers killed more than 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America.

+++

+ Derrida: “Peace is only possible when one of the warring sides takes the first step, the hazardous initiative, the risk of opening up dialogue, and decides to make the gesture that will lead not only to an armistice but to peace.” Any takers? Someone, anyone, at all?

+ I wrote a short piece (for me, anyway) on the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh for CP +. Short because I struggled to find the words to express my rage over her murder. I knew Shireen slightly, as I’d known Rachel Corrie. Their deaths, years apart, hit me the same way, blows to the gut.

+ The bullet that killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 was made by IMI/Elbit Systems. The company made $5.28 billion in revenue last year.

+ Merav Bin Ari, a member of the Knesset and chair of the Israeli Public Security Committee: “I do not feel sorry for the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin camp.” They’ll be bragging about it before long…

+ Headline writers strictly adhering to NYT stylesheet guidelines…

+ Russia’s GDP is only 15 percent of the EU’s. Its military is struggling against a much smaller and weaker opponent in Ukraine. Sweden and Finland are on the brink of joining NATO. Why can’t Europe defend itself without the interference of the US, which has no real stake in the conflict?

+ One reason, which a US official made explicit this week, is that the US wants to crush the Russian oil industry. No wars, but oil wars, even as the Southwest burns and India swelters…

+ Like a drug kingpin praising his new distribution network…

+ Bribing Modi to get in line on Russian sanctions with $500 million in new weapons for him to deploy in Kashmir or along the Chinese border is about as cynical as it gets…

+ The Air Force claimed to have made a successful test of a hypersonic weapon this week. No word yet on how many wedding party celebrants were killed…

+ Not one Democratic senator (or House member, for that matter–who says the party can’t come together?) voted against the $40 billion weapons sale to Ukraine and the eleven Republicans who did are a collection of some of the most insipid creatures on the Hill: Blackburn (TN), Boozman (AR), Braun (IN), Crapo (ID), Hagerty (TN), Hawley (MO), Lee (Utah), Lummis (WY), Marshall (KN), Paul (KY) and Tuberville (AL). What a country.

+ It’s disappointing that Sanders voted for another $40 billion weapons sale to Ukraine. But it’s entirely consistent with his legislative history of supporting Democratic wars and opposing the same wars when they’re run by Republicans. (See my book, Bernie and the Sandernistas.) Sanders voted three times for regime change in Iraq, while Clinton was president. He voted for Clinton’s war on Serbia, prompting resignations from some of his top staffers. Bernie backed the original AUMF on the war on terror and was an original Senate co-sponsor of the “no fly” resolution on Libya that led to the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime. Then there’s Sanders’ peculiar attachment to the F-35, a plane whose primary purpose is to “deliver” nuclear strikes against Russia. Bernie has many admirable qualities, especially when contrasted to his colleagues. But he’s always been a hawk with the mindset of a Cold War liberal.

+ NATO was created not to protect Europe from a Soviet invasion, but  to provide a never-ending flow of money to weapons contractors, regardless of the “threat level”…

+ Still there may be a few synapses firing in Biden’s brainpan. He has apparently rejected a plan to send long-range rockets to Ukraine.

+ The latest proof that just about everything the US State Department has alleged about Venezuela has been bullshit is the fact that the Biden administration is quietly easing sanctions on the nation’s oil industry in a move aimed at lowering gas prices and undercutting Russia’s oil exports.

+ Two questions for Kamala Harris: First, how did Texas become a state? How many times has the IDF crossed border to kill an American citizen in the Occupied Territories…

+ How have US troops in Somalia–which have been there in some form or another since the 90s–done anything make a horrific situation even worse?

+ The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has sent a brief to the UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel,  urging her to reject the US extradition request for Julian Assange, writing: “Allowing Mr Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.”

+ Oregon is failing to provide attorneys to people charged with crimes, according to a new lawsuit. Despite constitutional protections, more than 500 people charged with crimes have been denied a public defender, with dozens of people remain in custody. The lawsuit demands the state refrain from prosecuting any low-income person with a crime if it cannot provide that person with a lawyer.

+ A jury awarded a Florida woman $520,000 in damages after two cops, one from Homestead and the other with the Miami-Dade Police Department, arrested her and had her sent to a mental hospital under the Baker Act, a law which allows police to involuntarily commit people for psychiatric evaluations, merely for filming them.

