Roaming Charges: Political Crying Games

Barn, Naselle, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ Is AIPAC obsolete? It seems clear the political obedience to Israel on the Hill has been fully internalized by both parties with the occasional heterodoxical strays being severely disciplined from the inside before the Israel lobby can even crank out a press release. Last week we were presented with a perfect example of how this dynamic plays out. During a panel discussion at the NetRoots conference, progressive caucus chair Pramila Jayapal called Israel “a racist state.”  Her remarks would be unremarkable, anywhere but here, where they set off a political alarm system that blared across the continent. Jayapal’s diagnosis is, of course, something Israelis, including Israeli Jews, say about their own country nearly every day. Indeed, they could have read the speeches of Benjamin Netanyahu himself, who declared: “Israel is not a state of all its citizens but rather, the nation state of the Jewish people and only them.” Or listen to Netanyahu’s rival, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who says that the current government is “determined to degrade Israel into a corrupt and racist dictatorship that will crumble society.”

But such awareness wasn’t never the political point and so the roof quickly collapsed on the Congresswoman from Seattle. First she was condemned by the Republicans, then by her own cowardly party, whose members, some of them in the leadership, denounced her comments as “unacceptable,” “dangerous,” and, of course, “anti-Semitic.” Never mind that Jayapal’s characterization of Israel was deeply rooted in facts, backed by independent assessments from the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Hammered into submission, Jayapal duly backed down, issued an apology and retracted her statement: “I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist.”

But no apology, no matter how abject, will ever suffice. And within hours, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had prepared a Congressional Resolution asserting that Israel is “not racist or an apartheid state” and that “the United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.” Always! A day later, 195 Democrats, including Jayapal, voted for it. Only 9 had the fortitude to vote no on this pledge of eternal support for the Apartheid state: AOC, Andre Carson, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Delia Ramirez, Ilhan, Jamal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib and Summer Lee. The Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum voted “present.” The next day Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed the US Congress, affirming the “sacred bond” between, if not the two countries, at least their governments. So there you have it. The conformity in Congress is near total in a year when two Palestinian-American citizens had been killed by the IDF, which only made the impulse to indemnify Israel all the more urgent.

+ To rephrase Claud Cockburn’s old adage: Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied in a Congressional Resolution.

+ How many Palestinian deaths do you have to be complicit in to prove you’re not an anti-Semite? (Asking for a congressional staffer)

+ In testimony before the Knesset, the military commander of occupied Palestinian territories confirmed that 95% of Palestinian construction permit applications in Area C of the West Bank (home to 350,000 Palestinians) are rejected by Israeli authorities for political reasons, while given a spatial planning rationale. At the same time, 70% of settlers’ construction permit applications are approved, for similarly political reasons.

+ Attacks by IDF soldiers on Palestinian medics, and interference with their access to the wounded, have more than quadrupled in the first half of 2023, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The group said it recorded 193 incidents through June, an increase of 47 cases over the same period last year. As a consequence, many medics in the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem are being supplied with helmets and bulletproof vests.

+ The congress seems increasingly out of synch with the US population on the Middle East. What’s new. According to a new poll from the University of Michigan, around 75 percent of Americans, including 80% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans, would choose a democratic Israel that’s no longer Jewish, over a Jewish Israel without full citizenship and equality for non-Jews living under its authority.

+ Cornel West: “The U.S. Congressional Resolution on Israel is a sham! The painful truth is that the Israeli state – like the USA – has been racist in practice since its inception. The founding of the Jewish state in response to the indescribable evil of the Holocaust against Jewish humanity produced dispossession and domination of Palestinian peoples. This sad paradox of how a terrorized and traumatized people for two thousand years – precious Jewish people – reproduced terror and trauma for precious Palestinian people in the last seventy-five years reveals our human wretchedness. Massive denial of undeniable evil numbs us to the suffering of others and justifies naked power over the vulnerable. The courageous and compassionate human acknowledgment and resistance to any form of racism and domination is our only hope. The two-state solution has been undercut by hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers. A call for Palestinian dignity and justice and Jewish security and safety in a secular federated state with UN oversight is our best option!”

