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.

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

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!


TS

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?



TS

Hey Everybody, Look at Me!














TS

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?

TS

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.


TS

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.




TS

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.





TS

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

Eagle Creek Fire



Prosecute the parents of the 15 year-old whom witnesses said started this massive fire?  Highly unlikely, lawyers claim.


TS

Hanging Out with Street and Levine

So primary challengers aren’t supposed to challenge at all.  They are supposed to be thoroughly cowed patsies for the front-runners.  No, they are supposed to act out the same role The Washington Generals played vis-a-vis The Harlem Globetrotters: perpetually failed props. As one correspondent wrote me last Tuesday, reflecting on Mrs. Clinton’s cold ingratitude: “How dare [Bernie] have acted like a primary was meant to be anything other than a foregone conclusion? Really, Hillary Clinton is giving the strongest support for the concept of ‘sheepdog candidate’ that I’ve ever seen, and she’s offering it willingly.”--PS

Putting a bad book in its proper place, Paul Street mocks Clinton.

The 2018 midterm elections are still more than a year away, but, according to press reports, Democratic “hopefuls” are already courting “the donor class” in anticipation of the presidential election in 2020.

It is the same old same old that got us a Trump-Clinton election in 2016 and, worse, that stifled or derailed many of the most promising progressive initiatives of the preceding years.--AL

The always feisty Andrew Levine takes the reader on a joy ride.

This stuff is too good to ignore, so don't. And then there is me, lollygagging around behind the good stuff.

Enjoy your football this weekend, and be sure to kneel during the national anthem.


TS

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Smoke No Smoke

The wind has shifted, blowing east.  The smoke is gone for now.  I can see blue sky again.  This is a welcome respite.  How long will it last?








TS

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Go CoCo!

When Kiki Vandeweghe played for the Trail Blazers in the 1980s he was my neighbor for a time on Hoyt Street in Northwest Portland.

Kiki, like Bill Walton before him, was one of a handful of Blazers who opted for urban living accommodations during their Portland careers, calling the old neighborhood home before the mobile nature of the business sent them on to their next addresses.

This was well before the old neighborhood gentrified and turned into the boring, sterile shopping mall it is today.  In the 70s and 80s the neighborhood was rough and diverse.  Now it's overrun, like America in general, with money and idiocy.

Kiki, like Walton, went to school at UCLA.  Maybe they learned something there?

Most pro ballers in Portland back in the day headed for the suburbs and their mansion/cribs in gated terrain, just as they do now.

Kiki's niece, CoCo Vandeweghe, is making a run at the U.S. Open tennis championship.

Go CoCo go!


TS

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Crying Game


The woman is so goddamned delusional she needs to be hospitalized and put on reality-based drugs to help her come to her senses.

I had people call me sexist and a misogynist simply because I didn't support her.  I am neither, but I can tell you that the level of political discourse throughout 2016 was at its lowest ebb in my lifetime.

What an insufferable and miserable human being she has become, and her supporters are in lockstep.

I'm really, really happy she's not our president.  She offered absolutely nothing in her campaign and wonders why she lost?

Sanders and the Russians did it!  Well, inept people do often blame everyone but themselves.  Her enablers are as deplorable as Trump's, albeit more arrogant, self-serving, privileged and entitled.

Trump is awful obviously, but much of the population has a better understanding now of what has been happening since Reagan, who was senile when he took office, fucked America over.

A pol like Clinton wouldn't have changed anything for the better--that's the unacceptable reality. This country needs to change, and both political parties are unwilling to address our problems. They would rather gloss them over with the fantasies--in variant and sick lies--that Clinton and Trump both want you to believe.

Ever heard of a two-headed coin?  Every time you call tails, you'll lose.


TS

Monday, September 4, 2017

Epitome

Oregon is on fire, and what a drag it is.

A kid has been fingered for setting the Eagle Creek blaze--a dumb shit playing with fireworks in the forest.

Really...


TS

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

divide et impera

Behind the rhetoric of the “alt-right” about white nativism and protecting American traditions, history and Christian values is the lust for violence. Behind the rhetoric of antifa, the Black Bloc and the so-called “alt-left” about capitalism, racism, state repression and corporate power is the same lust for violence.--CH

Chris Hedges on corporate power and the great divide.


