Roaming Charges: Just Write a Check

Raymond Carver memorial, Clatskanie, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

“The world is a hellish place and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”

– Tom Waits

+ Shortly after learning that a Seattle police officer had run over and killed a woman at a crosswalk, Daniel Auderer, a Seattle cop and the vice-president of the police guild, called the union’s president and downplayed the accident. “There is initially—he said she was in a crosswalk, there is a witness that said, ‘No she wasn’t,’ but that could be different,” Auderer says, “because I don’t think she was thrown 40 feet, either. ”

On Auderer’s body camera audio they can be heard joking about the woman’s death and laughing at the crash. “She is dead,” Auderer says. Then he laughs. “No, it’s a regular person. Yeah, yeah, just write a check, just, yeah.” Auderer laughs again. “$11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.”

The police cruiser was traveling at 75 MPH in a 25 MPH zone when it hit and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, who was only 23 when she was killed. Kandula, who was in the middle of the crosswalk and had the right-of-way when she was fatally struck, was a Master’s student at Northeastern University and financially supporting her mother back in India.  The police car did not have its siren on at the time it ran her down.

As for the cop who laughed at her death and called her a person of “limited value,” Daniel Auderer has been the subject of eighteen Office of Police Accountability investigations since 2014 costing the city more than $2,000,000 in lawsuits.

+ In April, a police sergeant named Joshua Hartup was driving a police truck when ran over and killed Henry Najdeski, a 52-year attorney who was legally crossing the street at a crosswalk in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hartup was cited by the State Police for failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, causing bodily injury, Class A infraction. Hartup, too, got off by merely writing a check: for $35. It turns out that Hartup had been involved in four previous crashes while driving a police vehicle in 2000, 2005, 2007, and 2019. Hartup was suspended for the crash in 2007.

+ In the decade since the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that it’s unconstitutional to sentence a kid to life without parole (except in extremely rare circumstances), Georgia has quietly given the punishment to dozens of young people and no govt. entity is tracking it.

+ According to an investigation by Oklahoma Watch, at least seven people have died in recent years while being held in the Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma jail and the county has withheld public records on the deaths, ignored the family’s requests for them, and defied court orders to produce them. Some of the dead had unexplained broken bones and bruises.

+ According to a new analysis by the Sentencing Project, at the current pace of decarceration, it would take 75 years—until 2098—to return to 1972’s pre-mass incarceration prison population.

+ A recent study of employees who were formerly incarcerated found that: 83% rated as a good or better than average worker; 75% were rated as more dependable and 70% had better job retention.

+ An investigation by Eyewitness News 13 found that the temperatures inside some Texas state prisons reached 100 degrees or more in cells where individuals are housed. A majority of state prisons in Texas have either partial or no air conditioning. At least 68 prison facilities house inmates in areas without air conditioning. Incarcerated people and employees told the reporters it’s unbearable and are advocating for temps of 85 or cooler.

+ Louisiana law enforcement agencies have been accused of targeting Hispanic drivers in traffic stops and identifying them as white on tickets. The intentional misidentification makes it impossible to track racial bias.

+ In November 2020, Noel Espinoza was pulled over by two sheriff’s deputies near the town of Trinidad, Colorado, about 200 miles south of Denver. Espinoza’s 70-year-old father, Kenneth, was following Noel in his truck and pulled over behind the police cruiser. When Kenneth got out of his truck to see why his son had been stopped, one of the deputies ordered him to move his truck. Then as the older Espinoza was walking back to his vehicle, the deputies told him to stop. They put him in handcuffs, sat him in the back of the cop car, where without any apparent provocation began tasering the restrained and unarmed man repeatedly in front of his son. The two Las Animas County sheriff’s deputies, Deputy Mikhail Noel and Lt. Henry Trujillo, didn’t just taser the old man once or twice. They tasered him 35 times and, from the evidence of the body camera footage, made it look as if were engaged in a kind of deranged sport. “To watch my father almost lose his life to these men — time stopped,” Nate Espinoza said. “I can still see them pointing the gun at my father and watching time stop, just feeling everything leave my body.”

