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.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Football Report

Because big-time D-1 football has been reduced to a calculated political ploy to advance the agenda of the Power-5 conferences and make a ton of money for the usual suspects (ESPNSEC, etc.), and because you'd have to be a dolt like GW Bush to take seriously the CFP committee that has Condi Rice on board, and because a real playoff isn't coming to the FBS world any time soon...well, you don't have to despair.

The FCS 1-AA quarterfinals (the elite 8) commence tonight and continue tomorrow all day.

Just the excuse I need to avoid the Army/Navy game!

Speaking of football, Oregon promoted Mario Cristobal to its head coach position today, a hire I like personally because I think he's a better football coach than the one who left for Florida State.

You can tell he's a lot smarter than Taggart, if brains count for anything in college football, just by listening to him answer media questions.

Figures he's smart.  An ex-Miami and NFL offensive lineman.  O-linemen and QBs are usually the smartest players on any team.

Who knows?  Maybe he'll stick around for a few years.


TS

Ecstatic Weekend

Both terrorism and a revanchist Russia represent figments of horror in the minds of western citizens. They are the bĂȘte noire with which we can shape our worldview and pepper our cocktail conversations. We do not realize that Islamic terror is largely a product of American terror. We do not see that American aggression provokes Russian self-defense. As such, these orientalist caricatures represent the hypocrisy of imperial neoliberalism, which is forever flying the false flag of economic justice and democratic freedom over its just-conquered capitals. Inhabitants of those broken cities know better, as their standard of living plummets and their dictators are replaced by juntas. They know the west is like Joseph Conrad’s sepulchral city, where an alabaster exterior hides a crypt of rotting flesh. That is the real vision that western media works so feverishly to disguise, one no sane person could stomach. That’s why the media must craft fresh Frankensteins at such a feverish pace. Fairy tales of secular missionaries bringing the gift of free-market democracy to the benighted tribes of the east.--JH

Do your civic duty this weekend and read up.

You'll be surprised how good it makes you feel.


TS

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Dark and Rainy Night

















Willie Taggart demonstrated that he wasn't a very good coach when he couldn't keep Oregon afloat after the team's star QB, Justin Herbert, went down for five games with a broken collarbone. Oregon was 1-4 in that stretch before Herbert recovered.

Oregon's fans were quick to blame the sub QB, an inexperienced kid from Arizona named Braxton Burmeister, but the true story is that Taggart couldn't adapt the team's game to take advantage of the other talent on the team.

Taggart was a very bad and hopelessly lost coach without Herbert.  At age 41, he still has time to learn how to coach, he just won't be doing it at Oregon.

That may not be a bad thing in the long run.

In the mean time, I hope he's considerate enough to write Justin Herbert a thank you note.


TS

The Next Mass Movement


Now that it looks like the President Trump and the Republican Congress will succeed in ramming through the most regressive tax bill (not “reform” bill as the media keep slipping into calling it) in the history of the income tax, it’s time to gear up for the real battle — a battle that calls for not more lame Soros-funded, Democratic Party-led “resistance,” but rather a deadly serious mass movement to defend and expand Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what remains of federal welfare assistance.--DL

Read all about it!


TS

Monday, December 4, 2017

Free Music!



This might interest Neil Young fans.


TS

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

Tired
















My Feedjit traffic gadget goes wacky every now and again.  It's been awhile since the straight-up  hourly click from San Francisco invaded RBPD.

Now one visit from Southend, UK, and it reappears sporadically, but way too often to mean anything except the gadget is failing again.

All of this baffles me of course.  Is it technology or humanity screwing around with me?  Does it matter?

My cold (if that is what it is) is a bitch.  One week and counting, and only slightly better.  Phlegm and sinus drain about 50 percent of what it was.  Shit.

Your weekend reading.

That's all, folks.


TS

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Poem
















Lamentations of the Old Radical

The radical old man lets himself go
when he knows there is nothing left
to be done with the world.

His revolutionary clothes become a
little tattered; his teeth, if he has
them, glow an awful yellow; his pot

belly grows harder than love as his
liver begins to tighten up and fail.
Sometimes the old radical will grow

his hair out long to concoct the look;
the pluck to signal he no longer cares
what common folks prefer to believe.

