Jeffrey St. Clair’s Roaming Charges column

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.

Roaming Charges: And Then There Were Three

+ Trump wants to make AOC, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar the faces of the Democratic Party. The Democrats, whose current faces of the party are Schumer, Pelosi, Hoyer and Biden, should say, thank you very much, Mr. President, for doing what we should’ve done ourselves. (Curiously, they haven’t shown such gratitude.) + [...]

Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man

+ After the scenes of mass psychosis in North Carolina on Wednesday night, you’d think the Democrats would finally extinguish their happy trope about “bringing the country together”, concentrate on protecting their most valuable assets (the 4 Horsewomen of the Political Apocalypse), and throw themselves into taking POWER. As Hobbes, the English Machiavelli understood perhaps [...]

Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi

As a senator from Delaware, Joe Biden’s entire political career has been underwritten by the DuPont Family & its enterprise, once the world’s largest chemical company. For the political, martial & environmental implications of this toxic relationship, I strongly recommend Gerard Colby’s book Behind the Nylon Curtain: the DuPont Dynasty.

Roaming Charges: When the Band Plays “Hail to the Chief,” They Point the Tank at You, Lord

+ Here’s an inconvenient truth to chew on over the Fourth of Me Holiday: If Al Gore Sr. had gotten his way, the DMZ rendezvous between Kim and Trump would likely never have taken place. As Alexander Cockburn and I reported in our biography of Al Gore, the old man wanted to saturate the DMZ [...]

Roaming Charges: Crash Test Dummy Politics

+ Let’s start with some notes on the Democratic debates… + Andrea Mitchell: “Biden’s a skilled debater. We saw him with Sarah Palin.” Which was, obviously, the political equivalent of flooring Sonny Liston in the first round. + Steve Bannon was Andrew Yang’s fashion consultant for tonight’s festivities. + MSDNC’s Savannah Guthrie seems very concerned her [...]

Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad

+ Forget about Hope Hicks. If the Democrats had any sense, they’d invite E. Jean Carroll to testify publicly about how Trump raped her in the dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman. When Trump asks Carroll to advise him on what to buy, she agrees, and the two eventually make their way to the lingerie section. [...]

Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues

+ This seems like a big deal to me, but then I don’t get out much: The world’s seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of nearly three species a year since 1900. + From 2001 to 2017, the Pentagon’s emissions totaled 766 million metric tons, according to a new Brown University report. That [...]

Roaming Charges: Intimations of Imbecility

+ Every reporter, editor and publisher who used or cited any document published by Wikileaks should file an amicus brief opposing his indictment and extradition, since Assange is being indicted on their behalf. + Out of a total eleven prosecutions under the Espionage Act against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, [...]

Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran

It’s easy to plot wars when you’re at no personal risk after your plans go to shit. At the Battle of La Moscova (or Borodino, if you’re Russian) in 1812, 70 generals were killed in a single day. In all US military campaigns since the beginning of World War  Two, only 23 generals or admirals have been killed in action.

Roaming Charges: Biden in Plain Sight

Joe Biden will never again be more popular than he was the day before he entered the presidential race. Still his residual appeal, a misbegotten nostalgia for the Obama years, vaulted Biden 20 points ahead of his nearest Democratic Party rivals in a Quinnipiac poll taken a few days after Biden’s announcement (in a creepy video) and his first campaign gigs, where, despite decades of service in the legislative ranks of Wall Street, he cunningly wrapped himself in the union label.

Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid

Some names always seem to resurface in American political scandals, so it was no surprise to stumble across “Ledeen” on page 63 of Mueller’s Report, highlighting a scheme by Barbara Ledeen (wife of Iran/contra figure and Mike Flynn pal Michael) to track down HRC’s emails at Flynn’s request on behalf of the Trump campaign, an operation that funded in part by a $30,000 contribution from the blood-drenched accounts of Erik Prince.

Roaming Charges: Tongue-Tied and Twisted

The main difference between the anonymous leaks from US intelligence officials about RussiaGate peddled nightly on MSDNC, CNN, the NYT and the Washington Post and Julian Assange’s exposure of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan is that what Wikileaks published turned out to be true. In this system, you’re only held accountable for exposing the truth about imperial power.

Roaming Charges: Rachel Maddow and the Muellers of Invention

Robert Mueller became like a Hollywood green screen that people could project their fantasies upon, none more baroquely than the doyenne of MSDNC Rachel Maddow, who her rode her CGI version of Mueller to the top of the cable ratings. Maddow’s Mueller wasn’t the man who spread fatal myths about Iraqi WMDs, targeted and infiltrated radical environmental groups, concocted elaborate plots to entrap Muslims in fake terrorism cases and ran roughshod over basic constitutional rights while he was a top federal prosecutor and FBI director. Maddow’s Mueller was a man of her own invention. Her Mueller was stoic, fearless and indefatigable. He could see deep and far. He would follow any lead, interrogate any foe, unmask any nefarious troll. He would scrutinize tax filings, bank accounts, and loan documents.  He would detect where money was laundered and by whom. He would track computer hackers though the misty reaches of the dark web and back to their source in Moscow or Prague. He was  an incorruptible father figure, a kind of political super-ego who was charged with disciplining and punishing the Id-like rampages of Donald Trump and his cronies.

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