Deputy Trujillo shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. In 1998 he was convicted of harassment conviction and he served a year of probation and paid $179.50 in fines. Then in 2006, he was hit with three restraining orders, all for domestic violence. In 2009 Trujillo had been forced to resign from the sheriff’s office, but was later re-hired and promoted. After the brutal tasing of Espinoza, Trujillo had been placed on administrative leave. A few weeks later he was involved in a road rage incident, after being passed on a road outside Trinidad by a teenage boy riding a motorcycle. Trujillo chased down the teen in his car and initiated a fight with the boy on the side of the road. The whole affair was caught on a surveillance camera.

+ Eric Adams is blaming migrants for an alleged budgetary crisis in New York City while remaining mute about the $50 million the City has had to pay out already this year for the abusive violations of civil liberties of its residents by the NYPD, money that’s paid by city taxpayers not the department which incurred the costs.

+ Gavin Newsom isn’t much better. He is pushing the largest-ever budget to combat shoplifting: giving $267 million to 55 law enforcement agencies in California. “When shameless criminals walk out of stores with stolen goods, they’ll walk straight into jail cells,” Newsom said. Last week I wrote in my CounterPunch + column (Shoplifting as Capital Offense) about two unarmed people (three if you include an unborn girl fetus) shot for shoplifting, one in suburban Columbus, Ohio and one in a Virginia suburb of DC. This absurd plan by Newsom will only encourage more violence against poor people, when retail outlets are stealing more in wages ($15.2 billion a year)  than they’re losing from theft ($14.7 billion a year.) With at least 171,500 houseless people in California, surely there’s a better way to spend this money.

+ In 2021, police in Lynchburg, Virginia chased down a man (Steve Rucker) on horseback, stunned Rucker with a taser to knock him off the horse and then ran him over with a police cruiser, inflicting severe injuries. The near-fatal chase stemmed from a misdemeanor warrant that was later dismissed and did not require Rucker to be arrested. The cops tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, claiming qualified immunity. But the federal judge said no. The case, seeking $5 million for excessive force, is going to trial next April.

+ A $500 million racial profiling lawsuit filed by Benjamin Crump alleges that over a two-year period, the Beverly Hills Police Department arrested 1,088 Black people yet only TWO were eventually convicted of any crime.

+ When she was just 16, new US Open champ Coco Gauff spoke at a Black Lives Matter protest in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida after the 2020 murder of George Floyd: “This is not just about George Floyd. This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor. This is about stuff that’s been happening. I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change? And it breaks my heart because I’m fighting for the future of my brothers. I’m fighting for the future of my future kids. I’m fighting for the future of my future grandchildren. So, we must change now.”

+ The 10 most dangerous cities in the US, according to Security Gage.

1. Bessemer, AL
2. Monroe, LA
3. Saginaw, MI
4. Memphis, TN
5. Detroit, MI
6. Birmingham, AL
7. Pine Bluff, AR
8. Little Rock, AR
9. Alexandria, LA
10. Cleveland, OH

+ Try harder, Chicago!

+ Police killings in Brazil reached epidemic proportions under Jair Bolsonaro. In the last year of his presidency, Brazilian cops killed more than 6,400 people in 2022. The high rate of killings has persisted under Lula’s government. According to the nonprofit Brazilian Forum of Public Security, which compiles data from official sources at the state level, from in the month of August of this year, at least 62 people were killed during police operations in Bahia, Rio, and São Paulo states alone. Few of these killings have resulted in any charges, largely because under current Brazilian law the police are charged with “investigating” themselves. Human rights activists in Brazil are urging prosecutors to take over the inquiries into police shootings.


+ Has one day in America ever generated so many lethal aftershocks as 9/11? Beyond the 3,000 deaths, it has been used to justify: wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, & Syria, covert actions in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Africa, and Iran that have killed at least 4.5 million people, most of them civilians; the Patriot Act, rendition, torture, extra-judicial killings, including that of American citizens; secret tribunals; jailing of defense lawyers (Lynne Stewart); Islamophobia as government policy; entrapment schemes by the FBI; mass surveillance and illegal wiretaps; near doubling of Pentagon budget; and the obnoxious 9/11 “Truth” Movement.