TS

Monday, August 28, 2017

Survival

My Houston friend CP messaged me this morning.  An evacuation has been ordered in his Missouri City neighborhood.

The full loss hasn't been counted yet.  A lot of missing people, possibly drowned.  Five confirmed dead, a number that will surely go up while not being as devastating as Katrina's toll.

CP and his wife are in survival mode.

Good luck, guys!


TS

Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer Going Fast

Happy weekend.  Please don't put off reading CounterPunch while you're lolling around the next couple of days with your mobile device, wondering what the hell you're living for.

What the hell, start with my piece before working your way through the good stuff.

I'm serious, happy weekend if you get one.

TS

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rising Fascism


Listen to this.








TS

Right-Wing Utopia

Shoot, I almost forgot – there’s the art, music, culture thing to consider.  Are you gonna have some of that in there?  Maybe no – it’s mostly a waste and decadent anyway, so maybe you don’t want to be encouraging the young minds in that direction to begin with.  Don’t really need it and besides, if it does get too quiet like on a Saturday, you can maybe ask the Nuge to visit.  He’s old now and so you don’t have to worry about influencing his mind in any way.  Anyhow,  he can play his wango  song a few times and then everyone can clean their guns together or something like that and then maybe ride those cart things around through the woods.--VL

A funny piece, until you stop and think--what if?


TS

Football is Back















I've been doing my football research the last couple of days.

The Pac-12 is quarterback country. Always is.  Because the QB is always the most important player on any team, it's tough to say how the the conference will play out.  The champs always have good QBs, and there are some fine ones in the west.

Darnold at USC, Rosen at UCLA, Browning at Washington, Falk at WSU, Oregon's Herbert--these guys can all play.

Who has the best supporting pieces then?

You start with your best players, but because injuries always happen you'll never know how deep you are until some of your young, unsung players have to do the job.

The supporting cast is crucial.  If I were betting I'd take USC, despite the Trojans having what is perceived as a lack of depth.  All I know is they get good players.  Experience counts, but if the youngsters are forced into the game they'll likely shine from the get go.

So USC will be the Pac-12 champs.

Oregon?  6-6, with 8-4 as their ceiling.

The college season kicks off Saturday.  OSU plays CSU in Fort Collins in an early game , while Portland State plays at BYU (a money game), also an early game.

It's real.  The time is now.


TS

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fake Eclipse

It didn't really happen.  It was a government conspiracy.

False flag all the way, man, another example of fake science.




TS

Sunday, August 20, 2017

What's Going On?

Let us be very clear.  The white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville, hate-filled and repugnant as their goals may be, are not the ones responsible for the U.S. wars on Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.  They are not responsible for turning our public school system over to private corporations. They are not responsible for our separate and unequal health care system that consigns people of color to ill health and early death.  They are not the ones foreclosing and evicting people of color from their homes.  They are not the authors of neoliberal capitalism with its devastating effects on the poor around the planet.  They are not the ones militarizing the borders to enforce global apartheid. They are not behind the extraction and burning of fossil fuels that is destroying the planet, with the poor and people of color the first to lose their homes and livelihoods.  If we truly want to challenge racism, oppression, and inequality, we should turn our attention away from the few hundred marchers in Charlottesville and towards the real sources and enforcers of our unjust global order.  They are not hard to find.--AC

Who are the real enemies of democracy?  Well, you know where they are now, don't you?

TS

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Normalization of Racism, Bigotry, Fascism

The white supremacy that some of us see as more insidious is not reflected in the simple, stereotypical images of the angry, Nazi-saluting alt-righter or even Donald Trump. Instead, it is the normalized and thus invisible white supremacist ideology inculcated into cultural and educational institutions and the policies that stem from those ideas. That process doesn’t just produce the storm troopers of the armed and crazed radical right but also such covert true believers as Robert Rubin from Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Nancy Pelosi—”decent” individuals who have never questioned for a moment the superiority of Western civilization, who believe completely in the White West’s right and responsibility to determine which nations should have sovereignty and who should be the leaders of “lesser” nations. And who believe that there is no alternative to the wonders of global capitalism even if it means that billions of human beings are consigned permanently to what Fanon called the “zone of non-being.”--AB

Worth repeating.

Here in Oregon, our lone right-winger Rep. Greg Walden is an obvious fascist representing Republicanism, witness his support of Ryan and Trump during the dog days of the healthcare debate. His famous "impassioned speech" from the House floor defending the armed thugs who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was an earlier display of his contempt for democracy.

