Quote of the Day

"Buzz, buzz."--Hamlet

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.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

To Hell with Duke

Some of college basketball's biggest stars, players and coaches, are headed to Portland for the PK80 this weekend, a basketball tournament to honor Nike founder Phil Knight a few weeks ahead of his 80th birthday.

Nike of course has revolutionized college sports on the backs of impoverished workers in Southeast Asia.  Been doing so for years now.

Partnered with ESPN Events and the 16 Nike-branded schools involved, the world's largest sports-related apparel company is dressing everyone in fancy, colorful uniforms suitable for TV viewing and calling the Moda Center and the Memorial Coliseum home for three days of run and gun fun.

Like the hype around the modern game of basketball itself, the 16-team tourney (actually two simultaneous 8-team tournaments) at Portland's two large basketball arenas, is a bit of modern overkill.

Here is ESPN's description of the event Disney created to entertain basketball junkies and sell a shitload of advertising during this first of two traditional U.S. holidays; one being a gigantic celebration of gluttony and bird-slaughter while bestowing metaphysical thanks to our lucky stars that America's initial genocide turned out so well for the white man; the second being the annual shopping and gift-giving ritual that makes America great and theoretically devoted to Christ-like goodness, if not Christ himself.

In the West we shop to prove our faith in God and his celestial sun/son, while in other Kingdoms people tend to march off to sacred cities to show respect for the Great Father, as happens in the Middle East during their sacred holidays.

Or something like that.

Anyway, you can be sure that the poor laborers of Southeast Asia won't be in Portland this weekend to watch the game they've sewn their hearts out for, though some of their bosses surely will be.  It's a spendy proposition.

But that's just the way it goes, doesn't it?

I'm debating whether I should spend my last centavos to go.  I'm that fucking free, mind you, though as poor as a stitcher from "over there," the one with a travel ban tattooed on his forehead.

The tourney is just across the river and the concrete-jungle parking lot from my pad here in the good old USA, so at least I don't have to buy an airline ticket and rent a price-gouged hotel room for the weekend just to get a big boner on for my team, the Mighty Oregon Ducks.

On the football front, the annual game between Oregon and OSU, or the Civil War as it is quaintly known, will be played Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oregon must win to avoid a second straight embarrassing loss to the heavily dogged Beavs.

Oregon has its QB back.  If he can stay on the field the Ducks should win.  Unless the unimaginable happens.

I don't want to think about it.  Or, I'll put it this way.  If first-year Oregon coach Willie Taggart really is contemplating jumping back to Florida next season because he misses the sunshine (which would be bad form), he'd best go ahead and leave if he loses to OSU.

Duck fans will otherwise make his life hellish.


TS

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Praise for an Idiot

As Alfred McCoy demonstrates in his recent book, In the Shadows of the American Century, that is a particularly disingenuous description of a 70-year history in which Washington supported and, in a remarkable number of cases was directly involved in, the destruction of free societies. A list of examples would perhaps begin with the 1953 British and U.S.-backed coup against the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh that would install the despotic Shah in power in that country.  It would certainly continue with the 1954 U.S. and United Fruit Company coup against Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected president of Guatemala (an early instance of Washington’s post-World War II “encouragement” of anything-but-free-trade); the 1960 CIA-backed coup against, and the murder of, Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba; and the 1973 military coup in Chile. An honest history would also include the active “encouragement” of societies that were anything but free, including those run by juntas, dictators, or military governments in Greece, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Uruguay, Iraq, and South Korea, to name just a few.--RG

The sickening rebirth of GW Bush.


TS

Monday, November 20, 2017

World of Hurt

Trudeau, Merkel, Turnbull, Macron and Obama, along with the Clintons and the United Kingdom’s Tony Blair, represent the last desperate phase of corporate capitalism. Once their sunny faces are spurned, the face of hate rises to take their place. The con artists and thieves, no longer hiding behind the curtains, come out to pillage in the open, actively making war on the anemic democratic institutions, from the press to the courts, all of which long ago surrendered to corporate power. These protofascists rely for control on the array of undemocratic tools legalized by their “moderate” predecessors—wholesale surveillance, militarized police, the criminalizing of dissent, the primacy of “law and order” and the revoking of due process and other rights by judicial and legislative fiat.--CH

A proper essay to start your week.