+ At the Sadat Forum two years ago, Bruce Riedel, a former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush when the 9/11 attacks occurred, revealed that on September 14, a mere 3 days after 9/11, President Bush told British PM Tony Blair: “We are also going to attack Iraq.”

+ Since 9/11, the number of US soldiers and veterans who have committed suicide (30,177) far overwhelms the number who were killed in post 9/11 military operations (7,057). Nearly 17 soldiers and veterans are committing suicide every day.

+ Origins of the 9/11 hijackers

Saudi Arabia: 15
UAE: 2
Lebanon: 1
Egypt: 1
Afghanistan: 0
Iraq: 0
Syria: 0
Libya: 0
Iran: 0

+ $21 trillion: amount the US has spent on the “war on terror,” since 9/11.

+ In the weeks after 9/11, Trump claimed that he donated $10,000 to the Twin Towers Fund for 9/11 victims.  But according to an “Information Sheet on 9/11 Donation Review, “the Comptroller’s Office found no evidence of a donation by Mr. Trump in the year following the attacks.”

+ The grift didn’t end there. The Trump Administration stole more than $4 million from the 9/11 first responders fund, according to a 2020 report by New York Daily News.

+ Two days before 9/11, Biden finally shook hands with MBS, in advance of a new security pact, which most Americans across both parties oppose. So much for making the Killer Prince a “pariah.”

+ Terry Strada, chair of 9/11 Families United, told CNN that Jamal Khashoggi “was a potential witness for the 9/11 families” in their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia” and was scheduled to speak to their lawyers again when he was killed. “That photo [of Biden shaking hands with MBS] was a slap in the face to all of the 9/11 families and survivors,” Strada said. “He should support us instead of giving cover to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

+ Six months after announcing a partnership deal with a Saudi government-owned media company, Vice removed a documentary critical of the Saudi regime called “Inside Saudi Crown Prince’s Ruthless Quest for Power.” But you can still watch it here.

+ Amnesty International has accused the Saudi government of MBS, which has executed at least 100 people this year, of being on a Saudi crown prince’s government is on a “relentless killing spree.”

+ Benjamin Netanyahu in July: “We need the Palestinian Authority. We cannot allow it to collapse…It does our job for us.”

+ Why did the Oslo Accords fail? One major reason is that they put no restraints on Israeli settlement. In 1993 settlers accounted for less than 2% of Israel’s population and 3% of its Jewish population. Today those figures have more than doubled to 5% and 7%, respectively.

+ Last week the RFK, Jr. Redemption Tour took him to the friendly confines of the Jimmy Dore Show, where he continued to grunt out slanders about Palestinians: “We give 800 million a year to the Palestinian Authority, which uses that money to pay bounties to Palestinians who kill Jews. Not government officials, but civilians. So if you go to Israel…Uhm…So if you kill a Jew anywhere in the world and you’re a Palestinian, the Palestinian Authority will pay you money for that…There’s this mentality, especially on the liberal left, that portrays Israel as a kind of occupying nation sitting on Palestinian land and the whole thing is a lie from start to end.”

+ Lula at the G20 Summit in New Delhi: “The thing that divides us has a name: inequality and it doesn’t stop growing. The belief that economic growth alone reduces disparities has been proven false. The resources don’t reach the hands of the most vulnerable.”

+ After the G20 Summit, Biden stopped in Hanoi to pay tribute to his old senate pal, John McCain, who was trying to bomb civilian targets in the city when his A-4 was shot down. McCain was pulled out of a lake and treated for his injuries by some of the terrorized peasants he was trying to blow up. Surely, the poor farmers who saved McCain’s life were the ones worthy of tribute. What Biden did is the equivalent of visiting My Lai and praising the heroism of Westmoreland, Medina and Calley.

+ A Pentagon-funded study published by the RAND Corporation’s National Security Research Division back in April warns that the American gerontocracy is becoming a national security threat. The report cautions that aging politicians and bureaucrats,(think: Biden, McConnell, Grassley and Feinstein) who have (or had recent) access to classified material may develop dementia and emerge as threats to national security. The study cites the possibility that they may unwittingly disclose government secrets.

