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.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Narrative

The ruling class is seriously rattled over its loss of control over the national political narrative—a consequence of capitalism’s terminal decay and U.S. imperialism’s slipping grip on global hegemony. When the Lords of Capital get rattled, their servants in the political class are tasked with rearranging the picture and reframing the national conversation. In other words, Papa Imperialism needs a new set of lies, or renewed respect for the old ones. Former president Barack Obama, the cool operator who put the U.S. back on the multiple wars track after a forced lull in the wake of George Bush’s defeat in Iraq, has eagerly accepted his new assignment as Esteemed Guardian of Official Lies.

At this stage of his career, Obama must dedicate much of his time to the maintenance of Official Lies, since they are central to his own “legacy.” With the frenzied assistance of his first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, Obama launched a massive military offensive—a rush job to put the New American Century back on schedule. Pivoting to all corners of the planet, and with the general aim of isolating and intimidating Russia and China, the salient feature of Obama’s offensive was the naked deployment of Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. imperialism in Libya and Syria. It is a strategy that is morally and politically indefensible—unspeakable!—the truth of which would shatter the prevailing order in the imperial heartland, itself.--GF/BAR

I like this tough talk.  Gimme more like this and less bullshit, please. Everyone.

While you're feeling languorous, study this four-part series on American Imperialism and its discontents.


TS

Thursday, April 27, 2017

1-855-48-VOICE

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday unveiled its controversial immigrant crime office, complete with a hotline for U.S. citizens to report alleged crimes committed by undocumented aliens—which was promptly overwhelmed with calls about extraterrestrials, UFOs, and First Lady Melania Trump.--NP

Give the hotline a call.


TS

No. 1















Oregon's acrobatic tumblers are the best!


TS

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

We hold these truths...

The unambigious fact is that US capitalism is a mechanism for looting the many for the benefit of the few. Neoliberal economics was constructed in order to support this looting. In other words, neoliberal economists are whores just like the Western print and TV media.

Yet, Americans are so insouciant that you will hear those who are being looted praise the merits of “free market capitalism.”--PCR

'Tis the truth.

Resulting in more truth.


TS

Monday, April 24, 2017

Never Ending

That new ruling reality of our American world should, in turn, offer a hint about the nature of Donald Trump’s presidency.  It should be a reminder that as strange... okay, bizarre... as his statements, tweets, and acts may have been, as chaotic as his all-in-the-family administration is proving to be, as little as he may resemble anyone we’ve ever seen in the White House before, he’s anything but an anomaly of history.  Quite the opposite.  Like those generals, he’s a logical endpoint to a grim process, whether you’re talking about the growth of inequality in America and the rise of plutocracy -- without which a billionaire president and his billionaire cabinet would have been inconceivable -- or the form that American war-making is taking under him.--TE

9/11 as embarkation and a persistent chaos.


TS

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day



At Earth Day in Portland this morning the crowd was rocking to Bob Marley and the Wailers. Peter Tosh was an important player in the Wailers whose voice hit me harder than Marley's.

Legalize It and Mama Africa.


TS

Think Again

There’s a season for it–the thinkpieces, the brave suggestions, the crawling out to the edge of the limb and saying, yes, I have the answer, we should force America’s youth to come together and serve in some collective cause.

In spite of the right’s fondness for military service and such pageantry, it’s usually the left or the more accurately, the muddy, authoritarian center that suggest this kind of thing. Progressives worry over wars, but they don’t worry enough over the civilian casualties in other countries, or the blowback in America. Sometimes they become overly concerned, instead about how poor people join the military, and rich, privileged people don’t. Sometimes they even pull up an extra deep argument, dust the dirt off of it, and say, gee, maybe the draft can stop wars! Charlie Rangel spent decades in congress trying to bring back conscription for that very reason.--LS

Rather than make it mandatory that every young person in the country be subjected to service in order to perpetuate Empire and fight the ruling classes' wars, I'd rather those same youths join the struggle to destroy oligarchy and the perpetual wars it thrives on.

