To the Point

There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed. You could line up all the pols in the U.S. in a straight row and examine them head to toe and not find a single man or woman capable of admitting, never mind ending, the corruption of their vocation--Buddy Dooley

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Money Hole

Military spending is the biggest waste of federal tax dollars ever. Both political parties are equally complicit.

The militarism scam is the best-kept secret in American politics.--TR

Or as Gen. Smedley Butler put it, "war is a racket."

The top one-hundred U.S. defense contractors.


Monday, May 29, 2017

The Fallibility of Hubris

Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: We’re crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya –including the killing of Ghaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomized him with a bayonet: “We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laugther]” Yes, exactly that.

Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester.

Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things we’ve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillary’s perverse glee in this video? It’s an image not to be forgotten.-- JK

Pilger speaks!

Another "must read" from TE.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Small Talk

I can remember back in the day when bus drivers were as least as smart as Ralph Kramden.

This is why I never attempt to engage a city bus driver in conversation.  It's too dangerous.

As an aside, nobody was more surprised than my painter colleague and I when we were once thrown off a city bus coming home from a job just because the swine driver felt for some unfathomable reason that we were, in the middle of a conversation about work, talking shit about him.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Long Weekend

Memorial Day weekend.  Get out there and do something.

And remember to remember.

My WiFi is bad right now, so visit again next month and I might have something to tell you.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Fan's Note

Lived through the power outage, a harrowing affair.  My senior center was closed, but the meals were saved thanks to the tenacity of the Elm Center staff!

The MOW people rock!

Speaking of food, as in food chain, here's an interesting piece.


Monday, May 22, 2017


If journalists were doing their jobs as laid out in widely accepted political theory and First Amendment doctrine—to hold power accountable, especially when the checks and balances built into formal institutions of the republic fail—they would not settle for liberal pieties but instead would embrace the radical analyses that have animated the best of journalism throughout history. Tom Paine, the greatest journalist of the Revolutionary era, never settled for the liberal pieties of his day, which may be why he’s rarely remembered as one of our “founding fathers” despite his considerable contributions to independence.--RJ

One for the road.

Two for the road.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Branded and Dying

The assignment is to go up to Boston to cover the third annual Content Marketing Conference, a sold-out, $1,250/ticket, four-day powwow for 300 marketing professionals flown in from San Fran and Toronto and other prosperous North American cities. They will sleep at the conference hotel in $349/night rooms with swanky waterfront views. The Struggling Writer is picked up at the train station by a taxi and deposited at the corner of a dingy half-block. The taxi departs hastily. The S.W. finds the entrance to the Airbnb rental, a narrow building adorned in uninspired graffiti.

The Content Marketing Conference takes place in a wing of the Westin Hotel. The spectacular, light-filled lobby is abuzz with men and women ages 20s to 50s in biz attire tapping on laptops, while others quickly wheel compact travel luggage over polished marble. A long escalator to the second floor is decorated with decals of male and female Superheroes soaring through space: neon-green faces, neon-green capes. Spandex-enhanced anatomies accompany motivational implorings such as “Rid the World of Bad Content.”-- Tablet online

Pretty funny and clever, if not up to the standards of Hunter S. Thompson as infiltrator and skeptic.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

RIP Chris Cornell

I figure there have been but a handful of singers max who were able to sing this song and get it right.  You know, the composers; another one in his raw and intriguing way was Chris Cornell.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Race is On

Great news developing out of Bend, in Oregon's 2nd Congressional District. The potential ouster of Republican Trumpster Greg Walden, the arch-conservative corporate lackey/congressman who helped write the Trump/Ryan anti-health bill, just got a jump start.

This will only work if Eastern Oregon voters come to their senses, but a high-profile candidate like Rachael Scdoris-Salerno can't hurt the cause.

If fame is what it takes to unseat a corporate-backed henchman, I'm all for it.