+ Ron DeSantis is only 44, but he may already have a kind of dementia that threatens US security, given this exchange with CBS News’s Nora O’Donnell on using the US military against drug cartels in Mexico…

O’Donnell: “Would you send missiles into Mexico?”

DeSantis: “We would use all available — the tactics, I think, can be debated. If you have something you want to accomplish, people would brief you on the different ways you’d be able to do it. So, that would be dependent on the situation.”

O’Donnell: “But launching military forces into Mexico is a much different standard, that’s why I’m asking the question.”

DeSantis: “The reality is they’re overrunning our border … Do we just throw up our hands and say there’s nothing we can do about it?”

+ The Chinese government sentenced Zhang Zhan, a Shanghai-based activist and lawyer, to four years in prison for having posted videos on YouTube documenting conditions in Wuhan during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. She has been on a periodic hunger strike in protest of her sentence and the conditions inside the prison.

+ Even though India has the lowest per capita income and highest hunger rating of any nation in the G20, Modi spent lavishly to host the recent G20 Summit in New Delhi, spending far more than any recent summit.

2023 India G20 Summit cost: 4100 crore

2022 Bali G20 Summit cost: 364 crore

2018 Argentina G20 Summit cost: 931 crore

2017 Germany G20 summit cost: 642 crore

(One Indian crore is equal to about $133,000 USD)

+ From Arundhati Roy’s acceptance speech after receiving the 45th European Essay Prize:  “What’s happening in India is not that loose variety of internet fascism. It’s the real thing.”


+ Biden will still try to break it…

+ Here are a few things to keep in mind as the UAW goes on strike…

+ During the financial crisis of 2008, Democratic lawmakers leaned on the UAW to make numerous contract concessions to help rescue the industry from bad decisions by management and banks. These concessions were never restored, including a suspension of cost-of-living adjustments.  Thus autoworker pay has slipped farther and farther behind the rate of inflation with average real hourly earnings falling 19.3% since 2008. Meanwhile, the profits of the Big 3 automakers–Ford, GM, Stellantis–soared by 92% between 2013 and 2022, topping $250 billion. While the pay of their workers fell, the compensation for the Big 3’s CEOs rose by 40% over the same period and shareholders cashed in with $66 billion in dividend payments and stock buybacks.

+ Speaking of strikes, it appears that the Scab and the Boss have found common ground…

+ A few hours after the UAW launched its strike against the Big 3 automakers, Twitter (owned by the virulently anti-union Musk) stripped the union of its verification check

+ As Covid benefits ended, the poverty rate in the US soared, increasing to 12.4 percent in 2022, a spike of 4.6 percent over 2021. According to the Census Bureau, the rate has not increased since 2010. At the same time, the child poverty rate, after hitting a historic low of 5.2% in 2021 with the Covid benefits, more than doubled last year. (It’s all about the kids…percolating the womb.) The median income in the US fell by 2.3 percent to $74,580. These were the predictable results of deliberate choices made by the Biden administration and Congress not to extend Covid relief.

+ Over the last three years, the number of homeless students attending Oakland Unified schools surged by nearly 70% —up to 1,780 students in 2023. In the years prior to the pandemic, the number of homeless studies was around 1,000.

+ Bidenomics: The share of U.S. households reporting that it’s harder to obtain credit than one year ago hit a new high in the New York Fed’s consumer survey. 

+ The Biden manufacturing boom never materialized. In fact, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the US manufacturing sector will lose 113,000 jobs in the next decade with much of the loss attributed to increases in automation.

+ After a 16-year-old boy died working at a Wisconsin sawmill, federal investigators found that three other children aged 15 and 16 were hurt at the same Florence Hardwoods mill over the last two years. The sawmill also employed nine children between the ages of 14 and 17 to illegally run dangerous machines such as saws.

+ Strippers at the Magic Tavern here in Portland, Oregon, voted unanimously–16 to 0–to unionize with Actors’ Equity, making it the second unionized strip club in the nation.

+ A new lawsuit alleges that lawsuit alleging property managers used a price-fixing software called RentMaximizer to hike rents on more than 8 million apartments.

+ Tim Gurner, real estate mogul and CEO of the Gurner Group: “We need to see unemployment rise. Unemployment has to jump 40, 50 percent in my view. We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around.”

