Roaming Charges: Vincent, Duck! Soup!

Climate protest at National Gallery, London.

“It is difficult at times to repress the thought that history is about as instructive as an abattoir; that Tacitus was right and that peace is merely the desolation left behind after the decisive operations of merciless power.”

–  Seamus Heaney

+On October 14 two protesters for the climate group Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup on the protective glass covering Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers and then glued themselves to the wall at London’s National Gallery. I was dismissive at first. After all, if you’re willing to go to jail for a direct action why not target an oil or coal company? But the intensity of the reaction against them from nearly all quarters–but particularly from putative progressives like Matt Taibbi–has won me over. It proves that even a simulated threat against a piece of art whose value is entirely subjective generates more outrage than the ongoing decimation of the planet.

+ The point of these “stunts” is to generate moronic tweets like this from the self-appointed guardians of High Culture. As an act of political DADA they succeeded behind their wildest expectations. Van Gogh, who hated museum art, which he considered dead, would have likely approved.

+ Like many, Taibbi’s more upset about soup smeared on protective glass than the death and misery inflicted by climate change–proving the point of the protest: where threats (in this case totally benign) to commodified representations of Nature prompt more outrage than real Nature being roasted.

+ In this case the activists intentionally tried to avoid inflicting any damage on the painting and in fact the Van Gogh wasn’t harmed in any way. But people got very upset about soup being thrown on glass. Some much more upset than they did about the entire Columbia Gorge going up in flames several years ago, in fires that scorched spectacular panels of Native rock art more than 500 years old …

+ Before casting stones at the soup-flingers, one might consider the role that corporate sponsorship of art exhibitions–including Van Gogh exhibits–have played in helping to greenwash the reputations of villainous enterprises, including the fossil fuel industry, and the tax write-offs they enjoy for such “sponsorships.”

+ Van Gogh is one of the most commodified artists in history. His work has been bastardized by corporations for over 50 years. A car company (Lexus) literally purchased the rights to use his work to promote their planet killing products. He’d be horrified…

+ Van Gogh was the ultimate outsider, an outcast even. His paintings were so radical and idiosyncratic as to seem almost solipsistic to the critics of his time, the blazing solipsisms of a madman. Very few got what he was up to. His work seemed dangerous, a kind of vandalism against the rules of proper art. Today, every gets Van Gogh. Or thinks they do. He’s been tamed. His work rendered as safe and as a common as wallpaper. Some of his images have been turned into wallpaper. His work has become a product, endless reproductions of reproductions. Many of the paintings themselves have become trophies for billionaires, multi-million-dollar hedges against the vagaries of the market. Everyone loves Van Gogh now, hence the reflexive outrage over the National Gallery protest. He’s the loveable eccentric. In life, he was a pest, a nag, irritable and anti-social. He was the guy who’d bust up any social gathering by saying the wrong thing, by speaking his mind, regardless of the circumstances or consequences. His paintings now hang in galleries and boardrooms he would never have been invited into. His work had long since lost any cultural relevance, until a splash of soup reinvigorated his art, let us see it again in a radical perspective, infused with new layers of meaning.

+ Van Gogh: “It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures.”

+ Vincent was right on the merits, but dead wrong in his assessment of the modern psyche, which has now lost almost all feeling for Nature and, conditioned by the demands of late-capitalism and its creature technology, is excited only by simulations of Nature, usually on flat screens.

+ I’m just glad those two young activists read and acted on the writings of the Situationists, and created a “situation,” even if they didn’t read them the same way I did or create the same situation I would have.

+ As to charges that the protest was “mere vandalism,” culture snobs condemned graffiti as vandalism and it became the greatest art form of the 20th century–apartheid walls, overpasses and boxcars serving as the canvasses of the poor and oppressed, free for all to view, no lines, reservations or special exhibition fees.

+ As a kind of performance art, the National Gallery protest was understandable to anyone who knows anything about art movements of the last 100 years. Did Robert Rauschenberg “vandalize” a Willem deKooning (an artist as important as Van Gogh) when he erased one of his drawings and claimed the erasure as a work of art? It’s now hanging at SFMOMA.

