Roaming Charges: The Man Who Came Out of the Darkness

“Short stacking.” Drawing by Abu Zubaydah.

Malcolm would laugh at the very idea of American shock and outrage over pictures of tortured Iraqis. Beyond the forced, fake apologies and attempts to scapegoat the “trailer park crowd” or the “six morons who lost the war,” as some in the Pentagon have described the initial group of soldiers charged with abusing Iraqi citizens, Malcolm would remind us that the real America is Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s America, where it is outraged by the outrage over the torture of those “sand niggers.”

– Kevin Alexander Gray, “If Malcolm Were Alive

In 1996, Majid Khan moved with his family from Pakistan to Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. Two years later, the Khan family was granted political asylum and given permanent residence in the US. Majid graduated from nearby Owings Mills High School, worked at his dad’s gas station, dated girls, smoked pot, played video games and got a job at the telecom company that managed the Pentagon’s phone system.

Then in 2001 his mom died, the Towers came down and his life spiraled out of control. He moved to Pakistan, became a courier for Al Qaeda, got captured by Pakistani security, was turned over to the CIA and renditioned to a black site for what the Agency coyly called “enhanced interrogation.”

Majid was 23-years-old when he entered the black hole of the US secret detention system. He wouldn’t emerge until last month when he was released from Guantanamo and sent to Belize.

While in the custody of the CIA, Majid was berated, waterboarded, physically and sexually abused, subjected to sleep deprivation and humiliation, starved and force fed, isolated, denied the opportunity to pray, and inflicted with rectal hydrations that his attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights called “anal rapes.”

This torture, there’s no other word for it, went on for years, long after Majid posed any kind of threat to anyone but himself. Why? Majid says he told his interrogators the truth from the beginning, anxious to get what he knew off his chest. He answered their questions, told the interrogators how he’d been recruited largely through GTMO videos, and described how he transported the money used to fund the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August 2003.

None of these admissions satisfied his torturers. With each session, the abuse only escalated. “The more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” Majid later said at his tribunal.

Majid was held in a dark cell, under dungeon-like conditions. He was stripped and kept naked for weeks at a time. He was often shackled, his arms twisted and chained. He would be doused with icy water and left shivering in his cell, blanketless. He was repeatedly waterboarded, nearly to the point of drowning.

To stop the torture, Khan began to invent stories, more and more fanciful, that he thought might satisfy his torturers. “I lied to make the abuse stop,” he said.

But the abuse didn’t stop. When the interrogators ran out of questions, they put Majid into isolation. He reached a breaking point and went on a hunger strike to protest the inhumane conditions at the black site, they began to force feed him. First by placing plastic tubes up his nose and down his throat so that they could pump liquid into his stomach. When Majid bit off the tubes, his torturers switched to a new, more aggressive technique “without unnecessary conversation.” Translation: Rectal feeding without consent. Majid’s daily lunch menu of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was pureed and infused up his anus. This was followed by infusions of Ensure, at least twice a day, for weeks at a time.

Over the course of his detention, Majid was moved from one secret prison to another. Before one rendition flight, Majid was given an enema and then placed in a diaper that was duct-taped to his body so that his guards wouldn’t have to take him to the bathroom. His eyes were also duct-taped shut and his eye-lashes and brows ripped out when the tape was torn off.

The torture exacted its toll, physically and psychologically. Majid developed chronic hemorrhoids,  anal fissures and a prolapsed rectum. He slipped into depression. He was wracked with nightmares and hallucinations.

For years, Majid was kept in a perilous state that not even Kafka could dramatize. He was tortured when he refused to eat. He was tortured when he refused to drink. He was tortured when he struggled to survive and when he wanted to die. Majid attempted suicide six times. He sliced his wrists twice. He cut a vein in his foot. He jabbed a filed toothbrush into his arm. He tried to bite through a vein in his elbow.

The medics patched him up and sent him back into conditions that would make anyone contemplate suicide. They saved his life against his will so that they could take him to the brink of death, again and again.

Majid wasn’t tortured for information. He wasn’t tortured for names or account numbers. He’d long ago surrendered, willingly, all he knew. Majid Khan was tortured for behavior control. Whatever that behavior was. He was tortured when he complied and when he resisted. He was tortured for asserting any act of self-will. The point–if by the end there was a point beyond sating the power lust of his torturers–was to annihilate his personality, his own sense of himself. But here the CIA failed.