50 Years On

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 70, still has his principled worldview, elan and tenacity--and now a new book about his long friendship with his college coach and mentor, John Wooden.

He is troubled by the "one-and-done" rule in college ball and how it has changed the college game.

Abdul-Jabbar was always more than merely a highly successful basketball player. His skill ultimately gave him a powerful voice, which he has used more frequently than most professional athletes, past and present, to address social injustice.

The Cleveland Muhammad Ali Summit, June 1967. Kareem was still Lew in this photo.

The summit was called to mull over Ali's anti-war statements and draft resistance.  Blacks were by-and-large still divided on the ramifications of  the Vietnam War at the time.  In April, Martin Luther King had for the first time acknowledged publicly his growing anti-war sentiments, calling the U.S. "a leading purveyor of violence" in the war.

In Cleveland the assembled athletes and black business advocates heard Ali out.  Upon leaving UCLA, Lew Alcindor embraced the Muslim faith and changed his name, like Cassius Clay had before him.

The summit was a seminal moment in the history of black dissent.  At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, two track medal winners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their gloved-fists in open protest of racial injustice in the U.S.

And of course disbelieving conservatives and racists were appalled, just as they are today if any social movement for betterment upsets their narrow view of the world while scaring the holy shit out of them.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

De Quincey

When he picked up his pen, De Quincey left the world of ‘mere facts’ and entered a field of free unstructured space in which to create a world of his imagining. Writing was a form of vagrancy, the page an open road, grammar the generator of limitless possible routes through thought. To be a writer was to be a flâneur, to be a flâneur was to embody the movement of imagination itself.--LRB

A terrific book review by Nicholas Spice.


Monday, May 15, 2017


Only the catchment areas of the Amazon, the Congo and the Nile exceed that of the Mississippi, which drains 40 per cent of the United States, encompassing thirty-one states (and two Canadian provinces). Other renowned calamities in the United States – the (human-caused) Johnstown (Pennsylvania) flood of 1889 (more than 2,000 German and Welsh immigrant ironworkers lost their lives when a rickety dam burst higher up the valley), the Galveston (Texas) hurricane of 1900 (the nation’s deadliest hurricane), the San Francisco earthquake and fire (1906) and Hurricane Katrina (2005) – involved more physical damage and greater loss of life. But the area affected by the Mississippi flood of 1927, the most severe in US history, is unrivalled in the annals of American “natural” disasters. Unusually heavy and persistent precipitation began in August 1926 throughout the Mississippi basin and did not let up until the spring of 1927. Long-term processes of deforestation in the upper basin, wetland drainage and installation of monoculture agricultural regimes had seriously compromised the earth’s capacity to store moisture from rain and snow, hastening runoff and erosion of the “naked” soil. So, by late spring, 30,000 square miles across seven states, from Cairo, Illinois, to the Gulf of Mexico, inhabited by nearly a million people, stood under up to 30 feet of water--TLS

Feels like we're about to be flooded out with all the rain from the sky and the gloom from reality.


Saturday, May 13, 2017


My daughter was diagnosed with thyroid problems after giving birth to her son eight years ago.

My friend CL battled mysterious medical problems until discovering he too had a thyroid condition that he has under control now.

Recently, I went for my annual medical checkup and have learned that I've joined the club.  Had symptoms, odd aches and pains and a lack of energy that I thought might be age-normative, for I am on the down slope shall we say--but alas a blood test revealed the truth.

Ha, I've added a thyroid medication to my growing list of legal drugs that I consume daily. The heart, liver, lungs and colon are good for now, but I've joined the masses with the thyroid thing.

I hope the miracle drug works and the long list of negative side effects don't appear and my energy comes back.  Watch out!  I might yet again be a dynamo.

Ain't it grand?


Thursday, May 11, 2017


All she needs is the turban and shades and it would be the reality TV version of “Sunset Boulevard.” Now that  Hillary is slowly reappearing now and then,  out there on the news show circuit,  she resembles  a defiant Norma Desmond . And  we are forced once again to bear witness to the absurdity  that is the Democratic party.--JG

This is pretty funny despite its excruciating sadness...


