Jeffrey St. Clair’s Roaming Charges column

Roaming Charges: It Had to be You

Kamala Harris is the least surprising VP pick since Bob Dole tapped Jack Kemp as his running mate in 1996. Harris is as bland, safe and predictable as Kemp, but she adds little to an already boring campaign and comes with toxic baggage of her own that may repel the voters Biden needs the most. Biden is counting on Harris’ reputation as a prosecutor to make a case against Trump that most people have already reached a verdict against. Yet, as a prosecutor and attorney general, Harris made a career out of punching below her weight class, sternly going after low-level drug and property crimes while largely turning a blind and forgiving eye to the egregious transgressions of bankers, oil companies, mortgage fraudsters, slumlords, and corrupt police.

Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose

“And through the fog of the plague, most art withered into journalism.” — Pete Hamill + Four years of Trump, the most precipitous collapse of the US economy in history and one killer pandemic later and we’re right back to where we were in the late summer of 2016…   + How could this [...]

Roaming Charges: Demon Seed

They came for Portland and Portland didn’t back down in the face of extreme state-sponsored violence. Instead, the resistance grew every night. The Feds got their asses kicked, here and in Seattle. Let’s hope it provides a model for the people of Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, and ABQ.

Roaming Charges: Mutiny of the Bounties!

+ If I recall, there were serious discussions inside the White House about turning the Afghan War into a bounty hunting operation led by mercenaries on contract with Erik Prince. I’m pretty sure many elements of that scheme have been in place since 1979 at the beginning Carter’s secret war and have continued in one [...]

Roaming Charges: Nothing But Rednecks for 400 Years, If You Check

Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps Sample a look back, you look and find Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years, if you check – Public Enemy + Almost every violent act committed by police in the US is already illegal. Making these acts more illegal won’t change police behavior. Making [...]

Roaming Charges: The Ring of the Truncheon Thing

“If you insist on having statues of people who fought the U.S. military, how about Ho Chi Minh? For one thing, he actually won…” – Paulo L dos Santos + The Democrats are absolutely desperate to smother the Defund the Police movement (not just the slogan, but the abolitionist ideology driving it) before it totally [...]

Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID

As the USA approaches an official tally of 100,000 dead from COVID-19, let us recall that this bracing toll is still 467,000 fewer deaths than the number of Iraqi children who died as a result of the Bush/Clinton economic sanctions (not to mention the ongoing war itself.)

Roaming Charges: Unmasked and Anonymous

I’m hyped for some ObamaGate action, as long as its about things that matter: health care plan designed by Heritage Foundation, bailing out Wall Street, failing to close Gitmo, droning US citizens, Afghan surge, the jailing of whistleblowers and legal harassment of journalists, the Libyan and Honduran coups, mass surveillance, the funding and arming of proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, record deportations, Deepwater Horizon, new nukes (both power plants and weapons), etc…

Roaming Charges: Ain’t Living Long Like This

+ The detestable rationalizations liberals make for sticking with Biden despite Tara Reade’s convincing story can’t come as any surprise. It’s the same ritual contortions they’ve made about the Iraq war, fracking, abortion, the drug war, Anita Hill, social security, segregation, climate change, health care, deportations, a living wage, student debt, the Patriot Act, pipelines, the Libyan coup, climate change. To be a Democrat is to live in a constant state of denial, self-contradiction and moral hypocrisy.

Roaming Charges: American Thanatos, Inc.

“Poverty made a sound like a wet cough in the shadows of the room.” – Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun + How much is the future trading for on the future’s market these days? + We are witnessing an all-out push to salvage and bailout the very industries that helped create, spread, [...]

Roaming Charges: Killing Yourself to Live

+ Neoliberalism: an ideology of austerity, which contends that economics is a science and epidemiology is soothsaying. + One of the eternal axioms of American politics: When you don’t know anything claim that you’re right about everything and wrong about nothing. + This strategy pays off, time and time again. Consider that 3.5 years into [...]

Roaming Charges: Bernt Offerings

+ You’d better stock up on those Marvin Gaye stamps while you can because the stamps for Trump’s privatized mail service will feature Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, PT Barnum, JP Morgan, Andrew Mellon, Charles Ponzi, old man Rockefeller, Roy Cohn, Michael Milkin, Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff and, of course, Trump himself… + So does Trump [...]

Roaming Charges: The Condition Our Condition Is In

+ I was sick for much of February. Really sick. Fever. Sore throat. Aching joints. A persistent cough that was, as they say about the heat in Arizona, dry. In Oregon, we’re used to getting the “winter bugs.” But this was different. Nastier. Unrelenting. Plus, I’d spent most of the month in Los Angeles not [...]

Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day

CLR James: “When history is written as it ought to be written, it is the moderation and long patience of the masses at which men will wonder, not their ferocity.” + Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award? + At the onset of a pandemic outbreak of a virus that [...]

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.”