When Majid stepped off the plane that took him from the moral darkness of Gitmo to Belize, he was not a broken man. He was older. He had less hair. His body and mind were scarred. But he was fully aware of where he’d been, what he’d been through and who put him through it. Few have endured what Majid endured. Even fewer have survived to describe their torture to the agencies that inflicted it. Majid Khan’s existence is a final repudiation of a government that turned sadism into policy.


+ It took three of the NYT’s current star reporters 23 paragraphs to mention the proximal reason for their big non-story: the paper’s own former star reporter Seymour Hersh’s piece from a full month ago alleging the US blew up the Nordstream pipelines with help from the Norwegians. This, I guess, serves as Langley’s counter-narrative: the Ukrainians did it, though not Zelensky’s Ukrainians, but some as-yet-unidentified band of deep-sea diving, plastique-planting saboteurs. On their own. With no help from anyone who matters, not even Andres Malm, author of How to Blow Up a Pipeline.

+ At least Hersh’s story had one anonymous source and a narrative to go along with it. This is one of the flimsiest bits of reporting I’ve seen in years. In fact, it barely counts as “reporting”. Yet it lands at the top of the NYT homepage.

+ You’d’ve thought they’d have come up with something a little more convincing than this…Whatever happened to  the Agency’s Mighty Wurlitzer?

+ Judith Miller wrote much better stories with vivid metaphors like not wanting “the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” She had sources with cool codenames like Curveball. If we’re going to have the CIA “planting stories in the press” I, for one, want better stories with more action and suspense.

+ What version of the Nordstream bombing plot will the Washington Post come up with? Will Woodward tap his source in Naval Intelligence? How about Ignatius and his NSA snoops at Ft Meade? Too bad Walter Pincus, who’d done time at Langley, isn’t still around. The pressure’s on.

+ We only had to wait a few hours to find out. Instead of Woodward and Ignatius, the Post turned to two of its Russiagate veterans Shane Harris and Greg Miller, who tracked down a “senior Western security official” (read: NATO) to point the finger at the agreed upon scapegoat: pro-Ukrainian “partisans.” The Post’s story is hardly convincing. Its own sources say they have “low confidence” in the theory. It alleges that Western intelligence had received “signals” that a sabotage operation was discussed or considered, but only stumbled upon the incriminating signals well after the explosions.

+ The Washington Post team should get some kind of award at this year’s Pulitzer’s for managing to write 1500 uninformative and often contradictory words on the Nordstream pipeline bombings without once mentioning the troublesome name of “Hersh.” Congratulations!

+ A Ukrainian sabotage of the pipeline isn’t an “implausible” scenario. After all, they did bomb the Crimean bridge and apparently manage to kill Alexander Dugin’s daughter, thinking they might knock off the Putin Whisperer himself. Frankly that’s the way I thought the war would go, instead of the pitched battles that have been playing out for the last year. But there’s embarrassingly little evidence for it, in either the Times or the Post’s stories.

+ Can you get any more obsequious? And to Jim Jordan of all people!

+ Speaking of the dilapidated state of the American press, Why are reporters, if that’s what Matt Taibbi still is, testifying before Congress, regardless of the story they’re telling? Doesn’t the work–for better or worse–speak for itself? Didn’t Matt learn anything from Christopher Hitchens’ disgraceful, snitch-like testimony during the Clinton impeachment trial?

+ I think it’s a pretty sound rule that journalists should at all costs avoid testifying before Congress. Their stories can always be entered into the Congressional Record and what more could they add, except how they came by their information, which in many cases is privileged. Should Congress be able to subpoena Sy Hersh and interrogate him over who his sources are? Should he be jailed if he refused to reveal them? Let the stories speak for themselves. If there’s more to the story, then write it up.

+ Why what goes around never seems to fully come around: the Pentagon is blocking the U.S. from sharing evidence on Russian atrocities in Ukraine with the International Criminal Court. Military leaders fear setting a precedent that might finally clear the way for it to prosecute Americans.

+ Only 56 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the House voted this week to end the U.S. military’s senseless role in the Syrian Civil War.


+ The return of Crime Bill Joe: The Biden administration is defending rules that let judges increase sentences based on alleged crimes even if a jury found the accused not-guilty of that conduct.

