The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.
Among growing calls for gun control legislation, students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continue to deliver some of the most powerful statements in the wake of the tragedy, and on Sunday a group of them declared that "now is the time for us to stand up" and announced plans for a march in Washington, D.C.--AG
"This is about us creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are accepting money from the NRA and using us as collateral."
The grizzled Afghan army captain, who jointly commanded the outpost with me, ordered the captured deserter stripped naked, dressed in a white gown, and forced to crawl back and forth on his belly through the coarse gravel interior of the base. All the while, the captain trailed him, alternately whacking the prone crawler with a wooden stick and forcefully kicking him in the genitals. Jordan, Alex (another lieutenant) and I watched for far too long. I knew, heck, I could feel, what everyone was thinking: “Is Danny going to put a stop to this?” I didn’t—not soon enough, anyway. When the captain and I finally talked about the incident, he was apoplectic. How dare I, a 28-year-old American, question the way he, a 50-year-old veteran of 30 years of war, disciplined his own men. Through an interpreter, he told me it was “the Afghan way.”--Maj.DS
Another excellent piece by this Afghanistan War veteran. I'm surprised his superior officers let him publish this stuff.
The same can be said about Allen’s movies, whatever the truth may be about his alleged misdeeds. It is no secret that Allen finds young women attractive; his current wife was not yet 20 when he started an affair with her. She was also the adopted daughter of Allen’s partner at the time. One of Allen’s best known and most successful films, “Manhattan,” released in 1979, when he was in his forties, featured a relationship between a middle-aged man (Allen) and a young girl, played by Mariel Hemingway, who was 16 at the time of filming. These relationships were unconventional. Some might find them creepy. But this is not the same as molesting a child. Nor is there anything in “Manhattan,” or any other film by Allen, that reveals any interest in assaulting young children. This would be the case even if everything alleged against the director were true. Again, morality is not irrelevant. It is hard to imagine admiring art that espouses child abuse, racial hatred, or torture (even though this seems to get people much less agitated than sexual content). But just as we should not condemn a work of art because of the artist’s private behavior, we should also be careful about applying norms of social respectability to artistic expression. Some art is meant to provoke, transgress, and push boundaries. People can do things in works of imagination that they would never do in life.--IB
The times they are a-changin' into an hysterical anti-intellectualism. I find it sickening. Woody Allen, for example, is a rare goddamn national treasure, and the moralists would love to destroy him--liberals and conservatives alike, for different reasons, but with the same effect.
This is a well-reasoned article, rare in itself in an age of new, heightened repression. It is not a coincidence that our present government in the U.S. is such a comatose and fraudulent disaster.
In high school John pitched for South Salem and worshiped the New York Yankees before heading off to college in Ashland, where our first encounter was on the Administration Building lawn when he quarterbacked a pickup football game and I tried to block for him on the line and somehow caught him in the eye with an elbow. As eye injuries go, it was pretty bad.
He went back to his room in Forest Hall and I later knocked on his door to apologize and Bob opened the door and I thought for a second that he was John and I said something, awkwardly confused, as Bob opened the door wider and I saw John lying on his bed face down nursing his injured eye. I said, "man I'm sorry," and he sort of grunted acknowledgement and I walked back to my room feeling bad that I'd hurt the guy.
Later, we became roommates in Forest when Bob moved into another room. John and Bob became my peer mentors in music, literature, politics and carousing, and there was, in my case, little time to study as I learned how to smoke pot for the first time and protest the Vietnam War.
John and Bob both laughed when I used "them" for "those" in conversation and once responded to a prof's question about why I was in his Psychology 101 class by answering in all sincerity that I wanted to know what "makes people tick." How was I supposed to know that I sounded like a hick to them?
John smoked cigarettes (a habit he would later quit when he took up long-distance running) on his bed in our college dorm room and read sociology and Vonnegut and crushed math problems that made my head spin because math wasn't my thing. He loved John Brodie and the 49ers and told Bob that Brodie was a better quarterback than Roman Gabriel, whom Bob preferred because Gabriel played for the Rams, Bob's team, and I made my case for Joe Namath and the Jets and we watched football on Sundays and drank beer all the time if we could get our hands on a case, and the truth is I couldn't stop laughing when I was around the twins because they were seriously funny guys whose sense of the absurd and general irreverence about everything made everyone around them laugh.
I had no discipline as a student and nearly flunked out by the end of third term and so I didn't return to Ashland for a second year, knowing I'd miss the brothers. But fortunately they went home to Salem for the summer and John always had an old runner that he'd drive down to Albany where I was living and pick me up to cruise up to Portland with them or up to Salem to hit the record stores and drive around for the hell of it. When Woodstock came out that summer we smoked so much pot that I was freaking out and in awe of the musicians and music on the big screen, and that was how I discovered John had learned Country Joe's "Fixin' to Die Rag" well enough to lead a sing along during a kegger at Emigrant Lake during my first and final spring session at Southern Oregon College. John had kicked it off and everybody at the party except me seemed to know the lyrics by heart and the singing was raucous and loud and echoed through the hills surrounding the lake and I thought, damn, I'm gonna miss this place, this school, "them" times.
But we watched Woodstock and had fun that entire summer, 1970. There's so much more I could write about. Perhaps I will in time, in the future.