+West still seems to hold out hope for a two-state solution. But those days are long gone, if they ever really existed. There can be only one state with equal rights for all, including the right of return for displaced Palestinians.

+ Sanders on skipping Israel President Isaac Herzog’s speech to Congress: “It’s no great secret that I strongly oppose the policies of Israel’s right wing, anti-Palestinian government. We provide them with $3.8 billion in aid. We have a right to demand they respect human rights.”

+ Here’s RFK, Jr.’s “advisor” on Israel/Palestine issues, Mort Klein, attacking Benjamin Netanyahu for agreeing to request from Biden that he restrain the pace of Israeli settlements (illegal under international law) in the West Bank and East Jerusalem: “Any freeze on Jewish building is unconscionable antisemitic discrimination.” Klein also said he was “dismayed” that Netanyahu agreed to “limiting desperately needed democratic judicial reforms.”

+ Jr. seems to have taken Klein’s message to heart…

+ Here’s RFK Jr. in his testimony before Jim Jordan’s House “Weaponization” Committee: “I’m more pro-Israel than my Jewish Democrat critics.” Translation: “Anti-Zionist American Jews are the real anti-semites, not me!”

+ Kennedy is now on record as being to the right of Biden (and perhaps even Netanyahu himself) on Israel’s impunity from international law, treaties and crimes against humanity. Not surprising since his father’s fervent support for supplying Israel with F-4 Phantom fighter jets lit Sirhan’s fuse…

+ Can you enumerate those values for us, Nikki? Would they include: rendition, torture, detention without trial, ethnic, religious and racial segregation, invasions, assassinations, flouting of international laws, threatening the world with its stockpile of nuclear weapons?

+ It’s now illegal to raise the Palestinian flag on Israeli campuses, where Palestinian students comprise up to 40% from the student body. It’s currently the flag of 20% of Israeli citizens, and millions under military control and refugees.


+ By Thursday of this week, the planet had experienced 18 consecutive days with global temperatures hotter than any prior days on record.

+ To date, the North Atlantic Ocean has warmed in one year by about the same amount as during the past 15 years, which was already a record period of warming. In fact, the current temperatures in the North Atlantic are as far above the previous record high as the previous record high was above the average high.

+ Sanbao, China, which is located at a latitude of 43N, hit 51.7C last weekend, smashing the previous Chinese national record by a full 1C ! China had five weather stations recording temperatures above 50C.  Sanbao’s 51.7 is also a new world record for any location north of 40N latitude.

+ According to data collected by NOAA from the 50 largest cities in the US, the heatwave season is 49 days longer now than it was in the 1960s.

+ Matthew Huber, a paleo-climatologist at Purdue University: “We are pushing temperatures up to Pliocene levels, which is outside the realm of human experience; it’s such a massive change that most things on Earth haven’t had to deal with it.”

+ One July 17, the Earth experienced one of its hottest nights ever. At 1 am in morning the temperature in Death Valley was 120°F, before slowly falling to 105°F at 7 am, when it began to rise again before topping out at 126F.

+ In Phoenix, America’s fastest growing city, which has now undergone 20 consecutive days with temperatures reaching 110F or higher, 85 people have suffered severe burns from contact with pavements heated up to 180F (82C), 7 of those people died. In total, at least 257 people had underlying cause of death listed as “exposure to excessive natural heat”.

+ More from excellent piece by John Burn-Murdoch in the Financial Times: “Between 1970 and 1990, an average of 16 people per year died in Arizona from ‘exposure to excessive natural heat.’ Between 1990 and 2015, the average rose to 38. In 2020 it was 210, and 2022 came in at 257.”

+ When the solution to the heat problem is fueling the heat problem: The U.S. is poised to burn a record amount of natural gas this summer to produce enough electricity to power the air conditioners needed to keep people safe from extreme heat.

+ The heat waves in the US are causing electric cars to loss a third of their range. So much for that quick fix…

+ Riders in the Tour de France had to wear “ice-vests” to keep from collapsing from heat stroke.

+ FEMA is nearly out of money and the hurricane season hasn’t powered up yet.

+ The new medical protocols for heat-stressed cities include doctors writing prescriptions for air conditioning and immersive cooling of patients in a “body bag filled with ice and zipped to about shoulder level.”

