Jeffrey St. Clair’s Roaming Charges column

Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises

Here’s what a real leader sounds like in the tumult of a catastrophe, Irish health minister Simon Harris: “We must of course have equality of treatment, patients with this virus will be treated for free, and they’ll be treated as part of a single, national hospital service.”

Roaming Charges: Always Look on the Bright Side of Death

+ Francesco Rondonelli, a contemporary chronicler of the Florentine plague of 1629: “And who had heard an entire city praying at the same time all together … through the tenderness it was not possible to contain the tears … and a most beautiful thing in some roads with poor people to see lights at every window; [...]

Roaming Charges: Going Viral

+ From Albert Camus’s The Plague, which is once again on my nightstand: “There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.” + We are witnessing what happens to a country (this one) that faces a pandemic after it has privatized almost every aspect of [...]

Roaming Charges: Super Tuesday at Manzanar

My plan to spend Super Tuesday scaling the eastern flank of Mt. Whitney until my knees or lungs gave out was foiled by the closure of the Whitney Portal Road, which was buried under a late, but welcome, snowstorm. I had no interest in returning to the motel to watch the Democratic Party self-destruct again, [...]

Roaming Charges: Knives Out

In response to criticism from Democratic Party centrists that Sanders didn’t do enough to help Hillary in 2016, the Sandernistas are touting the fact that Sanders did 3 times as many campaign events for Hillary as Hillary did for Obama in 2008. I guess that’s one way to look at it. The other is: why the hell was Bernie campaigning for Hillary, the walking distillation of every neoliberal policy he purports to loathe, at all?

Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies

Michael Bloomberg is, of course, the perfect person to lead a party which has been the driving political force behind the neoliberal policies which helped make him the 9th richest person in America. In fact, he may be its apotheosis. Finally, we’ll have some clarity about what the Democratic Party has really been up to for the last 40 years.

Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack

+It’s amusing as hell to see Nate Silver forced to eat his numbers and grudgingly declare Bernie the frontrunner. But if you’re a Sandernista you have to wrestle with the fact that it’s February and Nate Silver, one of the few people on the planet who has been wrong about more things than Bill Kristol, just said your guy’s the frontrunner.

Roaming Charges: When Satan Quotes Scripture

The caucus system has been fetishized by the political pundit class for decades as an example of small state “town hall” style democracy in action. In fact, they’re anti-democratic, often controlled by party bosses, where, lacking secret ballots, people bullied into voting with the mob. Less than 10 percent of registered Democrats turn out for these spectacles, far less than 60 percent you’d expect to vote in a primary. In the last few election cycles, however, Obama, Ron Paul and Sanders figured out how to exploit some of the weaknesses of the caucus system to defeat the bosses, which has resulted in the party taking “active measures” against outsider candidates. Will the Iowa debacle will spell the end of these political relics?

Roaming Charges: The Steal of the Century

An impeached president meeting in the White House with a Prime Minister indicted for corruption and bribery to pitch a giant land swindle in the Middle East, which they market to a gullible press as a “peace plan.” Is there a more precise image for the current state of our political condition?

Roaming Charges: No Woman, No Cry

The “No Woman, No Cry” spat between Sanders and Warren is pretty silly all around but it has dominated the press coverage for three days, even eclipsing the debut of the impeachment managers and Trump’s audacious pledge to fix America’s faucets and shower heads. This is, naturally, the exact outcome CNN and the DNC were hoping for. Just to be safe, maybe Bernie should do a Pence and bring Jane with him to any future private meetings with another woman, as an insurance policy against any later misunderstandings, if Bernie still bothers with insurance…

Roaming Charges: All the Pretty Missiles Are Going to Hell

I feel fortunate to live in a country that takes freedom of speech so seriously that even the criminally insane have their own TV network: “This president will unleash holy hell on that regime…There will be retaliation and it will be disproportionate,” thundered Sebastian Gorka. “We are not a superpower anymore. We are a hyperpower.”

Roaming Charges: You Go Back, Jack, Do It Again

The impeachment debate has illustrated just how much America has changed. Back in the 1950s, Jesus and Joe McCarthy were on the same team, fighting the Godless Communists who had infiltrated the government and were poisoning our precious bodily fluids with flouride. Now the McCarthyites are acting like Communists who want to kick Jesus’ representative on Earth out of the White House and spoil the true measure of Christmas: retail sales.

Roaming Charges: That’s Neoliberalism for You

For four years, Jeremy Corbyn was smeared in a relentless and savage campaign of vilification and outrageous slander by the British press, much of it orchestrated by liberal outlets like The Guardian and the New York Times, using a kind of berserker Zionism as truncheon. And so, the dreadful result was predictable: the worst showing of Labour since 1935. But it’s the poor and the immigrant communities that will bear the brunt of what they have wrought.