+ During his presidential campaign Biden vowed to cut the federal prison population in half. Now in a little more than two years, there are more than6,000 more people in federal prisons than when Biden took office.

+ Consider that this tough-on-crime grandstanding by Biden comes almost a year to the day after a Pittsburgh man named  Gerald Thomas was berated by Judge Anthony Mariani and sent to the Allegheny County Jail after charges against him were dropped. “I have to put you in the cage, lasso you, corral you, stuff you, because you won’t quit,” the Judge barked. Thomas died inside 17 days later.

+ Footage out of Atlanta from last Sunday show the police arresting arresting a clearly marked legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild at the Stop Cop City protests. Thomas Jurgens, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, is now facing domestic terror charges.

+ After aggressively attacking the police reform bill passed by DC (which Biden, joining congressional Republicans, has vowed to kill) the Washington Post was forced to run this correction:

+ In fact, violent crime in Washington, DC. is lower than it’s been since at least 1985.

+ The penalty for carjacking under DC’s “Revised Criminal Code Act” (which Joe Manchin denounced as “an absolutely crazy crime law”) is 12-24 years. In Steve Scalise’s Louisiana, the penalty is far more lenient, starting at just 2 years, and tops out at 20.

+ It’s the same story in NYC, despite Eric Adams’ demand that people drop their Covid masks before entering shops, stores and restaurants to combat retail theft: “And when you see these mask wearing people, oftentimes it’s not about being fearful of the pandemic. It’s fearful of the police catching [them] for their deeds.”

+ The NYC crime stats published last week show 4,276 shoplifting complaints filed last month down from 4,757 in February 2021.

+ Ditto with murders…

NYC murders in 1989: 2,246
NYC murders in 2022: 433

+ Nationally, you’re still 8 times more likely to die of Covid than from a homicide.

+ According to the US Justice Department’s post-Breonna Taylor investigation of the Louisville Police Department, the cops there routinely use excessive force, invalid warrants and discriminatory stops. Some officers have videotaped themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars; insulted people with disabilities; and called Black people “monkeys,” “animal,” and “boy.” Hardly surprising. But what are they going to do about? Give them more money?

+ One particularly graphic episode disclosed in the DoJ report describes how a Louisville cop urged his dog attack a 14-year-old Black kid who was not resisting. While the dog “gnawed'”on the teen’s arm, the officer blurted, “Stop fighting my dog.”

+ Just a couple of weeks before the DoJ report came out, a Louisville cop “accidentally” shot two unarmed teenagers.

+ So much training, so many “accidents”…

+ A new study finds that police departments which focused on generating revenue through fine and fees have killed more people than those that didn’t.

+ According to a story in Business Insider, both Google and Facebook are handing over user data to help police track women seeking abortions.

+ The Idaho House passed a bill on Tuesday that would criminalize people who help teens get abortions out of state, even their own parents. One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Barbara Ehardt, compared helping teens get abortions to human trafficking.

+ A Rikers prison guard has won a $125,000 settlement over allegations that her colleagues spread false rumors she was transgender and left her alone during a brutal attack from inmates.

+ What it takes to cancel an execution in Texas: A Texas court just called off the scheduled execution of Andre Thomas, the death row prisoner so mentally disturbed that he ripped out both his eyes and ate one…

+ A University of Massachusetts cop resigned from the force after sexually assaulting a student and was later hired by a neighboring town’s police department to be their…sex crimes investigator.

+ Ten years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama, where the court ruled it was unconstitutional to impose a life-without-parole sentence for a child under age 18 without considering the unique status of children and their potential for change, the state of Louisiana released from prison 109 juveniles previously sentenced to life in prison.  Of the 109 released from prison, zero have returned.

+ In a rare win for free speech advocates, a Knoxville, Tennessee jury acquitted police reform activist Nzinga Bayano Amani of a charge of blocking a squad car while he led a demonstration demanding police accountability after a cop shot and killed a 17-year-old student in a high school bathroom.

+ Bill Kunstler: “I cannot regard someone like John Gotti as more evil than someone in George Bush’s position. I must confess to a slight romantic attraction to the folk-hero quality I see in them. Here’s to crime!”


More Rupert Murdoch from the Dominion v. FoxNews deposition…

+ On Maria Bartiromo’s morning show: “It has zero audience.”