They won't, but neither would many accept the service mandate with the joy and acquiescence people imagine.

The notion that America's wars of aggression would come to a screeching halt if everybody had to serve is an example of the muddled thinking that gave us Trump and Clinton in the first place--a pair of neocons hell bent on imperial expansion and regime change wherever their puppet masters deem it necessary.

That one of these pols is deemed more reckless than the other in our shallow discourse is hardly the point. The road to catastrophe is well-marked, and the two-way power struggle at the top between corporate Democrats and Republican fools is the truly frightening reality.

The method of ruination employed by the two-headed monster is merely a sideshow--a fast versus a slower burn, with the current head of state, Trump, the leading arsonist.

One guarantee of mandatory service would emerge sooner than not, however.  The jails the U.S. oversees at home and throughout the world would be bulging with newly minted "traitors" and "seditionists" in a new and improved description of  "terrorism" (meaning against corporate interests).

If you are skeptical that such would happen rather than a sudden breakout of war resistance, think again while you still have ability to do so.


TS

Friday, April 21, 2017

Escape


And now we take a break from the rigors of maintaining Round Bend Press to watch the 3rd season of Bosch, which arrived today at Amazon Prime.

I've got to squeeze it in now because I'm on an Amazon Prime trial that ends in a week.

This is what I've been waiting for and it is all that matters--an escape into a cops and criminals serial.  I must binge.

Hell, it says right in my blogger profile that I like this kind of junk, so bear with me and come back soon.

Heh...


TS

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Capturing the Queen


After Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss nearly six months ago, her most powerful Democratic allies feared losing control of the party. Efforts to lip-synch economic populism while remaining closely tied to Wall Street had led to a catastrophic defeat. In the aftermath, the party’s progressive base—personified by Bernie Sanders—was in position to start flipping over the corporate game board.

Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject. Clear assessments of the national ticket’s failures were hazardous to the status quo within the party. So were the groundswells of opposition to unfair economic privilege. So were the grassroots pressures for the party to become a genuine force for challenging big banks, Wall Street and overall corporate power.

In short, the Democratic Party’s anti-Bernie establishment needed to reframe the discourse in a hurry. And—in tandem with mass media—it did.

The reframing could be summed up in two words: Blame Russia.--NS

Right on, Norman.

Check out this WP essay if you can stomach it.  Exactly what Solomon is referring to from the elite of the elites in the news media--another Sanders hit piece.  Surprise!

Hillary did it to herself, with a little help from her friends.


TS

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Move


In response to these changes in its urban character, Portland saw the rise of a literary and cultural avant-garde that thumbed its nose at the city’s gathering prosperity. Darker and angrier than the beatniks or hippies, the new avant-garde drew on international artistic currents to articulate the spirit of revolt. Near the center of the ’70s avant-garde in Portland was a performance poetry troupe called the Impossibilists. Founded by Tom Cassidy and Mark Sargent, the Impossibilists published manifestos—mingling poetry, prose, satire, and graphic art—for a period of more than ten years. They also staged live shows, readings, and events. Their manifestos featured writers and artists like Curtis and Katherine Dunn, and later figures from outside Portland like Subwaxin Haddock and Blaster Al Ackerman. Though circulation never exceeded a few hundred copies, their literary activities—and their forceful assertion of an avant-garde ethos—helped shape Portland’s cultural identity. --EJC

Tom Cassidy illustrated my first and only Mississippi Mud short story. He managed the Earth Tavern when I moved to Portland in 1977, and he usually worked the door for shows.

Lucas would sneak into the venue by walking in backwards (to give the illusion that he was walking out, get it?) and Cassidy seemed to appreciate the ruse, as he normally let Lucas get away with it. I usually ended up paying at the door.

I didn't contribute to the Impossibilists, but perhaps I should have.  I liked all the characters surrounding the movement/scene, including everybody mentioned in this piece.

The scene moved to the Long Goodbye Tavern, circa 1978, which I described in the intro to Cold Eye: A Generation of Voices, a collection focused on the Portland writers who met there on Tuesday nights to read and drink.