+ As much as I share the rotund David Wells’ loathing of Nike, I doubt many of the people (mostly women) working long hours for shit pay in their toxic sweatshops would consider the company’s labor practices “woke.” But Wells has always been a lunkhead.

+ Speaking of former Yankees, it appears that the $275 million man Alex Rodriguez–to absolutely no one’s surprise–became a government informant, dropping the names of fellow players to save his ass from a sprawling DEA investigation into the use of performance-enhancing steroids in Major League Baseball. The whole sleazy affair is told in a remarkable 40,000-word series on the Biogenesis scandal by Mike Fish for ESPN, where ARod currently works as an analyst. But before ARod turned snitch, it sure sounds like investigators feared he or his associates might put out some kind of a “hit” (and he was, after all, one of the best hitters in the game, with or without enhanced musculature) on Tony Bosch, the PED-dispensing operator of the Biogenesis clinic.

…documents reveal that MLB officials believed Bosch felt threatened enough by A-Rod’s camp that the commissioner’s office paid almost $2 million for its star witness’s personal security, a figure that grew to twice what was originally agreed upon. The cooperative agreement with Bosch ultimately cost MLB more than $5 million, including other expenses such as attorney fees and for a time hiding him out in high-end hotels and million-dollar condos around Miami.

+ In true sociopathic style, ARod not only outed players (including Manny Ramirez and Ryan Braun), but he also twisted the arms of (some might say, blackmailed) old friends like Lazaro “Lazer” Collazo, the former pitching coach at the University of Miami…

When the Biogenesis scandal broke, Collazo said A-Rod called to remind him of their bond: “Hey, there’s some people that are going to be calling you from the major leagues. We’ve been friends all this time. I can’t tell you what to say, but you know what I’m talking about.”

Collazo said, “Of course, Alex, I’m never going to throw you — outside the bus.”

“But then, shit, he gets these things [clinic notebooks], and he throws me under the bus,” Collazo said. “And we were so close. But he changed. The people that really know Alex, the people who grew up and know Alex, know how much he changed. He changed to a piece of …”

+ Now ARod is doing color commentary during the playoffs and World Series and poor Pete Rose still isn’t allowed near a ballpark.

+ Two pregnant migrant women claim that members of the Texas National Guard members denied them water when they asked for it, after days spent in the scorching heat. Instead of giving them water, “they asked us why we had left our countries.”

+ According to a new report from the GAO, seven federal law enforcement agencies (four of them under the Justice Department and three under the Department of Homeland Security) didn’t require staff to get training before using facial recognition technology between October 2019 and March 2022. Most of those agencies also didn’t have policies in place to protect civil rights, according to the report, even though the technology is known to have accuracy issues, especially with racial bias.

+ Zackey Rahimi, the Texas man behind a forthcoming Supreme Court case that could allow domestic abusers to buy and possess guns legally, once shot at a woman in a parking lot, according to newly disclosed police records.

+ In their blinding zeal to see Hunter Biden strung up, the Republicans seem to have bullied special counsel David Weiss into indicting the wayward son on three gun charges that could probably be filed against half the gun owners in the country (ie, that he lied about his drug use on his gun permit application.) Thus James Comer and Jim Jordan have managed to make Hunter Biden the latest poster boy for the gun rights movement. As lawyer Stanley Cohen noted, “I couldn’t care less about Hunter Biden, but the statute under which his indictment rests is not only unconstitutional under Bruen and its progeny in the 5th, 8th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeal, but filled with ambiguous overt acts which violate Due Process.”


+ So the House is going forward with its impeachment “inquiry” of Biden, even though there’s little to no evidence that he’s committed the crimes or misdemeanors they accuse him of. (Like most presidents, he’s committed plenty of impeachable offenses they aren’t interested in.) Well, that’s pretty much standard practice for our judicial system, isn’t it? People in the US are convicted of (or coerced into pleading guilty to) crimes without evidence of their guilt every day–convictions which were made easier at the federal level by “crime” bills Biden authored when he ran the Judiciary Committee. According to studies done by the Innocence Project, approximately 1% of people convicted and sentenced to jail time are innocent. According to their estimates, 20,000 falsely convicted people are currently incarcerated in U.S. prisons. In 2017 alone, there were a total of 1,900 cases discovered in which a person of color was wrongfully convicted and later exonerated. In 2022, that number soared to 3,249, a nearly 70% increase in newly discovered cases of false convictions.