On the neoliberal side, Oregon's Democrats are less obvious, but no less culpable as they struggle with propping up capitalism while attempting to appease the underclasses and gift anti-fascism with a blurb or two on occasion, thus keeping their "liberal" credentials in order.

We know where all of these characters stand in truth--with business, the workers and poor be damned!


TS 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Untitled/RP Thomas













(RP Thomas photo)

my views are as yours.

I'm reading poetry right now.

It's a really stupid world out there.

horse racing makes sense quite often.

so does beer.-- RP Thomas

Note:  RP Thomas turned me on to Charles Bukowski many years ago, before Buk was well-known. Drink and the horse races are legacies of Buk's lit of course, and worthy of our admiration. Bukowski wrote for real people, and the academics loathed or ignored him. 

Thomas let me crash at his place one summer when I was between women and contemplating my move to Portland, where I've lived for 40 years.

Forty years...imagine that.  I find it both unreal and terrifying!


TS

Clean Sweep













Admit it.  You love the carnival.


TS

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Best Commentary

Trump’s remarks were a firehose of gasoline gushed onto a political firestorm. Almost giddy with the easy political points to score, Democrats rhetorically lashed Trump to the Klansmen and Nazis he defended.  Nearly the entire Republican leadership took to Twitter to denounce bigotry, even Senator Orrin Hatch, who had earlier said Trump was “not a racist,” after Trump attacked federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel’s fairness because of his Mexican heritage, tweeted, “We should never hesitate to call out hate. Whenever and wherever we see it."--TMK

This is a nuanced view of where we stand.

The hypocrisy of the economic elites who support the status quo and then cry racism is staggering. There are many neo-fascists in Congress who are paying lip-service to Charlottesville.

They're not as obvious as Trump about their hate, but it's real. The US is teeming with racist autocrats in high places.  The US is a fascist state.  Its top pols are the reason, not the cure, for why fascism is spreading.  I'm speaking of both American parties, which is one party guided by wealth and heap big nonsense beginning with the lie that America is a democracy.  Fuck that.  The US is a police state. Its exceptionalism is a mirage.  

Look how the pols initially fell in line behind Trump, who ran a racist campaign. If they didn't support him, they'd have moved to oust him by now.  Sadly, they are as corrupt as he is.

Here's another cat who can spell it out better than I can.

The so-called "resistance" is a joke being perpetuated by neoliberal outfits like the HuffPost, etc., who simply long for the return of the "dismal-dollar Democrats."


TS

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Post-Slavery Blues

The cries of white men with the burning torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, were familiar to her. Their anger was, too.

The continuous news coverage over the weekend prompted her own highlight reel of memories that included racial taunts, attacks and fears she’s lived with since she was born in the thick of the Great Depression. She couldn’t erase them if she wanted. “You never forget that feeling of being preyed upon,” said my grandmother, Clemmie. “It’s something I’ve been experiencing my entire life. I’m far from alone.”--JT

A good read at "The Undefeated."

All whitey has is a sad case of the post-slavery blues.  Dig it, the politicians are lying when they try to tell you that racism is anti-American.  It's as American as it gets and has been for hundreds of years.

What is more dishonest than a Congress that will not admit it is the machine of oppression and inequality?  That Trump hasn't been ousted by now for his incompetence is telling in more ways than the Tweet-happy Senators are capable of grasping or admitting, because it is power and not justice that makes them happy.

Consider this.

And this.

In other words our myth of exceptionalism is as fake as the Orange Jackass.


TS

Monday, August 14, 2017

For the Record























Marshall McLuhan’s chestnut “the medium is the message” contains some of the most important theory about mass media to have emerged in the past century. In its honor, we might propose another slogan—less conceptually tidy and alliterative—that brings to mind the arguments of critical theorists like Theodor Adorno: “the economy is the culture”—the economic mechanisms that govern the “culture industry,” as Adorno would say, determine the kinds of productions that saturate our shared environment. In a purely corporate capitalist model, we consume culture—that which is marketed most aggressively and distributed most plentifully—and often discard it just as quickly. In an economy that doesn’t make profit the fulcrum of its every move, things go otherwise. The lines between consumers, creators, and communities become blurred in weird and wonderful ways.--OC

What a great website and resource for serious cultural thinkers and researchers.