+ At its height, the Black Panthers breakfast program fed more kids every day nationwide than the state of California.

+ Greg Lopez, a GOP candidate for governor in Colorado, has a plan to reform the electoral system in the state: GOP candidate for Colorado governor says eliminate one-person, one-vote, replacing the popular vote with an electoral college system weighted toward low-population, rural counties. Under his proposal, the 2018 gubernatorial race would have been a landslide win for the Republicans, who lost the actual race by double-digits.

+ “The horror, the horror…”

+ More than 11.5 million people are behind bars around the world, a 25% percent increase since 2000, most of it stemming from punitive drug policies, according to a new report  on Global Prison Trends by Penal Reform International.

+ A Raleigh cop drove over a teen’s foot during a George Floyd protest. When she tried to get his badge number, so he had her arrested and falsely accused her of assault. After reviewing body cam footage, she wasn’t charged. Now the city of Raleigh is paying her not to sue

+ According to data the Marshall Project collected  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 2015 more than 400,000 people have been treated in emergency rooms after violent interactions with police or security guards.

+ NYC Mayor Eric Adams this week: “I have never in my professional career, have never witnessed crime at this level.” Hmm. Let’s go to the stat sheet…

+ In a Facebook posting, Texas’ Department of Public Safety claimed that troopers had “encountered over 700 criminal gang members” during Operation Lone Star. When reporters asked for proof, they were forced to admit that gang affiliation is not a metric  tracked by the Department.

+ Call it the Great Displacement Theory…

+ Just as the SEC had launched a new probe into 100s of Wall Street traders, a Trump-appointed judge (Jennifer Elrod) in the Fifth Circuit basically gutted the Commission’s enforcement powers. But the implications of the decision don’t stop there. If upheld, the logic of the ruling suggests that all federal agencies lack the constitutional power to enforce federal regulations. Score one for you, Mr. Bannon. There goes the administrative state

+ In November the total market value of cryptocurrencies was about $3 trillion. Now it has now collapsed to less than $1.3 trillion.

+ A new study from Cambridge University estimates that crypto mining drained 102 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2021–about the annual electricity demand in Pakistan, a country of 228 million people.

+ A study in Health Affairs journal found that unionized nursing homes were associated with 10.8 percent lower resident COVID-19 mortality rates, as well as 6.8 percent lower worker COVID-19 infection rate.

+ Everybody’s got something to hide, ‘cept for me and my Monkeypox…

+ In Africa, monkeypox has been fatal in about 1 in 10 cases. Severe disease and death is more likely among children.

+ An investigation by (what’s left of) The Oregonian found that one-in-four classrooms in Portland’s elementary and middle schools do not meet minimum recommendations for ventilation, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other airborne diseases.

Andy Slavitt (former health care advisor to Obama and Biden): “Look, I don’t think they [elected officials] want to say that but I do think that implicit in this is an acceptance that there are going to be, at least in the US, 200 to 250,000 deaths a year at baseline.”

+Nearly half of the women seeking abortions used some form of birth control the month they got pregnant. Even highly effective methods like IUD, with failure rates under 1%, equate to thousands of unwanted pregnancies each year.

+ Earlier this month, students at Colerain High School in Cincy put signs above the water fountains reading “Whites Only” and “Blacks Only.” You can’t say these kids are totally ignorant about American history…

+ The Daily Beast now dutifully adopting the infantile “ultra-MAGA” phrase the DNC spent $200K and two years coming up with. It’s so stupid. For starters, “ultra” feeds their Monster Truck fantasy of “being big.” If you want to humiliate them, which is what they deserve, call them “micro-MAGA”. Even better, they should have feminized and Frenchified it: “La petite MAGA.”

+ A couple of years from now Biden Democrats will be nostalgic for the original MAGA, those genuine people you could feel comfortable inviting to a barbecue on the Mall.

+ Perhaps the DNC should hire Madison Cawthorn, who just lost his seat in Congress, as a consultant, because his vow to unleash “Dark MAGA” on the forces who took him down has a lot more punch than “ultra-MAGA.”

+ The much-vaunted “End of Portland” is going the way many of us had hoped…

+ Meanwhile, in China home prices have decline for 8 consecutive months. The first housing slowdown in at least 6 years.

+ Tesla’s Shanghai plant closed down for three weeks in April. The factory, which typically ships around 60,000 cars a month, produced only 1,512 vehicles last month.