+ In the Van Gogh caper, the only thing erased was the tomato soup, when it was wiped off the protective glass shielding Van Gogh’s ubiquitous sunflowers. The video of the protest will probably be playing in the Saatchi Gallery next year. Maybe someone will unplug it as a waste of energy and create a new art event for the prudes to get upset about.

+ My friend (and CP writer) John White sent this photo of one of the latest offerings in the gift shop at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. What’s the greater harm to his reputation?

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+ I don’t know if the CIA trained, armed or even knew about the suicide bomber who blew up the Crimean bridge. But it’s the kind of war I predicted back in the spring the CIA wanted (& expected) to wage–a guerrilla war against occupation aping the tactics the Taliban Al Qaeda & ISIS used against the US in Afghanistan and Iraq, a war of sabotage, IEDs, suicide bombings and assassinations. The Pentagon, of course–which is mainly in the business of a global arms retailer these days–wanted to wage another war, using the latest high-tech weaponry, in part to please its contractors (Raytheon, Lockheed, Grumman, Boeing) and in part to test how US weapons would fare against the Russian military. The problem is, of course, that you can’t control guerrilla wars. The Pentagon can limit the sale of munitions that can strike inside Russian territory. You can’t do the same with a truck filled with fertilizer. The consequences of these kinds of terrorist bombings will only make it more likely–if not inevitable– that Russia escalates its war strategy with air & missile strikes on Kyiv or perhaps even outside Ukraine.

+ To the extent that Russia is now reduced to emulating some of the most disgusting tactics of the US wars in Iraq: drone and cruise missile attacks on urban centers and targeting civilian infrastructure like power, sewage and water treatment plants, suppose it increases the likelihood they will use the most abominable US tactic: a nuke on a city like Kherson: “You want it? Well, here it is.” And I’d think this will happen sooner rather than later. It must be humiliating for Putin and the Russian military to rely on Iranian weapons. I don’t think they’ll do so for much longer. Who is seeking a diplomatic solution to avert this looming catastrophe?

+ It looks like there’s an actual Dr. Strangelove wannabe on this panel…

+ I doubt Elon Musk, a serial liar and pathological self-promoter, did speak with Putin about how the war could be brought to an end. But if he did, great. What harm could it possibly do? If he didn’t, someone sure as hell should…

+ Ukraine demands new air defense system. Russia launches a few cruise missiles at Kyiv. Ukraine gets new air defense system. Thousands are maimed and killed as military contractors toast both sides! It’s almost as if it’s orchestrated…

+ I have no way to evaluate the accuracy of this running inventory of military equipment destroyed in the Ukraine (ie., more than 1400 Russian tanks), but at the very least it provides a bracing catalogue of the grotesque range of life-extinguishing weaponry being deployed in modern ground wars…

+ A Palestinian computer programmer named Omar ZM Albelbaisy Raeda was kidnapped, thrown into a vehicle in Kuala Lumpur and taken to a hotel room where he was tortured, as Mossad officers interrogated him about his ties to Hamas in a video call.

+ Newly uncovered documents reveal the extent to which Israel’s first president, David Ben-Gurion, was involved in a covert operation to poison the drinking water of Palestinian Arab villages in 1948.

+ CLR James: “That the new nation survived at all is forever to its credit for if the Haitians thought that imperialism was finished with them, they were mistaken.”

+ According to an extraordinary piece in the Washington Post, more than 500 retired U.S. military personnel — including dozens of high ranking officers, generals and admirals among them — have landed lucrative jobs working for foreign governments since 2015. One of the top recruiters has been Saudi Arabia, where 15 retired U.S. generals and admirals have worked as paid consultants for the Defense Ministry since 2016 alone. Among them: retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, a national security adviser to Barack Obama, and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who headed the National Security Agency under both Obama and George W. Bush.

+ In addition to the retired generals and admirals for hire, the US still deploys 65,000 military on-duty personnel across Saudi and the Gulf region.

+ Meanwhile, Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a 72-year-old U.S. citizen, was just sentenced to 16 years in prison and subject to torture in Saudi Arabia for years-old tweets he posted while in the United States.

+ There seems to be a familiar madness to Biden’s “method” of dealing with the Saudis…

+ The idea that Biden will restrict weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in response to OPEC’s decision to cap oil production seems far-fetched. Arms sales and carbon emissions are about the only American exports these days.