+ Canadian wildfires have now burned more than 10 million hectares of forest, about 10 times the amount of any year since 2016 and we’re not even halfway through the fire season.

+ This year alone China will install more solar capacity than the US in its entire history.

+ The Italian island of Sardinia experience temperature above 47C (117 degrees) this week, while Rome sizzled at 108F, three degrees above its previous all-time record.

+ Preliminary data from the World Meteorological Organization shows that the first week of July 2023 was the hottest week ever recorded, following the hottest June on record.

+ The drought in Spain has sent olive prices to all-time highs.

+ Remember when Obama and HRC (not to mention the Sierra Club) were promoting natural gas as an atmosphere-friendly “bridge” fuel? Now a new study by researchers from Harvard and Duke Universities and NASA finds that due to methane leakage burning natural gas can be just as bad for the climate as burning coal.

+ Declining water levels in rivers have so greatly reduced the power generated from hydroelectric dams that many states have been forced to tap into fossil fuel power plants instead,  a shift that has increased U.S. carbon emissions by about 121 million metric tons over the last 20 years.

+ In southeast Alaska, the deathwatch is on for the King Salmon, who numbers continue to plummet. “General anxiety in southeast Alaska is through the roof. People are freaking out,” Ajax Eggleston, a salmon fisherman from Pelican, Alaska told the New York Times. “The health of the species? It’s doomed, man. I’m not optimistic about the future of trolling. We’ll be eating bugs and farmed fish from New Zealand.”

+ Both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are drying up for the second straight year. The problem isn’t simply ecological. The waters may get so low again that they snarl shipping traffic on two of the nation’s most vital freight routes.

+ Republicans have introduced legislation to block any president from declaring a climate emergency. Predictable, of course. Equally predictable: Biden not declaring a climate emergency, despite fires, floods, cities shrouded in smoke, hurricanes, power outages, droughts, insurance company bankruptcies, eroding coastlines, life-threatening heat waves …


+ According to accounts in the Russian media Andrei Troshev, the man Putin wants to take over Wagner, was once admitted to the hospital blind drunk with $60,000 cash, military maps of Syria, and receipts for weapons.

+ Pollsters from Russia’s Levada Centre, an independent pollster, found that nearly half of Russians sympathized with Prigozhin’s criticisms of corruption, military incompetence and lies about the Ukraine war, despite the fact that only 22% trusted the Wagner Group mercenary boss himself. This sounds right to me: the war is going badly, but if you turn it over to the people telling you how badly it’s going it will probably go even worse.

+ The South African government announced that Putin won’t attend next month’s BRICS summit in Johannesburg in order to avoid arrest on war crime charges issued by the International Criminal Court. The arrest order was approved by a South African court.

+ The US military keeps accidentally sending highly sensitive information to email addresses in Mali because they write “.ml” instead of “.mil.” The Dutch company managing Mali’s domain has collected 117,000 emails this year alone.

+ Trump finally revealed how he would end the Ukraine war “in 24 hours” to FoxNews’ Maria Bartiromo and it might come as surprise to his Left-MAGA fans: Trumps said that Zelensky is “very honorable” because he didn’t rat him out on his “perfect phone call” and then claimed that he would tell Putin if the Russians don’t withdraw will give Ukraine more military aid, indeed “much more,” than Biden.

+ Carol Fox, of the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance, writing this week in the Irish Examiner on why Ireland should resist becoming a lackey for NATO: “Our partner Nato believes in nuclear weapons and uses cluster bombs in warfare. The US is about to join the UK in exporting cancer-inducing depleted uranium weapons to Ukraine. It doesn’t like — or sign — the UN treaties we recently championed. It plays wargames that run counter to all our disarmament work. Last November, Nato held a two-week exercise in Europe, Steadfast Noon, to train non-nuclear Nato aircrews to carry out nuclear strikes.”

+ “Proxy war” is being thrown around a lot these days, even by neocons like Chris Christie, who sees the war in Ukraine not as a proxy war against Russia, but China: “This is a proxy war with China. The Chinese are funding the Russian war by buying Russian oil. They’re coordinating with the Iranians to provide lethal weapons to the Russian army…If the Chinese watch us back away from Ukraine as Tucker Carlson and others would advocate, believe me, the next move will be Taiwan.” In other words, the first world war by proxy. If so, it will almost certainly be the last.

