Quote of the Day

"Buzz, buzz."--Hamlet

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tonight: Live Socialist Response to Trump's Speech



Tonight Trump addresses Congress for the first time.  You know how it will go; the polite applause from the Democrats, the raucous cheers from the Republicans, then presumably a polished Trump oratory written by the best belligerent on his WH staff--Trump praying the teleprompter doesn't fail him.

He will talk about the necessity of pumping billions more into the defense budget while cutting all else.

The Seattle Channel will present Councilwoman Kshama Sawant's rebuttal.


TS

Monday, February 27, 2017

Close

They say you have to win a couple of close ones in the big tourney to sniff the National Championship.

What if you're Oregon?  How many close ones do you have to win to maintain that #2 seed the experts divine for the Ducks come tourney time?

It was a hell of a weekend in the Bay Area for Oregon.  It always is. This time Oregon skated with a couple of close calls, beating Cal on a last second dagger by Dillon Brooks, and Stanford on a lucky and wild tip in by Jordan Bell.

Oregon is good, but I don't know if it can survive by playing down to the opposition.  As I've said all year, the Ducks need an athletic big man who can consistently slash the middle of the key and create his own shot.

Better rebounding is key as well.  Chris Boucher gets pushed around if a board is disputed. Sometimes Bell is lonely out there without rebounding help, and if he happens to be napping at any given moment all you can say is WTF?


TS

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Buzzer Beater


The Oregon Ducks thrive or die with the three-point shot, and last night's game with Cal was no exception.

Their habit could cost them a shot at the NCAA title next month, but for now its all lollipops and championship dreams.

Trailing by 10 with 4 min. to play, Oregon hit four straight long balls to snatch a victory out of the Bears' jaws.  To set up the opportunities the Ducks had to play a little defense as well, employing a nasty, trapping, full-court press.

It paid off with a pair of steals, setting up four last-ditch attempts.

Ennis, Boucher and Pritchard each nailed deep shots before Dillon Brooks' game winner with .09 left sent Cal and its fans home in an even deeper funk.

Four chances, and each one critical to Oregon's desperate comeback.

"Bing, bango, bongo, Kaboom!" (Schonley and Dooley)

UCLA must beat Arizona Sat. night in the PAC "game of the season" for Oregon to win the conference regular season title.

And Oregon must win its final two against Stanford and OSU. Fingers crossed.

I've never been much of a UCLA fan until now.


TS

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Amen

We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they come as a strong rebuke to the systemic scaffold on which our pains, our exploitation and the denial of our voices and rights are hung.

The necessity of system change is inescapable. The present system is dependent on the extreme exploitation and enslavement of nature and labour, built around an inherently unjust core. We are in the dying days of a civilisation driven by fossil fuels. This end is not coming merely because of the recorded and predicted severe species extinction, or by peak oil. Its end is being heralded by a looming climatic catastrophe and by the reawakening of social forces realising that slavery persists as long as the enslaved is unaware of his state.--NB

Right on, brother.


TS

Itching Forward

The New York Times is currently engaged in one of its most ambitious projects: Removing a sitting president from office. In fact, Times columnist Nicolas Kristof even said as much in a recent article titled  “How Can We Get Rid of Trump?”

Frankly, it’s an idea that I find attractive, mainly because I think Trump’s views on immigration, the environment, human rights, civil liberties and deregulation are so uniformly horrible, they could destroy the country.   But the Times objections are different from my own. The reason the Times wants Trump removed is because Trump wants to normalize relations with Russia which threatens to undermine Washington’s effort to project US power deeper into Central Asia.--DW

Hear the dogs barking yet?


TS

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sad Story

Native Americans and fellow activists huddled around small fires in the Oceti Sakowin Camp on Sunday night and sang songs in a nostalgic and bittersweet gathering. These demonstrators opposing the Dakota Access pipeline, who call themselves “water protectors,” feel they are making a last stand at Oceti Sakowin.