I was genuinely discomforted when Cassidy moved to Minneapolis. Seemed like a Portland loss at the time, and it was indeed.


TS

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He Gone

Jordan Bell announced this morning he's going pro, signing with an agent like Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks before him.

All three should have taken a cue from Buddy Hield and CJ McCollum, both of whom played four in college and had it pay off.

Bell, the best of the three Oregon players who led the Ducks to the Final Four this season, doesn't have an NBA 15' shot.

Brooks doesn't have small forward handles in the realm of Justin or Josh Jackson, expected NBA early draftees.

Dorsey lacks NBA strength and natural jumping ability, and though he got better at finishing at the rim late in the season and his shot started falling regularly he's rough, and I expect NBA players to stuff him often.

Dorsey has dual citizenship (Greece).  Could make a team there and be a hero.

Oregon's big three went for the money that may not even be there after things settle.

I think they're all a little naive or simply don't care about college any more. Could have been another great team next year.

Meanwhile Kentucky has its usual array of 5-star NBA-ready guys coming in.


TS

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bad Journalism

For example, of all places, National Public Radio just ran a lengthy segment examining the numerous instances in which Donald Trump has this week proven himself a liar and a fraud by advancing policies in direct conflict with his campaign platform and campaign promises.  Throughout the piece, the NPR journalists discussed how Trump was “learning on the job,” how these self-contradictions represented a possible shift to the political center, and how during the campaign, “Trump needed to say” one thing, and as President, he “needed to say” another.  Not once during the piece did anyone speak up to say: “Since when did it become acceptable for a person running for, let alone winning, the presidency to so transparently lie and manipulate and speak in inflammatory terms without commitment to the public or accountability for his words?”  NPR completely avoided the real story, which is that Donald Trump lacks the intelligence and mental health to meet what has long been the minimum standard for someone running for, let alone holding, our nation’s highest office.  Instead, in terms that often amounted to outright praise, NPR normalized Trump’s ego-driven self-license to campaign on lies, fantasies and ignorance.--HE

Hank has discovered, perhaps belatedly, that NPR isn't really all that. The reportage and analysis he finds lacking has been the network's stock-in-trade for a long time now, with the reprehensible Steve Inskeep and Cokie Roberts leading the pack of assorted bobble-heads.

NPR is the radio version of the HuffPost, that is weak-kneed "journalism" of the most-simplistic variety.

As execrable as poisoned food, it cannot be digested without waves of nausea overcoming the senses. The fare further blurs the line between "fake" and "real" news as its toxicity levels become dangerous to the human spirit.


TS

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cool Chaos, Hot Wars

It is a crushing blow to have your idols defrocked before your eyes. Generally speaking, the best course of action is denial, which can at least forestall having to cope with reality for as long as you can reasonably deny what happened. The neoliberal Clintonistas have done just that in the wake of their heroine’s epic meltdown last fall, when all manner of misdirection was employed to whitewash the neocon hobgoblin Hillary Clinton into some kind of iconic facsimile of humility and virtue, the brave flagbearer for female kind. Anyone familiar with Clinton’s record found themselves retching in alleyways as the pro-Hillary throngs flowed down the streets, chanting and punching the sky with their baleful banners.

The Clintonistas have chiefly attempted to salve their psyches by transmuting their worshipful emotions into a seething animus for Donald Trump, who has always presented as the antichrist to Hillary’s redeemer. The usefulness of Donald Trump is that he provided a perfect cipher into which identity politics neoliberals could pour all of their unbridled fury over the rejection of their political idol. Make America Great Again meant nothing. Much like Barack Obama represented for these same neoliberals a void on to which they could project all of their finest ideals about race, equality, and justice. Change You Can Believe In meant nothing.--JH

An exceptionally good piece at CP dissecting the hypocrisy of it all.

This piece brought me out of the doldrums that have been immobilizing in recent days.  I've been binge-watching the serials Bosch and Mozart in the Jungle at Amazon Prime, and a little baseball.