I still write Bob on occasion and have published numerous of his photos at my blog, and I know John was a good photographer as well, and I learned a few years back that John and Bob had both taken up biking with a passion, and I knew they both liked heading into the hills to ride.
That's what John was doing when he died, riding hard, staying in shape, seeking thrills where he could find them on a trail atop a mountain. It was a great scheme, a beautiful thing to do, and I'm just goddamn sorry it ended like it did, with a crash on a trail that looks pretty innocent in photos, except for the dip in the middle that John had flown over many times before--that is before Monday, Feb 5, when it happened. Despite wearing a helmet, John died of a blunt force injury to his head.
John was a good man, a good businessman, a loving husband to his wife of many years, Lori. A great brother to his sister Colleen. He was Bob's best friend. He was my friend, and I feel terrible.
Rest in peace, John Edward Thomas, Jr. I loved you, man.
Democrats are not happy, sensing that their partnership with the clandestine services to eject Trump by non-electoral means is losing steam by the day. After almost two years, the predicate offense---that Trump and the Russians colluded in hacking the Democrats---has not been proven, or even convincingly presented. By now, the media-CIA-Democrat version of "resistance" is hoping that Trump will somehow self-destruct through some act or statement that is beyond the pale---except that nobody knows where "beyond" is.--GF
What would the Dems do if they got their sweep? No one knows. Would they impeach Trump? They’re not saying. Would they repeal the Trump tax law? Probably not (but they should say they would). Would Democrats push for a higher minimum wage? A national abortion-rights bill? Cutting back NSA surveillance? Bringing back troops from Afghanistan and Iraq? Closing Gitmo? Probably none of the above — so why would left-of-center voters get excited about more of the same? Democrats aren’t promising anything. Voters may take them at their word — and let the Republicans keep on keeping on.--TR
There was one car turned on its side on Walnut Street in the center of the action. There were also some bottles thrown in the area and one police officer said a fan was arrested for climbing a street pole without clothes.--JR ESPN
It was quite an interesting contest, and also I should warn you; it was very violent.
It has become obligatory. To be taken seriously in American politics, one must kneel before the altar of “American exceptionalism”—the messianic notion that the United States is a constant source for good in the world with a unique mission to spread its particular values.--Maj. DS
Oregon City may not seem like the soft underbelly of American democracy. But as the public learns more about the hidden propaganda role of Russian "trolls," or fake identities on the internet, an Oregon City man named Jeffrey St. Clair has become an unintentional authority on the subject — by virtue of having been duped by one. St. Clair is the editor of the popular left-leaning website Counterpunch.org. On Christmas Day, he became the center of the sort of mainstream media news frenzy that he'd normally be critiquing from the sidelines.--NB
I have interest in this story and interview because I've contributed to CounterPunch on numerous occasions. Likely, the FBI scrutinizes every writer who publishes with CP and many other U.S. left/independent news organizations. So they stumble across an "Alice Donovan," who doesn't really exist. The Washington Post is tipped off, and a reporter calls CP's St. Clair.
But here's the catch. This story's headline says the non-existent Alice Donovan is a Russian troll. As St. Clair points out in the interview, there's no proof anywhere that AD is infact a Russian surrogate. All anyone knows is that it's a fake name adorned by plagiarism.
The headline states "Russiagate" as fact. The sloppiness of mainstream journalism rolls on. WTF? It will be interesting to see if St. Clair responds to this.
Vietnam: it’s always there. Looming in the past, informing American futures. A 50-year-old war, once labeled the longest in our history, is still alive and well and still being refought by one group of Americans: the military high command. And almost half a century later, they’re still losing it and blaming others for doing so. Of course, the U.S. military and Washington policymakers lost the war in Vietnam in the previous century and perhaps it’s well that they did. The United States really had no business intervening in that anti-colonial civil war in the first place, supporting a South Vietnamese government of questionable legitimacy and stifling promised nationwide elections on both sides of that country’s artificial border. In doing so, Washington presented an easy villain for a North Vietnamese-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) insurgency, a group known to Americans in those years as the Vietcong.--Maj.DS
“It is a bit surprising that Democrats haven’t managed a single victory yet,” declared a University of Wisconsin election expert. “Panic is setting in on the left,” exclaimed a Vox headline. Really? No, not really. The professional political observers are like cats watching the wrong mouse hole. They are so fixated on the minutia of Washington-centric politics that they’re missing the much bigger story of transformative political changes that have erupted in every region of the country. Far from panicking, America’s political left is organizing, strategizing, mobilizing … and WINNING. Coalitions of local progressive activists (newly energized by an infusion of dynamic, creative young people and people of color) came together after the 2016 election. They recruited and trained candidates from their own ranks; methodically knocked on doors, having thousands of front-porch conversations with voters on basic issues; mobilized supporters for intensive election-day turn-out drives; and elected scores of audaciously populist mayors, council members, legislators, and other officials.--JH
At this late date I still marvel at people who insist we'd be so very much better off with the Democratic Party in charge. All lathered up in pragmatic oil, they're missing the point--the country wants else.
Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books, Round Bend Press Detritus, and an associated writing/editing service to aid and abet renegade authors. He has worked as a day laborer, dishwasher, factory drone, community organizer, journalist, media consultant and freelance writer. He attended the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where he read journalism, politics, literature and history. He is the author most recently of "Along Came the Death Squad: Political and Scattered Notes."
RBP books are available from Amazon and Lulu.
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