Nightly rituals of song, speech, dance and gatherings by firelight used to involve thousands at this camp, but that number has dwindled to about 50 people—many of whom have been subjected to police violence and have spent time in jail. The national media have all but vanished. Cold winds blow through the vast, empty plains.--DK

Sad, but indicative of where we are under the duopoly.


TS  

Single-Payer Now!

But "single-payer reform could," write the co-founders of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP). "Such reform would replace the current welter of insurance plans with a single, public plan covering everyone for all medically necessary care—in essence, an expanded and upgraded version of the traditional Medicare program."

Such reform, also known as Medicare-for-all, could save $504 billion annually on healthcare bureaucracy, they say, plus an additional $113 billion "could come from adopting the negotiating strategies that most nations with national health insurance use, which pay approximately one half what we do for prescription drugs."

These savings would offset the cost of expanding insurance to the 26 million who remain uninsured despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as "plugging the gaps in existing coverage—abolishing co-payments and deductibles [and] covering such services as dental and long-term care that many policies exclude."--DF

If Trump really wanted to fuck over the corporatist liberals he would follow this plan!

The move might swing things back his way and out of the clutches of the Intelligence bureaucracies.

Obamacare lard distributed here.


TS

Good Stuff


Well, OK, a lot of people, apparently, because there’s been a new twist in the official narrative. It seems the capitalist ruling classes now need us to defend the corporate media from the tyrannical criticism of Donald Trump, or else, well, you know, end of democracy. Which millions of people are actually doing. Seriously, absurd as it obviously is, millions of Americans are now rushing to defend the most fearsome propaganda machine in the history of fearsome propaganda machines from one inarticulate, populist boogeyman who can’t maintain his train of thought for more than fifteen or twenty seconds.--CJH

This one is run through with rare intelligence and perception. A must read.


TS

Monday, February 20, 2017

Teach the Children



This was very cool to see.


TS

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Towards the Title

Oregon polished off Utah last night.  The Ducks have a noon game against Colorado on Sat., which ought to be a rout simply from the revenge angle.

Colorado beat Oregon at high altitude in Boulder last month.

But the road trip to Cal looms, a treacherous thing.

The Ducks need Arizona to lose to UCLA and then win out themselves.

Mercy!  What a great college ball season.

EDIT: Oregon smashed Colorado, got revenge!


TS

Message for the "Resistance"



















"To be Clear:" as in wiping the cobwebs from your eyes.


TS

Beyond the Democrats

This reflexive defense of the recent status quo is bolstered by inertia, especially at the top of the party. The House Democratic leaders—all septuagenarians—were easily re-elected to their party posts. In the Senate, New York’s Chuck Schumer took over from Harry Reid as minority leader, as long planned. The big outside money is flowing to the same operators (Guy Cecil and David Brock) and the same big institutions (the Center for American Progress, Priorities USA) as before. If Representative Keith Ellison’s effort to head the DNC is defeated, the party structure itself will remain largely in the hands of those who eviscerated it (or their designees). Not surprisingly, these longtime party leaders are invested in what was accomplished under Obama, eager to defend it against Trump’s calumnies, and intent on returning to power under similar terms.

But this reflex ignores an uncomfortable but inescapable reality: Trump is in the White House in large part because of the establishment’s failures over the past decades. What economist Paul Krugman once called the “long depression” features a slow recovery that has not benefited working people. We remain mired in endless wars. The country’s inequality is more extreme, its insecurity more widespread, its institutional racism still entrenched. Money continues to corrupts our politics. Senator Elizabeth Warren got it exactly right when she addressed the Progressive Congress strategy summit on February 4: “Our moment of crisis didn’t begin with the election of Donald Trump. We were already in crisis…. Men like Donald Trump come to power when countries are already in deep trouble, when economies are already deeply flawed, when people in those countries begin to lose hope and look for someone else to blame.”--RB

A writer who gets it.