+ This is how it works: the US funds the technology behind Chinese hypersonic missiles in order to justify huge contracts to Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed for a new generation of US missiles to counter the looming Chinese missile threat.

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+ White Genocide, the Self-Inflicted Variant: “At the start of the pandemic, Black people were more than three times as likely to die of covid as their White peers. But as 2020 progressed, the death rates narrowed — but not because fewer Black people were dying. White people began dying at increasingly unimaginable numbers, too, the Post analysis found.”

+ Despite promise after promise, early one-in-five adults in the US still have to ration their use of insulin. What a malign system where those in the most dire need of insulin are the most likely to have to ration its use, thereby increasing their need for the very drug they can’t afford…

+ Don’t worry, Herschel Walker’s got a plan to fix that: “Well right now, people have coverage for health care. It’s according to what type of coverage do you want because if you have an able-bodied job, you’re going to have health care. But everyone else have health care, it’s the type of health care you’re going to get. And I think that is the problem. And what Senator Warnock wants you to do is to depend on the government. What I want you to do is get off the government health care and get on the health care he’s got.”

+ Texas schools are now sending DNA kits to the parents of students so they can identify their bodies after “emergencies.” Of course, the real threat at schools is not the fact that you have to submit your kid’s DNA sample so that their shot up corpse can be id’d after a mass shooting but whether or not a teacher talks about gay rights or slavery or genocide against indigenous people…

+ Gillian Brandstetter: “The more you hear and read about trans kids the more obvious it is that all kids are forced into gender norms and whether one is pathologized as dysphoric or not is largely about how hard they resist those norms.”

+ A bill was just introduced into the Idaho legislature to ban public drag performances. If Ashland ever gets annexed into Greater Idaho, the Greater Idaho (née Oregon) Shakespeare Festival will have cancel performances of Two Gentlemen of Verona, As You Like it, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night and Cymbeline…

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+ The federal prison population under Biden is experiencing a growth spurt, climbing to new highs…(This is what happens when the only mass pardons you issue are for people who aren’t serving time (This is what happens when the only mass pardons you issue are for people who aren’t serving time and continue to aggressively enforce punitive laws for victimless crimes.)

+ In 1980 a Massachusetts man named  Frederick Weichel was convicted of murder, based almost solely on eyewitness testimony that was fabricated by police, while the same Boston and Braintree cops covered up exculpatory evidence that would have proved his innocent. More than 30 years after his conviction, a detective’s report written days after the murder was discovered, which identified another man as the suspect depicted in an eyewitness sketch. This man was a convicted murderer who had been released from prison on furlough hours earlier. In 2017, Weichel’s first-degree murder conviction was overturned and he was released from prison. In 2018, he filed a lawsuit under the Massachusetts erroneous conviction statute, which allows the wrongfully convicted to sue for compensation. This week a  Massachusetts jury ruled in his favor, awarded $33 million to Weichel for his wrongful conviction, one of the highest in US history.

+ Deputies in Tarrant, Texas pepper-sprayed Robert Miller, a black inmate in the local jail, until he gasped: “I can’t breathe.” Miller passed out, his vital signs in distress. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead. The local coroner ruled that his death was the result of natural causes, claiming he suffered a “sickle cell crisis.” But Miller didn’t have sickle cell anemia. The Texas Rangers conducted a superficial investigation that didn’t probe very deeply. Then an investigation by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram unraveled the real circumstances of Miller’s death at the hands of the deputies and the multi-layered cover-up that followed…

+ Despite cries of how police departments have been “defunded,” an investigation by ABC News of 109 police budgets from communities across the country shows that only eight agencies cut police funds by more than 2% and 91 agencies increased law enforcement funding by at least 2%. In 49 cities or counties, police funding has increased by more than 10%. In Los Angeles, renegade LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has made a habit of harping that Angelinos are at risk because of police budget cuts, even though his agency’s budget has increased by $250 million!