+ The new chair of the Libertarian Party is not only a xenophobe; she also doesn’t appear to know how many senators there are in the Senate…

+ Who says Mike Pence doesn’t have a sense of humor? He was with Mother at a sparsely attended gathering in Iowa this week, when a heckler poked his head into the room and screamed: “Leave and get the fuck out of our country and get the fuck out of Iowa!” Pence replied: “Thank you. I’m going to put him down as a maybe.”

+ When workers at a Denver theater called the cops on Lauren Boebert and a companion during a performance of “Beetlejuice” the musical because they were reportedly vaping, singing and taking photos.  Boebert was apparently vaping in front of a pregnant woman, who asked her to stop. Boebert snapped, “No” and then insulted the woman as a “sad and miserable person.” Don’t worry, Boebert still supports a total ban on abortions! As she was being escorted out of the theater, Boebert exclaimed: “Do you know who I am?” Say this much for Boebert, the quality of her questions is getting more and more existential.

Don’t Boebert that Vape, my friend.
Pass it along to me.
You’ve been holding on to it
And I sure would like a hit.

+ According to the Daily Mail, Boebert’s companion that night was Quinn Gallagher, a divorced father who has reportedly been dating her for months. Gallagher, who engaged in mutual groping with Boebert inside the theater,  is the co-owner of the Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen, a gay-friendly watering hole that has hosted drag shows.

+ Earlier this week, a Republican operative tipped a Washington Post reporter to the fact that there was a sex tape circulating on a porn site featuring a Democratic candidate for Congress and her husband. The faux outrage on FoxNews almost blew out the circuits, with Harris Faulkner declaring: “This is prostitution!  You see some of those words? That’s what she was doing on video. To sexually arouse someone else for payment.” But isn’t that exactly what Roger Ailes had in mind when he hired a catwalk parade of blonde anchors at FoxNews?

+ Canines across America are cheering the news that Willard “Mitt” Romney will not seek re-election as US senator from Utah, likely putting an end to the strange political career of the man who strapped his Irish setter Seamus to the roof of his van for a family vacation.

+ That’s Cockburn’s dog, Jasper the Magnificent, on our button, who though gentle as a lamb with children, cockatiels and cats, tried to take a protective bite out of every bill collector, census-taker and meter-reader that managed to find Alex’s house on the Lost Coast.

+ According to his most recent financial disclosure filing, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients admitted to a net worth of somewhere between $89 and $442 million, including tens of millions of gold bars, gold shares, federal bonds, commercial real estate holdings, index fund shares and cash bank deposits.

+ Sean Penn seems to have come completely unhinged. In an interview with Variety, Penn says he became so enraged by Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards two years ago that he felt he had no choice but to destroy his own Oscars. Penn: “I thought, well, fuck, you know? I’ll give them to Ukraine. They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians.” Melting your Oscars into bullets to kill conscripted Russian soldiers is a strange way to protest violence at the Academy Awards…

+ William Gibson (Neuromancer, The Peripheral): “As I just said to Scott Smith, The Peripheral’s show-runner, Musk shutting off part of his satellite system to prevent Ukraine targeting Russian military assets feels like reality’s writing room lifting my career-long shtick.”

+ According to rightwing provocateur Charlie Kirk: “Obama got re-elected in 2012, but then Republican voters said, our turn. We want a white Obama.” Be careful what you wish for Charlie. In order to be a real “white Obama,” your candidate would have to end up being a traitor to his race.

+ Chris Christie claims that he and Bruce Springsteen have patched up their relationship. This must explain Springsteen’s ulcer

+ Not my recollection, Mr. Carlson…

+ I wonder how many consensus group sessions Tucker attended during the Occupy Wall Street protests.