The radical old man laments his limp
penis, for it was such a tool years ago!
He laments cities where the houses are

huddled together like recluses, the
homes drawing people into themselves.
No doubt the radical old man dreams

of radical women and families. He could
write a mind-blowing poem--but for the
old man his lamentations prevail. To sit

in front of  technology and force a yell?
Yearning is neither something natural,
nor something he does willingly or well.


TS

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Willie Taggart's Bad Form

Oregon offered coach Willie Taggart a new deal last weekend with the hope that he’ll stay in Eugene even if a coveted job in his home state opens this weekend, SI.com has learned. If Taggart accepts, the new deal would pay a little more than $20 million over five years. But Taggart has reason to wait. If Jimbo Fisher leaves Florida State for Texas A&M, Taggart could be a candidate for the Seminoles’ job.--SI.com

Here in Oregon we're watching the slime ooze out of the beautiful game of American college football.

I wasn't a fan of this hire in the first place, figuring something like this would happen.  You bring a guy in from Florida.  He gets homesick and misses his recently widowed mother.

He talks a big game, raises platitudes to new heights.  Oregon is a great job, unlimited potential to win it all. Got everything, facilities, great fans, money up the yang hole, etc., etc.

But in the end it is as meaningless as empty words.

I agree with this.

Oregon ought to be looking for a way to fire Willie Taggart and find someone who wants to be in Eugene.  Someone who will say it loud and clear and mean it.

No half-assed jokers. No con men. The game Taggart is playing is all about the bad form, the sleaze that surrounds college football, and other games as well.

I'm tired of it.


TS

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Frosting

The US government, a lot of heavy-breathing members of Congress, and the bulk of the corporate media in the US at this point are suggesting that journalists like me are at best “useful idiots” helping to promote Russian propaganda in the US — propaganda that our government claims is designed to sow discord among the citizenry and to undermine support for American democracy. Why, RT has been accused of such heinous behavior, according to former National Security Director James Clapper “promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights, etc.”--DL

People are clueless, brainwashed and absurdly stupid.  That's the real news.


TS

Monday, November 27, 2017

Recovery














Oregon's bball team isn't ready for the big time.

Oregon's football team is good when the star QB is healthy.

And Oregon's X-rated blogger TS isn't healthy at all, spent the entire weekend with the most fucked-up cold/flu symptoms he's had since '10.

He recalls that year because it is when he came in from the cold and moved into a warm pad, and immediately got sick from the sudden clime-change and soft life.

The antibiotics were flowing like cheap wine back then; well, I needed the same Friday and Saturday.  Alas, I resisted the ER like a liberal Democrat.  I haven't slept well since Thurs.

Today?  Today, I am finally feeling better.

Hope for tomorrow.


TS

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

Weekend Notes

And I could never vote for a Democrat who glorifies the military and its generals, and who pretends that our vaunted “troops” are “serving their country” and defending its freedoms when, in fact, they are serving an empire the very existence of which threatens the basic rights and liberties of all Americans

On the other hand, I would happily support anyone who would forthrightly state the obvious: that, with few exceptions, generals are mostly ‘mad dogs” who like to kill or sleaze balls of the John F. Kelly variety; that soldiers are mostly economic conscripts; and that the last and perhaps the only time that the American military fired shots in defense of freedom was some seven decades ago, in the European theater of World War II.--AL

Start your weekend off the right way--er, left way, with the righteousness of Andrew Levine.

And while you're at it, this one goes from hilarious to troubling in about 60 seconds.

                          ***

Damn, the Oregon State Beavers blew it last night and unfortunately avoided gifting college football watchers the best upset of the year.

How?  By fumbling late in their own territory against Stanford, on a drive that would have iced the upset and made them instantaneous heroes to underdogs everywhere.

Sad to see.  And wow, amazing how the Beavers have improved since their old coach quit at mid-season.  There's suddenly hope in Corvallis...

Now OSU will have to seriously consider giving the job to the young, black former assistant who is interim coach and has the Beavers competing.