+ On Trump’s mental condition…

Q. “You have called Mr. Trump ‘plain bonkers’?”

A. “I’m sure.”

Q. “You have called him ‘unable to express his egomania’?”

A. “Unable to suppress it.”

Q. “You have said he is mad, maybe clinically?”

A. “I might have.”

Q. “You’ve called him nuts, a couple of times?”

A. “I call a lot of people nuts, yes.”

Q. “You agree that the Republican Party is destroying itself on the altar of Trump?”

A. “Yes.”

Q. “You thought he was an over-the-top braggart?”

A. “Yes.”

+ On Rudy Giuliani…

“I have known Mr. Giuliani for 20 years when he was a very good mayor of New York, but it has all been downhill since.”

+ Like Hillary Clinton, Tucker Carlson has one position in public and an opposite position in private.

+ Like Tucker’s audience, Hillary Clinton’s voters didn’t care what she really believed–even after they read it in her speeches to Goldman Sachs–only what she told them she believed because it affirmed their own political fantasies.

+ 70,000: current estimate of the homeless population of Los Angeles County.

+ No country hates its teenagers quite like America…

+ Across the country, the number of teachers quitting their positions has continued to spike. Between 2021 and 2022, Maryland lost 11.2% of its teachers, Louisiana 13.9%, North Carolina 15.6% and Washington state 12%.

+ A new bill in Florida (SB 254) would not only give the state the authority to seize trans-identifying children from parents if they receive treatment for gender dysphoria, but to seize kids if they are merely “at risk” of receiving such treatment.

+ Even after doctors told Amanda Zurawski they couldn’t save her daughter, she was denied an abortion under the new ban in Texas. Zurawski told Chris Hayes this week: “We just had to wait for one of those things to happen: for her heart to stop beating, or for me to get sick. In my case, I became septic.”

+ The Texas abortion ban imposes a 99-year prison sentence on a doctor who terminates a pregnancy before the patient is at imminent risk of certain death—or permanent, catastrophic impairment of a “major bodily function”. The doctors may also be sued for damages. The state has even established a hotline for snitching.

+ Any day now Trump-appointed federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk could issue a nationwide ban on mifepristone, a key drug used in abortion pills. One of the lead attorneys in the lawsuit is Erin Hawley, wife of Sen. Josh Hawley. Erin Hawley is yet another menacing product of Yale Law School. Kacsmaryk donated $500 to Josh Hawley’s campaign back in 2018.

+ $8 million: the amount Rudy Giuliani made in 2oo2 from speaking fees alone, according to Andrew Kirtzman’s new biography, The Rise and Fall of America’s Mayor. He’s now reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy.

+ According to The Economist, since the start of the pandemic Russia has lost around 2 million more people than it would ordinarily have done, as a result of war, COVID and emigration. The life expectancy of Russian males aged 15 has fallen by almost five years, down to the same level as in Haiti.

+ In December 2022, England had the most infectious disease medications prescribed per capita since 2014. The amount of Amoxicillin prescribed equaled the worst month on record.

+ Norway spends $29,726 per child per year on early childhood care, 60 times as much as the US ($500).

+ Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law this week a bill that rolls back large portions of the state’s child labor protections. The measure eliminates requirements for the state to verify the age of children under 16 before they take a job. They want to groom your kids for working in sweatshops and slaughterhouses…

+ When you’ve lost Newt Gingrich…well, maybe you just don’t give a shit about what  Newt Gingrich says anymore…

+ Lawmakers in Kansas are pushing a bill that would encourage employers to keep paying disabled workers less than the minimum wage.

+ It’s stranger than you think out there…

+ A consultant who had a contract with the New York Times to advise the paper’s editors and writers on gender and diversity issues told the Daily Beast “I believe they’re using trans people as a political pawn to maintain a centrist reputation to keep from being seen as too liberal of a paper.”

+ It turns out that “woke” is more popular than the GOP thinks, even among its own members. According to a new poll only 39% of Americans–and just 56% of Republicans–understand “woke” in a pejorative sense. Despite the endless barrage of attacks on “wokeness,” most Americans  understand the term to mean “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices.”

+ Greg Grandin: “Democrats are going to read this poll and immediately start a coordinated campaign denouncing Woke, in the hope of stealing a losing issue from the Republicans.”