Last month I had another Netflix free trial and caught the second season of Better Call Saul.

Free trials.  Damn, I love free trials.

I also love being lazy, though I oft feel guilty about it.  Ha...


TS

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It's the Policy, Stupid

The rise of Islamic State has instilled pride and self-empowerment for many Sunnis, humiliated by the U.S. occupation. It has exposed the weak and corrupt ruling elites who have sold themselves to Washington. It is proof that the Western military forces are not invincible. These groups will suffer reverses, but they will not go away.

There is no clean or easy way to exit from the morass we created in the region. None of the insurgents in the region will willingly lay down their weapons until the U.S. occupation of the Middle East ends. The wars we started are complicated. There is a myriad of proxy wars being fought beneath the surface, including our war with Russia, Turkey’s war with the Kurds, and Saudi Arabia’s war with Iran. The civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are the human fodder. This slaughter has already lasted nearly 16 years. It will not cease until the United States is exhausted and withdraws its forces from the region. And before that happens, many, many more innocents will die. So save your tears. We are morally no different from the jihadists or the Syrians we fight. They reflect back to us our own repugnant visage. If we wanted this to stop, we could make it happen.--CH

Hedges, with his usual clarity, insight, and humane arguments.

Paul Street swings the hammer.


TS

Friday, April 7, 2017

Choir Practice


I suspect that when human beings started gathering in larger groups, creating more complex societies, those who were deemed to be poorer residents became objects of derision and disgust. Perhaps this is because impoverished persons remind those who are better off of vulnerability and human dependency. In our own society, Nancy Isenberg (2016) documents how the poor are negatively represented and treated throughout U.S. history, which seems to confirm the idea that as long as the poor are among us there will be people who abhor them. While the people who are poor may be despised by other members of society, I contend that neoliberal politicians (and their adherents) are more susceptible to class animus than politicians who hold more humanist and socialist views. This is evident today with Republicans in charge of the government, though let me be clear that Republicans are not the only neoliberals in the government and, therefore, not the only ones who display a willed indifference to persons lacing in economic resources.--RL

On the effects of neoliberalism.


TS

Aggression

The use of force by the United States against the sovereign state of Syria is a prima facie violation of international law. It is an act of aggression against the UN Member State in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. It therefore gives Syria the right to react in self-defense or a legal justification for the use of force and it gives any other United Nations Member State the right to act in collective self-defense and to support Syrian action against the U.S. This is the basic understanding of the international legal consequences of the United States use of force against Syria.--CD

Spelled out for dumb asses.

Aggression redux.

TS

The Bullshit Never Ends



Here we go again.

Bush and Cheney and the neocons are grinning.  Hillary Clinton is ecstatic.  Tim Kaine wants to take credit for it. Kissinger approves. The corporate media love it.  Trump's minions fall in line.

That extra 57B for the DOD is going to come in handy.


TS

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Recent Months


















I'm a blocked artist much of the time, but I think this is my best picture in recent months.  Strangely, it is an exact replication of the evening view I have across the courtyard in my apartment complex, believe it or not.

I call my ability to capture the essence "ultimate realism."


TS

Lost Ball Trick


Everyone can agree, we've never seen anything like this before.

Baseball is back, with all of its wicked weirdness.

Well, you can't blame this one on Steve Bartman.


TS 

From Russia, With Love

How dreadfully depressing life has become in almost all of the Western cities! How awful and sad.--AV

Essay of the day, by the author of several intriguing works.

I'm reminded of H. Miller's The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, a not unpleasant reaction.


TS

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

50 Year Ago



My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years, especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.--MLK

King's greatest speech.  He was assassinated a year later.


TS

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ruthie



I found this cover of Black Sabbath's classic in St. Clair's weekly "Roaming Charges" column at CP.

No shit, I've always thought a great singer (Ozzy wasn't) could make hay with this song, like Eddie Vedder and Lucinda Williams have with Dylan's "Masters of War."


TS

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ducks Fall


The sad news is that Oregon lost to UNC and the Russians control your mind.






TS