+ Perhaps only a writer with tools of Flan O’Brien could do this justice…

+ Biden’s new press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, held her first audition for a future gig at Monsanto, Raytheon or Wells Fargo this week…

+ Mexico’s National Registry of Disappeared People just topped 100,000. The real number is much higher.

+ The European Union, which has more than 100 million more people than the United States, had less than half the number of road fatalities last year.

+ In yet another blow to the crumbling RussiaGate conspiracy, it appears that Trump was just too dumb to act as Putin’s puppet. According to Fiona Hill, Putin was dismayed at Trump’s inability to grasp basic geopolitical concepts and grew frustrated that he “had to keep explaining things to keep explaining things, and Putin doesn’t like to do that. Even though he loves to be able to spin his own version of events, he wants to have predictability in the person that he’s engaging with.”

+ Open mouth, insert foot, duck shoe…

+ Sigmund Freud: “These phenomena are not accidental… they require more than physiological explanations, ..they have a meaning and can be interpreted, and … one is justified in inferring from them the presence of restrained or repressed impulses and intentions.”

+ A Virginia lawyer and State Delegate named Tim Anderson has filed a restraining order against a Barnes & Noble store in Virginia Beach for selling books like Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer and Sarah Maas’s A Court of Mist and Fury. “We are in a major fight,” Anderson proclaimed. “Suits like this can be filed all over Virginia. There are dozens of books. Hundreds of schools.”

+ Hunter Biden’s firm took in about $11 million from 2013 through 2018. By contrast, Jared and Ivanka Trump made about $640 million while working in the White House. And the Saudis committed $2 billion to his investment firm shortly after Trump took office. They’re both grifters, like Donald Nixon, Billy Carter, Roger Clinton , Neil Bush and Tony Rodham before them…

+ “I realize you don’t really know Buckley…” sounds like the opening line of a JD Salinger story. It’s actually the opening sentence in an email from Susie Carlson, Tucker’s wife, to family friend Hunter Biden, asking for his influence in getting the couple’s son, Buckley, into Georgetown, which Biden had attended. Tucker was no less solicitous, assuring Biden that his son had the characteristics to make him a good fit at Georgetown: he was an avid squash player and a talented fly fisherman. Plus, Tucker wrote, Buckley “loves Washington for all the right reasons, I think,” Carlson added, “and really wants to go to school here.”

+++

+ According to the latest Pew survey, only 42% of Americans think the climate catastrophe is a big deal…

+ In the last quarter of 2021, the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions were higher than any quarter since late 2018, wiping out the gains made during the pandemic.

+ Shale oil companies have pocketed $180 billion this year thanks to soaring prices and spent almost nothing…

+ “At a big bank like ours, what do people think the average loan length is? It is six years. What happens to the planet in year seven is actually irrelevant to our loan book. For coal, what happens in year seven is actually irrelevant.” – Stuart Kirk, head of “Responsible Investing” at HSBC Asset Management

+ Glacial melt in the Canadian Rockies is now irreversible, according to research out of the University of Saskatchewan. This has huge implications for freshwater supplies in Canada and the US. John Pomeroy, professor and Canada Research Chair in water resources and climate change at the University of Saskatchewan:“Even if somehow, magically, we’re able to stop global warming tomorrow and return the atmosphere to more normal CO2 concentrations, we would lose most of the Rockies’ glaciers.”

+ As China’s industrial output declines, so too does electricity generation by 4.3% yoy (year-over-year). Thermal power output fell by 12%, the biggest drop since 2008. Coal usage is being replaced by surging solar capacity, as China installed in Q1 than energy analysts expected…

+ More than 75% of the planet could face drought conditions by 2050, according to a new UN report titled Drought in Numbers. The report found that both drought frequency and duration has already increased by 29 percent since 2000. Historically, droughts have been the planet’s deadliest natural disaster, having killed 650,000 people between 1970 and 2019.

+ Italy’s Po River has crossed the climate Rubicon and is drying up, its estuary salinating…

+ The rate of tree death in the tropical old-growth forests of Queensland, a northern province of Australia, has doubled since 1990, largely as a consequence of climate change.

+ Under EU rules, emissions from biomass aren’t counted toward the bloc’s pledges to reduce greenhouse gasses.But burning wood to generate electricity releases more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels to produce the same amount of energy.

+ More than 20 million people in Kenya and Somali will likely experience extreme hunger this year as delayed rains exacerbate what was already the worst drought in four decades.