So rare these days.  I hear Hillary is gearing up for a last run for the Queendom.  Maybe Liz and Bernie won't endorse her next time?  Or am I dreaming, hoping against hope?


TS

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Family Time

Ducks tonight in a big game against Utah.  Oregon is at home this weekend.

It's big, as Oregon attempts to stay within striking distance of Arizona for the regular season PAC championship.

Here's a nice story on Oregon's Chris Boucher, a Canadian by way of Jamaica, who will play in front of his family for the first time in his Eugene career.


TS

Simple Minds

The travel ban was a test, and not only with regard to the mechanisms of America’s judicial politics and constitutional law. It was a test of the basic ideological preparedness of a nation that has spent most of its time trying not to imagine a Trump presidency, and must now shape that sentiment, as quickly as possible, into the groundwork of a credible resistance. While our justice system appears to have passed the test, at least for the time being, our first attempts at resistance reveal a nation struggling in thought and action to frame the larger case against Trump. Obviously, such a case does exist, and there should be no question at this point that our feelings of imminent danger are justified. It’s just that the narrative we’ve been telling each other to explain and act on those feelings – the Love vs. Hate narrative passed down to us by Democratic leadership – is so grossly simplistic, so troublingly inconsistent, and so profoundly at odds with the reality of this danger, that we become ally to the very forces we are fighting against each time we tell it.--PG

Simplistic is the right word.  It is as if many people are slowly awakening from a long sleep. They are what Henry Miller was fond of calling them--somnambulists.

Unequipped to think for themselves, they haven't studied history nor developed a critical capacity to analyze the forces that surround them.  Their lives, steeped in apathy and apolitical dreams, were barren, and as long as they had good jobs and enough toys to distract them they were fine with the world.

Everything was too easy for many.  Now things are tougher and they're having to engage with aspects of existence that never occurred to them in the past. They've lost their way and remain reliant on wishes and dreams without realizing there is no easy fix.

It will take a mass mobilization and new consensus, or nothing will change inside the oligarchical system that dominates our lives.


TS

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Coup in Progress

One upshot of the Flynn resignation is that Vice President Mike Pence, a white “Christian” nationalist, who is also is a darling of both Wall Street and the “neo con” interventionists comes out smelling like roses. Trump is a twisted narcissist who is a political opportunist. But Pence is likely what a lot of people claim Trump is.

Flynn was compelled to resign in large part because what is euphemistically called the “intelligence community” apparently had recording of his dealings with Russian representatives that he allegedly mischaracterized.

This implies that people will be held accountable for their falsehoods if — and only if — their stance upsets the CIA, NSA, et al.--SH

Trump is toast, has been since his election.  Things will return to normal once the Intel community has its way.

The CIA will not allow this upheaval to go on much longer; it's been overturning regimes (and democratically elected governments) fluidly worldwide since the Dulles brothers reigned supreme.

The better to hold hegemony and Empire.

Elites can't afford this kind of infighting at the top, and the U.S. is restless now; the last thing the Intel community wants is revolution.

Regime change is what American elites do best, and with the full backing of the majority of Americans this time, they'll get it.

Kennedy lasted three years in office.   Trump won't last half that long because he insulted the Deep State and hasn't the capacity or savvy to play along like Clinton would have.

Ironically, it might be the first time the CIA got something right!

God Bless American Imperialism!

Now, once the Dems and Repubs hook up again in a satisfactory realm, will we survive a messy nuclear exchange with the Rooskies!?


TS

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Not Going Away

From 1852 to 1862, Marx earned his living as a correspondent for the New-York Daily Tribune, at the time the newspaper with the largest circulation in the world. In his hastily worked-up English, he turned out twice-weekly columns, mainly on European affairs, which the ever-loyal Engels sometimes composed for him. Though Marx would rather have been producing books, his decades as a journalist lie behind much of his special character as a writer, his brash phrase-making and wide and ready command of information setting him apart from other major economic thinkers. (Keynes, who wrote many articles for The Times of London, supplies a partial exception.) If Marx is at once the grimmest and most abstract and the liveliest and most entertaining of theoretical minds, this is partly because the philosopher was also a newspaperman.--BK

An interesting read from The Nation.