+ In a 2020 campaign video Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who is holding up a couple hundred high-level promotions at the Pentagon because of his objection to the Defense Department’s abortion policy, promised to donate his entire senate salary to veterans in Alabama, but three years alter there appears to be no evidence to suggest he has followed through.

+ Speaking of abortion, testimony began this week in the case of 13 women in Texas who were denied access to abortion care, even though their fetuses were nonviable. One plaintiff, Samantha Casiano, a mother of four who was denied an abortion after her fetus was diagnosed with anencephaly and would be born without a skull,  began to vomit on the witness stand when asked to detail her excruciating experience. The proceedings didn’t get much better…

+ Brazil’s Bolsonarista Senator Damares Alves once claimed she met Jesus in a tree, where he gave her an imaginary Master’s degree. She’s currently under investigation for facilitating the genocide of the Yanomami. Now she says she wants to run for President.

Even though it had been fully vetted and cleared by the network’s lawyer, executives at Paramount and Showtime canceled the airing of a VICE documentary about Ron DeSantis’s time as a JAG lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, apparently over fears about political fallout. Will Jim Jordan be holding hearings on this act of politically-motivated “censorship”?


+ Here’s a Kennedy story I hadn’t heard. When Nixon nominated William Rehnquist to the Supreme Court in 1971, his nomination, despite his reactionary views on desegregation, seemed a sure thing. Then it was revealed that Rehnquist’s name appeared on a list of members in a group called Americans for Arizona, a John Birch Society front-group, known for its xenophobic and bigoted views on race. This was followed by the revelation that Rehnquist, who as a clerk for a federal judge had written a memo arguing that Plessy v. Ferguson should be reinstate and Brown v. Board of Education overturned, had once joined with John Birch Society members to intimidate black voters at a polling place. But just when it appeared that Rehnquist’s nomination might go down to defeat, who should run to his aide but Teddy Kennedy, socks still wet from Chappaquiddick, to vouch for Rehnquist’s integrity, saving his imperiled nomination and planting the first seed in the rightwing takeover of the court. More than a decade later, Kennedy would sit largely mute during the Clarence Thomas hearings, unable, or unwilling, to defend Anita Thomas because of his own sordid history of sexual misconduct.

+ Clarence Thomas’s sugar daddy, Harlan Crow claimed his yacht company was a profit-seeking business, so he could claim a huge tax write-off for renovating his own superyacht.  This apparently came as surprise to the yacht’s crew and might now invite scrutiny from the IRS.

+ After the Supreme Court overturned Roe, the National Domestic Violence Hotline experience a 99-percent increase in callers who reported attempts by their abusers to manipulate their reproductive decisions.

+ Here’s the changes in the murder rates for 70 of the largest cities in the US…

+ The average length of time people are now languishing in Philadelphia’s jails before going to trial is 240 days, simply because they can’t afford bail

+ Under new policy from NYC’s police oversight agency, NYPD officers accused of wrongdoing can now watch all the video of the wrongdoing before speaking to investigators.

+ Coincidentally, New York City just agreed to pay more than $13 million to protesters who were arrested or beaten by NYPD officers during the George Floyd demonstrations in 2020 — one the largest settlements ever for a mass arrest class action in the US.

+ Texas  is banning all physical mail to incarcerated people, including hand drawn cards from children, and sending them scans instead, citing “contraband.” This is purely a punitive measure, since it’s well-documented that almost no contraband enters prisons through the mail. In fact, most contraband comes through guards.

+ Here’s a brief glimpse of what life is like inside solitary confinement from Kevin Light-Roth, an inmate in the general population of a prison in Washington State who was ticketed for a rules infraction. Light-Roth challenged and beat the charge, but was sent to solitary for 400 days anyway because prison officials surrealistically surmised that if the charges “had been true,” he would have led a prison riot:

I spent much of 2009 in One North, a solitary confinement wing at the Washington State Penitentiary, in Walla Walla, Washington. We were on a 23-and-one schedule: Once each day my cell door would roll open, controlled remotely. I would step out alone, given an hour to pace the empty tier or use a pay phone. Back in my cell, I’d be confronted by more loneliness. A steel sink and a toilet, a bunk, a battered paperback, and my own thoughts for company.