Have you read any George Saunders, the American short-form satirist?  Read out of his 2006 collection, "In Persuasion Nation,"  over the weekend.  Talking puppets and vegetables, lives lived in perpetual commercials and reality TV programs, etc.  The usual stuff of American insolence and confusion rife for the plucking. Quite funny and worth a chance if you haven't gotten to him yet (or never planned to).


TS

Friday, November 17, 2017

Getting There


The weekend has mercifully arrived, and you know the drill and the rules.

Your assignment is to start here and to read on until you collapse from information overload.

After a short recovery period of your own design (some people need more time than others), you may then get on with the rest of the things you deem important to do with the remaining hours of your weekend.

You will not wear any of your new knowledge as an affectation.

You will become serene and knowing among friends and neighbors, devoid of illusions and despair.

You will laugh often and freely; you will have arrived, finally, as a human being.


TS

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

RIP Bobby Doerr

After the 1936 season in San Diego, Doerr spent the winter fly-fishing for steelhead in Oregon, where he fell in love with the teacher in the one-room schoolhouse after meeting her at a dance. The next spring Doerr was called up to the Red Sox to join future Hall of Fame stars Joe Cronin, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove.--ESPN

Because every Oregon town had a one-room schoolhouse in 1936, ha ha.

I wonder what Doerr thought of the white-water rafting crowd taking over his river?

Or this gang.

Jeez, he retired the year I was born, albeit somewhat early from injuries. Ninety-nine is really old.


TS

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bring It On

There are within America’s corporate power structures individuals, parties and groups that find the hysterical, imbecilic and irrational rants of demagogues such as Trump repugnant. They seek a return to the polished mendacity of politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. They hope to promote the interests of global capitalism by maintaining the fiction of a functioning democracy and an open society. These “moderates” or “liberals,” however, are also the architects of the global corporate pillage. They created the political vacuum that the demagogues and proto-fascist movements have filled. They blind themselves to their own complicity. They embrace their own myths—such as the belief that former FBI Director James Comey and the Russians were responsible for the election of Trump—to avoid examining the social inequality that is behind the global crisis and their defeat.--CH

Too good to ignore.


TS

Brian Berg


I received a note over the weekend from TD, a former restaurant co-worker of mine who was a student at a Portland art school in the mid-90s.  He didn't mention where he lives now, but I know at one point he earned entry to Hunter College in NYC to pursue his advanced art degrees.

I hired this kid to be the restaurant's weekend morning chef.  He did a helluva job, too.

He found my blog when he was "feeling nostalgic," he said.  He discovered my piece on Kal Tanner, a Portland musician TD and most others in our crowd really liked, which caused me to look up what I'd written.

That is how I discovered that another music friend who breezed in and out of the old neighborhood--when it was teeming with artistic and musical talent, from the daily performance art of one's existence to the bands that provided the sound track to that existence--had died.

Brian Berg was 58 when he died in Oct. 2015, apparently of suicide, in his Salem apartment.  Along with Kal Tanner, who was also from Salem, these two band leaders rocked Portland before the big record companies found out that Portland's music scene was on par with Seattle's, which had been labeled the "grunge capital" of the USA.

Kal led the Webbers.  Berg's outfit was .44 Long.  Their music was good old fashioned rock and roll with some alt-country influences.

Both bands made my days and nights a pure festival.  Berg, like Kal, was a big-hearted dude.  His talent was also awe-inspiring.  Even Rolling Stone gave him high praise.

I was bothered all day yesterday after learning of Berg's death.  It reminded me again of how far from the mad old crowd I've roamed.  Life was different back then, most of it better than today in many respects.

Listen to Berg's voice on these tracks from the band's first album.




TS

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tip Off!

College hoops starts today, and if you're a degenerate-junkie fan like I am you might want to peek at the opening schedule.

I'll be watching all day and into the late evening, with time out to eat, poop and buy some beer. Watch at  the Reddit College Basketball streams page to get your game in.

Note: Some streams are better than others, but you know by now not to click on the ads, many of which are strung out on malware and evil intent. As a general rule, any site with 2 or fewer overlaid ads is a good bet, so look for them.

My favorite is GrandmaStreams.  Another good one is lovereddit.  Anything streamed from YouTube is a good bet.
 
