Jeffrey St. Clair’s Roaming Charges column

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 More

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, More

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. More

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. More

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. More

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. More

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. More

Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream

+ If the Democratic race boils down to Biden and Sanders, you’ll have two candidates in their late 70s who voted three times to overthrow Saddam, approved the murderous sanctions on Iraq, supported the illegal war on Serbia, backed the racist and punitive Clinton Crime Bill and fronted a scheme to dump radioactive waste from More

Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right

+ Few things have made me more despairing about the future of the country than the fact that Liz Cheney is now ascendent as a political powerbroker in DC. The one thing Trump could have done to assure himself some lasting historical merit was to eradicate the Cheneys from public life. Wimp. + How many More

Roaming Charges: Flag Humpers

+ It’s now a thought-crime in DC for the powerless to speak about the power of an organization which exists to leverage its power in a town which only responds to power. + Palestinians are the one ethnic group that everyone has a license to hate. In fact, in the US congress, it’s almost an More

Badge of Impunity: the Killing of Stephon Clark

What does it take to awaken a somnambulant media these days? Getting shot in the back 8 times by trigger-happy cops while standing in your grandmother’s backyard while holding a cell phone? That was the fate of young Stephon Clark on the night of March 18, 2018 in the Meadowview neighborhood of Sacramento, whose ghastly murder by police briefly diverted the attention of the national press from its Trump fixation. But after a couple of days, MSDNC and the New York Times, were, like the White House, content to let Clark’s killing recede from the headlines and become just another “local issue.” More

Roaming Charges: The Good Rat or the Mouse That Bored?

+ Jimmy Breslin’s book The Good Rat tells the sordid story of drug dealer Burton Kaplan, an underling in the Luchese crime syndicate, who to save his own ass dropped a dime on two NYPD detectives, Luis Eppolito and Stephen Carapacca, as hired killers for the mob. Eppolito and Carapacca murdered 8 people before they More

Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded

+ The Third Rail of American politics used to be social security. If you even suggested cutting it, your career was fried. But Clinton & Obama legitimized such talk. Now the Third Rail is Israel, where even mentioning its power over the Hill gets you the political death penalty. + What horrible thing is it More

Roaming Charges: Back in Blackface

+ All of these Virginians running around in blackface better hope they don’t bump into Liam Neeson, when he’s out power-walking. + Ralph “Coonman” Northam: That’s not my name. That’s not me. I never said that. That’s not my yearbook page. I never saw the yearbook. When I dressed in blackface, it was as Michael Jackson at More

Roaming Charges: American Hunger Games

Gary Webb and I both grew up in Indianapolis. As teens we spent a lot of time in the nearby cultural mecca (for baseball fans) of Cincy. One of Webb’s first gigs as a young reporter was covering crime and politics in Covington, just across the Ohio River. He said it was one of the most corrupt & racist cities in the US and told me those years in northern Kentucky were the best training he got for probing the CIA. The antics of those punks wouldn’t surprise him. More

Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need

Trump had to reach pretty deep into the recycling bin to extract the rusty figure of William Barr as a loyal replacement for J. Beauregard Sessions at the Justice Department. After he dusted him off, what did Trump see in this relic from the Poppy Bush era, that shining reign of triumphant globalists that Trump publicly claims to loath? A cursory scan of Barr’s CV, which is about as deep a look as Trump is likely to have given, shows all the field marks of a well-worn grey man of Swamptown, a malted Scotch institutionalist, if not an honorary member of the Deep State itself. Surely Trump hesitated when he read, or more likely was told, of Barr’s stint at the Central Intelligence Agency, though the president must have been at least partly placated upon learning that Barr was an Asia hand, who was eager to promote Red China as a more menacing rival to US imperial ambitions than the decaying Soviet Union. Still, once Barr landed in Washington in the early 70s, he quickly adapted to the local habitat and for the next 40 years didn’t migrant beyond the Beltway. So what attracted Trump to this unlikely character? More

Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria

+ You believe pronouncements from this White House at your own peril. Two weeks ago it all seemed so clear. Trump announced out-of-the-blue that he was pulling US troops out of Syria immediately. Having “destroyed” ISIS (and killed several thousand innocent bystanders), the military’s role was finished. It was time for the US troops to leave More

Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens

Chances are that George W. Bush didn’t need to be tutored on how to pronounce Osama bin Laden’s name, after the president was informed about the events of 9/11 while reading the story about that goat to grade-schoolers in Sarasota, Florida. The Bin Ladens and the Bushes go way back. Exactly how far back remains More

Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today

+ The Camp Fire, which leveled the Sierra foothills town of Paradise (pop. 27,000), is now the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the history of California. As of Friday morning: + 63 people are dead + 630 people are missing + 11,000 structures have been destroyed, including nearly 9,000 homes + 52,000 people have been More

Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards

After Trump’s election and the announcement that Chuck Schumer would lead the Democratic Resistance©, I predicted that Schumer’s infamous “Plan B” (pandering to upper-middle class suburban voters and disaffected Republicans with college degrees at the expense of blue collar voters) would result in the Democrats losing 5 senate seats. I confess I was wrong.  They only lost four, unless, like me, you consider the retention of Robert Menendez and Joe Manchin a result even worse than a loss. More

Roaming Charges: Seeing John Berger

When I heard that John Berger had died, an image flashed in my mind of a painting on a vast canvas I had stood captivated before a few years ago in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. A crowd is gathered before a small grave in the jaundiced light of a winter afternoon. The people huddle More

Roaming Charges: Drone the Outside World

+ The migrant “caravan” from Honduras is composed of people seeking political asylum in the US. This is entirely legal under US and international law. Closing the border and calling out the military against asylum-seekers violates both US and international law. Far from hiding “criminals,” the caravan has exposed one in the Oval Office. + Remember More

Roaming Charges: Give Me Condos or Give Me Death!

In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, FoxNews pollster Frank Luntz whined that: “Any political decision made now is accompanied by one side screaming bloody murder. It’s terrible for civilized discourse. It’s terrible for our democracy.” Of course, these are largely ritualized fights, as predictable and scripted as Wrestlemania. When bloody murder is actually taking place (like in Yemen or Gaza) nobody can be heard screaming bloody murder–at least on television. More

Roaming Charges: There’s a Tear in My Beer

Let’s not get too carried away with high-minded talk about the sanctity of the Supremes. It’s nearly impossible for the sniveling brute Brett Kavanaugh to leave too much of a stain on the same Court that has decided Dred Scott, Plessy, the pro-eugenics ruling in Buck v. Bell, Korematsu and Citizens United. More likely Kavanaugh will blend right in with its sordid history. Real social change is driven by political movements not a few enlightened jurists. More

Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!

+ The transformation of the Democrats into the party of the neocons is now complete. The Senate just passed a  $674 billion military budget, the largest since the peak of Iraq War and a $17 billion increase from last year. There were only seven “No” votes, none of them Democrats: Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Ben More

FacebookTwitterRedditEmail