+ The floods that surged through eastern Libya have killed at least 11,300 people and left many thousands more missing. One official said, “whole neighborhoods with their residents” were swept into the Mediterranean Sea. In the city of Derna, home to 90,000 people, nearly 20,000 are feared dead. At least, a quarter of the city is estimated to be destroyed after two dams collapsed, unleashing a wall of water 23 feet high down the city’s streets.  Since 1922, when records began for the region, there have been a total of 3,000 people killed by flooding in Libya.

Image of “Medicane” Daniel over the Sahara desert in eastern Libya.

+ The half-century-old dams that failed outside Derna hadn’t received any maintenance since the Obama-HRC regime change operation that killed Moammar Qaddafi and left Libya bankrupt, in ruins and in political chaos, from which it still hasn’t recovered. So you can add another 10,000 or so deaths to the Peace Prez’s tab.

+ From July through August, the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5°C was breached for more than a single month for the first time since records began.

+ According to a report from NOAA, the US has already been hit by 23 separate billion-dollar climate-related disasters, the most ever with four months still to go in the year. NOAA cites 18 severe weather events;  two flooding events; one tropical cyclone (Hurricane Idalia); one wildfire event; and one winter storm event. The U.S. has experienced 371 distinct weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages exceeded $1 billion.

+ The Wall Street Journal, yes, the Wall Street Journal, has obtained internal documents showing how ExxonMobil executes–including Rex Tillerson–publicly cast doubt on the severity of climate change and the credibility of climate science, including an email from 2012 in which the company’s top climate expert says the oil company’s then-CEO wanted them to influence the findings of the IPCC.

+ Wade Davis: “As much as anyone, I found it unsettling to learn that the entire water crisis in the American West comes down to cows eating alfalfa in a landscape where neither belongs.”

+ A 2022 study of yellow pine and mixed-conifer forests in California found that the severity of fires in private industrial forests was 1.8 times greater than in similar public forest lands. The authors concluded that current management approaches (clearcuts, monocultural plantations, dense roading) on private timberlands may be driving high-severity fires. The U.S. has experienced 371 separate weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages or costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2023).

+ After a year of drenching monsoons and desert flooding, the water level at Lake Mead, which has been rising for five months, has finally leveled off. But all of this remarkable rain has left the reservoir only 34% full.

Source: Bureau of Reclamation.

+ In 2010, energy-saving LEDs accounted for less than 1% of electric light bulb sales. By 2022, they made up more than 50%.

+ There are currently more than 300 million electric motorcycles/scooters/2-3 wheelers on the road worldwide and they are displacing four times as much oil demand as all the electric cars in the world so far.

+ As the planet writhes from the deepening climate catastrophe, the World Bank continues to finance fossil fuel projects around the globe, despite its lofty green rhetoric. Last year alone, the Bank financed oil and gas projects to the tune of $3.7 billion.

+ New research shows that heat pumps are 2 to 3 times more efficient than oil and gas-based fossil heating systems in cold and subzero temperatures. Even in temperatures approaching -30°C they perform significantly better than their fossil-fuel-based competitors.

+ According to the International Energy Agency, the post-COVID shift to work from home has deflated global oil demand by as much as rising electric vehicle usage.

+ A Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill calling for a $200 surcharge on registration fees, and an annual $50 tax, for Electric Vehicles to cover the lost revenue from gas taxes. There should also be a federal tax to cover the costs of any future lithium coups…(Of course, there should be a similar tax on gasoline to cover the costs of the last 80 years of oil wars.)

+Officials waited 15 hours after a chemical leak began at the Marathon refinery in Garyville, Louisiana on the night of August 25th— and about 10 hours after regulators detected carcinogens in the air — to evacuate residents. “They didn’t get them out of there quick enough,” said Wilma Subra, a Louisiana-based environmental scientist and toxics expert. “It was going on overnight. They let the kids go to school.”

+ BP’s CEO Bernard Looney resigned on Tuesday. Not for wrecking the planet, naturally, but after failing to disclose “personal relationships” with colleagues…

+ Since Brexit, the UK has continued to permit the use of 35 pesticides so toxic they are now banned in the EU.


+ Gather around kids, it’s story time in the US Senate…

+ Edward Abbey: “Our suicidal poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.”