+ Last Friday, a Portland cop shot a homeless man named Jeremy Reick. The Portland Police Bureau refused to release the officer’s name. This is the third shooting this year where Portland police have refused to make public the officer’s name, a violation of city policy. This time they didn’t even provide an excuse…

+ Harry Seeders, a Louisville cop, was arrested for sending topless pictures of a former girlfriend to group chat in a case of revenge porn. This happened while he was the subject of a separate criminal proceeding in domestic violence case, where he is alleged to have hit a woman in the mouth and choked her for 30 seconds–a case that was opened while he was on leave for shooting and killing a man during a traffic stop…

+ Officers at a Florida prison broke Craig Ridley’s neck, then manhandled, mocked and ignored him as he lay in a cell unable to move or reach his meals, begging for help. “You ain’t paralyzed,” one officer told him. Ridley died of his injuries.

+ Since 2014,  law enforcement officers have routinely seized more property from American citizens than burglars. Last year police agencies across the US  deposited more than $5 billion into their respective asset forfeiture funds. That same year, according to FBI reports, loses to burglary losses only hit $3.5 billion.

+ Every time you think Ye has hit bottom, he bores closer to the center of the Earth…(Maybe he’ll eventually discover the bones of Arne Saknussemm. Cf, Jules Verne.) Here Ye is slandering George Floyd: “They hit him with the fentanyl. If you look, the guy’s knee (Derek Chauvin’s) wasn’t even on his neck like that.”

+ Ye’s new pal Candace Owen, the rightwing provocateur, said this week that “being a straight white male these days…is exactly like being a black American during segregation.” Back on Planet Earth, the wealth gap between white males and black men is just where it was during segregation: The median wealth of single white men under the age of 35 ($22,640) is 14.6 times greater than that of single Black men ($1,550).

+ Of course, Ye and Owen aren’t that far removed from Tulsi Gabbard who left the Democratic Party in a huff, claiming that the party is “driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue, and stoking anti-white racism…[They] actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in the constitution, and are hostile to people of faith. They demonize the police, protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans. They believe in open borders, and weaponize the National Security State to go after political opponents.” There are many reasons to abandon the Democratic Party, it’s “anti-white racism” isn’t one of them. I always said that a key thing to remember about Gabbard (aside from being in a religious cult) was that she was a military cop and had the mentality of a cop, even when she wasn’t dressing up as one.

+ It’s amazing to me that American blacks–who control less than 3 percent of the wealth of the country–can–according to Gabbard–exert total dominance over the largest political party in the country. And I was silly enough to think the Democrats catered to Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and Lockheed.

+ Well, Tulsi will probably be sitting in Tucker’s chair when he jets off to visit Viktor Orbán. Tucker spent an entire segment these week accusing the meek anchors of MSDNC of trying to instigate a Rwandan-style race war in the US. He took particular aim at Tiffany Cross, who he accused of spreading “blood libels” about white women, who are the “key to reproducing the white race.” MSDNC’s black anchors, Carlson frothed, “can barely speak a coherent sentence.”

+ It’s amazing to me that American blacks–who control less than 3 percent of the wealth of the country–can–according to people like Gabbard and Carlson–exert total dominance over the largest political party in the country. And I was silly enough to think the Democrats catered to Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and Lockheed…

+ Here’s Lara Logan to Eric Bolling on Newsmax: “The open border is Satan’s way of taking control of the world…The ones who want us eating insects, cockroaches, and that while they dine on the blood of children…They’re not going to win.” Logan also claims in the interview that she spoke to someone who had “infiltrated the global cabal at the UN” and copied papers showing they had a plan to “infiltrate 100 million illegal immigrants” to “dilute the pool of patriots” so they could assume control over the US.

+ Logan was formerly a star reporter for 60 Minutes and if you go back and review her dispatches from Iraq, you’ll have to conclude she was just as nuts then. But at that point everyone seemed quite content to dine on the blood of Iraqis.

+ A new report from the Congressional Budget Office on US wealth distribution in 2019 found that the top 1% owned 1/3 of total family wealth; top 10% owned 72%, while the bottom half owned a mere 2%. In some: inequality worsened sharply over the previous three decades.

+ Most people confined to jail (750,000 on any given day in the US) remain eligible to vote, but don’t, largely because (in at least 16 states) voting by absentee ballot is only permitted when a voter claims one of a short list of recognized justifications and being in a jail is not a recognized justification.

