Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

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.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017


A friend sent me a link to a ghazal by Denver Butson that he admires (thanks RP).

Which got me, naturally, delving deeper into this old Middle Eastern form this morning.

Here's another one I like:

Ghazal: America the Beautiful

Do you remember our earnestness our sincerity
in first grade when we learned to sing America

The Beautiful along with the Star-Spangled Banner
and say the Pledge of Allegiance to America

We put our hands over our first grade hearts
we felt proud to be citizens of America

I said One Nation Invisible until corrected
maybe I was right about America

School days school days dear old Golden Rule Days
when we learned how to behave in America

What to wear, how to smoke, how to despise our parents
who didn’t understand us or America

Only later learning the Banner and the Beautiful
live on opposite sides of the street in America

Only later discovering the Nation is divisible
by money by power by color by gender by sex America

We comprehend it now this land is two lands
one triumphant bully one still hopeful America

Imagining amber waves of grain blowing in the wind
purple mountains and no homeless in America

Sometimes I still put my hand tenderly on my heart
somehow or other still carried away by America

Alicia Ostriker (1937--present)


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Spare Us Burns

The U.S. carried out industrial-scale chemical warfare on Vietnam, spraying it with 21 million gallons of the carcinogenic defoliant Agent Orange.  It destroyed half of the nation’s forests, leaving the greatest man-made environmental catastrophe in the history of the world.  When the U.S. destroyed neighboring Cambodia to cover its retreat from Vietnam, the communist Khmer Rouge came to power and carried out the greatest proportional genocide in modern history.  The U.S. dropped 270 million cluster bombs on neighboring Laos, 113 bombs for every man, woman, and child in the country.  Vietnam had never attacked the U.S., had never tried to attack it, had no desire to attack it, and had no capacity to attack it.  All of this was justified through a purposeful campaign of lies to the American people that was sustained by five presidential administrations over more than two decades.--RF

A brilliant essay at Common Dreams.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Time to Give

It's the weekend, thank goodness.

That means it's time for the weekly barrage of brilliant leftist writing at CP that everyone should read now.

When you read it, understand that the lefties are on your side, and Becky Grant needs you to pony up.

Give, don't be a partisan cheapskate. Help crush oligarchy.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Poem of the Day


In the winter I play the piano
Begin to noodle out phrases and figures
Without knowing where I’m going
But for the rain on the windows
And later a few snowflakes

I play to ground myself
It is difficult because my playing
Takes wings of its own
And up in the atmosphere the
Ideas can melt faster than the
Icecaps of the Antarctic

I play to take off and hide from
The rain pounding the windowpanes
Which displeases me so and it is
Certain then finally
That I want to compose something
Anything to
Live on for now


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

So it Goes

What the Burns documentary does not tell us  – and it is this that makes the work superficial – is that none of this was new. Almost all preceding American violence abroad had been rationalized by the same or related set of excuses that kept the Vietnam slaughter going: the revolutionary War was about “liberty,” the genocidal wars against the Native Americans were about spreading “civilization,” the wars against Mexico and Spain were about spreading “freedom,” and once capitalism became officially synonymous with freedom, the dozens of bloody incursions into Central and South America also became about our “right” to carry on “free enterprise.” As time went by, when Washington wasn’t spreading “freedom,” it was defending it. And so it goes, round and round.--LD

The lies that never stop giving.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Jerry Jones is a Racist!

No more kneeling, says the hypocrite.

Wow, for a minute there I thought chattel slavery was over and out.


RIP Y.A. Tittle

The frame caught the then-37-year-old quarterback, who looked older than his years, after throwing an interception returned for a touchdown by Pittsburgh's Chuck Hinton. Tittle is seen kneeling in exhaustion and pain from an injured rib, blood dripping down his face from a head gash.--AP

Check out the goal posts in the era before a single stanchion became the norm.  Taped and lightly-padded, the dual posts sat at the goal line, giving players another way to hurt themselves by slamming into them at full speed.