+ Louisiana is locking up kids in in solitary for days on end at the infamous Angola state prison. According to declarations taken by lawyers at the ACLU, the teenagers receive only 8 minutes out to shower each day, while they remain shackled. Their cells have no air conditioning, even as the heat inside has reached 132F.

+ Shotspotter is a surveillance tool used by many police departments around the country, which deploys microphones that listen for gunshots. But the results have been pretty shoddy. Critics claim that ShotSpotter can routinely “misclassify fireworks or sounds from cars as gunshots and company employees can alter evidence; during a police shooting trial, a ShotSpotter employee admitted to reclassifying sound from a helicopter to a bullet at the request of police.”

+ Eating Grapes While Black: Jarrell Garris, 37-year-old black man, was shot and killed by police in New Rochelle, N.Y., after a report of theft from a local grocery store that Garris had eaten a few grapes and a banana and left without paying.


+ Between March and November 2022, more than twenty-three hundred homeless people in New York City were subjected to “cleanup” operations, where their shelters and possessions were demolished. Of those, only three found permanent housing. Under Eric Adams’ tenure as mayor, homelessness in NYC has increased by 51 percent.

+ Nationally, more than 72,000 American families are experiencing homelessness in 20 major US cities this year, an increase of nearly 40% since 2022.

+ According to Forbes, only military Keynesianism can save us now…

+ Louis Milione, No. 2 at Biden’s DEA, resigned following disclosures that he consulted for Morris and Dickson, a distributor punished for a deluge of suspect painkiller shipments, and performed similar work for the drug manufacturer that became the face of the opioid crisis: Purdue Pharma.

+ Why isn’t Samuel L. Jackson running for president?


+ So it appears that Trump is about to be indicted again by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith. This time for orchestrating a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 elections and, failing that, to raise money off of his bogus claims that the election was stolen. One of the players in this may well end up being former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who Trump tried desperately to get to keep the state from certifying its results. Check out this amusing tidbit from CBSNews: “During a live broadcast on Nov. 30, 2020, in which Ducey certified the state’s results, he was interrupted briefly when his phone rang and he could be seen on camera silencing it. His ring tone of ‘Hail to the Chief’ could be heard, and Ducey later confirmed it was a call from Trump.”

+ The dirty secret about cable news is that in a country of 335 million people … almost no one–except media reporters hyping how it has warped the culture–actually watches it. (Can you blame them?)

+ Our friend Marcus Rediker, the great history of piracy and the Atlantic slave trade, dig up this observation by a runaway slave on the nature of slavery in Virginia: A Baptist preacher told him “there was no country in the world equal to Virginia.” His answer: It is “the greatest country in the world for one third of the people are doing nothing” but not for the “two thirds are working to support them.”

+ According to an email from a Department of Public Safety trooper, officers working for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative have been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande and not to give water to asylum seekers even in extreme heat. Abbott goes to church every Sunday and sings hymns to the Lord…

+ The owner of a pecan farm in Eagle Pass, Texas, near where a pregnant woman was found caught in state-deployed razor wire,  is trying to get Texas troopers to remove the “booby-traps” that they’ve placed on his land. The farmer says he was told that the illegal order to violate his property rights was came “from the top” and that they weren’t going to remove it.

+ Largely as a consequence of Biden’s almost certainly illegal and unquestionably immoral asylum ban, “illegal” border crossings have fallen to the lowest level in more than two years.

+ Two months after an 8-year-old girl died in Border Patrol custody, an investigation by the LA Times disclosed that she had a 104.9 fever the day before she died; a nurse denied her mother’s pleas to send her to the hospital and a court monitor ruled that the child’s death was preventable.

+ Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, collections agencies held a staggering $140 billion in unpaid medical bills, more than the amount held by collection agencies for all other consumer debt from non-medical sources combined. At least three-fifths of that debt was incurred by households who had health insurance!

+ Around six in 10 uninsured Americans are eligible for free or heavily discounted insurance coverage under the provisions of ObamaCare. Yet most remain uninsured, largely because of the bureaucratic hurdles of proving they’re eligible for coverage.