+ In this week’s debate against Val Demings, Marco Rubio made a public service announcement on the clear and present danger of… ballot drop boxes: “There’s dangers involved with drop boxes. People need to think about it. Imagine if someone decides, oh there’s a drop box, I’m going to put some explosives in there to blow it up and burn all those ballots and now those votes don’t count…”

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+ Women living in “forced-birth” counties are the least likely to have access to maternal care facilities: 36% of US counties — mostly in the Midwest and South — have no obstetric hospitals or birth centers and no obstetric care providers. They are effectively constitute “maternity care deserts.

+ Mylissa Farmer’s water broke when she was 17 weeks pregnant. As a result, her fetus began to die inside of her, threatening her own life. Farmer lives in Missouri, where abortion has recently been outlawed. After she was refused a life-saving abortion, the woman called  her state senator, Bill White, for help. The senator sent her an anti-abortion clinic.

+ Over in Tennessee, a pregnant woman with spiking blood pressure had to be driven on a six-hour ambulance ride to get an abortion in North Carolina because her home state bans the procedure.

+ Record numbers of out-of-state patients are being treated at abortion clinics in Colorado. How soon before states start taxing abortions the way they do recreational marijuana, creating a budgetary incentive for re-legalization?

+ Nail salon workers are three times more likely to have babies born with birth defects than the general population. Many suffer from chronic miscarriages. I wonder how many nail salon owners will be prosecuted for working conditions that produce “chronic miscarriages” in the post-Roe era…?

+ Abortion is legal in Ethiopia, but more than half of the clinics in the country refuse to provide them. Why? A 50-year-old US law called the Helms Amendment (the international version of the Hyde Amendment), which bans any entities receiving US foreign aid from performing abortions, even when the mother’s life is at risk.

+ Dennis Prager: “There’s no secular argument against adult incest. Brother and sister want to make love, what’s your argument? That they’re going to produce mentally retarded offspring? That’s nonsense. It takes many generations of inbreeding to do that…”

+ Two young incest victims, one of whom is still in middle school, were recently denied abortions in Florida under the state’s 15-week abortion ban and forced to travel two or three states away to get medical care. (Any relation to Dennis Prager?)

+ In hospitals across the US, children’s beds are being replaced by more lucrative adult beds. “Hey, we saved your ass as a fetus, now it’s time to buckle up and fend for yourself, kids…”

+ An Indiana doctor named Matt Keefer, who is running for school board in  Zionsville, a suburb of my hometown Indianapolis, says the Nazis weren’t as bad as they’ve been made out to be: “All Nazis weren’t ‘bad’ as you specify. They did horrible things. They were in a group frenzy…Who is to say if we were both there in the same place and time, that we wouldn’t have done the same thing.”

 

+ Is Pastor Alex 100% sure this is a message from Chemtrail Jesus and not the White Goddess?

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+ The Tampa Bay Times got hold of police body camera footage of  Ron DeSantis’ the made-for-TV voter fraud arrests of former prisoners who the state of Florida itself had registered to vote. The arrestees look stunned and bewildered and even some the cops were apologetic, one saying: “I’ve never seen these charges before in my entire life.

+ Speaking of voter fraud in Florida, DeSantis has made voting easier in several Florida counties ravaged by Hurricane Ian, but only in ones that lean Republican.

+ Despite the media clamoring for blood, the jury in Florida made the right call of life without parole in the Parkland shooter case and a far more honorable decision than the Supreme Court made, which just let stand by a 6-3 margin a death penalty verdict by an all-white Texas jury in the case of Andre Thomas, a black man convicted of killing his white wife, where members of the jury expressed blatantly bigoted and racist views. One juror said interracial marriage is “harmful for the children involved because they do not have a specific race to belong to.” Another “opposed people of different racial backgrounds marrying and/or having children.” Yet another said everyone should “stay with our Blood Line.” The prosecutor tried to stoke the jury’s racial animus, asking them if they would “take the risk” of the Black defendant “asking your daughter out, or your granddaughter out?”

+ The Hippie Pope could start by making his American bishops (who, I realize, may not qualify as “people of goodwill”) adopt this line…

+ These gun rulings are getting wilder and wilder. A West Virginia federal court ruled in USA v. Price that the federal law prohibiting possession of a firearm with a “removed, obliterated, or altered” serial number is unconstitutional because serial numbers didn’t exist in 1791 when the Second Amendment was drafted. By the way, the judge in this case, Joseph R. Goodwin, was appointed to the federal bench by…Bill Clinton.