+ Great ad, though, given Gov. Lee’s record, it may inadvertently make the case for banning drag…

+ After the same day Gov. Lee signed two pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation, a sign featuring a swastika appeared in Nashville with text thanking Lee for “tirelessly working to fight trannies and fags”–a tribute which the governor has yet to denounce.


+ It turns out that Katie Porter, that heroine of progressive Democrats, is to the right of Thomas Friedman when it comes to Israel. As tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the Netanyahu government’s gutting of the country’s legal system, Porter, who has urged other Democrats to visit Israel, came away from a meeting with Bibi feeling “extremely impressed.” Tell it to the family of Shireen Abu Akleh.

+ According to a piece in Haaretz this week, Israel has sold billions of dollars worth of weapons  to Azerbaijan in return for oil supplies and access to Iran: “Azerbaijan even has prepared an airfield intended to aid Israel in case it decides to attack Iranian nuclear sites.”

+ According to a study conducted by Stanford researchers, 80% of American Jews of color say they have encountered racism in American Jewish spaces; two-thirds say they’d been asked questions about their race or ethnicity that made them feel uncomfortable.

+ The Matia Transit Camp in Lower Assam is India’s largest detention center. It presently holds 69 “foreigners,” along with more than 300 people arrested as part of the state’s crackdown on child marriage. The conditions inside the prison are dire. One detainee said: “It is better to die than live with no hope.”

+ Arundhati Roy: “If India is buying a fleet of fighter planes from, say, France, it knows that lynching & a little mass murder will, at most, get a delicate finger-wag. A big market is excellent insurance against moral censure.” –

+ Since launching its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has made more than $315 billion from global fossil fuel exports. Nearly half of those revenues ($149 billion) came from EU nations. On the other hand, two years ago Germany imported more than 60% of the gas it consumed from Russia. Since late August 2022, when Russia halted flows through Nordstream I, it has been 0%.

+ The demand for coal in the UK in 2022 was at its lowest since 1757 when George II was king and Russia and Austria had allied against Prussia in the 7 Year War.

+ Since Brexit, business investment in the US has increased by 24%. Meanwhile, the UK has lost £29 billion in business investment over the same period.

+ The number of children in the UK in food poverty has almost doubled in the last year. It now stands at around four million kids.

+ Spending on pet health care in the US is increasing as fast, and in some places even faster, than spending on human.


+ A new study on food consumption and climate in Nature found that global food consumption alone could add nearly 1°C of warming by 2100. Nearly 60% of the increase is due to methane emissions.

+ In 1997 world leaders gathered in Kyoto and agreed to an 18%  cut in CO2 emissions by 2020. In the host country of Japan, CO2 emissions have fallen by only 4%.

+ Extreme rainfall events are likely to quadruple by 2080, according to a new report released by London’s Met Office. For every degree of regional warming, the report estimates, the intensity of extreme downpours could also increase by 5-15%.

+ Between 2001-2010, monthly extreme heat events that would be expected to occur once every 1,000 years (a 0.1% chance in a given year) were now occurring once every 20 years—an increase by a factor of 50 over the previous three decades.

+ The primary driving force behind natural gas demand in the US is…exports, largely to Mexico, where rising exports have been greater than the increase in demand from domestic power generation in the past decade.

+ India currently consumes about six times as much energy as the UK, but given its population sizes that only equates to enough power to light two electric light bulbs per day per person. In order for India to reach US levels of energy consumption, its energy production will have to increase by another 10 times.

+ The US shale oil boom seems to have peaked, as the big producers have drilled out their most productive wells.

+ During the Black Summer of 2019/2020, the dense smoke from the Australian bush fires caused a chemical reaction in the atmosphere that widened the ozone hole by 10 percent. According to John Valliant’s recent book Fire by Weather, the bushfires also “generated a Texas-sized carbon ‘balloon’ that drifted around the Southern Hemisphere, en masse, for three months, covering 40,000 miles.”

+ The 22 million 22 million citizens of Mali each use less electric power in an entire year than the average European uses to boil just one kettle of tea.

+ A new paper argues that climate change is occurring so rapidly that it will overwhelm wildlife species’ ability to move to suitable new habitats, even if those habitats are connected by wildlife corridors and core areas.