TS

Don't Sing!

I watched the Kansas/West Virginia game last night.  Kansas was down by 12 with under three minutes to play in Lawrence, and the usual full house began to clear out.

You would think the spoiled Kansas crowd would be more educated than that, especially with so many difference makers on the Jayhawks' roster, the "three" and the 30 sec. shot clock.

Kansas won the thriller in OT.

Here are some other notable comeback games in recent times.


TS

Monday, February 13, 2017

The FWIW Dept.

Oregon has two bad conference losses, one against a Colorado team that played over its head, and the epic meltdown in L.A. against the UCLA Bruins.

The Bruins are in danger of becoming a one-man team (as Ball bounces, so does UCLA), and they have to go to Arizona eventually.  Yikes!

Oregon gets the home advantage one last weekend beginning Thursday when the dangerous Utes visit Eugene in what ought to be a crowd-pleaser.  But Utah can beat anyone on a given night, so the Ducks best come prepared. Saturday, the revenge game vs. Colorado could evolve as pure fun.

After that, the Bay Area trip looms.  It was bad for Oregon last year when my team dropped two before going on its rampage and into the Elite Eight.  Cal is really good, almost beat Zona Saturday.

As for the aforementioned Lonzo, who has a habit of going Gonzo from the basketball equivalent of the moon, would someone please stop him from doing that thing he does so well?

It's major excitement, babies.  Let it roll.


TS

Sunday, February 12, 2017

George Capaccio















(George Capaccio and friends in Mosul before the war.)

Some critics are calling the January 30 raid in Yemen a botched affair. Insufficient or incorrect intelligence and poor planning, they argue, are responsible for the chaos that erupted when the Navy Seals launched their raid and ended up causing excessive “collateral damage.” Sean Spicer, Trump’s adversarial press secretary, lashed out at anyone — including Arizona Senator John McCain — who calls the raid a failure. In Spicer’s view, such malcontents and naysayers owe an apology to Ryan Owens, the soldier who was killed in the raid: “It's absolutely a success, and I think anyone that would suggest [the raid is] not a success does a disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens."

What about the life of Nawar al-Awlaki and the lives of the other women and children whom the soldiers ended up killing? Don’t they deserve an apology? Better than an apology, don’t their families deserve some form of compensation for the loss of their loved ones? Even more to the point, don’t we all deserve an explanation for why the United States is conducting drone strikes and clandestine military operations against the poorest country in the Middle East while supporting the Saudi-let coalition against Houthi rebels and allied military forces?--GC

George Capaccio is a longtime peace activist, educator and humanitarian worker who went to Iraq nine times between 1997 and the 2003 invasion by Bush and Co.

Round Bend Press will soon publish his memoir, "Iraq: A Human Narrative," about his times and travails among the Iraqis; hopefully by April or May and once the structure and details of the book are worked out.

In fact, I'm sending the author a first edit tomorrow.

Stay tuned.


TS

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sawant and Street

We cannot only react to Trump’s right wing assault. We will need to put forward audacious demands that can inspire with the promise of a dramatic improvement in people’s lives, like those popularized by Bernie Sanders, including: a Medicare for all, single-payer healthcare system; a federal $15 minimum wage; free higher education; taxing the rich to fund massive public works program to create jobs and rebuild our infrastructure, develop green energy, and mass transit; demanding that Black Lives Matter and for an end to the racist mass incarceration state. Bernie’s bold program energized millions, especially young people, while Hillary’s timid, corporate-friendly proposals of tinkering around the edges failed to mobilize them.--KS

This is strong, from the pen of Kshama Sawant.

She overstates the depth of the "resistance" to this point, but levels into a viable vision of the future.

Paul Street has a similar rap dispelled of illusory, Sanders-like "soft" (my word) socialism.