+ One thing the J6 hearings have made clear is that the difference between the Feds infiltrating radical leftwing and rightwing movements is that they plan to spy on and destroy one and join and amplify the other.

+ Gary Younge on the fall of Liz Truss: “I love to see the Tories in such a terrible mess; much less comfortable with the ‘markets’ becoming the official opposition.”

+ A new video has emerged of Brazilian sleaze bag Jair Bolsonaro talking about “lovely little” Venezuelan girls (“14, 15, 16”) who he falsely accuses of selling their bodies…

+ The Economist in the last 10 days: legalize cocaine, restrict anti-depressants.

+ Korean auto giant Hyundai is planning to sever ties with some parts suppliers after finding exploitative child labor in its supply chain. The suppliers are located in … Alabama.

+ Rosalie Whirlwind Soldier describing the sadistic treatment she and other Native Americans received at the Catholic-run boarding schools they were forced to attend in order to become acculturated into white, Christian-American society: “I thought there was no God, just torture and hatred.

+ One of the funniest episodes in Maggie Haberman’s otherwise dull book is not about Trump, per se, but DiFi and her husband, the SF mogul Richard Blum, who tried to convince HRC to back out of the last debate because Blum had “learned” that Russian intelligence operatives had a plan to coat Trump’s hands with a toxic substance that would poison Hillary after they greeted each other on stage, which sounds like one of the CIA’s loonier schemes to kill Castro. It’s impossible to overestimate the paranoia and stupidity of the people running our government.

+ This is how Haberman explains Trump arriving in Europe and almost immediately praising Hitler for having “done some good things”: “Some people close to Trump speculated that he said it just to get a rise out of his generals.”

+ According to Haberman’s book, Trump couldn’t take a shit in the White House until they changed the toilet seat in the Oval Office bathroom, repulsed to sit where Obama had done his business.

+ Dems closing midterm message: “We bad, they worse.”

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+ Toxic air (the AQI was an LA-esque 156 here in Oregon City when I took this photo of Our Little Mountain around 6:30 am on Thursday) makes for gorgeous sunrises…

+ These surreal skies have been generated by the dense smoke from more than a dozen large fires in western Washington.

+ As a result the air quality in Seattle and Portland has been the worst in the world for the last few days…

+ The view of Seattle looking south from the top of the Space Needle at 9:10 am on Thursday.

+ These temperatures in western Washington last Sunday are as scary as the 116F recorded in August 2021…

New Daily Max Temperature Records

Sea-Tac Airport 88° (old record 72°, 2018)
Olympia 85° (72°, 2002, 1974)
Bellingham 80° (71°, 2018, 2015)

+ Climatologist Eliot Jacobson put those readings in perspective…

 

+ Even with the high temperature 21° cooler on (88° Sunday versus 67° Monday ), it was still a very warm day in Seattle for October 17th. The high of 67° was the 5th warmest October 17th in 78 years.

+ In mid-June the weather pattern shifted from wet/cool to dry/warm in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last 120 days SeaTac recorded a total of 0.54″ of rain, the driest 120 day stretch ever in Seattle. The only other year with a 120 day stretch under 1″ was in 2018 (0.96″).

+ Back East, when it rains, it tends to rain harder and longer. Researchers have documented 4.5 to 5.7 percent increase in average daily rainfall on days when it rained.

+ A new study published in Annual Review of Environment and Resources estimates that under a low warming scenario melting permafrost would release 55 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by the end of the century, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide and methane.

+ Even so, fewer than half of those questioned in a new global poll now believe climate change poses a “very serious threat“…

+ The body of female wolf OR-112, illegally shot in August in the Wallowa Mountains near Halfway, Oregon…She was the 30th wolf illegally killed since wolves returned to Oregon 20 years ago.

Photo: ODFW.

+ Meanwhile, an extremely rare Mexican wolf was shot and killed in New Mexico, prompted ecologist (and frequent CP contributor) Greta Anderson to declare: “When I first heard the news, I was heartbroken, but now I’m just angry. Anyone who kills a collared wolf is either an inept coyote hunter or a sick human being.”