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Stink and the Fog

In a very short amount of time, it’s become something of cliche to talk about Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey as the equivalent of Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired anyone at the Department of Justice unwilling to fire the Watergate independent prosecutor.

If that does turn out to be an apt analogy, it’s hardly surprising that this is happening in many respects.

The crimes of Watergate came out of the Vietnam War, though this is poorly understood. The Watergate “plumbers” were originally set up to plug the leaks about the Vietnam War.--SH

Out of the cheap stink of the Nixonian analogy and the militaristic fog of the power struggle in Washington, comes an actual essay of merit!

And another from Andrew Bacevich.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017


The mountain rises glistening from an encasement of glaciers in the far reaches of the Karakoram. Pyramid-shaped, an austere link to eternity, K2 yields only to Everest in height and is deadlier. Its walls are vertiginous no matter the approach.

Only the most experienced climbers attempt ascents, and for every four who crawl to its peak, one dies.

And then there is winter. Fourteen of earth’s mountains exceed 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), and climbers have reached the peak of 13 in winter. K2 is the forbidding exception. Ten Polish climbers hope to make history by reaching the summit next winter.--NYT

An excellent feature on mountaineering from the NY Times.


Monday, May 8, 2017

About Time

Finally reading some more Orwell recently, a book I put off for far too long.  Like my favorite,"Down and Out in Paris and London," it's a goody.

"Homage to Catalonia" is Orwell's memoir of fighting the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.  I should have read it years ago, just never got around to it for some reason--perhaps sloth.  Or perhaps I'd read too many books about war and suffered from second-hand battle fatigue.  Anyway...

Great read.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Why History?

History properly and deeply understood is profoundly dangerous to authority. Consistent with Santayana’s oft-quoted remark that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” it warns us about past mistakes. National leaders’ remarkably recurrent faith in splendid little wars that will be concluded quickly with little human cost is one among many examples.--PS

Paul Street lights up lazy historicism in this essay of the day.


Thursday, May 4, 2017


After taking heat from Hood River to Bend last month from constituents pissed off by his stupidity, 2nd District Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and other goofy bastard Republicans yucked it up with Trump in a WH ceremony celebrating Trumpcare's House victory Thursday.

Walden is third from the right (front row), next to Paul Ryan. Moments after this shot was taken, Walden crawled under Ryan's skirt and kissed the Speaker's ass.

How do you like him now, Eastern Oregon?


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Delusional Neocon is a Liar

Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she takes "absolute personal responsibility" for her 2016 loss. But she doesn't, really.

Clinton suggested in an interview at a "Women for Women" event in New York that her forthcoming book would include plenty about how misogyny contributed to her loss, adding it to the blame she has assigned to FBI Director James Comey and Russian hacking. And by the end of the interview, she also blamed the debate questions she was asked.--WP

I was accused of being a misogynist for not supporting her, even though I was a vocal supporter of Jill Stein and the Green Party.

Absolutely no evidence has been put forward that Russia influenced the election.

Hillary's notion that Comey's work changed the minds of voters is pure self-aggrandizement, as even the Washington Post understands in a rare moment of lucidity.

Clinton liberals are full of shit, as is their heroine.

At least she didn't take the final step and blame Sanders and Stein for her failure, though she likely believes that as well.  Note also that she didn't blame the DNC, which would have been somewhat closer to the truth.

What an entitled, elitist fucking snob.  Or, as I would shorten it, bitch.

And no, being anti-Clinton does not make me an implicit Trump supporter, which is what every uneducated pragmatic voter I've run across believes to be the case.

Late-stage neoliberalism is killing the country, and both of the candidates were callous jackasses in it for the wrong reasons.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Feeble Minds

The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and fantasy.--CH

Hedges at Truthdig.