+ Around 88,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors remain “stranded” at reactor sites, and it’s continuing to pile at a rate of 2,000 metric tons every year.

+ A recent study found that if all the drivers of S.U.V.s in the U.S. during the decade  between 2000 and 2019 had been driving cars instead, more than 3,000 pedestrian deaths would have been avoided.

+ There are two billion parking spots in the US,  nearly seven for every car. In some American cities, as much as 14% of land area is paved over for places to park cars.

+ Boston and New York City are 215 miles apart, yet the cities are served by served by 100 more flights than trains.

+ With temperatures in the mid-70s, spring has arrived 22 days early in Indianapolis this year.

+ Race is more of a predictor of air pollution exposure than income level, researchers have found.

+ A 15-year-long study in a relatively undisturbed forest in northern Georgia found the populations of bees shrank 62.5% and those of butterflies dropped 57.6% between 2007 and 2022.  The number bee species also fell by 39%. Those species with above ground nests were the most vulnerable.

+ The amount of plastic in the world’s oceans has now surpassed 170 trillion particles. That works out to about 21,000 bits of plastic in the ocean for every person on Earth. And the amount is doubling every six years.

+ The levels of PFAS “forever” chemicals in UK fish are so high that eating fish twice a year exceeds the recommended safety allowance set by the European Food Safety Authority.

+ So far, more than 58 million farmed birds have died of the bird flu across 47 states.

+ At least, 3,500 sea lions in Peru have died of H5N1 bird flu in the last few weeks, nearly 5 times as many as previously reported.

+ Montana is rushing to clean up the remains of slaughtered bison along the road into Yellowstone before the spring tourists show up…

+ This might be the moment to send a few bucks to the Alliance for the Wild Rockies so they can put up more of these billboards across Montana to remind people what’s really going when the tour busses aren’t running…


+ With all of the huffing and puffing about the bowdlerization of Roald Dahl’s novels, it’s been overlooked that Dahl himself rewrote portions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to make his descriptions of the Oompa-Loompas less offensive. He also had the illustrations changed.

+ A new study in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that people “focused on the present” who do not like to “postpone things” are more likely to engage in excessive sexual behaviors (hypersexuality) and problematic pornography use. Problematic?

+ Joan Crawford: “One of the scary things is the effects a really heavy or demanding role will have on your personal life. During ‘The Women,’ I’m afraid I was as much of a bitch offscreen as I was on. I always wondered how Charlton Heston acted offscreen while he was playing Moses.”

+ Apparently there’s a new field of research called “organoid intelligence,” where the labcoats are “teaching” clumps of human brain cells in a dish how to play video games.

+ When Steely Dan hired Wayne Shorter for 30 minutes of work that transformed Aja into something more than it had any right to be…

+ Lena Horne: “I disconnected myself to shield myself from people who would sway to my songs in the club and call me ‘nigger’ in the street. They were too busy seeing their own preconceived image of a Negro woman. The image that I chose to give them was of a woman who they could not reach and therefore can’t hurt.”

Take Away the Pain of Knowing

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable
Joanna Schwartz

Masters of the Lost Land: the Untold Story of the Fight to Own the Amazon
Heriberto Araujo
(Mariner Books)

Cary Grant’s Suit: Nine Movies That Made Me the Wreck I am Today
Todd McEwen

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

I Don’t Know a Thing About Love: the Songs of Harlan Howard
Willie Nelson
(Sony Legacy)

Kendrick Scott
(Blue Note)

Metropolis Metropolis
Jeff Mills

All Aimed at Black People

“Late in the evening on the 4th of July I went outside to sit on the front porch.  I was drinking a little rum, puffing on a birthday joint, just thinking about things.  Things like the George Zimmerman trial, “creepy-ass cracker(s),” the n-word, the announced death of the Voting Rights Act, the split decision on affirmative action, Paula Deen,  politicians talking about building a higher, longer wall on the border with Mexico and sending a “surge” of 20 or  30 thousand additional troops to guard it– no talk about a northern surge–the black unemployment rate continuing to rise and what it was doing to those around me. Just a host of things.  It all seemed bad.  Just a ton of bullshit, poison and ill will, all aimed at black people and people of color in the “colorblind,” post-racial” “new normal.”” (Kevin Alexander Gray, “What It Feels Like to be Black in America“)


Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3