+ After George W. Bush gave a Master Class in presidential leadership, it was inevitable that someone would offer one (at a price of $447 to learn “every skill you need in the wolf game”) in the mass killings of wolves. The instructor, who posed in an ad for the class with a rifle and the bodies of five recently slaughtered wolves, boasts: “I have to kill many to have an effect.”

+ In the early 1990s, the Alaska crab fishery hauled in more than 300 million pounds of snow crab a year. As a consequence of overfishing and warming waters, this year’s harvest of snow crab has shrunk to just 5.6 million pounds, down another 90% from last year’s level.

+ The rush is on for “renewable” energy minerals. More than 1,200 mining claims for lithium and uranium have been filed with the Bureau of Land Management in southeastern Utah’s San Juan and Grand Counties alone over the past 12 months.

+ The descriptions in David Quammen’s new book on the coronavirus (Breathless) of infected pangolins captured in the wild by the thousands each month & brought to wet markets wheezing, coughing & yes crying in their cages are gut-wrenching enough to make one think the virus was engineered by Nature as a kind of retribution

+ Greg Popovich (so much more than a basketball coach, even though he’s a great one): “Columbus initiated a new world genocide of Indigenous people. He murdered. He mutilated. He took slaves. And we honor him with Columbus Day? Are we that backwards?”

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+ Lovely Steggie the “most grotesque animal of 1912?” Weren’t Wilson, Taft and Teddy Roosevelt all running for president that year? She surely ranked well behind that hideous threesome…

+ Adam Curtis on his new film: “I’ve just made TraumaZone, a series of films about another time when that was happening. It was in Russia in the 1990s after communism collapsed. Those in charge began an experiment to create an extreme form of capitalism. I made it because I don’t think we in the west understand what the Russians went through: a cataclysm that tore apart the foundations of society.”

+ During oral arguments in the Prince Estate vs. Warhol Estate, the Supremes engaged in a colloquy over the music of Prince…

Justice Thomas: “Let’s say I was a Prince fan. Which I was in the 80s…”

Justice Kagan: “No longer?”

+ I’m deeply comforted by the revelation from his letters that John le Carré, perhaps the greatest English novelist of the 20th Century, was an atrocious speller

+ In a review of the new film version of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a Washington Post writer referred to Remarque’s seminal text as “a German’s grim view of World War I.” Where, pray tell,  does one turn for the “happy” view of WW I, the annual reports of Dow Chemical and the other companies who supplied the poison gas?

+ Angela Lansbury was a socialist and the daughter of the Communist Mayor of Poplar (a borough of London), Edgar Lansbury, and the granddaughter of the socialist head of the Labour party in the 30’s, George Lansbury….

+ In September, 1987, Angela Lansbury headlined a show at the Chicago Theater with 2,400 people to raise money for AIDS research. It was the first major AIDS benefit in Chicago, and it raised more than $1 million.

+ As the producer Murder She Wrote, Lansbury made it a practice to hire guest actors of from the golden age who had aged out of the game because it allowed them to earn the union points they needed for health insurance and pensions…

+ The fact that the Houston Astros, an organization that engaged in systemic cheating, are allowed to play in the playoffs (or at all) and Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are exiled from the Hall of Fame pretty much explains the hypocrisies gnawing away at MLB.

We Didn’t Do Too Much Talking Anyway…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs
Greil Marcus
(Yale)

Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump and the Corruption of Justice
David Enrich
(HarperCollins)

The Evolution of Charles Darwin: The Epic Voyage of the Beagle That Forever Changed Our View of Life on Earth
Diana Preston
(Atlantic Monthly Press)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Empire Central
Snarky Puppy
(GroundUP)

Morfo
Charlotte Dos Santos
(Because Music)

John Sinclair Presents: Detroit Artists Workshop
Various Artists
(Strut)

We Can’t Even Do That Now

“We went up to San Francisco. I think we were the last of the Bohemians. Right after that we had the Beatniks­–you know, time was a-changin’. Same thing, just called something else. We’d finish our play, and we’d go to the joint–and people would sit around playing guitars, and singing songs. It felt like home…Folk songs were the anger, the venom, the hatred of myself and everybody else, and everything else. I could get my rocks off with those work songs and things, without having to say: I hate you, and I hate me, and, well, we can’t even do that now.” (Odetta, as quoted in Greil Marcus’ Folk Music)

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