A black head coach at Oregon State?  Hell I'm old enough to remember when OSU spurned blacks and a fat-headed racist named Dee Andros ran the show.  They called him the "Great Pumpkin"--because the school's colors are orange and black and the coach, with his great belly covered by an orange jacket, sort of resembled a scary carved-out pumpkin. However, he was in my mind a bumpkin.

Seriously, something about the guy bugged me, though at the time I couldn't have put my finger on exactly what it was.  I had an opportunity to "walk-on" and play for him, but didn't take it.  One, I knew I was too slow and undersized to play major college football. But I didn't like Andros as well.

Oregon hired its first African-American coach this year in Willie Taggart, but I think OSU's guy, Cory Hall, might be a better coach and leader.

If OSU beats Oregon in the Civil War, the interim coach might get the job.  Cool.


TS

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tarkovsky



Embed blocked here and doesn't work but link to YT does.

Good flick, highly recommended.


TS

Monday, October 23, 2017

Please, and Thanks

We seem to scrape by every year, though some years are leaner than others. This has been a very lean year, partly because we’ve lost one of our largest donors, who had graciously supported CounterPunch for 15 years. He said that it’s time to see if we can swim against the current on our own. I told him we’re all taking swimming lessons and are intent on drowning as slowly as possible. But he was quite right. We now have more than two million unique visitors to the site every month. If each of them gave merely five dollars a year we wouldn’t have to run another fundraiser until 2030.--JSC

A day in the life.  Give.


TS

Sunday, October 22, 2017

On Writing
















Poetic Measures of Illumination in a Time of Calamity


When writing of love in a time of calamity
keep a sure method of squirming out of it nearby

When pondering your relationship with the
universe keep in mind that God isn't in play

When probing your childhood you best leave
out the tantrums you once felt in your bones

When tackling politics in an age of unreason
allow for the possibility that everyone is stupid

When musing in a coffee shop know that your real
purpose is to create jobs for the underemployed

When scribbling profundities that first appear
lucid allow that they may be poor replicants

When researching the lives of the poets consider
they may all be drunks and highly refined assholes

When printing out the pages of your best poems be
clear that Whitman and Melville died penniless

When drinking while writing know that your best
edits await you in the doctor's office next year

When considering your choice between a rhyming
word and a destructive one choose the latter

When sitting at your writing table causes despair
move to your drawing table and reinvent yourself

When choosing a theme for your next masterpiece
avoid religion unless you want to be a known sap

When composing an anti-war poem do not pretend
that a killer is not weighing his next victim just then

When strolling to your university poetry writing
class inspect the insitution's military contracts

When measuring your words and lines in poetic
sequence understand beauty is the life of poetry

When writing in a time of calamity believe for
one  transcendent moment in pity and hilarity


TS


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ghazals

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)


TS

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.


TS

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.


TS

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Poem of the Day



















Time

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


TS

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.


TS

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.


TS

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.


TS

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Love, NRA Style














Love it or leave it, you liberal commie bastards!


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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?



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Hey Everybody, Look at Me!














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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?

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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.


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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.


TS

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

Silliness













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.


TS

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Past and the Present


The war of words between the president and black athletes is about competing historical narratives.--CH

Chris Hedges nails it, as usual.

Someone at CounterPunch questioned why a thinker (read leftist) like Noam Chomsky wasn't invited to address the causes and consequences of the American War in Vietnam in the new Ken Burns series about the unspoken American genocide in Southeast Asia.

Obviously his inclusion would have competed with Burns and the filmmaker's corporate-guided/sanctioned narrative.

Chris Hedges and Chomsky are brilliant historians, and to ignore their views on Vietnam is akin to living in a burning house and insisting that the flames are irrelevant.

Folks, PBS is a propaganda wing of the oligarchy.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.


TS 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Take a Knee

My Oregon Ducks lost to an ASU team they should have beaten last evening.  Oregon's talent just isn't there yet, and it appears the team's first three opponents were more than awful.

Oregon will have difficulties all season.  Hoping for 6 wins and a low-level bowl, but nothing is guaranteed.