+ In the past 18 years, the diagnosis of men with ADHD in the UK has spiked by more than 20-fold.

+ 98% of the members of SAG-AFTRA make $65K a year or less.

+ From the Lakota actor Jana Schmieding on what’s motivating the SAG strike…

+ Bob Odenkirk responding to certain stars (Tom Cruise, et al) wanting SAG waivers to allow them to promote their films: “Don’t. It’s a strike. Strike. You lose. We lose. Everybody loses. That’s tough shit.”

+ More 20% of NYC’s residents–900,000 households–may be drinking lead-contaminated water.

+ No surprise that Elon Musk, star child of apartheid, “ghosted” laid off employees in its only Africa office without severance or benefits. The Ghana-based Twitter team have not been paid a cent, unlike former staffers in North America and Europe.

+ RFK, Jr. says that if elected (one of the world’s biggest “ifs”), he will back US currency with Bitcoin. (According to his June 30 financial disclosure, RKF, Jr. owns more than $100,000 in Bitcoin.

+ Speaking of Bitcoin, one of the lawsuits emerging from the bankruptcy of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX discloses that company executives planned to buy the island of Nauru, which they planned to escape to in the event of a global calamity: “In the event that half or more of the global population perished, the island would then be used to ensure the survival of members of the effective altruism movement.”

+ Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants–CWA: “It’s capitalism. There’s no political solution. There’s only the countervailing force of the working class standing together in solidarity and demanding our fair share that gives a prayer of making good on the promise of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ for everyone.”

+ Cornel West: “For the last 40 or 50 years we’ve had too many Black leaders who have become too well-adjusted to injustice… That’s what it is to live in an American Empire that is in internal decay as it spends trillions on wars.”

+ Laurence Tribe, who longed for decades to be on the Supreme Court, gets as many basic facts wrong as Alito, starting with the fact that Jr. is running as a Democrat, continuing with the fact that we are not a “free people,” ending with the fact we don’t “govern ourselves.” One would think that a truly ‘free people’ could exercise ‘self-governance’ by voting for their own favorite candidate without being shamed by elites because they didn’t vote for their favorite candidate, who made little to no effort to win the votes of the shamed voters.

+ Rex Heuermann, the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer, was contracted by Trump’s firm to do architectural work on 40 Wall Street, a property once described as Trump’s “greatest deal.”

+ If you’re looking for smut, CSPAN may be your best option these days.  A House Oversight (or undersight, as the case may be) hearing on IRS turned into a revenge porn episode, when Marjorie Taylor Greene flashed photos of one of Hunter Biden’s sexcapades, featuring the Full-Biden. It wasn’t that long ago that Greene was begging the media for privacy after being served with divorce papers from her husband, who’d finally had enough of her string of adulterous affairs, including one with a Tantric sex guru. These are, naturally, the same guardians of public morals pulling Judy Blume YA novels off library shelves for their alleged prurience. Who’s grooming who?


+ Under the Florida Board of Education’s newly approved Black history standards students will be taught that slavery was a kind of apprenticeship for Western Civilization, where enslaved Black people developed life and trade skills that “could be applied for their personal benefit.”

+ Jason Aldean–the country singer who was on-stage during the mass shooting at a 2017 Las Vegas concert that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more–has recorded a song called “Try That In A Small Town” about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns. The video for this tribute to the righteous vigilantism of Sundown towns features Aldean singing in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where in 1927 a lynch mob of 300 white men strung up the body of Henry Coat from the second story window, after dragging his body through the streets of the town behind a car. According to historian Elizabeth Queene, around 20 Black men and boys were lynched, killed by other methods or “disappeared” by White mobs or the Ku Klux Klan in Maury County. In 1946, the town of Columbia was the site of a post-WW II “race riot,” where Thurgood Marshall, who was in town defending two of the black suspects, narrowly escaped being lynched himself.

+ Jason Aldean: “Try That in a Small Town, for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up.” Aldean grew up in Macon, Georgia population 157,000.

+ This is something a reversal for Aldean, who just a couple of years ago released a song called “Rearview Town” about how he left a small town because it was so dull: “I could tough it out, but what’s the use? / A place that small, it’s hard to do.”