+ The innovative jazz bassist Richard Davis died last week at 93. Here’s what Lester Bangs wrote about his playing on Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks: “…there is something about it that is more than inspired, something that has been touched, that’s in the realm of the miraculous.”

+ Of the 10,000 responders to Ground Zero after the attacks of 9/11, 300 of them were dogs. Here are some of their stories.

+ The first Tesla driver to die in a collision while using autopilot was killed six years ago when the car plowed into an 18-wheel truck and trailer in Williston, Florida. At the time of the crash, the driver was watching a Harry Potter movie playing on a computer that he’d placed on the dashboard. Still no word from Tesla on what the autopilot was watching.

+ This year’s National Book Awards will be hosted by….checks notes…Drew Barrymore? Yes, the same Drew Barrymore, who is skirting the picket lines with her new show, where “aggressive” crew members have removed at least two audience members who were seen wearing pro-union buttons.

+ A rightwing outfit called “Clean Up Alabama” wants to jail librarians for stocking books with LGBTQ characters and they’ve got the back of several state legislators.

+ DH Lawrence in a letter to Aldous Huxley after reading Ulysses: “My God, what a clumsy olla putrida James Joyce is! Nothing but old fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest, stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”

+ Although he was often as trollish as Dylan, David Foster Wallace didn’t seem to be a big fan of Joyce, either. A few years before he died he offered a list of his 10 favorite novels, none of which bear much resemblance to his own work…

1. The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
2. The Stand by Stephen King
3. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
4. The Thin Red Line by James Jones
5. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
6. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
7. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
8. Fuzz by Ed McBain
9. Alligator by Shelley Katz
10. The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy

+ Clapton is overrated as a guitarist and underrated as a racist asshole, who supported the National Front (and now RFK Jr.).

+ Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on finding his voice: “When I was 18, I took a year and recorded music for most of it. Then I sent the tape off, and it won, like, ‘Demo of the Month’ in this free music magazine, and this review said, “Who is this guy? He sounds just like Neil Young!” I went, “Who’s Neil Young?” [Laughter.] I’d never even heard Neil Young, so I went out and bought After The Gold Rush and was like, ‘Wow! It’s OK to sound like that?’ Because he’s slightly higher than me, but there was a softness and a naiveté in the voice which I was always trying to hide. Then, it was like, ‘Oh, maybe I don’t need to hide it.'”

+ TV listing for the first episode of Star Trek…

+ Texas singer-songwriter Charlie Robison, who died this week at the age of 59: “Every year there’s somebody who’s going to save country music, and now they’ve put that flag in my hand…I might get a couple of songs on the radio that are cooler than the rest before Nashville finds a way to completely screw things up again.”

+ Microsoft’s MSN news aggregation site, which fired all of its journalists two years ago and replaced them with robotic software programs, was forced to retract an AI-written obituary for former NBA player Brandon Hunter, who died earlier this week. The obit was headlined: “Brandon Hunter useless at 42.” Offensive as it was, the headline wasn’t as bad as the story itself, which churned out nonsense like this: “Throughout his NBA profession, he performed in 67 video games over two seasons and achieved a career-high of 17 factors in a recreation in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2004.”

+ Hemingway in a letter to Bernard Berenson, shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea in 1952: “There isn’t any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy. The fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks, no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit.”

When the Doors Did Miles…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Doing Harm: How the World’s Largest Psychological Association Lost Its Way in the War on Terror
Roy J. Edelson
(McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Bartleby and Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener
Gay Talese
(Mariner Books)

Free Them All: a Feminist Call to Abolish the Prison System
Gwenola Ricordeau
Translated by Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Black Classical Music
Yusef Dayes

Rustin’ in the Rain
Tyler Childers and the Food Stamps

Live at the Matrix, 1967: the Original Masters
The Doors

These Are My Guys

“My big thematic journey is twentieth-century American history, and what I think twentieth-century American history is, is the story of bad white men, soldiers of fortune, shakedown artists, extortionists, leg-breakers. The lowest-level implementers of public policy. Men who are often toadies of right-wing regimes. Men who are racists. Men who are homophobes. These are my guys. These are the guys that I embrace.” – James Ellroy

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