Roaming Charges: High Nunes on Capitol Hill

+ As the House holds hearings to impeach Trump for “abuse of power,” Pelosi just rushed through an extension of the Patriot Act, giving that very same president vast, unchecked powers to spy on American citizens. This makes sense only in Washington… + It’s deflating to see “the Squad” (and every other Democrat) voting for [...]

Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane

Do you ever have one of those mornings when you turn on MSDNC for the impeachment hearings and start banging the TV a few of times thinking it’s stuck on the Cartoon Network? That was me at around 6:45 AM PST on Wednesday when instead of Adam Schiff’s shimmering death-skull head, the screen depicted the strange doughboy visage of George Conway, house husband of Trump’s counselor Kellyanne, pontificating about impeachment on the Democrats’ home cable network. It sure seemed like a bad cartoon, a case of Ukraine in the membrane (apologies to Cypress Hill).

Roaming Charges: Enter Sondland

+ One of the useful life-lessons Roy Cohn taught the young Donald Trump was always to have a fall guy, a patsy on retainer to take the blame when a deal goes sour. In the Ukraine extortion scheme, the patsy was supposed to be Gordon Sondland. Sondland was a guy who, though not exactly an [...]

Roaming Charges: A Place Where Nobody Knows

This week marked 8th the anniversary of Gaddafi’s death in the Libyan town of Sirte. The lesson of his life is: If you do exactly what the US demands, they’ll still enter your country, overthrow your government, hunt you down, torture you to death and display your mangled body in a meat locker. Class dismissed.

Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?

Another Democratic debate, another wasted day and wasted night. These episodes of tedium and mental torment might be more tolerable on LSD. The problem is that they last longer than the average acid trip and you wouldn’t want to risk coming down to the sound of Kamala Harris’ hectoring voice. That would be a hard landing, indeed.

Roaming Charges: Texts, Lies and Transcripts in the Time of Moloch

Trump is fortunate in his enemies. Adam Schiff is one of the few politicians in DC whose hubris rivals Trump’s own. Schiff will find a way to make the impeachment inquiry about himself and his own Inspector Javert-like rectitude–which may engender sympathy for a man (Trump) who deserves none. Schiff, who appears to have lied about his staff’s contacts with the whistleblower, should step down and hand the Inquisition over Val Demings, which would trigger every lurking racial prejudice and sexual insecurity in Trump’s bloated body. He won’t.

Roaming Charges: Rough Trade Transcript

I think we can all agree that refusing to send military aid to Ukraine would have been a wise decision by Trump. But trading the slaughter of civilians in eastern Ukraine for political dirt on HRC and the Bidens pretty much exposes his America First foreign policy as little more than diplomatic narcissism, which, of course, we’ve known all along but it’s useful to have it confirmed in his own “Rough Trade Transcript“….

Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance

+ The Saudis want to “fight the Iranians to the last American.” — Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, February 2010 + Who needs John Bolton, when you’ve got Pompeo Maximus declaring the attack on the Abqaiq refineries in Saudi Arabia: “An act of war.” + By Pompeo’s logic, the death of every Yemeni kid from cholera [...]

Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus

+ What I learned at the debate last night…. + We’re going to be stuck in the middle with Klobuchar… + Booker: such fancy rhetorical skills in the service of nothing. + The common theme seems to be that the Democrats will “unify” America. Is a “unified America” a 54-46 split? + Bernie’s voice may not [...]

Roaming Charges: Blood in the Eye of the Storm

+ Joe Biden, who is now claiming he opposed the Iraq War from Day One, (after speaking on the senate floor in favor of it and then voting for it) on September 9, 2003, 6 months after the first bombs fell on Baghdad. Fareed Zakaria: “You supported the war. Are you having any second thoughts?” Biden: [...]

Roaming Charges: Small Stains on the Pavement

Many of the liberals talking the loudest about “white supremacy” on MSDNC have only known its privileges, thus they would have us believe white supremacy resides only in the vile minds of the KKK and Aryan Nations, instead of the racist forces operating inside the banks, the school boards, the police, the FBI, the Pentagon that degrade, impoverish and kill people every single day.

Roaming Charges: Measure for Half-Measure

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Democratic Party for the last 40 years and just now tuned into the presidential debates, you might be shocked at how hostile it is to even debating the modest and sensible ideas proposed by Sanders & Warren. With each mention of “single payer,” “free college,” or “green new deal,” the Party writhes wildly like Linda Blair’s possessed body being sprinkled with Holy Water.

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