+ South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem: “I am shocked by what I’m seeing in this country, with people attempting to cancel the song and cancel Jason and his beliefs.” Uh, the Coup and the Dixie Chicks would like a word, Governor…

+ Aldean’s lynching “song” is now No. 1 on the charts. I wish someone would “cancel” one of my books.

+ Jason Isbell: “Dare Aldean to write his next single himself. That’s what we try in my small town.”

+ In contrast to the rancid Mr. Aldean, there’s this from the NYT obituary for Tony Bennett:

Bennett participated in the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march in 1965, and, along with Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis Jr. and others, performed at the Stars for Freedom rally on the City of St. Jude campus on the outskirts of Montgomery on March 24, the night before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the address that came to be known as the “How Long? Not Long” speech. At the conclusion of the march, Viola Liuzzo, a volunteer from Michigan, drove Mr. Bennett to the airport; she was murdered later that day by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

+ According to keyboardist David Paich, Toto’s song 1982 “Africa” was divinely inspired. Paich claims he wrote the melody and lyrics in less than 10 minutes, while experimenting with the sounds of a new keyboard (CS-80). “I sang the chorus out as you hear it,” Paich recalled. “It was like God channeling it. I thought, I’m talented but not that talented. Something just happened here!” And it’s barely rained in Africa since…

+ And now a word or two from Sir Charles Barkley…“Hey, lemme tell you something. All you rednecks or assholes who don’t drink Bud Lite, fuck y’all.” Boos. “Hey, y’all can’t cancel me. I ain’t worried about getting canceled because lemme tell you something, if y’all fire me and gimme all that money, I’m gonna be playing golf every fucking day. So listen, if you’re gay, God bless you. If you’re trans, God bless you. And if you have a problem with them–fuck you.”

+ Ted Gioia writing at the Honest Broker on Facebook: The platform has actually removed options and reduced functionality over time. They spend a fortune in order to make the user experience worse. And they do this to increase control of users, not to serve them.”

+ James Baldwin: “The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” Which is why so many romances ended after people read Baldwin’s The Price of the Ticket

+ The infant mortality rate in New Mexico in 1945 was 100.8 per 1,000 live births; the rate for 1944 was 89.1, and for 1946 it was 78.2. The intervening factor? The first A-bomb test at the Trinity Site.

+ I came across a great quote about Orange County in Matthew Dallek’s book Birchers. In 1970 a Bircher named John Schmitts ran for Congress in so Cal. When asked why he’d joined the Society, Schmitts said: “I had to do something to win the middle of the road vote in Orange County.”

+ A woman named Angela Wiley said her Skims bodysuit (marketed by Kim Kardashian) was so tight that it kept her from “bleeding out” after she was shot four times. Maybe they’ll start using the material for school uniforms?

+ Glad to see the obnoxious Johnny Bench expose himself as an anti-Semite in the mold of the Reds’ former owner, Marge Schott. He’s always been a jerk. A few weeks after their wedding, Bench urged his first wife, Vickie Chesser, a former toothpaste model who’d dated Joe Namath, to pose nude for Hustler for $25,000. The marriage soon ended with Vickie saying:  “Johnny Bench is a great athlete, a mediocre everything else, and a true tragedy as a person.” Maybe Pete Rose isn’t so bad in comparison, after all?

Too Many Teardrops for One Heart to be Crying…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Eight Bears: Mythic Past and Imperiled Future
Gloria Dickie
(W. W. Norton)

Wild Air: In Search of Birdsong
James MacDonald Lockhart
(Fourth Estate)

Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom
Rebecca Ruth Gould

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Evenings at the Village Gate
John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy

Sticks and Stones
Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real
(Six Ace Records)

Kings Highway
Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band
(Stoner Hill)

What Americans Want

“Every American wants MORE MORE of the world and why not, you only live once. But the mistake made in America is persons accumulate more more dead matter, machinery, possessions & rugs & fact information at the expense of what really counts as more: feeling, good feeling, sex feeling, tenderness feeling, mutual feeling. You own twice as much rug if you’re twice as aware of the rug.” (Allen Ginsberg)

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