TS

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Poor Ducks

Oregon couldn't sustain its early goodness and falls to the Bruins by three.

Missed too many wide-open looks, then couldn't find any looks at all, or stop super frosh Lonzo Ball, who hit a three from beyond downtown late and a couple of sensational drives.

O woe!

It's already March Madness in mid-February!

Heh...

Can the Ducks bounce back after this disappointment, versus USC? We shall see on Sat.


TS

Agreed

The United States is marked by a crisis of governance. Neither political party has articulated a vision for how to rein in corporate power, create an economy that works for working Americans, or build a government that protects the needy and disadvantaged. Republican’s reactionary turn provides an opportunity for a political alternative that rejects neoliberal capitalism. Ultimately, it’s up to the public to articulate such a vision if they desire an alternative to the status quo.--AD

DiMaggio covers the edges of home plate while future-gazing in this fine piece.


TS

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LA Bound

The Ducks had to deal with star Dillon Brooks' early injury issues, but are looking very good. Oregon has beaten all four of the other Pac-12 teams that are currently in the bracket (Arizona, California, UCLA, USC), including that 85-58 blowout of Arizona last Saturday. However, the Ducks are a high-level home-court hero. All their best wins were in Eugene. They do not have to make the return trip to Arizona, but the L.A. trip is this week.--JP

Two tough games in L.A.  I expect a split, the loss being to UCLA.

But alas, USC is tough at home as well.  Everyone is tough at home, even me.


TS

Monday, February 6, 2017

Corporate Resistance?*

If a new anti-war movement emerged from the resistance to Trump it would have the potential to shake the entire system. So the Democrats try to focus as narrowly as they can on Trump’s social and psychological pathologies while waiting to make up for their loses in the 2018 mid-term elections as the default party. The corporate media follows suit.--RM

Any movement expectant of making a difference must begin with rejecting the Democratic Party's bogus claim to resistance.

*You're joking, right?


TS

Seeding Fascism


One thing is already clear: this drastic tilt toward yet more Pentagon spending and away from investment in diplomacy abroad and civilian needs at home will only further militarize American society, accelerate inequality, and distort the country’s already highly questionable foreign policy.  After all, if your military is the only well-funded, well-stocked arm of the government, it’s obvious whom you’re going to turn to in any crisis.--WDH

Successive administrations were given a free pass on the militarization of American society and instituting its attendant surveillance mechanisms.

Amid the corporatist onslaught of global overreach, propagandized and embraced by ruling elites from the edifices of Wall Street to the desktops of the welfare bureaucracy, and every place in between, the seeds were planted long ago.

And people are shocked by what it has wrought?

The disgust I feel curls my flesh.


TS

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Last Bowl?

The election season did have a salutary phase – it started when the Sanders campaign took off and ended when Sanders decided to make common cause with the Democrats who had rigged the nomination process against him.  Also there were local and state elections that turned out well.

On the whole, though, it was a nearly eighteen month long disaster that culminated, at the national level, in a contest between a leading cause of all that has gone wrong with the Democratic Party over the past three and a half decades and an exemplar of much that is wrong with the human race.

The election was Hillary Clinton’s and the Democrats’ to lose; she and they outdid themselves. Therefore, Donald Trump is now in the White House, the world is out of joint, people suffer, and vileness reigns.--AL

Levine weighs in.

Amid the good stuff, I punch in here.

Enjoy the weekend and the Stupor Bowl if  you can. (It might be our last one, which wouldn't be a bad thing in itself, though the payoff might come with complications for the planet.)

Let's hope the QBs' long bombs don't inspire our new head coach to throw one himself.


TS

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winds of Change

Damn rough winter for this area.

Feels like snow again.

Well, I've got nothing better to do but stay at home and watch basketball, occasionally flip through the news sites to gather the latest on our destruction.

Dylan's idiot wind is blowing through the Capitol Building as I type. It's a wonder they know how to breathe...


TS