TS

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Path of Totality



Pretty cool.  Portland's obscuration is set at 99.2 percent.  Shit like this must have scared the hell out of the ancients, leading to all sorts of myths and rituals.

Now people are camped out near Madras in central Oregon, where the obscuration will be 100 percent for over two minutes.


TS

Friday, August 11, 2017

Your Weekend


The weekend CounterPunch is loaded again and you will not have time to read all of it, but once you get started go for it.  Read as much as you can, and don't miss this piece, an off-the-cuff combination of the serious and absurd, by yours truly.

I first published the fake conversations between Dooley and myself here in 2012, so one might assume the material is dated--that is unless you intuitively understand that not much has changed but the personalities now in charge.


TS

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bombs Away














"O Bomb I love you
I want to kiss your clank eat your boom
You are a paean an acme of scream
      a lyric hat of Mister Thunder
O resound thy tanky knees
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
BOOM ye skies and BOOM ye suns
BOOM BOOM ye moons ye stars BOOM
nights ye BOOM ye days ye BOOM
BOOM BOOM ye winds ye clouds ye rains
go BANG ye lakes ye oceans BING
Barracuda BOOM and cougar BOOM
Ubangi BOOM orangutang
BING BANG BONG BOOM bee bear baboon"

--Gregory Corso

A brilliant poem by Corso.

About Gregory Corso.

He (Corso) once explained his Utopian vision to Contemporary Authors: "I feel that in the future many many poets will blossom forth—the poetic spirit will spread and reach toward all; it will show itself not in words—the written poem—but rather in man's being and in the deeds he enacts. . . . A handful of poets in every country in the world can and have always been able to live in the world as well as in their own world; . . . and when such humankind becomes manifold, when all are embraced by the poetic spirit, by a world of poets, not by the written word but by deed and thought and beauty, then society will have no recourse but to become suitable for them and for itself. I feel man is headed in such a direction; he is fated and due to become aware of and knowledgeable about his time; his good intelligence and compassion will enable him to cope with almost all the bothersome, distracting difficulties that may arise—and when he becomes so, 'poet' will not be his name, but it will be his victory."--PF


TS

Monday, August 7, 2017

Is He Any Good?



It's a Jim Carrey!  I must have it!


TS

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dismal Dollars

Soon after he entered office Donald Trump abandoned the populist rhetoric that got him elected and began pushing programs that benefit connected plutocrats. Soon after he entered office Barack Obama abandoned the populist rhetoric that got him elected and began pushing programs that benefit connected plutocrats. Soon after he entered office Bill Clinton abandoned the populist rhetoric that got him elected and began pushing programs that benefit connected plutocrats. Astute readers may detect a pattern here.--RU

A complex reality.



TS

Tan Lines

I read "On the Beach" for the first time the other day, finishing it as the US Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world’s second most lethal nuclear power.  There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.

The “sanctions” are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

Their main aim seems to be war – real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-5 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.--JP

Pilger speaks.


TS

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Long Life

I confess, I loved Notre Dame in the Ara era.

That makes me old, but I'm not a Catholic!



TS

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Picasso at 83 and 90




















I think we can agree, Picasso went insane.


TS

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hot Town



Gonna be aswelterin' all week, up round 100 degrees.  Damn.


TS

RIP Sam Shepard

Shepard arrived in New York in 1963 with no connections, little money and vague aspirations to act, write or make music. "I just dropped in out of nowhere," he told the New Yorker in 2010. But Shepard quickly became part of the off-off-Broadway movement at downtown hangouts like Caffe Cino and La MaMa. "As far as I'm concerned, Broadway just does not exist," Shepard told Playboy in 1970 -- though many of his later plays would end up there.--AP

Didn't know Sam was so sick.  ALS is brutal and sad.

My favorites were "True West" and "Fool for Love."


TS

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Scouting Around

I was dishonorably discharged from the Cub Scouts for conduct unbecoming a scout. I was stripped of my merit badges, my sash, my scarf. It was a scene resembling the opening of that old TV show “Branded” with Chuck Connors. I had brought shame on my troop by decking the Scoutmaster’s son. I was eight years old.--JSC

This is one of the funniest and cogent damn things you'll read this year, I swear.


TS