+ By 2030, less than 30% of the global harvests of 10 major crops may be directly consumed as food in the countries where they were produced. This is down from about 51% in the 1960s.

+ Reducing air pollution from burning of fossil fuels could save as many as 50,000 lives a year in the US. People rebelled against wearing masks that could have saved 500,000 people a year…

+ Map showing how the plume from the massive dust storm over the Middle East and the Sahara this week has now hit the Caribbean…

+ According to the Department of Energy, July 2008 marked the highest nationwide average gasoline price ($5.10 per gallon) when adjusted for inflation. From 2011 to 2014, the average gasoline price was between $4 and $5 per gallon, adjusted for inflation. The lowest gasoline price in recent times was in April 2020.

+ Electric vehicles are now displacing about 1.5 million barrels a day of oil demand, most of it from electric two/three-wheelers and electric buses in Asia.

+ There’s a movement to make air-conditioning a “human right.” Air conditioning only exacerbates the crisis it seeks to ameliorate…

+ As of April 2022, the EPA had received more than 98,000 complaints linking the Seresto flea collar to harms in pets, including more than 2,500 reports of pet deaths. There have also been more than 900 complaints of harm to humans. Yet the EPA has done nothing. Now the Office of the Inspector General is investigating why…

+++

+ The God that failed: Eric Clapton tests positive for Covid, cancels tour.

Zelensky at Cannes. Source: France 2.

+ In a disturbing, off-key parody of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, Vladimir Zelensky, appearing by a video link from Kyiv, presided over the opening of the Cannes Film Festival. Cannes has always been a reactionary institution. (No surprise since it’s geared toward producers, financiers and distributors.) As a I wrote a few weeks ago in an essay for CP +, Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad was rejected by the festival because Resnais had signed Jean-Paul Sartre’s open letter condemning French atrocities in Algeria.

+ Where’s the spirit of ’68, when the film-makers of the European New Wave tried to shut down the festival, including Spanish director Carlos Saura, who jumped onto the stage to protest the screening of his own film, Peppermint Frappé? When the curtains opened on the film, Saura and his lead actress Geraldine Chaplin clung to the curtains and were soon joined by Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard until the lights were turned on and the projector turned off.

+ Iris Murdoch’s notion of the ideal love affair: “Europe, & long talks in cafés & dancing together & getting drunk together, & long evenings at home too, writing things, & criticizing each others’ things, & quarreling, & having crazy friends & crazy new ideas, & reading books & seeing pictures, & new cities, & making love, & a little later having splendid children & bringing them up beautifully.”

+ The University of Nevada sold its acclaimed literary magazine, The Believer, to Paradise Media, a sex toy company based in Puerto Rico. Maybe they’ll retitle it The Steely Dan…

+ Jennifer Wilson writing in Harper’s on Vladimir Sorokin: “Sorokin’s work reminds us that when people in power talk shit, it is the rest of us who have to eat it.”

+ Samuel Beckett after watching Albert Finney in Krapp’s Last Tape: “Finney was the worst Krapp I’ve ever had.”

+ Q. Who is the most under-rated keyboardist?

A. Sun Ra, because no matter how highly you rate him, you haven’t rated him highly enough.

+ Miles Davis: “I mean, because you have technique, you don’t have to use it. You use it when you feel like it. It’s called good taste. I play whatever comes into my black head, man.”

“I Wrote This Song for My Car…”

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

A Century of Repression: the Espionage Act and Freedom of the Press
Ralph Engleman and Carey Shenkman
(University of Illinois)

The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: the Untold History
Monica Kim
(Princeton)

The Creole Rebellion: the Most Successful Slave Revolt in US History
Bruce Chadwick
(University of New Mexico)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Lifted
Trombone Shorty
(Blue Note)

Old Stories
Chad Fowler and Matthew Shipp
(Mahakala)

Live at the El Mocambo (1977)
The Rolling Stones
(Interscope)

A Sharp Eye and a Steady Hand

“Curiously enough, Sanson’s assistant disapproved of Dr Guillotin’s invention. it had ruined the profession by making it too easy. facility always opens the doors to amateurs. In olden times, in order to cut off a head with the axe, one needed some training in the profession, not to mention a few natural gifts such as a sharp eye and a steady hand. But what merit is there in manipulating a machine which does the whole job for you?”

– Jean Renoir, Renoir: My Father

 

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