One of Reddit's most reliable streamers says he'll have 95% of the games up at any given time, which makes him more important than the president of the United States of America.

If you'd like to read about college basketball's ongoing messy scandals before you dip into the corruption, try this.

What am I watching for?  Early upsets, of course, because these early non-conference games can be one-sided.  Crossover-intraconference tournaments are the best, where the championship usually involves power teams.

Storylines: the women.

Have your weekend as you want it.  Goodbye and good luck.


TS

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Essay


Those of us who write about the U.S.-led demented wars and provocations around the world and the complementary death of democracy at home are constantly flabbergasted and discouraged by the willed ignorance of so many Americans.  For while the mainstream media does the bidding of the power elite, there is ample alternative news and analyses available on the internet from fine journalists and writers committed to truth, not propaganda. There is actually far too much truth available, which poses another problem. But it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to research important issues and to learn how to distinguish between bogus and genuine information.  It takes a bit of effort, and, more importantly, the desire to compare multiple, opposing viewpoints and untangle the webs the Web weaves.  We are awash in information (and disinformation) and both good and bad reporting, but it is still available to the caring inquirer.--EC

The uses and misuses of propaganda.


TS

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mr. Fish

























Thanks Mr. Fish.


TS

Fine Words


Today, the new McCarthyism is being led by centrist and liberal democrats utilizing the almost comical notion that capitalist Russia possesses the power and influence to not only impact elections but also create racial tensions. And once again, Black opposition is being cast as somehow foreign influenced and, therefore, a security threat that justifies special targeted repression.--AB

The pure genius of Ajamu Baraka.



TS

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hedges Burning

The corporate state, however, is in trouble. It has no credibility. All the promises of the “free market,” globalization and trickle-down economics have been exposed as a lie, an empty ideology used to satiate greed. The elites have no counterargument to their anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist critics. The attempt to blame the electoral insurgencies in the United States’ two ruling political parties on Russian interference, rather than massive social inequality—the worst in the industrialized world—is a desperate ploy. The courtiers in the corporate press are working feverishly, day and night, to distract us from reality. The moment the elites are forced to acknowledge social inequality as the root of our discontent is the moment they are forced to acknowledge their role in orchestrating this inequality. This terrifies them.--CH

A must read at Truthdig from one of America's greatest political/cultural philosophers.

The CounterPunch fund drive was a 99% success, btw.


TS

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Oregon Report


After Walden's good friend Donald Trump and his special friend Betsy DeVos get done with the public educational system there'll be no "need to properly fund our schools."

I'll bet the good constituents of Walden's 2nd District are looking forward to the privatization of their schools because they have all the money in the world to pay to the Education Corporation of America.

Of course, with the new GOP tax plan, all the phantom trickle down monetary effects will tickle them to death--and bludgeon them.

Well, if the cost of a private education becomes too prohibitive, the country folk will still have their good old cultural and moral values to fall back on.

I'll bet Walden chuckles himself to sleep every night thinking about how he's pulled this charade off for so many years.


TS

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Idiots on Parade

This AP story is full of shit, another instance of the oligarchy telling you that you can't--worse, shouldn't even try to--think for yourself.

In my case,  Russian propaganda caused me to vote for Jill Stein for president, I guess, because I was incapable of listening to the propaganda of the Dems and Repubs, who were evidently victimized by Putin's gang of counter-propagandists.

I don't like the two-party U.S. system, so I've been corrupted by Russians.

That makes sense, doesn't it?  Well no, not exactly.


TS

Friday, October 27, 2017

Enhanced Stupidity

This entire stupid debacle could be rendered finished if the NFL simply stopped playing the anthem prior to the games--or perhaps better for the knuckle-headed fans who insist on hearing it--played it when the players are in the locker room, as happens at most college games.

However, it could be that the contract the NFL has with the Pentagon to promote militaristic jingoism in front of the games is iron-clad.

In which case people are too stupid to realize their tax dollars are further lining the pockets of the billionaire owners above and beyond the outrageous cost of tickets.

The idiot holding the sign is obviously a stupid jerk.  He's white, probably never been hassled by a cop or spent time in the military, and my money says he's a racist through and through.  On the other hand, he could be a cop.


TS