Of course this was before football, in Trump's mind, became too "nice" and stupid rules were enacted for the safety of the players.  You know, back when America was great.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Love, NRA Style

Love it or leave it, you liberal commie bastards!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Confederacy of Dunces

Let's hope, against all odds and reality as we've adorned it, that what happened in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.

Not a chance, you say?

Come now, why in the hell not, but for the morons in Congress and the Orangutan in the White House?


Hey Everybody, Look at Me!


Friday, September 29, 2017

Suddenly Thrifty USA

Tom Price was too expensive.  Now, how about the Pentagon and the endless wars?

Well, liberals are happy for a moment, but when will they quit supporting Wall Street's wars?


Say Hey!

In 1954, the year Willie Mays made his epic Game 1 catch at the Polo Grounds in New York, the most replayed highlight in World Series history, there was no World Series most valuable player award.

The first World Series MVP was awarded in 1955 to the Dodgers’ Johnny Podres.

Now, the award will be named after the great Mays, starting this season — the Willie Mays World Series most valuable player award.--SF Gate

One of my earliest childhood heroes, along with Muhammad Ali.

It's always refreshing to hear that an award is named after a human being rather than a major corporation.

The big picture.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Commies are Everywhere!

Make no mistake about it: The United States has entered an era of a New McCarthyism that blames nearly every political problem on Russia and has begun targeting American citizens who don’t go along with this New Cold War propaganda.

A difference, however, from the McCarthyism of the 1950s is that this New McCarthyism has enlisted Democrats, liberals and even progressives in the cause because of their disgust with President Trump; the 1950s version was driven by Republicans and the Right with much of the Left on the receiving end, maligned by the likes of Sen. Joe McCarthy as “un-American” and as Communism’s “fellow travelers.”--Robert Parry

This is an important essay.

I cringe every time someone starts talking about Putin and his "meddling" habits. The word is useless because there is scant evidence to back it up, and were it true in any case what are you going to do about it?

Bomb Moscow?

The talk always comes around to this: "The Russians have compromised our democracy."

Folks, we don't have a democracy to compromise.

Here's a word I like to use on occasion: "prattle," defined as foolish or inconsequential talk.

You hear a lot of it these days.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wrapped in a Flag

The Boycott

A one-act monologue

Character: the Fan

Place: A New York Giants fan's man cave. It's decked out in all the regalia a football fan's man cave can hold--all of it thematically related to the fan's love of his team.  Life-sized posters of his NFL heroes are plastered to the walls, there's a bar, and a big-screen television, shelves of Giants' memorabilia, a Giants-themed pinball machine and pool table, refrigerator, the works.

Time: the present; kick off time on a Sunday in the Age of Trump.

Scene: As the stage lights come up a brawny, hairy, unshaven, slovenly man is sitting in his recliner in front of the television, which is turned off. He's naked except for the large American flag that is wrapped around his shoulders, torso and knees. He's wearing slippers with the Giants logo on them. His big belly protrudes from the red and white striped fabric like a sinister omen of an impending heart attack.

He retrieves his remote and flicks the television on. It's pregame, with the FOX gang of football experts talking about the upcoming Giants' game.

The fan flips the experts a "fuck you" finger and flicks the TV off again.

He goes over to the pinball machine and starts a game.  He pulls a beer out of the fridge and drinks half the bottle in one long swill.