Most college teams stay in the locker room when the national anthem is played in college stadiums.  I wonder how many collegians would protest by remaining seated.

Today many pros knelt or remained seated during the anthem. Good, finally.

I hope the "take a knee" movement in the NFL continues and grows. I'd like to see more white players join their teammates in protest.

Jingoism in sports has long bothered me. I hate the national anthem and the crass unfurling of a field-sized flag prior to the games.

It's flat out stupid, and the "patriotic" people who support it are very, very stupid. It's not acceptable.

Trump is very, very stupid. He is not acceptable.  He's a very bad person.  Very bad.  Bad, bad...

A couple of anthem singers joined the protest, which was cool to see. One even gave the black power salute, a clinched fist raised, at the end of the song.

I support the protests rippling through the league now. It's past time.

Here's a piece I wrote last year, which pretty much says all I have to say on the matter for now.


TS

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ugh

I've been kind of sick and knocked low by life lately.

I'll get back to this in the future.




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Friday, September 15, 2017

Bad Read, Good Read

So someone has ghost-written another Hillary Clinton memoir. My biggest question when I picked it up was: Did Hillary stiff the writer out of the final payment as she did Barbara Feinman, real author of “It Takes a Village?” You don’t have to read any further than the cover of the book to answer the question posed by its title: What Happened: Hillary Clinton. Glutton for punishment, I took a masochistic dive into its dark pages anyway.--JSC

The editor of CP doesn't approve of HRC's new book.

The consensus among reviewers nationwide seems to be that HRC has written (or had ghost-written) the year's worst book thus far, a real stinker.

No big surprise there.  Anyone with half a brain would agree, if the excerpts I've read are indicative of the whole book, which they apparently are.

While HRC's new book is selling like peanuts at a ball game, this one by Nancy MacLean, who happens to be a lot brighter than the failed pol, is also doing well.  I'm reading it, and I recommend you do as well.

Many of HRC's ideological pals are featured in it, though there is not a word about Bernie, Comey, Putin or the "deplorables" in it as far as I've read.


TS

Monday, September 11, 2017

Team Identity

The Oregon Ducks are a sensational story now in the college football world as pundits and ordinary fans attempt to figure the team out after two wins--an expected blowout of Southern Utah, and a bizarre victory over an evenly matched Nebraska team.

The Nebraska game was bizarre because of the way it played out in two halves of vastly different styles of football--fast and sluggish.

A first half that conjured memories of the hyper-frenetic Ducks under Chip Kelly, when the team's explosive offense scored quickly and often. And a second half that prompted memories of recent ignominy--namely last season when Oregon finished 4-8 and had the worst defense in all of college football.

That last year's team actually won four games and came close in a couple of others was a testament to the talent level of the Ducks' young offensive players.

That talent was demonstrated again on Saturday--at least in the first half--and Oregon will have a chance again to win more than they lose.

But they need to play fast both halves, which they did not do against Nebraska. Kelly seldom slowed his teams down, unless he was nursing a lead in the fourth quarter, or didn't want to embarrass the other team.

Oregon played the second half to not lose--which is as old-fashioned as an offensive huddle.

Oregon's defense is only slightly better this year but has some nice new parts, with the addition of some beef up front and a couple of mega-talents in the secondary.

Oregon's "gonna have to score a ton," as ex-Oregon coach Mark Helfrich might say, because the defense is being rebuilt from the ground up.

I think you'll see more close games this year, and fewer blowouts like last year's Washington game at Autzen when the Huskies slapped 70 on a Duck team that quit, thus starting the countdown to a coaching change.

The Ducks have good to great talent scattered throughout their roster. They're looking for identity and cohesiveness and the next step forward.

Willie Taggart is the man now, and he's going to have his coaching chops tested in a very powerful league for the first time in his career.

We'll see how it goes.

(Photo by the Oregonian)

And now for something completely different.


TS

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lunacy

The greatest football play of all time happened yesterday in a college game.  See it here.





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Friday, September 8, 2017

Charlottesville

Open carry?

Walden's pond.  The dickhead supported the armed takeover of Malheur.

Think about that.

Is he a fascist or a Republican?  Is there a difference?


TS