Fan: (to himself, rambling on) I'm boycottin' my team.  You bet I am.  Trump is right.  Those sons-of-bitches are wrong.  They got no right to kneel like that.  Disrespectin' the flag.  Disrespectin' the military that fights for their freedoms every day!  I'm boycottin' all right.  The NFL can shove it.  As of today, I am not a fan. Who do they think they are? They need to just shut up and play football. Why all of a sudden are they politicians?  They're not anything but football players.  They don't know anything but football.  I ain't gonna use the N-word because I'm not racist.  I kinda like some of them boys.  Some of them are sons-of-bitches, though.  The ones that kneel are SOBs, that is for sure. Why can't they just keep their mouths shut and play football?  Isn't that what they're supposed to be doing? Isn't that what they're paid millions to do?  And who gives them all that money?  We do.  Or did... In my case... Go ahead and bite the hand that feeds you, right?  How stupid is that?  Pissin' off guys like me, guys like me who support them when they just play football and don't act up like... Well, I won't say it, because like I said, I'm no racist. I'm with Trump.  The SOBs who kneel need to be fired. There oughta be a rule. No kneelin'.  No protestin' and no disrespectin' the flag and the military.  That's what gets me riled. Disrespectin' the military like they do.  It's pretty simple isn't it?  The soldiers who fought for their freedoms in every war since day one allowed them the right to play football!  I'm sick of it.  I'm boycotting...

The Fan switches to his pool table and racks the balls, breaks, and starts shooting.

Fan: Well, the NFL is finished, kaput, over and out, goodbye football and hello... uh, what?  It all started with the Kaepernick SOB.  Before he came along everything was fine.  That big hair of his and his big head got him in trouble, though, didn't it?  That kneelin' bullshit when he was the only one doin' it?  Then it started up, a few others. Now look at what you got.  Now look at the idiot.  He's out of football, his career is over, and the moron can't find a job!  Haha.  That makes me laugh. Kaepernick makes me sick...They're all gonna be out of work here soon. 'Cause me and a whole lotta people like me have a say in this deal.  We ain't gonna stand for it no more. Crappy Kaep started all this and we're gonna finish it.  Not a dollar more for them!

The Fan's phone rings.  He picks up and says hello, listens for a few seconds.

Fan: Jesus, Jess, no I don't have the Giants game on. I told you I was gonna start my boycott and stick with it as long as I have to. (pause) You're kiddin', Beckham scored?  Manning is playing lights out?
(pause)  Well, did Beckham kneel? (pause) You're not sure?  Why weren't you watching? (pause) What, you were boycotting and then changed your mind.  How can you do that?  Jesus H. Christ, Jess... (pause) What?  You're kidding me!  Fumble returned for a touchdown!? (pause) Oh, Jesus Jess, I wish I could watch.  I wish those SOBs wouldn't have sat out the anthem.  I could support them then.  Not now. Not now. (pause) Okay, Jess, good talkin' to you, though I don't think you should be watchin' the game. But you can call me again with the final score if you want, maybe talk me through what happened? (pause) Well, I didn't say I wasn't interested, did I?  I mean, I can know the score can't I? You can tell me the highlights can't you?  Like you were just doin'. (pause) Okay, Jess, talk to you later.

The Fan hangs up.  He goes to the fridge for a second beer and walks over to his easy chair.  He looks blankly at the television for a long minute.  He picks up the remote and flicks the TV on.  He switches immediately from the game to a Sunday morning talk show.  Some general or another is being interviewed about the next war.  The Fan flicks the channels again.  A cooking program. Again. The History Channel.  He flicks through all of the stations.

Fan: Son-of-a-bitch... There ain't nothin' on worth watchin'...

The Fan halts his remote search at the Giants game just as Odell Beckham catches a ball for a first down.

Fan: What a catch!  First and ten...!

He reaches for the potato chips and stuffs his mouth with them.

The End


Whenever silly debate begins to rage about the meaning of the American flag I feel obliged to reprint this poem from my collection Cello Music and Other Poems:

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the American Flag

As a sari while scrounging
For food in America’s dumpster.
As down payment on a hospital death bed.
As promise to suspend habeas corpus.
As camouflaged team uniforms in the “war on terror.”
As message from God.
As wistful memory of the imaginary American Dream.
As dubious plot to make all men equal when they
Are surely not, never were, and never will be.
As walk-off home run in a nuclear war.
As jealous amateur in a chili cook-off.
As highlight film in a vacuum-sealed
Plastic container in Baltimore.
As ideology before common sense.
As the silly advancement of technology.
As Bob Hope’s nose.